How are you all? We've had a week's leave this past week and have had such a lovely, relaxed time. The kids have been back at school and we've had lots of 'us' time, which has involved just bimbling around, lazy mornings, lie-ins, having late breakfasts in cafes, wickedly extravagant beverages in coffee houses, trundling around charity shops and making lots of plans for the garden. Simple, uncomplicated stuff but boy has it recharged our batteries!
It's absolutely chucketing down outside and it's reallllly cold. It's not been the most pleasant of weeks weather-wise but I did manage to catch these lovely puffs of cloud suspended over the horizon early on Tuesday morning when we had a rare clear and bright morning - aren't they fabulous?
Yesterday we popped across to Birmingham with the sole intention of browsing the markets. We travelled into Brum on the train and and alighted at Moor Street Station as this is just a stone's throw from where we needed to be. Moor Street Station is such a pretty little place right in the heart of Birmingham City Centre. It's recently been renovated to it's 1930s splendour at huge expense. I didn't take a photograph yesterday but have 'borrowed' one from the t'interweb.
Unfortunately, once you emerge from this little oasis of calm, your visual senses are assaulted by this:-
This is the Selfridges building which straddles the Bullring. I'm sorry. I've tried to like it, I really have- but the more I see it, the more I think it looks like some ghastly alien pod, sitting malevolently at the road side sucking the life out of the area. Ugh. *Shudder*
We ran away at top speed t'wards the less painfully chic but more homely and ample charms of the markets.
Come with me on a little tour!
First point of call is the open market. The majority of the stalls are fruit and veg and traders vie with each other to offer the best bargains. We had no intention of buying anything today, but the brightly coloured stalls crammed full with fresh produce were extremely tempting - particularly as the prices were so incredibly cheap. Five huge peppers for a pound. (and no green ones either!!). Three bunches of HUGE spring onions for a pound... and SO many traders are now using the 'bowl' system of selling which is quite bizarre! Quite simply, each plastic bowl of fruit or veg costs a standard £1.00 per bowl. I guess it looks like a bargain but you don't really get to compare prices per pound so what may look very reasonable may actually be very expensive.
You can't ask for the wrong thing here..... Union Jack all-in-one anyone?!!
This was revamped when the Bullring was upgraded a few years back but hasn't lost any of its old fashioned charm. I spent many a happy Saturday here in me yoof, looking for vintage clothes and buying loads of tiny Ska button badges for my Harrington jacket. Inside the red bricked building, the huge space is crammed with aisles and aisles of closely packed stalls. Again you can buy anything here...from joss sticks to vintage leather; second hand clothes to pet food; there are loads of haberdashery stalls.
I loved these buttons and the sweet girl behind the stall was happy (if not a little puzzled) to let me photograph them.
|Oooh Shiny Buttons!!|
A lovely Asian gentleman saw me with the camera and insisted that I photograph his array of brightly coloured materials! "All the colours of the rainbow!!" he kept saying, grinning at me as I snapped away.
|I think that anyone's bum would look big in these babies!!|
Next to the Rag Market is the Meat and Fish Market.... my oh my I wish you could see the stuff in here. It's certainly not for those of a delicate disposition - particularly when every part of probably every barnyard animal that ever lived (ok it's my blog and I can exaggerate if I want to!) is offered for sale! I didn't take any pictures in here as the market was very crowded, but the following delicacies were offered for sale: Goat's heads (avec eyes - eek!! It looked like something out of Alien!), sheep's stomachs, livers, lights, offal of every description, chitterlings, brains, throats (no really!!), cow's tongues, chicken feet, cows hooves, and.... something that I could very possibly revert to vegetarianism over - beef snouts. I kid you not. A whole tray piled high with cow's noses. Vom.
Do people really eat these things? Do they settle down in front of the tv with a light snack of goats feet and cow's nostrils?? They do? Well Bleurgh!!! Quite frankly!
Everything is very fresh, however, I'm afraid it does make one feel slightly bilious if one loiters for too long.
And then there's the fish stalls! Snapper, Bream, Cod, Salmon, Pollack, Shark, Parrot fish which looks blue under the light, octopus, prawns, whelks, crab, and more exotic and fancy fish than you can shake a stick at!
Escaping out into the insipid sunlight, we came across this statue:
Looking up towards the Bullring the clouds were gathering behind St Martins.
And that bloody alien pod getting its ugly mush in again. Looks like a scene from Dr Who!
Fearing for our lives we ducked into Pizza Hut to hide from potential alien attack! Well that's our story and we're sticking to it!