Blogs from West Midlands, England, United Kingdom, Europe - page 3

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Europe » United Kingdom » England » West Midlands » Coventry September 15th 2016

Geo: 52.4058, -1.51266The evening meal at Tally Ho inn last night was, as predicted, a hearty home cooked feast with a local beer to go with it. This morning was very foggy - nothing to do with the aforementioned ale - and we set off slowly along the lanes.Today's adventure was at Ironbridge and Jackfield in the Midlands. The Iron Bridge was built in 1779 and is very impressive. We didn't pay the toll of 1/2d as stated on the original toll charges. We walked from there to the tile museum, everything from roofing tiles through to highly decorative, modern styles. Lots of things that look like quilt patterns, and an amazing variety to be seen, including ones that are in tube stations and butcher shops.We then changed GPS mode from 'country lane' to 'motorway' and ... read more
The Batman bridge at Ironbridge
One of many photos of tiles...
The Royal Playhouse

Europe » United Kingdom » England » West Midlands » Birmingham September 8th 2016

Geo: 52.4814, -1.89983An early start from Reykjavik at 4am but even leaving Iceland is easy with self check in for people and baggage meaning the queues were for the masses.We arrived into central Birmingham and found the 'quaint' Britannia Hotel without any trouble. It is rather tired and probably a caricature of a British hotel except the shower is great.Birmingham central has a huge shopping and market area, the Bullring, and the requisite Victoria Square, town hall and impressive church. However it was all pleasant enough for a stroll and people seemed quite normal!We found our way to the canal where we spent an hour or so doing research - that is drinking a local beer and watching the locals navigate canal boats through a channel that was about 6 inches wider than the boat itself. ... read more
Interesting garden sculpture in Birmingham

Europe » United Kingdom » England » West Midlands » Coventry May 20th 2016

Phil pulled us out of a glitch. Before arriving in England we had only reserved our places to stay in Manchester, where we arrive and depart from the airport...we wanted to be flexible. That worked out fine until now...Fri/Sat and no beds at the hostels. Phil got on his laptop and found a Hilton in Coventry where he could use his rewards program. Got up in good time and headed to burford for breakfast. Walked thru St. John's the Baptist Church, one of the large Cotswold 'wool churches' built between 1160 and 1475. A wool church is an English church financed primarily by donations from rich merchants and farmers who had benefitted from the mediaeval wool trade, hoping to ensure a place in heaven. Then off to more of the Cotwolds regions. Upper Slaughter, Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, ... read more
Calke Abbey
Ashby de la Zouch Castle
Swan Inn Fradley

Europe » United Kingdom » England » West Midlands » Birmingham May 1st 2015

I should sheepishly admit that when I first thought this trip up, I imagined that any route from the UK to China would be a toss-up between the hot sands of the middle east and bleak snowdrifts in Siberia. With a little bit more digging of course, it's easy to blow away those stereotypes. Also, whilst it would be great to be able to just set off towards the rising sun one day, the reality is that various practicalities remain: What is the shortest route (old car!)? Can a standard front-wheel drive travel those roads at that time of year (old car!)? What restrictions are there for tourists with a vehicle at the various borders (foreign driver with a foreign old car!)? Is any region too dangerous to risk (not an old armored car!)? My first ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » West Midlands » Birmingham May 1st 2015

Fair warning, this first post will be a little cheesy. I'll cut that s**t out after this. I've mentioned the idea to a few people across those years, and as you can see, I meant it. I know I'll look like a bit of a tulip if we don't make it past Surrey, but hey, the die is cast. Roll on May 1st 2015. So I like travelling. Caught the bug in 2001 through the BUNAC exchange program, spending a glorious, heady, eye-opening summer on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, hand-making fudge in huge copper cauldrons. The people I met, friends I made and things I saw, I will never forget. I have forgotten how to make fudge. It wasn't enough though, and that trip did teach me that most important lesson: If you want ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » West Midlands » Dudley September 17th 2014

