Posts

Down To Earth in The City Wayside Flowers

Image
 Wayside Flowers are not WEEDS  White Dead Nettle (Lamium album)   Wayside Flowers are essential nectar-rich supplies for many invertebrates in the urban environment. If we allow them to flourish they will also provide untold pleasures for the wayside walker and long-lasting memories for youngsters on their daily walkabout. For some reason, local authorities spend many thousands of pounds in an attempt to destroy our naturally growing wild plants and growers spend many thousands of pounds suppressing wild plants in gardens and allotments.  Every wild plant has a name and a valuable connection to other plants and animals, giving a hint of its true value. The very term, 'weedy', is a misnomer, often used to suggest weakness and something to be rid of, yet on the contrary, these plants are hardy, resilient and strong, often growing in inhospitable places and pioneering the way for a succession of other plants.  Danish Scurvy Grass has rapidly colonised roadside verges and edges ov

Down To Earth along the River Rea to Beorma's crossing

Image
 Down To Earth in The City - a look at the River Rea Across the Rea Valley from Moor Green The Cityscape of Birmingham foregrounded by woodland above the River Rea Harry Reeves, God rest his soul, could be the most well-known enthusiast, when it comes to appreciating the River Rea, although many of the early settlers to the region probably appreciated its resources just as much. detail of 'East Prospect of Birmingham' William Westley's 18th-century image of Birmingham from the east depicts a jolly occasion with grazing cattle and anglers on the banks of the Rea. The source of the Rea springs from the slopes of the Waseley Hills in Worcestershire, before journeying in a north-westerly direction to join The Tame just south of Spaghetti Junction. This whimsical tribute to the river provides a splendid account of one man's association with the river from boyhood to adulthood. Harry takes us on a journey through time and space with poetic descriptions of memories and places

Down To Earth in The City

Image
 8th March 2022 My first 'Down To Earth in The City' meeting with newly found friends at Pacha House was a most rewarding event as our vibrant discussions and chatter ranged far and wide. I enjoyed the dynamism and enthusiasm held in an informal and comfortable setting, as we deliberated our ideas, concerns, personal interests and anecdotes that spanned the globe and decades, with memories and recollections that bonded our individual circumstances. Later, a private tour of the Friends Institute was a nice and unplanned event, thanks to Sue, revealing staircases, ornate bannister rails, corridors, antique shelving and other wooden fixtures together with empty and cold meeting rooms, mostly unused today and belying their glorious past since 1897. Tucked away with indignant abandon was a bust of the founder, sponsor and philanthropist Richard Cadbury. I'm looking forward to future meetings and new discussions, revealing something, but not everything, about our individuality an

The Cattle Run - and a View from Highgate Park

Image
 The Cattle Run and a view across the City from Highgate Park A city park, once home to the King Edward VII memorial statue King Edward VII Memorial at Highgate Park Photograph by Phyllis Nicklin 1954 of a bronze statue of King Edward VII in Highgate Park. Made in 1913 it formerly stood in Victoria Square and was restored in 2010 and now stands in Centenary Square. See Acknowledgements, Keith Berry W👀 Albert Toft was the Sculptor, and he was also the artist for the Boer War memorial at Cannon Hill Park Memorial sculptures can be controversial as we witnessed in 2020 with the public demolition of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol. WE CAN'T CHANGE THE PAST BUT WE CAN ASSESS and question HOW WE READ IT AND CHALLENGE HOW IT'S TAUGHT. William Westley's 18th-century view of Birmingham from the east, the city is surrounded by agricultural land, mostly grazing land, with sheep and cattle raised for the ready, expanding market  Grazing cattle near the 18th-century city centre (d

Down To Earth

Image
Coming soon - Dates TBA Down To Earth -  A SERIES OF WEEKLY MEETINGS from Pacha House, Highgate Tuesdays from 11.00am  Down to Earth - a state of mind as much as anything, as we attempt to combat the rigours in which we find ourselves.               Simple pleasures                           Simple meanings                                        Found in discovery                                                      To be found in sharing                                                                              A Search for the distinctive and the particular There's 'England in Particular' produced by Common Ground in 2006 A CELEBRATION OF (our area (s)) THE Commonplace, THE local, THE vernacular AND THE distinctive by Sue Clifford and Angela King COMMON GROUND Celebrating LOCAL DISTINCTIVENESS To be had= A discussion A walk A laugh Birmingham is mentioned many times in the book ENGLAND IN PARTICULAR allotments, arcades, back to back houses, buses, canals, Chinatown, clo

The lost orchard of Stirchley

Image
'The Fruit and Nut Village' Plums and damsons, apples and blackberries, mouthwatering delights mostly hidden amongst the slow rolling tide of bramble amidst forgotten riverside pasture. The bramble is pervasive and laden this year with plump, ripe pickings feasted upon and collected in punnets for home consumption, although pick one eat two seems to be the method most favoured.  There's a continuing interest for food growing nearby, especially fruits, in a city well known for its gardens, parks and allotments; and a somewhat neglected parcel, partly known as Ten Acres together with its east-of-river neighbouring land of no particular name these days, is mostly traversed by speeding cyclist, striding greenway commuter, meandering dog walker and tottering youngster or elder, generally paying no attention left or right. Sue tells us of a man who knew a man who once planted fruit trees at the edge of the old pasture, damsons, apples and plums, possibly 50 or more

Woodlands, Trees and Tree People

Image
Woodlands, Trees and Tree People Down To Earth at Holders Woods The woodlands are active again with leaf burst and birdsong heralding a new year, although at Holders Woods 'Down To Earth' it never ceases or even slows down, with up to 80 people gathering every Monday morning. All ages enjoy the setting, the social connectivity, the activities and the wonderful cohesive mix of families from Birmingham and beyond. There's always a buoyant and jubilant interest in woodland, and whilst standing-talking amongst the lofty Oaks and Beeches at Holders, a spiritual  connection often arises as we look skyward, impressed by the dimensional heights and the cathedral-like perpendicular architecture, which has held humans captivated for a hundred thousands years and more. It's a primitive 'down to earth' moment of reflection marrying thoughts of our existence through time, spacial distance, heritage and the present. Details for joing in can be found by following thi