Black Country culture #ramble
It is Sunday morning and so as usual I will open up the dark passages within my mind and see what’s going on in there. What do I have on my mind this morning? Being typically English, I’m watching the weather.
The Black Country
It’s sunny at the moment and so I might go out and take a few photos after lunch. I live in Wednesbury in the heart of the Black Country and about 1/2 a mile from the M6 motorway, so I could be in the English Countryside in twenty minutes. I don’t trust that motorway, though, crazy people use it to go to Ikea and one little accident and they close it for half a day. I do have direct access to several other towns. If I cross over the motorway, I can be in Walsall in a few minutes.
Walsall was reorganised in the local government disorganisation of the 1970s and took over several other towns to become a metropolitan borough. Darlaston is just up the road from me and part of the HMO Daddy empire. HMO is Houses in Multiple Occupation, in other words, a room in an overcrowded slum sharing a kitchen and bathroom with ex-cons and drug addicts. Darlaston has lots of them and the council rarely refuses the planning permission. They did refuse one not long ago and refused permission for a travellers caravan site and a hostel for ex-offenders so Darlo as it’s colloquially known is on the up and up. Walsall is a maze of narrow streets with bus lanes in stupid places and the sort of place you get lost in even with a sat nav. It’s bleedin’ wonderful, as we say in the Black Country…
The Wolverhampton wasteland
I’m not going to Wolverhampton proper, I’m not that crazy, but they too took over other towns and Bilston isn’t too bad. I would have to cross the Black Country route which has its hazards just like crossing the M6 to Walsall. No matter what I do, I always seem to be in the wrong lane. It’s not as bad as Wolverhampton’s ring road, that was designed by the crazy people.
Wednesbury is part of Sandwell and run by a bunch of self-serving bureaucrats from a Kremlin-style building miles away from here. The head of this Oligarchy earns about 150 grand a year and together with the council leader want Sandwell to be absorbed into a Greater Birmingham. How much the chief executive of this new empire would make is anyone’s guess. West Bromwich is part of Sandwell too and does have Sandwell Valley Country Park which is a nice place. Most of it is reserved for the top bureaucrats and their cronies to play golf, but I can go there and take a few photos today. They are hoping to discourage such pursuits with parking charges soon, so I should enjoy it while I can.
Tipton on Cut
Tipton is also part of Sandwell and doesn’t have a great reputation, but in recent years has championed community activism. It is known for its miles of canals and that’s why I go there to take photos. At Easter, there will be a gathering of colourful narrowboats which I look forward to photographing.
The Black Country is the last outpost of the Mercian tongue. We have a dialect that is frowned upon and treasured at the same time. We even hosted national dialect weekend last year. Wherever I go, I can communicate with the common people. As soon as I open my mouth they will know I’m Black Country born and bred. So even though we moan about it and moan about the weather, the Black Country is home and familiar. I might just stop in Wednesbury and photograph our Victorian park and a couple of Victorian pubs. I aye fussy…
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