Friday 7 March


I’m pleased to say that the new camera is up and running.

Walsall is also the home of Jerome K Jerome, so it seems quite appropriate that we arrived by boat.

From our mooring at the Walsall Town Wharf, on the floating pontoons which are particularly slippery, we  went off to explore the nearby Leather Museum.

We didn’t realise beforehand that the manufacture of handbags, saddles, bridles and luxury leather goods have been the mainstay industry of the town since before the industrial revolution.

Everyone was extremely friendly and informative.   In a second floor room we came across Paul and Wendy, who both once worked in the industry, and who were very keen to demonstrate some of the processes involved.    It was obvious that they had thoroughly enjoyed their working lives as they were keen to share  many stories of the fun times they had there.  Paul was particularly proud of the fact that his mother had also worked in the industry and had made the golfing gloves worn by James Bond in the film Goldfinger.

Quite a number of the local factories enjoy royal patronage and apparently the Queen orders four handbags a year from one, and her saddles  from another.  We also learnt that a ‘lorimer’ is the name of someone who makes all the stirrups, bits, spurs etc.

Although our visit to Walsall was brief, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that it is well worth a visit.

By 2pm we were underway and heading back towards Birmingham, with the sun in our eyes. It feels like Spring is almost here – we saw our first butterfly today and noticed that the ‘pussy willow’ is out too.