Sunday, 14 July 2013

Park Life


Remember me saying that we were going to have a weekend of doing nothing? I was wrong!


Over the last four days the annual Big Gig has taken place throughout the UK, a free event run by volunteers aiming to bring communities together through music. This afternoon it was Walsall's turn to host and with the glorious weather and my old schoolmate Kate organising it would have been a crime not to pop along.


I bet you're surprised that an industrial town like ours has such a grand Victorian park. 


Walsall Arboretum, or The Arbo, as we natives affectionately call it, was originally the southern boundary of the Cannock Forest, a great medieval royal hunting ground.



Just a five minutes walk from the town centre it covers an area of over 80 acres,


is home to over 200 species of tree and shrub,


has a bowling green and club house,


several acres of open playing fields,


a Victorian boat house and boating lake, 




and bird life galore.


 There's a new sculpture garden

Modelling the latest in Chamber Chic - I made my outfit from a 1970s St Michael bed cover. Bastard massive hair flower (courtesy of divine Misfit, Sarah), vintage silk bag (Atomic Mildred herself, Clare), Wooden parrot earrings (fabulous Tamera).

where we met the super-talented Glen


and marvelled over his papier mache sculptures.


The Arbo holds a special place in my heart - as a teenager it's where we snogged unsuitable boys on park benches and knocked back cheap booze bought from the off-licence by older looking mates. 


... and the bench behind this Bundy clock (to mark the comings and goings of buses from Birmingham's terminus) saw most of the action.


Of course, now I'm a respectable 40-something those days are way behind me and now we only visit the park for cultural reasons (or as a short cut to Liz and Adrian who live behind it).


Today's event was held at the bandstand, originally built in 1899 and recently restored to it's former glory.


We spent a lovely couple of hours basking in the sunshine and listening to all manner of local music from the West Midlands Police brass band to Aziz, a former guitarist with the Stone Roses.


We even got free water, blessed by Jesus himself.


There's another event next Sunday, including a performance by Steel Pulse founder Basil Gabbidon it's almost a shame we've got a vintage fair booked, the weather looks like it's set to stay fantastic.

What a weekend, two boozy nights out, an amazing jumble sale and a parcel of joy! Tomorrow might have to be a day of rest.

Linking to Patti's Visible Monday

74 comments:

  1. Looks a perfect place and way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon :)

    Btw I am getting a festival fix next weekend - bought Sunday tickets for Latitude with a friend - can't wait - just hoping this weather stays - I can almost taste the festival food and of course the cider :)

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  2. The back view of you is delightful ,should become as famous as Pippa Middletons at the royal wedding ,...just saying ..love Jan xx

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  3. The back view of you is delightful ,should become as famous as Pippa Middletons at the royal wedding ,...just saying ..love Jan xx

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  4. What a glorious park! And it sounds like it was a glorious day -- hey water blessed by Jesus has got to make things nice right? (; XXX

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  5. Your teenage pastimes at the Arbo sound rather like mine ;-)

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  6. What a great park! Lovely .
    You look absolut smashing and i love the Picture ofta you from the back Walking away from the Camera ...
    Xxx

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  7. Hi my dear!! Wow, your local park is just amazing, rich in wildlife, heritage and beauty-such fabulous pictures! Love your outfit here as well as your 2 amazing dresses in your last post too-you really are so amazingly stylish and always look gorgeous! xxx

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  8. Sounds like a wonderful weekend - trade you two grumpy kids for a weekend of fun?! Love the Chamber Chic outfit - perfect for the weather! On the one hand I wouldn't expect such a nice park, but on the other I would. Victorian philanthropists were pretty big on parks in industrial areas, weren't they?!

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  9. It's a lovely looking place. I can just imagine all the fabulously dressed Victorians wandering down the paths xxx

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  10. What a beautiful park!! When it is warm and sunny the only thing to do is get outside and enjoy it, even if we wanted to work/rest/clean/etc because summer is much too short, and we'll be back in coats and boots before we know it. I know, I'm such a killjoy :)

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  11. Ah, a glorious Summers day in a beautiful park! You're right, I never imagined Walsall had such a lovely Victorian park!!! Perfect venue, too!
    You look scrumptious in that DIVOONLY amazing outfit!!! I bet there was a lot of rubber necking as you went by!
    I do love a nice park; we've got Hagley park, and it's SO necessary to have these peaceful places in a city!!!
    Love Helga xxxXXXxx

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  12. What a fantastic park and that is a bandstand and a half!

