Saturday, January 29, 2011

Postcard from the estuary

As I live in the centre of Britain, it's rare I get to see the sea. And I only caught this glimpse of the tide receding from the Severn estuary out the window of a moving train. I was en route to Cardiff to talk about the River Severn though, so it was good to see it doing what it does best.

For reasons I'm probably one of the few people to find fascinating, the Severn estuary has the second highest tidal range in the world. A whole fourteen meters at best. Yes, that grey shrouded expanse of mud and sand is world class. Give it a break. It's Britain in January; of course it's not looking its best. You should see it when the Bore is ploughing up the channel at high water.

Of course, all you really want to know is where's the biggest in the world if this is second best. Honours go to the Bay of Fundy in Canada. Everything's bigger that side of the Atlantic though. All I care about is that, following postponements to my Christmas plans, I might get a proper trip to the seaside next weekend. Hmm, the British seaside in February...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Postcard from the Custard Factory

Birmingham was once known as the 'city of a thousand trades'. One of the most successful Brummie products was Bird's Custard, although it's long since been sold off to some multinational conglomerate. As has much of Birmingham's city centre. Which is why it's so lovely that the factory which once made custard powder has been revamped to house a thriving community of creative types in the workshops, offices and boutiques tucked within its walls.

This is no identikit High Street. And I am pleased to report that, as befits a building with such sweet toothed heritage, the cakes in the cafe are delicious.

There may no longer be a thousand trades practised in Birmingham, but the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well.