Wednesday, 3 August 2011

A Night On The Town

 
It's Jon's birthday on Friday but as we'll be away last night was his unofficial birthday bash and, in true Black Country style, it involved a trip into town and then on for a curry. 


I took my camera out so you could join us.



Our Parish church was rebuilt in 1775 but some of the original Norman architecture still remains. 



Both sets of parents married here.


The steeply cobbled Church Hill was once the site of the town stocks and home to many slums. It dates back to 1220 and it's an absolutely terrifying experience to walk down in platforms.


The Guildhall (the grander building of the two) is now an Italian restaurant but was the seat of the local council since the 15th century, it was rebuilt in 1865 but the whole area was derelict for many years. Boy George used to squat here back in the early 1980s.


Here's our regular pub, The Black Country Arms. It's been used as an inn since 1707 and was originally called The Dragon. 


Nobody knows why the council decided to commission a life size baby concrete hippo here in the late 1970's. It became the place we always met our dates when we were kids. It's in rather dubious taste considering our town is one of the fattest towns in the UK.



Our rather grand town hall in the Edwardian Baroque style was built in 1905. The swimming baths are just behind here.


This is our town centre's newest pub. Built in 1820 it was our first free public library and became a court house in 1870. It's very imposing and has been used as a set on many a TV courtroom drama.


Inside we have a wall of famous local faces including Rob Halford from Judas Priest and Noddy Holder from Slade.



How cool is this light fitting?


Cheers!


Pear cider for me.

Liz and Adrian

It was so warm last night we sat in the beer garden. Being Walsall the tables are bolted to the ground to stop the locals from nicking them or using them as weapons.


Liz and Al joined us after work. The newsagent's opposite is the only remaining business left in the row of shops behind us. We have one of the most derelict high streets in the UK.


Time for a curry. We went to a different restaurant last night and the head waiter turned out to be a happy ex-client of Adrian's, complimentary side dishes and a 10% discount off the bill were the order of the day.


My vegetable Jaipuri was as good as ones I've had in India.


How fluffy is that garlic mushroom naan?


The almost-birthday boy went to bed happy.

I'm woefully behind on blog commenting and still haven't packed for the weekend. I'll try and catch up you all before we go.

82 comments:

  1. I hope Jon had a fab birthday, it looks as if he did.

    So strange seeing all the places I know! I have been working in Walsall for the past few days and will be back on Thursday too.

    I wouldn't fancy walking down that path in heels or wedges! Andy laughs at me all the time as he says he is my living walking stick!

    X x

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  2. It's great being taken on a tour around town with you. There's some lovely buildings; the Guildhall is very impressive and there's absolutely no way I could walk down that steep path in plaftorms either (unless I shuffled along an inch at a time!).

    That light fitting is superb and I love the fact that Rob Halford is included in the pub's famous locals gallery.

    All in all, it looks like everyone had a super night out.
    xxx

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  3. aww Happy birthday to Jon! That curry looks too delicious.. and chips- why have I never experienced that!
    All the old buildings were nice to see, it looks like a chilled out place. haha random hippo, he/she looks happy anyway!

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  4. hold on- tables used as weapons? maybe not so chilled :-P

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  5. Happy Birthday Jon !

    Great post as always. Thanks for sharing your evening out :0) x

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  6. Happy birthday to Jon! :)
    That indian looks yummy, I always have the fish thali, and would like to experience a thali in India.
    Lovely to see the sights from around your way.

    xxx

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  7. Mmmm those curries looks good!

    Happy birthday to the very spiffing Jon!

    I liked this post - I really love history so it's always good to learn about different places in England - I'd love more posts like this one!

    Your pub looks really relaxing and that light fitting is really peculiar! I like it!

