Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Lunchtime Walk in Brum

So today I decided to take a walk at lunch-time, to exercise my arthritic knees and get myself something to eat. I was born in Birmingham and spent many of my formative years here, but Oh Dear, what a mess the city now is in.

One of the first things I came upon was at the bottom of Hill Street hill, near to New Street Signal box. The pavement is being re-laid there for the second time in as many years and yet right next to there the road floods on the corner, whenever it rains, and has done for many years, but nothing is being done about it. Even after being re-laid, the pavements are at many levels and angles, perfect for the elderly and crippled. I thank God I don’t need artificial aids to getting about, it must be deadly.

What with the installation of the new tram-way and the provision of the new district heating system, to walk anywhere takes twice as long as it should, due to the numerous diversions and barriers that are in place. Considering it was lunchtime when I went for my walk, there were far fewer people about than I expected. I suppose this could be answered in part by the explanation that currently both the Mailbox and the shops above New Street station are closed. Whether the crowds will return when the shops are open we’ll have to wait and see.

I did see that there were still a number of shop fronts closed on the main street, though fewer than there would be due to the numbers of temporary ‘pop-up’ shops that have appeared.

I walked as far as House of Frazer in Corporation Street and the nicest thing I could think of saying is that it is not even a shadow of Rackham’s, once one of the flag-ship stores in Birmingham.

Lewis’s was also in that position many years ago and left for a good reason. Why they think that coning back to Birmingham at this time is beyond me. Although I may be completely wrong, I’m definitely no expert in this field, but the majority of people shopping in Birmingham City Centre in the last few years are not exactly the sort of people that John Lewis has stated it is aiming at and with the advent of on-line shopping and limited parking and road space in the city centre I can’t see that the people who are their stated, intended clientele would bother going. With no shops available at present, the roads are grid-locked with most cars aiming for the Bullring car parks.

These criticisms are aimed at both the developments at the Mailbox and over New Street Station. With these restrictions and the fact that both centres are due to open at around the same time, we are going to have interesting times.

Coming back to the Saturday gridlocks, I also think that one of the biggest mistakes made in recent years was when the latest incarnation of the Bullring was built. One advantage of the road layout then was that there was an ‘inner ring road’, which could be navigated in either direction. If the road was blocked at any time, then all the traffic could use the rest of the ring. Now the ring road is broken, traffic banned from travelling under the Bullring, except for buses and taxis, all that advantage is gone. With the frequent ‘repairs’, refurbishments and ‘maintenance’ carried out in the tunnels and now road blockades due to development at Paradise, we could really do with having that extra way around, without having to wait in huge queues and take large diversions. It was bad enough having the city Centre developments taking place at the same time as the repairs / renewals on the A38M Expressway and the M6.

After that, I did get something to eat, courtesy of Sainsbury’s and I did exercise my knees. So with stomach full, my knees relatively pain free and my heart heavy I set back to work.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

BLOG reboot

It's been 3 years since I found I had time to post any blogs on this site. It has been raining. Usually on me and very heavily. Not a lot to say yet, but I've just decided to start again. I'm leaving the old posts in place and I don't know what I want to say yet [I've too much to moan about to know where to start], but watch this space.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rather them than me

Getting paid to do what others spend their weekends doing

Thursday, February 10, 2011

British Drivers

I've come to the conclusion that not only have most british drivers not taken a driving test, they haven't a clue as to what a test is. They sit in a car with various buttons and levers which are beyond them and just 'push the pedal to the metal'.
The concept of informing other drivers what they are doing is totally alien, as is that of following simple instructions from roadside signals.

Leading in and out of Birmingham (UK) there is a short stretch of rad at motorway standard which has a 'tdal flow'. The idea is simple. Sometimes there are 3 lanes in each direction, sometimes 2 in and 4 out or vice-versa, all controlled by overhead lights. There is always a dead lane in-between to separate traffic approaching each other at up to 100 mph (or more if speed limits are ignored0. Regularly in this 'BMW lane' (think about it) drivers enter and just drive. How it that we haven't had a major Incident I don't know - but it will make one HELL of a mess!!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Train announcements really wind me up

I use the local UK train service every day to get to and from work. One thing that gets under my skin more and more is the on-train announcement:
"The next station stop will be the xxxxxx station......."
This is nearly always after the front of the train is well in to the platform of the station being announced.
Should it not be "The train is just arriving at xxxxx station ......" or even "... has just arrived at ...."


Lights on the canal


Saturday, December 30, 2006

The 10th Kingdom

Some time ago, whilst I was at work, my wife and son discovered a miniseries on TV. They told me about it and it sounded interesting.

It brought all the elements of fairy stories together and bound it up with the modern world. A waitress and her father get taken into a world where fairy tales are true history when three trolls come through into our world through a mirror whilst chasing a prince who had been turned into a golden retriever.

The story follows the adventures of the waitress and her father as they try to find the way back to their own world.

This Christmas Sky 3 repeated the showing of The 10th. Kingdom in 10 episodes. I found it to be the best TV over the whole Chistmas 2006 season.

If anyone hasn't seen it yet then get hold of a copy it is definitely worth it! The characters are believable even in a fantasy setting and they are both written and played such that you care what happens to them - I love the Wolfs characterisation, Scott Cohen should have had an award for his performance. Whilst the many top names shine bright, he easily outshines them all.

Seasonal Message

A quick note to all visitors: It's a bit late to say Merry Christmas, but a Happy New Year to all who come!