Calke Abbey

On a quick trip to Calke Abbey, a couple of days ago I saw this little fellow in the stables.
Calke 1

Calke Abbey is full of random items.
Calke 2
…and a lovely herd of deer.
Calke 3
There was a lovely display of wild(ish) flowers including these allium, poppies and cornflowers.
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Dalí's House

On a recent trip to France and Spain I visited the area near Roses in Catalonia.

Dali museum

Salvador Dalí Museum

Having enjoyed the Salvador Dalí museum in Figueres I was keen to go to Cadaqués and visit Dalí’s house at Portlligat.

Cadaques 3Cadaques 4


We drove to Cadaqués and walked across the headland to Portlligat.

Light in the water

The clarity of the light (and the water) here is amazing!

Personally, I found Dalí’s house at Porlligat more interesting the the museum at Figueres. I feel that the museum represents Dalí the showman and the way he presents himself to the world, whilst the house is much more intimate and personal.

Dali's house

Dalí’s House

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Birmingham 2022 Comonwealth Games Triathlon

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Triathlons were held In Sutton Park and Boldmere, local to my home. It was a rare opportunity to try my hand at sports photography, and cycling in particular. There were four events, on the Friday Mens & Women’s and on the Sunday Para & Relay.







Team Relay


Steam Fair

On a recent visit to my brother at his home in Lichfield we walked in his local park, Beacon Park. This was an opportunity to see Carter’s, a visiting steam fair.

The Octopus

Carter’s Steam Fair is a traditional English travelling funfair with rides dating from the 1890’s to the 1960’s. The rides and vehicles are all beautifully restored.

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The Excelsior Steam Yachts
This impressive set of 1920s steam-driven yachts is one of only two or three surviving examples of a very popular ride in Britain at the turn of the 20th century. Two ‘yachts’ swing under steam power to an almost vertical angle which, although appearing sedate from the ground, gives it a kick which makes it one of our most popular rides with thrill-seekers.

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The Paramount Chair-o-Plane
Dating from the 1920s, this is a rare example of working vintage chair-o-planes.

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The Lightning Skid
Noisy and fast, and beautifully and intensely decorated, the Skid is a very popular ride dating from the 1960s.

Gallopers 12Gallopers 10Gallopers 11Gallopers 9
The Jubilee Steam Gallopers
The oldest ride that the Carters own, the Gallopers was built in about 1895 by Robert Tidman & Sons in Norwich; when it was new, this would be the fastest most people had ever travelled.


A Walk Around The Park

I plan to move house in the near future and will be leaving Sutton Coldfield, so before leaving the area I wanted to walk the circumference of our local park.

Sutton Park is a 2,400 acre National Nature Reserve. It’s one of the largest urban parks in Europe and is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The park has open heathland, woodlands, seven lakes, wetlands, and marshes - each with its own rich variety of plants and wildlife, some rarely seen in the region. Cattle and wild ponies graze on the land. This thirteen Kilometre walk will take in many of these habitats.

You can follow my progress on a map by clicking here to download.

I entered the park at Boldmere gate, turned left past the steakhouse and crossed the field, skirting the back of the municipal golf course and approaching Longmoor Pool.

Lazy Crows

Black as coal!

Longmoor Woods

Like six of the seven pools in the park Longmoor pool is man-made. Local streams were dammed to make pools for watermills from as early as the fifteenth century. At Longmoor Pool there was Longmoor Mill which was a Button Mill. Button making was a flourishing trade centuries ago in Sutton. Blackroot Pool was Blackroot Leather Mill making all kinds of leather goods from belts to saddles. The Spade Mill which still existed 100 years ago at Powell’s Pool made spades and later on rolled steel for pen nibs.
Other mills in the Park were:
Blade Mill, Stonehouse Mill which was used for Steel rolling and there is evidence that at least another three were known to exist.

At Longmoor Pool I spotted a moorhen’s nest with a fledgling.



Angry Parent!

I continued on to Banners gate, then turned left, parallel to the Chester Road, and to near the junction with Thornhill Road.

Banners gate

Chester Road

There’s a path from this point which goes all the way past the Jamboree Stone to Blackroot Pool with the curious name of Donegal's Ride.

Donegal’s Ride

But, this was not for me on this day. I followed the path between the old Roman Road and Streetly Lane, and then past the Sutton Coldfield Golf Club.

Sutton Coldfield Golf Club


After passing Streetly gate I had to cross the (goods only) railway line that runs between Walsall and Water Orton.

Tracks through the park

Pony Corral

Passing by the pony corral, having not yet seen any ponies, I followed the route of Streetly Lane as it curved to the right and climbed up the hill towards Four Oaks gate.

Four Oaks gate

Joining the park road I walked down the hill past Gum Slade woods. It was here, just before leaving the area where the wild ponies are, that I saw a small group of them.

Wild Ponies

Before following the road round to Hartopp gate I stopped off for delicious lunch at The Blackroot Bistro. I then rejoined the road and followed it round to Town gate, past the Visitor Centre to the ford by Wyndley gate, passing some of the park’s cattle.


Cattle near Wyndley gate

At this point, the area surrounding Wyndley Pool is closed to the public so I cut across the open ground, and through the woods, to the sports field by the Sea Scouts hut and back out through Boldmere gate.

Almost there!

Powell’s Pool, by Boldmere gate

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