Sometimes I comment on your blogs after you have visited me, however the comment you get from me may not be from the site you visited. That’s because I have more than one blog.
So here is a list of my other ones. ūüėė


A new me

Our garden

More days out here

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If you get bored here over there on the right under pages there’s some more rubbish to read.




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Dudmaston Hall


Quatt,                                                                                                                                                             Bridgnorth                                                                                                                                                     Shropshire                                                                                                                                                       WV15 6QN

Admission Adult £12.00 child £6.00

Dudmaston Hall was once the home of Lady Labouchere who add galleries added to house her and her husbands art collections both traditional and modern. We were a little disappointed with the house. There were only three of four of the room open to see with no information about the room or objects, the rest of the rooms were modern art galleries. We took the guided tour of the galleries (free) but sold to us as a chance to understand the art and why/how it became part of the house. We both found it a boring talk, we didn’t learn anything, we weren’t the only ones as we found out after we left the house. Others on the tour were also unhappy with the tour.  Maybe a different guide could have made it a different experience. No photos of the house, as the Hamilton-Russel family live there.

The gardens are pleasant with a large pool, vistas, wide range of trees, modern art and woodland walks.

Would we visit again? Probably not, unlike other National trust places we have visited over the years we didn’t feel at all comfortable there.


New site for days out
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Packwood House


Packwood Lane,                                                                                                                              Lapworth,                                                                                                                                              Warwickshire,                                                                                                                                                B94 6AT

Admission  Adult £13.00 child £6.50

Packwood house was built around 1570 by the Fetherston family and past down through their family until¬† the last of the family died. The house was then sold to Graham Baron Ash. In the 1920/1930 he restored the house using ¬†features from demolished historic buildings. The fireplace and its plaster over-mantel came from¬† vintner‚Äôs shop in Stratford, the magnificent hall table was bought from Baddesley Clinton. However Graham wanted comfort so had a ¬†water purifier¬† installed and running hot and cold water was supplied en suite to all four bedrooms.¬† The house was gifted to the National Trust in 1941 by the Baron on the understanding that there would always be be fresh flowers in all the rooms and all the clocks were wound, has he wanted the house to look ‘lived in’. On the day of¬† our visit not one of the many clocks was working and¬† we only saw one vase of flowers.

The house is a wonderfully odd house to look around with it’s mix of Tudor, Jacobean and 20th century.

The Drawing Room

Baron Ash. created the drawing room by adding a partition wall to the Inner hall making two separate rooms.¬† The fireplace sits¬† in the corner of the room because of this alteration.¬† Baron Ash would have used this room for relaxing and entertaining.¬† One of the collection items highlight’s one of Baron Ash‚Äôs proudest moments as owner of Packwood,¬† in 1927¬† Queen Mary visited Packwood and the teacup, pen and chair she used whilst at Packwood are memorialised in this room.

The Dining Room

According to Beryl, Baron Ash’s sister the dinning room was used for ‚Äėposh‚Äô dinners. Beryl would also¬† ¬†remarked how the room felt haunted. Six pieces of silver sit on the two chests, these commemorate Baron Ash‚Äôs time as Sheriff of Warwickshire, a position he proudly held in 1938.

The Entrance Hall

The Dining Room

The Dining Room was used for ‚Äėposh‚Äô dinners according to Baron Ash‚Äôs sister, Beryl, who also remarked how the room felt haunted. The six pieces of silver which sit on the two chests commemorate Baron Ash‚Äôs time as Sheriff of Warwickshire, a position he proudly held in 1938.

The Entrance Hall

Baron Ash  extensively remodelled  the entrance hall from an open galleried-staircase space to a  Tudor-looking hall with double height window and an oak baloney.

The Long Gallery

The  authentic looking Tudor long gallery with is tapestry-adorned walls and  wooden flooring, was in fact built in the 1930s by  Baron Ash  to connect the Entrance Hall in the main house to the lone Great Hall.

The Great Hall

The Great Hall was once a cow barn and is the epitome of Baron Ash’s transformation of Packwood. He began restoring the space in the 1920s. This room was used for entertaining guests,and is where Queen Mary took her tea in 1927, and  where Prince George Chavchavadze gave a spinet recital in 1931. In the centre of the room is a great 17th century oak table, bought by Baron Ash from Baddesley Clinton.

Queen Margaret’s Bedroom

This room was named after the bed, which is said to have been slept in by Queen Margaret of Anjou, the wife of Henry VI, before the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471.

The Ireton Bathroom

This room was converted this into a bathroom in the late 1920s. it is decorated with beautiful antique Delft tiles.

The gardens are beautiful, the Yew garden as to be seen to be believed, it’s like stepping into another world. If you walk between the tallest of them, there is a small hidden path that winds up hill to a yew tree with a seat underneath that gives a view of the house between the trees.


  The dinning room


Drawing room


  The Entrance Hall


The Entrance Hall


The Ireton Bathroom



The long gallery

The Yew gardensDSC00788DSC00790

House, pond and gardens.

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Coughton Court


Alcester,                                                                                                                                                          Warwickshire                                                                                                                                                  B49 5JA

Admission Adults £13 Child £6.50

Coughton court is a grade I listed building and is the home of the Throckmorton family. The Coughton estate has been owned by the Throckmorton’s since 1409 who acquired the estate through marriage to the De Spinney family,¬† and as with so many of these types of homes been rebuilt and had bits added throughout the years.

The Throckmorton family were Catholics who were badly treated during these times. The family have connections with both the Throckmorton Plot of 1583 and the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The Throckmorton plot was one of many plots attempted by English Roman Catholics to depose Queen Elizabeth I ( Church of England) and put Mary Queen of Scots (Catholic) on the throne. Headed by Sir Francis  Throckmorton he was later arrested in November 1883 and executed in July 1884. The gunpowder plot was a plan to blow up the House of Lords and assassinate king James I  during  the state opening of parliament on November 5th.  Robert Catesby,  son of Sir William Catesby and Anne Throckmorton conceived the plan and recruited 12 other men. The plan failed when someone in the group betrayed the others. All 12 tried to escape some were capture and tortured then sentenced to death, Robert and three other escaped but were latter found, Robert was shot and killed.

The house’s front ¬†Hall was originally the gatehouse passageway and was open at both ends. The 4th Baronet turned it into a room decorated in the Gothick style in the 1780s.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† The staircase has many family¬† portraits which show several generations of the Throckmorton family. The earliest are at the bottom and as you climb the stairs you can follow the family history in paintings. The panelled dining room is thought to have been a great chamber in Elizabethan times and became a dining room in the 19th century. The rooms walls are panelled with oak.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† The Saloon was the great hall where the household would have gathered to eat.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†The Blue Drawing Room on the first floor of the gatehouse is the oldest part of the building, when built in the 1530s it was one of the most important rooms of the house.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†The Tapestry Bedroom, an extension added in the 1600¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† A small room just before the tapestry room holds ‘The uglies’ paintings of what the family used to consider not good looking enough to be put on show.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†There is also a double priest hole, which we didn’t see due to lack of staff.

Set in the grounds two churches, one C of  E the other Roman Catholic, woodland walks, walled garden, formal gardens, riverside walk, bog garden, tearoom, shop.

The house became the property of the National trust in 1946, the family still live there as they hold a 300 year lease.

Catholic church



C of E



The Uglies




Riverside walk


Somethings spotted on the woodland work


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St Mary The Virgin


St Mary the Virgin Church
B49 6HB

This small grade II listed¬† 13th century parish church is thought to be of Saxon origin. During the reign of Henry II it was given to the monks of¬† Evesham by Ranulph de Kinwarton ‘for the health of his sole and that of his wife.’ In 1316 the church was rebuilt and consecrated by Walter de Maydston the bishop of Worcester.

The church consists of a chancel/presbytery, nave,  south porch, and a shingled  bell turret at the west end. The chandelier dates back to  the 18th century, the font is Norman.  A brass memorial plaque to a Royal Air Force Squadron Leader  shot down over France in 1944.



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Kinwarton Dovecote




B49 6HB

Admission free/donation £1

Kinwarton is one of a few circular dovecotes left in England, it dates from the 14th century as is shown by the ‘Ogee’ arch of the doorway. The walls are a meter thick and built from rubble with a plaster rendering, The dovecote contains 580 nesting boxes and an original rotating ladder. It was originally part of a moated grange belonging to Evesham Abbey, it is now the only remaining relic from the grange.

It is possible to enter the dovecote if you are not to big, (it’s a bit of a squeeze to get through the small door).

