- Ryecroft Cemetery -
As is customary on a half-day expedition, the Secretary gets a few nibbles in on the morning before meeting up with the Chairman. This time around he took bites out of Stafford Street, Coalpool and Ryecroft including a brief foray into Ryecroft Cemetery.
- Power Station Gates -
A sprinting Chairman then predictably makes a last minute dash to avoid incurring any cob penalties on release from Walsall Bus Garage. It's decided that some ferreting is required so the Chairman is introduced to the former Birchills Power Station site, focusing on railway remains by Sainsburys and the old gates by Reedswood Park. The onset of a sharp shower sends us scampering for the shelter of the Rose & Crown where the knowledgeable landlord recommends the grapefruity Island Hopping ale.
- Ale in the Alma -
More remnants of industrial heritage are to be found in Birchills where the old MEB gates on Jessel Road merit a morsel of photography. The rain is attempting to dampen the feast so the Alma is handily placed for more drying out and some much-appreciated Mild.
- Bald Spot on Beechdale -
There are canal crumbs to be gobbled up as we seek out the remains of the Anson Branch off Bentley Lane. When the old canal peters out we follow a footpath out to Cavendish Road on the Beechdale estate; here the Chairman wrestles with the doors of the Magic Lantern before letting his bald spot defences down at Stephenson Square.
- The Beechdale Driving Demonstration -
Now the Chairman can never resist the chance to showcase his prowess behind the steering wheel so the number 70 bus gave him the perfect stage for raiding his repertoire once more. He expertly negotiated his way out of Beechdale and through Dudley Fields to Bloxwich, so it was only fitting that he was rewarded with a visit to the Turf Tavern and its atmospheric courtyard closet.
- Seriously Tough Scratchings -
A Bloxwich banquet is the order of the day, with the Romping Cat, Spring Cottage and the Wheatsheaf all being possibilities. Some of the dishes prove easier to digest than others, and the Chairman seems to be having particular trouble getting his teeth around some impertinent pork products.
- Blakenall Co-op Building -
Early evening sees a swift shift to Blakenall Heath where the old Co-op store on Blakenall Lane sparks a chat with a chap outside the New Inn. We feel it is only right to sample the pub itself for a quick half, following that with a gander at the Green Rock Tavern when the number 29 bus decides to play hide-and-seek with us whenever we tried to catch it.
- The Flat Cap is 'Crowned' -
There are plentiful platters to be had on the homeward stretch, including notable discounts in the Pretty Bricks (£2.10 BFG for Mr WME) and the Crown on Long Acre Street (£2 flat for Mr D9, although it was Mr WME wearing the flat cap). The canine decorations of the New Inns left a little to be desired, and we round off the evening with a sneaky supper courtesy of the Gospel Oak. The mini-famine has ended, and we look forward to tucking in to more delights in due course.