If you're British, you'd have to have been living under a rock not to know that the 2022 Commonwealth Games are currently being held in Birmingham and, with events also taking place in Coventry, Leamington Spa, Cannock Chase, Wolverhampton and the Black Country, the West Midlands is absolutely buzzing. There's not a hotel room to be had in Walsall and, with one of the town's railway stations being used as one of the Park & Ride venues for the games, I decided that the trains might be crazy busy and opted to travel by bus to meet my friend, Annie for a day out in Birmingham.
I always catch the train to Birmingham, which is a bit daft when you think about it, the bus to Birmingham stops at the bottom of our road, runs every 5 minutes and a Daysaver ticket, which offers unlimited travel throughout the West Midlands, only costs £4 for the day. You can even pay by card these days!
|Perry, the games' mascot|
|The bronze bull, greeting visitors to the Bull Ring since 2003|
|Grand Central (aka New Street Station)|
Ludicrously priced clothes aside, our real reason for our trip to The Mailbox was to visit Jambo Cinema, artist Dawinder Bansal's immersive exhibition inspired by her childhood memories of growing up in her parents' corner shop in Wolverhampton, which sold electrical goods and rented out Bollywood videos.
You may have seen Dawinder in the excellent BBC series, Back in Time for Birmingham, which explored fifty years of British Asian history within the West Midlands. She also popped up on The Repair Shop when she took Basanti, her vintage shop mannequin, to be repaired (HERE).
It was an absolute delight to meet Dawinder - her enthusiasm and passion are contagious.
|Birmingham Town Hall (1834)|
Centenary Square's Queen Victoria (last seen on my day out with Nikki HERE) has been reimagined by Guyanese British artist, Huw Locke. In each statue she's wearing Britannia's helmet with a medal signifying an important battle in the history of the British Empire.
Before catching our respective buses back to the Black Country, we enjoyed an ice-cold lager in the sunshine outside The Old Contemptibles, which was a regular haunt when I worked in Birmingham back in the day. Named in honour of British Expeditionary Force who served in Flanders between 5th August and 22nd November, 1914, 'Old Contemptibles' arose from an Order of the Day issued by the Kaiser, which mentioned 'Sir John French's contemptible little army'.
If you didn't see the opening ceremony last week, here's some of the highlights. Steven Knight, the creator of Peaky Blinders, was one of the creative directors, it was an amazing watch.
And here's the inspiration behind my blog title.....
It's Lord Jon's birthday tomorrow - further adventures to follow!