On Friday I spent several hours wandering around Birmingham city centre. I have been through Birmingham on trains many times before but this was the first time that I had ventured out from New Street Station and I was pleasantly surprised. Imposing Victorian buildings, large paved open spaces with fountains and statues (scientists and engineers such as Joseph Priestley and James Watt amongst them!). I got a distinct feeling of being at a centre of immense power and wealth, as if Birmingham was to the Industrial Revolution what Rome was to the Roman Empire.
Waiting outside the Museum and Art Gallery for it to open, I tried to ignore the large flat screen on the Town Hall that was showing the BBC TV news (Had it been dark I would have been tempted to silence it with a brick). Even the less imposing buildings such as the Library were not too bad. Of the modern buildings, the most eye-catching is the Hyatt Hotel, a glass tower block with another glass tower block reflected in its windows (I would have taken a photo if I'd taken my camera with me). In the afternoon I had a look around the two Waterstones bookshops.
On the train journey home I saw two red kites several miles apart near Didcot. Red kites are now common in the country between Oxford and Reading. A little further on there were 4 small deer in the middle of a field.