Instead if heading west like I hoped I headed south to Birmingham to see what that city has to offer. The engineering works that are creating the disruption will run all weekend. It may be that they are working on a section of rail north of Stafford where the line splits into two. One of those lines continues in to Crewe and then Liverpool. The other line goes on to Stoke and then Manchester.
This time I bought myself an open ticket not knowing how long I would like to remain in Birmingham. The weather is not the greatest today with some rain as well as strong wind gusts forecast. Outside it already looks like it’s going to be a stormy day. Gone are the bright blue skies instead there is a thick layer of cloud looking ominous.
Birmingham is one of the largest cities in the UK. It was at the forefront of the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century. Stepping off the train at Birmingham New Street the initial awe of me surroundings quickly turned to orientation. I found myself essentially in the centre of town around the Bull Ring area. In the old days it used to be a great market with everyone and anyone trading anything and everything. This kind of small business interdependence drove the economy upwards and contributed to the British global dominance at that time. They had superior technology to everyone else out there until everyone caught up and had enough of their rule.
It was a complicated time in the world. The buildings show what a time it must have been with prosperity invested in the fronts of the buildings. Each city that I’ve been to here in the UK shares this band of architecture around the time of their empire that displays the wealth of that time. As a society there were classes of people that each filled a role and contributed to that prosperity. Let us not forget that children worked in industry at that time.
A big portion of the downtown area is under construction/demolition. There has been much reconstruction in this area. The old an new contributing to a great feel in the center of town. The Bull Ring area topographically lies in a depression against a hill. This hill is semi circular hence the name I guess. Old and new blends in a unique way and as the morning turned into the afternoon it drew many people to these streets. The big mall acts as a stairway to the top of the hill. The development is filled with all the usual shops one might expect in a major shopping area. All those brands and more.
Walking around the city felt good. It was nice to see something new. This place is really not that far away from where I’m staying and there are a couple of museums that I may explore at some point in the future. The winds were picking up. The force of some of the gusts surprised me. It was hard to hold still as I focused on taking a photo at times.
Birmingham has its own unique feel owing to its history and make up. There is a large concentration of universities right in the centre of town. These developments have fueled the regeneration of the center of town. The remnants of what was there before still stands boarded up behind fences waiting to be either renewed or razed for something new. The rest of the city is spread out over a wide area.
On my way back the train slowed to a crawl and then eventually stopped. We were stopped right beside what appeared to be a trailer park. There was no grass however just a paved lot with little brick buildings split into two lots. A woman emerged wearing one of those velvet jumpsuits all in white out of her mobile home. A little dog jumped out behind her. She had a passing glance at the train stopped up above her but continued on her errand to the brick building. There was a washing machine outside but it wasn’t laundry that she was doing. She was blond and tanned and her little dog didn’t want to get back into the trailer home.
Stepping off the train back in Stafford coincided with the beginning of the rain. As I crossed the street and walked into the park the rains began. A shelter along my way provided an ideal spot for watching the spectacle unfold. Winds blew where there once weren’t any. The rain wasn’t heavy but it was driven by the wind. It passed by the time I finished having a chat. By the time I finished my walk home this cycle repeated again. It’s not the nicest of days but I’m about to sit and talk so it doesn’t matter.
Barbs has been on a hunt to find a roommate. We talked a few times over the course of the night. I also spoke with my folks. There is no substitution for having someone physically here or being physically there. This is a new feeling as before it didn’t really matter where I was. I am resisting falling into a spiral and instead I just want to keep climbing. The shore… land is in sight.