We flew from Dublin to Birmingham, UK. Roger and Bernice picked us up from the airport. So kind! What a gift they gave us! Amazing really. Bernice and Roger took us to places we would’ve never even known about without them. Bernice and I met online. I got involved in Bernice’s art journaling group challenges: The Gratitude Journal, The A to Z of Me, and the Identity Journal. Roger and Bernice are walkers, and they walk along the canals. I had no idea Britain has more canals than Venice and they were the major source of transportation at one time. Keith loved the long boats, made to just fit through the canal locks. So beautiful!
Our first full day in Solihull-Birmingham, Roger and Bernice took us to the Black Country Museum. It covers 26 acres of former industrial land, including a mine. Historical buildings were found and moved to make a village that tells the story of the area, where the industrial age began. Here we are on the bridge.
Below is a photo I took of the rooftops of the village. The story is rather sad really. The living conditions, so awful, people weren’t expected to live past their thirties, and less than half of the children lived. We saw demonstrations of chain making, heard stories of home life, toured the mine. Clearly not the “good ol’ days.” I saw why Charles Dickens needed to write the books he did. Many of them started as articles. He would see the public reaction to his writing and then continue writing. Also, Tolkien was inspired by some of the area we visited. I was impressed by the power of story, and the link between location, happenings, and the writing of fiction. There are still stories that need to be told….
We walked around the Gas Street Basin near Birmingham City Centre. It reminded Keith and I of the renovated Pearl District in Portland, Oregon, except it had canals! Bridges, Buildings, water and long boats. Wonderful!
Then we went to Stratford, the home town of Shakespeare. Once again, reminded of the power of story, and the influence of place. After that we stopped by the lovely Baddsley Clinton house. Just the kind of English cozy manor I had hoped we’d see.
|building in Stratford|
One highlight for me was visiting Jubilee Church in Solihull. I had done an Art Journaling study based on a sermon series Pastor Rob Davey did on Identity. Soooo good! He was starting another series on the day we were there, the Kingdom of God. We were so blessed to be there to worship with the people, and felt totally at home. We got the added blessing of spending time with the Davey family too! Wow! What an adventure with Bernice and Roger. Surprises until the very end…. I didn’t know Tikka Masala was the national food of England. It was our final meal there. Yum!