After two abortive attempts to get to Touchwood, one at the wrong time and the other at the right time (but too near the stores opening time), I arrived at the ideal time. Midnight is when the centre allowed #keytothecitybrum holders to enter the shopping centre. As you can imagine, this is not an easy time for most people and as I walked down a dimly lit alleyway in Solihull next to McDonalds, I started to get second thoughts.
The after-hours entrance is not a solubrious placeI as I walked down to the gates and pressed the intercom. A voice kindly welcomed me to the venue, but I had to wait while they did their evening checks around the centre. After 10 minutes I was admitted. In the meantime, two other key holders had arrived. It was a dark foreboding alley, and I was apprehensive as they approached but then reassured when I saw their blue boxes holding the key.
Once inside the main shopping hall, the security people took us to the information kiosk. The key opened a locked box on the desk. Inside were sachets of Cadbury’s drinking chocolate which the security team used to make mugs of drinking chocolate for their visitors. We were then allowed to wander around the deserted shopping centre with our cups in hand. It was a surreal experience.
All the shops looked like there were in stasis just waiting for the people to arrive. The area around the cinema was interesting without people around. I think it was the lack of voices and general noise that made the centre feel so different. I loved the Polestar car showroom where all the cars had their headlamps full on. The Apple shop did not have queue outside it but of course it was not open! The restaurants had the chairs upturned ready for cleaning. I spent a good 45 minutes looking around, taking selfies, and looking around the empty shops. Time then to go home and get to bed after my late night visit!
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 (This article)
- No Ghosts were harmed by my Key
- The key opens a special meal
- Whistling a Birmingham success