Tuesday, February 22

Spotlight on Smethwick

Sometimes it’s great to go really local and build up an intimate portrait of a locality by spending a few hours there delving deeper into its character. Friday 18th February was one such occasion as Mr Lunn and I placed the focus firmly on Smethwick with a tour of its public houses...

I was due to meet Andy at West Bromwich around about 10:30ish, giving me scope beforehand for some solo exploration. My initial destination was therefore Dartmouth Street, tempted by the prospect of some tram shots and the chance to track down local pubs such as the Vine and the Railway.

A random wiggle through the estates eventually leads me to Albion Road and an inviting new addition to my burgeoning canal collection. Pudding Green Junction is where the Wednesbury Old branch meets the New Main Line and is marked by a rather desolate turnover footbridge akin to the example at Deepfields. It’s fairly bleak and industrial to be honest with Izon and Albion Bridges also adding their tuppennyworths.

- Pudding Green Junction -

A wander up Oak Road garners glances at the Yew Tree pub and Oak House Museum, the latter a beguiling timber-framed former yeoman’s residence. Construction of an altogether more contemporary vintage is taking place on the Lyng where a considerable regeneration project is bringing about the rebirth of the former estate. The current scene sees impressive buildings like the new health centre situated alongside building sites, earthworks and piles of rubble - the very definition of a work in progress.

To West Bromwich Central and its time to meet Mr Lunn himself. Soon he emerges from the bus station and the outing proper can get underway. First on our hitlist is The Hawthorns, slightly unnerving with it being so close to the Black Country derby. Making a sharp exit we track down an old corner market store before surveying the hideous blue exterior of the crumbling Waggon and Horses pub, a Halford Lane landmark that is quickly becoming a gaudy eyesore.

- The Waggon & Horses, Halfords Lane -

Lewisham Road next, bringing back a few memories for Andy, specifically of one drunken Christmas at the New Navigation when he apparently got taken home by a pick-up truck. This is another pub in a sorry state but it still seems appropriate for Andy to pose there, just for old time’s sake…

Industrial decay awaits us on Cornwall Road in the form of a half-demolished factory then Andy gets remarkably excited when I introduce him to the old gents beneath Booth Street – definitely ‘one for the blog’.

- Bladder call at Booth Street -

A loop around Black Patch features a brief detour into Winson Green and then a tour of the park itself, which sadly seemed littered and neglected. At least the Soho Foundry is still an impressive sight, especially the gatehouse arch with its ornate lettering and Avery logos.

Directly opposite of course is the Soho Foundry Tavern, and having worked up a thirst it’s time to head inside. The front bar area retains pleasing elements of tradition with a wooden counter and a dimpled copper bar-top surface. Beerwise it has to be M&B Mild, an appropriate choice in the brewery’s old heartlands, and the pint provides a welcome distraction from the perils of the daytime TV tripe showing on the big TV.

One pub down but plenty more await. Rabone Lane beckons for a steady walk into Smethwick, admiring more industrial sights including graffiti for £29 beds. A number of former pubs entice us along Rolfe Street, including the Staffordshire Knot and the Crown & Anchor.

True to form, Andy’s sensitive bladder has sprung into life and we suddenly need to find the next pub rather urgently. The Falcon was a curious place where our Guinness came in cans and we had to wait for staffing reinforcements and the float to arrive before we could pay for them – how bizarre? In the meantime a dog sporting a large surgical collar provided the entertainment and we also spotted some murals depicting lakeside scenes that looked more like Coniston than Cape Hill!

- Cheers in the Moilliet -

Next up is the Moilliet Arms, albeit only after a Mission Impossible style quest to get into the building – did they want anyone to know that they were actually open? Having gained access we then felt like we’d entered the kind of Monty Python-esque sketch last seen in the Angel in Bewdley; working our way along the bar we were told that virtually everything was unavailable apart from the lager and some Bass Bitter. Despite these somewhat alarming first impressions I still ended up liking the place, won over by further hints of tradition and the fact I'd satisfied another of those little curiosities.

Andy throws me a curveball for our next port of call as we visit a pub that hadn’t previously registered on the Paul pub radar. Lurking in a sidestreet just behind the Moilliet is the London Works Tavern, a cracking find with a purplish corner frontage. On our way in we get chatting to a seasoned regular who bemoans the changing face of Smethwick and it’s pubs; he’s a veritable mine of local information even if he does resemble Roger fast-forwarded 20 years. A quick John Smith’s in the side lounge does us nicely, and it’s sad to hear that the pub is being threatened by a proposed superhospital development that might take up lots of the surrounding land too.

