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Cycling cynic from Brownhills.
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The expansion of the Trent Valley mainline from 2 tracks to 4 through the Tamworth triangle has been controversial and protracted; now nearly completed, all that remains is for the overhead line engineers to finish the electrification of the new lines - or knitting, as the railwaymen call it. This Windhoff catenery fitting train is affectionately known as a knitting machine, and it was proceeding to the worksite at a stately walking pace.

A shady, hot day at Hints ford; the view from the pedestrian path over the stile and fields toward Weeford is a delight to the soul.

The harvest was well underway as I took a ride out through east Staffordshire - after an appalling summer it was a pleasure to see crops ripe in the fields being harvested. Britain doesn't get much better than this...

Hints churchyard is a quiet place where the passerby can take a seat on the memorial bench and enjoy the peace. Any such visitor soon realises that this is not solitude - a positive cacophony of birdsong, animal noises and a riot of colour soon grabs the attention... it was whilst so resting one spring that I noticed these cowslips.

My belated apologies go out to the surprised rambler who came upon me lying on the grass taking this photo and assumed I was injured...

Just love your Italy series, Woodbeast. Some excellent pictures.

Regards, Bob

Boxing Day, 2004... the owner of the narrowboat 'Christina' seems to have lit the stove to ward off the chill.

Orton on the Hill, sits, as the name suggests on a hill in the middle of the plains east of Polesworth. Approaching the village from nearby Warton, a gentle climb is rewarded with excellent views to the Northwest.

Another old photo, this time from the area around Stockfields, just off Rookery Lane between Canwell and Hints. In the summer of 1999 the growing of flax seemed popular among local farmers - this field was one of several, causing the countryside to develop a patchwork of unusual colours... I assume the crop wasn't particularly successful as I've not seen it grown locally since.

Built at the behest of the Late Lady Emily Charlotte Meynell-Ingram, the Church of the Holy Angels is a loving and devotional memorial to her late husband, killed while hunting. It stands high above the village overlooking the Needwood Valley, adjacent to Hoar Cross Hall, and it is said that one of the carved angels looking down from the beautifully decorated stonework is carved in the likeness of the unfortunate hunter. This church and grounds are a hidden gem and deserve a greater appreciation.

Springtime in Hadley End; daffodils create a riot of colour on the verges running through this charming hamlet.

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