Wednesday 31 May 2023


I go to Shrewsbury station to change changes quite a lot (three times this year already!) However, i haven't ventured out of the station into the town for years and so much of the town was yet to be explored. I did just this on Monday, visiting no less than five churches and also the river side too. A lovely town indeed, i need to step out of the station more often. You can see my photos here.

Tuesday 30 May 2023

Model week : Boomerang

Project #105 is a Commonwealth Boomerang (an Australian fighter - you could probably guess that! - from the Second World War). It is quite a simple kit and is in an advanced stage of building. Painting should begin by the end of the week.

Monday 29 May 2023

Modern Collins (2) : Sea-change

Sea-change by Philip Loraine starts off what seems to be a standard case of a missing person in Spain but slowly builds into a full blown Cold War spy drama in central Europe as more and more is revealed about some the main characters. This is a very well written story with various layers of intrigue and really conveys the world of secrecy, disguise and double lives of top level espionage. Even those nearest to them cannot know the truth.

A highly entertaining book, not sparing some of the cruelties of this way of life. The question is though, is it a crime novel and thus should be in the Collins Crime Club? Well the club did have tales covering a wide variety of criminal activity even the paranormal so why not the international spy game, which includes plenty of criminal activity! It is a great read anyway.

Friday 26 May 2023

British Saints (1) : St Werburgh

This new series will explore some of the British born saints in the Christian canon, and places of worship that continue to be dedicated to them today.

St Werburgh was an Anglo-Saxon princess who was born at Stone in around 650CE. She was the daughter of King Wulfhere of Mercia. Her mother was St Ermenilda of Kent. Werburgh wanted to enter Ely abbey and was trained by St Chad, her mother and other female relatives who were at the abbey. She finally became abbess of the convent, following in the footsteps of her mother, grand-mother and great-aunt! She was responsible for convent reform in England. She died in 700 on February the 3rd.

In 708 her brother, now King Coenred of Mercia had Werburgh's remains moved in Hanbury to a more prominent place in the church due to their growing popularity with visitors. Her body was said to have been miraculously intact, a sign of divine favour. She is said to have appeared and restored a goose to life! She also banished a flock of geese which was laying waste to crops. Her remains to moved to Chester in the 9th century where she remains the city's patron saint, the abbey church renamed for St Werburgh.

The location of her tomb remained at Chester cathedral (as the site is now called) and was a place of veneration and pilgrimage. The badge of a gaggle of geese was adopted as proof of having made the pilgrimage to St Werburgh! Her relics were unfortunately lost during the Dissolution though remnants of her shrine have survived at the cathedral.

Ten churches in England are dedicated to St Werburgh including in Spondon and Derby. Her feast day is February 3rd.

St Werburgh, Derby

St Werburgh, Spondon

Thursday 25 May 2023

Model week : Many tanks

Project #104 has been completed, a World War 1 Mark 1 Male Tank. It is the third tank kit to completed this year. No more are on the horizon though, the next couple of kits will be aircraft. Here is a photo of all three tanks (the others being a Tiger I and a Sherman Firefly). The tanks are all to the same scale so it is interesting to compare the sizes.

Wednesday 24 May 2023

New typewriter

A new typewriter arrived today, the first for some time. It is a Triumph-Adler Tippa and seems to work pretty well though has no ribbon at all fitted so we'll wait for one to be fitted until we can give the final verdict. The typewriter has a German keyboard, though inside the case is a dealer located in East London so thats interesting.

Tuesday 23 May 2023


At the weekend i headed up north to Warrington, which is a rather nice town, not a grim industrial one as some might think, on the Mersey. I was pleasantly surprised. The parish church was even open for a change so i could go inside! You can see my photos here.

Monday 22 May 2023

Modern Collins (1) : Frog in the Throat

This is a spin-off from our long-running Golden Age crime novel series. Golden Age has covered many Collins Crime Club novels. This new series will do the same but in more recent decades, mostly 1970s and 1980s.

Frog in the Throat by Elizabeth Ferrers is a pleasant little amateur detective story set in a leafy village. The narrator her rogue-ish estranged husband unravel a murder, as they do so more secrets are unveiled in what appeared at first to be a very innocent setting but really isn't (of course!)

A very good novel with a deep mystery which is gradually revealed as the story progresses, part of a series featuring Virginia and Felix. We will review more of them in future for sure.

Sunday 21 May 2023

SVR Diesel Gala 2023

The big railway event of the year (for me anyway) is always the Severn Valley Railway Diesel Gala and this year's was no exception. Although there was nothing that novel attending this year that i hadn't seen much of before there was a great mix of guest locomotives and some good sights to see at Kidderminster and Bewdley. Highlight curiously was probably the GWR High Speed Train, but after all the SVR is the quintessential GWR line! You can see my photos here.

Saturday 20 May 2023

Model week : Males and Females

The latest model project, #104, a WW1 Mark 1 Male Tank is nearly completed. In case you wonder the first ever British tanks came in Male and Female variants, the main difference being the armament. Male tanks having heavier guns, Female tanks having more machine guns.

