Sunday, 25 August 2013

Gardens and Outdoor Food

Cannon Hill Park on a walk from home, Food Festival in the city centre. Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston ...

Authentic Birmingham Bavarian Beer tent: ...

Botanical Gardens ...


Sunday, 18 August 2013

A Museum Piece Too :-)


Museum Pieces

Now and again Birmingham Museums have an open day at their collections warehouses out in Duddeston (between Aston and Nechells in North Birmingham).
A real treasure trove of everything from washing machines to boneshaker bicycles, Ancient Egyptian figurines to Mexican statuettes and ceramics from various Chinese dynasties, as well as models of industrial age machinery, valve radios and '78 gramophone players with ear-trumpet style speaker.
All that and a trip to and from the warehouses on a restored old bus of the model I probably used when I was at school!
Oh dear.
Great fun :-)


Proms Live


Birmingham on tour

Had a trip to the Proms on Saturday to follow the CBSO on tour at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, in a wonderfully entertaining concert with excerpts from Verdi, Strauss Waltzes, a Dvorak symphony (number 8) and plenty of enthusiasm from the conductor, Andris Nelsons, as well as beautiful singing from his wife Kristine Opolais.
Really enjoyed following our local orchestra on tour, so to speak, and we found that other Midlanders were around as witnessed by a members' coach outside the Albert Hall and one half of a friendly retired couple who was heading back to Berkeswell near Coventry on the train from Euston after the concert (unfortunately the train wasn't stopping there ...).
The Proms audiences are so enthusiastic and obviously warmed to orchestra and the charismatic conductor and his wife.
The CBSO is a great advert for Birmingham, to the point where I'm not sure how much we deserve the rich mix of talent from across the world, players and administrators working harder than ever when resources to support them are getting ever tighter and commercial pressures greater.
The blend of national and international, local and worldwide gathered in the city, is for me though a hallmark of Birmingham and the CBSO is at the cultural heart of this blend.
Do try and get to a concert if you can, keep an eye out for special offers if cost is a problem.
Town Hall Symphony Hall or CBSO website for concert details.


Monday, 12 August 2013

Going local

Stirchley isn't a prepossessing place, but it has useful shops scattered along the scythe way of the Pershore Road. A Gent's barber, a clothes alteration shop, as well as DIY places, builders merchants and grocers.
I always tended to get on the bus or train out of the place, but as I live here and since I've done some shifts at the Stirchley Stores, I've become more aware of what's just about on my doorstep.
A bit like Birmingham itself has been over the years, having to work away without the appeal that other cities have, although the makeovers of recent years have certainly helped.
So I actually used the barber's over the road at the weekend, instead of going to Harborne or King's Norton as before (where I used to live), and the expert ladies at the alterations shop have saved two pairs of trousers and a jacket from the recycling bins for me.
Go local, it's worth it, discover what's around you and not just further away.
If you're interested in becoming a member of the Stirchley Stores and helping out, go to Join on the website.

Location:Stirchley, Birmingham

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Stirchley Stores

Interesting to see local volunteer or cooperative groups being set up in recent years.
Stirchley Stores, currently in a building owned by the Loaf bakers' group, is staffed almost wholly by volunteers and sells a variety of foods and other groceries either loose - muesli, oats via scoops, nuts - or small packs such as spices, tins, cordials, locally made jams. The best-known feature is the superb bread of various kinds all baked on the premises by the Loaf team.

Well worth a visit! Open 8-2 on Saturdays, 2 to 7 Tuesdays to Fridays

Located on the Pershore Road almost on the corner with Mary Vale Road - down the hill from Bournville train station, turn right and go three or four shops along. 45 or 47 buses along the Pershore Road, nearest main stop the British Oak pub, and number 11 to Fordhouse Lane is a short walk away.

If you're interested in becoming a member of the Stirchley Stores and helping out, go to Join on the website.

Location:South Birmingham near Bournville

Things to do in Birmingham on a budget

Going to nice cafés, concerts and such like is fine if you can afford it, but not everyone can. Here's a useful link on the Visit Birmingham website for free events or venues in Birmingham and the surrounding area: see here for details.