Tag Archives: BirminghamUK

Moseley and Kings Heath pothole hunt

I have noticed the huge number of potholes appearing near where I live due to the recent bad weather. Birmingham council apparently want us to tweet them (although they didn’t say who to) with our pothole reports, but as @bounder pointed out, it would be much more efficient to use the Fix My Street website (or even better the iPhone app as you can photograph and geotag on the scene) because reports are properly logged.

I didn’t much fancy stopping at every pothole on my drive to work as I would never get there, but then I had the idea of a dedicated pothole spotting (and reporting) walk. I need to get out regularly in daylight anyway because I have SAD, but I find walking on my own a bit boring. It’s nice to have a purpose and some company.

So if you fancy joining me on my pothole hunt, meet me at 12.30pm this Sunday at the King’s Heath Superloo (where Vicarage Rd meets the High Street). Armed with my Fix My Street iPhone app, we’ll then wend our way to Moseley around the houses reporting as many potholes as we can, ending up in a pub natch (prob the Fighting Cocks) for some slurps and noms.

I’ve drafted a map of the main spine of my proposed walk (am open to alternative suggestions). I know for sure that there are loads on Oxford Rd, but it might be just as bad down the roads I haven’t been down recently? If there are enough of us and we fancy it, we can split off and do some of the side roads off the main spine route.
View Pothole hunt in a larger map

The fact that the route looks like cat ears is entirely coincidental I promise!

Update: Dan Davies informs me that HashBrum has a map showing all the potholes in Brum reported on Fix My Street so far.

Update: We had an enjoyable walk and reported over 50 potholes

a day out around (and around) Birmingham

My main worry about taking part in 11-11-11 was that I was going to get really bored. So I had packed two magazines, Jon‘s DS with my fave game Zookeeper and a pack of cards. I needn’t have worried though as the day flew by and none of the aforementioned distractions left my bag.

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We set off just after 11am from the stop at the end of Vicarage Road, Kings Heath

I had taken my battered old fold-out A to Z map with me so that I could get my bearings. It was my intention to trace the route with a marker pen and make notes on it as I went along, but it was a bit unwieldy for the space I had available and the ride was a bit bumpy for drawing!

An 11A going anticlockwise
An 11A going the other way round (anticlockwise)

So I resorted to tweeting my observations on my iPhone. In hindsight, this may have been a mistake. It took me quite a while to compose each tweet (possibly because I am still getting used to the touchscreen keyboard) and I kept missing things that were going on outside while I was looking at my phone! Also, it wasn’t until the second circuit that I realised that I should quickly take some photos before it started to get dark.

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Parts of the route are quite picturesque, like this stop next to the River Tame.

I think the ideal way of recording my thoughts would have been little snippets of audio/video, then I could have kept my eyes on what was going on at the same time.

Winson Green Prison wall
The 11 route goes right past the walls of Winson Green prison.

I originally planned to observe the people (both inside and outside the bus). One idea was to do a survey of what music people were listening to, another was fashion commentary. I had thought that that was one way to keep me entertained, but actually I found that there was so much going on outside the bus that I didn’t have time to do that.

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Bearwood High Street has quite a few independent shops.

One of the reasons that the time passed quickly for me was that Jon and I had various people join us for parts of the day. To start with, we were accompanied by the BBC Midlands Today crew, Peter Plisner and his camerawoman. Then TWM Driver joined us with his family for a circuit; Jon’s mum and dad joined us for a bit and Michael Grimes aka Citizen Sheep caught up with us during our first circuit celebratory cake break at the Kitchen Garden Cafe in King’s Heath. Artist Alicja Rogalska, who has an interest in art and public transport (go do her survey) joined us for our second circuit. CyBrum boarded our bus totally by chance as he had previously been travelling alone. Then later on we caught up with Simon Gray aka star_one and his lovely wife Bettina. Having lots of companion passengers made for a really enjoyable day.

New QE Hospital
The new QE hospital looked amazing in the sunshine.

I’m not originally from Birmingham (and neither were half of my fellow travelling companions) so was fascinated by the trivia snippets that Jon and TWM driver were able to offer us as we went along. I’m sure that the experience for me was completely different to that of someone who had grown up here and had lots of childhood memories. I was able to look at the city with relatively objective eyes, although there were parts of the route that I was more familiar with than others. I have lived in Acock’s Green and used to drive down a good part of the route (King’s Heath/Stirchley/Bournville/Harbourne) when I worked in Halesowen and another section (Acock’s Green/Yardley/Stechford) when I worked in Sutton Coldfield. For me the day really helped to join up the gaps in my knowledge of the geography of the city.

I thought these one storey shops looked really odd
I thought these one-storey shops looked really odd.

There was so much to look at, that you could almost pick a different ‘theme’ to document on each circuit, such as architecture, shops, housing, parks/green spaces, roads (signs/markings/road furniture), grafitti/tagging etc etc. I suppose I ended up tweeting a bit of everything. When taking photos, it was impossible to take them while the bus was moving, so I was limited to when the bus was stopped at bus stops/juncions/traffic. I’m actually quite tempted to drive a circuit of the route, so that I could stop and take a photo or make a note of everything that I find interesting, in my own time.