Day out: Kingsbury

Part of Kingsbury village from the new hide on the sand martin bank. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Kingsbury Water Park in the midlands is a good day out for us.

There are walks and bird hides and other places of interest and things to do and see. But, more importantly, it’s right off the M42 motorway, so when we’ve been to visit my parents, it’s easy enough to bob in and have a visit.

Plus, it’s where we tried our tent out last year at Easter when the tent was still very new.

We had planned to do a walk around one of the lakes. It was a lovely day and the poet wanted to try out his new polarising filter.

Kingsbury Water Park, River Tame. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

So we made sure we got to my parents’ in good time to drop in on the way back home …

… but as we approached the roundabout leading to the park we had second thoughts. Everyone else, it seemed, had had the same idea, and the traffic was backed up a loooong way.

We had a picnic with us, though, and it was time for us to eat. So instead of going to the water park, we headed to the old village of Kingsbury, which is just around the back of the park.

Kingsbury Water Park, Old Kingsbury Village. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

There we found a church car park with a nice view, and we had our picnic. Then we put the dog’s lead on and explored the churchyard to see what else there was to see.

Well, imagine our pleasure when we realised that one of the footpaths led right into the back of the water park – and we didn’t have to pay a car park admission either! Result.

So we had a stroll along what looks like a new-ish trail beside the sand martin bank. This feature was only completed in February, in partnership with the Tame Valley Wetlands.The martins aren’t here yet, though. But we may drop in again when they’ve arrived.

Jet-ski, Kingsbury Water Park. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Fortunately, not many people had the same ideas as us in approaching the park from this side, but we did catch up with the crowds when we decided against an ice-cream as the queue for the ice-cream-van was almost as long as the traffic queue into the park.

The poet exercised his camera muscles with a few scenic shots, and then we made our way over to a lake where there were jet-skis in action. Oh joy! Here was where he could try out his new filter.

Jet-ski, Kingsbury Water Park. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Once he was happy with the day’s product, we went back to the car and headed home.

It was very sunny and this new trail has very little shade. It will probably get very hot – and very busy – in the summer months. Maybe next time we’ll get there a little earlier, but at least we know where to park if we bump into traffic again.

Camping: Kingsbury – Easter 2016

blog 1
Our posh new tent (pic: Ian Wordsworth)

It’s been a long while since I had chance to update anything on the blog, and I have a little bit of catching up to do. So I’m going to start with our very brief sojourn into Kingsbury at Easter, when we tried out our lovely new blow-up tent.

blog 2
Ian, blowing up the posh new air-bed (pic: Diane Wordsworth)

We were going to buy a trailer tent, and that’s what we were researching when we saw our first blow-up tent … and we were smitten, and the poet didn’t want anything else. So we started to save up and we bought a Vango Airbeam Capri 500XL.

Easter was our first chance to try it out and with things going on back home in Birmingham and us wanting to be not too far away, we decided to go along to the Camping & Caravanning Club site at Kingsbury Water Park in the Midlands. We’d discovered the site on a walk here earlier in the year, and decided it was so lovely, it was as good a place as any to start. And while we were there, we joined.

blog 3
Our posh camping pantry (pic: Ian Wordsworth)

We arrived quite late on the Friday afternoon (Good Friday), having dropped off on the way to visit the poet’s parents in Doncaster. So we let my dad know we’d arrived and we took advantage of a chip wagon that visited the site at 6pm … I don’t know, our first camp of the year and we had fish and chips for tea on the very first night!

The tent comes with its own pump, which has “inflate” and “deflate” valves on. Because it inflates/deflates all the time, whether you pull the pump up or push it down, the tent was up in no time. The poet used it on our deluxe model double air-bed too. It was harder work but did the job nicely.

The first night we were absolutely frozen. Bad weather had been forecast for the entire weekend, along with very high winds. In fact, the day before we travelled, my dad rang up and asked if we really wanted to do it this particular weekend. But we knew that if we didn’t, then the first time would have to be another time anyway.

blog 4
Birmingham and Fazeley Canal (pic: Ian Wordsworth)

The next day we went to visit my parents, and my dad came back to see the new tent. He loved it and wished he could still do it. After we dropped Dad off home again, we headed back to the site via our new favourite shop – Go Outdoors. I’d located a branch on the Kingsbury Road, so it was ideal for us.

