"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

Monday, 28 September 2020

Recent Reading and Elmdon Manor NR and Garden Produce


Recent Reading

The George and Molly series has improved with each successive book in my view.

I have been keen to read Mudlarking for ages and in the end bought the kindle version. I really enjoyed this book - lots of information about London history and objects found by Mudlarkers.

This is the penultimate book in this series by Caroline Graham and, in my view, the best so far.

This is the first book I have read by Ann Granger and I enjoyed it enough to buy the next in the series.

Above a few Rudbeckia picked from the garden. They have lasted several weeks and I did leave dozens of flowers on the plant for any pollinators that may be about.

Elmdon Manor LNR

The first house at Elmdon Manor was built in 1547 and in 1760 Abraham Spooner, a successful Birmingham ironmaster bought the estate for his retirement. He demolished the old manor and in 1785 built a new house but never lived to see it completed so it was his son who completed the building.  The estate changed hands several times and in 1944 Solihull District Council bought the hall and what was left of the estate.  In World War 2 the house was used to home the local home guard. After the war the building was abandoned and slowly deteriorated badly. It was too expensive to restore and today a car park covers the site of the house and what remains of the parkland is now the popular Elmdon Park.

Elmdon Manor LNR, a short distance from Elmdon Park, is important for the mixed habitat of woodland, grassland, large pool and walled garden.  It covers 5 hectares and is owned by Solihull Metropolitan Council and managed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

The walled garden was built in the early 18th century and was reputedly the largest in England at about one hectare and it was one of the most productive fruit and vegetable gardens in Warwickshire.  Later in the 18th century the area to the south and west of the garden was landscaped and a pool was created and exotic trees and yews planted.  These areas now make up the reserve.

Usually on the few occasions I have visited in the past this reserve is very quiet and you don't see a soul but like so many local places since March it has become busier and we did see a few other people as we walked round.

Walled Garden  full of old gnarled fruit trees mainly apple.

A few pictures from the rest of the Reserve

We didn't see much wildlife sadly - birdwise a Grey Heron and Moorhen on the pool, and a Dunnock and Magpie in the wood. No butterflies not even on rotting fruit in the garden.

Garden Produce

First few potatoes

Tomatoes ripening although I suspect I will be making Green Tomato Chutney again this year!

Muffins made from foraged blackberries. The following day we made more from a Tesco online recipe called Surprise Blackberry Muffins which were even more delicious although a bit fiddly to make. They tasted like an Apple and Blackberry Crumble Muffin - sorry no photo of those. If D took one I will try and remember to upload it in the next post.

Not sure why the above photo is to the left and not centred. I have come to the conclusion I don't like new blogger at all - it takes for ages to write a post and I hate constantly having to revert to left align and paragraph inbetween each photo when I insert text! Also for some unknown reason a massive gap appears between the end of the post and the comment part and I have to delete dozens of lines!

In other news we have had a letter from the planning department on those masssive house rebuilding plans for next door and have now viewed the application on line. I won't go into too many details as we shall definitely be submitting our views!  But one thing I really hate is that the planned two storey extension goes right up to the boundary which means from our bedroom window there will be a massive brick wall going up to the roof.  On the ground floor it will go out 6 metres at least and 3 metres on the second floor.  We already have to put up with a 3 metre first floor extension.  I have gone back to the stage of thinking perhaps we should try and move before they start work. It will be horrendous and with all the other building and extensions they plan (side two storey, conservatory and a room in the loft plus new roof) it will take months if not years.  Unfortunately I have no idea when they plan to start work although I do know they plan to move out while it is done.  I suspect too I won't even want to go the caravan because I will want to be here to make sure builders don't trespass on our garden or try and put up scaffolding or cut down our shrubs and trees beyond the boundary.

Sorry to have  a moan but have been in a bit of a state about it ever since I looked at the plans earlier today!

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera except for the last few of garden produce and baking which were taken by D with the Canon SX50 HS.

Friday, 25 September 2020



Still not happy with the quality of uploaded photos so have picked a few of my favourite butterfly photos to see what they look like on new blogger.

I was going to compare with another post with same photos on old blogger but unfortunately it doesn't look as though you can revert back any more.

To be honest have decided, despite a few new good features that I couldn't access before!, I really don't like new bogger at all.  I tried to change print size again but every time you stop to add a photo or pick paragraph option it reverts back to default option which means every few lines I am constantly having to change print size!!! As you can see I haven't bothered with this post!

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Snitterfield Bushes

I've tried making the size of print a little larger as I am aware it is quite small on my blog posts.  I hope it works!

I've tried to change the background colour again to a light blue but all that happens is this time is that it highlights the words in blue so I've given up on that idea! I suspect I may have to change the template to one with background colour.

Last Saturday D and I visited Snitterfield Bushes, a Warwickshire Wildlife Trust Reserve, a few miles North of Stratford upon Avon.  We've visited just once before.  It was a relief to find it was quiet and peaceful - we saw just a few other families during the whole visit all of whom were in the distance.

Snitterfield Bushes, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI),  is an area of damp woodland covering 50 hectares with grassy rides and glades, ditches, pond and wet flushes.  It once formed part of a much larger area of semi-natural woodland.  It was a forest for many centuries with the wood being used as timber and common pasture areas.  Ridge and Furrow plough markings are visible in some areas.  The site was used as an airfield in World War 2 and some of the paths are made up of the old concrete runways.  The area was clear felled in the 1940's but since then the site has been returned to its current appearance.

The woodland is composed mainly of ash, oak, silver birch and field maple with a shrub layer of wild privet, wayfaring tree, dogwood and Midland hawthorn.  

  • 250 species of plant have been recorded
  • 60 species of bird recorded
  • 28 butterfly species
  • 260 species of macro moth
  • 89 hoverfly species
  • 177 species of beetle including glow worms
  • Red and Fallow Deer occur

Common Darter?

White Bryony berry "necklaces"

I do love autumn and there were many signs on this walk from various berries, to seedheads and toadstools.

Common Fleabane

It looks a good year for Hawthorn berries

Seat with a view

Sloes galore, Rose Hips and Acorns

The next few photos from the walk were taken by my son.

Speckled Wood - we saw several on the walk and also a few unidentified "whites!

There were bat boxes everywhere

On the way back we stopped off briefly in the village of Bearley as I wanted to take a photo of the church.

St Mary's has a 12th century nave and the chancel is 13th or 14th century. There was some rebuilding in 1875 and the brick tower was added in 1830.

The church was open but if you read the small print only for private prayer or funerals.  I was almost tempted to go in though as there is a 15th century font.  Perhaps one day in the future.

Timber framed cottage opposite

The remaining photos are by my son.

Hedgehog Crossing! πŸ˜€

We drove through Henley in Arden on our way back home - it was teeming with people and there was a huge queue outside Henley Ices so no icecream stop!  D took these colourful pots and baskets photos from the car.

I am still not over happy with the quality of the uploaded images in the blog post although they may be slightly better in the gallery.  However, I am not very technically minded so have no idea how to change it.  When I used to compose a post in html I was given a choice of photo size having uploading each one but that option seems to have disappeared. I might do a test post using old blogger, if still available,  and upload one photo I have used in new blogger posts to compare.

Oops! I have a horrible feeling that somehow the print size has gone smaller again over the course of the post! Apologies if it has! 😠

D and I hope to go back to Snitterfield when the autumn colours appear as long as we can still travel!

I do hope everyone is staying safe and well.

Photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera

Photos taken by my son with the Canon Bridge SX50 bridge camera.