- The London Works Tavern -

Four pubs and counting, it’s time to concentrate on Cape Hill. Andy again plays tour guide to point out the site of the old Windmill Precinct (now just an empty patch with a few scattered railings) and the Red Lion, but his expert commentary is cut short when the bladder kicks in again and finding the next pub becomes a matter of critical importance.

That next pub is The Robin, historically known as the Robinson Crusoe, and a place that was a pleasant surprise with some more Smethwick characters creating a lively and friendly atmosphere. We get served by a chap in an Albion shirt and I’m back on the M&B Mild. Some chaps are having a chat whilst others quietly read the paper or do a crossword, so it’s a pub I could even consider visiting on my own.

With Andy no longer doing contortional bladder gymnastics it’s safe to continue into the centre of Cape Hill in search of food. There didn’t seem to be any menus in the Seven Stars or the Sampson Lloyd although we did at least stop in the latter for a quick half of Worthington’s. Andy says this place used to be a Wetherspoon’s and it does have that kind of feel – it’s certainly popular here, although I’m not sure having Countdown on the big screen is part of the attraction.

Greggs finally sorts the bellies out and then it’s down Shireland Road for a further swift half. The Shireland is another impressive M&B building that helped the brewery mark out their territory in years gone by. Internally it wasn’t my favourite of the day, although the bar still had a traditional appearance with some nice stained glass friezes Whisky, Rum etc. The visit is also memorable for seeing Noel Edmonds presenting Deal or No Deal in a hideous Rocky Horror style costume, yuk!

Heading towards the evening and we’ve hardly been on the bus yet. Famous last words those as we seek out the 87 and Andy fires up the old D9 – luckily for me we’re only going a couple of stops, just long enough to get a couple of bruises from the dodgy steering.

The Old Chapel was one of my favourite Smethwick discoveries of 2010 and I was particularly keen to see if its external charm would be mirrored inside – I’m delighted to say it does. The lounge was healthily busy with friendly locals creating a relaxed ambience, and we enjoyed a refreshing pint of Guinness each sitting in the window watching various 89s going past, none of which were remotely running on time!

video

- The D9 does Smethwick High Street for the first time since 1968 -

It was a shame to tear ourselves away but needs must so on we went. Waiting for an 89 would have been a thankless task so we turned to the reliability of the 87, which soon appeared after a little trek down to the Red Cow. Taking residence on the back seat, Andy was able to let the D9 fully loose at last with the slog down to Oldbury providing the cue for a bit of videoing and several tortuous gear changes!

Oldbury was our final destination as I was eager to sample the Jolly Collier, an entrant in the 2011 Good Beer Guide. Situated on Junction Street, the pub looks inviting all lit up in the dark. Heading inside it’s a really nice local with a choice of real ales from which I select Dorothy Goodbody’s Country Ale, and very nice it was too. An excellent setting for our final pint and then sadly it’s time to say our farewells.

It had been an absolutely cracking outing sampling good honest local pubs and investigating some of Sandwell’s industrial heritage. I relished the chance to explore Smethwick in more detail and I will definitely have more affection for the area as a result.

Sunday, February 13

Eccleshall

I first visited Eccleshall on a grey drizzly morning back in January 2008 and never really felt liked I’d done the place justice. A return visit was definitely required so Saturday 12th February 2011 saw Rog and I embarking on an Arriva adventure all set for some Staffordshire silliness…

* The omens look good with bright and sunny skies as I head into Wolverhampton to meet Mr Chance. Sure enough he’s there waiting at Queen Street in his usual attire (Metallica tribute with an underlying hint of scarecrow), although I can't comment too much as my shirt and jumper combination makes for a passable impression of Rupert the Bear. No sooner have we exchanged greetings than Rog has declared an ‘Andy moment’, so its a dash to the Mander Centre facilities where he bursts into the gents without noticing the 'female attendant on duty' sign, I don’t know which of them got more of a surprise!

