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Street Party Platinum Jubilee, Knowle

Our street held a Jubilee street party.  We have a strong neighbourhood community and this is led by Denise Jowitt and Kattalin Martin.  A Whatsapp group formed before the day and plans were laid.  On the Sunday morning of the Platinum Jubliee, there was rain and so much was falling it looked unlikely that a street party would get started.  At 2pm people emerged out of their houses.  Tables and chairs were set up and a line of Gazebos assembled.  All the cakes were displayed in one neighbours’ garage and then the food and drink were consumed. Songs were sung including Rule Britannia, Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem.   It was still cold and damp but the residents pressed ahead with the competitions. There was a Jubilee quiz with each house asking 5 questions.  Then the cake competition was voted upon and won by our newly arrived Ukrainian family.  The winner was the splendid cake with sliced strawberries on it.  Next up were races along the street and these included an egg and spoon race, musical chairs and a balloon held between the knees race.  

Street Party Platinum Jubilee, Knowle
It may be cold and raining but we are having such fun!
Street Party Platinum Jubilee, Knowle
A line up cakes
Street Party Platinum Jubilee, Knowle
The cake winner was made by our Ukrainian family
Street Party Platinum Jubilee, Knowle
At the end of the street is a street party
Street Party Platinum Jubilee, Knowle
Getting ready for the balloon race
Street Party Platinum Jubilee, Knowle
The egg and spoon race

In spite of the weather everyone had a lovely day and we went back to our houses to warm up! We had lovely memories and the street party was even mentioned in the Solihull Observer.

Street Party Platinum Jubilee, Knowle
Solihull Observer
Street Party Platinum Jubilee, Knowle
Street Party Platinum Jubilee, Knowle

Queen's Platinum Jubilee - Knowle High street

The High Street in Knowle village closed on Saturday 4th June during Jubilee weekend.  Several drivers were not pleased that cars were stopped from passing through Knowle.  They were diverted around the High Street but that did add 5 minutes to their journey!  The car drivers’ loss was the community’s gain.  At 10 o’clock as soon as the road was closed, the artesian market went up.  There was just one problem the rain came along at the same time and stayed for the duration of the morning.  From all accounts people thought that the day going to be a washout. 

I did not venture into the village until 2pm and by then the rain had stopped.  It also brought out the people and the festivities were kickstarted again.  The high street was buzzing, and the artisan market was in full swing. It was fun just to wander up and down the high street, stand on the zebra crossing and linger at the different stalls.  This is what celebrating the 70th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II is all about, doing something different.

Highlights of the afternoon included throwing footballs into lavatories.  At first the children lined up to have a go. After a while many of the dads decided to have a go.  There were not much better than their siblings, but it was still amusing to watch.  The area around the Church was transformed and where there was green grass and a nicely manicured path, on this Saturday there was a helter-skelter, market stalls and lots of people enjoying themselves.

I took many pictures during the afternoon and luckily met a few people I know who let me take their pictures.  Visit Knowle made a video of the day with some of my pictures being featured.  I hope the Village do this on a regular basis as the event did bring the community together.

Queen's Platinum Jubilee - Knowle High street
Usually this is a quiet picturesque scene.

The event was to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The Jubilee team (Arden Academy, Arden Parent & Teachers Association, Knowle and Dorridge Lions, Knowle Parish Church, Knowle Society, Knowle Village Hall Association, Love Knowle Park & Visit Knowle) came together to produce the  programme of events.  If you want to know more then the event is covered on the Visit Knowle website

The full story was on the Visit Knowle website and was also reported in the Solihull Observer.


Bidford Gilling and Flying Club airshow - Wings and Wheels

A stretch of green in the Warwickshire countryside close to Bidford-on-Avon is the home of Bidford Gliding and Flying Club.  With the decline of Covid, many fairs and fêtes are back on the calendar and ‘Wings and Wheels’ promised to be a well-attended event.  On arrival, the wheels were in full force with an impressive display of classic cars on one corner of the airfield.  I enjoyed seeing the old Jaguar and Alfa Romeo cars as these were a particular love of my father.  There were many other cars present including a monster truck alongside the tractors.  The gleaming chrome work and the rainbow of colours made for some good photography.  The morning was overcast so there were no dark shadows to contend with when photographing such subjects.  The classic cars were lined up boot to boot and in-between the lines the owners and their families were sitting around on deckchairs discussing their cars.  The pride and joy invested in their hobby was plain to see.  

Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
The interior of one of the vintage cars.
Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
The classic cars parked back to back
Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
Lunch by the car
Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
Union Jacks, classic cars and the occasional soft toy!

During the morning, propeller planes started to land on the grassy runway, shifting people’s attention away from the cars.  It was the start of the ‘Wings’ to take the centre stage.  The planes were colourful with both single wing and biplanes displayed.  The proud owners were making last minute adjustments to the wings and fuselages polishing the outside and checking the engines.  The main reason for attending the show was to watch Rich Goodwin undertake an aerobatic display as a warmup to the forthcoming RAF Cosford Airshow.  Rich was to be the subject of a BBC Midlands Today news item. His entrance to the meeting teased the crowds, as two colourful biplanes flew overhead with smoke trails behind them.  After landing and parking up, the red and blue biplanes, one red and blue, became the centre of attention.  The blue biplane with the marking G-JPIT belonged to Rich Goodwin and upon his arrival on the airfield, he generated a wave of enthusiasm and anticipation for the forthcoming airshow.  We did not have long to wait and after a several flypasts by other classic planes, it was the turn of Rich Goodwin to perform.  With a flurry of smoke accompanied by the noise of the engines, the biplane took off with a low pass over the fields.  

Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
Rich arrives with friend
Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
Prior discussion about the airshow. Rich is in the Cockpit.
Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
Taking off.
Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
A diagonal ascent.
Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
A mock stall at the top.
Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
Rapidly coming down to earth.
Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
Covered in smoke.
Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
A final run just above the ground.

It was exciting to watch as the plane drove upwards in a twisting motion with a long smoke trail highlighting the ascent.  At the summit of its vertical path, the plane seemed to stall, fall backwards into the smoke trail, and then suddenly shoot forward.  The circular movements combined with flying upside down, rolling this way and that were occassionally difficult to follow.  This unpredictability was part of the fun of the display.  The impossible seemed to be possible and Rich Goodwin did it time and time again during his performance.  As quickly as it had started, the final fly past began, and Rich landed his plane to great acclaim from the assembled spectators.  Bravo for such a remarkable and memorable display.  Following this, my friend John Bray filmed Rich for a BBC Midlands film. It was also time for me to depart.  

Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
Our man at the BBC, John Bray, recorded a news item on Rich Goodwin.

On the way out, I came across the Motorbikes and got lost in photographing the many different new and old bikes that were on display.  The bikers were in good form and enjoyed having photographs taken.  Thanks to the Bidford Gliding and Flying Club for organising the ‘Wings and Wheels’ day and good luck to Rich Goodwin in his future airshows.

Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
Classic sidecar and bike.
Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
The bike display was impressive.
Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
Lots of bikes to see and photograph.
Bidford Gliding and Flying Club - Wings and Wheels - May 2022
Time to say good bye to ‘Wings and Wheels’.

If you wish to know more about Rich Goodwin, he has his own webpage with lots of info.
You can always visit the pages of the Bidford Gliding and flying Club to learn more about their activities.
There will be a link to the BBC News item on Rich Goodwin as soon as it is available.

Meanwhile I took so many pictures of the event so if you have reached this point in the blog then I have put a quick gallery together of all the other photographs I took.


Spaghetti Junction IgersbirminghamUK

With the famous spaghetti junction turning 50, the event has led to a flurry of media and photographic interest.  A rollercoaster of activity. Such a landmark event has already led to Heinz releasing a limited edition yellow-themed tin of Spaghetti pasta celebrating the anniversary  

I, also, found myself getting caught up in this rollercoaster of a celebration of the motorway junction.   Following on from my recent visit to the junction, IgersbirminghamUK organised a photographic meeting for the week of the celebrations.  Just under 40 photographers arrived on a Sunday morning to be briefed on the planned photographic walk under the M6.  The group photograph was a popular picture and was even featured by the national IgersUK Instagram page.  All the photographs taken during the walk may be found under the Instagram hashtag #igbuk_meet_spagjunction.   There are some very good pictures that show the relatively unseen world underneath the Spaghetti Junction.