    I see your wearing your new mega platforms! Were you holding onto the railing for dear life whilst walking down Church Hill?! Haha! xxx

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  8. Aw, I loved the town tour! It's really pretty. Always so sad to hear about the dereliction of the good old British high street though. And the hippo? Love it! Who knows what the town council was thinking?! xxx

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  9. Some very scenic pictures ! Isnt the hippo great, we all used to meet there as well or outside M&S when the buses used to go past there. I have never been in St Matthews so I should go in and have a look round. Usually by the time I have walked up that hill I am done in !! Do you remember the Overstrand restaurant, I always wanted to go in there when I was small.

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  10. Happy Birthday to Jon!!! Looks like a great night out.

    Walsall looks really nice from your pictures. I've never been, I'll definitely have to come over one Saturday for some bargain shopping... And a curry :-)

    The tables at our local are bolted to the floor too lol. Good old Midlands hey?

    Xx

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  11. Happy Birthday Jon!! It sounds like you had a lovely time...those currys leave me watering at the mouth!

    The weather is finally warming up around here and the evenings are lovely and warm. I can't wait to leave my tights off and forget the long sleeves!

    I loved reading about all of the local attractions, and that hippo is a bit random!

    XOxoxox lots of love to you both!

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  12. I thought it was strange as you did not post yesterday and I worried if you were ok.

    I love your posts they are always interesting and varied.

    Your town looks really nice and thats so nice that both your parents married at the same place.
    xx

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  13. aaah great photos! Curry & Chips?! Haven't had that combo for years!! (nor have I had chips & gravy for years but that's another story for another time)

    Great photos - never actually visited Walsall before. I also love your dress! And happy birthday to your other half!

    Julia @ Retro Jules

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  14. Oh that food! Yum yum yum! LOVE the hippo, totally love it! I thought MY town was the fattest in the UK? I reckon all the loacal health authorities put out the same statistics to jolt people to make the effort to lose weight - no one wants to be the fattest do they?!

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  15. Happy Birthday Jon - it looks like a perfect one.
    Love the trip and your dress.
    Which festival are you going to?

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  16. What a WONDERFUL post Vix!! I love love LOVE all the photos and your stories! You have a most wonderful sense of rhythm in your writing and it all just flows effortlessly! You are truly MOST fabulous.

    You and Jon look hot! As always! Happy Birthday to Jon and have a fabulous time away!

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  17. Looks like you had a super time, that curry looks delicious! Happy birthday to Jon! x

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  18. Happy Birthday Jon!

    What a wonderful look at your town - thanks Vix! It might be derelict but it looks so historic and lovely. I love the cobblestones and columns, the beautiful old buildings and I'd be terrified to walk down that crazy path in platforms too!

    Your frock looks gorgeous - and Liz's overalls are fab! have you just been spotted by a fan in the pic with your cider??

    Loveandbirthdaylove! Sarah xxx

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  19. Happy Birthday to Jon! What a great post, i loved having a nosey round town. The hippo is funny, we have a thing in our town that looks like a giant penis, it was comissioned by the council and the town was in uproar when it was unveiled, its hillarious, i should put a pick on my blog of it lol. Scarlett x

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  20. this reminds me of why I miss England sooo much... wishing I would be keen enough to move country :)

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  21. Happy birthday-to-be to Jon! The evening looked like a most pleasant one in such an interesting, history-clad setting. Those cobbled streets are so quaint and wonderful.

    You're wearing my favorite color(s) and look out of this world in them...

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  22. Curry is the perfect birthday meal! Looks like you had a super time. Happy Birthday to your chap!

