First a quick apology. My head is exceptionally groggy today and the writing muse is conspicuous by its absence! Words feel a little stuck in my head, so this post may jolt a little.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you may have picked up on the wide and varied things I am interested in. Books, obviously I think is a given as that’s what I spend most of my time obsessing over! But I also love history, art, crafty bits, cooking and all things foody. Anything that I can learn from, that can broaden my understanding of the world and my life within it, to me is fascinating.
But, I am lazy. It is a curse that I have to try and break. I don’t appreciate the places on my doorstep, places that if on holiday I would add to the list of must-do-activities. For example, I lived in Lancaster for five years and not once took the tour of the castle! Despicable and unforgivable. Particularly as this wondrous building was on my walking route home for a good couple of years! I actually had to walk past the gate! Of course I have been across the grounds and attended the brilliant fireworks displays on November 5th, but I never went in! I never got to know all the gory detail about the last days of the Pendle Witches, or understand the true role as the seat of the King’s Duchy. Shame. Shame on me.
But I cannot, surely, be the only one who fails to enjoy the riches of the town in which they live? Please tell me so!
I have lived in Birmingham now nearing five years and I fear I am falling into the same complacent trap. Lots of people are negative about the second city, indeed I had never been here myself until applying (and accepting) my teaching role. But it is so full of jewels. Some of the architecture (particularly the old) is stunning and for entertainment, you could not ask for better. The month long Christmas market and the food fairs are incredible and satisfy the culinary desires in me beyond expectations. But what of my cultural soul? What of my eagerness to know more? Why constantly keep the nose in the book when there are so many pearls to be seen?
This morning I was going to head into town and admire the Rag Market (so much fun) in order to get my crafting head back in place (I hate to tell you this, but anyone planning on making Christmas presents might need to start thinking already!) but as the rain hammers against the window a sense of soggy dread has settled! Instead, I am going to construct a plan of action! I am going to provide you all with a list of things I will see and accomplish!
Until the 17th October, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is home to the Steve McCurry Exhibition, Retrospective. I am sure you all recognise this image of his, of the 1980’s Afghan girl, taken at the time of the Soviet invasion. I believe it has been the subject of more than one National Geographic magazine in its time and is startling magnificent. In fact, throughout my reading of A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, this was the image that sculpted my characters further.
This event is apparently the sole UK exhibit of the American photo-journalist’s work. I cannot miss it, I should not. Granted I am not up to date with his photo catalogue but this is an opportunity I would loathe to miss. And I have no excuse to! Most of the exhibits at Birmingham Gallery are free! And those they do charge for hardly break the bank. It would probably be wise, while I’m in there to actually visit the Staffordshire Hoard too! This exhibition runs until 31st December. I might even treat myself this weekend.
Other things more or less in Birmingham’s centre that I need to visit include the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. I wonder at art galleries – I used to love going to the big London galleries as an A’Level art student and our house is full of contemporary pieces (granted, they belong to Steve, but I can pretend they’re mine!). I even actively aim for the art questions in Trivial Pursuit. Yet I have still not been to the Barber Institute. This is made even more embarrassing by the fact it is situated on Birmingham University Campus, where Steve works!
Then there are . . .
But, reaching slightly further a field, I would also like to visit . . .
So, as you can see, I am shockingly uncultured when it comes to my Midland life. There are so many things to see and do, and this is just the tip of my own personal iceberg. This life will not become another Lancaster Castle, I refuse to let all these historical beauties slip through my fingers – I don’t believe I will live in the Midlands forever and I certainly don’t want to miss the chance of having them so close.
Please, feel free to add any gems you think I have missed! Or drop me a note if you want to come too!!