31 July 2008

Birmingham City Council van

Birmingham City Council appear to have applied a new livery to their fleet of vans, roadsweepers etc. Vehicles which used to be white are now green and have the Birmingham coat of arms on the sides. Here's one such van (sorry the front is cut off) on the corner of Blenheim Road and Billesley Lane.

30 July 2008

Lamppost base (green and silver)

There are several different styles of lamppost in Birmingham. This particular one can be found on Blenheim Road, just off Billesley Lane, Moseley.

Although painted in new colours relatively recently, this was almost certainly made before 1977, as the coat of arms are emblazoned using the design granted in 1889 and used until 1977.

See post Birmingham coat of arms - Council House gate for more information on heraldry and the Birmingham coat of arms.

29 July 2008

Onboard a Birmingham bus

Back seat of a Travel West Midlands Dennis Trident 2, complete with the usual litter.

28 July 2008

Victoria Wine --> Threshers

I reported on Friday that Victoria Wine was repainted red. Actually, the post was a bit late because I (shock horror!) schedule some posts in advance, and that one got posted later than I had inteded, so by the time it was posted, I knew the secret of why it was red anyway.

So, anyway, it's tme to show you some photos of its transition.

The new signs and a pile of old letters.

Now this one makes me cringe. I'll tell you why. When taking photos of people, especially random people in the street, you have to be confident and friendly and you have to communicate well if they take being photographed the wrong way. Unfortunately, while I can communicate well (I think!), I'm not very confident, so when these men turned round, I got really worried and I think I asked them in a weak voice 'do you mind?' (!) and mumbled something about a photoblog, when what I really meant was 'do you mind if I photograph you for my photoblog?'. I hope they didn't take it the wrong way. Personally, I think they just thought I was nuts!

The completed Threshers.

27 July 2008

Bus shelter at night

Today, rather than show you parks and nice old buildings, I thought I'd show you something a bit more Birminghamesque - a dirty, graffitied bus shelter.

This one is outside Solihull College, Blossomfield Road.

26 July 2008

Victoria Wine...but it's red?

Victoria Wine is traditionally green, but here's one which has been newly painted--but it's red.

They need to sort the 'R' out too!

(Billesley Lane/Southlands Road)

See map

25 July 2008

Telephone Boxes: No. 2 in a series

An old red telephone box on the corner of Billesley Lane and Southlands Road, photographed at night.

Sadly, the telephone box is often vandalised. I just hope they don't remove it.

24 July 2008

I received a reply today (24th July) from the council about the second pool in Swanshurst Park (mentioned on the 20th July post 'Swanshurst Park: Fenced off'):

Hello [name] - thank you for your recent enquiry regarding pools in Swanshurst Park. The second pool identified on the website relates to a pool/boggy wetland area located in the bottom portion of the park. During winter this is quite a large body of shallow water but in drier months tends to dry out and become more boggy.

Hope this answers your question


Swanshurst Park: Don't fall in!

The water's so shallow you could probably stand up in the middle and they've recently built up the sides with gravel to make it even shallower at the edges. But still, here's a life belt just in case you need it!

23 July 2008

Swanshurst Park: Mallard with duckling

There are many ducklings on the water at Swanshurst Park, some tiny, some this size. The duck and duckling shown here are mallards.

You're probably quite familiar with the mallard as it's very common, but just in case you're not, here's some information.

Mallards are widespead and very common throughout the UK. The male has a dark green head, a yellow beak, is mainly purple-brown on the breast and grey on the body. The female is mainly brown with an orange bill. Mallards eat seeds, acorns, berries, plants, insects and shellfish.

22 July 2008

Swanshurst Park: Afternoon sun

The houses behind line Yardley Wood Road.

21 July 2008

Swanshurst Park: Baby coots

Two baby coots with their mother (or possibly father).

In case you don't know much about coots and would like to know a little more, I'll give you some quick facts. The coots in the UK are year-round residents, although they are not present in the far north and west areas of Scotland. They are known as the common coot or the Eurasian coot, with the scientific name Fulica atra. They are black all over, except for their white beak and 'shield' above the beak. Instead of having webbed feet, their toes have lobes of skin. They eat vegetation, snails and insect larvae.

20 July 2008

Swanshurst Park: Fenced off

This new fence at Swanshurst Park is a typical example of excessive safety measures put in place by Birmingham City Council and is also typical of the emerging 'nanny state'. Thankfully, the fence is only around part of the lake/pond.

Swanshurst Park is a fairly small park off Swanshurst Lane and Yardley Wood Road, comprising a sloping field, a few grassy paths and a path around a small lake/large pond.

Until the end of the Second World War, the park was used as common grazing land, then the land was given to the City as parkland and a nine hole pitch and putt were added in the 1950s. In the 1990s this was closed down and most of the site has returned to its more natural heathland condition making it an important nature conservation habitat.

According to Birmingham City Council's website, there are two large pools within the park, but I only know of one and Google Maps shows only one. I've sent an enquiry to the council about this - it will be interesting to hear from them about it.

EDIT: I received a reply today (24th July) from the council:

Hello [name] - thank you for your recent enquiry regarding pools in Swanshurst Park. The second pool identified on the website relates to a pool/boggy wetland area located in the bottom portion of the park. During winter this is quite a large body of shallow water but in drier months tends to dry out and become more boggy.

Hope this answers your question


05 July 2008

Salvation Army: A moment of reflection

Another photo of the Salvation Army in the city centre

04 July 2008

Radisson SAS, Holloway Head

It's a hotel, apparently - that Radisson SAS hotel to be specific. It's a good example of a building which looks modern now but will probably look terribly dated in a few years time.

It's situated opposite the pagoda on Holloway Circus and has thirty-nine stories comprising 211 bedrooms. It also has free broadband (including wireless), a health and fitness centre, conferencing facilities, an Italian cuisine-inspired restaurant and a bar.

03 July 2008

Telephone boxes: No. 1 in a series

An unusual black and yellow specimin on Ladywell Walk in the Chinese Quarter of Birmingham city centre.

02 July 2008

No respect for the dead

I thought I'd just return to All Saints Church just to show you the bus stop outside. The church has a graveyard around the front and side (I don't know about the back), with a low wall bhind the bus stop. People waiting for the bus sit on this wall and as Kings Heath has its fair share of rather unsavoury characters, the gravestones are often spat on and covered with litter and chewing gum. Many of the gravestones are flat ones embedded horizontally in the ground, but graveyard or not, spitting and littering is disgusting. But that's Kings Heath for you...

01 July 2008

Hedges Buildings

I expect that most people walking along Kings Heath High Street don't look up at the buildings they are passing - they probably see a row of shops, but if they look above the shiny windows and illuminated signs, they might just see a hint of what the buildings were before.

Look up...

...a bit higher...

...and a bit closer...

And at the corner...

These are, obviously, known as the Hedges Buildings. They are Victorian Buildings, but other than that I don't know much about them, so I will try to find something out.

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