Black Country news and blogs Tuesday 25 July 2017
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I’m No Teenage Icon – Mud & Madness Of Truck 2017 

25 Jul

Last Wednesday we left home, bound for Oxfordshire, home to the teenage knees-up that is the Truck Festival.

Do you know your Soapland Security? 

24 Jul

*A collaborative post  Do you watch the soaps? From Albert Square, to the cobbles of Weatherfield, over 33.9 million viewers...

Mottistone Gardens & Compton Bay & Downs Visit 

24 Jul

Mottistone Gardens Mottistone Gardens is on the south coast of the Isle of Wight and is part owned by the National Trust, Entrance is £5.80 Adults, £2.90 Children, £14.50 Family (non gift aid prices)...

A fantastic ‘Arts Day’ in Year 5 today.  

24 Jul

Well done Year 5 for all of your creative efforts today.

Lego Character Deciding to Risk the Rain – Lego Adventures 

23 Jul

Lego figure deciding whether to go into the rain out from his nice cozy tent while he was on a weekend break camping.

First Timers and Record Breakers – 22 July 2017 

23 Jul

Welcome to this week’s first time parkrunners Runner Time Runner Time Kalpesh PAREKH 23:06 Andy BRETHERICK 30:51 Sam BIRD 24:05 Annabel EADIE 36:40 Anand DATTANI 24:23 Mandeep CHANA 38:00 Kyle WALKER 25:08 Harriet LILWALL 38:08 Declan HAYWARD 25:13...

Barnstones Caravan & Camping Park Great Bourton Near Banbury Visit 

23 Jul

As we are new to camping we just like to go away after work on Friday and come back on the sunday, so we don’t like to travel that far on the Friday as...

Having two children five years apart 

23 Jul

When I announced my pregnancy just a couple of weeks ago it didn’t even cross my mind whether people would...

Zap Zap Math App for 4-6 year olds // review 

23 Jul

*A collaborative review  It may well be the summer holidays but that doesn’t mean the learning has to stop.

Song Order for Tomorrow  

21 Jul

Higher and higher Wonderwall Saw her standing there Wake me up Like a prayer Hold my hand...

Sports woman and Sports man of the year. 

21 Jul

The first annual award to our shining stars.

Easing Travel Sickness with Sea-Band // Giveaway 

21 Jul

*A collaborative post  The long awaited Summer holidays are here and it’s the time when most families, ours included think about getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life for some rest and relaxation.

Weston-Super-Mare Big Wheel – Photo Blog 

20 Jul

While we was having a short break away in Brean, Somerset we visited Weston Super Mare, unfortunately the day we visited the weather wasn’t on our side, so only looked around the shops, but...

BBC Wages 

20 Jul

To be honest I was a bit dispirited by the revelation of the wages paid out to the BBC “celebrities”.

Chestnut Ridge Mysteries: Bigfoot & UFOs… 

20 Jul

This looks to be good...

Arts Award Promotion Film 

20 Jul

Well done to all of the children who have been entered for their Arts Award Explorer Level.

Sublime Product 

20 Jul

40 Years Old.

Message for members – Saturday’s performance  

19 Jul

Hi members, the address for Saturday’s performance is All Saints Church, 35 Whitton St, Darlaston, WS10 8BA.

Community Events: Walsall Mela 

19 Jul

Walsall Mega Mela is coming 30th July at the Arboretum! Filed under: Uncategorized...

Eating out at Siamais Thai restaurant, Birmingham 

19 Jul

Last Friday I was invited to review Siamais, a relatively new Thai restaurant in the heart of Brindley Place in Birmingham City Centre.

Britain’s Bigfoot: Paranormal 

18 Jul

A new article from me on why the so-called "British Bigfoot" is clearly not a flesh-and-blood animal.

Darlaston Community Festival on Saturday 

18 Jul

We will be performing at Darlaston Community Festival this Saturday 22nd July and hope you can come and support! We are on from around 1pm.

This Old House – Stonecroft After The Paint Job 

18 Jul

It's over! No more dodging ladders and scaffolding or having to walk around the house fully clothed.

Event 281 – 15 July 2017 

18 Jul

This week's Hi-viz heroes: If you can help us out by volunteering in future weeks, please get in touch.

Eating at Disneyland Paris // Earl of Sandwich 

18 Jul

On the second day of our Disneyland Paris adventure, we had planned to visit Earl of Sandwich in the Disney Village for lunch.

Trying out the new Pud in a Mug from Dr Oetker // review 

18 Jul

We don’t usually have many puddings in our cupboards, but when Dr Oetker offered to send us some Pud in a Mug sachets to try out, we couldn’t resist.

Policeman visiting Seaquarium – Lego adventures 

15 Jul

Lego policeman on his visit to the seaside and having second thoughts about going on the Big wheel he decided to go to Seaquarium in Western Super Mare instead.

First Timers and Record Breakers – 15 July 2017 

15 Jul

Welcome to this week’s first time parkrunners Runner Time Runner Time Daniel SEARLE 28:53 Sarah ELLIS 33:07 Imran SUDDLE 30:44 Hannah WATSON 33:19 Katie RUSSELL 31:16 Tia PATEL 34:53 Ethan MITCHELSON 31:25 Brooklyn FRANCE 36:12 Mark WATSON 31:31 ...

Event 280 – 8 July 2017 

15 Jul

This week's Hi-viz heroes: If you can help us out by volunteering in future weeks, please get in touch.

Policeman Going On big Wheel @ Western Super Mare – Lego Adventures 

15 Jul

Policeman just deciding if he wants to go on the big wheel at Western Super Mare.

First Timers and Record Breakers – 8 July 2017 

15 Jul

First Timers Welcome to this week’s first time parkrunners Runner Time Runner Time Jose SEGARRA 17:09 Rajiv PATEL 37:26 Matt BROWN 21:32 Rebecca SMITH 37:30 Paul LILWALL 27:20 Elliott HOBBS 37:32 Debbie MORRIS 29:18 David LEE 38:32 Alex MORSE 33:00...

Publishing late Summer 

15 Jul

Published by Brewin Books.

Ichneumon wasp, Diphyus quadripunctorius. 

14 Jul

Only 8 records reliably known for UK and most are from Nottinghamshire.

David Weatherly and Nessie… 

14 Jul

David Weatherly (author of The Black Eyed Children ) gives my 2016 book, Nessie , an excellent review.

Fox Hollies Family Fun Day this Saturday 15th July 

14 Jul

*A collaborative post in partnership with Fox Hollies This Saturday 15th July, there’s going to be an epic family fun day at Fox Hollies Leisure Centre in Acocks Green, Birmingham.

The First Trimester // Definitely not glowing yet… 

13 Jul

When I found out I was pregnant, aside from the disbelief and incredible shock, we were over the moon.

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Tom’s Cabin: from thatches to rugs! 

25 Jul

Way back, six years way back, I wrote about the (still derelict) old bungalow at the old driveway to Shire Oak Quarry, just of Shire Oak Hill on the A461 near Sandhills, and was interested in the history of this interesting, lost home; several folk ...

POST HASTE: Your cheque presentation… what do you want to achieve? 

25 Jul

There is a reason why I try and search for people outside my home sector.

Today’s Buy To Let Deal Yields 5.28%, Poppy Drive, Walsall, WS5. 

24 Jul

A two bedroom terraced house, Harebell Close, Tamebridge, Walsall, WS5.

Travellers Update re unauthorised encampment at Stubbers Green, Aldridge 

24 Jul

The unauthorised encampment at Stubbers Green in Aldridge is covered by the injunction taken out earlier this year to protect sites which have suffered from frequent incursions.

The New Art Gallery Walsall – Events 

24 Jul

Tuesday Tots: Marvellous Marbling Tomorrow 11 AM · 3 guests The New Art Gallery Walsall Walsall Interested JUL 26 Wednesdays for All: Wondrous Wands Wed 12 PM · Hosted by The New Art Gallery Walsall The New Art Gallery Walsall Walsall Interested ...

APPLE REMINDER: Jony Ives and what they want not what they need 

24 Jul

There is a point I keep coming back to over and over and over again from a blog post I wrote a while back.

Brownhills Carnival remembered: Tower Hill return please, and a single for the wife 

23 Jul

A couple of weeks ago, old pal of the blog Lisa Ashby sent in a wonderful article with some great supporting pictures showing her involvement in the Brownhills Carnivals of the late 80s and early 90s.

Woodmen nick Pics glory 

23 Jul

We're now at the very beginnings of the 2017/18 season and the friendlies well underway, I'm happy to see Bill Shaw hasn't thrown away his match day pencil and has been kind enough to send in.

Aston Manor Transport Museum in Aldridge – Vintage Verses starts soon! 

23 Jul

A brief one starting very soon just drawn to my attention by the indefatigable Russell Smith - there's a poetry/spoken word event starting at Aston Manor Road Transport Museum in Aldridge at 2:30pm this afternoon (Sunday 23rd July 2017).

News, reports and even video from Walsall Wood FC – and a fitting tribute to a great man! 

22 Jul

Well, it's been a busy old time down at Oak Park Football Club, home of Walsall Wood FC - the overall season has started as usual before the official one with a series of warm-up 'friendly' matches and a rejuvenated, revitalised team with new ...

Mabel’s Vintage Fair at Chasewater Railway this Sunday! 

22 Jul

I notice that this Sunday, 23rd July 2017, there's a rather fun looking vintage event being staged at Chasewater Railway by Mabel's Vintage Carriage, who have a regular vintage stall in a carriage at the preserved railway.

Urgent police appeal: Please help find vulnerable teenager Aaron Taylor 

22 Jul

West Midlands Police are becoming increasingly concerned for the welfare of teenager Aaron Taylor from New Invention, Willenhall who went missing cat 5pm on Friday - Aaron has learning difficulties and is considered to be vulnerable.

Walsall Wood away to The Pics in pre-season friendly today! 

22 Jul

Your chance to catch Walsall Wood play just down the road in Rushall this afternoon! Continue reading...

Power to the People? 

21 Jul

I have been thinking recently about democracy and accountability.

Travelers Update 

21 Jul

Just to give you a heads up on the travelers, Having spent most of this week getting them off King George’s in Bloxwich and of land in Pelsall we have now been informed that they have rocked up in Bentley Lane, Short Heath.

Bogus gardeners operating locally again – be vigilant 

21 Jul

Partnerships officer Kevin Pitt has sent details that suggest the bogus gardener scam is running again locally, and this often targets homes in our area particularly those of the elderly and vulnerable.

A5 Live: Not long to go now! 

21 Jul

Long term readers will remember the annual music and fun festival that's taken place on the smallholding just off the A5 at Newtown, Brownhills - formerly called Cockfest (because it took place on a chicken farm).

PATHWAY: We are alone together 

20 Jul

You need good boots and a wise head to walk the Appalachian Trail.

Meet your local coppers this Friday in Brownhills 

20 Jul

I received notice of this great event from Walsall Police via the excellent WMNow service today, advertising a pop-up meet the police event this Friday, 21stnJuly 2017 at Tesco, Brownhills where you can meet your local policing team and get help, ...

Business Questions 20 July 2017 

20 Jul

It is the last day of Parliament before Summer Recess and I raised various issues with the Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom MP.

Walsall Wood Remembrance Parade: Appeal still running! 

20 Jul

Here's a very important appeal from Lee Bragginton of the 1st Walsall Wood Scout Group, who like all other folks involved with local Remembrance Parades, is appealing for help and donations so the Walsall Wood Parade can take place this year.

Update on Unauthorised Encampment – King George’s Bloxwich 

19 Jul

Have had a number of inquiries about the travelers currently on King George’s Bloxwich.

Seven Kinds of Magic – The New Art Gallery Walsall 

19 Jul

This exhibition comprises original illustrations by Quentin Blake for 7 books in which magic appears in different forms, including The Witches by Roald Dahl, shown alongside works from our Permanent Collection chosen by House of Illustration, in ...

Laptop and Xbox stolen in Brownhills burglary – please keep a lookout 

19 Jul

Just a quick headsup to anyone offered a cheap Lenovo Laptop or X-Box locally: There's every chance they're stolen property, as these items were taken in a burglary from a flat in Brownhills High Street yesterday (Tuesday 18th July 2017).

Walsall people move 19.32 miles when relocating… 

18 Jul

 “When Walsall people move home how far do they actually go?” This was a fascinating question asked by one of my clients the other week.

Walsall Wood FC v Stafford Rangers at Oak Park this evening! 

18 Jul

Come catch some cracking football at Walsall Wood this evening! Continue reading...

The Swan, Brownhills: Come say farewell, and welcome a new era 

18 Jul

It's been six short years since Jane and Geoff Taylor took over The Swan pub on Pelsall Road, Brownhills, transforming it from a pub long closed and thought of as lost to an absolutely banging community real ale pub.

Liberal Democrat Councillors fight your corner on the Council and the West Midlands Region 

18 Jul

The coalition between Labour and the Liberal Democrats remains firmly in control of Walsall Council following its annual meeting which took place towards the end of May.

FIFTH LIST: 23 things and a safety net from commscamp 

18 Jul

A couple of days on from the 5th commscamp in Birmingham and the dust has settled a little.

FACE PALM: When is a Facebook campaign not a Facebook campaign? When it ignores people on Facebook 

17 Jul

Almost a decade ago there was a drive to encourage people to have a say about the future of their city.

My article for Huffington Post 

17 Jul

Here is my article ‘Theresa May Is Saddling Britain With A Zombie Government’ published in the Huffington Post on 17 July 2017: Last week following the Taylor review, the Prime Minister said that “through debate and discussion – the ...

Valerie moves emergency debate on the Scheduling of Parliamentary Business 

17 Jul

I was granted an emergency debate (Standing Order No.

Today’s Buy To Let Deal Yields 5.75%, 2 Bed Semi, Elm Road, Walsall, WS3. 

17 Jul

A 2 bedroom semi detached house in the Leamore area of Walsall, currently marketed by Goodchilds (01922 312016).

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More blogs »

Naming Stuff 

21 Jul

I’ve named a few things in my life.

Kara beats thousands to play musical legend Cilla 

17 Jul

FOLLOWING weeks of open auditions at venues up and down the country the producers of Cilla The Musical have found their star.

Gripping 1960s drama to be staged at Lichfield Garrick 

7 Jul

THE full cast has been announced for the 2017 national tour of Frederick Knott's thriller Wait Until Dark, which comes to the Lichfield Garrick this autumn.

Preview: Cirque du Tattoo Festival 2017 at Walsall Football Club 

30 Jun

SOME of the finest tattoo artists in the UK will unite in Walsall this weekend for a celebration of their art.

Bandstand concerts in Tamworth Castle Grounds 

29 Jun

BUDDING young performers from Tamworth will be kicking off a great summer of entertainment with the first in a fantastic line-up of concerts from the Castle Grounds Bandstand.

Demonstrations, exhibits and supplies at huge NEC craft show 

26 Jun

POPULAR craft show, Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts is returning to the NEC at the end of this month.

Pop Idol finalist makes welcome return to the Lichfield Garrick 

23 Jun

THE inimitable Gareth Gates is coming back to the Lichfield Garrick on Saturday, July 1.

Facepunch Api 

16 Jun

I’ve been coding a backend site for us to use to manage our projects.

