AN IDYLLIC PICNIC AT CATHERINE DE BARNES
We went for a lovely picnic a couple of days ago to an area of Solihull called Catherine de Barnes. The village name supposedly derives from ‘Ketelberne’ a man who lived there when the Doomsday Book was compiled in 1086 after the Norman conquest in 1066.
We walked along the local section of the Grand Union Canal which connects London and Birmingham. There’s a nice country pub beside the canal called The Boat Inn where we go occasionally.
Just past the pub there’s a bridge which leads to fields by the old isolation hospital. The hospital has been converted to apartments but formerly housed folk suffering from seriously contagious diseases and the last person to die of smallpox passed away here in 1978. This is featured in my second novel, a thriller, which I hope to finish before the end of this year.
We had our picnic in a quiet field surrounded by rabbits and wild flowers. It’s a idyllic spot and something of a sun-trap as we were shielded from the breeze by small trees and bushes. I love to read there as well and it’s very easy to lose oneself in the rich, green, natural surroundings.
We are lucky living in Solihull as the countryside is never far away. This is reflected in the town’s motto – URBS IN RURE – town in the country.