2021: I'm Just Going For A Walk... Part 2!

Following on from my industrially inspired walk from Willenhall through Darlaston, I will recount the other half of that 18,000 step walk that I took during UK's third National Lockdown. The previous day I had decided that I deserved something to eat from McDonald's because it had been several months since my last Maccies. From Willenhall to Bilston I walked on and on! Go!

I chose to walk the same route through Darlaston into Willenhall. Still under Lockdown settings, I kept in mind that I would need to get inventive with my 'outdoor' dining situation. Approaching 'The Crescent' meant that I had walked 9,000 steps, well around that figure. That junction allowed me to the famous golden 'M' sign, I already knew what I wanted! Masking up, I proceeded to enter the McDonald's restaurant as the heavens so kindly opened, I didn't take kindly to that impromptu shower! Tapping the electronic order screen it was like I was back in China, I had missed the convenience of China life because the UK is well behind! I said what I said! Ordering a triple cheeseburger, medium fries, a large coke to drink and a Maltesers McFlurry. Costing me less than a 'Fish 'n' Chips' dinner, I was well into that fast-food treat! Not being able to eat in wasn't the one that afternoon, thankfully the rain ceased but the only place for me to put my meal down hadn't dried. As I ate my food on the roadside! Oh, I looked special! 

With my McDonald's feast half balancing on the side of the road-side wall, people did look on but I was in food heaven! I did not care! Regargless! Yes, the sun shined once again! Walking towards Willenhall, I was able to stand still to capture a photo of the 'M' restaurant because that stormy weather wasn't the one! Satisfied with my cheeky McDonald's meal, I walked onwards to Willenhall Town Centre. Slightly frozen in the Springtime chill with my Maltesers McFlurry, did I care? No, I goddamn well did not! Are you sure? Yes! That bit of normality to walk into a McDonald's of all places had me feeling some new kind of normal! I don't make a habit of eating too much fast food, my next visit might be to a KFC because I want that chicken! Taking the sweet with the bitterly sour, I stepped to the beat of the street because during Lockdown conditions the path I took was the best I was going to get! Life is like a box of chocolates, just like that I didn't get to decide my location, it was just so! A town on mechanical ventilation? Nurse!

Willenhall's condition has been critical for some time now, it has been a miracle that its last rights haven't been read because this town needs resuscitating! People have been dying but Willenhall's essential businesses gave the last few breathes that they could muster! This West Midlands town needs to be reopened, reinvigorated and revived because things looked ghostly! I had walked through Willenhall Town Centre countless times before the day I collected the photos for this blog, the reflections of this broken town suggested a massive decline! It wasn't just COVID patients needing a mechanical ventilator, Willenhall could have done with being hooked up to some kind of life support. The sunshine and bright skies didn't fool me, something needs to be done to bring these forgotten former market town back to life! Yes! Around half way, I had clocked up a five figure digit number! Moving through Willenhall towards the Portobello, I hoped that Willenhall could be freed from the Lockdown, it looked like death warmed up! Yes!

Walking has been the only thing that I have done through the 3rd National UK Lockdown, nothing else has been open and quite frankly I need to get out of the house from time to time! I loved walking through Willenhall because it gave me a motivation for my own life, if a place could be so 'down and out' then my life wasn't bad. I could manage a while longer walking through such places, I have valued my life and I definitely know that I am lucky to have a formulated exit plan. Anyhow, I passed the half-way point as I neared the Willenhall Road it was nice to see the bulk of my walk done! As I walked further away from Willenhall, 100% I wished that town the best because it needs some serious love, 100% Willenhall love! Did I see a brand new height? No, it was just the weather, I was impressed with the rare bright skies that had bothered to make an appearance. For my free daily exercise, I had no complaints! Willenhall's state gave me clarity! You said? There's going to be a train station returning to Willenhall? OK!

ASSA ABLOY, who? Fronting the rail tracks that had been stripped of its passenger service, I gazed over as my iPhone camera gave that industrial vista a much needed filter glow up! The rain had passed, the clouds were breezing past and the Wolverhampton-Walsall tracks were in front of me. Part of Willenhall's continued reinvigoration would be a new train station, the former one had been ripped out because that was the decision. After many years of dispute and hot air, the plans for a Metro line were scrapped for a heavy rail line from Wolves to WS1 to help alleviate the swamped bus route! This might be unrelated to my walk but I adore transport and it was the story of my then view, are you clear about that? Wonderful! I hope that the new line helps bring some kind of prosperity because its much much needed! Walking further on, I noticed that the billboard had changed once again! Before Christmas 2020 the billboard at the island showcased 'RuPaul' as part of a 'BBC Three' ad campaign! Oh, I lived for that iconic view! 

At that point of my walk I had covered more steps than I wanted to think about, I wasn't out of breath it was just I had been walked for ages! On my left I saw my faithful ALDI, what has my life been reduced to? Since when did I refer to my local German discount supermarket as 'faithful?' I need my life back! Oh, I didn't have plans to purchase any goodies at ALDI that day because my limited coins went to the McDonald's meal. I suppose it has been the simpler things that have forcibly grounded me throughout this period being back in England? Yes, I have really tried to find some life in the things around that I can access throughout this Lockdown period. There's not much else that I can do, what I can do is go to ALDI for a few alcoholic beverages or snacks. No, I am not living some kind of dream! I know that this seemingly normal walk didn't mean much to me before I thought of this blog series. Once I have my life back as the pandemic fades, I will absolutely look back with a vast sense of gratitude. She did what? Lauder, who? Ew!

Clearing the Willenhall Road, I transitioned onto Moseley Road at the junction called 'The Neachells' because a pub used to stand with that place. No longer standing, it's more of a local saying for the junction. Lauder Close! As I walked closer towards home, I saw the first house that I lived in the region because I was not born nor lived in the West Midlands until I was almost 6 years old! London was my home, due to a family situation it was decided that along with my younger Brother and Mum, we would move away from the 'Big Smoke' to Bilston, West Midlands. Our first family home as a three person household was on the edge of Lauder Close, I can't remember the house number. We lived at that house for a few years, although I don't remember much of the time when I lived there. It was a sobering moment, my life has progressed much since living in that house! That moment of nostalgia was disrupted by the next house, a woman threw out what like a used nappy bag out of the window! So, utterly disgusting! 

I was on the home straight as I approached the mid-point of Moseley Road, I would be relieved to have a rest after such a lengthy walk! Passing the Grapes, that pub was all locked up, no cheeky illegal drinks going on in there! No! Those Moseley Road houses never change, meeting with the corner of Dilloways Lane. I passed 'Wok n Roll', I must admit that it is an awful name for a 中国外卖! Translate it yourself! I had no desire ordering any food but I had seen some packaging that had been outside the takeaway during the previous walk, I read the Chinese and it had been for kitchen equipment. Seeing a slice of anything Chinese is a pure joy to me because I miss that life badly! Making it home with my photos for this blog, I felt a sense of completion with that route. I am looking forward to when things reopen, I am done with this Lockdown look because Miss Rona needs to take a hike! Rona, U Fi Dun? Until then, those little moments of life will be appreciated! I loved my Maccies, Willenhall serious needs help and people are nasty! Ew!

Keep On Walking! 

Joseph Harrison 


Popular Posts