With only one day in Birmingham on this occasion there wasn’t an opportunity to do a great deal but the weather was incredible and we did enjoy a rather aimless wander around the city just taking a look.
This statue in the fountain in Victoria Square is called ‘The River’ but is locally known as ‘The Floozy in the Jacuzzi’ – a nickname stolen from the Dublin statue of Anna Livia Plurabelle a character from James Joyce’s book Finnegan’s Wake who represents the embodiment of the River Liffey. Dubliners have a distinct knack for giving humorous names to their many statues. Molly Malone has become ‘the tart with the cart’, James Joyce is ‘The prick with the stick’, Oscar Wilde ‘the queer with the leer’ and two ladies sitting on a bench chatting ‘the hags with the bags’. Any suggestions for an original name for Birmingham’s own watery lady?
There was no water flowing down the steps of the fountain when we first arrived but there was a council van there filling it up.
When we came back through an couple of hours later it looked like this.
On our way to the Bullring markets we called into the church of St Martin in the Bullring. It has some very fine stained glass. The window below was installed in the 1950s to replace the original which was destroyed by a bomb in the blitz.
In fact all but one of the windows was destroyed that night. The exception was this wonderful window designed by Edward Burne-Jones and made by William Morris. The council didn’t deem that it was worthy of conservation but the bishop at the time insisted and it was removed to a place of safety – the very day before the bomb fell.
On to the markets of which there are three. The Rag Market which, as its name suggests was a market catering mainly for the rag trade. There are still a large number of material stores along with some more quirky offerings.
The Bullring Indoor Market has an enormous number of meat and fish stalls all competing loudly for your business. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for Gordon’s wallet) we’ve got an absolutely full freezer so I was unable to take advantage of some of the amazing offers but it was wonderful to take a look around.
I was pretty knackered by the time we got back to the boat and just had time for a quick half hour nap before Nige and Trina turned up for dinner. We met them when we did the Titanic Brewery Tour and promised that we’d get in touch if we went through Birmingham. We had a lovely evening chatting, listening to music, eating and of course, drinking.