|Today we will head out and about to Solihull to have a look around there. Auntie Pat needs to go to the hospital at Solihull for a while, so we will drop her off and head into Solihull shops.
The Solihull memories that I want to realise are the area around where Sainsburys was. Sainsburys is a large supermarket where Mum used to work. The memory is playing in a large fountain and pool outside Sainsburys whilst Mum and Dad did their shopping.
I also have vivid memories of sitting in the staff room area of Sainsburys looking down onto the pool area. We were waiting for the bus to see a Pantomime that had been organised by the supermarket.
So breakfast (cereal) is all done and off we go.
As we drive from Shirley to Solihull I see things that spark clear memories. Not so much that there is something tangible about them, but that seeing them again feels familiar. However as we travel Uncle Jim points out places that I have no recollection of at all, although the names of these places are known to me through having heard them spoken of by others.
We drop Auntie Pat off at the Hospital and drive the short distance to the town centre. Here I am bombarded with memories and feelings of recognition, although the place has clearly changed quite a bit since I was here last.
I see where the pool and fountains were, now filled in with a large café built on the site. And where Sainsburys used to be is now several shops. However I recall the building quite clearly. And the upstairs area, built in a very 60’s style of square glass windows and coloured glacial panels, was where we sat that time waiting to go to the Pantomime.
Looking at some of the buildings I could have been here yesterday and any of the yesterdays of my life.
We head to the large shopping mall, Touchwood, and have a look around. But because this was not here when I was (a relatively recent addition and redevelopment of the place) I feel a little as if I am wasting time. I am here to see the past. That is my past.
Time for a bit of a sit down and where better than the old pool site (now a café) for a cuppa. I order two teas and a coke. Asked if I wanted medium or large teas I asked for medium. Either they miss heard (after all none of them spoke New Zealand and it is a long time since I have spoken Brummy) or the large is a fish bowl. The medium cups were huge!
We had been waiting for Auntie Pat to call us telling us she was ready, and true to form (my weird luck that is) as soon as the tea hit the table she calls. With the mini-fish bowl teas taking a little while to consume it was about fifteen minutes later when we were back on our way to the car.
With Auntie Pat safely back in the car we head off to Shirley Main Road (aka Main Stratford Road) and a bit more shopping. Stuff for tea, the odd treat, another failed attempt to pay for our share!!! Then a quick look in a couple of other shops and it is off to yet another small set of shops, this one housing a craft shop.
Rowena finds a cross-stitch that she is keen to do (she has been chaffing at the bit to do some needle work since we saw the tapestry at Bayeux) and we buy it.
All done shopping it is back to the rellies and some late lunch.
Having spoken to various people prior to us getting here I must admit that I was expecting a rundown, overcrowded and noisy place. It is very busy and there are people everywhere but some how it works more as a happy, comfortable balance and it is really quite nice to be here. I feel a real affection for the place. I do not think that it is merely because this is where I am from because Rowena shares my feeling. The people are friendly, inspite of the crowds we do not feel crushed or rushed. And the place is quite clean. There is very little tagging here. We both like it.
Back at the house we settle down to some Morse, or Taggart, or Marple, or Pierrot and Rowena starts work on her cross-stitch.
Nothing else until tea time, NCIS until bed and a bit of a read until sleep time.
A good day.