Sunday, 11 September 2011

Bimbling Around Bumble Hole

Early this morning, we decided to take a chance on the weather to visit "Bumble Hole", in Netherton, a local nature reserve where the annual Waterways Festival was taking place. 

Isn't Bumble Hole the most fantastic name?!

Here's a little bit about the history of this place quoted directly from Dudley Metropolitan Borough's website:

"All of this quiet greenery was once covered with industrial action, a hub of horses and workers. Factories, boat yards, coal mines, blast furnaces, iron works, timber yards, brick kilns and saw mills occupied the open spaces. There are many hidden clues and visible signs in Cobbs engine house, Timbers Gallows Crane and the Blow Cold Bank Colliery Spoil Heap. The canal basin once served for continual boat traffic ferrying coal from the pits. The exiting boats were then subject to a payment toll, at a toll island, dependant on the weight of their load. The island is all that remains of this old system. Timber Gallows crane is of a very rare design, it is thought to be the last of its kind in the country and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The crane was in working order up till the 1970’s and is currently awaiting restoration. During this date the owner estimated the crane could have lifted 20 tonnes in weight. Cobbs engine house, officially know as Windmill End Pumping station, used to remove water from local mines. The shaft was 525 feet deep, removing over 1,600,000 litres of water into the canal every day. There are many historical bridges, land marks and the breath taking scenery here, making this area perfect for artists, recreational users and for enjoying the piece and quiet."

The stallholders were just setting up when we arrived at around 9.30; their relatively late start obviously dictated by the appalling forecast.  Although at around 8am this morning we had beautiful clear blue skies and sunshine, by the time we got there the clouds were beginning to gather and we were fully expecting a downpour.   Luckily, however, the rain kept off for long enough for us to have a look around.   The festival was a little disappointing I'm afraid.  I think the weather had kept many stallholders and public away which was a great shame as it's such a lovely few hours out.

Lots of barges were moored at either side of the tow paths.  I always think barge dwellers must live such a gentle life. The spire you can see at the back of this picture is Cobb's Engine House referred to in the blurb above.
I love looking at the barge names.  My favourites today were 'Dreamweaver' and 'Granny Buttons'.

Speaking of dreamweaving.... or dream catching even - I treated myself to a beautiful dream catcher from one of the lovely little stalls there.  It's quite unusual with a printed canvas centrepiece featuring moon gazing hares surrounded by Celtic knotwork by Lisa Parker.   I was torn between the dream catcher or a printed canvas of the same picture.  I really couldn't decide so Charl chose for me!! lol

It's this one:

As I was lucky enough to get some cash for my birthday, I also purchased a new pentacle necklace.  It's very pretty with tiny amethyst coloured glass stones set between the points.

I usually wear a Peter Stone silver pentacle set against the tree of life. It's very rare I go out without it.  If it's not on my person then it's in my purse.  I bought this as it was symbolic to me at a very trying time of my life and I've worn it ever since.  I had a panic a few months ago when the chain broke and I thought the pendant was lost.  I circulated an all user email around work telling people to look out for it but to no avail.   I was really sad when I told Charl about it and he jokingly asked whether I'd checked my bra.  I gave a bit of sharp retort and thought no more about it... until I got undressed later that evening.  Yup, guess where it was?!!!   And imagine how red faced I was next day when colleagues asked me where I'd found it?! Sigh.

Ooh look.  I've digressed!!  Shocked aren't you?!!


Moving on.
Fab old truck beautifully renovated.

Wonder what they're chatting about?!

Yummy cupcakes for sale in one of the marquees . The very sweet (natch!) young stall holder was happy to let me snap her wares.  But no I didn't indulge!
Although I can appreciate the work which goes into them I can never understand the high cost of what is essentially a glorified fairy cake!
These ones were £1.20 each or 4 for £4.00.  Thanks - they're very pretty but... No thanks.  We indulged in rum n' raisin fudge instead!! 

Erm.   An Organ.    This was playing the Can Can as we walked past.  My Mum was a spoilsport and wouldn't dance with me!!

Ooh the kettle's on!!  I do love a good nosey!!

Eek!!!  Goose attack!
These geese hovered above for ages whilst I had my camera poised.
The heavens opened, I hastily put my camera away and guess what?
Yup - the buggers landed right in front of me!   PAH!!

Rain stopped play unfortunately - a torrential downpour happened upon us whilst we were drinking coffee, and my sausage sarnie got soaked.  How rude.

Hope your weekend was a good one!


  1. I think I should like to live on one of those barges..being rocked to sleep every night.

  2. What is it about Cupcakes? Suddenly they're all the rage, and, as you say, at CRAZY prices. I always associate them with children; isn't it the first thing they learn to make?.... Not exactly haute cuisine.

    Love those narrow boats, and how sensible to have the stove just inside the entrance door.

  3. I have a friend who makes fancy cakes as a second job- her fairy cakes/cupcakes go for 50p a pop and she profits, so goodness knows what's in the very expensive ones!

  4. All the fun of the fair along the riverbank. I love those folk art pained barges.
    I remember butterfly cakes - I wonder why nobody makes those any more.


  5. Feeling a bit poorly & tucked up in bed this morning so a bimble 'round Bumble Hole was a treat :) Would love life on a narrow boat, me! x

  6. I love those barges, we once went to 'barge painting' sale in a church hall, I think we really expected to see barges in there, which was quite mad considering the size of the hall. It was for tin cans and such like to go on barges! I agree about cupcake prices, completely ridiculous.

  7. Looks like a great time! Love, love, love that canvas painting in the dream catcher. Excellent choice! Love your story about your pendant too! Thank you so much for the LOL!
    Have a great week!

  8. Oh! your dream catcher is gorgeous, that would have tempted me too!

    Leanne x

  9. Having trouble commenting, but here goes again..
    I love that dream catcher- great choice.
    The photos of the river and the canal baots are great, I alwways loved the jolly painted boats and buckets on the roof.
    Years ago I did a course on canal painting and covered everything I got my hands on LOL

  10. Yay it worked this time!
    When we were down in Post Isaac last week, there was a cute place called Peapod Galleries. I thought of you and would have taken a photo but a CERTAIN PERSON mislaid the camera!