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  13. A gorgeous summers day in a beautiful park. I love that our industrial towns have such wonderful parks. Newport has a couple of beauties bandstands, lakes and places for snogging and bunking off from school in. Cardiff has some crackers too.
    I also love that this summer is turning in to such a corker with loads to enjoy and lots going on.
    Love you too...but that goes without saying.
    xxxxx

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  14. You really can't beat free music in the park in the sunshine, can you? Your homemade suit is bloody lovely and Jon looks great in that outfit. Those papier mache sculptures are great, they look like wood carvings. Sounds like you've had a lovely weekend. Xxx

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  15. Beautiful park! Your outfit is stellar, but your man is giving you a run for your money. Look at that hat!

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  16. Yeyyy!!! Its home & we love it xxx

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  17. What gorgeous pics! How wonderful to have all of that on your doorstep! xxx

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  18. Walsall and its environs have a lot going for them. What a lovely place to meander (or snog)!
    Your Chamber Couture outfit is sooooo pretty.

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  19. Vix my dear I adore the outfit you made, so pretty! It suits you beautifully, and what a lovely park it is, looks like a perfect summers day.

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  20. I just love these insights to where you live, despite you saying it's an industrial town it seems like quite a nice place those gardens are lovely. What a lovely day out in glorious sunshine. We could do with some sun, it's been raining AGAIN.

    I love your outfit, particularly the maxi skirt, it's the exact style I love and desperately seeking more of.

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  21. My early years spent with the unsuitables were in wednesbury park, you obviously went to a better jumble than I did , I went to the one by the hospital although I picked up two sheepskin coats ready for the winter for an amazing £1.50 each xxx

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  22. Your outfit is beautiful and the park is gorgeous!
    You both look relax and very cool listening to music and getting free water bless by the man itself.
    What a perfect weekend!!!!!

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  23. Love your outfit, ruffle bottom maxis are so cute! And your local park is indeed grand, gives me an urge to go canoeing...thanks for the share!

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  24. I've got the fondest childhood memories of Eighties' West Midlands(love the lovely down to earth folk for sure:-) and treasures like this!

    Love your summery attire(It's true you could give a certain sibling a run for her money any day, especially in this flattering , feminine garment:-):-):-)

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  25. Beautiful park, who knew?

    I keep looking for bedding to turn it clothes, most of the crap I find is on it's last legs. I did make some petticoats from old white ruffled curtains once. At $1.50 a pair, they were way cheaper than fabric.

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  26. Oh we Brits do like our park life, don't we? Yours looks excellent, and with a free music festival to boot, what a great way to spend the day! It's a posh park though, an arboretum, no less, not just any old scruffy playground and litter-strewn grass, it looks beautiful! I think most teenagers utilised parks for all their furtive drinking and snogging - it was the Rec in my small town, or bus shelters... Classy!
    Anyway, enough of teenage shenanigans - you look summery and beautiful in your Chamber Chic outfit, love that you kept the fringing for the top! Jon is looking particularly dapper too.
    Can't wait to see what you turned up at the jumble. Love you! xxxxx

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  27. You look utterly gorgeous in your homemade outfit. I bet they were ALL shouting out at you today!!

    Can't believe you knocked it up yourself, it's seriously fantastic. You obviously find the best patterns.

    I'm amazed to hear about that arboretum. 80 acres is immense. It looks like a real treasure of a place. I bet it gets really well used. We have an arboretum in Nottm too, but this makes it look like someone's back garden. I had heard that Sutton Coldfield was home to one of Henry VIII favourite hunting parks - I guess this must be nearby? Please ignore me if I have got my WMids places totally wrong! xxxxxx

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  28. Loving your new outfit, you are a gorgeous sight in the park and Jon looks mighty fine too. Looks line a wonderful day - thanks for sharing with Visible Monday! xoxoxo

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  29. Lovely post. It reminds me of the park near where I grew up.
    Happy Days.

