I spent yesterday in Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands with my father and a visiting cousin who now lives in Auckland. We went to Sutton Park which lies very close to my father's home and holds special memories for all of us. My cousin remembers spending time on the paddle boats at Blackroot Pool as a child, and also, more sombrely, when she was around 10 years old, scattering her father's ashes there. We were able to visit the very site where this took place.
I grew up so close to the park that I don't have single memories of it, more a familiarity with many of its sections. One area I know well is Wyndley Pool as this was close to Keyes School, my primary school, and I used to visit it in my lunch hour and study the waterfowl on the occasions when I had a packed lunch and could escape their dire Dickensian refectory, and we went there as well. The pool is thought to date from the twelfth century, approximately the same age as the refectory cabbage. Among all the varieties present there were swans, gulls, tufted ducks, coots, mallards and Canada geese. Coots are not uncommon birds but don't happen to occur much in Wiltshire where I live and it is some long time since I had seen any.
At 2,400 acres it is the largest urban park outside a capital city, and dates back to the ninth century when it was a Royal Forest, part of the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Mercia. Henry VIII used it for deer hunting and presented it to the people of the town in 1528 at the request of Bishop John Vesey, decreeing Sutton Coldfield as a Royal town.
Lens: Pentax 16-45mm