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  23. Dearest Vix,
    it saddens me to read about your derelict high street, I suppose we all have to take a little bit of the blame for the way things have turned out, as we have in our search for a cheaper deal have turned our backs on the smaller business in favor of the retail kings that can offer us everything at a greatly reduced price until they've captivated their audience & decimated the competition.
    Even the little village that Mark comes from used to have a butcher, a baker...not sure about a candlestick maker but there was a milkshake bar.
    Then they opened up a huge-ass Safeway (now Morrisons) in the neighboring larger town and one by one the small business closed down as people abandoned them for the bright lights & devastatingly "good" deals of the supermarket.
    I'm not sure how things work in the UK but in the states the US government gives great big handouts to the big supermarket chains for expanding, a good docu-film to watch about this subject is "Walmart - The high cost of low price".
    I think that Walsall looks very pretty and it's an even prettier place cause its got you to adorn its cobbled streets. Maybe the artist that created that baby Hippo back in the 70s knew what was coming down the pipeline,eh?
    My warmest congratulations to Jon, I hope he has the bestest of birthdays!
    You are going to get so much fabulous use out of those new shoes of yours, they look grand with that lovely maxi.
    Lot's of love,
    Jennie
    xXx

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  24. You've got a clutch of fab, decadent, buildings there - it looks quite open and airy if you know what I mean. The clinging-for-dear-life on the treacherous steep slope - is that why you wouldn't let Jon wait til that woman was out of the way when that pic was taken? ;)

    Happy Birthday to Jon for Friday!

    ps have FINALLY found those old picture rail hooks, but will have another rummage as I think I've got a few more... then I'll sort out how to get them to you. xx

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  25. It looks like Jon had a great birthday celebration. I've really enjoyed your tour of your town. Your coment about the hippo made me snort my tea. I love the light fitting. I'm not far from Liverpool so can totally relate to the way the things are on your high street. Steve and I went for an Indian buffet on Sunday with friends, I totally filled my boots and it was so delish! Still sitting under a raincloud here... What in the David Dickenson is that about???? Big hugs, Em x

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  26. Happy birthday Jon! Thanks for showing us round Vix, looks lovely.

    The hippo irony made me laugh!

    xx

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  27. Best wishes to Jon for Friday, hope you all had a good night out, looking very summery! Great post, it's always nice to see more of the places people live - especially out of the big cities. The comment about the tables did make me giggle, but also is a bit sad that they need to do that! Bristol is a fairly big city, but it still has lots of little pockets of local communities and to be honest, I sometimes forget that we live in a city. We're lucky that most of the businesses in our high street are independent, or at least very locally owned, though we do have Iceland, groTesco and Grimm's (Greggs).

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  28. HPB to Jon on Friday. I only venture to Willenhall but you make Walsall look very attractive! Should be Walsall's Tourism Ambassador.

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  29. What a great post; a past, present and future feel to it. Happy birthday for Friday to Jon, looks like it's got off to a flying start.I may have to celebrate with a beer and curry tonight, I am on holiday after all.

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  30. *sings Happy Birthday to Jon*

    Where are you off to at the weekend?

    I love hippos so that may well be one of my favourite pictures that has ever appeared on your blog. I remember similar concrete hippos next to the open air swimming pool when we used to go to Cleethorpes but they were sort of in context there!

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  31. Nice to see around your town, thanks for the pics! australia is insanely youn g by comparison!

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  32. Thank you for letting us tag along through the town! A cool tonic for those of us sweltering over here.

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  33. How fun!! What a beautiful area!

    HUGS to all!

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  34. Love your blog!

    Follow me if you like my blog and I'll follow you back. :)

    zizi
    www.zizibloom.blogspot.com

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  35. Vix, would you believe I actually have a slip on underneath it? And it STILL wrinkles like buggery. Gah, I don't know what to do with ti. If it wasn't vintage I'd unpick it and use it as a pattern cos I like the fit.

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  36. Thanks for the tour Vix! Your town is absolutely lovely!Sounds like the perfect b-day celebration!
    I'm heading to Prince Edward County this weekend - home of awesome cider makers - I'll see if I can pop by the brewery & get some pictures for you!

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  37. Happy Birthday to the handsome Jon!
    Your town is lovely, adore the hippo and the pub. oh I would roll down walking with heels. curry looks so good. I love a good nan bread.

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  38. Walsall looks rather nice in your photos, certainly somewhere with a lot more history (and famous local faces) than the town I live in. Having said that, Chantelle from Big Brother does hail from Wickford, if that counts as famous!!

