Saturday, June 25

D9 does Digbeth

Friday 24th June: Brace yourselves for another vintage driving masterclass as I recount the details of a trip around the Jewellery Quarter, Digbeth and Hockley during which Mr D9 Andy and I sought out backstreet pubs, vintage closets and transport locations...

Metro Meet
: Our rendezvous is 0930 hours at West Bromwich Central Metro Stop, Mr Lunn emerging from the hub right on time. We work out a few ideas for the day and decide to take the tram towards Birmingham whilst I report back on Mr Wood’s now-legendary £10.20 round at Portland.


Jewellery Quarter
: alighting at the joint tram/train station I grab a few Metro shots and then we head onto Vyse Street so that Andy can sample his first treat of the day, a Victorian urinal just outside the station entrance. The obligatory picture was taken and the theme for the day is well and truly set. We then delve deeper into this historic corner of Birmingham to appreciate the landmark clock before locating pubs such as the tempting Queens Arms on Newhall Street and the almost derelict George & Dragon.


- Andy starts as he means to go on -

St Paul’s & Summer Lane
: Our tour of the city centre fringes proceeds with a look at St Paul’s Church then heading out under the railway to sample Summer Lane where Centro House, the Barrel and the Stags Head provide some interest.


- Andy finds the hub on Summer Lane -

Livery Street
: a fascinating streetscape flanks the railway lines out of Snow Hill where a series of atmospheric arches are waiting to reveal their secrets. The bricks and crevices probably have a few tales to tell of nightclub shenanigans, concealed storerooms and old industrial workshops. The motley assemblage is completed by a newsagents and a Lithuanian deli, not forgetting the newly-opened second entrance into Snow Hill which reminds me very much of some station entries found on the tube in London.


The Wellington: arriving into the City Centre we take time out to relax in one of my trusty favourite pubs. Pump 15 is selected meaning today’s tipple of choice is Paxton’s Peculiar from the Peerless Brewery in Birkenhead - whether the beer itself is peerless is open to debate but it was certainly a decent drink.

6 to Digbeth
: we like the idea of a Digbeth tour for the early afternoon so the 6 is well-placed for a ride up Bradford Street. The Adam & Eve (in shades of pink and purple), the Moseley Arms and the Spotted Dog all provide some useful photos although my attempted shot of the Deritend Fish Bar (with it’s old Pepsi logos) is rudely interrupted by a rogue bald spot!

- Could that be a bald spot I see before me? -

Wagon & Horses: Adderley Street leads us towards Bordesley as we explore the area around Birmingham Central Garage. The Wagon and Horses is on hand to serve the local industries (perhaps including some bus drivers after their shifts) and the pub was surprisingly nice to visit. A quick half of M&B Brew XI goes down well when accompanied by a bit of Wimbledon on the telly.

- The Closet Count continues -

TUAG from the Closet
: Andy’s nose for all things bladder-related then sniffs out another cast iron gem on the corner of Great Barr Street and Liverpool Street opposite the Forge Tavern. We follow this by testing out the TUAG (‘Turn up and Go’) credentials of the 97 route with impressive results. The bus is already coming so a little dash gets us on board, and Andy can’t resist a quick D9 demonstration - note how he gives the urinal a lingering look on the way past!


video
- Turn Up and Drive -

Bordesley
: Having negotiated the kamikaze hullabaloo of Garrison Circus, the 97 takes us a few stops up Garrison Lane as I pick out Bordesley landmarks that I hadn’t previously encountered. There are quite a few pubs, notably the Victoria and the Sportsman, whilst we also have a glance at Bordesley Garage and some Travel offices.


St Andrews & Coventry Rd Garage
: I brace myself to enter enemy territory as we negotiate Cattell Road and the spectre of St Andrews, home to Birmingham City FC. I sneak a handful of stadium photos but then avert my eyes in favour of concentrating on the old Coventry Road bus garage, bits of which are now in use as offices and storage space.


