My next two venues for #keytothecitybrum were close to each other and both were intriguing. They took me to a part of Birmingham that I have rarely visited. I have had no previous reason to visit the area and I have only passed through on the dual carriage way onto Perry Barr. The north west part of the City is relatively unknown to me and I was about to find out that I had missed some hidden gems.
The Blyden’s Garden
This was a delightful place to visit. A private garden in the middle of Birmingham. When the #keystothecitybrum were released, this place was the most intriguing. A small plot of land was going to be shared with the larger Birmingham community. I did not know what to expect and headed out to the garden. Finding Brooklyn Avenue, I went along to the end of the cul-de-sac and located the road that went behind house 63. The place did not look inviting and one of the houses on the street had a stack of rubbish on the front lawn. I turned the corner and at first did not register anything except an open gate. As I took in my surroundings, I saw a shocking pink door with a welcome sign.
This was nothing like the picture in the booklet! My key fitted the lock. The door needed a good pull as it opened towards me and once inside I discovered a quiet oasis. The place was set out with herb plants including strawberries. There were motivational words hung up on the surrounding fences. There was a large bench where you could sit down and survey your surroundings.
A blackboard was set up near to the door and someone had written in chalk a question of the day.
“If you could go back in time and meet your 10-year-old self. What advice would you give yourself?”
I am not sure that my answer was profound enough for the board, but it was fun to participate. I took a few pictures and then sat down. I took some time out to reflect and soak in the ambiance of the garden. Then I took some pictures and before long (around 10 minutes later), I decided it was time to move onto the next venue on my #keytothecitybrum quest.
Thank you to the Daniel and Rebecca Blyden for making this happen. A lovely experience and one to treasure. I found this link about their garden and gives more insight into their vision
Legacy Centre of Excellence
The Legacy Centre of Excellence is on Potters Lane, Birmingham. Upon arrival, I was made welcome by Sarah who showed me what my key unlocked in the building. The room I entered had pictures made from card cut-outs hanging on the wall. These were drawn by Dr Martin Glynn, lecturer in Criminology at Birmingham City University. The collection of pictures was called “Moments and Memories” and were inspired by the Covid19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.
Dr Glynn investigated the themes of reflection and during his journey wished to immerse his audience into his work. Dr Glynn’s pictures resonated with my own reflections. I have done a series of articles of life during and after the pandemic. In a similar way, I have been on a part of Dr Glynn’s journey. His cut-outs provided very powerful imagery.
Sarah gave me details of the Legacy centre and showed me the main stage that was set up for a B2022 Commonwealth Games Community Engagement event: A journey through Windrush. Sarah agreed to having her picture taken and I discovered that she is an artist in her own right and examples of her work are on her Instagram site @whitecanaryillustration. Another fascinating place on my Journey with the Key.
My Journey with the Key
If you wish to review my journey then I have published all my visits on my blog as follows.
- Key to the City Brum
- Three keys in Birmingham
- Key to the trains and the football
- My key opens another three locks
- Keys to the Blyden’s Garden and the Legacy centre
- Time to reflect with my key
- Key to Green Lane Mosque
- Route 61 and two more keys
- The popular key – 103 Colmore Row
- Open all hours with my key
- No Ghosts were harmed by my Key
- The key opens a special meal
- Whistling a Birmingham success
Link to the Legacy Centre
Fog in Gas street basin mug£8.00 – £10.50
Reflections in Floodgate Street Poster with hangers£15.50 – £31.50
Feel the force Postcard£3.25