An Ode to Birmingham

I live on the outskirts of Birmingham in a leaf suburb, in a beautiful house which I have lived in with my husband since 2000.

Since we have had the house we have done loads to improve it. We now have central heating, a loft conversion, a pod in the garden and had the downstairs updated, including the kitchen.

For the first 10 years we couldn't afford any of that, so we painted kitchen doors, took out the abundance of 1970's red brick around the fire place, put up shelves and painted and wallpapered ourselves, and we had the front of the house paved.

Now my little 3 bedroom (and very small box room/man cave) semi-detached home is beautiful.

The area we live in is great too. We have nice neighbours who happily feed the cats and hamsters whenever we are away. We are off the main drag, so cars who cut through the local area to avoid bad traffic don't go down our road. Our road is always very quiet, and we are within walking distance of a curry house, Chinese take away, chip shop, a really nice Italian restaurant, supermarket, my daughters primary school and the pub. Having grow up in the countryside I really appreciate the 'in walking distance' thing, as I had to drive or be driven to everywhere growing up, until around 1980 when we got a Chinese, which was very exciting.

My friends who live in the country are always surprised at how quiet it is, when they visit. We do live near Birmingham airport, but not under any flight paths so you do hear the planes if you are outside (double glazing is wonderful for keeping those noises out of inside the house) and occasionally we have the police helicopter hoovering above our house, which to be honest just leads to conversations about which one of us they are looking for and why!

My husband and I do have plans to move to somewhere by the sea when we are older, but I am going to struggle to leave this home that we have created. It is where my children will have grown up, it is where I found out I had cancer, it is where I grieved after I lost my Mum. It is where I have laughed and cried with my husband, partied with my friends and family, soothed my babies and sung lullaby's. If this homes walls could talk it could tell some tales.

In October I will have lived in this house as long as I lived in my parents home. Eighteen years. After I left home I moved to 9 different places before we settled here.
My husband told me that Sheldon was the equivalent of the Riviera in Birmingham, as a joke. But I tell you something, on a warm summers day our back garden is a little sun spot. So, actually, I think it really is.

So yes, one day we will move, downsize somewhere, but we will bulk buy from the curry house before we do and take it with us in the freezer because no one does curry's quite as well as the Brummies. And although I am not a Brummie I think, as I have lived in Birmingham since 1996 I should be adopted by the city (I still don't have the accent though), because I love it here. Not just in my little suburb but in the city as well.

The city is so vibrant, and full of diversity and life. There is the Custard Factory (Where the old Birds Custard Factory was) in Digbeth, where there are clubs, vintage clothing stores, tattoo shops, street food, great graffiti and lots more. The city centre has amazing architecture from St Martins Church in the Bullring to Selfridge's right by it with all those silver disks. There are amazing theatres and art gallery's (The Icon Gallery is my favourite) and then all the canals, more than in Venice. Beautiful. A walk along the canal side can make any one slow down and relax.

The Rotunda

I purposely chose to bring up my children in a city, I wanted them to experience a diversity of beliefs, ethnicity and religion. I grew up in a predominantly white, middle class area, and I don't think it prepared me fully for the world which is full of lots of different people. I think Birmingham is a brilliant city, I have lived in London and visited lots of other cities but Birmingham, in my humble view is best, under-rated and undervalued.

Come to Birmingham it's fab - Here endeth the lesson - Love Jane who really doesn't work for the Birmingham tourist board - Honest.

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