Thursday, June 10
Sunday, June 6
In these strange pandemic-afflicted times I've barely ventured out of the West Midlands over the last year (an occasional incursion into Staffordshire and Shropshire excepted), so actually going away somewhere on a family holiday would be a real novelty. Our Whitsun escape therefore sees us based in Kendal, a Cumbrian town that would prove perfect for exploring the Lake District...
Saturday, June 5
Even though the West Midlands Exploration photostream is an entirely online operation, it has nonetheless observed the social distancing 'rule of six' over recent weeks. This has meant that only a select sextet of my constituent collections have been attending to additions business of late - here's a quick summary...
Our most vocal May member is WME Wolverhampton which dominates proceedings on this occasion. West Park sparkles with springtime scenery whereas some Beatties lettering mournfully laments the loss of a renowned City Centre department store. The Stile at Whitmore Reans lends us a lantern snap, there are street sign snippets from Waterloo Road, Fold Street and Westland Avenue, and why not squeeze in some Birmingham Main Line canal locks for good measure - quite a lot to shout about there!
Also part of our small congregation is WME Staffordshire, concentrating most diligently on Wheaton Aston. The Hartley Arms and a traditional fingerpost both register here, making a change from my usual fixation on Turners Garage whenever village photos were previously in the offing. Elsewhere, the outskirts of Stafford speak to us of Walton on the Hill welcome signage and there's even a glimpse of Wildwood Gate.
Next to declare their presence within the group is a joint delegation from Sandwell and Telford. WME Sandwell tantalises us with the Waterfall - a Holden's pub that's long been a personal favourite of mine - plus a Cape Hill chip shop (displaying Pepsi branding much to Mr D9's delight) and a West Bromwich carved lion figure. WME Telford meanwhile whispers about Wellington watering holes courtesy of the Park and the Captain Webb.
Finally, completing our collective we have a couple of shy wallflowers in the form of WME Walsall and WME Worcestershire. Walsall quietly ticks along with Kent Street and Whittimere Street signs whilst Worcestershire rustles up some bus stop art from the Winyates estate in Redditch before concluding matters at Wolverley Lock on the Staffs & Worcs Canal. Hopefully more of the other WME collections will be able to join the party in June but in the meantime enjoy the photos - cheers!
Friday, May 28
Saturday, May 22
The Hub Marketing Board have quite a tradition for undertaking rain-afflicted adventures, especially when our intended destination begins with a 'W' - think Warley, West Bromwich and Walsall Wood to name but three. That list now includes Wellington after an afternoon spent trying to avoid the worst of the Shropshire showers; thankfully being allowed inside pubs again helped us to stay as dry as possible...
Monday, May 17
Saturday, May 8
Covid has made it inevitable that certain locations are cropping up in my explorations more than they normally would, but there are still new angles to unveil and exciting discoveries to make in even the most familiar of places. Take Wombourne for example, partially covered during February's Trysull Trek and now back for more in May...
Monday, May 3
Canals have been a favourite hunting ground during the Hub Marketing Board's most recent activities and, on the premise of 'if it isn't broke don't fix it', we are more than happy to retain the waterways theme for our end-of-April extravaganza. An interesting offshoot of the Walsall Canal requires closer investigation, plus (whisper it quietly) we're even hoping to sample a pub or two along the way...
Wednesday, April 28
Dust off that ancient abacus folks, we need to count up the beads of recent photostream progress. Statistically speaking April has been another steady month of solid addition, if never quite veering towards exponential multiplication...
It doesn't take a master mathematician to work out our top performer over the last few weeks. WME Staffordshire has outscored all of the competition by reeling off a spate of newbies, most of which involve Stafford one way or another. Gaolgate Street and Greengate Street plus more sightings of W.G. Grace at Victoria Park equals tangible accumulation, and that's not to subtract from the valued input of Trysull (Holden's at the Bell), Stoke (the White Star), or indeed Upper Bratch Bridge on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal.
Also piling up the numbers are WME Birmingham and WME Wolverhampton. Brum tots up its tally thanks to arrivals from Stirchley and Sutton Park, hence the appearances of Lea House Road, Attic Brewery and a repeat showing for Town Gate. Wolverhampton's rolling aggregate now includes the likes of Upper Vauxhall, St Stephen's Primary School, a Summerhouse Bass lamp in All Saints, and an intriguing piece of automotive artwork homaging Sunbeam speed records at St John's Retail Park.
Elsewhere, my calculations show some encouraging activity from WME Walsall, particularly as regards the attendance of Hoppy the concrete hippopotamus complete with painted Saddlers football shirt; the Victoria/Katz and the Walsall Arms ensure the pub quota is suitably stocked up here. WME Telford meanwhile has been busy practising its times tables, thus resulting in successful sums from St George's (the Albion) and Town Park (a fishy favourite).
The update equation looks less rosy in terms of our remaining collections but any evidence of enhanced numeracy is still to be applauded. WME Sandwell tackles a trio from Tipton - the local building society, Factory Road and the Pie Factory's in-house 'newspaper' - whereas WME Warwickshire studies Studley in claiming a Shakespearean bus stop with a Bell pub sign. That's about all the maths I can cope with for one month though so we'll see if May is any more arithmetically gifted - see you then!
Saturday, April 24
For our first joint pubfaring outing of 2021, Nick and I intrepidly rove the wilds of Warwickshire for a day of locks (aplenty), stocks (of ale at last) and barrel-roofed cottages. Here comes the tale of the trip...