- St Andrews -

The Garrison
: We quietly tiptoe past the Tilton End to go undercover in the Garrison, a hardcore Bluenose pub with various club pictures on the wall and a sign in the toilet promoting the house menu as deep fried dogs, cats and rats - I think I’ll give that a miss!


Grand Union Canal
: Time for a bit of waterways, joining the line at Garrison Lane Bridge (No 103) so that I can introduce Andy to the graffiti-daubed delight that is Bordesley Junction. Making our way to Warwick Bar we speculate that some of the ‘artwork’ must have required either a ladder or a boat, or both! We resurface in Digbeth on the trail of more urinals - Andy thinks he remembers one somewhere under the railway arches and sure enough we find it, although that roving bald spot crept into view once more as I lined up the photo.


- A cast iron bald spot photo -

Anchor & Lamp Tavern
: Next up is a quickfire taste of more favourite Paul boozers. The Anchor offers some Kitty Brewster from Northumberland as we sit in the Midland Red Bar - we reckon Mr Wood probably got up to a few misdemeanours in here back in the day. The Lamp seems quiet but we still enjoy our halves of ‘Stan the Man’ Stanway Bitter and some more tennis.


- Cheers from the Anchor -

The 16
: Another trial by TUAG, or is it TUAR being as we have to keep running to make sure we catch our buses today. The upper deck is virtually empty so you can guess what came next; yes indeed, another masterful performance from Mr D9 as he manoeuvres out of the Bull Ring and up to Moor Street.


video
- D9 on the Birmingham beat -

Hockley: we alight on Great Hampton Street for a brace of Good Beer Guide entrants. The Church Inn does us nicely for some lunch (complete with hand cut chips) and Timothy Taylor’s Golden Best, whilst the Lord Clifden has a more cosmopolitan vibe to accompany half of Abberydale’s Surreal Ales. Andy then rummages up his short sleeves to pick out a photo opportunity surveying the old shops on Lodge Road, an excellent suggestion there.

- Surreal in the Lord Clifden -

Jewellery Quarte
r: Having come virtually full circle back to where we started this morning there are further pubs to sample. The Rose Villa Tavern is undergoing refurbishment but that still meant we had the Brown Lion and the Jewellers Arms to more than satisfy our curiosity. The former has recently been transformed into the tap house for the Two Towers Brewery and showcases their full range of beers including Chamberlain Pale Ale and Jewellery Porter - I would happily recommend the Livery Street Mild. The latter was a bustling place where we partook of a swift half of Hobson’s Best Bitter.


- The Brown Lion -

101
: Mr Lunn has one final trick up those sleeves of his so we sprint to catch the 101 by the Chamberlain Clock. After some wriggling along Hingeston Street and Pitsford Street, we pass All Saints School and the Devonshire Arms before setting down on Lodge Road by the prison.


London Works
: Andy’s plan had been to visit the Queens Head, a pub with a nice old-fashioned frontage but sadly no signs of life. Our old friend the London Works Tavern was just up the road though so no harm done, and it was actually good to be back here, especially if compulsory purchase orders will soon necessitate demolition to make way for a new superhospital. We sup up and then head our separate ways with Rolfe Street beckoning for my train home.


I have really been spoilt for fantastic explorations recently but this was right up there to maintain those lofty standards. The D9 was on top form, the pubs were fascinating and there were segments of places I’d never covered before, Bordesley especially. All in a days work I guess, but what a day it was!

Sunday, June 19

A Clent Crackerjack

Saturday 18th June: Most people would agree that coming home after a great holiday can be a little bit depressing as you try to get back into the routine of daily life after a few days escape. Rog and I were in need of a boost after returning from Weymouth, so our antidote to the homeward blues was a local trip exploring some of our old favourites...

Stourbridge: The 256 delivers me to Stourbridge in time to meet Rog at 10am and get a few more photos of the ongoing bus station redevelopment. Virtually all traces of the old interchange have now gone as a fleet of builders prepare the grounds for the new layout. We get chatting to Steve, a driver for Hanson's, and discuss our thoughts about whether the new station will actually be any good.

Hagley: The plan for the morning involves a visit to previous haunts Hagley and Clent, places we somewhat surprisingly haven't been to since 2007. From Stourbridge Junction we catch the train to Hagley and I swoop for a few photos of the station and footbridge. Hagley Village seems busy enough with traffic weaving through amongst lots of parked cars and the Station Inn and Our Plaice chip shop bring back some happy memories.

The walk begins: Western Road leads us out into Worcestershire countryside as we retrace familiar steps out to Holy Cross. We decide to make Belbroughton our next target but whilst walking down Holy Cross Lane we get caught in an almighty shower that prompts one passing elderly chap to pass some unrepeatable (but highly amusing!) comments. I reckon Rog had been doing his Weymouth rain dance again...

Belbroughton: Somewhat soggy and bedraggled we arrive in Belbroughton and seek shelter in the beer garden of the Talbot Inn whilst we wait for the rain to ease. It turns out the pub was already open anyway so we head inside to dry off some more, a silky pint of Boondoggle helping our recovery as I admire some rather fine scatter cushions. Back outside and the sun has come out, meaning Rog can put on his best Worzel Gummidge likeness whilst posing by a Scarecrow Noticeboard - needless to say he doesn't have to try too hard.

- But where's Aunt Sally? -

Clent: We wend our way back up to Holy Cross (no sign of any OAP commentary this time) to try out the Bell and Cross. Rog remembers when the pub had a properly traditional front bar with wooden bench seating but a more recent makeover has given the place a pretentious feel, a vibe that is echoed when we walk up past the church to sample the Vine. Don't get me wrong, both pubs are nice enough but they seem to be chasing the food market (with price tags to match) and consequently have lost some of the authentic soul that I would expect from a quintessential village inn.

- Clent, The Vine -

To Cradley: The pubs might have been a tad disappointing but our walk (rain apart) had been a leisurely treat. We complete the loop back to Hagley Station and catch a return train into the West Midlands, although I momentarily forget we're still outside the Centro boundary by showing the wrong ticket to the guard - I think Roger was hoping I would get hit by a penalty fare but I found the correct ticket just in time. We alight at Cradley Heath to find the toilets closed but remarkably our bladders are holding out well and there's no need for a Mr D9 style crisis.

Netherton: The 124 bus is already in at the bus interchange so we hop aboard for a short ride around Dudley Wood and along Marriott Road into Netherton. Beer mecca beckons courtesy of Ma Pardoe's, this time sampling the Dark Swan Mild which was in excellent condition. Rog gets to see the photographic evidence of Mr Wood's historic D9 calamities before we relax in the little snug and admire the ornate fireplace.

- In the Shrewsbury Arms -

Dudley: A quickfire ride on the 244 brings us swiftly into Dudley where a call into the Shrewsbury Arms reveals a nice period pub interior, dark leather seats and so forth. I'm pleased to get a few bonus photos around the town centre, notably of Stone Street Square, the Saracens Head and the Fountain Arcade.

Brierley Hill and Amblecote: Next up is Brierley Hill so that Rog can do his good deed for the day, delivering a DVD to a damsel of Fenton Street.We briefly go down the rocker route with a look at the Kings Head, then take a languid stroll down Brettell Lane to investigate the Old Dial. The front bar looks tatty but Rog tells me the back lounge has potential, although my mind is probably more closely focused on some Tesco sandwiches I'm eyeing up for a snack.

- Portway Metallica Pose, apparently -

Kingswinford: There's just time to squeeze in a couple more pub experiences as the day winds down. We make our way to Kingswinford to take in the Portway (with a blast of Metallica on the jukebox and another bit of Tizzie Wizzie to whet our palates) and the MHT (a.k.a the Market Hall Tavern) to complete proceedings in customary fashion. All good stuff it has to be said, and perhaps being back home after the holidays isn't so bad after all...

Monday, June 13

Weymouth Weekend 2011 > Part 3

Rally day has arrived but so has the rain, and I mean rain! A deluge of monumental proportions threatens to turn our main event into a damp squib, but the spirit of the occasion ensures that the show goes on and it's full splash ahead...

Breakfast: With the weather putting paid to my chances of a morning walk, I can at least have a longer lie-in before joining Rog and Mr Wood for breakfast. A brief look outside reveals the full extent of the rain and we can't help but notice the National Express coach parked up right outside the hotel, the Woody tracking device is obviously working very well indeed.

To the rally: Full Englishes devoured we brave the elements and await the shuttle service down to the rally site. It really is a miserable morning, the rain lashing down hard and bouncing back up off the pavements. Lingering by the Kings Statue, a green Leyland National soon provides our connection down to the Lodmoor car park by the Premier Inn.

Riding in the rain: It's far too wet to be taking any photos yet so we decide to make the most of the rides on offer, an excellent way to keep as dry as possible. First off is a trip to Portland Bill and back courtesy of a Volvo B6 recently retired out of service at Stagecoach - the bus made mincemeat of the climbs up Portland Hill, no need for any crunchbox there. No sooner have we got back to base than we jump straight on the next service, partaking of a circular tour of Littlemoor on an old Exeter Ford Transit breadvan. It's a bit of a squeeze inside but I enjoy sampling a route we missed out last year, spotting the New Inn as a Littlemoor landmark. A vintage Bristol is then on hand for a touch of elegance during a return trip to Bowleaze Cove.


Rally really: You have to hand it to the festival organisers for still delivering a good event despite the inclement conditions. We take a break from the rides and seek shelter in the Lodmoor pub where the waiter seems quite upset that we don't want a carvery. A brief lull in the rain sees Woody giving his camera an airing although mine stays firmly in my pocket and Rog just concentrates on avoiding the puddles.

- Woody after his expensive round -

Portland Posers: On with the rides and a repeat visit to Portland, this time courtesy of an orange coach where we are all told to wear our seatbelts (health and safety, bah!). We alight at Portland Bill into the teeth of a howling gale and make a comical dash to the Pulpit for a medicinal pint. It's Mr Wood's round and he gets a shock when he's asked to pay £10.20 for two pints of London Pride and a pint of Guinness! Needless to say he was most disgruntled at this turn of events and 'Dave' felt the full force of his tonguelashing as we D9 our way back on a Leyland National.

Final run: The remorseless raindrops show no sign of relenting so it's time for our last ride of the day. Our favourite Ford Transit breadvan is again on hand, this time to take us to the Nothe Fort where this year we actually get to enter inside the impressive coastal defences. The driver takes pity on my weak-bladdered fellow passengers and then we trundle back to Weymouth seafront and that's that. I have to say that despite everything I still really enjoyed the rally and riding around on the old buses remains a treat regardless of the weather.


Formula One: After drying out back at the Fairhaven we head out into Weymouth once more and aim to find somewhere to watch the Canadian Grand Prix. Our choice is the Wellington Arms, family-run with a heartwarming atmosphere to match. We camp ourselves under the television as the race begins but it seems that the Weymouth weather has made it's way to Montreal, a lengthy rain delay leaving us in limbo for a while. Woody and I answer the call of our stomachs with a visit to Chillis (another excellent lamb tikka masala) and when we get back to the Wellington we find that the race has only just restarted - note to Rog: the two-hour limit does only apply to time actually spent racing. The action is worth waiting for though as Jenson Button storms through the field to take victory on the last lap, leaving a certain Mr Chance weeping tears of unbridled joy.

- Eyes fixed for some F1 action -

Duke of Cornwall: Mr Wood is all F1'd out and retires to the Fairhaven whilst Rog and I set out to celebrate JB's win. We call in at the Duke of Cornwall, a small pub amongst the harbour backstreets where there is live 'entertainment' although one of the karaoke singers seems a bit sozzled. Some Blackwater Mild is sampled and two large dogs rush around excitedly being fussed over by the regulars.

The Globe: following last night's discovery there is only one place to finish off the evening, hence it's a return to the Globe and some more Dartmoor Jail Ale. Rog has at least stopped crying now but is still struggling to bring up the strains of the national anthem in Jenson's honour. Our favourite landlord wished us well as we left and I do hope we get to pop in again next year.

- Weymouth Lifeboat -

Monday morning: the remaining embers of our Weymouth weekend and I just squeeze in a farewell wander around Chapelhay, Nothe Gardens and Hope Square, topping up on some prized photos as the sun gradually burns off the morning drizzle. Mr Wood is having an interesting morning as he seems to have been placed on breakfast rations and is still being stalked by National Express coaches. Munching over we make our way to the station and the steady ride back to the West Midlands passes without any fracases.


Well what else can I say? A fantastic weekend once more, great company, lots of fun and I think it's safe to say that Weymouth will be retaining it's status as one of the exploration pinnacles of the year.

Weymouth Weekend 2011 > Part 2

What more could you wish for than good company, sunshine and Dorset on your doorstep? The Saturday of our Weymouth Weekend offered the chance to partake of the best that the county had to offer...

Weymouth walk: An early rise gives me chance to work up an appetite with a morning stroll around Weymouth - I love exploring the place when it's that bit quieter and you can get a truer sense of it's character. The harbour looks enchanting and comes complete with those evocative scents of the sea, then I weave around the backstreets picking out landmark pubs like the Globe, the Duke of Cornwall and the White Hart. At 8:30 I return to the Fairhaven for breakfast with the boys, during which Rog regales us with more tales of Hilda and coughing is thankfully kept to a minimum.

- Weymouth Harbour -

X53: Stomachs lined we join the queue for the 10:05 bus to Poole, a popular service where all of the seats were soon taken. The ride provides a steady jaunt through Preston (The Spice Ship), Wool and Wareham before entering Poole via Lytchett Minster (St Peter's Finger) and Upton as Woody and Rog debate the merits of a BlackBerry-based fracas.

Poole: The bus pulls into Poole Bus Station and I'm quickly reminded of why the interchange made such a poor impression on me last year. It really is a depressing hole slapped on the side of the Dolphin shopping centre and looking every bit as dark and dated as I remembered. It's a busy place too, both in terms of vehicles and passenger footfall, so it all felt very claustrophobic and I was glad we weren't staying for long.

M1: A change of operator now as we take the Wilts & Dorset 'More' branded route through to Bournemouth, our First Day Explorers bought on the X53 still being valid and proving excellent value. The bus looked very smart and provided a comfortable ride through Parkstone and Westbourne as the growing proliferation of Yellow Buses are a sure sign we're nearing our destination.

- Buses at Bournemouth -

Bournemouth: We alight at Gervis Place hoping for a good photo session but a sharp shower sends us scampering for the cover of the Moon in the Square Wetherspoons where it seems plenty of other people had had the same idea. Before long you couldn't see the bar so we decided to get lunch elsewhere with a nearby Burger King fitting the bill. At least the rain has cleared now so we can get a series of photos in before the Purbeck Breezer open-topper arrives to take us to the station interchange.

Bournemouth Station: Another somewhat dated bus location but the place is growing on me despite the grim ultra-violet toilets and the ugly brown row of shelters. There are plenty of National Express coaches around keeping their eye on Mr Wood whilst I pounce for some further Yellow Bus shots, the 5b to Kinson particularly springs to mind.

50: Back onto the open-topper and there's no better place to be on a summer's day, cruising through to Swanage with the wind in your hair and a Mary-related song in your heart. Sitting at the back of the top deck we can enjoy the views up through Westbourne and Canford Cliffs (where I spotted the local branch library), then a wait for the ferry at Sandbanks gives us chance to alight for some precious photos (or in Rog's case a precious fag break). Saying that, Rog does get a photo of our friendly lady driver as we hop back on board and we enjoy watching Mr Wood's usually-rigid hair battling to retain it's shape and failing dismally.


- A Hairy Situation for Mr Wood -

Swanage: The route terminates outside the heritage railway station (a nice spot in itself for some photos) and we wander down into the town for a mooch around. The White Swan pub catches our collective eye so we head inside for a Piddle collision, embibing of another local Dorset brew.

- Having a Piddle in Swanage -

40: On with the buses and another Purbeck Breezer albeit not open top so Mr Wood's hair is spared further carnage. It's a scenic run through to Wareham with a hearty dose of D9 driving through Corfe Castle, then we decide to stay on all the way through to Poole via Organford and its old post office.

Poole: not wishing to spend a second longer at the bus station than necessary we quickly head through the Dolphin arcades to find the Lord Wimborne Wetherspoons. Mr Wood's brother Craig has arranged to meet us and we enjoy a couple of pints in his company whilst avoiding a genuine fracas at the bar.

X53: back to Weymouth with the customary D9 reversing out of Poole, 'Dave' is proving to be a busy chap this holiday. Lytchett Minster, Wareham and Wool are all encountered again but the journey is mainly notable for Rog's growing bladder torment - he must've spent at least half an hour in serious discomfort and could barely walk when we finally arrived back at the Kings Statue, a sight that me and Woody obviously thought was hilarious.

Weymouth evening: Roger just about made it to the gents and emerges much relieved indeed. A freshening-up session at the Fairhaven is followed by tea at the William Henry, then the night is ours to sample more of Weymouth's pub culture. This time we head to the far side of the harbour to find favourites old and new...

- A relieved Rog re-emerges -

Chapelhay Tavern: perched at the top of some steps leading up from the old High Street, the Chapelhay Tavern is a cracking little pub with a distinct nautical flavour. The walls are adorned with shipping memorabilia and a radio on the bar crackles with news from the coastguard as some salty regulars listen intently. The whole experience really captured my imagination and provided a memorable glimpse of a truly authentic seaside local.

The Boot: a favourite discovery from last year which more than lived up to expectations. A half of Jennings' Tizzie Wizzie (named after a mythical beast from the Lake District) slips down very nicely as Roger gets out his netbook, the pub's free wi-fi enabling me to track down a song called 'Midnight Mary' especially for the Chancer.

The Globe: with Mr Wood retiring for the evening, Rog and I seek out one final inn and are rewarded with another gem. Tucked away in a backstreet on the town side of the harbour, the Globe was a cracking find with the warmest of welcomes. A friendly landlord, a free jukebox and some excellent beer (top notch Dartmoor Jail Ale) are all to be commended and it was a wrench to leave even though it was gone midnight. We make our way back to the Fairhaven and keep fingers crossed that rally day will be just as special...

Weymouth Weekend 2011 > Part 1

Last year's Weymouth Vintage Bus Running Day was one of the ultimate highlights of my 2010 explorations so needless to say a return visit was considered absolutely essential. The chance for a weekend of bus indulgence was too much to resist so on Friday 10th June Woody, Rog and I departed for Dorset to begin three days of roving revelry...

To Weymouth: I meet up with the guys at Birmingham New Street for a spot of breakfast and then we catch the 10:03 CrossCountry service down to Southampton Central, a steady journey that included a few bonus photos during a pause at Reading. At Southampton we change onto South West trains, enjoying the scenery through the New Forest and Poole Harbour before Weymouth finally appears on the horizon.

Checking in: Alighting at the seaside we make our way to our hotel, the same one as last year, with Roger on the lookout for potential dance partners of the more senior variety. Having safely settled in we're now ready for the first pint of the weekend, a Flying Dutchman courtesy of the William Henry Wetherspoons.

