Gaynor has asked me to blog today, so I thought I would write about our week in the Black Country with my parents while Gaynor was on retreat. Where is the Black Country you may ask? It is a region in the West Midlands that comprises Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sandwell and Dudley. This area was the engine room of the industrial revolution and Walsall is where my family come from. Whenever we visit my parents we take a day trip to a wonderful place called the Black Country Living Museum. The children particularly enjoy the tour down the coal mine, the old fashioned school (where one of my school colleagues, Pat actually attended as a boy in Dudley) and the sweet shop where they buy old fashioned treats such as pear drops and fruit pips. This year we had a look at the 1920s cinema for the first time, and the children got their first taste of a Charlie Chaplin film called 'The Fireman'. We always end the visit with a canal boat trip under the tunnels of Dudley, one of the world's most important geological areas.
The children also enjoyed swimming at our local pool and a slide show from Grandpa Brian, always a highlight of our trip, where we look at a selection of pictures going back to the 1970s when my brother, Rob and I were growing up. It is always interesting to see their reaction when they see old pictures and try to recognise who is who! My parents are visiting us again tomorrow, but this time they will be looking after the children as we go off on a two day break to a Bed and Breakfast at Denbies Vineyard, near Dorking in Surrey. What a treat!