"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, 2 August 2021

Recent Reading, Garden and Big Butterfly Count, Baking and a Pop Up Museum


Recent Reading

I'm still comfort reading with the Fairacre and Thrush Geen Books. I thought the former had come to an end but I have found another to be read soon!

The DCI Banks book was good.

Another Joanna Piercy novel and as good as the rest!

The next Wesley Peterson (by the way I still haven't gone back and read The Plague Maiden!!). I love the way these books tie in detective work with the additional archaeological story line.

The Anne Granger books keep you guessing right up to the end.

I haven't read a Cooper and Fry book for ages. This was good and a little different to others in the series with Fry having returned to Birmingham temporarily.  I do wonder at times if Fry and Cooper will ever end up together!

I bought this book for the caravan and if you love Herefordshire churches it is a wonderful book and very interesting.

I also read a very good Logaston Press book on the Mappa Mundi called "Hereford's Curious Map" by Sarah Arrowsmith.  I was again going to take it to the caravan but decided to give it to D as he is fascinated by the map.  Sorry forgot to take a photo before giving it away!


D and E made another Great British Baking Box recipe - this time Lemony Lemon Slices.


The herbs bought recently are growing really well!

Ragwort - I live in hope of more Cinnabar Moth caterpillars!

The buddleias are now flowering just in time for the Big Butterfly Count!


Scabious in the wild flower area.

Rowan berries slowly ripening means autumn is perhaps now not that far away.

I've done 3 butterfly counts for the Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count in the garden. Thankfully, there are now more butterflies about! I won't list all the results but species seen included several New for Year.

Large White


Meadow Brown

Speckled Wood


Small Skipper

Holly Blue 


On Saturday D wanted to go (for his day job) to Elmdon Park Solihull as there was a pop up museum organised by the Elmdon Park Support Group which showed various finds discovered in the area of Elmdon Park, church, walled garden and where the old manors once stood.

The Tudor Manor House was built by John Botelere between 1485 and 1490.  He was a Solihull lawyer who gained the estate when he married Catherine Hore who was the daughter of a wealthy Warwickshire family from Long Itchington who had connections with the Elmdon area.

The  Manor House was demolished in 1783 and a new Georgian hall was built by Abraham Spooner who had bought the estate in 1760. The Spooner family sold the estate to a William Charles Alston in 1840.  Both men had made their fortunes due to the Industrial Revolution. The part of the estate that is now Elmdon Park was bought by Solihull Council in 1930.  The last occupant of the Georgian hall was a Mrs Alston Roberts who had sold off most of the estate in 1919.  The hall became derelict and was sadly demolished in the 1950's.

There have been 3 churches near the park. The first was a Saxon 11th century church probably built by Lord Toki or Tochi who, according to the Domesday Book of 1066, was lord of the manor of Elmdon. Then between 1250 and 1290 the De-Whitaker Church was built which incorporated the Saxon church in the chancel area.  The church with its new nave was 70 feet long by 30 feet wide

After buying the estate in 1760 one of Abraham Spooner's first projects was to rebuild the church which had become very dilapidated and was beyond repair. Some of the crypt of the original church was used as a mausoleum for the Spooner family. Some of the stained glass from the de Whitaker church was used in windows to the North of the church.

Although I have parked near it on past visits to the park I have not explored the church or churchyard - perhaps something to be rectified. Apparently the 13th century font from the de Whitaker church lies abandoned in the churchyard!

I've done a previous post on Elmdon Park and also on the Elmdon Park LNR (managed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust) which includes the walled garden of the old hall so if you would like to see or read please see here Elmdon Park and Elmdon Manor LNR

I hope everyone is staying safe and well.

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


Bovey Belle said...

What an interesting post. Your wildlife garden is wonderful.

The Elmdon Park dig has turned up some interesting things and good to see it on display too. Far too often artifacts from archaeological sites never see the light of day again after going off to a University or Museum.