* We make our way to Stafford Street to catch our first bus of the day, the 76 to Stafford. The service has changed a bit since I last caught it and currently serves Brewood and some estates in Stafford (Ten Butts Crescent and Merrivale Road) although I understand it is soon to revert back to its previous routing. Sitting on the back seat it appears we’ve unwittingly found another group of pub enthusiasts as a small faction from Wolverhampton CAMRA also seemed to be on board eyeing up various watering holes.

* With traffic building up in Stafford town centre we decide to alight at the rail station to theoretically give us more chance of getting to Gaol Square in time for the Eccleshall bus. The walk through town offers glimpses of Victoria Park and the Broad Eye windmill, then we dart through the shopping streets and out by the Vine Hotel. We spot the 76 arriving at Gaol Square moments before us and then discover that the very same bus is now going to Eccleshall – we needn’t have got off at all!

* With the 76 having morphed into the 432, we reclaim our back seat positions for the ride up to Eccleshall, a relatively quick journey leaving Stafford via the cemetery, Holmcroft and the M6 junction. We then encounter Creswell followed by Great Bridgeford before alighting on Stafford Street by the post office.

* Despite the bleak condition last time I was here, Eccleshall had made enough of an impression to entice me back. We take a little stroll up the High Street, the walk being punctuated by various photos of targets including the George, Bell and Royal Oak pubs, the Crown Surgery, the local library and various general streetscapes admiring the vernacular architecture. Beacon stanchions line either side of the street as Rog worryingly looks out for a handbag ready for Weymouth later this year. We head down Small Lane to track down the Eagle, then note Perry's butchers and the Kings Arms back on Stafford Street. I have to say that the town really does appeal to me, it's just the kind of friendly, parochial place I love to visit.

- The George Inn, Slater's Brewery Tap -

* Having got our bearings we can’t resist sampling a couple of the local pubs. My top target is the George Inn, the brewery tap for Slater’s Ales – production took place on these very premises but has more recently relocated to an industrial estate in Stafford. It’s an inviting building and the bar is particularly appealing with a large open fire crackling away. From the Slater’s range I opt for Top Totty, a blonde beer that was very light in colour but still packed a flavourful punch. I’m drawn towards the fire but we eventually settle on a table around the side with a big window looking out onto Castle Street with its comings and goings - a fine start.

* Joining the George in the 2011 Good Beer Guide is The Bell, so its there that we head next and it proved to be a real treat. The pub was very cosy and seemed really popular with plenty of regulars about to add to the rustic charm. The ripple of conversation and banter made us feel at home as we took up a perch at the bar. Usually I’m pretty decisive when it comes to selecting my beer but here I was in a bit of a quandary – when your options include Banks’s, Holden’s, Black Sheep, Titanic and Joule’s you have to give things proper consideration! In the end I go for half a Joule’s Pale Ale and half a Titanic Captain Smith’s, both local tipples with Joule’s having recently been brought back to life in Market Drayton. The barstaff were all friendly (not to mention pretty) and one barmaid even sought our expert opinion when changing over a barrel of Banks's. Add in a playful dog and all in all this was a very enjoyable visit and it was a shame to leave.

* Leave we must however in order to catch the return 432 to Stafford, picking us up from Castle Street flats at 13:20. Arriva cutbacks mean the route has been threatened with the axe, and the last I heard was that the timetable is still scheduled to be withdrawn from the 26th February. It seems to me that the service is an important link for Eccleshall, providing a lifeline connection into Stafford for many residents so I hope something gets sorted out and soon.

- The 432 calls at Eccleshall, but for how much longer? -

* The ride is quick but the approaches to Stafford involve the return of ‘Bladderwatch’ as Rog gets increasingly more uncomfortable. We make the emergency decision to alight and end up dashing down a backstreet to find ourselves in the Hop Pole, a pub I’d never head of before. It actually turned out to be a pleasant surprise as I can sample some Slater’s Premium Bitter accompanied by scampi fries, a bit of the Manchester derby and Bullseye on the quiz machine, answering random questions about Len Fairclough and Shergar.

* It was nice to spend a bit more time in Stafford, soaking up the ambience of the county town although I had to resist the temptation to throw Rog in the local prison for crimes against hair. We proceed onwards with our Good Beer Guide mission, catching the 3 towards Wildwood for the very short ride down to Queensville, home to The Spittal Brook. The pub is situated at the end of a row of terraces right up against the railway and was recommended to us by someone Rog works with. The lounge offers a collection of board games, a healthy selection of ales (Everard’s Tiger gets my vote this time) and a mini-library containing various paperbacks, CAMRA booklets and Brocton FC football programmes.

- Celebrating victory in the Spittal Brook -

* The board games couldn’t be ignored so we try four-in-a-row with Rog winning the best of five 3-2. We then head into the beer garden, a surprisingly pleasant spot despite the trains hurtling through just the other side of the hedge. Whilst innocently minding my own business, a little kid comes up and ‘arrests’ me, getting me in an armlock and accusing me of punching his dad. I hasten to add that this was all done in jest, and Rog of course thought the whole idea of me being apprehended by a six year old was absolutely hilarious – you couldn’t make it up!

* Evading capture, we go on the run and flag down a passing 825 for the shortest of rides back to town. We just have time to pop into the Sun Inn, Stafford’s recently opened Titanic pub (replacing Rog’s former favourite the Stafford Arms) where I partake of a little Anchor before we decamp to Penkridge courtesy of the 76 calling right outside.

* We while away the evening in relaxing fashion with some further pub calls in Penkridge and Brewood. I'd been delighted with the Staffordshire ales I'd sampled earlier and didn't want to overdo the beers so it was more a case of enjoying the pubs whilst sticking to halves or cokes. In Penkridge we find out that Wolves have lost 2-0 at Arsenal, not a disgrace by any means but it does leave us back at the bottom of the table, before stocking up on bakery goodies courtesy of Jasper's - I am reliably informed that the shop name has no connection to Rog's pet hound.

- Market Street, Penkridge -

* Of our evening calls I think The Swan in Brewood had to be my favourite. It's a current Wolverhampton CAMRA Pub of the Year and was very popular, although we still found enough space to watch a bit of the Scotland v Wales match in the Six Nations rugby, Wales having built up a healthy half time lead. A bag of pork crunch neatly accompanies some Three Tuns XXX, another local brew that hails from Bishops Castle in Shropshire.

* Another excellent day is drawing to a close as the 76 returns us to Wolverhampton. There's still a bit of time before Rog's bus home so we call in at the Wheatsheaf and resume our darts-playing escapades last seen in the Garibaldi in January. Rather unwisely we attempt to count down from 301, a tall order that proves too much for Rog despite him building a healthy lead. A bit of crafty whittling sees me gradually come into range and I steal the leg with a deadly 2 despite Rog having something like thirty throws at the single 1 he needed for victory. For the second leg we settle on a more manageable 101 with Rog finally finding a finish with a 13. With no time left for the decider, its over to Queen Street to see Rog safely back onto his 256 at 20:15.

* On reflection today has to go down as another cracking adventure with some truly memorable moments. Pubs were again to the fore as I celebrated the local Staffordshire brewers, but we still found time for some decent exploration and a bit of bus route investigation. The standard for 2011 continues to be very high, and I just hope my escape from the Spittal Brook hasn't started a nationwide manhunt!

Wednesday, February 9

200 and counting for WME Walsall

Only a quick note this evening but nonetheless a significant one, detailing as it does the first gallery landmark of 2011. WME Walsall has perhaps been the perennial bridesmaid amongst my frontline galleries, overshadowed by the likes of Wolverhampton and Birmingham, but today it takes its place in the spotlight having passed the notable milestone of 200 photos.

I've always considered the double hundred to be a particularly important achievement, marking the watershed at which a gallery can really claim to have a bit of substance behind it whilst looking forward to further gains. Walsall is actually my fifth gallery to have reached 200 and did so in just the small matter of five and a half years (how long?!!) - it seems quite scary to realise that WME in its current form has been going since July 2005.

So what are the critical updates that have brought about this momentous occasion? Well, a light sprinkling of new content did the trick, including additions to Exploring Palfrey (the Bradford Arms on Milton Street and a park shed with a squirrel mural) and Exploring Darlaston (the Springhead Tavern when closed prior to Black Country Traditional Inns taking over). We also had the arrival of the Queens Head at Bloxwich and the local Bains shop at Short Heath, whilst topping things off was a bus shot featuring the 394A posing at Brownhills West's Rising Sun terminus.

As Walsall takes a well deserved bow, I leave you with news that I continue to beaver away elsewhere on the galleries and full details should hopefully provided in my end-of-month digest. The ball has been set rolling now and we wait to see which other galleries might have cause to celebrate as the year progresses. Don't all rush for the party poppers and champagne just yet, but it could be an interesting 2011...

