On Saturday we continued with our weekly walks from home, exploring Walsall on foot and this week we visited Reedswood Park, just under two miles from our front door.
Reedswood Park might not have a bandstand or the interesting sculptures that other parks we've visited have but it does have an ingenious set of markers that visitors can follow in order to get fit, with routes ranging from a ten-minute walk to a more ambitious 60 minute one. There's also a skate park, a kids playground, tennis courts and an outdoor gym. All the main pathways are wheelchair-friendly with plenty of places to sit down and take a breather.
The Anson Branch runs alongside the park, a defunct mile-long canal that once connected Walsall with the neighbouring cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton and was used to transport coal and limestone from the pits and quarries in the town. It was surveyed by Thomas Telford in 1768 but not built until 1830 and abandoned in 1961 after the opening of the M6 motorway.
Wandering through the woodland or clambering up the steep hillock to a wildflower meadow, which will be home to bee orchids in a few month's time, it's hard to imagine that there's a bustling retail park 100 yards away, a Desai pub serving up authentic Punjabi cuisine opposite the gates or that the main road to Wolverhampton runs adjacent to the park.
People seem to think that one has to drive to the countryside to be amongst nature, if only they'd open their eyes and realise that nature is everywhere, even in sprawling, post-industrial towns like ours - from the birdsong which starts up at dawn to the weeds growing through the cracks in the pavement and the urban foxes that knock over the bins at night. I even caught sight of the pale grey of an owl's underbelly swooping down on an unsuspecting wood mouse when I let Stephen out at 6am last week.
Other than a bracing walk and some vigorous rug sweeping, Saturday was spent lazily, a late breakfast of veggie sausage & Dijon mustard sandwiches, an afternoon of reading and cheese salad pittas with sweet potato wedges for tea....oh yes, and we booked a cheeky trip away, a few days escape from the UK in a month's time.
The evening was spent with rum, cola and a film - the wicked political satire, Don't Look Up.
I'd finished reading The Heretic's Daughter
the previous day, the book based on the true story of Martha Carrier, one of the first women to be sentenced to death during the Salem Witch Trials. I think it must have subliminally influenced me as Jon said Sunday's outfit, with my ruff, cape and tall hat, made me look like a Puritan.
|WEARING: Vintage Wetherall of Bond Street wool cape (charity shop, 20 years ago), Zara jumper (charity shop, 2022), 1970s Phool midi skirt (IG, 2018), 1960s-does-Edwardian boots (car boot sale, 2010) and plum fedora (retail buy, 2017)|
Forget Puritanism, I think I'd probably have more likely been hanged as a witch back in the 17th Century. The Puritans would have been shocked by my godless ways and unbridled hedonism. Not only did I have a biscuit with my Sunday morning bed tea but I also went charity shopping (again!) May I burn in hell!
Bar a few things for the Kinky shed (not pictured), the rest was for us - a whopping £12 worth of treats! Jon snaffled a vintage Welsh wool shawl-collared cardi and some antiqued leather, fleece-lined boots which match his man bag perfectly. We ignored our self-imposed book buying ban, bagging a couple of books set in the Med, Eric Newby was one of the greatest travel writers and was born on 6th December, just like me! In a bid to mix up my wardrobe I grabbed these brand new & boxed white plimsolls with glittery toecaps and an elasticated vamp (no laces required) and also some Zara premium denim jeans (no lycra, 100% cotton). The price tag is in rupees, they were bought from the flagship Zara store in the hip art district of Kala Ghoda in downtown Mumbai, I've never been in (I prefer FabIndia next door) but they're a sweet reminder of my most favourite city on earth!
Cat came for lunch, much to Stephen's annoyance, who stood on my desk yowling through the window until we picked him up and deposited him to the kitchen table where he lay in a puddle of sunlight, grumbling away to himself.
Walking down the garden to the compost pile I spotted the first of the crocuses peeping through the lawn.
I also spotted Stephen's nemesis, beautiful Kitty from next door, basking on the shed roof until we disturbed her.
I spent the remainder of the afternoon curled up with my latest read, A Nasty Piece of Work by Robert Littell. The Guardian describes him as "The American John le Carré", which may be pushing it a bit, but he can certainly tell a good story, I've nearly finished it.
After tea, we watched the final episode of the first series of The Alienist, this week's Pottery Throwdown and the first episode of the second series of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness.
Monday kicked off with a Wii Fit session, some parcel wrapping and a machine load of laundry which I hung to dry in the utility room. It was porridge for breakfast as we'd run out of fruit. Our visitor turned up for a double breakfast just before Lord Jon nipped out on the Post Office & supermarket run.
|WEARING: Naked Generation dress, Lotta from Stockholm clogs (both eBay), Vintage Phool quilted waistcoat (Eyewood Vintage @ Stockport Vintage Village, 2017), Zara jeans, wool cap (both charity shopped)|
Hold on to your hats (and your hemlines)! Although the West Midlands escaped the wrath of Malik over the weekend, the next Winter storm, Corrie, followed on its heels, bringing high winds and rain. Thank goodness for yesterday's Zara jeans - which I'd hacked off at the hem - to preserve my modesty.
I also wore the 1970s Sheffield steel cuff & peaked wool cap I'd found on Friday's charity shopping mission.
Between gusts of wind and rain showers, we managed to take a few photos and list some stock on eBay. We've got a busy week ahead and I was hoping to do more but hopefully, it'll be dry tomorrow afternoon when we get back from our annual eye lists. We've both got a family history of glaucoma and the NHS recommends that we are tested every 12 months but, on the plus side, it's free.
I was so tempted to keep that chestnut leather bag but it was soon snapped up and I know that it's going to a very good home!
The MyHermes man came bearing a parcel, a dress I'd spotted in the January sales with my name written all over it. After playing around with some wardrobe combinations I retired to the lounge and finished my book, picking out the next one in readiness for bedtime.
Tonight we'll be watching more of The Alienist, I'd tell you what we're having for tea but Jon hasn't decided what it is yet.
See you soon!