The West Midlands area has been buzzing. For once, it's not Peaky Blinders we have to thank for our popularity, but the Commonwealth Games.
As of last Thursday, we had yet to visit our second city to soak up the atmosphere, although the cycling timed trials competitors directly passed Himley Hall, a ten minute drive from our front door. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find out any information on the start time, so to get a glimpse of the action would have meant carrying a deck chair, finding a suitable spectator's spot and camping out potentially for hours. Later, there were tales of woe from neighbours who successfully found a spot, only for their view to be obscured by a load of late comers who thought nothing of taking up a position directly in front of them, resulting in some stereotypical British behaviour. Say nothing, but stew inwardly and have a good moan later.
We watched the action live from the comfort of our sofa, which was weird given how close events were unfolding and I was a little disappointed to not capture any of the action with my camera. Mercifully we were able to see all of this without anyone's balding head obscuring our view. There was much excitement when one cyclist crashed on the bend and some hesitancy as to the best course of action. Whilst the unfortunate athlete tried in vain to free his bike from the barrier, the team took a little too long in taking the decision to provide him with a replacement. Given my lack of visuals, I'll let my friend Lynne's brilliant photo do the talking, captured on the outskirts of Wolverhampton.
|Photo: Lynne Hewitt (@wmidsphotos)|
Post road closures, we visited Himley for an evening walk around the Capability Brown landscaped grounds and the lake. Incidentally, is there a country house or stately home in the UK not landscaped by Capability Brown? He must have been exceptionally busy during his time on this earth!
Not Brum's bull, but bulrushes, dancing in the summer breeze.
Rewinding a little to last weekend, we squeezed in a visit to the ruins of Buildwas Abbey, just down the road from Ironbridge in Shropshire. Formerly a Cistercian abbey comprising church and claustral buildings, Buildwas Abbey opened its doors in 1138, although ultimately, like many others, was suppressed in 1536 as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII. That said, the remains are remarkable and substantial...see for yourselves.
|English Heritage Strimming|