It’s time to tick off the Midlands.
I’m in Birmingham at this very moment, writing about finishing Warwickshire.
It’s never been a difficult county to complete, spared the ravages of micro fever that make Lancashire such a challenge.
And the four newbies this year were all a doddle to do once they re-opened. One in Nuneaton, one near Stratford and a couple in cocky Kenilworth, at last putting one over its more touristy neighbours.
A quick search on my site reveals ZERO posts on Kenilworth (you’ll be directed some good blogging on Luton Town though), and it must be a decade since I stepped out from the unusually smart station (which wasn’t opened till 2018).
The main shopping strip along the A452 is a bit traffic scarred, but that leaves the glories of the Old Town and castle (be patient !) unspoilt.
Some large chain pubs, the “better” supermarkets and a healthy number of curry houses, but probably not the town you’d come to for your woollen llamas.
My first target is the Ale Rooms, a name that sounds oddly familiar till I remember that ALL small bar names are a combination of a limited number of beery words.
Oh, it’s owned by the same folk as the place in Knowle, isn’t it. Figures, very similar demographics in Solihull.
I bet you can’t tell whether I’m going to like these places or not, can you ?
It depends entirely on the welcome and whether the two smartly dressed (compared to me) Old Boys respond to my attempts at conversation over a cool half of Hazy Semper (NBSS 3).
They do. The young guy at the bar (which reminds me, welcome to City, Jack Grealish) is loading up the Old Boy’s playlist.
“What we looking forward to then, “We’ll Meet Again” ?” I offer.
“Cheeky ! I’m not THAT old ! No, some Deep Purple..“
“Oooh, Black Night ?, Speed King ?”
He was impressed I don’t say “Smoke on the Water”, I think, and he entertains me with a story about Ritchie Blackmore who went out with his wife.
“BEFORE you married her, I hope, that’s the best way” I said.
Lovely people, open all hours, and the soundtrack unexpectedly moved on to “Ca plane mour moi” as I headed to the park.