20th March 2023.

Two ticks in the bag, I sped up on the way back to Oldswinford, stopping only to bring you Stourbridge street art.

I think this is a metaphor about the housing market,

and this gorgeous painting may well be on the wall of an old pub on the Bridgnorth Road;

and here’s a bit of civic architecture on Hagley Road;

Heading back on the train from Stourbridge Junction I now just have to break my journey at Rowley Regis for a third and final tick, hoping that a) Breaking one’s journey is not a capital offence in the West Midlands and b) I will understand the announcers accent of “Rowley Regis”.

One out of two isn’t bad. At least I know Rowley comes after Old Hill, but I’ve no idea why the town next to Rowley station is Blackheath, though I’m sure you’re queueing up to tell me.

Nine minutes walk each way to the Cyder & Cobb micro, half an hour between trains, no time to loiter which explains why I only took one photo of Blackheath,

but I was only here in 2019 so look here.

I’m assuming the new GBG micro wasn’t about in 2019, when every Blackheath pub was called Britannia, but even then the Black Country was seeing an explosion in the numbers of small suburban bars boasting comedy nights, TV sport, a range of pork pies and cobs,

and ABK lager.

I’ll be honest, when I first saw ABK in Digbeth 5 years ago I thought it was probably made in Tipton, but it seems to genuinely come from Kaufbeuren, which I presume is as big a beer destination as Bamberg.

These sort of community bars (everyone was seemingly in their 30s) are as far apart from the Herne Rules “high tables, no keg, old blokes” model as a Spoons is, and I can only applaud them for maintaining such a welcoming atmosphere, rather like that cluster of micros around Rotherham.

The Cyder & Cobb just finished ahead of the Beacon Hotel in local CAMRA voting, the Bristol Beer Factory was cheap, cool and chewy (NBSS 3+). Phil Collins and Norman Greenbaum your 7 minute soundtrack, which is OK.

Fifteen minutes later, I was back in central Brum. Now, where on earth can I waste 20 minutes on Bennetts Hill ?


  1. Sooo glad you didn’t post the ‘cyder’ list, even now I’m imagining a ragbag of 4% fruit syrup abominations and super-sweet psudo ‘cyders’ with ‘hilarious’ yokely names.


  2. “Heading back on the train from Stourbridge Junction”. Last time I was that way, January 2020, I used the LPG fuelled little train between the Town and Junction stations.
    That day I had Bathams in the King Arthur, Royal Exchange and Unicorn, Hobsons Plum Porter in the Woodman, St Austell in the Hen and Chickens and two Holdens Milds in the Great Western.


  3. “I will understand the announcer’s accent of “Rowley Regis””.

    I once caught a train from Wolverhampton to Cradley Heath, en route to the Bull and Bladder in Brierley Hill. The guy in the ticket office issued me with a return to there, but a few minutes later on the platform listening to the station announcer I realised I hadn’t even come close to the local pronunciation of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Matthew,
      A mile from Cradley Heath and four from Rowley Regis someone from other parts lost asked a local and mistook his “Yow min Lye” reply as a reference to a Chinese takeaway.
      Yet so many tourists seem to think Stratford upon Avon is the proper Midlands !

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Martin – you’re right about the gorgeous painting, a reminder of the existence of the Cottage Inn as the gateway to Stourbridge Ring Road. Cyder & Cobb appeals to me more for the cobs than any cider but I just about recall hazy hugging lessons in there after attending the Dudley Winter Ales festival one year. Cheers, Paul

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And yesterday I overheard a drinker my age mentioning being “on the box” for what elsewhere would be “off sick”.


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