Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Sing for All!

welovebearwood had heard about Brandhall Community Choir on the Bearwood Grapevine so we decided to catch up with them during their busy schedule of rehearsals to find out more.

Tracey Bright  told us that in January 2010 when she was heavily pregnant that she just wanted to get people together to sing. 

  "A short-term project for obvious reasons, Brandhall Community Choir had it's first rehearsal with only 3 singers. However, word soon got out and with a brief mention at a local toddler group we soon found ourselves with a dozen or so people raring to go!

Having only 10 weeks until the end of the project, we decided to work on a sister act medley which we performed at a community party, all dressed as nuns (including the heavily pregnant choir mistress!).

Through this initial 10 weeks it became apparent that this was going not going to be a short-term project after all. In fact there was enough enthusiasm on all counts to get us back rehearsing again that September.

In the three years that have followed, the choir has doubled in size and honed in on the style of music it enjoys; singing contemporary and pop music from varied artists such as Robbie Williams, Queen and S Club 7!

Performances were mainly local community events such as residential homes and Christmas fayres initially, but have now broadened to include pubs, garden centres and parties as we have recognised our wider appeal.

Our proudest performances have to be Picnic in Park at Warley Woods (2011), Bearwoodstock at The Bear Tavern and our joint performance with The B Cups, a brilliant local ukulele band, at Smethwick Library last year.

2013 promises to be a great year for us. We are currently working towards the “Sing For All” project at the Town Hall Birmingham on May 11th (tickets available via their website) which we are very excited about.  

We're at The Bear Tavern on 27th April warming up for Steve Gibbons and we have high hopes for continuing to work with the B Cups in the summer months and maybe even a spot in a park near you in Bearwood too!

Any comments or queries relating to the choir are welcome, send your email to tracy@nickandtracy.com."  

P.S. If any of the Bearwood Promoters Team are reading this, welovebearwood would love to see the choir perform at one of the next Bearwood Shuffles!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Whatcha' talkin' bout!

 It's so freezing today and the forecast for this weekend doesn't look great either so welovebearwood think everybody needs some sunshine in their lives.

We found this video on youtube featuring Bearwood's very own Dennis Seaton of Musical Youth fame and....wait for it....the one and only Stevie Wonder. 

Just brillant - hope it warms you up!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Mad As A Hatter!

Photo courtesy of the Express and Star

Hee! Hee! We just love this photo of Warley Woods Trust Manager, Viv Cole, to promote the Mad Hatter's Walk around Warley Woods on Saturday 2nd March.

Viv has said "I warned you! Is there no humiliation I won't suffer for this job? Even the cup was empty! Thank you to those of you who have already sponsored me, but there is room on the form for more. Or better still walk yourself and beat my costume. Mad in every sense of the word and there is a hat. Go on, you know you want to get involved. Our cups will have tea in them."

So if you want to join in the fun or want to know how to sponsor Viv, please visit the Warley Woods website for more details.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Cultural Refreshment at The Old Joint Stock…

We know Warley Woods is one of our favourite places in Bearwood but we love the fact that it is one of the stars of an art exhibition in Birmingham.

Carol Bowsher contacted welovebearwood to tell us all about her IN Print collection.

"The Old Joint Stock pub can provide more than a liquid refreshment interlude. It regularly shows the work of talented artists within its Theatre Foyer and Crush Bar, and from the 21 January an exhibition of drypoint engravings and monoprints will be on show by Carol Bowsher. The exhibition draws together a number works inspired by Birmingham’s fine architecture, houses, gardens and parks. These include studies of Winterbourne House and Garden, Warley Woods, Woodgate Valley Country Park, and a special limited edition print of the Old Joint Stock itself."

Carol has long been fascinated by the techniques of print making since studying Fine Art in Coventry.

‘Printmaking is a highly varied medium, it enables you to explore a subject and achieve different moods by individual mark making and inking and wiping of printing plates. It can produce fine architectural detail to bold sweeping marks. My sources of inspiration are the environment around me whether urban or the flowing lines of nature’.

In addition to producing engravings through cutting into the printing plate, Carol also produces monoprints by wiping ink off a blacked up surface.

Further details about the techniques and the work, together with around twenty prints, will be on show until the 29 March 2013.

To find out more about the exhibition or see more examples of her work visit Carol's website.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Bead All About It!

For all those bead and craft lovers out there....we’ve just been informed of Bead Savvy’s workshops for Spring 2013 and these are dates that you’ll definitely want to get booked into your diary.

We managed to whisk Bead Savvy’s Stefan Clayton away from his jump rings and head pins to find out more...

“Our workshops begin at 7:45pm, allowing you time to get home from work, eat, and then make your way to us. They typically last for 1.5 hours, and with the occassional exception, cost £10 per person. You will always be able to make and take something home with you.

All of our workshops are held at a private room just a couple of minutes away from our shop. We run our workshops in a relaxed manner, allowing you time to practice, chat, and have the odd cup of tea!”
To get your place booked and pay your £5 deposit, please phone on 07506721908 or pop into the Bead Savvy shop in the Bearwood Indoor Market (Bearwood High Street).

The workshop dates are:

26th Feb - Introduction to Chain. Charm, Dangle and Cluster bracelets

6th March - Herringbone Weave Bracelets
12th March - Introduction to Tiger Wire
20th March - Introduction to Chainmaille - Cleopatra and Mobius
26th March - Using Memory Wire
3rd April - Wired Rings

For more details, please visit Bead Savvy’s website or Facebook page.

P.S. When it comes to making jewellery, Stefan’s definitely the Beads Master!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Hot News Flash! Bearwood's Sax Appeal!

A big shout out to Dan Cairns for this news.

Legendary saxophonist and rapper Soweto Kinch’s going to be on Radio 3’s Jazz Record Requests Show tomorrow playing a new album track especially dedicated to Bearwood.

Soweto was great mates with Andy Hamilton and played at the Silvershine Jazz Club Launch Night.


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Get Your Groove On!

Vic Evans and the Blue Notes

Silvershine Jazz Club's line-up for February and March is looking mighty fine. 

Starting with their Valentine's Night Special tomorrow night or as they like to call it Vic Evan's Snug In,  you'll be able to get cosy in lurve listening to Vic senerade you with his sweet soul ballads. 

Vic’s going to be singing with the legendary Blues Notes, you can see them again on 28th February.

  Double bass player Trevor Lines, who's always in demand, makes a special appearance with saxophonist and rising star of the jazz scene Arabella Sprot on Tuesday 21st February.

Arabella Sprot

Lucas D & The Groove Ghetto get their groove on on 21st March and a date to definitely keep free in the diary is 28th March for the Silvershine Special celebrating the great music of Andy Hamilton.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

'Sew' impressive!

The Bearwood Tapestry celebrates its third birthday this month so we caught up with one of the founders (and a Crafty Mutha), Jennie, to find out more about what they get up to on a regular basis. Very crafty!

"The six of us Crafty Muthas (Ceri, Erin, Jayne, Jennie, Nat and Rachel) wanted to open up our regular crafty get togethers to others, so back in 2010 we approached The Bear Tavern and arranged to have their upstairs room on the third Thursday of every month. And so, on a snowy February night three years ago, The Bearwood Tapestry was born. And it continues to go from strength to strength.

All are welcome, whatever your craft - knitting, crocheting, needlework, painting, jewellery making, even tapestry! You don't have to be a mum or a woman! We are equal opportunity crafters. The pub provides the space and the booze (for a price), we supply the cake (there's an honesty box), decoration (think bunting) and music (someone's ipod).

We've had over forty crafters attend some nights, and many friendships have blossomed. We're most proud of the fact that we've been able to support and encourage some local people as they've turned their hobbies into small businesses.

Jenny from Charlie's Mom's Chocolate Factory and Emily from Bead Savvy are two Tapestry regulars who are doing great things in our community and there are fab local artist makers such as Madeline Norris (Meeni), Lise Heeley and Caroline Jariwala (Mango Mosaics) that we're very proud to call members.

Just writing this is making me think that we should be getting some sort of grant - it's like a talented crafty hothouse. But most of the time it's just a giggle with mates, while trying to sew, in a badly lit room, having consumed too much alcohol!

We set up a Facebook page pretty early on and now have almost 300 members. Unlike some Facebook groups, 'The Tap' page is just one big warm, welcoming place where you can share views or ask questions without any of the usual online sniping. We promote events like Bearwood Handmade on there and many of the stallholders you see at those events are Bearwood Tapestry regulars. Why not check it out for yourself right here.

The dates of our next crafty social's are 21st Feb, 21st March, 18th April, 16th May and 20th June and they start at 8pm in the upstairs room of The Bear Tavern.  So come on, be there....or be a granny square!"

Monday, 11 February 2013

Credit where it's (over)due

Thimblemill Library plays such an important role in Bearwood that for a long time we've thought of it as one of our favourite Bearwood All-Stars. 

We caught up with library supervisor, Julie Mckirdy, to find out more about the library, her role, forthcoming events and some unusual book requests.  Julie even managed to make us blush too.

What’s your role at Thimblemill Library and how long have you worked there for? Why did you decide to become a librarian?

