A reflection on a busy week of exploration, with no hint of a Millicent Martin theme song...
Yes, I've been on an overdue holiday for the past week, and I've made the most of it by doing some outings, enjoying the autumn sunshine and visiting a few places that had thus far slipped through the net in terms of visits in 2007.
Friday 19th October - a return to Telford, something that had been on my 'to do' list for an eternity. The highlights included calling in on old haunts such as Dawley, Wellington and Oakengates, plus lunch in Leegomery topped off with some local shots of the community centre and the Thomas Telford pub. Buswise my routes included the 22 through Malinslee and the 25 through Hadley, although my favourite journey was on the 23 from Oakengates to Telford, providing a ride through Ketley Bank and a call at the Forge Retail Park. The rail content was provided with a brief call at Wellington Station, and a photo session at Oakengates whilst waiting for a shot of the train to Shrewsbury.
Monday 22nd October - I've been neglecting the Birmingham and Solihull end of things a bit recently, so this outing concentrated on Hall Green, Yardley Wood and Shirley. My favourite bits included a look at Hall Green Library, finding The Maggies pub on School Road, a walk through Shirley Park and lunchtime at The Baldwin. I then endured a bit of a hike from Yardley Wood Library, past the railway station, up Brook Lane and through Billesley for shots of the pub and the fire station, finally finishing at Yardley Wood Bus Garage for a photo of route 18.
Tuesday 23rd October - Coventry has also been suffering from a lack of attention, so to fix this I headed across to Canley Station to begin my next adventure. Photos of the station got me off and running, admiring the sprawling tentacles of footbridge but lamenting the loss of the level crossing, then I got stuck into local Canley with pics of the Herald, the local library and Prior Deram Park. The No. 19 bus took me through Earlsdon and into Pool Meadow, where I changed onto the 36 for a ride up to Keresley, spotting The Wallace and The Old Shepherd pubs in the process. Keresley provided a brief taste of Warwickshire - the bus terminus by the post office, then lunch by the multicoloured community centre and photos of the Golden Eagle. I finished things off by catching the 32 to Tanyard Farm (terminus in a housing estate) and a walk to Tile Hill Station.
Thursday 25th October - with Wednesday as my day at home relaxing, my next adventure came on Thursday morning with a trip I've christened Very Perry. Starting at Perry Barr with shots of the railway station, I went on to visit Perry Beeches, Tower Hill and Perry Common using a combination of the 52 and the 28/A. I then returned to Perry Barr for some bonus bus photos of routes including the 616 and 424 - all in all, a cracking morning's work.
As weeks go, this has to go down as one of the best ever in terms of exploration, getting some great photos for the archive and revisiting some of my favourite old haunts. I thoroughly enjoyed it, the weather was brilliant considering its October - and the week hasn't ended yet, with the prospect of an outing with Rog to look forward to...