Saturday, February 5

Windswept in Walsall

Friday 4th February 2011: I always like to set myself a challenge during my solo adventures so an expedition trekking across Walsall Borough seemed like just the job – I just hadn’t quite expected to spend the whole day being buffeted and battered by bruising breezes…

* My first task is to get to Walsall in the first place, so I decided to let the train take the strain. Sadly nowadays this means going in and out of New Street, and whilst I don’t have to change trains, it bears no comparison to the old direct shuttle that used to connect Walsall and Wolverhampton in barely 20 minutes – I still think it was an act of timetable vandalism that this link was allowed to be removed.

* Walsall Station is a place that never seems to change much, presenting the same familiar setting that I encountered during my earliest photographic forays back in 2002. It’s therefore quite comforting to be back, taking the customary train photos on platform 3 then exiting via the corridor to Station Street to add in my shots of the platform 1 outbuilding.

* Walsall Town Centre beckons for photos of the Red Lion and the TJ Hughes store (formerly Woolworths). I say hello to Sister Dora, hidden amongst the market stalls down on the Bridge. Walsall Market still seems quite busy but has scaled down from the days when it used to stretch right up to virtually the church steps. Today it barely covered the patch by Old Square, conversely meaning I have more space to zoom snaps of the stalls and the butchers van.

* St Matthews Church itself is a dominant landmark and I hope to do it justice, climbing the cobbled path up the side and taking in the lich gate and clock tower, very impressive. I then walk through the grounds, under a stone arch and admire the views down towards Chuckery and Caldmore before tottering down the main steps back to the market.

* After a quick look at the Gala Baths and the Fountain pub it's time for a bus ride. Route 7 marks possibly my first sampling of the revised Walsall route numbers. I catch the bus from Stand G at about 11:10 and it’s a very quick slog down the Mellish Road to Aldridge, noting that the arboretum junction looks even more confusing than it did before, and that really is saying something!

* Aldridge was a complete mystery to me for many years but I’ve gradually got to know the place better and it’s good to be back. Photo targets include the former Avion bingo and the police station, whilst I’m surprised to see that the Elms Hotel is now masquerading as the Crown. I make sure to call in at Aldridge Library, one of the branches I would expect to survive the threatened closures, then I have a closer look at the elegant parish church where the plain lich gate and some churchyard trees help to frame my attempted shots.

* I've taken a bit of a battering already from the gusts and now the proper walking starts. Walsall Wood Road leads me up to Lazy Hill junction where there are a range of local shops (post office hairdressers etc) in a little precinct, along with two pubs to contend with. The Lazy Hill Tavern looks quite cottagey with a black and white beam effect, whilst the Cedar Tree is a more recent looking estate style pub with beer tables outside.

* Further along and Walton Road intrigues me as a possible terminus location, albeit it's a thankless task trying to open out the map in these kind of gusts (not that it stops me from trying). Needless to say it all becomes a bit of a mess and the bus arrives from completely the opposite direction to that which I was expecting, no photos there then!

* Undeterred its onwards to Castlefort, a place I last visited with Rog on the old 368 route. Castle Road connects me to Link Road, opening up to reveal the distinctive school in the hedge by the turning circle. As luck wouldn’t have it, the 7A pulls away just as I arrive so I’m faced with the prospect of a half hour wait. At least it gives me a bit of rest and I'm rewarded when the next 7A arrives quite early and I can pounce for some belated shots in what became one of the highlights of the day.

* A bit of local estate weaving brings me to the Shire Oak, a noteworthy pub standing on the junction of Chester Road and Lichfield Road near the county boundary. The backside of the pub isn’t very appealing and the main frontage is a curious salmony shade that’s not overly inviting either. The Royal Oak further down looks more my kind of place (well it does have a Good Beer Guide listing).

* At Anchor Bridge I join the Curly Wyrley for the seminal walk down past Catshill Junction to Brownhills Market – I think I first did this stretch back in 2002 and it still keeps drawing me back time after time. Pier Street Bridge and its accompanying benches provide a welcome spot to stop off for lunch, those sandwiches hit the spot very nicely.

