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Remember to Relax

Funny how after a vibrant and colourful Spring as we approach July all things seem to settle down and become more muted and perhaps understated. The bright greens, yellows and blues calm and soften as the season draws on. Birds that not so long ago were vibrating along every hedgerow are quieter and , after raising their chicks, more tired `cos kids can be very demanding of parents time and energy. Ready for the school holidays are we? This is a good time to dawdle along the valley and across the meadows just looking and listening and just breathing in some fresh air. Remember though to please be in control of your dog and clean up after it. Remember to please consider pedestrians when you are on your bike, all the valley paths are to be shared with care. Remember how lucky we are to have such a resource as the New Hall Valley Country Park and remember that it needs caring for and looking after. It really is a jewel in Walmley`s crown , it is as good an example of Community asset that we could wish for.

We are now nearer to next Christmas than we are to the last so lets get out into our gardens and relax. The glorious scent of the neighbour`s barbeque, the throbbing bass from a passing car, the house alarm that has been going since midday, the mowers, the strimmers……….. Still ,as of yet no sound of gunfire or rumble of tanks, I like to live in a country that people strive to get into rather than out of, don`t you ? ( apart from a Scottish Nationalist of course )

This article appears in Walmley Pages Magazine, a local publication delivered free to homes and businesses in Walmey, Minworth and Sutton Coldfield.

Water, Wood and Wild Wander

Just a week or so after reading this it will be Midsummers Day !

How does a year go by so fast? At least we seem to be having proper seasons this year. Not much snow for snowmen though.

A great show of blossom this spring with the May (hawthorn)

lasting a full month, Apple and Cherry blooms promise a bumper crop later. In the Valley our grasslands are starting to reach a peak of colour as all the wildflowers compete for the attentions of moths, butterflies and bees. Join us for a Wildflower Wander through some of the best meadows in the West Midlands. Meet at the Water Mill 2.00pm Sunday June 8th. Hope for sunshine and we`ll see how many of the over 100 species are on view. Bonus is that the Mill is open and so is the tea room. Also in the Valley we are having a Grand Balsam Bash ! Sunday June 22nd 9.30am and we will try to clear the Plants Brook of this Himalayan invader to give our indigenous water plants and wildlife chance to grow and flourish out of the shade cast by the Balsam. Wellies essential.

How many readers recognise the name of “Jones`s Wood”??

This is the patch of ancient woodland next to the Deanery School and is in need of some urgent TLC. A meeting is to be held at the school on Wednesday June 11th 7.00pm to explore setting up a Friends group and to discuss ongoing issues and future maintenance. Nothing heavy ,just a bit of help for a neglected but much loved patch of Walmley past and present.

If you care about Walmley , the Valley or the Wood, come along to any or all of these events supporting our Community.

 

This article appears in Walmley Pages Magazine, a local publication delivered free to residents in Walmley, Minworth and Sutton Coldfield areas.

Sutton Wakes Up to Spring

As we cast off the dark days of winter and emerge blinking in to the sunlight, what’s going on in Sutton Coldfield to make ending our hibernation worthwhile?
Time Travel in Sutton Park
First stop, as spring is asserting itself, is Sutton Park. A great way to explore the park is to take one of the Friends of Sutton Park Association (FOSPA) archaeology walks. Would you have known that the park (long before King Henry Viii gifted it to the town) was inhabited by our bronze-age ancestors? Or that over 800 years ago it was a prestigious deer park, owned by the earl of Warwick. Pick up the FOSPA leaflet which contains 3 different walks and charmingly weaves in these stories of old.sutton park
Springtime Arts
What to do in the evening after a bracing day out in the fresh spring air? How about a dip into a Turkish bath? At Sutton Arts Theatre, Neil Dunn’s ribald classic Steaming is running from 20th to 29th March.
The Royal opera House comes to the Empire cinema with an “as live” screening of A Winter’s Tale on 28th April and there is a great line up of other London productions following. It’s as near to the real thing as you can get, without the expense of trekking to London.
Also not to be missed, and with more of a local feel, is Swinging on a Star, a big band music night with the fabulous Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra at Sutton Town Hall on 21st March.
Made in Sutton
If your winter hibernation has left you more in a shopping frame of mind, choose Saturday 15th March to make your trip into the town centre. That’s when local arts promoters Made in Sutton take over the shopping centre, presenting a day of arts, music and dance activities to accompany your retail therapy.
This spring it’s all about getting out there and enjoying all that Sutton Coldfield has to offer, from the natural oasis of Sutton Park to the vibrant arts and culture of our Royal town. Enjoy!

