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20 July 2024
Having a meal at the Oak Pub.

I used to go to the 'Who Do You Think You Are Show' every year when it was held at Earls Court in London. I used to travel to London & stay with my Uncle Dave for the weekend whilst going to the show. He has now moved to Birmingham & strangely the 'WDYTYAS' has also moved from London to Birmingham at the NEC.

Birmingham break.

I travelled to Birmingham to spend a few days with Dave & Sue & we will go to see the show. I travelled by train as it worked out cheaper than paying the petrol costs & was a lot more relaxing sitting on a train. I was able to read my Kindle & relax rather than getting annoyed by the traffic jams I would almost certainly get stuck in on the way if I drove.

Day 1, Fareham to Birmingham.

I got up late packed a few things in a case, had a banana & mint choc chip shake for breakfast then sat & read until 11:00 when my taxi arrived to take me to the train station. The taxi arrived on time & I was soon at Fareham train station waiting for my train. It arrived on time & finding a seat was easy. I got my kindle out of my backpack & continued to read my book. A guard checking tickets confirmed that I didn't have to change platforms at Winchester & that the train behind was the one I needed to change to, to get to Birmingham.

At Winchester train station I asked the guard which end of the platform to wait as I had a reserved seat & didn't want to get on one end of the train only to have to walk the full length of a moving train to get my seat. Once I was seated I got my kindle out opened a beer & settled down for my trip to Birmingham New Street Station. The time flew by & I barely had time for my second bottle of beer before we were coming into Birmingham. I picked up my kindle & got ready to depart the train. It had settled outside the station for a while & we had to wait about 10 minutes before finally entering the station. As I looked out of the train window I saw my relatives Dave & Sue waiting to meet me. After getting off the train & walking to the next platform we discovered the platform blocked by a broken down train. Due to this our train had been delayed & we had to wait to be told where it would be coming in. After around 10 minutes we were told that it would be coming in on the platform we had just left. We walked back to the platform we had just left, got on the train & were soon on the short trip back to Dave & Sues home at Northfield.

Day 2, Lickey Hills.

After a late breakfast, we set off in the car to the Lickey Hills for a short walk around the ponds. We didn't walk around the hills, just a short walk around some duck ponds. It was very quiet but very nice there. I couldn't walk too far but it was good to get out in the fresh air & stretch my legs for a bit. I have walked more in the last two days than in the previous 6 months. I feel I am very slowly improving & my breathing is better than it was.

After going home & having lunch we then walk around the corner to buy our train tickets for tomorrow's trip to the NEC to see the Who Do You Think You Are Show. Buying the disabled railcard was definitely worth the £20 as I have saved over £45 on the two trips, my return trip to Northfield, Birmingham & my return to the NEC tomorrow.

Day 3, Who Do You Think You Are Show.

We left at about 8:30 for the train to the show at the NEC. We arrived at the show entrance at about 9:20 & sat to wait for it to open at 9:30. My first impression was how much more room there was here than there was at Earls Court when it was held in London. Unfortunately, this ended up being due to fewer exhibitors, fewer shows, & much less interest altogether. I watched one show by a lady talking about tracing your European Ancestry & received a few good pointers on where to get more information & how to go about tracing my Italian ancestry. She also was going to make her presentation available via her website which meant less scribbling of notes.

I also got to see how the new version of the Ancestry website would look & a brief overview of the DNA section looks. As soon as my DNA results are sorted out by the Ancestry website, mine will show up & hopefully start helping me bridge some gaps in my research.

At lunchtime, we went to a Subway restaurant. I was disgusted to see that just because it was in the NEC the prices had gone up, the quality of the food had gone down & the service had gone down. I was even told they could not give me my Subway points even though the printed receipt had details on how I could spend my subway points. I think the receipt will be sent, along with a strongly worded letter of complaint, to the Subway UK CEO.

By mid-afternoon, my leg was beginning to get sore & I decided not to wait for the last show I had a ticket for, we all headed back to Northfield on the train. After getting back we went to a local pub 'The Black Horse' for a meal. The food was great, the service was great & the Northern lasses were easy on the eye as well.

Day 4, FA Cup Semi-Final.

No, I hadn't got tickets to go & see the game, but I would be watching in either the local pub or at my Uncle Dave's house. Around lunchtime, Dave & Sue had talked themselves into a holiday in Orlando & were going to book it up. I decided to go for a walk & a pint. First of all, I walked the half-mile to their local the 'Great Stone' & sat & had a pint. Whilst there Dave rang & said they were on their way past & did I want a lift. I took the opportunity of a lift to Northfield town centre & then walked to the 'Black Horse' & had a pint there. Deciding to move on I then walked the short distance to the Longbridge Social Club & had a swift glass of cider. Whilst I was there Sue rang to say they were on their way home & could collect me on the way. I walked outside and was picked up by them a short distance down the road & was in time to see the mighty Arsenal beat Reading & gain their place in the FA Cup Final. All in all, it was a good day.

Day 5, The Royal Oak.

Today we had a lazy morning & this afternoon we went to see Sue's sister Irene & her husband, Brian. After a few nibbles & a sherry, we walked to the local pub the Royal Oak in Catshill, Bromsgrove. We had a nice meal, good company & a few drinks before returning to Irene & Brian's house for another drink before returning back to Dave & Sue's. A nice relaxing day before my trip back to Fareham.

Day 6, Birmingham to Fareham.

My train didn't leave till lunchtime so I had a quiet morning before leaving Dave & Sues at about 11:30 to catch the train to Birmingham New Street. When I got to Birmingham New Street I discovered my train had been cancelled and the next one would be over an hour wait. After waiting for a half-hour I thought I would check on the status of the next train. It seemed there were problems at Oxford causing lots of problems, so I decided to get a different train that would also go through Basingstoke. This train was also delayed & was so full I was lucky to get a seat. I had to use my walking stick to fight off other passengers to get the last seat, it was standing room only all the way to Basingstoke where I got off over 3 1/2 hours later. It was hard work being stuck in the corner, squashed in with my suitcase on my lap & not able to jump up when cramps set in. After changing at Basingstoke things looked up as my connection was the next train & I only had to wait a few minutes.

Once again from Fareham train station, I caught a taxi that charged £5 for the half-mile home. At that rate, my return to Florida next week would have cost me £70,000. Why do taxis cost so much?

After not eating all day & finding nothing in the fridge when I got home I nipped to the Chinese for two meals, one for now & one for later when I get hungry again.


I had a nice break in Birmingham it's just a shame the trip home was so long. Oh well onwards & upwards.