* Brownhills next and the marketplace looks a little sad these days. The old metal stallframes have been replaced with a smarter black design but there aren’t very many plots marked out. Even the High Street seems quiet compared to previous visits – sure the traffic still rumbles through but I was expecting there to be more shoppers about, and the howling wind only adds to an overriding sense of bleakness. The miner sculpture still stands proudly on the main roundabout - was it my imagination or did I detect a slight wobble from the colossus as it got pounded by the breeze?

* Continuing with the walk as Pelsall Road introduces me to The Swan, a pub that might look quite traditional and homely but there isn’t much sign of life to be honest. I stick with the road a little way further before branching off at Yorks Foundry Bridge to once more join the towpath of the Wyrley and Essington Canal.

* More 'Curly Wyrley' then, squelching my way round to Pelsall Junction with a quick look at the Fingerpost eatery (formerly the Royal Oak pub I think). Pelsall Junction is one of my favourite canal locations but feels very exposed on a day like this, and I really have to grit my teeth as I cross the common for shots of the Free Trade pub – at times the wind was so strong it almost blew me over.

* The Free Trade is quite frankly an ugly mess, windows boarded up with the wood half-painted black, an utter eyesore. It really is such a shame as the location with its rural views and the canal nearby could be oh so charming – instead its nothing but a dump.

* I rejoin the canal at Pelsall Works Bridge and head into unchartered territory, tracking the bend round towards the site of the old Lord Hays Branch. The junction is marked by Fishley Lane Bridge, acting as a turnover still but there’s just a short stub of what I assume was the old line remaining.

* Fishley Lane flanks Bloxwich Golf Course as I wander down into Lower Farm, arriving back into suburbia as I renew my acquaintance with the Saddlers Arms pub. Sore feet are my main concern as I trundle along Buxton Road for another look at the local shops.

* Emerging onto the A34 I take the opportunity to satisfy another of my lingering curiosities. Newtown lies literally just across the border into Staffordshire and offers a bit of photo potential, notably the Ivy House, a current Walsall CAMRA Pub of the Year and very cottagey to boot, and Masons (historically the Freemasons Arms), a trendyish eating place that is good for a picture but doesn’t inspire me to step inside.

* I might not have time for a pint but there’s still scope for a bit more exploring. Turnberry Road is the gateway into one of the newer housing estates in Walsall, a curving artery that feeds various closes and cul-de-sacs. The estate was provided with it’s own shopping precinct (including Shires chip shop and a Co-op) and it’s own pub, the One Man and His Dog, which looks rather attractive for a newish building.

* At long last my epic walk is reaching it's end as Bealeys Lane brings me achingly into Bloxwich to join the convoy of 908 buses back to Wolverhampton. The gales had done their best but the body was unbowed and the mind was still in decent condition too, just as well given that I was part of The Bears quiz team taking on allcomers at Wolverhampton Cricket Club on the evening. The postscipt to that story is that the Bears won, so it was a very satisfying day all round!

Tuesday, February 1

WME Update Digest: January 2011

Amongst all the recent pubcrawl revelries that seem to have dominated my start to the New Year, there have actually been a few rumblings of updates as the WME galleries creak into 2011...

Topping the early charts is WME Solihull with a healthy smattering of additions. Pride of place goes to the new Exploring Knowle collection, showcasing a pretty village with shots of the Parish Church, the local park, the Red Lion pub and the village hall. Dorridge Station has sparked into life with some frontage scenes, a platform view and a peek inside the footbridge, whilst Solihull by Bus has been injected with photos of the 169 at Solihull Station and the old 671 route on layover at Olton.

The remainder of January's Top 3 has a distinct Salopian flavour with contributions from both WME Shropshire and WME Telford. Indeed, new collections are very much to the fore thanks to Shropshire's Exploring Broseley (comprising views of the High Street, memorial gardens and library) and Telford's Exploring Leegomery (glimpses of the community centre and neighbouring play area) - solid starts in either case for galleries that don't tend to get much attention.

Which other hitmakers have been making a quick impression so far? Well WME Wolverhampton has ticked over as usual so I offer you Midland Metro shots at Bradley Lane and Loxdale, a second view of the Flying Dutchman on Exploring Warstones, and a brace of bus shots involving the 892 at the old bus station and the Green Bus 4 out at Moseley Parklands. A brief mention too for WME Walsall, quietly going about it's business with appearances from Heathfields Bridge (The Walsall Canal) and the Railway Inn at Pelsall - and that pop pickers is your lot for this month, so keep checking back to see what makes the hit parade in February...