This article appears in Recommended magazine, delivered free to 40,000 homes and businesses in the Sutton Coldfield and surrounding areas.

Freedom Cycles, the Cycling store where customer service still comes first!

We are an independent Cycle dealer in Lichfield, Staffordshire. Situated in the bus station in this historic cathedral city, we opened our shop in April 2009. As cyclists ourselves, we believe we have the passion and desire to make sure everyone is happy on two wheels!

We started our store journey as part of the Raleigh Cyclelife network, and as such we are able to offer the full range of Raleigh bikes and accessories. As we have grown as a business, and our customer base has expanded, we have developed our range of bikes and accessories to satisfy all – bike brands stocked now include Diamondback, Focus, Haibike, Tifosi and more manufacturers are being added all the time.

We pride ourselves on our personal service, and attention to detail when finding the right bike for you. Whether you are young or old, expert or novice, adventurous or sedate, we will help you to choose the right bike for your needs, and ensure that it is the right size too.  Our aim is to show everyone how much pleasure it is to ‘get on your bike!’

We have over 80 bikes on display, with more in stock and readily available, ranging from toddlers trikes to tandems, full range of childrens bikes, bmx, town and country, all terrain and mountain bikes, and a full range of road bikes for all riders – right through from beginner to serious competitor.

Parts and accessories are readily available throughout the store, brands such as Altura, Polaris, Lusso and Moa for clothing, Campagnola, Shimano, Sram, Cycleops, Stans, Camelback, Motorex, Muc Off, Moon and many many more.  If we don’t have an item in stock when you call in, we can normally get a very prompt delivery from our suppliers.

We have been heavily involved with Lichfield District Council in supporting and helping to run the ‘Cycle Rides for All’, a community ride which takes place once a month from March to September, on the last Sunday of the month, and has grown in numbers over the last four years.  Further details of this years program of rides will be available shortly – see our website for updates.

 

Also, we have our very own FREEDOM RIDERS – a group of like minded cycling friends, and we ride from the shop every Tuesday evening at 6pm – this is a road bike ride, normally between 20-30 miles at a steady (ish) pace.  We organise a number rides throughout the year, culminating in the Freedom 69er – a 69 mile ride, normally in September which we raise funds for Charity, last year raising over £400 for SSAFA the forces charity.

This years planned rides so far are the March Den Engel run, a steady ride up to Leek on Saturday 22nd, stay over for a meal and drink, followed by a longer ride back on Sunday 23rd.  On August bank holiday, we will be leaving the shop in Lichfield at Midnight for a ride through to Barmouth – arriving on the sea-front in the morning – once you’ve done this one, you’ll want to do it again!  And of course the Freedom 69er in September.

 

Our servicing is carried out by Cytech qualified technicians, and we repair all makes and models of bike.  We are happy to quote on any service or repair job that you are contemplating.  Complete rebuilds, refurbishments, wheel builds, standard and special services, even replacing inner tubes!

As we are celebrating our 5th birthday in April, we will offer a 10% discount off parts and accessories to any customer bringing this copy of Recommended magazine with them when visiting the store.

The Bus Station, Birmingham Road, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 6HU  01543 411633

This article appears in Lichfield Recommended Magazine, a free publication delivered to homes and businesses in Lichfiled and surrounding areas.

What’s on in Lichfield this Spring?