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  39. Hi Vix - I hate like a pig last night we went out as well, not eating today ! Happy birthday to Jon! Mr. D birthday is coming up soon (august 20) and so our first anniversary (August 5)
    Love your town - i love the UK- I will go back soon i hope - You look great as usual and your friends look super nice! I love Indian food - i was introduced to indian food by an ex British boyfriend , there are good indian restaurants in Montreal and excellent pubs, Jon would be happy!
    I told my daughter about your blog, she loves it, she will follow it- she thinks you are soo cool - My daughter's blog is laviecestyeye@blogspot.com - she is a fashion designer and has a shop on Etsy - lots of love from this side of the world - Ariane xx

    Thanks for your comments on my blog your are the nicest lady!

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  40. How I love all that history... architecture, yum. Lucky girl!

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  41. Hi Vix - made a mistake when typing my daughter's blog - it should be -

    www.laviecestyeye.blogspot.com

    Ciao - Ariane xx

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  42. Oh my word that curry look GOOD! Hope Jon enjoyed his pre-birthday night out.
    Thanks you for the tour of Walsall. You and your lovely friends add a bit of glamour!
    The demise of the British high street is a sad thing. Out-of-town shopping centres have a lot to answer for, it definitely affected Sheffield badly when Meadowhall opened, and this is a big city - but you wouldn't really know it from the city centre.

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  43. I will meet you by the baby hippo hun! lol!

    Happy Birthday Jon! Have a fab weekendxx

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  44. Loved the pictures of around the town. Such a change from your usual ones. Seems like you are in a new place!!! :) Happy Birthday in advance to Jon!!! Have a blast (which I am sure you guys will!!!)

    ♡ from © tanvii.com

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  45. Ya say it's yer Birthday, Happy Burfday Jon!!! I am so happy to have gone out with you this evening. I so loved seeing the town you live in and hear a bit about it's history. My favorite part was the church shot and knowing both parents were married there. How long has your family lived in Walsall?

    Your dinner looked so delicious my mouth was watering. I hope I get to walk down that cobblestone path with you guys one day.

    Now I am day dreaming and I love it!

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  46. I love how even your blog photos look vintage. Love it!!!

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  47. Looks like a great night out! Have a super weekend. The van is fixed so we get to take her to Cornwall - yay! :)

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  48. Happy Birthday to Jon! Love the baby hippo...how odd?!x

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  49. really love this 'illustrated report', following you on a city walk around, it's so funny!, and Happy Birthday to Jon, loving how you enjoy the Event!!
    besos & fun

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  50. Happy birthday Jon!!!

    I've had curry three times this week and I need a break from it now...but it still looks delicious!

    xx

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  51. Wow, looking at the pictures makes me feel that I spent the day with you...the food looks great and so do both of you. What a huge glass of beer! can you drink all of that??? Greetings from Rome!

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  52. Happy birthday to be,Jon darling! Smoochy smooch!
    I loved this tour of your stomping ground!!! I can picture you out and about so much better now! Looking mega divine,but what else is new?! Liz is looking extremely gorgeous,too!
    I quite fancy Indian again,now.Fecking YUM!
    I quite fancy you too! Love you!
    Helga xxxXXXxxx

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  54. Hi Vicky

    Re the hairbrush set they are plastic coated the inside looks like quilted crumpled material (sounds horrible but its lovely material. They are lovely x

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  55. Loved the little guide around your part of the world! It's a part of the UK i've never been anywhere near and I bet that slope is a nightmare in the winter/icy months I could see me totally on my arse sliding down! That curry does look so yummy though!

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  56. What beautiful buildings and the hippo is ace.
    Have a lovely weekend.

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  57. I always love your insights into your life, its nice to see the person behind the blog.
    The curry looks delish!
    Sophie
    x

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  58. ooh what a lovely day out...I feel like i cme too.....have a great trip with birthday boy!!x

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  59. The Walsall Hippo! The Walsall Hippo! I'm so happy to see you and it together at last.

