I’m the MidlandsKiwi – a New Zealander working in the UK as a reporter and having a wonderful time.
About eight weeks ago, my adventures brought me to the West Midlands, where I now work for the Express & Star covering Dudley, Stourbridge, Halesowen and assorted towns and villages in between. Since then I’ve been discovering the region’s hidden gems.
I chanced upon the canal walk between Wordsley and Stourbridge a few weeks ago. I wandered along the path for almost an hour in who-knows-what direction, enjoying the beautiful reflections on the water and the orange sky as the sun went to bed.
In the past week I visited again to show a special visitor what my town looks like in January. The canal was still, the little boats covered in snow, and we watched a swan sitting in the small circle of water it had created for itself amidst the ice, marveling at the track he had carved on his way. There were friendly greetings from those walking past and enthusiastic ducks and geese, excited by the pieces of bread we dropped from the bridge.
My favourite thing about this region, however, is the people. On my first night in a new flat, a lettings agent forgot to give me the code to the flat’s alarm, meaning I couldn’t be inside without setting it off. Two of my neighbours stepped up – one driving me around nearby streets in an effort to find the last tenants and then both neighbours tracking down the alarm technician who, drinking in nearby Blackheath, was in no state to drive. Instead my neighbours drove there to get him, had him turn the alarm off and then drove him back to the pub.
That was my introduction to the people of the West Midlands and it was a good indication of what I can expect. From the store worker who, seeing my pile of homeware purchases, realises I’m going to struggle to get it back to where my car is parked so offers to help; the couple celebrating the Golden Wedding who, as well as sharing their story, go further and ask me to stay and share their celebratory cake too; and the people who have struggled to understand my accent almost as much as I’ve struggled to understand theirs but have persevered anyway.
But I’m not finished exploring and discovering the many things that make The Midlands unique. There’s more to come so keep visiting my blog!