X53 Jurassic Coastliner: With the necessary lubrication having been taken it's time for some bus action and a taster of an epic route that links Poole and Exeter over some four and a half hours. We sample the section through from Weymouth to Lyme Regis which includes glimpses of West Bay, Bridport and Charmouth.

- The Pilot Boat -

Lyme Regis: Steep narrow streets lead us towards the seafront and we alight into a touch of drizzle but nothing too serious. A quick shot of the bus and then we seek out the Pilot Boat for a refreshing pint - I enjoyed my Palmer's Copper Ale but the pub didn't quite have the character I was hoping for. Quaffing over we climb up the High Street to catch our next bus by the post office, the hike allowing for extra photos including the Volunteer Inn.


31: After a bit of waiting the 31 arrives on the scene with our initial intention being to catch the bus to Bridport. However, we're not long into the journey when the heavens open and despite a brave attempt at some outstation photos our Bridport stay is quickly aborted. We rejoin the bus and continue back through to Weymouth via Dorchester.

Duke of Albany: Thankfully the weather is kinder once we're back at base so a quick freshen-up and we can try out some of the local pubs. First up is the Duke of Albany down a sidestreet not far from the station where we meet a very vocal parrot who has a penchant for wolf-whistling. Our efforts to get the bird to insult Roger prove in vain although I did detect a squawk of 'Mary' at one point.

- Tasting Tetley's at the Duke of Albany -

Brownlow: A decent curry at Chillis sets us up nicely for another pub close to the station, this one you can actually see from the platforms. The building looks tired from the outside but wasn't too bad and we enjoyed a game of pool although my potting skills had completely deserted me.

The Cutter: As was customary last year, the evening finishes in the Cutter (a.k.a. the Gutter) where I am stunned to find that the Foster's is available. No sign of any playful dogs sadly, just some people getting quite deep into their karaoke. We retire back to the Fairhaven where Rog and I brave the bottom bar and Rog makes the acquaintance of Hilda and her sister for a dance marathon. Needless to say I make a sharp exit in case I became overcome with the excitement...

Saturday, June 4

WME Flickr Focus: May 2011

The battle to re-establish West Midlands Exploration in its new home continues thanks to a month of steady accumulation. If April provided the first rush of housewarming furniture, May has seen me settle further into my Flickr abode with more of the nicknacks and ornaments slotting into place...

Much of May's impetus came courtesy of my Walsall collection as 68 pictures found their way back online. These photos have tended to have a nice spread rather than be particularly concentrated, hence buses, canals and train stations have made appearances alongside representatives from a range of local areas. Added to April's offerings and Walsall now stands at 26 sets displaying a total of 102 photos, meaning I'm well on the way to resurrecting the 208 that were on the old Fotopic.

Wolverhampton has continued to tick over after April's initial burst of energy. Another 38 shots here give me a running total of 226 and some of the sets are coming along nicely - the likes of Heath Town, Northwood Park, Whitmore Reans and Tettenhall have all made a strong early impression. There is still work to do to reach the 435 mark, and I have been relying on some of my earliest digital photos to make inroads thus far, meaning the quality of some of the images is quite grainy in places.

In my last Flickr Focus I mentioned that I had started uploading my Birmingham photos. Well that process has continued throughout May and a sizeable chunk of the Brum archive I had on Fotopic has been recovered. I've even managed to squeak a couple of bus shots through onto my public photostream so some 7s at Perry Common and the 11C at Harborne are now available again for you to view. I've also placed a direct link to the new Birmingham collection on the blog, but please don't expect to see too much appearing in there just yet.

So what's the plan heading into June then? Well I hope to release more of my Wolverhampton and Walsall photos with possibly a few Birmingham ones as well. Behind the scenes I need to upload my Birmingham railway shots and I might even start work on getting some movement with Dudley and Sandwell. In the meantime I hope you enjoy my photostream as it continues to evolve and I aim to be back with more news soon.