"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 24 January 2020

A Few Photos from Coleshill

Last weekend D and I popped to Coleshill mainly to visit the secondhand charity book shop there.

I usually try and park in Church Hill which used to be the market square and then we walk past the church.

St Peter and St Paul - Coleshill Parish Church - built in the 14th/15th centuries.

War Memorial


Remains of Preaching Cross

Old Bank House which is Late Georgian

Books Revisited - the bookshop we visit about once a month.

Queen Anne House which is late 17th century and has a tympanum above the door decorated with flowers, swags and foliage.

Then a cup of hot chocolate and a biscuit in Costa. My cake eating days are likely to be limited for a few months as a blood test for cholesterol levels revealed it was just over 5 (I knew having such a blood test just after Christmas was a bad idea!). I have to have another blood test in 3 months so cakes will be limited for a while!!!

Early 18th century Swan Hotel once a coaching inn.

A few purchases made at the bookshop - I rarely come away empty handed!!!

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera

Reference: "The Buildings of England Warwickshire" by C Pickford and N Pevsner

Friday, 17 January 2020

A Visit to Marsh Lane Nature Reserve

On Wednesday it was cold but sunny so B and I decided to go for a walk at Marsh Lane Nature reserve which is located not far from Henley in Arden and Berkswell.

The reserve is located in the flood plain of the River Blythe. A Company, now known as CEMEX, started to extract sand and gravel from a 75 acre site in 1995 and extraction continued until 1999. The land was then restored by a company then called RMC Aggregates and the land owners Packington Estates and the site was opened to permit holders in July 2001.

The habitat consists of 3 main pools, several smaller pools, reedbeds, woodland, grassland and some agricultural land. One field is used to grow crops which will yield seeds for finches and other birds. There are 8 hides and by May 2018 the site had listed 203 different bird species.

Unfortunately by the time we arrived there were some very dark, angry looking clouds on the horizon so we made a quick dash to the hide overlooking Railway Pool.

Within minutes of arriving at the hide it was raining very heavily indeed.

Siden Wood - I have never actually been to this part of the reserve.


Lapwings and Coot

The sun finally re-appeared.

We eventually made our way back along the path

Gorse tends to flower throughout the year hence the expression "when gorse is not flowering kissing is out of fashion"meaning that gorse is always in flower somewhere.

Car Park Pool

Owl nest box - I do know that several pairs of Barn Owl nest on the reserve.

Great Reedmace

Reed Pool - a Bittern has been seen regularly but I didn't realise this until we got back to the car park and checked the sightings book! Should have read it first!

Before leaving we visited Car Park Hide which is right by the car park and overlooks a different part of Car Park Pool.

Cormorants and Grey Heron

There didn't seem as many different species of bird as I have seen in the past at this time of year but I did add twelve new species to the year list.

Sadly, the dreaded HS2 Phase 1, if it goes ahead, will cut across a corner of this reserve although not the part we visited today. In fact, in many places locally there are signs of HS2 preparatory work and HS2 depots :( Some of you may recall I wrote last year about a visit to Pools Wood which is in the path of HS2 and will eventually be erased. The good news is that so far the wood is still standing but I am not sure for how long. Yesterday I noticed little red flags lining the grass verge which looked exceedingly ominous!!

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera. The birds were that far away that the few bird pictures were taken on full zoom.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Recent Reading, Garden flowers and This and That

Recent Reading

Horrors of Horrors! I seem to have reached the last in the Nikki Galena series. I enjoyed this book as much as the rest of the series. I do hope Joy Ellis writes more but in the meantime I will try some of her other books.

I treated myself to the hardback version of this book because I do love Mark Cocker's books. This is a collection of short essays on nature mainly in the area around Claxton in Norfolk. The author has a way of making you observe nature more closely and seeing the magic and wonder of every wildlife encounter.

A friend bought me this book for my birthday. It is the story of a year on the island of Easedale where the authors live. The illustrations are just beautiful and if you loved "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady" you would enjoy this. A book to keep and treasure.

A second hand purchase on the village of Water Orton, North Warwickshire bought from "Books Revisited", Coleshill. I will explain below why I picked this out of my pile of books to read.

Good to see Maisie Dobbs back on form in this super book. Sadly, I think I have only a few more in this wonderful series to read.

I bought this little book in view of our static caravan purchase in Herefordshire. There are some lovely walks many not too far from where we will be based. The walks range in length from a few miles to around 6 or 7 and there are details given of churches, houses, castles, viewpoints etc on each walk. Not sure if I could manage the longer walks these days but there are plenty of shorter ones to choose from.

Flowering in the Garden

I spotted this wildflower growing in the front garden last year and now another one has appeared in the back garden. I think it is probably Canadian Fleabane

Sowthistle also sprouting up on the patio!


Callicarpa berries - I bought this shrub because I had read that Blackcaps love the berries. I haven't seen a Blackcap yet but live in hope!

This is one of those mystery plants that I bought at some stage last year and never planted out. I have a feeling it may be a clematis - perhaps "Winter Beauty"???

Winter Jasmine flowers always brighten the garden at this time of year

Pot Marigold or Calendula

I was late planting this cardoon out last summer and it never flowered. Sometimes they overwinter successfully and flower in the second year and thankfully this plant looks quite healthy at the moment.


Wild Primroses are also flowering

Buds on the white Camellia

Some of you may recall that B, at D's request, took some cuttings from a rose in mum's front garden last November. The good news is that out of the five, three are sprouting little shoots so fingers crossed they have rooted.

This is particularly good news as last week I did what I said I wouldn't and drove past mum and dad's old house. The estate agent had said the buyers who have not moved in yet were planning to gut the house and rebuild and massively extend. Not much sign of the rebuilding apart from two double glazed windows being installed upstairs but the front garden has been flattened. So mum's rose and all her valerian and lavender plants which were full of butterflies, bees and hoverflies in the summer have gone. I do not now intend to drive past again!

My son and I went a drive out to Water Orton last weekend to check out the exterior of a couple of houses for sale I had spotted on websites. As you may recall I have talked of moving but it is problematic at the moment with both D and E still living at home. I have stopped looking further afield such as Isle of Wight but still keep an eye on houses for sale fairly local. Sadly, the house with a tower has now disappeared completely so I assume the sale went through.

The houses for sale were located in the older part of Water Orton which was originally called "Overton" of "Settlement on the Tun". As we drove along Old Church Road I spotted in a churchyard this old preaching cross known locally as "The Old Rugged Cross". An Old Chapel was built nearby in 1346 followed by a Chapel of Ease in the 18th century. However, the chapel has now been demolished and a new church was built in the late 19th century on a new site.

This is one of the houses I had gone to have a quick look at. Not sure if we will ask for an internal viewing as B who is the one pushing for a local move has not mentioned he wants to see more.

On Saturday D and I went in search of a Cheese and Ale Barn which used to be based in the courtyard at Middleton Hall but moved a few years ago to Lichfield - the Curborugh Countryside Centre which is a collection of renovated barns full of independent shops. I spotted this Purple Emperor badge in the Antiques Centre and could not resist buying it!

For the last couple of years I have been collecting replica pilgrim's badges and this St Thomas Becket token was a Christmas present bought from the Canterbury Cathedral online shop.

A pomander orange I made for Christmas - a simple idea but it fills the room with Christmassy scents.

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera