20 August 2017

Birmingham 2017 - A Post of Two Halves

Since updating my blog on the computer instead of my iPad posts its a bit more of a faff so I haven't caught up with a post about the Festival of Quilts so far even though it was over a week a go since I was there.

David travelled with me to Birmingham and since there are some significant changes to the city centre since we were last there two years ago we wanted to go and visit before going to the Festival.

What has changed is the refurbishment of New Street Station which has a new shopping and eating are above the concourse called Grand Central, which includes a John Lewis store.  Outside is a viewing area to see the trains running in and out of the station underneath.

Above is one of the Sleuth of Bears trail around Birmingham which shows the large 'eye' screen behind, which was advertising the test cricket match at Edgbaston cricket ground. More about the bears later.

We also took the opportunity to visit the Library of Birmingham which we also visited last time in the city.  The architecture of the tiered building with its interlocking circles is pretty amazing and we found out that people can go outside one of the levels onto a roof guarding with views over the city.  There is still a lot of construction work going on.  Inside the building going up the escalator one can see shelves of books arranged in a circle and each floor had reading areas and tables with screens on.  A fascinating place. I tried to find a good angle to take a photo from the roof terrace so sorry if the pic looks odd. This is the view out to the war memorial building which is currently surrounded by hoardings as building work continues around it.

And a view down a travelator to the book shelves on one floor and this goes out to the outside roof area.

As we were close to the canal basin we walked there and found a pub to have a relaxing drink and watch the boats along the canals that junction there.

Now I'm coming to the Bears. It's usually by chance that we come across artwork trails usually with animals or characters whose identities are interpreted by the artists commissioned to decorate them.  There is usually a map to seek the characters out for people to enjoy and take photos and they are later auctioned to raise money for charity. In previous years we've seen Gromits and Shaun the Sheep(s) in Bristol, Flocks of Sheep in Skipton, Herdies in the Lake District last year.  Two years ago in Birmingham were Owls.  This is called The Big Sleuth (that's the collective noun for the bears) and details can be found here

After getting off the bus near Selfridges we were wandering around the store and found a bear in the audio department.  When asked about it the assistant gave me a map. So our wander around Birmingham became a Bear Hunt.  We found a few more between The Bullring and New Street inside Grand Central, quite a few were found around the Cathedral.

Instead of posting a lot of photos I have done a couple of collages which I've earlier posted on Instagram.

I was taken with one which has a mosaic decoration and not only took the front but also back and close up, called Sweet William

Pretty amazing, isn't it.  If you're in and around Birmingham do go and see them!

Part two will follow soon about the Festival of Quilts.

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