Spaghetti Junction IgersbirminghamUK
IgersbirminghamUK participants
Spaghetti Junction IgersbirminghamUK
The quietness of the canal with the Junction in the distance (selected for the BBC England’s Big Picture).
Spaghetti Junction IgersbirminghamUK
A view of the columns holding up the Motorway.
Spaghetti Junction IgersbirminghamUK
Nature is reclaiming the area underneath the Spaghetti Junction.

The events of the meeting were recorded by the BBC and the report by reporter Laura Mcmullan featured interviews with me and other photographers.  Following the publication of the BBC news item, I was invited by the University of Birmingham to write an article on what lies below the Spaghetti Junction from a photographic viewpoint.

Although I was busy with the organisation of the meeting, I did have time to take a few pictures myself as featured in this blog.  I wonder what the place will be like in another 50 years.  Meanwhile, I know that I will be passing over the Junction in the future as I hurtle in and out of Birmingham.

Further links
BBC Midlands Today provides an account of the IgersbirminghamUK meeting
What’s underneath the Spaghetti Junction, Damien Walmsley, University of Birmingham.
My previous blog on Spaghetti Junction (50 years on) with more pictures.
Englands Big Picture 22nd May to the 29th May (my picture of the Spaghetti Junction)

Spaghetti Junction IgersbirminghamUK
The flyovers tower above you.

Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022

The Moor Pool Estate is a Garden Suburb in Harborne, Birmingham.  The estate was designed to be a low-density housing scheme and the concept was drawn up by John Sutton Nettleford who was the first Chairman of Birmingham’s town planning committee.  Moor Pool area has around 500 houses spread across 54 acres.  There are 6 different house styles  in the roads that link together across the estate.  The houses also take advantage of the contours of the land, and this gives pleasing views of the area. 

Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
The classic view of Moor Pool
Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
A public bench at the start of Park Edge
Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
Ready to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee.
Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
Reflections around the circle.

John Nettleford was appalled with the living conditions in the back to backs which were typical of the housing in the City.  Moor Pool Estate was seen as a solution that catered for the expanding urban population of Birmingham.  The policy of building garden suburbs ensured that people would enjoy access to clean air and green spaces.  The estate was built between 1907 and 1912 and is maintained by the Moor Pool Heritage Trust.  The area is an example of how Garden suburbs were planned to provide low-cost housing in a semi-rural environment.

Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
Listed flats on Ravenhurst Road
Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
Houses on Margaret Grove.
Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
A different style on Moor Pool Lane

A visit to Moor Pool Estate was organised as an Instameet by IgersbirminghamUK.  Luckily it was a glorious sunny day.  We met at the entrance to the Hall and then walked around the Circle to overlook the tennis courts. This is where Louise Deakin who is the Education, Engagement and Outdoors Officer for the Trust gave us an enthusiastic account of the Moor Pool Estate past, present and future.  I learnt about the connection of the Nettleford family and Winterbourne House which was interesting.  Louise handed out an information leaflet that included a map of the area.  I have reproduced the map below as I can refer to it during my blog.

Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
Taken from https://www.moorpoolhall.org.uk/images/Interpretation_Map.jpg
The Numbers relate to the information boards around the trail.
Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
The Moor Pool tennis courts
Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
Entrance to the Tennis courts.
Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
The tree at the junction of Margaret Grove and Moor Pool Lane

Once the briefing had finished, I wandered around the Circle and the tennis courts and the beginning of Carless Avenue.  Following this I made my way around to the shops on the circle.  There was a colourful banner celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee over the optician’s shop. My path went along Park Edge towards Margaret Grove and the listed flats on Ravenhurst Road.  There is a viewing point over Mill Pool giving a traditional view of the area.  It is these pictures that you first encounter when searching on the Internet about the Trust.  There was a person fishing in the pool and he had many photographs taken by the IgersbirminghamUK group.  Margaret Grove was very pretty with the houses nestling into the lie of the land.  I also discovered the various alleyways through the area.  Louise mentioned that these were not paths to personal properties but pathways to encourage the garden suburb approach.  Where Margaret Grove met Moor Pool Avenue are the Nettlefold Gardens and the Moorpool tennis club.  The latter being the second tennis club in the Trust.  I walked up to the disused railway line which is now a footpath.  Here the residents would have had train access to the City of Birmingham.  Moving back to the Circle via Moor Pool I encountered a few cats taking advantage of the warm sun.  The houses here are of a different style and sit up and away from the road. 

Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
The railway bridge at the edge of the trust.
Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
A higher view into the estate.
Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
The most photographed fisherman in Harborne.
Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
Moor Pool Bowling Club.
Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
One of the many alleyways.

I caught up with the rest of the group and took one of the footpaths to the side of the Pool.  I took a few more pictures of the fisherman who was still there.  This footpath led onto the bowling green.  It is not a level crown surface as the picture shows so it must be a challenging game to play.  Back to the Circle to meet up the rest of the IgersbirminghamUK participants and we adjourned to Harborne high street to the pub and a chance to talk about our pictures and the ones that got away.

Moor Pool Heritage Trust, Igersbirmingham Instameet, 2022
Back to the start at Moor Pool Hall on the Circle.


Thank you to Louise Deakin and the Moor Pool Heritage Trust for inviting us to their home.  I enjoyed the visit, and hope that these pictures along with those from IgersbirminghamUK will go a long way to advertising a real gem of a place to visit with a great history to match.

Please follow @igersbirminghamUK to learn more about our activities and upcoming Instameets. Thank you to Nicky Butler who organised this Instameet on behalf of the IgersbirminghamUK team. Thanks to Lena and John for their support of IgersbirminghamUK as well.

It was a beautiful day and some people took time to enjoy the sun.

Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022

Visiting popular National Trust destinations does have its challenges if you are a keen amateur photographer.  Hanbury Hall is so photogenic and countless pictures have been taken over the years.  I would guess each season throws up wonderful views not only of the house but the impeccable gardens as well.  Usually, before I visit a well-known property, I check over the web sites and look at other people’s photographs to find out which are the best views.  As it happens for this visit, I did not get myself organised, so I went to Hanbury Hall not knowing what to expect.  

Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
The commanding entrance to Hanbury Hall.

Arriving by car you pass the front façade of the house and catch a glimpse of the striking architecture.  Walking back to the house from the carpark, the entrance approach provides post card picture views.  The property is operating a timed ticket entrance which limits the amount of people.  This favours the photographer as in this case there are only a few people and not the crowds that may interrupt the pictures.  

Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
Lots of tubs with tulips

First stop was the interior of the house, and I met a volunteer who in a few minutes gave me all the information I needed.  Also, I found out that she was a good photographer and took a picture of me on the grand staircase with the beautiful paintings as a backdrop. The building is interesting and there was much activity happening in the house.  The volunteers did not mind having their photographs taken included one dressed up as the former owner of the house, Thomas Vernon.  The staircase is beautiful and the wall to ceiling painting by the English painter Sir James Thornhill has so much to see.  I spent some time moving around using my iPhone for the pictures finding that the wide-angle lens was very useful.

Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
The beautiful painting that highlights the staircase.
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
An upward view
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
A volunteer dressed up as “Thomas Vernon” former owner of the house.
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
Preparing the table with the silverware.
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
There are some beautiful rooms in the house.

Following that important mid-morning coffee, it was time to set off and explore the grounds of the house.  I am always amazed how the National Trust find gardeners to tend and cultivate their extensive properties.  They are so creative and design wonderful garden designs.  The apple orchard was symmetrically laid out and the trees were just beginning to blossom.  

Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
The beautiful apple orchard.

The Orangery was a particular favourite of mine.  The sun was shining in through the large windows accentuating the orange glow of the brick paintwork.  I leant that this grade II listed building has red Flemish bond ashlar brickwork which gives the characteristic colour.  There is also a tiled floor. One of the tiles has a dog paw print caused by a disobedient pet wandering around before the cement had set 250 years ago.  

Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
The Orangery
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
The inside of the Orangery
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
The 250 year old footprint!
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
A pheasant greeting

The symmetry of the Pareteer garden was beautifully coloured by yellow tulips.  The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes “a Pareteer as the division of garden beds in such a way that the pattern is itself an ornament.”  It is like an Elizabethan knot garden and was fun to photograph.  Linking the gardens is Snob’s tunnel which returns you to the back of the house.  The tunnel allowed servants to move around without being seen by guests of the house.  

Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
Love the symmetry in the gardens
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
The house in a lensball.
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
Snob’s Tunnel
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
Beautiful walks surround the property.

On my way home I visited Hanbury Church which is adjacent to the Hall and has commanding views over the river seven valley.  

Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
A window to the world

If you enjoyed this account of Hanbury Hall, then please visit my blog on Croome which is another nearby National Trust property. The official National Trust website account of Hanbury Hall provides more information.


Water droplet Photography

Belonging to a 52 week project group on Flickr, I have different weekly challenges to complete.  The challenges throw up interesting topics including pictures of water droplets.  During lockdown I did become efficient at oil and water photography but attempts at taking pictures of water droplets splashing from a great height were less than satisfactory.  With the water droplet challenge, I decided to revisit this technique rather than the straightforward approach of water droplets on surfaces.  The aim of this blog is to provide some tips on how to do this at home.

Setting up – I quickly learnt from watching YouTube tutorials that this is key to your success when photographing droplets.  One of the best purchases I have made was a wireless off-flash unit which has added much needed flexibility. Having such a unit is a necessity for a water droplet project. In addition, I also needed to drip the water from on high. I searched on the Internet and hunted around the local supermarkets.  Luckily my oldest daughter, Katie, found a hard plastic jug with a small tap placed towards the bottom of the jar.  Perfect for making drops!

Water droplet photography
Droplet crown.

Then causing chaos with the family, I took over the kitchen.  Buckets of water, step ladders, pints of milk and food colourants were all assembled on the kitchen table.  The pictures show the various components that were used. The water jar was placed on the top of a step ladder with the water buckets underneath.  My camera (Canon 5D mkIV) and EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM are on a tripod.  The off camera flash is set up to fire at 1/32 which I learnt from a YouTube tutorials, was a good starting point to freeze the droplets. During my last attempts in lock down did not have all the bubble droplets in focus and so a small aperture was selected.  I started with f/11and did increase to f/22 for some pictures.

Water droplet photography
Droplet formation.

The milk (blue top for thickness) was placed in a dish.  To help with the focusing I used a Lego pirate figure which was placed under where the drip hit the milk.  Now I was all ready to go and it was very much trial and error.  I had a remote to activate the camera and this allowed me to also control the tap.  If you wish to get even more serious then there are special timed drop release mechanisms, but I just went for the manual option.  Experimentation with the food dye was not as successful and needs more practice.  All the pictures were in focus and looked satisfactory on the camera screen.  Around 60 pictures were taken and then it was all about the editing.

Water droplet Photography
A spectacular droplet on droplet collision.

Editing was in Adobe Lightroom.  I played with the colour sliders to bring out the red, blue and green colours.  One of my earlier attempts looked quite spectacular as an upcoming primary droplet hit a new one.  It produced a water halo effect.  I was pleased with this.  In my best other pictures, there was a droplet crown and a symmetrical water droplet.  I was rushed as the Sunday dinner needed to be prepared and the kitchen chaos had to be cleared away.  I have written this all up so that I know what to do next time.  I strongly recommend trying it out as if you have a good macro lens and off-camera flash then the other essentials are relatively inexpensive.  If you found this account useful then let me know and have fun taking photographs.

If you liked this account then take a look at my Oil and Water blog.


Bluebell walk at Great Alne Wood

Bluebells stretching out in a forest glen are always a wonderful sight to behold.  This year there has been an abundance of bluebells and they are slightly earlier than previous times.  For the photographer, bluebells are so appealing and to see the blue flowers either close up or at a distance is always very appealing.  This year I first noticed the bluebells when I visited the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham and then again during a bike ride to Hay Wood that is close to home.  I have visited several bluebell woods before, including Austy Woods, and I am always on the lookout for one that may offer a different take on this renowned British walk.  The Heart of England Forest‘s Bluebell Wood which is in Great Alne, Warwickshire, held a charity woodland walk to help to conserve these irreplaceable ancient woodland habitats.  I found it by chance on browsing through Facebook and signed up for the event.

Bluebell walk at Great Alne Wood
The start of the walk on a glorious spring day.
Bluebell walk at Great Alne Wood
The path into the bluebell wood.
Bluebell walk at Great Alne Wood
A beautiful ancient woodland with a lovely carpet of bluebells.

