I suspect I won’t be getting the honorarium as east Brum’s Tourism Ambassador (that’s Ian Clarkson’s gig anyway), but I do have some highlights from Hours 3-4 of my walk that at least keep Solihull above Maidenhead on my UK Town League Ladders (I’m using the ones from 1980 Shoot ! for this purpose).

The Long Walk to the Pup

My urban tourism took me under this beauty into town.


I’d been to Solihull Hospital on NHS business before, so I knew there was a secret footpath that led to a centre largely comprised of posh shops and chain pubs, a heady mixture.

Next possible lunch stop Beech House.


Another attractive roadside diner, this time offering a Josper grill and Purity to smartly dressed folk with John Lewis bags.  The most noticeable difference between Cambridge and Solihull is that everyone had John Lewis and Jaegar bags; not a Primark bag in sight.

Looks just like the Greville

I wanted something authentically Brummy for lunch, so pressed on into town looking for a Balti or pork bap.  I got as far as the German nougat stand, and succumbed to the soft pistachio fudge (NGFSS 3.5).  My second Prussian of the week, and as cheery as the last.


It’s obviously Christmas in Soli, as an impressive continental food market was in full swing, livening up a Coventry style centre that actually reminded me of a modern Ruhr town like Duisberg.  Without the German beer at 3 euros, sadly.

That clock is wrong, Solihull

Plenty of smart chain shops. Not many medieval buildings, this one apart.

No,not THAT Joules sadly

In fairness, the Touchwood Shopping Centre is the smartest I’ve ever been in, and if I ever need to go shopping I would have no hesitation in wasting Mrs RM’s money here.

Touchwood.  Nothing to do with Dr Who

It was 3pm and I was delirious with hunger, but wasn’t succumbing to the Spoons fish & chips club.  So I found Wrapchic just in time.  Proper Indian food in Mexican style wraps, washed down with Tiny Rebel Indian milky tea.

Wrapchic – played for Yugolslavia ’88-92

The centre was then taken over by the entire population of Solihull’s secondary schools.  One lass asked me to intervene in a domestic dispute with her boyfriend before deciding I wasn’t Solomon and pushing him in the bush to make her point.

“Respected” chain pubs there were many. Spoons, O’Neill’s, Walkabout, Yates, Hogshead/Stonegate, Slug & Lettuce – a full house.

Perhaps the Masons looked most like a traditional boozer.

Lack of mobility scooter telling

The GBG app reveals the extent of local CAMRA confidence in the town centre.  That red dot 20 minutes south is a decent Ember Inn (inevitably), the only Guide entry for miles.

GBG desert

And the Scots think they’ve got it bad.

I head back up Lode Lane, passing the reed bed where a Clarkson clearance against Tranmere ended back in the Blues’ promotion season of 1991-92.  The ball’s still there.

Spot the ball

You then pass the Land Rover works, probably home to a Social Club that will be in the GBG next year with Purity beers.  Some typically poor Brum parking on show here.

How’d you get up there mate ?

Talking of Ember, I’d noticed the Olton Tavern was heralded in WhatPub as offering 8-9 beers, as if that was a good thing.  They had the balloons out in anticipation of my pre-emptive tick.

An Ember, the most common sight in east Brum

Anywhere else, an Ember Inn elicits an “Oh no“, but in Brum they often are the only option, and seem to fulfill the “All Human Life Is Here” role to perfection.  As here.

Brum Life

Mobility scooters, ladies who lunch (late), Hi-Vis jackets, folk skiving off from a conference, Old Boys.  A Proper Pub.

Not nine beers either.  Just three, and all drinkable. The Pedi was my best for a while (NBSS 3.5+).

3 beats 9 every day

4pm in a busy suburban pub really can be the Golden Hour. Few diners, tradesmen, Professional Drinkers, mums and toddlers.  Pub life.

The only seat was by the fruit machines, a perfect viewing platform.  I really hope this gets in the Guide, even with a mainstream beer range. BRAPA will love it, but I bet BeerMat beats him there.
















      1. Last time in Spoons I actually counted the number of keg lagers. 12. Makes the cask variety seem limited doesn’t it. Why have Bud Light and Coors Light, has anybody in the UK ever drunk either?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There was once a cartoon in “What’s Brewing” showing numerous lager fonts connected to the same keg under the bar.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. 10 handpumps and one cask; numerous lager fonts and same keg… the Simpsons did that (go to the 1:30 mark):


    1. I really enjoy visiting places afresh, or after a long interlude. Need to get back to writing less about pubs if I can. Really interesting to visit places perceived as affluent, like Solihull and Aldridge and Barnet, which feel to me have a lot less life than Halifax or St Helens, which considered down-at-heel.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Eek ! Don’t tell him.”

