Site Logo  Stourbridge
  
Some of you will be aware of chakras, the energy centres of the human body-mind-spirit with the closest connection to the so-called heavenly bodies. I donít say this cynically, I believe very much in chakras and spirituality, speaking as a trained healer. The only problem is, I donít have any idea what they are. Another way of looking at them is as energy centres, areas round the body where the concentration of energy (proven, incidentally, by science) is at its highest. There should be no mystery. Mountains have peaks, lakes are deeper in some places than others, and we as humans have areas of light around us that shine just a bit more brightly than others.
This, as does the land we live on, notable sites such as Stonehenge, Macchu Picchu, Lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan and The Pyramids at Giza are considered to be energy centres and people visiting often report feeling as high as the proverbial kite there. Glastonbury is another, Avebury likewise and would you believe, so too is Stourbridge, a quaint little Black Country town in the West Midlands region of England.
Having lived there for four years starting in about 1996, I can confirm this to be absolutely true.


A cooler place in England find thou shalt not. Even the post-war housing estates and unstylish ring-road, blamed by many for the death of the olde town, are swathed in character. A town with a pub for each day of the week (spread over several weeks) and a generous helping of traditional shoppes and eateries just tip the metropolitan balance to the acceptable side of bland. Itís just a happy place, the feng shui is absolutely spot on. Cool easterly breezes mix with southern sunlight to produce a cocktail of suburban delight felt by all those who amble casually along its tarmacked streets, pausing idly to gaze through post-modern shop windows into timeless displays of reasonably priced or reduced-to-clear second hand goods.

It never rains. The weather continually blesses those who come to savour the townís charm and while it may forgive those who leave for one of the many local destinations of interest, be they Birmingham, the stunning countryside or the fascinating Black Country, nobody is expected to stay away for long. As if they could, the twin railway stations and well-maintained bus station provide routes out of town but more relevantly routes INTO town, as masses of enthusiastic revellers pack the streets at night. The fact that many of them are not old enough to be drinking is not the point, Stourbridge is a very happening place and it was an honour for me to share its ways for four years of my life.
OK, I jest a little, itís not such a happening place, but I liked it. Of special note are probably, in no particular order:
The Wollaston Fryer. The best fish and chip shop in the world, located in a quaint Ďvillageí called Wollaston just up a gentle hill from the town centre. My evenings out would aim to finish in this place and although I never made it up the road in time it was an ambition fondly held for much of the time I lived there.
The Cottage Inn, just off the ring road on Enville Street, famous at the time for not closing at 1100 p.m. as pubs were otherwise both keen and required to do, oh many were the early morning pool and darts games in this kindly establishment come perhaps three or even four in the morning.

The Mitre Inn: lively pub which was never lively when I was there. At the time the couple running it were close to retirement and hadnít changed anything for ages. To be honest itíd got tired, but just after I left there was a change of management and apparently it picked up again.

Bonded Warehouse: Some place used once for industrial things at the end (or beginning) of a canal. I used to do Tai Chi there.
Thereíd be more, but most of it would revolve round pubs, not on my life itinerary any more but Stourbridge was the home of many a happy day and night, and remains to this day one of my favourite places in the world. Yes, the world.