The wood is near to one of my favourite breweries, Purity Beer, but sadly we passed the entrance and arrived at the Great Alne wood.  Another time maybe! There were a few parked cars and there was a warm welcome from the organisers.  My daughter, Natasha and Noah, my grandson, came with me and we set off to explore.  This is an ancient wood and there were strategic signs placed along the way that gave us interesting nuggets of information about the wood.  There was also a tree log strategically placed midway during the walk, where we could get some lovely selfie pictures with a bluebell backdrop.  The place was quiet, and we felt at one with the place.  The wood has a rolling terrain with gentle hills which show off the bluebells.  Having had our fill of the bluebells we made our way back to the start.  There was a short detour to a hill that provided a view of the surrounding area.  The sun was out throughout the visit and this helped with the photography and views of both bluebells and scenery. 

Bluebell walk at Great Alne Wood
Bluebell backgrounds always makes for a lovely photograph.
Bluebell walk at Great Alne Wood
A view of bluebells in the ancient woodland.
Bluebell walk at Great Alne Wood
The perfect opportunity for a lensball picture

Photographic tips – I took my tripod with me, and I used my Canon 5D mkIV.  I brought my general-purpose lens EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM and a zoom lens EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM.  I added a polariser on the 24-70mm lens.  All pictures were taken in manual setting with the ISO 100 and I had my tripod to allow for a low shutter speed.  My trusty iPhone13 also delivered some excellent pictures.

Bluebell walk at Great Alne Wood
The final view of the Warwickshire countryside.

I have added links to previous bluebell walks.  Please also visit the Heart of England Forest websites to learn more about what they do protecting and developing our forests.
Bluebells in Austy Woods
Heart of England Forest


Wythall Transport Museum

The Wythall transport museum is a treasure trove of bus memorabilia and it was recommend to the IgersbirminghamUK team as a place to hold an Instameet following a feature on BBC Midlands Today.  The man behind the museum is enthusiast Denis Chick and he was there to greet us as we arrived at the Museum.  Denis is Vice Chairman and Press Officer and there is nothing he does not know about the collection. His enthusiasm for the place is unlimited and we received a warm welcome. This was a limited numbers IgersbirminghamUK meeting as Denis already had a booking with a classic car display taking place. When we arrived the cars were already getting ready for the display. The sun was shinning off the highly polished bodywork. We could not have asked for better weather for a day out at the Transport Museum.

Wythall Transport Museum
Denis Chick in front of one of the restored buses at the museum.

Many of the IgersbirminghamUK regulars were present plus one or two new faces.  We had a quick introduction to the day, a group photograph and then we set off to explore the cars and buses. The museum houses over 90 buses. Many of the famous names of the past are there including Midland Red and the WMPTE blue and cream buses.   There are other transport buses from around the West Midlands including representation from local independent operators.  All the buses are in operating condition and sport a wonderful array of colours. 

Wythall Transport Museum
A busy day of classic cars and buses at the Museum

The IgersbirminghamUK participants were able to roam around the three hangers that housed the vehicles, and many photographs were taken.  It was a dream location.  Reflections in the windows and mirrors made for many great compositions.  The small details in and around the buses and other memorabilia meant that as photographers we had a great time as we snapped away. I particularly liked all the emblems and old signs.

Wythall Transport Museum
The no 11 bus
Wythall Transport Museum
Setting off for a bus ride around the area.

In line with the current green agenda, the museum has a collection of battery electric road vehicles.  This includes 30 electric milk floats and bread vans.  These vehicles were operated by companies such as the Co-op, Midland Counties and Birmingham and Handsworth Dairies.  Once again like the buses, the milk floats were very photogenic and there was always a volunteer around to talk about their previous history and how they went about restoring them.

Wythall Transport Museum
A line up of electric milk floats.

The exhibits were photographed all over from the overall bus to the minute details of the inside and the wheels and other interesting components.  The spectrum of colours was a delight.

The bonus to the visit was National drive-it day.  This is when all classic vehicle owners are encouraged to get their vehicle on the road. There were several car clubs present and the range of cars was so varied. 