There we bought some gas canisters and a gas fire, which operates on just one canister at a time. These canisters click in really easily and are nothing like the old gas bottles you had to fiddle with when I was a kid. We also bought a brand new pantry as the table we’ve had for a while was getting a bit cluttered.

Saturday night was considerably warmer, but only because (a) the wind had dropped temporarily, and (b) we left our thermals on. But more bad weather was on its way, and we’d even heard a whisper of snow.

blog 5
Birmingham and Fazeley Canal – and cover image for Twee Tales rebrand (pic: Ian Wordsworth)

Sunday morning dawned a little brighter than previously, and we managed to fit in a short walk to the water park. We’d already seen most of it on our previous walk, but we wanted to go back to the hides, see the birds, use the poet’s spotting scope and take a few more pictures.

It looks nice and sunny, but that white sky reveals how cold it really was.

blog 6
Rufus and Diane, Birmingham and Fazeley Canal (pic: Ian Wordsworth)

The walk to the bird hides goes along the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, so the poet took a few more pictures there, including the one above that was used for the new cover of Twee Tales.

With snow forecast, though, we decided to de-camp a day early and head home. We’d had a great time and could hardly wait until the next …

Walk: Kingsbury Water Park

IMG_4379a
Teasel, Kingsbury Water Park (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Kingsbury Water Park in the West Midlands is on part of my old stomping ground. It’s about half an hour from my parents, and as we were visiting them on Saturday, as we were early-ish, and as the weather was dry and mild, we decided to drop in on our way home.

We paid £3.50 to get into the car park … eventually. Both we and the person in front struggled to get the machine to accept all of our coins, and both of us also dropped money on the floor. We thought this was quite bad as, if you drop your money, you have to reverse so that you can open your door to reach it again, and if there’s a queue of people behind … We also thought there should be some kind of help facility.

First of all we parked right outside the visitor centre to pick up a map of the park, which is around 620 acres. And that cost us 50p. Then, when I asked her where was the best place to park for the bird hides, she said we could go out of the main entrance, in through another entrance, and park there instead … but we’d have to pay our £3.50 again.

IMG_4375a
Echills Wood Railway, Kingsbury Water Park (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

While we understand that these places need to charge, and the park is quite well-maintained, we did think this additonal parking fee was a bit unfair. Why not give us a token so that we could use it in the other car park? Why not have one car park fee that covers us for several car parks owned by the same organisation?

Anyway, we stayed where we were, parked in a more suitable place, and walked the extra bit to get onto the path for the bird hides, first pausing to eat our picnic in the car.

This path took us through the Echills Wood Railway, which is currently closed for essential maintenance, and on through the woods, under the motorway, and around several of the different lakes.

IMG_4415a
Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, Kingsbury Water Park (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Within about half an hour, with stopping for pictures, etc, we were at the first of the bird hides and the poet was able to set his telescope up.

We were rewarded with, amongst others, a cormorant, a little egret, lots of pochards, a pair of golden eye, some great crested grebe, plenty of coots and ducks, a shoveller, and a beautiful kingfisher (sorry, he was too far away for a photograph).

There are 3 hides along the hides path, all very clean and well-maintained. We were the only ones there, so I was able to let the dog off his lead while we were inside – dogs are allowed all around the park, but they are supposed to be kept on leads in the bird reserve part of the park.

IMG_4388a
Cormorant, Kingsbury Water Park (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

On our way back to the car park we found ourselves beside the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, where the poet was able to take some pictures of boats and locks.

Because of the time of year, by the time we were almost back at the car park, the light had dimmed considerably. It was gone 4pm and there was a storm coming in.

Incidentally, I’m very aware that pictures can take their time uploading on some readers’ connections, which is one of the reasons I don’t share very many photographs following a walk. Let me know, though, if you’d like to see more. I do try to scatter them throughout other posts over the year, but sometimes it’s nice just to have a photo-blog.

