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The Black Country–be proud of it


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None so blind

There is none so blind than those do do not wish to see. Local councils spend money trying to attract tourism to the Black Country and don’t see the attractions that we already have or to be more accurate don’t appreciate. Regular readers will recognise the pool in the photo as the ‘Milky Pool’. I took this photo yesterday afternoon, when the weather changed to unusually warm and sunny for February.

What do you think?

This blog should be featured locally and so what do you think of what you’ve seen of the Black Country? Maybe you live here or you have just seen my photos, but you still have an opinion. I welcome all opinions. Is the Black Country really a possible tourist destination? Would you visit?

People

People make a place of course and the people here do have a sense of humour. They aren’t always that polite and we have our fair share of stupid people. I do come across all kinds of vandalism when I go out taking photographs. There is graffiti in many places. There are pavements that jut out into the road, a real danger at night. There are mini roundabouts. There are traffic lights everywhere. There are dogs that allowed to roam off their leads and mess everywhere. Then there is rubbish dumped inconsiderately. There is also occasional loutish, drunken behaviour. I don’t know why we elect these people to the local council!

Pride

There used to a lot more industry and enterprise but much of that has disappeared and with it a lot of local pride. We still have people who go on about the past. There are exhibitions and even websites that try to record and display information about the area’s historic past. I think there is a still  a lack of self esteem and pride in what the place is now; today.

Health and Safety

Kids have to go on a course before they can change a light bulb these days. They grow up in a protected environment of speed humps and they are aren’t really allowed to compete or to fail. It’s all about participation today, everyone’s a winner. I think kids talk funny. Why do they end every sentence with the word, yeah? Why aren’t kids today happy? Aren’t the ‘Happy Meals’ happy enough? I think all the additives in fast foods and fizzy drinks does something to their brains. Did you know there are indigestible sugars in many fizzy drinks? They end up in the bowel being broken down by bacteria and they produce GAS! We used to have the same problem with a local traditional local dish we called ‘gray pays and bercon’. That dish is made from  dried grey peas, onions  and streaky bacon. It used to be served up in some pubs, on special occasions, like a darts match.

Local crafts

Different areas and towns in the Black Country are known for different trades, crafts and traditions. Enamels in Bilston, locks in Willenhall, leather in Walsall, tatting in Tipton! You used to be able to buy everything from lead crystal glassware to a ship’s anchor. You could fit out a luxury liner with the finest glass and we would even make the anchor. Remember the Titanic?

Multi Cultural

The Black Country is now multi cultural and we have council leaflets in a dozen languages. We have every nation on earth represented. People from Asia appear to like our traditional Victorian houses.  They have also embraced the concept that Britain is a nation of shopkeepers. You can buy just about every kind of food now in the Black Country. Decent fish and chip shops are getting a bit scarce, though. We have young people who look Asian, have permanent suntans but talk Black Country! Eh? Aer Kid?

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14 responses

  1. Hi Mike, The local council should use your blog photos in travel brochures. You make your area look heavenly! I’m sure there are less than idyllic places, but that’s true for every town.

    Perhaps your town could align with other towns in the area to feature the region in travel promotions?

    25, February 2012 at 2:30 pm

  2. Hi Carolyn,

    I was posting on your blog at the same time as you were on mine! lol

    I need to get a movie made here. Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Black Country Canals!

    It looks good today because I stayed in to do laundry and expected visitors. The sun is shining and it looks like summer. I suspect it’s a little chilly still though.

    Thanks for the visit. :)

    25, February 2012 at 2:36 pm

    • Hi Mike, Yes, I noticed that we were visiting each others’ blogs at the same time, lol! Thans so much for your edit comment, you were correct! Good catch.

      Make sure you check out my article from Thursday on Pinterest. You definitely need to be on Pinterest. I’ve already pinned some of your photos to that site. I hope you got some traffic from it!

      25, February 2012 at 2:39 pm

      • Hi Carolyn,

        I did look at Pinterest but need to go back and study further. There is always something new fro the blogger to learn! :)

        25, February 2012 at 3:44 pm

  3. The serenity in this photo should be a natural draw! I think Carolyn’s suggestion of a regional tourism promotion is an excellent idea! And I add my push for Pinterest, too. I’m new to it, but find it another interesting social tool, and it’s just fun! I will look for more photos of your beautiful region! Debra

    26, February 2012 at 2:41 am

  4. Hi Debra,

    At the other side of that pool is a heath and it’s quite large but few people use it. I see the odd person come and feed the swans and ducks and people walk their dogs. Places where they sell ice cream seem more popular. Is this consumerism?

    The sun is shining on this Sunday morning and so I’m trying to make plans for this afternoon. The park I planned to photograph isn’t in the Black Country, but just over the border. I might have to think of somewhere else! I’m amazed at what people like, it seems anything they can relate to is good. Yesterday it was a traffic island!