My role here at Thimblemill library is of Library supervisor and on the 4th September 2013, it will be my 35th year for Sandwell Libraries. I was 16 when I started at Smethwick Library. My first job was in the Schools and Children’s section. My role was mainly office based and after a few weeks or a few coffee breaks with the other staff, I thought it sounded better out in the main library! One day I asked if I could go and help out, I loved it! Every opportunity I got I was helping out in the library. I was there for 3 months when the job at Thimblemill came up.

At 16 all I wanted to do was to join the police force. At 19 I joined the police specials; this was voluntary and was encouraged at that time if you wanted a career in the police. I can say I enjoyed the experience especially as one of the jobs was to report to the Hawthorns for every match day to help with the policing the crowd (just perfect if you are a baggies fan like me) eventually I found I enjoyed libraries better and the rest is history! I can honestly say I have loved every minute, every day is different and I have met some wonderful inspirational people in my time.
Photo courtesy of Tony Hisgett
What changes have you seen in the library since you started working there?

Gosh…it’s so different now! We had the original Browne Issue System for loaning books. When a book was borrowed you took one of the reader's borrowing cards and removed the book's own card. The two cards were filed together in the issue that the books were stamped with the date they were due back.
This system was replaced in 1992 by a computer system; we are now on our fourth system! All the books had their own individual catalogue cards. They were crossed referenced so for one book you might have had 4 catalogue cards i.e. author, title, sub title and class number and with non-fiction you would have these flimsy stock sheets again cross referenced, so when It came to new books and deletions it would be a days job! It would take you all morning to write out new borrower tickets and file them away, now to register a new user it takes a few seconds.

We would issue around 1,000 books a day, so it was constantly shelving books. Thimblemill housed the reserve stock for Sandwell libraries, requests from library to library were requested over the phone and these would take time to search and flag up…now just a push of a button! Some jobs stayed the same i.e. shelving, putting stock in order, class visits and children’s activities.
We now have self serve machines so no more date stamping. I’ve seen and worked in the library in its original condition and in the late 80’s the library went through it’s 1st refurbishment due to the flat roof leaking in, we were re -housed in the old cafĂ© in Thimblemill Baths for 10 months. I’ve met some lovely people in my time, seen toddlers grow into parents themselves.

What do you think the future holds for Thimblemill Library?

Libraries are fantastic sources of information, advice and support for the communities they serve. They provide internet access for anyone, in an environment that feels safe and secure.

Today’s economic challenge means people need library services more than ever, to help them back to work, in education and lifelong learning. With the challenging times we are all facing at the moment, it will have an impact on how we deliver our service but it’s a much needed service.

Libraries are constantly re-inventing themselves, new ideas for a positive new future.

What exciting news can you tell us about future events?

We have the successful and fantastic Utter Bear wood – Storytelling for the people! That’s always on the 4th Thursday of each month, 28th February, Polly Tisdall, young storyteller of the year, performing Moonlighting - check out their facebook page.
Something new in June! We will be hosting a Children’s theatre company, Booster Cushion and their performance will be 'Alan in Wonderland and the Three Goats Plus...'

October saw our 1st children’s talent show; there are some fantastic talented people in Bearwood. This year we will be holding a local talent show date to be confirmed.

Which author would you love to have signing books in the library? Why?

I would love Julie Walters it’s her childhood library, the library that she got her love of reading from.

What’s the strangest book request you ever had?

Oh…that’s hard, I was only young at the time, a borrower asked for a book and this was in the time when you had to phone the library direct. It was……wait for it…. having an orgasm in your sixties and seventies! You might not want to put that down!

Apart from book requests I’ve was once asked if I could play the piano for this elderly couple in their home, every Friday night!

What’s your favourite book and what do you love about it?

I have so many; a book that I will always remember is the L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks

What role do you think Thimblemill Library plays in Bearwood?

Thimblemill library is a cultural hub of our local community and Bearwood is the capital of cultural and exciting new ideas.

 What’s your opinion of the new library being built on Broad Street in Birmingham?

I think it’s exciting and I’m really looking forward to the opening. The new library, it will get people excited about libraries again and will draw new people in, especially with the learning, cultural and arts at the new Birmingham library. This will help redefine what libraries are about!

It’s all in the new title for Birmingham –Rewriting the Book! Libraries should offer new and exciting things to their communities

How many books does Thimblemill Library hold? What’s the oldest or rarest book?

Thimblemill’s Stock is: on the shelf:33832 on loan: 299243

All old stock and rare books goes into Sandwell’s reserve stock /Community History and Archives.

Our rarest book is: the 'Warley Estate [Red] Book' by Humphry Repton dated 1795 and as we all know: Humphrey Repton was a Landscape Gardener (the Capability Brown of his time) who designed gardens and estates all over the country.

