Granddaughter (14) thought that it was time for another outing together which would no doubt include cake. She loves a drive through the countryside and decided that our destination should be the Jinney Ring craft centre in Hanbury, close to Bromsgrove. Here visitors can watch craftsmen (and women, of course) using traditional skills to make everything from wedding hats to violins, from jewellery to handmade chocolate. There’s a wood-turner, a glass-maker, gift shop and, importantly, a restaurant. As usual, she talked non-stop on the way – everything from friends, boys, school, China’s human rights record (that was a surprise) and swimming with pigs in the Bahamas. “Pigs!” I said. “Don’t you mean dolphins?” But apparently not because swimming with pigs (“they’re clean ones, Nanny”) is actually a thing. I looked it up and it’s true.
Back in 1980 the craft centre, named the Jinney Ring after a specific piece of farm machinery, was created from an old farmhouse and outbuildings set amid the beautiful Worcestershire countryside. It’s a place I have visited many times and we used to go often when Granddaughter was small. After hot chocolate with lemon tart for Granddaughter and a slice of banana bread for me, we decided against a walk around the garden and ponds (raining and muddy) and went first to the wishing well. The grounds are regularly used for music festivals and wedding marquees. They are so much prettier in the summer.
Then on to the glass-maker’s studio – the one I like most. Here you can see the memory tree with its coloured glass leaves. This was full until last year when the leaves were returned to those who had commissioned them and they’ve now started to re-fill it. The leaves are inscribed with the name of a loved one and when laden, it looks stunning. The fee for making them includes them hanging on the tree for 18 months.
Granddaughter is always fascinated by watching the glass being made and seems to have a liking (as I do) for coloured glass. We looked at all the glassware for sale but especially liked the garden pieces. The daffodils, in particular, are so realistic.
A friend of mine is responsible for the buying and displays in the gift shop – from the pretty…
to the weirdly wonderful…
There is an antiques and curios department – I love all the brooches:
And a floor given over to clothing and accessories, some of which is made on site like these marvellous hats and fascinators. Just need a wedding to go to now.