I went off piste this afternoon, and no, this has nothing to do with me being tiddly the other day!!
I had to go to Birmingham this afternoon, and thought you might like to share my visit to Sarehole Mill, where I stopped for tea.
If you're a Tolkein/Lord of the Rings fan, you may just have heard that he grew up around Sarehole Mill, Moseley Bog, and the woodlands surrounding them, and that they not only influenced but made appearances in the books, along with some of the characters in his childhood. (eg did you know Sam Gangees was the name of a local doctor who invented a cotton wool dressing for wounds - made from cotton. And that the delightful soft and fluffy Sam Gangees in Lord of the Rings married Rosie Cotton.)
Here's the outside taken from the Mill Pond. You have to have a pond in order to store water for the water wheel - it's let in via a sluice gate. This mill also used Moseley Bog as a storage for water too, because when the Mill was working full strength it had to power 2 waterwheels and 7 sets of grinding stones.
And here's the other side of that building, with the tea shop. Just small and understated with a choice of 2 cakes, a few choccy bars and the odd plastic dinosaur...perfect. It rates 4/5 for ambience.
The mill became derelict in Tolkein's life time, but was restored (with some funds from him) and became as you see it today in the mid 1970's. He would have seen it restored before he died.
People who visit Birmingham for the first time, with it's huge shopping centre, and thriving, colourful night life, and numerous inhabitants, think the city is a large urban sprawl, but there are many many treasures if you know where to look for them.