I finally started my Christmas shopping this week - there were some actual shopping trips, but they only served to remind me how much I don’t enjoy shopping. Not much was bought on the shopping trips as I enjoy actually carrying purchases even less, and so are most likely to go home and buy what I’ve seen online. And while you might think there’s still lots of time left, I don’t have quite as much as you think as this year we’re having a family ‘fake’ Christmas get together in a couple of weeks, so I’ve less time than I usually would.
I’m sure I’ll get there - we always do, don’t we?
Last week saw a few nights out, in what seems to be the start of a busy social Christmas calendar with some drinks after work and then a surprise family weekend in Birmingham as an early celebration for my mum’s birthday next month. It wasn’t a surprise to me, obviously, and we all did well to avoid spilling the beans.
But why Birmingham? And the answer to that is really, well why not?
It’s a place that is easy to get to from Aberystwyth, Peterborough and London and so that’s what we did. The challenges, as always, with surprises is making sure those being surprised have what they need with them, and so some truth was stretched a little to make sure this happened.
So mum knew she was going for a night away and needed a frock to go out in. She just didn’t know where and I don’t think the trains to Nottingham and Norwich which arrived at the station helped much to start with.
There was much family messaging on the day so that my niece and I could be ‘bumped into’ at New Street station - and that worked out ok. Our plan was to go head off to see The Wizard of Oz at the Birmingham Rep, but ninety minutes before the show was due to start I got a call from the theatre to say it was cancelled due to technical difficulties.
Yes, exactly. We’d been out for a large lunch in preparation too, so it wasn’t as if going out for a meal was an option. Cue, a scramble to find something that was in Birmingham that had a block of ten tickets available, and started at a similar time, as by now time was short.
And that’s how we ended up at the ballet, seeing the Nutcracker. It was a good evening, even though it wasn’t quite what we had planned, and much to the male contingents’ expectations, and after the first act there was a hasty recap of the story and what everyone thought had taken place. Reassuringly it was closely related to the story too.
And then Sunday called for more food, a family breakfast and then a spot of shopping - or in my case looking - before heading back home again, and a walk along the canal. That’s a part of Birmingham I’d not been to before, and it’s somewhere I’d be happy to visit again, here’s a few photos that show why: