I awoke ridiculously early (for a Saturday, anyway) and proceeded to make my way towards Birmingham, leaving Paul with a selection of various chores to do whilst I was out. I was heading off, excitingly, to meet jackiesjottings, who was supposed to come to Brum just before Christmas but for a lack of funds.
Anyway, I got to the bus stop and was informed by a woman there that she'd seen two 50 buses coming towards the stop and then turning left into Howard Road, apparently diverted, because the high street was cordoned off. Sigh. So we started walking towards Howard Road (two stops back down the route) and managed to get on a Diamond bus, the driver of which completely ignored the diversion, got as far as my road and then got very confused, having to navigate the backstreets to get as far as Queensbridge School and back onto the route.
I texted Jackie to let her know I might be a bit late (I was already runing late before even leaving the house), but as it transpired I was bang on time. Go me. :)
At that point I just presumed that there'd been a road accident, as the Idiot Drivers TM tend to use our road as a racetrack the majority of the time.
Anyway, I met Jackie at New Street and we hung around there for a bit as we weren't sure if composim was coming as well. At 10.45, however, we decided to call it a day, and went to find coffee.
I remembered that Coffee Republic (on Jackie's suggestion) was by Rackham's, and we had some drinks in there. I had a skinny mocha and a sausage baguette, which were both very nice. CR isn't toooo far from work, either, so I might use it for my morning coffee one of these days. Although Pret's is actually cheaper, I think. We had a natter in there for a bit (mostly about cats, I think), and then we went to Oasis market to have a look around.
Jackie came away with some patchwork trousers whilst I drooled over the coats. I've decided to get a new one in a couple of months (can't afford it right now) as my Leprechaun Coat is starting to look a bit frayed around the edges after six odd years. There are a couple of gorgeous ones I had my eye on: a red/black embroidered pirate-style coat with big cuffs (£130!) and a long velvet one with fur trim and a hood, in various colours. I never did get the Willy Wonka coat and even though the Redballs Jack Sparrow coat is absolutely amazing, the one in Oasis is a very similar style. Fie on H&M for not having the bargainous coat I spent so much time searching for, I suppose, as Oasis will get my money instead.
I bought some rainbow-coloured braces and some eye shadow singles in neon yellow and neon pink (to make it over £5.00), all of which I wore later on. ;)
Later that afternoon I also went back to Jade to get some boots I'd spotted - little ankle boots in tartan, for £10. I had to wait until we'd gone to Kings Heath and out again, though, as I had no cash on me at that point...
After Oasis I took Jackie to Moseley and into Zen and Potter + Pieces, where I managed to find a gorgeous Valentine's Day card for Paul, and Jackie bought a stuffed fairy cat. I'd never been in P+P before but will definitely remember it for future reference.
After that was a quick trip down to Kings Heath, into Naquiba and down Poplar Road, and also into the indoor market where Jackie drooled over the hair things. :) They have lots of interesting nail varnish colours so I might go back in my week off.
Whilst in Kings Heath we wandered up to the police line by the Hare & Hounds to try and establish what was going on, to no avail.
Back on the bus, then, to Birmingham again. Jackie's friend texted her (back) to say that someone had been found dead outside Wilkinson. I'd also texted Paul to warn him about the bus diversions, and he texted me back to say someone had been stabbed outside the Hare. Later on again the pub had changed to the Pear Tree. According to BBC news this morning, someone was found dead SOMEWHERE in KH from head injuries, and the police are treating it suspiciously in case it was the result of a fight, so are appealing for witnesses. The road is still closed this morning, so I imagine trying to get to work tomorrow is going to be a bugger.
Back in Birmingham we went to the Briar Rose for a drink, and then to Tesco (to take a photograph for Jackie's latest hair theme...), and then to Borders, after briefly getting lost. We both took some photographs from the top of the steps overlooking St Martin's. Mine are here or on Flickr if anyone is interested. I hope to take more Birmingham photos at some point.
I saw Jackie off to New Street and then attempted to get home. The bus diverted down Queensbridge Road and then eventually onto Vicarage Road, though I was a bit worried for a moment not knowing where I was in the dark. I got off on Vicarage and then realised the end of that one was closed as well. Helpful Policewoman (to me, anyway, though not to the arsey woman in front of me...) said I had to go through Sainsbury's car park and down in the lift to get onto the high street. Which is fair enough, except the car park has no pedestrian access on that side. Still, I made it in one piece.
I got in, rushed around getting changed and made up, and then rang a taxi to get back into Birmingham for Paul's birthday drinks.
The rest of the night was spent in the pub. I can't remember much of it. There are photos on Paul's Facebook, anyway. I ran out of energy at about 10.30, which was completely understandable given my jaunting around all day, and we got a taxi home at about 12.15 or thereabouts. So, a long day, but a good one.
I should like the record to show, for Jackie's interest, that my area is not normally renowned for people dying on the high street. It's usually quite salubrious. :P
Today I've done not much - watched the Eastenders omnibus (the ending made me cry, damn you Stacey Slater and your dysfunctional family!) and made cakes for Paul's work, as they were moaning apparently as I wasn't well enough to make them over the New Year period. :P
Hopefully Jackie and I will get to meet again some point this year as she's invited me to her beloved Glastonbury. It was a thoroughly enjoyable meet-up yesterday. My favourite thing about meeting online friends whom you've known for a while online is that the conversation flows as though you've known each other for years. It's been the same with all the people I've met, from winter_jasmine to commoncomitatus. A strange phenomenon, really. :)