Ah February, that month of romance... and pancakes! The West Midlands Exploration photostream doesn't usually concern itself with affairs of the heart (nor the frying pan!) so we'll simply concentrate on the usual tranche of newly-delivered pictures...
There has been a ding-dong battle for the chief contributor's crown this month with WMEs Wolverhampton and Staffordshire locked in a prolonged bout of arm-wrestling. True to form, it's WME Wolverhampton which emerges supreme, triumphing thanks to balance beams galore on the Birmingham Main Line Canal (Locks 18, 19, 20 and 21 all accounted for). The city's Art Gallery procures us various puppets from a 2017 exhibition - dogs, birds and even a tufted camel - while Jay's Cafe is a Stafford Street greasy spoon I wish was still trading.
WME Staffordshire might have missed out on victory but a very solid second place showing is not to be sniffed at. Wombourne was almost exclusively responsible for its recent glut of arrivals, rustling up scout hut signage and 'Watch Your Speed' warnings from a policewoman character. Add in a shrine sighting from St Bernadette's Catholic Church plus some general Wom Brook greenery and it all amounts to pleasing progress even if I say so myself.
Overshadowed but nevertheless quietly beavering away is WME Worcestershire which gains its first additions of 2024. Worcester itself wangles a newsagents shop, a former pub doorway (the Barley Mow's in fact, complete with added circus posters) and a vintage Heineken advert, then it's over to Wythall for a clay post directional arrow opposite the railway station. It partially points the way to WME Birmingham where a Church Road street sign gets Yardley on the move again; WME Dudley meanwhile gains a double dose of Wordsley Junction's fingerpost.
Elsewhere, I can report a sprinkling of odds and ends for the following galleries: WME Walsall (Covid-related graffiti on the Walsall Canal), WME Sandwell (two West Bromwich pub sign pictures for the Flower Pot and the Merry Go Round), WME Telford (hints of Wellington's Church Walk and a James Rollason metal merchants board), and WME Warwickshire (for Whitnash News and the Woodloes Tavern).
Ordinarily that would be enough for most months, but I'm hearing of sleepy stirrings involving Exploration Extra - yes it's waking up from a near yearlong hibernation. Altrincham additions have helped end the slumber, hence glimpses of Moss Lane, the Old Roebuck and the Bee-Bop-A-Raver bee sculpture, then there is Carlisle content in the form of Bitts Park planting and the Carlisle United club shop. I have a feeling that Exploration Extra is going to dominate matters for the foreseeable future so watch this space!