        Sadly, as mentioned yesterday, I shall be late with my replies for the next month. Mrs Russ is home after being in two different hospitals for two major operations over a period of 5 days. She’s home now but convalescence will take a month. Yours truly will be running her lunch truck for her during that time (and doing all the bloody shopping for the food!). So others are free to make corrections before me. 🙂



      2. We know our place. Our other readers had a “Senior Team Meeting” and agreed to let you put your sticky yellow corrective tape over all the mistakes when your good wife is better.


      3. ” and agreed to let you put your sticky yellow corrective tape over all the mistakes when your good wife is better.”

        I was thinking of using white out directly on the screen. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. “but I’m not sure whether the Aussie humiliation is news in Canada.”

        You’ll never know unless you go for it. 😎


  1. IYou certainly saw parts of Solihull that I’ve never seen before! On another day you could have found me with my market stall in the centre of town.
    I’m glad you liked the Olton Tavern which just happens to be my Thursday night quiz venue (generally not as busy as when you went!)
    I believe that it is Ember policy to have fewer cask ales on during the week and to put extra ones on at the weekend to maintain quality.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your first photo clearly illustrates how posing tables and stools are unfriendly to the disabled. The guy sitting on the high stool is placed well above his companion in the wheelchair and must have difficulty holding a conversation with him.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a good spot. Very disability unfriendly, albeit unintentional. I have to say they did all seem to be enjoying spouting guff though. I hope I don’t have to make peace with Ember as well, now.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I would hate to be one of the people whose job it is to pack the fudge.
    Permanently in fear of someone asking what they did for a living ….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My old local (or one of them) and glad to see it’s still going strong! Everyone in Brum does drink Carling…or possibly Guinness but most of the pubs in that area of Solihul are exactly like The Tavern. Lively and as far removed from Solihull centre as you could imagine but with little interest for cask ale. It must be my upbringing but I can appreciate what Ember bring to most of that side of Brum, which isn’t a mecca for beer. Masons is probably last ‘local’ left in Solihull as there is also a spoons and new(ish) Flute and Flagon. The GOlden Lion (now Beech House) was a student haven in eighties and Saddlers Arms (now closed) was also a decent ‘localish’ pub as was the Captains Locker (I think this is a ‘gentleman’s club’ now!) Snooty Fox (now Missoula) was in a great Tudor buidling that is closed to make way for progress as they knock it down to extend Touchwood….I’m surprised you didn’t make it as far as The Highwood or The Hobs Meadow as some classic pub life and also in the shopping precinct!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, “Respected” chain pubs there were many – Walkabout, Yates, Hogshead/Stonegate, Slug & Lettuce – and Solihull (B91) has SIX Stonegate pubs and just ONE Wetherspoons, and that’s precisely the same numbers as Wolverhampton.
    Not long then until Tim is toppled as the top ‘barn’ owner !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Fudge”

    It has German flags but says ‘From Britain with love’?

    “Without the German beer at 3 euros, sadly.”

    Don’t get me started. The beer prices in Belgium are a thing of beauty. 🙂

    “No,not THAT Joules sadly”

    Well obviously; there’s no apostrophe. 😉

    “Touchwood. Nothing to do with Dr Who”

    Darnit! Stole my line (i.e. Torchwood). 🙂

    Oh and what’s with the car hire app sign I spy? (UBER) 🙂

    “Wrapchic – played for Yugolslavia ’88-92”

    I have no idea if that’s true but… what’s with an Indian restaurant having a cow on its sign?

    “where a Clarkson clearance against Tranmere ended back in the Blues’ promotion season of 1991-92. ”


    “How’d you get up there mate ?”

    That’s the whole point, innit? Shows their cars can go bloody anywhere. 🙂

    “An Ember, the most common sight in east Brum”

    Purple and green balloons? Probably some special LGBT holiday. 😉

    “Brum Life”

    You’d only get a lineup like that over here at a Starbucks… or maybe a Tim Horton’s in Canada.

    And as Ian has mentioned on his blog, they do seem to get a good mix of folks in some of the pubs up there. (thumbs up)



  7. “BRAPA will love it” –But I thought Simon was not a fan of Ember Inns? Or does he not reject them categorically?

    I’m beginning to think the Hi-Vis jackets are joining the ranks of “always a good sign” pub characteristics, such as mobility scooters, and pub tickers taking notes. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s