He designed the Warley estate (Warley Abbey) for the Galton family. We are not sure how many copies of the book were produced for each estate, but as they were hand written and hand painted, probably only a couple. The Red Book was his selling tool, but has become rare works of art.

Our oldest document 1369 is: Deed of John Wilkys of Darlaston regarding unspecified property (Deed grants Richard del Heth and wife Juliana unspecified lands and tenements)

It was found in the walls of the gatehouse of West Bromwich Manor House, when it was being renovated.

Please tell us your Bearwood All-Star. In other words what, who or where makes you smile in Bearwood?

You,  you always make me smile, I love reading your website. You make it fun and we all need that bit of fun in our lives. (Mrs B: wow, thank you, you're making us blush!)

Also all the lovely outdoor fun like: Warley Woods, Lightwoods and Bearwood Shuffle etc... We are so lucky there are some lovely people living in Bearwood. I love to walk up Bearwood Road (sorry I’m old it’s Bearwood Road…not the High St) and chat to people and that’s make me smile.

I used to love going shopping with my Grandmother we didn’t get very far she would always stop and chat to people she knew. I would always ask who they were and before she finished her story of who they were, we would stop again and start chatting to someone else.

I’m now my Grandmother reincarnated and I love it!

We like to ask everyone this question. What make Lightwoods Chippy’s Chips orange?

Paprika batter, something that you would find in a lot of Black Country fish and chip shops! The Lightwoods Chippy has always been known for their orange chips. I can remember them when I was very young too…now that’s a long time ago!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Be My Bearwood Valentine?

With less than a week to go until Valentine Day and because the welovebearwood team are old romantics at heart we've put together a guide on how to buy, look good for and entertain your sweetheart.

Here goes: 

 Adopt a Tree

As Viv Cole, Warley Woods Trust Manager, explains...

"Still wondering about getting your loved one something for Valentine's Day? What about adopting a tree at Warley Woods. No guilty calories. You don't need to care for it afterwards - just a lovely warm romantic glow? Adoption forms are on the Trust's website on the leaflets and documents page. There are suggested trees to adopt to make it easy - as you only have a few days to go but you can adopt a tree that means something special for you."

 Buy a Begonia

Don't do tacky this year with a bunch of red roses brought from the local garage, visit Andrew's Plants in Bearwood Indoor Market and buy a beautiful begonia instead.  Andrew will even wrap them up for you.

Make a pendant necklace  

We love homemade pressies so why not make a pendant necklace for your valentine this year.
There's a great selection of loveheart beads at Bead Savvy in Bearwood Indoor Market so you've got all weekend to get busy designing.  Have a word with Stefan too and he'll give you some great jewellery making tips too!

Colour Your Hair   

Red is the colour of love so this Valentine Day's why not go all out and get your hair coloured bright red!

Sezer Antonio have got a half price sale on all hair colour treatments so get your appointment booked today.

Eat some pasta

Casa Italia are taking reservations for Valentine's Day and as pasta is the food of love it seems the perfect place to wine and dine this Valentine's Day. 

Read some love poems or Dinosaurs Love Underpants to each other

Read some love poems or Dinosaurs Love Underpants (much more our style!) to each other. NX Books have books for sale to cover everybody's tastes.

Listen to some jazz

Nothing gets you more in the mood for a little lurrrrrrving than some jazz and where better to hear it than the Silvershine Jazz Club at Bearwood Corks eh? On the night itself you can hear the legendary Blue Notes dish up a Valentine's Night special. 

So, there you have it. Seven perfect treats for the sexy man/woman/ladyboy in your life and you needn't even stray over the Hagley Road. Enjoy! xx

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Have you got the Bearwood Blues?

Ben Morris, one of the Bearwood Promoters' extended family discovered this song by local band White Habit and we couldn't resist sharing the Bearwood Blues with you.

We've heard some news on the Bearwood Grapevine which we think will cheer everybody up.
The Bearwood Promoters crew have come out of hibernation and they're busy planning this year's Bearwood Shuffles.

So watch this space for more exciting news coming very very soon.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Kit e-Cat!

Poppy's Green House has to be one of our favourite Bearwood blogs!

This is what Poppy told welovebearwood....

"Hello everyone! My name is Poppy and I am a cat. I own a human being called Andrew (of Andrew's Plants, folks!) who grows loads of plants for a living. Sometimes he is at markets for hours and I have to wait ages for dinner time!

I plan to dish the dirt on exactly how it is to own a human being who grows plants for a living.

Shush, don’t tell Andrew!"

We had snow!

Can it really be a fortnight ago that all that snow started to fall!  

The video's courtesy of Marios Di Famagosta who runs Bearwood Photo School.  Check out their facebook page and website for more details about their classes.