Nesting boxes


Doorway and Ogee arch


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Wightwick Manor

Wightwick Bank,


West Midlands,


Admission   Adult £13 Child £6.50

Geoffrey Mander a local paint manufacturer  had  Wightwick Manor and gardens built in 1887  for his parents Samuel Theodore and Flora Mander, by the designer Edward Ould.

Samuel Theodore and Flora decorated their new home taking inspiration from Oscar Wilde‚Äôs lecture on ‘the House Beautiful’, Art for Arts sake/Aesthetic Movement and this is reflected in the Manors decorations, furniture and art work, including ¬†collections of objects from Japan and China and the designs of William Morris.

In 1900 the Manor was inherited by Geoffrey Mander  and in 1937 he persuaded the National Trust to accept the house for the trust even though it was only 50 years old.

Geoffrey and his second wife Rosalie stayed at the manor and became its live-in curators. They open the house to the public and continued to add to its contents, in particular a vast collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings.

Parts of the Manor house can now be walked around, the Parlour is really something to see, it’s built to look like a great hall, an upstairs landing and balcony give a great view. There’s a billiard room, dinning rooms, bed rooms, wet and dry kitchens, laundry,¬† servants dinning room all to be explored, the stain glasses windows (by¬† Charles Kempe) are worth seeing. I particularly love the ceilings in these old houses.

The gardens are a mix of woodland, formal, informal, pools/ponds, kitchen garden, orchards with one particular tree giving 9 different  varieties of apple. The stables have been made into a cafe, yes you can sit and eat your cake where a horse stood and eat his oats.DSC00519DSC00518DSC00520DSC00522DSC00524DSC00526DSC00529


The Parlour


Billard room


The servants dinning room



Kitchen and laundry




The tree of many fruits


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Ellesmere Sculpture

 North Shropshire 

Ellesmere SY12 0PA on the A528 Shrewsbury road.

Free, Parking changers apply.

Ellesmere Sculpture Trail has been developed over the past 12 years or so.  Each  piece is made using local stone and wood. The trail takes you along the mere, through gardens, along the canal, into the town and up to castle fields. We started our walk at The Mere.

The mere is a  glacial mere, but I like the local legend about the mere. Long ago the area had many wells but the best water came from the well owned by Mrs Eillis, and she was happy to share it. That is until a very hot summer arrived bringing with it a drought, every well dried up, all excepted for the one belonging to Mrs Eillis. She built a large high wall around her home and well so no one could get in. Soon after the rains started and the well began to flood over, Mrs Eillis called and called to the people to come and take water, but no one could hear her and she drown, but  Eillis Mere was born, later shorten to Eills mere, then Eillesmere. (I may have got the names a little wrong, please correct me if you know more)

The Mere is home to a wide range of wildlife, but only one side can be walked.


The Mere


The Jebb Gardens

The sisters by Nick Eames


Refuge by John Merrill

Labyrinth Sculpturelogic 


Formal gardens

Bindweed by Junko Mori and Chris Stokes

(This was once inside a fenced area with bindweed growing on it, but the fence as been removed)


Ellesmere Pillar by Richard Taylor


The Woodlands

Lone Bee by Caroline Lowe


Ellesmere Chronicle by Irene Brown

There are three of these each telling the story and legend of the Mere


Secure by Nick Horrigan

The Ellesmere View across The Mere to the church which can be seen  secure inside the form.


Or not, as the trees are now over grown


Sshhh by John Merrill


In the town

Cascade by Steve Hitchin


The canal


Bridge 58 by Jason Hinklin



Ellesmere Boat by Huw Powell and Ruth Gibson


Shoal of Fish by Anton Sobrino and Mercedes Cano


Aqueduct Bench by Huw Powell Roberts and Ruth Gibson

(sadly broken)


Boat Fender by Huw Powell Roberts and Ruth Gibson



Rotation 2 by Trevor Clarke


Dialogue Pal Lakatos


Glacial menhir by Louis Alfonso


Puerto del aqua by Emiliano Sacco


A prisoner by Tom Gilhespy


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Sutton Park

Sutton Park Nature Reserve
Park Road
Sutton Coldfield
B74 2YT

A return trip to Sutton Park on a cold April day. This walk took me around 3 hours, I didn’t follow any particular trail, I just went were my feet took me. I did see some strange trees, baby geese, cows and a lovely stream I had never seen before.






Daddy goose hissed at me…


and this is why


Poor lost bunny


Steps to…a magical world, into the woods? you decide


no ponies, but lots of cows


A huge fungi

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The Tipton Catastrophe

Free but now ended.

On March 6, 1922 19 girls aged 13 to 16 died ¬†as a result of injuries sustained in an explosion at an ¬†illegally by factory owned by John Walter Knowles He had brought a contract from Premium Aluminium Company of Birmingham. The contract was to break down surplus rifle cartridges left over from the First World War. Premium Aluminium, insisted on safety measures that included only girls aged 18 or over were employed, that shoes were covered to avoid sparks¬† and that cartridges were broken underwater. However Knowles didn’t bother with any safety measures and in fact had an open fire bucket in the same room that the girls were working in.¬†

What makes this even sadder is few people outside of the Black country know of this tragedy.

This exhibition is by Chris Hardy, she began working on the project 12 years ago while studying at Birmingham College of Art, she wanted to  highlight the event and as a reminder that industrial tragedies involving exploited workers are still happening now. It is not an historical exhibition.

The exhibition consists of paintings, sculptures and memory boxes, these boxes were put together by the artist to give a the girls a real feel.

Nineteen oversized yellow dresses, one for each girl, that have been given texture by being shot to represent the explosion hang above the stage, for me a very moving piece.

Nearly all of the exhibition is yellow another reminder of what the woman and girls put up with, their skins turned yellow because of the trinitrotoluene used in the weapons.


This is the dialect of the Black Country, I speak it myself, I will translate

I found these bits of metal on the factory floor. The others daren’t. It’s the brass, Mister Knowles as us collect it because its worth a lot of money. These bits are a different colour so I am sure they are not brass. They are good on my bedroom window sill.




The old woman down the street gave me this handkerchief. It’s really pretty and though it’s got a dirty mark on it, it’s still nice. I don’t have anything this nice. I’ll save it for Sundays,Laura will be jealous when she sees it.



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Kidderminster Carpet Museum

Stour Vale Mill,

Green St,


DY10 1AZ

Admission Adult £6.00 Child under 16 free

The museum is located in what was the factory.

Kidderminster is well known for it’s carpets, the town was once the home of 25 carpet factories.

Kidderminster was once known as Chideminstre a small town on the banks of the River Stour surrounded by hills and sheep, this location was ideal for a wool-based industry. By the 1600s small dye houses and hand looms were everywhere and the town produced patterned cloths along with ‘Kidderminster Stuff’. ‘Stuff was a heavyweight general purpose cloth that could be used for cloths, bedding, wall hangings and put on the floor, it was this ‘Stuff’ that caught the eye of merchants and wool dealers.

In 1737  Thomas Whitty set up his own factory, The business prospered until the mid 1750s. Thomas travelled to London to seek a new trade and  in the warehouse of a William Freke, he saw  carpets imported from Turkey. He was fascinated by their vibrant colour, size and the fact that they were seamless. Back home he set to work to rebuild his looms to try produce something similar.  By chance Thomas saw an advertisement for a carpet manufacturing company owned by Peter Parisot in Fulham. he went to take a look and found what he was looking for. However the carpets were expensive to make, so he reduced the  number of knots per inch and employed woman and children to cut the costs.

The weavers went on strike in 1789 and 1817 and again in 1828, the 1828 ( pay was to be cut by 17%) almost killed the industry when 2,000 weavers walked out for five months, however they lost the fight. Industry moved on new  steam machines where introduced and manufacturing was moved from homes to factories.

After the 2nd world war and through the 1950s-60s, the call for wall to wall carpets boosted the business, but in the 1970s industry started to decline¬† as cheaper tufted carpet and imports flooded the market. Only a handful of companies now produce Axminister and Wilton carpets, (which I think is a shame, we have a couple of Wilton carpets and yes they were expensive, we had them ‘on the tick’ but they have been down years and are still as good as new. They are the ‘work horses of the carpet world).

As local people believed  that there was a need to protect the history and legacy of the once world famous carpet industry, In 1981 the Carpet Museum Trust was established  and the museum opened.

Albert loom


Victoria loom


Spinning wheel




Axminster loom


Wilton loom


Kidderminster in carpet



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