Spent the weekend just gone doing the usual mad dash round Birmingham trying to get as much stuff packed into a couple of days as possible.
Much fun all round. Did a very quick trip into Nostalgia & Comics to pick up the latest batch of comics. Wandered around the city a little being amazed as usual at how bloody big, noisy, busy and populated the place is. Which is a bit like a fish being amazed at how wet the ocean is to be honest.
The main reason for going back to the city was a friend's daughter's birthday party. As usual I resisted the temptation to buy her an Iron Man dress-up outfit, Daddy would love it, Mommy less so methinks. Can you get Iron Man dress-up for a 5 year old girl anyway? And if not, why not? Maybe when the movie comes out?
The Nostalgia & Comics trip was yet again a strange experience. I now know and have worked with just 3 members of staff. There are 4 members of staff who have started post me. This means that at some stage in the not too distant future I could walk into the shop and not know anyone. This may break my heart.
Then it was onto Molly's reason for going shopping. Somehow, despite us being extremely mean and demanding that she puts half of all monetary presents into her savings account, she'd managed to accumulate £40 in money and Entertainer vouchers. Maybe we should put her in charge of the family finances? Maybe not, the mortgage money would just end up becoming a very large cuddly toy fund.
Louise and I were staying in the Etap hotel while Molly spent Saturday night at her nursery buddies house. We only picked the Etap because we couldn't get cheap Travelodge rooms, but £38 for the room and £5 for breakfast, £3 for secure overnight parking didn't seem a bad idea.
And it wasn't. It's a pod hotel, small, functional rooms but nice, comfortable and clean.
One slight downside is the location and the obvious problem it has at times with it's clientele.
It's just past the old Dome nightclub in a not particularly nice part of town. To get into town you have to walk up to the Horsefair roundabout where you are presented with a choice; take the underpass through to Smalbrook Queensway or take to the road, using the narrow bits of kerb on the edge of the roundabout whilst looking down 40 feet at the Queensway underneath you. Not being stupid, we chose the walk of death overground. As did everyone else we saw that night.
The clientele problem didn't really become obvious until returning to the hotel later that night when we were met by the security guard and had our room number and names checked against his list. Talking to the staff and a couple of guests it became clear that the Etap was a favourite for overnighting groups of young folk who marauded up and down the corridors. But luckily, not that night.
We actually went out, just Louise and I, into Birmingham and had an extremely pleasant few hours sitting in the Lounge Bar of the Glee Club just chatting, drinking and most importantly watching. I wish I'd have taken my camera to record all of the glorious sights we saw, but I'm sure you can imagine the horrors!
Birmingham at night; noisy, too many people, a slightly threatening atmosphere but still a great place to be.
Even better when you can get to go home afterwards to a quiet little beautiful Yorkshire market town..