Woolly says – I had put my paw down with, well a firm paw! Earache all the way down the hill and past Dudley Zoo, will she never stop! He’s very cute when he’s riled! Our discussion had resulted in my begrudgingly agreeing to go along with his royal fur-ness and re-visit for the 28th time (yes you have read that correctly) the Black Country Museum in Dudley. Having taught in Dudley Borough for more years than I care to remember this is the yearly school trip (if you’re lucky, I had to do it three times during the one academic year!) that every pupil goes on and that requires teachers to accompany them, namely me, but in fairness it was a place that Woolly had yet to discover so lead on mammoth! Woolly says – ... read more
Cobbled Streets - Copy
Nice and Cosy in here - Copy
I'm NOT using THAT - Copy

Europe » United Kingdom » England » West Midlands » Birmingham September 16th 2014

Woolly says – Having experienced the delights of Stratford I was rather chuffed to find out that our evening’s entertainment was to be at the theatre. Being a cultured type of mammoth I knew I would be in my element hob knobbing with the elite and famous. As I made my entrance I awaited the salutations and celebrations of my arrival, not a thing! There were plenty of people milling around but no one seemed to realise that I had arrived, all I could hear were whispers about cats, shouldn’t that be Mammoths! I stomped up the stairs closely followed by Jo and daughter Zoe and plonked myself in our seats, daughter Zoe was clutching a magazine with a picture of some cats eyes and Jo was burbling on about cats as well, what about the ... read more
Found One
A Citron Tree
Across the Grass

Europe » United Kingdom » England » West Midlands » Dudley September 14th 2014

Woolly was looking a little jaded following the birthday celebrations of the night before. Woolly says – She can talk! With copious cups of tea and coffee consumed I hustled Jo and daughter Zoe outside to meet up with friend Daisy, who was joining us for our adventure. I had been looking forward to this outing for weeks and having begged and pleaded with my big brown eyes Jo had finally succumbed to my charms and said she would take me to Dudley Zoo. We’re going to the zoo tomorrow, the zoo tomorrow…….. He is hard to resist sometimes and although I’m not a lover of zoo’s it was the first time since our Safari in Portugal last year that the mammoth would see some animals. Woolly says – Even better than the animals is the ... read more
Extra Cute
In the Courtyard
Snack time

Europe » United Kingdom » England » West Midlands » Birmingham August 30th 2014

A visit to Birmingham (also known to the locals as 'Brum'), the UK's second largest city, probably does not figure on many tourists' schedules when visiting England. It's had a tough life. But there's no reason for it not to be on the itinerary and the local tourism machine now promotes a 're-invented and reinvigorated' city. If you look past the very impressive 'Bullring' shopping centre, by no means the 'largest' or 'newest' in the UK but something of a local icon of which the locals are very proud, the city has plenty of history and culture on offer. In particular, in a city which was at the centre of the industrial revolution in all its gritty glory, you might not expect to find the most modern and largest public library in Europe. Built with some ... read more
Library exterior
Birmingham Library - or the Starship Enterprise.
The Brum 'Golden Boys' who made the revolution possible

Europe » United Kingdom » England » West Midlands August 27th 2014

They all have links to the West Midlands towns of Bloxwich and Waslall - the former of which is home to family and the reason for my fourth visit in 30 years (the first as an eight year old on his first overseas trip some time back!) Bloxwich was a sleepy village until the industrial revolution saw demand for the local coal, ironstone and limestone explode. It has been a village for at least 1000 years, as is recorded as such in the Domesday Book (the survey of English counties ordered by William the Conqueror in 1086 - don't mix that date up with 1066 - Google it! - to ensure he was getting all the taxes due to him). Once the canals (and much later the railways) arrived in the West Midlands to allow the ... read more
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Anyone?
Sr Dora, in Walsall's market square
The contentious Lady Di statue




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