Wythall Transport Museum
My first car was a Hillman Imp. Great to see this model.
Wythall Transport Museum
A line up of classic cars
Wythall Transport Museum
A Ford Mustang

This was an enjoyable day and there is lots to see and do at the Transport Museum.  I took too many pictures, but I have to say I enjoyed the day out.  If you want to know more then have a look at the Museum web site and I have included the BBC Midlands today film that was put together about the museum.

Wythall Transport Museum
Even buses for the children.

A big thank you to Wythall Transport Museum for hosting us. Thank you to Nicky Butler part of the IgersbirminghamUK team for putting together the day but unable to join us. To John Convey of the Igers team for helping on the day. Thank you to all the participants who came along. These are my own personal photographs and if you wish to see some of the marvellous pictures taken then follow the link #igbuk_meet_wythall. If you are interested in our previous IgersbirminghamUK instameets then follow the links to show the variety of photographic subjects that are covered.
The Exchange meets IgersbirminghamUK
Moseley Instameet – IgersbirminghamUK

Wythall Transport Museum
Selfie with instructions on how to great the public on the buses.

East Midlands Aeropark, April 2022

Who does not like plane spotting?  It is great fun and is brilliant for practising your photographic skills as the planes land and take off.  Whilst searching for a new place to visit I came across the East Midlands Aeropark.  The aeropark is a small museum that is the home for several famous planes that took to the skies in years gone by.  The close proximity of the park to the runway of East Midlands Airport has the added advantage that it allows you to view the planes coming in and out.

East Midlands Aeropark, April 2022
Two of the many exhibits in the Aeropark
East Midlands Aeropark, April 2022
BAC Lightning
BAC Lightning
Another view of the Aeropark

Arriving at the Aeropark, the sun was shinning with few clouds in the sky. Perfect viewing conditions.  My grandson, Noah was so excited about the visit and our first port of call was the going inside a VC10.  Whilst on board there was the original “see through” scale model of the plane and an opportunity to visit the cockpit.  Noah was allowed to sit in the left hand side pilot’s flying seat. Whilst sitting there, he listened attentively to the kind volunteer who explained all about the buttons.  Noah pressed a lot of buttons!  The volunteers were so kind and treated him as a grown up, although they did say that moving the steering wheel around violently may spill a few gin and tonics in the back of the plane!  Sandy my wife once flew on VC10s to the far east on a regular basis during holidays from boarding school, so it was a trip down memory lane for her.

BAC Lightning
Noah and Sandy in the VC10
East Midlands Aeropark, April 2022
A scale model of the VC10
Noah on the flight deck
East Midlands Aeropark, April 2022
Look at all those buttons, switches and dials

The overall theme of the visit was how friendly the place was and all the volunteers were so keen to help out.  One of the volunteers, Carl, saw that I was taking photographs and gave me access to look over the wings of the Avro Vulcan bomber.  For me this was my highlight of the visit.

East Midlands Aeropark, April 2022
Up close with a Vulcan
East Midlands Aeropark, April 2022
Topside and looking across the wing of a Vulcan
East Midlands Aeropark, April 2022
Thanks to Carl, one of the volunteers for allowing me to see the Vulcan closeup

What else was there to photograph?  A Sea King helicopter, a Meteor, a BAC Lightning and a BAe Nimrod plus many others as listed on the website. There is a shop with refreshments and the obligatory toy plane for Noah.  There were many plane engines in there as well.

East Midlands Aeropark, April 2022
Sea King Helicopter
East Midlands Aeropark, April 2022
Up close
East Midlands Aeropark, April 2022
Inside the hanger
East Midlands Aeropark, April 2022
Engines and the Union Jack

We did not forget about the plane spotting, and we spent time on one of the mounds overlooking the runway watching the planes land.  Luckily the landing was happening on the east part of the runway so we could watch the planes hanging in the air as they came into land.

East Midlands Aeropark, April 2022
RyanAir coming into land
East Midlands Aeropark, April 2022
Plane Spotting

I would highly recommend a visit to this museum.  It is well worth the admission price and if you have young children or anyone with an interest in flying then you will not be disappointed.

East Midlands Aeropark, April 2022
Overnight Delivery

Here are some links to the East Midlands Aeropark and the East Midlands Airport.