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  30. i am not a bit surprised that your local garden is this beautiful. i'm still astounded by the beauty of england and all its gardens.

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  31. It all looks suitably exotic to me, all that english green-ness and not a bunch of coconut palms or a hibiscus bush to be seen! A ovely day out and a lovely lady drifiting among it all!

    My teenage drinking and pashing-the-unsuitable was all done in storm water drains and in the cathedral grounds, not nearly so elegant a setting.

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  32. Perfect pictures. Love your dress Vix.

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  33. what a GORGEOUS park!! So serene!! and I love your story of your teenage years there!!
    STUNNING dress-perfect for a jaunt in the park!!

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  34. Gorgeous park, gorgeous outfit. Such a 70s classic that outfit! Excellent use of recycled fabric too! I remember wearing outfits like that during my college years. Gonna get crackin' again this week with the sewing machine. This time, it'll be "sari couture".

    You and Jon look like teenagers still; such cuties you both are. ;)

    Have a lovely week! :)
    xxx

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  35. so great when industrial cities have such brilliant hidden gemns! the same over here in chemnitz - our city is full of industrial buildings but also has one of the biggest art nouveau quarters in europe (and I live there).

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  36. You look gorgeous!! What a perfect park day!

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  37. Oh a truly beautiful park........we like a wander in summertime through all the trees and gardens.
    It's so so cold here at the moment....
    You look so festive and truly scrumptious in that wonderful summer outfit.....Jon is looking very dashing to.
    Hope the rest of the week is wonderful.
    Love V

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  38. Had a major flashback when I saw that print!!! And in a good way~ xoxo

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  39. That park looks so serene and lovely. I love the water bottle. :) You look mighty beautiful in you sunny frock and gorgeous eye makeup. Yes, rest up Vix! xx

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  40. I don't know anyone else who could make an old bedspread look so fantastic. That print is scrumptious! I'm so glad you're soaking up some sunshine & making the most of Summer. Xx

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  41. The close-up photo really shows your beautiful blue eyes. Looking so pretty and Jon is styling! The papier Mache artist really has incredible items, would love to find art like that. Looks like a wonderful day in such a nice setting! XXX

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  42. Great outfit! I'd love to make a maxi skirt!
    In my old suburb there was a park which seemed rather dull until I came upon a petting zoo which had a strange array of sheep, goats and birds and then interestingly Emus, Kangaroos and Wallabies in medium sized pens. Yep! We like to lock our National Emblems up in suburban parks to be looked after by god knows who!

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  43. This made me laugh because I grew up in a historic New England town. All the revered landmarks for the tourists were places where we hung out, in various levels of inebriation. In retrospect, it's much prettier now. Your park is lovely and it looks like the weather has behaved for a change. Love your Vixified attire.

    Have a wonderful week. Thank you for your comment, too. It's quite the journey, right? Right now it's both Joey's parents, but I'm due to see mine in a few weeks. That's a whole 'nother saga. Fortunately I'm not alone. Love you much!!!!!!!!

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  44. You adorned the park and made it even prettier! Love the vintage material and your new dress - WoW!!! You can pull off anything, I think!

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  45. I wish I could enjoy this weather like you! I live just by the park so I see the sun, people having fun etc but as soon as I step out I feel like I'm burning so it just doesn't work... This park is beautiful though! I'd love to see it someday. Also the water blessed by Jesus has to be one of the highlights of your day! xxx

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  46. Uou look like sunshine itself in that outfit - just gorgeous. Jon's looking quite lovely himself!

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  47. looks a wonderful park, love that you've enjoyed some local music on the park under the sun!, I suppose you're happily enjoying that heat!, and you're looking so pretty floral and colorful and summery, so gorgeous!!, love your bijouterie and bag indeed!
    besos & summertime

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  48. There she is with a summer flower in her hair;-)

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  49. It looks gorgeous! As do you. What a perfect way to spend a day.
    And think we all had a bench where we used to smooch our fellas, ours was sadly at the back of the Leisure Centre. Not so picturesque.
    x

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  50. Beautiful place and you two certainly added a spot of glamour to the day!
    Enjoyed the little insight into a younger Vix's wild days :-)

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  51. You look fabulous, love the dress. Blessings!