Adaptation of Greene classic to be performed at Lichfield… 

16 Jun

INNOVATIVE Theatre Company Creative Cow is bringing an evening of hilarity and satire to Lichfield with a witty adaptation of Graham Greene's spy thriller Our Man in Havana.


8 Jun

I’ve had a fun week.

New Equator bar and nightclub opens in Walsall after £250k… 

1 Jun

WALSALL has a brand-spanking new nightclub, which has been aimed at a more mature and demanding crowd.

REVIEW: Dirty Dancing at New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham 

31 May

NOBODY puts Baby in the corner!Those were the words that completely melted the female audience inside a warm Alex on Tuesday night as the 1987 Hollywood hit Dirty Dancing rolled into Birmingham.

REVIEW: The Wedding Singer the New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham 

25 May

FORGET Romeo and Juliet, the Wedding Singer is a romantic tale of Robbie and Julia who both overcome romantic misfortunes to find their 'happily ever after'.

The curse of Early Access 

22 May

We know the positives of Early Access.

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Outdoors »

July 24th – Despite the change in the weather, the feline… 

25 Jul

July 24th - Despite the change in the weather, the feline population of North Walsall continues it’s current predilection for sleeping outdoors.

July 24th – It seems the Walsall stenciller is at it again.Since… 

25 Jul

July 24th - It seems the Walsall stenciller is at it again.

July 23rd – I returned in steady rain, from the old cement works… 

25 Jul

July 23rd - I returned in steady rain, from the old cement works bridge down the canal to the heart of Brownhills.

A bit of local birding 

24 Jul

A nice afternoon out that provided more evidence of migration underway.

Monday 24th July 2017 

24 Jul

1500 - 1545 breezy becoming sunny, 19c : Yellow-legged Gull 2, Herring Gull 17, LBb Gull 81, LR Plover, Lapwing 33, Cormorant 2, Heron 2, GC Grebe 3, Mute Swan pair + 5 cygnets, Tufted 8, Moorhen 5, Pied Wagtail 4, Linnet m, Greenfinch, Goldfinch 2, ...

Saturday 22nd July 2017 

22 Jul

1315 - 1415 fairly sunny, 19c : Cormorant, Lapwing 72, Oystercatcher, LBb Gull 4, GC Grebe, Tufted 12, Moorhen 3, Heron 2, Swallow 4, Sand Martin 2, House Martin 2, Chiffchaff, Stock Dove 2, Rook over, Buzzard, Kestrel, Linnet 2.

Wheres Wally? 

22 Jul

I received an e-mail from my old mate Chris Altree today which made me feel a bit guilty.

July 22nd – At Birchills on the Walsall Canal, an odd one…. 

22 Jul

July 22nd - At Birchills on the Walsall Canal, an odd one.

July 21st – I was stuck behind a very slow-moving car in The… 

22 Jul

July 21st - I was stuck behind a very slow-moving car in The Butts, Walsall, when I happened to look to my left, and I noticed I was being monitored from atop a tall garden wall.

July 20th – Sad to see something seems to have happened to the… 

21 Jul

July 20th - Sad to see something seems to have happened to the building off Victoria Road in Darlaston that was once the town fore station - the roof appears to have collapsed.

July 18th – Today, the older cats of Scarborough Road and north… 

19 Jul

July 18th - Today, the older cats of Scarborough Road and north Walsall were not apparently pleased to see me.

Tuesday 18th July 2017 

18 Jul

1100 - 1200 sunny, 22c : Cormorant 3, Little Egret, Heron 3, Mute Swan 7, Lapwing 101, Tufted 18, Moorhen 3, LBb Gull 33, Herring Gull 2, Bh Gull 150, Kestrel, Buzzard, Pied Wagtail, Swallow 8, Swift 4, House Martin 4, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, ...

July 17th – Later the same day, in Darlaston. A summer… 

18 Jul

July 17th - Later the same day, in Darlaston.

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