When I said '...am off to Birmingham' .....the looks on peoples faces was generally like that of a rabbit looking into headlights. From all accounts I didn't hold much hope for the place. However, I was off to see Bridget (Lani Joy's bestie) and her hubby Luke. We booked into a bargain hotel in the middle of town and crossed our fingers. Well....weren't we in for a treat!! Simply gorgeous!
The Ramada was perfectly positioned in the 'Mailbox' right in the heart of the most beautiful canal system, excellent local pubs and restaurants and massive shopping centres. Lia and I found our local and spent a couple of evenings experiencing double pours of blue sapphire, amazing homemade soups and digging a little deeper ..... some interesting facts on Birmingham?
People who come from Birmingham are called 'brummies' a term derived from the cities nickname 'Brum' that originates from the dialect name Brummagerm, which is derived from the city's earlier name of Bromwicham!
In a lot of ways it reminded me of Hobart for all the 'hens night parties' that were on.
Imogen, you will totally follow this!
Birmingham also has the biggest library in all of Europe! It is fabulous with a huge community feel to it. Flouro blue escalators carry you up through this massive cylindar with floors and floors of books and each level pans out into areas of particular focus. On the rooftop there is a native garden, come parkland, with views over all of Birmingham. People were having picnics up there.
I left the library and literally stumbled on a performance. It was a children's play and just a lucky, excellent detour to my day! I realised later that the performance area was a part of the library that I did not get through. You can see how it's like a well in the centre of the courtyard. Just gorgeous!
The canals are beeautiful, such a lovely place to mooch around. Plenty of art Galleries, pubs and restaurants. My favourite was the Ikon Gallery, a neo-gothic former school, founded by a group of artists in the sixties and intended as an antithesis to exclusive art establishments and galleries. Unfortunately I can't publish any photos from the show....aaaaaw, go to http://ikon-gallery.org
Lia left to head back to Cayman Islands and I mosied out to Moseley to visit Bridget and Luke.
Just LOVED their English style house and garden, so completely different to 'straya'. You could cut the grass with scissors quicker than mow my yard!!
We walked to Kings Heath for lunch at the Fighting Cocks and pub crawled the rest of the day and night back to Moseley. W O A H !
English pubs are just so gorgeous and each with their own particular decor. The names of them are hilarious... The Slug and Lettuce, the Fox and Hound, Pitcher and Piano, the Goose...
Bridget took me for a Sunday drive ... On a Sunday .... Out to the Cotswalds. We went to Broadway for a roast lunch in another gorgeous pub and wandered aimlessly through the village.
The weather was simply beautiful and lovely to see so many people out picnicking on the hillsides. I just wanted to roll down the hills laughing, reminding me of the church picnics we used to go on when we were kids. Egg and lettuce sandwiches, butterfly cakes, orange cordial from coloured tin cups and sack races .... Gawd.. Where did that come from??
Then we drove down to the Slaughters, Upper then Lower.
There is something completely beautiful about English villages, whether it's because of the Robin Hood TV series that I loved in the sixties (next to Shintaro) or the Pride and Prejudice thing, I expected to see either Friar Tuck or Mr Darcy at every turn. The latter being more welcomed.
I wonder if people run around making collages of houses from Darwin??
When all is said and done .....Birmingham was fab.
and ......also the birthplace for heavy metal... Think Black Sabbath... Oh yeah and Judas Priest! Half of led Zeppelin band come from Brummagem!
And in the seventies.... UB40 then Duran Duran, Fine Young Cannibals... Endless notoriety from "The Second City!"