Rural Birmingham(!), Coventry and Tolkien.

Day 85 – 90 28th Oct – 2nd Nov

Still enjoying studying and the many delights of being based in Birmingham. Unfortunately I have picked up a mild bug and been below par for the last couple of days, but I think being sensible and staying in the warm yesterday has paid dividends.

Earlier in the week, it has been interesting to walk on a few of the trails in Birmingham – which has a selection of country park and much more rural looking paths in between the suburban areas. It is all rather surprisingly rural looking (though traffic is often audible!) and I have been enjoying the autumnal colour – though it has been rather cold this week in the main. My local expert is excellent too and very well versed in what links to where! Here’s a couple of links to the many options available.

We took a day trip to Coventry on Wednesday – which was delightful on a bright and sunny day (that is once we had negotiated the scary ring road!). The main purpose was to visit the Fresh Expression of Church – St Clare’s at the cathedral, which from a distance I have been watching and praying for as it has been developing. It was inspiring and great to see this different kind of mission at work and beginning to really take root. It had a lovely feel – which is something that only the Holy Spirit does, and great to hear how things are working out.  It was splendid to explore the excellent selection of second-hand theology books (only 3 purchased!) and I acquired a very smart rainbow clerical top!

I also enjoyed the poignant ruins of Coventry cathedral and the new Cathedral too. The importance of peace and reconciliation always matters, and here is a picture of their litany of reconciliation which is said in the ruins every day at lunch time. I particularly recommend the sentiments it ends with “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgives you.”


Today we went to Sarehole Mill and had a bit of a walk on one of the trails, enjoyed the coffee shop, following in the footsteps of Tolkien (not certain he ever went in the coffee shop of course!). This was all very exciting, as Tolkien spent some formative years of his childhood in Birmingham – living very close to Sarehole Mill for a while. It is thought the local area around the mill provides the inspiration for Middle Earth. I have enjoyed Tolkien’s books for many years (and have read “The Lord of the Rings” at least once in every decade of my life – my sister even read “The Hobbit” and through to the end of “The Two Towers” to me when I was a child!).

We went on an impromptu car tour after exploring Sarehole Mill, looking for various places that were significant to Tolkien, including his childhood home, the Oratory, Perrotts Folly (the inspiration for Minas Morgal) and Edgbaston Water Tower (the inspiration for Minas Tirith), and finally my favourite the Chamberlain Tower (at the university – which has been a familiar landmark for many years of trips to Birmingham) being the basis of the Eye of Sauron. The pictures include models of the former two at Sarehole Mill and pictures from the Tolkien trail leaflet! I did see the real things but pictures from a moving car were not practical! (Will do that on another visit!)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s