>Where did the 176 stop?


This is the best jpg I could find of the pocket bird guide I use. They bring a new one out every so often and stick a different bird on the front. But this is the one I have and this is the one that goes with me everywhere in my rucksack.

I’m a tad tired at the moment. I’ve been a bit restless and don’t know why. I’m thinking that someone somewhere may have something going on. It’s not a grief I’m feeling, just a very slight sense of sadness or foreboding. Maybe I’m about ready for this holiday.

Yesterday was fairly good, however.

I did a bit more picture research for the Voices book. Our local history group is still going, but it’s a waste of time me asking there because this ancient paragon of fear that used to teach them all at primary school has instructed each one of them to hinder and refuse me as I’m an interloper, and if anyone should write a local history book it should be someone local. So why don’t they get on and do it, then? We may have identified at least 2 sources, though. Possibly 3 – and another interviewee. Thanks to the keep fat buddy for the suggestions and ideas.

Then I did quite a bit of writing and managed another chapter of Catch the Rainbow. It was hard work, a bit like reading a book in my sleep and not knowing what the next word is. It’s not the greatest chapter, there’s too much telling and not enough showing, hardly any dialogue, and very little interaction. But it’s a structure and it gives me bones on which to hang flesh. It’s also raised a few factual questions like:

  • Did they put flowers outside the pubs as they do today when there’s a tragedy?
  • Where exactly on New Street was Wimpy?
  • Was it before or after The Odeon?
  • On which corner was the jewellers?
  • Would the jeweller have been H Samuel?
  • Were notices put up in shops saying “No Irish Allowed”?
  • Had Midland Red buses changed to West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive yet?
  • Did the 176 stop outside WH Smiths or did it only go as far as the bus station?
  • Indeed, was it called the 176 then? (It was the 57 later.)
  • How long did it take them to reglaze the shop fronts?
  • Did Christmas lights go up in town in 1974?
  • Etc, etc, etc.

If anyone knows … you know what to do. I didn’t dwell on any of the questions, just made a note and carried on. The additional research, answers to questions, and any interviews will come when draft 1 is finished and I know where most of the gaps are.

Today is day 1 of a 2-day week (sorry, Colin). I have a lot to fit into those 2 days, and I must remember to put my out-of-office auto-replies on all of my email addresses. There’s no internet where I’m going, so it’ll be just me and my mobile phone. If there’s a signal …