    Plz check out my fasion blog at www.fashion1psychology.com. Thx

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  52. I remember this park and was so surprised when we came upon it. Your pictures do its beauty justice and what a wonderful free even to get people out of their homes and chatting with strangers. You and Jon both look so summer sweet, I am once again blown away at your fabulous seeing skills your outfit is killer!

    It makes me happy to see you both out and so happy and chilled. I miss and love you both to pieces!
    Xxxxxxooooooo

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  53. I am admiring your hair flower and also the stunning green flower from your last post. The make your outfits sing! Your floral outfit made from a 70's bed cover is brilliant and perfect for the occasion. Love the photos of Jon and the tour through the grand Victorian park.

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  54. This looks like so much fun! I love the papier mache creations as well, it's always great fun finding little gems like that while you're out. You're looking as lovely as ever too Vix, nice and colourful for the hot weather! - Tasha xxx

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  55. What a beautiful park just the place for a day of Sun music!



    You looked lovely and summery long live summer days and music!


    P xx

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  56. Amazing pics! So great:)

    bloglovin.com/blog/3880191

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  57. Gorgeous park...and it's nice that you got holy water.

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  58. I bet Jesus would agree with me that you 2 fit perfectly into the royal hunting grounds... Actually, best looking people there! xo

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  59. What a nice park! I'd like to be there too!x

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  60. Oh your outfit is just amazing! The park looks lovely too. I briefly ventured out on Saturday to Victoria Park as it is literally across the road from the boys flat but I quickly became too hot and had to go back inside. Glad to see you were out enjoying the sun though! x

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  61. That is funny that we both posted about our local parks today! Yours is beautiful. What a neat bandstand. Makes me realize how much history there is in England compared to here, where things had barely even gotten going when it was built.

    And you're both dress so nicely for a stroll in the park. You guys are cool alright!

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  62. What a great park and great dress too. I should've realized it would be one of your creations!

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  63. awesome photos, awesome outfit and I especially love the holy water.

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  64. I love these colors! I used to get my hair cut in the 70's at this place that was all hot pink and green. It was great. I had the "Stevie Nicks" cut. Wouldn't mind having it again, really.
    You look wonderful in this outfit...the flower is great and your bright makeup is perfect with it.
    Pretty cool idea with the water bottle. Never seen that before.
    The Park looks lovely.
    Debbie @ ilovemylemonadelife.com

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  65. The only thing more beautiful than this park is Vix in close up. Lurve your dress.

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  66. Sometimes all we have to do is just look around to see the beauty we take from granted again.
    There is nothing like England in the summer.
    I love how you take you style to the park shadowing the best of nature.
    I had a good laugh at the Jesus´s blessed water, hahahhaha.
    Much love, my dear Vix.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  67. It looks like a wonderful park. I love your fabulous maxi and crop top. The colours are fantastic and I love the trim on the top.

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  68. Oh I love your Arbo Vix!! Thanks for the tour and all the fabulous photos. Your weather is magnificent!!

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  69. It looks like a gorgeous place and I love the photos x

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  70. oh what a marvelous place is this park!!! it looks so wonderful! and you are the most beautiful exotic flower in it;)
    love and kiss,mary

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  71. Did the Jesus water give you special powers?
    Beautiful park. I love the photo of you strolling down the path. Looks like a great place for you and Jon to hang out on a sunny day, sucking in great tunes.

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  72. I adore that outfit! It looks gorgeous, you're somewhere between a super sexy Hendrix groupie and a Bollywood Princess. The Arbo looks wonderful, such a great place to spend a beautiful boiling hot day in. I love Victorian parks and the bandstand is just lovely. The whole festival is a great idea. xxxxx

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  73. What beautiful surroundings! Such lovely vibrant photos too xxx

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  74. That outfit is such smiley happy colours, I love it!

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Love from Vix
xxx