A year in Greenwich Park: October

Now that we're already into November it's time to share with you my monthly post on life in Greenwich Park. As the month progressed there was a definite theme and that will become apparent as you move through the post.  Sorry no spoilers here!

Last month I told you about how I'd watched the sweet chestnuts change from green to brown, but it wasn't until the start of October that I photographed them. And it was on the day they matched my cardy, which made me smile far more than perhaps it should have.

Matching my cardy to the sweet chestnuts and autumnal colours

It's still been warm and there's been plenty of blue skies. I found myself catching this view several mornings on the trot and realised that that's the other thing about Greenwich Park, it gives you vistas to other parts of London and views that not everyone gets to see, how special is that? 

That's Canary Wharf in the distance (with the pointy top) and it always looks much smaller than it really is. That's partly because the top of Greenwich Park is quite high up, hence the cycle ride being downhill all the way there and not on the way back.

A view from Greenwich Park over towards Docklands and Canary Wharf, a view that makes my heart soar

I've still not managed to cycle to work though, but I know it's getting closer. I'm still enjoying the walk, but I've made some sensible purchases which will help me be seen at night, and that's a good thing, so I'm running out of excuses!

One of the themes of the month is dogs. The dog walkers have been more evident, and sadly so has the dog poo. Especially on wetter days. I've been lucky so far, if you get my meaning, but I'm looking where I'm going more often now. Unlike the dog that came charging at me one morning in pursuit of his stick. He was so intent on his stick that he almost took me out. It was one of those chunky looking dogs, so one second more and timing it wrong, I think I might have ended up closer to the ground than I'd have liked. I didn't, but it was a close call.

Autumn leaves in Greenwich Park

The other theme that became apparent is that for those working in the park, it's been a month of preparing and tidying up. The pedalloes on the boating lake have been stored for the winter, the lake has had menn in waders in cleaning it and the bedding plants in the flower garden have been replaced. 

The banana plants, where I turn right, have also been moved somewhere where I presume they'll overwinter. But I know where I turn right now, so although I'm missing their height and structure, I'm coping. 

But there were still plenty of blue skies - often without a cloud in sight

As well as the blue, cloudless skies there's been days that have had moodier skies too. And on those days where there's threats of rain it's been easy to know if it's imminent as I've heard the rustle of joggers as they've approached in their waterproofs! 

The parakeet population seem to have been in the ascendancy too, their screeching louder than before. It's almost as if they know they can claim the park for themselves once more. 

There were also days with moody skies!

The photo above and below was in the morning of one of those moody sky days. The evening was much worse. It was dark and wet and moody as moody can be and also the first time I saw the laser of the meridian line for quite a while. I scrambled to take a blurry picture as I balanced my umbrella on one shoulder before scurrying off through a darkening park.

The tree that always catches my eye has been doing that even more this month as it turns yellow and gold

That was my latest walk through the park, or so I thought. The next night it was even later. So a week of firsts, seeing the laser and then hearing the announcement the park was shutting in ten minutes. That's definitely one way of upping your step tempo, I can tell you. There is a car that drives around all the entrances so I wouldn't have been stuck there, but even so, I'd rather be out than in.

With the clocks changing the park opening hours also change. It now shuts daily at 6pm, instead of 7pm, and so that's brought about a new rule for me. As the park can get quite dark (another of my discoveries this month), my new rule is if I can see families and dog walkers still using my route through the park I'll use the park, but if not I'll stick to the road and walk up the street instead. I've done that a couple of times and it's not a bad walk, it's just not as pretty as the alternative.

The month has moved from green to yellow and now towards red and this virgina creeper is no different

As well as the yellows and golds, the reds of autumn are making themselves known. The Virginia Creeper is at the exit I take each morning and the hydrangea is one of the varieties in the Flower Garden. One evening, when I'd left work at a reasonable time, I took another diversion there to see just what was going on with the banana plants.

In the flower garden the hydrangeas are also decaying but still beautiful
A more delicate hydrangea hanging onto its beauty

The banana plant bed was half empty and so it was clear they were being moved for the winter. Like other parts of the park the ground was full of the husks of the sweet chestnuts. The Asian community are foraging for the chestnuts, out in most weathers and well prepared too with carrier bags, shopping trolleys and sensibly plastic gloves. I've even seen one man tramping about with plastic overshoes on, I told you there was less rigour from the dog walkers didn't I?

sweet chestnut husks and white trainers
And now the ferns are beginning to shine, isn't nature wonderful

So another month in Greenwich Park has passed already. A month where I've still bumped into my regulars, we're nodding and smiling and I think they are the real stalwarts of the park. A month where the ground staff are busy preparing the park for winter and the shorter days. And a month where I've realised just how dark it can get in there, and while it's pretty and an awesome space, it's not somewhere I want to be in the dark.

What have you noticed about your special place this month?