I helped my daughter on her stand at a Victorian Christmas Fair held at Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch, Worcestershire, on Sunday. It’s also where the textile group Eclectica, of which I am a member, meet monthly. It was a very good day,  sunny weather, if freezing, lots of people, a good atmosphere, carols and folk music. In my capacity of helper I was able to wander around as much as I liked. It’s great to be a helper and not the main worker, for want of a better description; it’s a role I feel I could develop, minimal responsibility etc, excellent.

On my morning wander before it opened I went up to the river to see if the swans were there. They were, and I took a lot of photographs, whilst having a chat with them. The river was solidly frozen, except for a small pool at the edge, and the light was stunning. Here are some of the images. I do particularly like swans, and wrote a piece about an encounter with a swan pair a couple of years ago. Nothing actually happened with these swans I must point out, it was just an occasion when it became clear to me that some creatures are so completely and enviably themselves. Then on Tuesday morning  there was an  interesting piece about swans on ‘Saving Species’, Radio 4 , and even the One Show had a feature about swans last night. Mild but pleasingly adjacent.They definitely need to be in my bird book; I need to work out how, possibly using the piece I wrote.

At Forge Mill, across the fields, is the ruin of the 12th century Cistercian Abbey, which is rather wonderful, so there are a couple of images of that too. There is also an interesting museum on site.

A small mosaic of broken encaustic tiles, presumably from the floor of the Abbey.

A view of the Abbey ruins.