A Narrow Avoidance of the Birmingham Pen Museum

Trip Start Jan 13, 2008
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Trip End Jun 16, 2008


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Where I stayed
Birmingham Central Backpackers

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

After yesterday's adventures, i was out like a light.

This morning i was up and dressed for an 8am breakfast. The funny thing about early sunday mornings is that the streets are always deserted. i always feel like you can tell a place by how busy it is on a sunday morning... and this morning was no exception to that. i guess the fact that it snowed overnight and it was really cold night have had a little to do with it.

so, the snow seems to be following me, first i couldn't get it to snow, and now very touristy place i go here it is... other than that it was so cold that i bought a hot chocolate and managed to spill it over myself, the cold wasn't that bad.

The canals were pretty and easy to walk along. they took a bit of an effort to find as the signs for them just stopped halfway there, i took a wrong turn and ended up standing on a motorway, eek! luckily i didn't get run over. birmingham has more canals than venice, and will tell you that at every opportune moment. the mailbox, a shopping complex including BBC Birmingham is at one end of the canals, and today had a very icy bridge that i didn't fall over on at all. and considering my usual clumsiness i'm very supprised at this. maybe the hot chocolate incident was enough.

(please excuse if i am being a little vague, i'm sitting in the common room of the hostel and about 30 japanese tourists just walked in. before this it was just me and the new zealand guy that runs the place!)

after seeing enough of the canals and being suitably freezing, i decided to walk to the jewellery quater that the guide book said was good for souvenirs. it was a mile from the city centre but it didn't seem that bad. What the guide book didn't mention is that the jewellery quater is good to pick up an engagement ring and not much else.

it was 11am and i thought the museum of the jewellery quater sounded interesting, silly me, it didn't open until 11.30. i amused myself by looking in shop windows and went back at 11.30.

well, i think you know what happened next - this is me we are talking about, i went in only to be told that most of the museum is under refurbishment and that if i came back at 12 noon there would be a tour bus arriving and i could tag along on one of the tours that they would give them, so i asked if there was anything that i could see in the meantime. and here it is: the birmingham pen museum, and yes it is what you think, a history of the pen (as in writing instrument) exchange in birmingham. Well, luckily for me, it wasn't open until 1pm on sunday, damn. And by now i had seen the windows of all that was open. Somehow, i think by sitting on a park bench somewhere the time came to go back for the tour.
No-one got off the tour bus, and two other people happened to walk in so the tour was 4 people including the guide. As tours go, it wasn't that bad, i did feel a little bad for the guide, she was used to more of an audience. We did get to see an authentic old workshop and the office that was above it. the history stuff was good. and our guide actually made some stuff with the moulds and we got a scottie dog of bronze that she had cut. - no photos though.

i took the train back into the city and had some lunch in the bullring. i went into selfridges for the first time, wow! it had so many things that i wanted to send home, its a shame that perishables don't send well. it even had vegemite. there was a handbag that i'm pretty sure cost more than everything that i own at 800GBP or A$1,730!! i walked away from that as quick as i could...

Tomorrow i have an early morning flight to Madrid and i'm hoping that the weather report is lying, it says that it's going to rain every day... fingers crossed for sun!

:) d.
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