West Midlands

The first family trip to Brum

Our first family trip to Brum was in 2010 before we had a digital camera. As I’m writing this post in 2017 the only bit I can remember is that we got together with some friends and went for lunch in Harbourne. Robert and Kashia were barely out of their teens then and now have a family of their own, although I’m sure Damien and Michael are as young as ever. Juan David was visiting from Ecuador and was still at school, he’s been living abroad himself for years now. Anyway Harbourne is a cool neighborhood. This trip was also the last time I saw my old mate Chris before he passed away.

Tommy and Dad’s Solo Trip

As a Brummie I was really looking forward to taking Tommy round Brum on our holiday. As we were there at Christmas it was a bit bloody cold and dark, but that didn’t stop us from having a mooch around and visiting Birmingham, the Black Country Museum and Redditch where I grew up.

Tommy visiting my old stomping ground
Tommy visiting my old stomping ground

I would recommend a trip Brum centre any time of year with kids, there’s plenty to do around the canals, in the new library or the Rag Market to pick up some much needed tat.

If you’re feeling brave you can even go and see the Villa play like we did, with my mate Joe and one of his daughters, you may not see the silkiest football but you can always get a seat.

The magnificent Villa Park
The magnificent Villa Park
Come on Villa!
Come on Villa!

I’m not sure if Bham’s own eye is there all year, but I do know it costs a lot less than its London namesake and there is considerably less queue, and just look at that view!

The Brummie eye
The Brummie eye

You can jump on the eye just outside the library then jump inside to spend a penny and marvel and the wonders of Birmingham architecture and buy a commemorative tea towel.

The central library
The central library
Bridge over the canal
Bridge over the canal

The canals have some trips available but I’m sorry to say we weren’t organised enough to do any, so we had to be happy with a walk on the towpath and a pub lunch. Mind you we did travel on the top deck of the number 52 on the way into town which Tommy thought was just as cool.

More canals than Venice
More canals than Venice

Uncle John and Auntie Joan were our hosts for the day and we all had a great day, despite the sub-zero temperatures!

Deep in conversation
Deep in conversation
A load of Bullring bull
A load of Bullring bull
A day trip with Uncle Jon and Auntie Joan
A day trip with Uncle Jon and Auntie Joan
Victoria square
Victoria square

Nan also took Tommy on a trip, this one to the Black Country museum. I took the chance to go for a couple of cheeky drinks with friends and so I don’t have much to report, or many photos to show, but I do know from my own experience that the Black Country Museum is a nailed on winner for kids who like a bit of history.

It was cold at the Black Country museum
It was cold at the Black Country museum

Back at Auntie Christine, Uncle Andy and Nan’s house in Redditch we dedicated ourselves to the typical English pursuit of walking the dog in the freezing cold under dressed.

Doing a teenager impression
Doing a teenager impression

Still like all good English towns there are loads of places to stop for a warming cuppa and a cake and there’s always some gardening to be done at home to keep warm as well.

Digging Uncle Andy
Digging Uncle Andy

I had also forgotten how many big bloody birds there are in England like this one, the big Redditch water bird, which was big like I said.

Redditch wildlife
Redditch wildlife
More Redditch walks
More Redditch walks

I also wanted to include a photo of Tommy’s previous trip to Redditch to Nan’s house, which was a flying visit when he was two. I had been out and perhaps had one too many to drink and woke up (a bit late) to snow. So Nan told me to take him outside, which I did, impressed? He was not..too bloody cold!

Tommy's first taste of snow
Tommy’s first taste of snow

Family Trip 2015

We head to Brum again in 2015 with all of us. It was a quick visit and included all the usual highlights, i.e. friends and family. The big event was Nan’s 80th birthday where me and Cousin Matt sang an incomparable version of the Lady is a Tramp (dedicated to nan of course). It was also a chance to see loads of people we hadn’t seen in ages and I only wish it could have been longer.

DSCF3414.JPG

Danny and Tommy also did a turn, a selection of finely tuned Mexican jokes of variably racist degrees that bought the house down with the happy bonus of not upsetting any Mexicans as there weren’t any there; here’s a sample, “Why did the Mexican push his wife of a cliff? To kiiiil her”, “What do you call 4 Mexicans in quicksand? Cuatro sinko”.

We also managed the obligatory city centre trip with Uncle John and Auntie Joan, which I have to say was marred slightly by Danny’s toilet issues, and in fact we had to abandon a canal boat ride so he could get back to the house to sit on his throne in peace…

 

Me and the boys 2017

Mom and family have moved to Derbyshire, so a trip to the West Midlands is now to see Uncle John and Auntie Joan and my old mate Joe. This year it was just me and the boys as Lorena was taking a well earned break from smelly males (and that’s just me). It was like the trail of tears but with pants and socks being cast aside under beds etc all over the Midlands, and by the time the trip finished we were turning things inside out.

On the itinerary was a day up town for the traditional trip with Uncle John and Auntie Joan (this time on the train), we had the obligatory pub lunch in a Wetherspoons, which was huge and packed on weekday and a trip to Games Workshop for Tommy to service his new 5-minute passion for Warhammer figures. We also went down Sutton Park for some tree climbing and stick waving and we also went to visit Uncle Walter.

We then decamped to Joe’s where me and the lad beat a hasty retreat to go boozing in Moseley and left a total of 5 kids home alone. Apparently when a responsible adult finally came home (not me and Joe of course), they had the lights out and had turned the living room into a disco.

One thought on “West Midlands

  1. Lorena

    Hi Jonathan, Thanks for the suggestions. I live in Coventry as an Ecuadorian MA student and I did not have idea Birmingham had such nice places!. In fact, nice to know that one of my tutors in ESPE (programa de diplomado) is a Brummie!

    Like

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