Friday 19 May 2023

Churches (185) : St John the Baptist, Beeston

The parish church of St John the Baptist in Beeston, Nottinghamshire dates from the 13th century though has been extensively rebuilt more than once and little of the original church, which is first mentioned in 1231, survives. A font which dates from the reign of Henry III and carvings in the chancel survive from it's early days.

The church was rebuilt during the reign of Henry VIII though the current church is largely the result of a rebuilding in 1842 which was extensive and covered all areas of the church except the chancel.


Yesterday i attended the Severn Valley Railway Diesel Gala, more of which another time. I also took the chance to go into Bewdley and have a proper look around as its been some time since i was last there and i did not tend to take my photos back then, unlike now! You can see my photos here.

Wednesday 17 May 2023

Stafford rails

Having some time off this week, i headed up to Stafford yesterday for some train watching. Its always best to go to a place like this in the week as you get more freight and also the chance to see new trains on test and some unusual workings like light engine stock moves. All three were seen yesterday, you can see the photos here.

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Walking the Metro in West Bromwich

On Saturday i took the Metro to Black Lake and planned to walk the Ridgacre branch canal, however it did not look that inviting - especially as there geese in both directions! So, instead i walked along the path thats runs alongside the metro. I walked to West Bromwich and a little further. You can see my photos here.

Monday 15 May 2023

Warwickshire Places (25) : Kenilworth

Kenilworth is a market town to the north of Warwick. Kenilworth was known as Chinewrde at the time of the Domesday Book. The town gained importance early in the Norman period with the establishment of an Augustinian priory and also a castle in the early 12th century. 

The castle was a major strongpoint, it was besieged by Prince Edward's forces in 1266 during the Second Barons War for six months and did not fall. Later on Kenilworth was the setting for a parliament by King Henry III which eventually led to the end of the war. During the Wars of the Roses the castle was a base for King Henry IV. Later on Elizabeth I stayed at the castle and prayed at the nearby St Nicholas church.

The castle was slighted after the Civil War and soon became a ruin. Kenilworth's national importance diminished as a result. The priory eventually became an abbey though this also became ruins after dissolution. However, in modern times the castle is a major visitor attraction. The town gained a railway station in 1844, though it closed in 1965 before being re-opened in 2018!

Inside St Nicholas' church

St Nicholas' church

Near the abbey ruins

Part of the abbey ruins

Sunday 14 May 2023

Model week : Male

Project #104 is a WW1 Mark 1 Male Tank and is now in the painting stage. It is the third tank kit made this year and there will be more to come i am sure though none are in the pending list at the moment.

Friday 12 May 2023

Churches (184) : St Margaret, Olton

The parish church of St Margaret in Olton, part of Solihull in the West Midlands, dates from 1879. However, only the chancel of this church remains. The rest was replaced in 1895-6. 

The church has rock faced walls. The church has no tower.

Thursday 11 May 2023

Wrexham arrival

Arriving at Wrexham General though bound for Wrexham Central.

Tuesday 9 May 2023


I didn't go anywhere on Saturday due to the Coronation of King Charles III which i wanted to watch, i was not feeling well in any case. By Monday and the extra bank holiday i was feeling better so headed up north to Mansfield. A fine old town it is too, just a pity the weather wasn't too good but it could have been worse, the rain largely held off. You can see my photos here.

Monday 8 May 2023

Warwickshire Places (24) : Southam

Southam is a market town to the east of Leamington Spa. Southam has Saxon origins and was granted to Coventry Priory in 1043. By the time of the Domesday Book the manor was known as Sucham. It remained owned by Coventry Priory until the Dissolution.

The town gained a market charter in 1227, it was well located on the intersection of a number of ancient roads including main roads to Coventry, Warwick and Oxford. Southam later gained the right to hold a number of medieval fairs. During the Civil War the Royalists had a mint creating coins to pay the troops, the building is now the Olde Mint pub! Later on Southam became an important stagecoach stop. Despite being close to a couple of railway lines Southam has never been directly served it's own railway station.

Southam has a Holy Well, which was first recorded in 998. The water from the well is said to cure eye complaints. Southam's parish church dedicated to St James dates from the 14th century. 

St James churchyard


Ye Olde Mint

St James

Saturday 6 May 2023

Garden update

After a winter that was lengthy if fairly mild it seems the weeds are now growing with a vengeance. Work is ongoing in both the front and back gardens to get rid of the weeds. One area of concern though is one of my two rosemary plants, it seems to have died over the winter. The other one next to it is fine and even in bloom. Hopefully the situation will improve now it is warming up at last.

Friday 5 May 2023

Churches (183) : Christ Church, Crewe

Christ Church in Crewe is a former parish church which was built for the Grand Junction Railway in 1843. The tower was added in 1877 and is a piece of Gothic Revival. Much of the church including the nave and aisles were demolished due to dry rot in 1977. The tower has survived intact. Services continued to be held in the church until; 2013 though it was officially deconsecrated in 1980.

The tower is built from yellow sandstone. Some of the remains of the rest of the church including the chancel are made from brick.