MapMyWalk
MapMyWalk recently updated on my phone and I wasn’t sure what had changed … until we started our walk. The path was shown against a plain grid, instead of against an OS-type map thing, and I was worried it wouldn’t work.

However, when I went to share it on Facebook, it showed the map no problem. So I need to look into that.

Here, though, is our walk. We walked 3.48 miles and burned 455 calories.

kingsbury water park mapmywalk

 

Steady week

It’s been a good and steady week with me clearing the decks of lots of outstanding works.

On Monday I shifted a non-fiction back to the author, and to the publisher for typesetting. On Tuesday I cracked on with author revisions on a novel and returned that back to the publisher on Wednesday, and also on Wednesday I pitched for 12 editing or proofreading jobs.

Thursday was a busy day. I finally caught up with the diary, scheduling work in for this week and for next, and putting all the regular stuff in there between now and the end of June, when the diary runs out and my new one starts.

I entertained builders, who were climbing around the inside of the eaves to the house looking for a persistent leak that’s probably coming through the flashing around the dormer window. And I started looking into tenancy agreements and legal landlord requirements so that I’m not doing anything shifty with the house rental.

Last night, while the poet went to band practice, I went to see my tenant to make sure everything was okay and to give her an official copy of the tenancy agreement that we both signed.

Today I hope to finish another non-fiction, get it back to the author, and to the publisher for typesetting, and invoiced. I also have a hair appointment and will probably grab something from the supermarket on the way home to have with tea.

We have nothing planned for this evening. We have nothing planned for tomorrow, although we may go fishing.

On Sunday the poet has an afternoon gig, so that will tie us up for the rest of the day … (The last time he had a Sunday afternoon gig we went to see some friends in another band Sunday evening and he ended up getting up for the second set when their singer fell ill …)

On Monday it’s another bank holiday here in England and I think we’re off to Birmingham again to see my parents. I hope we’ll also be able to go and see the poet’s parents too, in Doncaster. (Or, depending on the weather, we may do Brum and fishing the other way around.)

On the way back from Brum, if it’s nice, we may drop into Kingsbury Water Park again, or we may try Calke Abbey, which is also on the way home.

I’d also suggested Drayton Manor Park and Zoo, which we also pass, because it always used to allow dogs. However, on checking their website just now, it seems this is no longer the case. So well done, Drayton Manor. Here are two visitors who may never come again. (I’d understand if they never allowed dogs, but when I used to take my own …)

Next week it’s the Doncaster Literary Festival. I hope we can get along to some of the events.

What are you up to this weekend?

Mad weekend

We had a very busy weekend again, starting on Friday with me frantically trying to finish some work as we were out at a gig Friday night. I got the invoice sent off and into the system anyway, because I’d been pulled off the job I wanted to finish to have a look at something that apparently couldn’t wait a day longer. But I did that too.

Friday night was a great evening with the band, the poet, the sound, the crowd, everything on form. We saw friends we hadn’t seen in a while and, apparently, the pub was the busiest it’s been on a Friday night in a few weeks, so that was nice.

We didn’t get to bed until 3am, though, so had a very lazy start to Saturday. Then when we got up we had to do shopping, we ran a few errands, and we went to do the Doncaster visit. Saturday evening was another gig, a private party this time, so it finished a lot sooner.

On Sunday, after another relatively late start, we headed off to Birmingham and after a couple of hours with my parents we headed back via Kingsbury Water Park near Coleshill (pronounced Coze-‘ill), where we enjoyed another couple of hours in glorious sunshine. We had some proper time off too, and didn’t even take any photographs. Just enjoyed the walk, the scenery, the weather, the fresh air, and the steam exhibition that was going on.

Yesterday was mostly spent finishing that work I invoiced for on Friday and I wouldn’t allow myself to do anything else until that was done. It’s done now, and it’s back to other work today.

So far today I’ve done this blog, but I also want to do the diary and, before noon, write the walks report and get that submitted. Then I have a novel to look at (author’s revisions), a non fiction to proofread and another to start editing.

blog thumbnail