You must stay up all night to read! I have a stack of books - my friend keeps sending more - and I just can't keep up. That said, I have been naughty and ordered a 2nd hand copy of Time's Legacy by Barbara Erskine as someone was mentioning it, and I just couldn't recall the story line so it will be like reading it for the first time again!

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle - Thanks so much.

I was pleased to hear that the Support Group will also have an exhibition for a short while in the Core Theatre/Library area in Solihull Town Centre so hopefully the finds will reach more people. Solihull itself does not have a museum.

To be honest with not going out anywhere near as much and not going shopping etc I find I have a lot more time to read even in the day!!! I really should be decluttering more and spring cleaning cupboards but really am lacking motivation atm and it is much easier to pick up a book.

Edward Evans said...

The garden looks lovely, especially herbs and scabious. I haven't done the butterflies yet, been busy with my wildflower trips but we don't get Holly blue up here very often.



Rosie said...

The display of finds from Elmdon Park looks fascinating and it is good that they can bee seen out in the community even if just for a short time. A 'pop-up' museum is a great idea. It reminds me of the small exhibition we used to take to events and shows for the Museum I worked in, we always had great fun chatting to people and often found out more information too. 'Crooked Streets' was one of my favourite Pricilla Master's books because I know the area she uses, we park in Sainsbury's (before Covid) and pass the flats and old mill on the way there, also the houses with their cobbled back streets. You've had far more species of butterfly in your garden than we have had here, we might have more when the Sedum turns pink, I miss the buddleia we used to have, I don't quite know what happened to it, it was always a bit straggly but it just withered away. Take care:)

Rustic Pumpkin said...

Interesting little pop up museum, looking quite safe too! Always a consideration these days. I also have ragwort, much to everyone else's dismay, but I do responsibly remove before it sets seed again. The Lemony Lemon Slices look mouth wateringly delicious. Glad to hear your herbs are thriving too.

Rustic Pumpkin said...

p.s. forgot to say there are many, many Miss Read books, Thrush Green and Fairacre if no other locations, probably over 30 titles in all.

Ragged Robin said...

Edward Evans - Thanks so much. We have a mini wild flower meadow and its full of buttercups, campion, common vetch, wild carrot, ribwort plaintain, cowslips and now scabious as the year progresses plus loads of Yellow Rattle :)

Rosie - Thanks so much. The pop up museum was really good. That must be great to see the area Priscilla Masters uses - it makes the story seem more real!! The butterflies have only just really started to appear here in the last few weeks. Do hope you get some more. Take care :) ps for some unknown reason our sedums never seem to attract many butterflies!

Rustic Pumpkin - Thanks so much. I only went in marquee when no-one else but son there and someone he was interviewing from the support group. They did have sanitiser and masks available if you needed one which was good. We only have one Ragwort OH pulled up the giant one!!! But you are more likely to have horses and livestock near you. I shall miss the Miss Read books when I finally finish them. Can't believe I got rid of all my paperbacks and have had to re-buy for the kindle!!

CherryPie said...

On our recent holiday we visited Hereford Cathedral and enjoyed seeing the Mappa Mundi.

I had forgotten how wonderful some of the windows in the Cathedral are.

Ragged Robin said...

CherryPie - Thank you. My son and I went about 8 years ago to see it. But I need to go back to get better and more photos. Itwas still closed when we were last there earlier in the year.

Millymollymandy said...

I've never heard of a pop-up museum, what a good idea. I love all those interesting pieces of china. Your garden is looking lovely and the butterfly list sounds good. I have bought my third buddleia plant which is flowering and looking good, but I still haven't seen a butterfly on it (my previous ones didn't attract butterflies, which is why I am trying one more time only!!). I think they just prefer the wild plants! (Mind you, it has gone quiet butterfly-wise in the garden at the moment, just a few Southern Gatekeepers and unidentified blues around). Enjoy your books! :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Thanks so much. Pop up shops and museums seem to be the "in thing"! - not sure if due to covid or whether they have always been around.
Thanks re: garden. We have about 4 buddleias and the purple attract more butterflies than the white one. Marjoram and lavender flowers in our garden really attract butterflies.
Hope you see more garden butterflies soon :)