Spring fever in Lichfield
Spring is upon us and Lichfield is reawakening. The great outdoors beckons, Easter is around the corner and even the Lichfield Bower is in sight. Here’s a taster of Lichfield events and activities to catch that spring fever.
Step Outside
Blessed as we are with countryside all around, now is the time to explore. Head up to Cannock Chase for acres of woodland walks; step among the bluebells at Yoxall Woods (open from 19th April), or take a canal-side saunter at Fradley Junction with a cheeky pint at the Swan.
Closer to home, there is always something happening in Beacon Park and this spring is no exception. Would you believe the golf course is 40 years old? Join in the birthday celebrations on Sunday 23rd March. On the way to Burntwood, have you tried the Woodland Trust’s Pipe Hill Farm yet? It has over 100 acres of woodland and meadow with views back across Lichfield. Even more central, Leomansley Woods are carpeted in bluebells in the spring and offer a lovely, if somewhat soggy walk, with, at one elevated point, possibly the best view of Lichfield Cathedral to be found.
Easter Fun
Take the kids down to the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum for Sam’s Easter Adventure, Easter holiday fun with trails, activities and competitions every day. Erasmus Darwin House will also have Easter activities for children along with a series of special events to celebrate its 15th birthday in April.
A fresh start for the arts
Lichfield Arts has an eclectic spring programme of music including, among many others, blues, folk, swing, jazz and heavy rock. Over at the Garrick the choice explodes with opera, drama, dance, Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll; the last three – with the added qualifier (I wish) – being the title of a show on 4th April by Mike McGear McCartney, Paul McCartney’s younger brother, famous for the old Lily the Pink song.
Whatever your springtime plans, stay local and have fun!

This article appears in Lichfield Recommended, a magazine delivered free to residents in Lichfield and surrounding area’s.

John Taylor Hospice Celebrate 40 years

A local voluntary charity that helps patients with life threatening illnesses has its 40th anniversary this year.

 

To contribute to the celebrations, the League of Friends of John Taylor Hospice wants to recruit 400 adults, children and even dogs to take part in the Great Midlands Fun Run in Sutton Coldfield in June.

 

Registration begins on 1st February and their recruitment drive was given a send off by Birmingham’s Lord Mayor Councillor Mike Leddy, the Lady Mayoress Pauline Leddy, Erdington MP Jack Dromey and Tracey Spare Director of the Fun Run for over 20 years.

 

Entrants can WALK, jog or run as it is not a race. For more details, of how you can help the Charity, please contact Ray Woods on Freephone: 0800 500 3016 or email fundraising@johntaylorhospicelof.org.uk.’

The Great Barr Gazette is a magazine delivered free to homes in Great Barr and surrounding area’s.

LEAVES ON THE LINE

Thank goodness that is over , February I mean. It always feels so tired and grim and long. Let us now look forward to sap rising , burgeoning birdsong and green shoots shooting. March is when we can feel the quickening of the natural world, which is all around us. (well it is until it`s built on!) Birds and bees start to give overt displays of that for which they are known. Of our garden birds the Robins, Blackbirds and Thrushes have probably already sorted out their partners and their nest site territories but most of our feathered friends will delay for the hopefully better weather at the months end. The winter visitors disperse and we await the arrival of the first swallows to herald spring.

Celandines, violets and primroses are all to be found in and around the New Hall Valley blooming low to the ground waiting to be discovered and admired . Towards the end of the month look out for the explosion of white blossom along the blackthorn hedges to be closely followed by the aromatic and unmistakeable hawthorn.

This is always a time of hope as we feel winter is behind us and we can anticipate summer coming even as we enjoy spring. Don`t get too excited though, always remember that April 1st is All Fool`s Day !

Talking of fools, I wonder whether any attack of common sense has broken out , since I wrote this in January, and that folly of vanity has been cancelled. Yes, of course I mean HS2. Just a thought ,but if it was cancelled then the Washwood Heath industrial site will not be required. Logic then suggests that the Peddimore site plan could be moved to that location and we would not need to develop that Green Belt at all. As I said , just a thought.

This article appears in Walmley Pages Magazine, a free publication delivered to homes and businesess in Walmley and Sutton Coldfield.

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