(oops, rather late again. Sorry, overtaken by lack of sleep. More of which another time).
People, in January we went to Birmingham for three days.
I know, I’ve been there before. He has too. So where’s the adventure? you ask. In my head, is my reply.
I’m realising that ‘adventure’ is as much about our mental approach to things as it is about the physical aspect (travel, challenge, distance, difference. Add your own words in here).
I’ve long thought that ‘adventure’ can be doing the same things but experiencing them differently, or going to the same places but seeing them differently, and this year is underlining that for me. It doesn’t have to mean travelling far away (though it might mean that), nor does it have to mean spending lots of money (but it could involve that).
Years ago when our children were very young and money was very tight, a holiday could be a visit to our ‘holiday home‘. This was our own house, but lived in differently for those few days. (These days called a ‘staycation’ I think).
One time, during an autumn school holiday when we’d both taken time off work and felt very much in need of a break, come Friday evening I told the boys we were off to our ‘holiday cottage’ and we bundled ourselves into coats gloves and scarves and walked down the road to the nearby linear park (a former railway line, now part of the Two Tunnels Greenway) to see the badger sett. It was getting dark, they’d never seen it before, we came home to hot chocolate. It was a great start to a long weekend of picnics, walks, and just being on holiday together. Every day there was a treat of some kind or another. Yes some of the picnics turned out to be indoors on the floor (to avoid the rain), but that was fun too. After all, we didn’t normally eat our meals with our fingers sitting on a cloth on the floor.
And what on earth does that have to do with Birmingham? Well, on the face of it nothing. But it captures for me the way we can transform the everyday into the special just by how we think about it.
So – back to Birmingham. We travelled by train, which didn’t take long from Bath. We could have gone there for the day if we’d wanted, but decided to make a few days of it and stayed two nights, at the Quaker study centre near Bourneville. We both enjoyed it (though it was a bit far from the centre for Malcolm’s preference).
Mostly we walked around exploring Birmingham’s craft and industrial history – the canals, the Jewellery Quarter, the gun-making history. Some of those industrial buildings and structures are magnificent. I can bore for England on the subject of beautiful brickwork, encaustic tiles, decorative brickwork, decorative ironwork and the like. (We now have a daily limit on how many times I’m allowed to draw attention to them, and some handy abbreviations – BBW = beautiful brickwork; BIW = beautiful ironwork. You get the picture….)
We visited the public library, the art gallery and museum (including the stunning Staffordshire Hoard exhibition), and the cathedral. We drank coffee and ate cake (as you do). We enjoyed ourselves a lot. And then we came home.
Till the next time.
(all the photos bar one are Malcolm’s)