Monday 31 January 2022


On Saturday i headed back to Nottinghamshire to visit the market town of Bulwell, to the North of Nottingham itself. Unlike when i went to Beeston last year, the Nottingham trams were running which was a nice bonus! You can see my photos here.

Friday 28 January 2022

Churches (129) : All Saints, Leamington Spa

All Saints in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire despite appearances is largely a 19th century construction. The original church dated from the 13th century. This church was gradually extended over the following centuries. However, in 1843 work began on a complete and much larger rebuilding of the church. The main period of construction continued until 1869. Western bays to the nave and a South West bell tower were added at the end of the 19th century.

The church has a clerstoried nave with aisles, a West tower and North and South transepts. The church is ashlar faced and built in the Gothic Revival style. The original church may have been a modest affair but the church today is one of the largest English parish churches, cathedral like in scale.

Thursday 27 January 2022

Avanti Pride

Avanti West Coast's Pride liveried train passes through Rugeley Trent Valley.

Tuesday 25 January 2022

Cigarette Card Stars (9) : Veronica Rose

Actress Veronica Rose appeared in thirteen films starting with Just Smith (1933) and finally The Dark Road in 1948. She also had a successful stage career. She was born in Edinburgh in 1911 and died in Oxford in 1968. Although she maybe did not make it as a major star she was presented at Court and attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Sunday 23 January 2022

Newtown / Y Drenewydd

Its been some time since i've been to Wales, so yesterday i headed to Newtown (or Y Drenewydd if you prefer) in Powys. This is a lovely town in the East of Wales with a number of interesting buildings including the ruins of the church of St Mary. You can see my photos here.

Friday 21 January 2022

Churches (128) : St Editha, Tamworth

The parish church of St Editha in Tamworth is the largest medieval parish church in Staffordshire and is overlooked by Tamworth Castle. A church has been on the site since the 8th century, the current church being the fourth (the Danes destroyed the first two!) The church was built between 1350 and 1369 after a fire destroyed the third church (and much of the town). The church was restored in the late 19th century.

The church has a nave with aisles and a large West tower. The tower is one of three churches in Europe with a double spiral staircase.

Tuesday 18 January 2022

Cigarette Card Stars (8) : Nona Casty

Nona Casty was a French dancer and actress known for her roles on stage in the Paris shows and also French films. That is according to the text on the back of this Ardath card anyway, searching IMDB or even Google for Nona Casty does not seem to return much! It seems like "Casty" was short for something, if you have any more details please let me know!

Sunday 16 January 2022

Ashchurch and Tewkesbury

Yesterday i headed down to Gloucestershire to Ashchurch. Tewkesbury is just over two miles away so i walked over to the town with it's fine abbey and many timber framed buildings. Well worth the walk! You can see my photos here.

Friday 14 January 2022

Churches (127) : All Saints, Stamford

The parish church of All Saints in Stamford, Lincolnshire has existed since before the Domesday Book though no parts of the church remain from this time. Most of the current church dates from the 13th century with some remains from the previous century including part of the nave.

The church had a number of additions in the 15th century, including the steeple and clerestory. The church was restored in the mid-19th century. The church is made from coursed limestone and rubble.

Thursday 13 January 2022

Wednesday 12 January 2022

Model week : Fantastic four

Well Birches Green now has four Gmeinder D75 BB-SEs... so why not get all four onto the layout for a photoshoot!

Tuesday 11 January 2022

Cigarette Card Stars (7) : Shirley Ross

Shirley Ross never made it to the front rank of Hollywood stars but carved out a solid career in thirty one films between 1933 and 1945 including twice working with Bob Hope. Shirley was born in 1913 in Omaha, Nebraska and moved to Hollywood in her youth. She began to sing in clubs and on the radio where she attracted the attention of cinema bosses. She made her film debut in 1933's "Blonde bombshell" in a bit part and then gradually moved up the billing in a number of musicals throughout the decade.

Probably the height of her career was co-starring with Bob Hope in 1938's "Big Broadcast of 1938" and "Some like it hot" the following year, where she also sang the theme song. However, in the early 1940s her film career began to fade as Shirley preferred to perform live and on the radio. After her last film in 1945, she left showbiz. She died in 1975.

Sunday 9 January 2022


Yesterday I headed into the East Midlands for the first proper rail adventure of the year. I visited Newark-on-Trent which has a rather lovely castle ruin next to the river as well as some other interesting old buildings and sites. You can see my Newark photos here.

Friday 7 January 2022

Churches (126) : St Chad, Wishaw

The parish church of St Chad in Wishaw, Warwickshire dates from at least the 13th century, the North arcade is of this vintage. The South arcade and chancel are 14th century additions. The West tower is a more recent addition still, being added in 17th century, no trace of any earlier tower has been found. The arcades were remodelled in the 15th century, probably due to the addition of a clerestory.

The church is built from red sandstone ashlar. The church was restored in 1886-7.

Wednesday 5 January 2022

Model Week : A new loco

New year, new locomotive (although it was supposed to arrive late last week / year!) Birches Green's latest locomotive is a fourth Gmeinder D75 BB-SE and joins The Falcon, Growler and Black Beauty at the core of the layout's main line fleet. It is in SLB Pinzgauer Lokalbahn livery. As of yet a name has not been chosen.

Tuesday 4 January 2022

Cigarette Card Stars (6) : Joan Blondell

Joan Blondell had a long career in film and later TV between 1930 and 1979. She was born in New York in 1906, the daughter of vaudeville performers. She toured with her parents from the age of 4, making her NY stage debut with the Zeigfeld Follies. She appeared in a number of Broadway productions, including alongside James Cagney.

She made her film debut with Cagney in 1930's Sinner's Holiday. She never quite made it as a superstar though carved out a solid career as a supporting actor in a number of films. She was often cast as a wisecracking ally to the male lead. She died in 1979.

Monday 3 January 2022

Kings Norton and Cross-City South

So, the new year of rail adventures begins. I stayed pretty local today but i wanted to finally tick off the three stations on the Cross-City Line which have eluded me. I travelled to Longbridge, Selly Oak and Kings Norton. At the latter i also went and had a look at the rather fine church of St Nicholas. You can see my Kings Norton photos here. The railway photos are here.

Saturday 1 January 2022

The final trip of 2021 : Rugeley

The final rail adventure of 2021 was made on Thursday when i went to Rugeley Trent Valley to do some railway photography. I wanted to see the new Class 768 parcel train, and i did achieve that though the photos of that unit were not the best. There was plenty of variety though, you can see my photos here.