Friday, 8 June 2018

Housesitting in Edgbaston

Sunday Tea Club with Jackie, Corinne, Manu, Crystal, Reuben, Ian and Helen
It's our sixth day of eight looking after Daisy cat in a beautifully restored nineteenth century house in Edgbaston, ten minutes walk from 'happening' Broad Street and twenty minutes to the City centre and all it has to offer.

Daisy is a young (just over a year old) cat, with still a lot of kitten in her, leaping after insects, running at top speed - and learning that bees aren't to be played with, they do have a sting and possibly the licking of her paw after she battered one probably taught her that. Learning to use her cat flap is proving to be quite difficult, we have got her to exit through it at top speed while Jackie held it open for her but, so far, getting back in, where she has to pause with her head at the door while the magnetic thing operates to recognise it's her and open the flap is a stage too far at the moment.

That's one relaxed cat!
t means that until she learns to use it we have to let her in and out through the back door, meaning she has to be in or out when we go out and since we worry leaving her out, its mainly been getting her in (unless we're just popping out to the shops for an hour or so). Usually, when she goes out she disappears, making it hard to leave at the time we want, having to work on her time, or locking the door early if she happens to come in, causing her to meow in her high pitched meow, making us feel very guilty!

Cute, fluffy Daisy cat
We have, however, been out most days, making full use of the excellent location here, but mostly for relatively short periods of time so as not to leave her on her own for too long. Sunday evening was our first, for a meal in the Chinese Quarter with Ian and Helen, Manu and Crystal, Corinne and M&C's friend Reuben. As usual, a couple of drinks in the Dragon Inn first and then a visit to one of the small Chinese restaurants that we can only go to with Crystal as she speaks Chinese. We sit down, she orders everything in Chinese, food and Chinese tea is delivered and we feast and make a lot of noise and laughter. Sunday Tea Club is something very special and we always look forward to it. The slight panic was when we returned at 11:00pm, opened the front door and Daisy shot out. The road out the front is fairly busy and we split up to head her off, but the noise frightened her a bit and she ran back in. we'll watch out for that in the future then!

Daisy climbing cat
Monday followed with another semi traditional thing when we are around, our Monday drinking club. Just Mark and Bill came out for a beer this time and, as we were meeting in Solihull and had arranged to go round to my sister Denise and Pauls house to fit some new lights for them, we went out at about 3:00pm to see them, then went out for a meal in the pub with them, meeting up with Bill and Mark at 9:00pm when D&P walked home.

Tuesday was another meal out, this time a 'business meal' with my business colleage Terry and wife Sue. Terry and I have been in business together since 1989 and, although we sold the main business and both retired some years ago, we did keep one small company that owns a house in Coventry, rented to the same tenant since we bought it in 2003. The company makes a small profit so, once a year we meet up to have a business lunch and catch up with one another. It's our one opportunity these days to go and splash out on a meal without bothering about the cost so, we caught a train to Leamington Spa, met up with Terry and Sue at 12:30 and had a four hour, four course lunch with several bottles of wine, lots of chat and laughs. We got back to Daisy at about 5:00pm and, although she wasn't talking to us at first, she soon came round as we relaxed in the lounge with her watching a film on TV in the evening.

Inside Birmingham's new library
Wednesday was mostly a day in with Daisy, but we did take a few hours to walk down Broad Street and look round. There is still major redevelopment work going on outside the new library and Centenary Square, so it was good to go and have a look at how it's going. Walking past the library we decided to go in - and what a revelation! It's fabulous inside, a really modern and architecturally interesting place, generally arranged in the round with reading areas, escalators going up in the centre and at the second (or third) level an outdoor herb garden.
Herb gardens on the library's second (or third) level
It's possible to go out onto a wide walkway that resembles a park, but at a high level. People were sitting in the sunshine admiring the expansive views of Birmingham. Higher there's another, smaller outdoor garden area, with even better views of the City and up on the very highest level, where we'd seen a gold dome from the outside, we found init a Shakespeare Memorial Room, containing a big collection of books and his literature. Most interesting is the room itself which was the original room built in 1882 for the library's Shakespeare collection in the city's first library. That library was knocked down and replaced by another in the 1960's and the Shakespeare room was dismantled brick by brick and stored, as it was not used in the 1960's building. This new library was opened in 2013 and it was decided to take the room out of storage and install it, as it was originally, right at the top of the new building. What a fabulous visit and great views of the city too.

The expansive view from the library's second level garden, showing the area still under development
On Thursday we drove over to a Motorhome and Caravan shop in Halesowen to buy some more essentials for our motorhome. we've got most of what we think we'll need, the last few things we'll buy from the dealer we've bought the motorhome from when we pick it up on 18th June (it's getting very exciting now as its only just over a week away!). Thursday PM we drove over to see our old friend Jo and husband Mike in their new posh house in a very nice part of Solihull. Jo has just had a fairly major operation so was not very mobile, walking around like an old lady, but hopefully she'll be back climbing, mountain walking and mountain biking very soon. Husband Mike was there too, having had time off to help her, so it was another opportunity to catch up with old friends.

This is a bit of that view, centre is the Hall of Memory, behind it is the Town Hall, the lovely old building left of it is the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and right, in the distance is the round building known as the Rotunda
Today is Friday and we've walked to the fish market in the City Centre this morning and bought all the stuff to make a big paella for my daughter Fiona and James tomorrow at their house. They love paella and after telling them that Jackie makes a mean paella we just had to find a date to cook for them. Saturday 9th was the most suitable time so, we've shopped and prepped so, I'm afraid Daisy will be on her own for a few hours again tomorrow, but we'll try and keep it to a minimum. It's our last full day with her as, on Sunday morning, we head off, pack up the car, pick up Pauline, Jackie's mum and drive to Pembroke in South Wales to stay in a cottage that we've rented for a week. More on that later!
The library's higher level gardens
The Shakespeare Memorial Room on the top floor
Looking down to the City Centre Gardens and, between the high rise building, Gas Street Basin canal
We walked in a circle back, passing down through Gas Street Basin and its lovely canal side bars and restaurants 
Another view inside the library showing some escalators, bookshelves and seating areas
Now Daisy, this is a cat flap
And there she was, gone - at top speed! Getting back in is proving difficult though

1 comment:

  1. Glad you have enjoyed your city break. Hope Pembrokeshire is lovely too. See you soon ish we hope. Or in Scotland! Xxxx Love us three I, H, M.