    26, February 2012 at 8:45 am

  5. I love The Black Country, my family came from Rowley Regis and I have an amazing collection of Ancestors, sadly most old and historic places have been demolished, including Ramrod Hall, a large farmhouse so called because it was built out of the profits John Hadley made from making Iron Ramrods for the British Army, at the time of the American War of Independence, with its large forge, what a wonderful attraction that would be today, rather than a housing estate.

    I’m an Admin for a Black Country Website and for The Gallery on the site, I take trips out to Black Country towns and try to record as much as I can of interest. Sometimes, I like to play about with the photos and put them into a film format.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9wVSbw8FBE
    this is a link to the one I did of Willenhall.

    26, February 2012 at 4:42 pm

  6. Hi Linda,

    I watched the video, I try to avoid Willenhall but did take a few pictures in the memorial park a few weeks ago. There are nice places around the Black Country like the Victorian Parks. The area has a lot of history and that can be fascinating. You should take a look around Wednesbury. the Leathern Bottel was founded in 1510 and the church is very old.

    26, February 2012 at 7:16 pm

    • I’ve done Wednesbury too and Bilston but haven’t put them into a film, they are in the Gallery though of my Website. Had lunch at the Leathern Bottle and had a lovely time looking round the church. We happened to turn up at the same time as an older lady, who’s father had been head of the Fire Brigade there, during the war and her Grandfather drove one of the giant Traction Engines for Pat Collins Fair. There is just so much of interest in the Black Country, if people would only bother to scrape the surface. Can you imagine what Dudley must have been like, in its heyday, with the Castle and Priory? With all our mineral wealth, we allowed wealthy people to rip the heart out of the area and now, we are left with nothing. Where did all that money go? Not to the people who live there, who got left with the Merry Hill Shopping Centre, to kill off all the independent shop-keepers. Sorry, got a bit of a Grump coming on!!!

      26, February 2012 at 7:26 pm

  7. Sue Rogers Tobin

    I have been holidaying in the Black Country for some years now. Originally from Wolverhampton; father’s family from Wombourne, mothers from Pensnett, Brierley Hill. He would walk there, go out on a date then walk back! I live in Ireland but I love showing my 2 kids their family history and I get very homesick for canals. Favourite places include; Dudley museum & art gallery, Kingswinford Railway Walk, Wrens Nest, Red House Cone, The Fen pools, canal walk from Wordsley to Merry Hill, Barrow Hill, Willenhall Lock Museum, Crooked House, The Bostin Fittle & apologies for anywhere I missed out. They have lots of memories with friends they grew up with every summer, good healthy outdoor exercise enjoying the wildlife and learning about the area.

    26, February 2012 at 7:47 pm

    • Hi Sue,

      If you saw my previous comment, you’re welcome to check out my photos on Facebook too. I hope to photograph the lack Country Living museum at Dudley this summer. I went to Wren’s next last year, the geology is interesting but not great for photography. I like the canals all over the Black Country they are fascinating. You can spend weeks taking photographs of the Black Country, there is a lot of grime, but a lot of beauty too.

      Thanks for visiting and the comment. If you haven’t already been there check out http://www.theyamyam.net

      26, February 2012 at 7:57 pm

  8. Hi Linda,

    You are as bad as me. I moan about the Earls of Dudley and Dartmouth taking all the wealth! I have photographed the Priory at Dudley not long ago. Forge Mill Farm at Sandwell Valley is worth a visit; try the ice cream! There is a bridle way farther down the valley that is nice too.

    If you click the Facebook badge in the sidebar and go to my Facebook page, my photos are ‘public’ and there are about 1,000 of the Black Country. There are some on the ‘We are Wednesbury’ page on Facebook too. I did look at your website, I must scan some old photos again. I have a book from 1908 with lots of info about Wednesbury in. It has the story of Rough Moey selling his wife and child in Wednesbury market place. They should bring that back! :)

    26, February 2012 at 7:49 pm

    • Can I sell my Husband too? He’s a Londoner!! I’ve been to the Sandwell Farms and so many other places, in fact I think I’m running out of places to discover, although I know I haven’t done Wren’s Nest yet. Meeting up with a friend tomorrow and we are starting from St Giles, Rowley. Hoping for a clear day, they say you can see the Bristol Channel from Darby’s Hill.

      26, February 2012 at 8:31 pm

      • Hi Linda,

        I’ll probably be out again with my camera. I am thinking of Redhouse Park farther down Sandwell Valley. Merrion’s Wood is worth a visit near there too. I was in the finals of the photo competitio at Walsall’s Manor Hospital with a photo of Merrion’s Wood. That scene was fairly unique though.

        Londoner’s don’t fetch a good price around here! :)

        You shouldn’t run out of places! You won’t be too far from Sheepwash nature reserve there’s lakes, the River Tame and of course a pub!

        26, February 2012 at 8:47 pm

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