    I am always interested to see other towns, that is awful about the high street though - where have all the good shops gone?

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  60. Happy Birthday, Jon! I cannot believe that both of you have so much history in the same town - which btw looks totally Italian to me - or is this just the wonderful, sunny weather we are having? xxx

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  61. Brilliant post! I love the Walsall hippo. We have a Hampshire hog here in town, he's not as good as the hippo though!
    Have a fab weekend.xxx

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  62. Happy Birthday Jon! What a great tour - every town centre should have a hippo!

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  63. Loving that green dress, and I have a bracelet like the one you are wearing!! xo

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  64. A very happy Birthday to Jon. I'll buy him a big drink when I see him.

    I loved your guided tour. The architecture's lovely whee you live. I saw something on TV the other day about your shopping centre and high street shops, it's very sad.

    Love the light fitting and I'm feeling hungry after seeing that curry.

    Have a fantastic time if I don't speak to you. Thinking of you guys having fun. Love you loads xx

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  65. I love this tour of your town...it has so much history by comparison to most American towns. Plus, we tend to tear down old buildings and throw up rickety new ones, so I'm seeing lots of character around you.

    Happy birthday to Jon.

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  66. Feliz Cumpleanos a Jon!
    Your town is charming and for me what I imagine a village in England would be; full of history and cool people that enjoy an afternoon of beer and food with friends.
    I think the hippo was a omen of the future for some of the locals.
    Lovely post my dear!

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  67. That curry looks so amazing! Can't wait to see photos from your trip! I love the pub! The building is so cool!

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  68. Wow those buildings are amazing .. I love going to the city/ town exactly for that reason.. when you live there all the time you take them for granted. I love your dress and yes the curry looked so good .. i am salivating.. I have not had a curry for over a year as my son has braces and he adores them and as he is not allowed we have all stopped.. i hope the local takeaway does not go out of business xx

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  69. A very happy birthday Jon for tomorrow. Vix you looked lovely in your Goa beack maxi dress the other day, sorry I didn't have time to log in properly and comment,hope you both have awonderful weekend celebrating in style, enjoy yourselves xx

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  70. Happy birthday Jon! I love all of the buildings and architecture around you, although I am a little stumped by the hippo.

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  71. It's weird seeing such familiar places on someone else's blog.x

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  72. This was a wonderful visual story of your town! The church & courtroom have such beautiful details.....that steep walkway would be hard for me in flats! The garlic naan looks so delicious.....thanks for taking us along on Jon's birthday celebration!

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  73. Happy Birthday to Jon!

    Your town's got some lovely old buildings. That path does look steep, no wonder you're holding on to the rail!

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  74. What a great insight into your town. I am from a small town called Rotherham…it hasn’t got the best reputation or in fact much going for it at all, but I work there and my parents still live there, so I am always passing through the town centre. I noticed just this week that the Dorothy Perkins had closed down, it’s sad that all the shops are disappearing and it seems most places are run down or boarded up xxx

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  75. Wow Great pictures and a happy birthday to your guy!! Thanks for sharing your adventure...the food looks fabulous I just moved to the Middle East and have been enjoying the local food the culture here is more diverse than I thought it would be so the food is diverse also...and the naan bread and hummus is amazing :)If it weren't for my ridiculous gluten allergy I would live off that stuff!! ~Love Heather

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  76. I LOVE your tours!
    Beautiful architecture....
    xXx
    Reva

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  77. Mmm - that food looks good! Thank goodness our dinner is on the way! Walsall's far prettier than I would have imagined - or maybe it's just the way you show it. We don't get to drink outside in Scotland enough - predictably, it's raining right now! x

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  78. Happy late birthday John! Wow the place you live in looks soo prettty! I like the neo-classical town hall best!

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  79. What a cute group of friends! The food looked wonderful. Looked like a great birthday to me.

    Love you.

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Love from Vix
xxx