Finally, we get to Birmingham

Trip Start Jul 01, 2009
Trip End Aug 02, 2009

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Sunday, July 26, 2009

Okay, I know, I flew in there, but I didn't see any of it!  So Ray thought it would be a good idea if I saw it before I flew back out again LOL.  Plan A had been Hagley Hall and the Clent Hills today, but we awoke to drizzly rain, so that may have to wait.  Plan B became Birmingham.  Rule number one - don't go to a major shopping city with a bloke!  We all know they are severely style cramping.  No surprises there.  His cunning plan to get me to Birmingham when the shops weren't open did unravel slightly as some of the shops were opening after 11am - just enough to give me a taste of what was there.  Loved the gorgeous bronze bull statue in the Bull Ring - so called I think because of the markets that would have been held there where farmers brought their stock to sell - now the major shopping centre in Birmingham. 
After Birmingham we travelled back for lunch, and then had a side trip to a place called the Crooked House in Himley.  See the picture of the pub here - this is a genuine crooked house, as mentioned before much of this land was mined for coal and subsidence occurs from time to time.  This pub was a victim of this subsidence but instead of knocking it down like we would, they've kept it!  If anyone wants to know more, and to see a virtually non-understandable poem written in the local dialect, visit here:
While on the subject of local dialect, I must mention that there are a lot of accents around here, of course there is the Black Country one which is very broad and one of a kind, not spoken much where UK Sue and Ray are but further in only a short distance, Birmingham accents, and a few others, all within the space of a few miles.
Forgot to mention when I was blogging about the Black Country museum that one of the first jobs you would do in the mines was the job of opening and closing the door for the man with the pit pony to go through with a load.  This job was done by very young children, around 6 or 7 years old, and their job was to sit in pitch blackness for 12 hour shifts, only seeing daylight when they had to open the door.  And the kids these days think they've got it tough. 
After we had been to see the Crooked House and had a quiet drink in the pub itself - very weird sensation walking into the house that was on a lean, we did a quick detour to Grosvenor Road, where my ancestors used to farm around 100 years ago.  Of course it would have looked somewhat different to what it looks now and instead of being called Grosvenor Road was called The Graveyard!  Now it is covered in houses but would have been prime farming land in those days, before they discovered coal underneath it!
I keep forgetting to mention that when I went down for my gym weightlifting session yesterday morning, instead of being in the upstairs room they were in on Wednesday, we had the group session outside!! For some reason they weren't able to use the room, so had lugged all the equipment down into the back yard and set it up on a wooden deck that they used for recreational purposes normally.  I can honestly say I have never seen that before, but as it was a gorgeous day, no one was complaining!  the lying down exercises were a little hard as we all had to close our eyes to the sun, prompting the instructor to remark that we all looked like we were asleep pumping iron.  Following that class they were doing spin bikes and the instructors had lugged all the spin bikes down into the courtyard too.  Most places would just have cancelled the classes I think if unable to use the upstairs, but they weren't going to be beaten!  good on them.  I shall miss the friendliness of that gym when I go home.
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