As we hurtle headlong into 2008, its time to pause and reflect on what I got up to in 2007 with the WME Blogspot Review of the Year. Let's take a month by month look at the highlights from the past 12 months...
January: The year started with a couple of local walks, firstly around Parkfields and Woodcross, then heading across to Walsall for a look at Bentley and Darlaston. There was also time for a Birmingham local, exploring Small Heath Station, the old 28 route and venturing into Shard End and Kingshurst.
February: A quiet month really. Rog, Woody and I descended on Warwickshire, calling at Rugby, Leamington and Stratford - Rog wasn't too well, and Woody ended up in a pub kitchen when looking for the toilet! On the solo outings front, I particularly enjoyed a Friday visit starting at Aldridge with some bus photos, then heading along the Daw End Branch Canal for lunch at Clayhanger.
March: A month of big explorations, starting with the London trip, notable for my first ever ride on the tube and a visit to Jack the Ripper territory for a pint in the Ten Bells at Whitechapel. Things were a bit quieter when I visited Pattingham to take a variety of village photos and explore the 517 route. March is of course Rail Rover month, and the tradition was maintained in style - highlights included Craven Arms and Ruabon on a perfect Tuesday adventure, with Hinckley, Nantwich and Whitchurch also featuring prominently.
April: A couple of trips with Rog and Woody, starting with a tour around Stafford and Newport, and a group photo in the pub. It was also time to say goodbye to Chase, that fine local bus operator, as we joined in the final day commemorations - the day included visits to the Chase Depot and Delta Way in Cannock, but my personal highlight was our ride on the 381 from Lichfield to Walsall on what turned out to be the last official route working by a Chase vehicle.
May: Come May and it was carnival time down at Kinver, giving Rog, Woody and myself the chance to indulge in our own sideshow entertainment in the form of the bag wars down on the canal - Rog as usual came off worst! May also provided a wonderful day watching cricket at Worcester, with the added bonus of a look at Cripplegate Park and the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.
June: Entering summer with an absolute classic - out and about in sunny Staffordshire exploring Burntwood, Chasetown and Norton Canes and riding on routes such as the 394 and 396. Further early summer indulgence came in the form of a walk along the canal at Brewood, and a quick pint in the Bridge pub.
July: Time for a proper summer holiday, and this year's destination was Great Yarmouth, exploring the local bus network and calling in at Cromer, Sheringham and Aldeburgh. Rog was in attendance for a trip across West Bromwich way, finishing with a few pubs around Gospel Oak and Rocket Pool - there was even a surprise meeting with Santa!
August: Venturing once more into Staffordshire, this time with a visit to Uttoxeter, calling in on Penkridge on the way home. More locally, I enjoyed a walk around Northway and the Straits, and went on the trail of Green Bus photos in Wolverhampton - no bus was safe!
September: Moving into autumn with a Sandwell Special exploring Smethwick Locks, Cradley Heath and Haden Hill Park. There was also time for one of the highlights of the year - a visit to Netherton with Rog, complete with a pint in Ma Pardoe's.
October: What a month, jam packed full of fantastic exploration! Kicking off with a visit to Old Oscott and Walsall Arboretum, my trips took me to Telford (Dawley and Leegomery), Coventry (Canley and Keresley) and Birmingham (Hall Green), not to mention the Very Perry trip. On the Rog front, there was an outing to Handsworth and Hamstead, where we watched the cricket in the pub, and finally we had The Delph trip, supping pints and playing pool on a Friday afternoon - perfection!
November: And the outings kept coming. Rog nearly crippled himself during our Hagley and Pedmore walk, I braved Birmingham once more for a look around Kings Heath and West Heath, and I also returned to Sandwell to renew my acquaintance with Great Bridge and Tipton. I think Rog still hasn't fully recovered even now!
December: Ending the year in style with a trip to Evesham and Pershore with Rog and Woody, whereby Rog became a puddle-magnet and I finally got a look at Evesham Station. My local adventures took me to Perry Hall, Bradmore and Springfield, and there was also a nice bonus look at the Prince of Wales pub in Woodsetton.
So there you have it, and on reflection, 2007 wasn't such a bad year at all. Plenty of outings, lots of great memories, a fair few photos - thinking back on it all has certainly given me the appetite to get out there and see what 2008 has in store.