Destination: Wolverhampton, England, UK!

Grounded again? I do think! Still finding myself in this COVID-19 purgatory, I took myself back to Wolverhampton for the second time in November 2021. My second visit to that questionable West Midlands city wasn't going to be for nothing, I needed to say a little prayer or five! Embracing that autumnal day, I served a little bit of park-life because I could! Bank's Beer? Yes! 

Wolverhampton, a destination? I suppose the Molineux Stadium, the home of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club might well be someone else's cup of tea but I was there to make other observations. My most recent visit to Wolverhampton took a similar route towards that known Gold & Black themed football stadium, examining those receipts I think now is the time to take a few steps back to my initial Wolverhampton visit. Word on the street is that in the future, Wolverhampton's own Molineux will be within a new city quarter with the same name. With plans to utilise key space that has been occupied by vacant office buildings, a string of brand new hotels are apparently in the pipeline? Yes, they are! I for one detest the so called 'beautiful game' but with a tourism degree and mind, sports events can bring money and footfall to a city during those match days and during events like conferences. I'm no dummy to already know that many UK city's make a mint, Wolverhampton needs that hotel hook up immediately! Oh, an own goal?

Oh, don't you dare mention the West Midlands Metro to me! No! During that initial November 2021 visit to Wolverhampton, I took the metro from Bilston Central to Wolverhampton St. George's without any issues but second time around that wasn't meant to be. Totally taken out of service once again, I wasn't all that shocked. Now, why doesn't that West Midlands Metro already have a direct link from the city centre to that Molineux Stadium? Shocking if you ask me! Listen here real quick, if Wolverhampton wants to be a destination, she needs to keep those football fans moving to and from that football ground! It's like Boris only wants to support the South or the Northwest because the Midlands always gets cut loose when it comes to funding! I'm sure when the West Midlands Metro brings Wolverhampton Wanderers their own station stop, only then will that fever pitch will burn gold and black! Come on, build those hotels in the 'Molineux Quarter' because WV desperately needs those reservations! Destination ready? Nope! 

With an extended stay in the United Kingdom on the horizon for me, I wanted to seek the opportunity religious spaces that were not from the Christian faith. Making those moves, I sent an email to Gurdwaras across the West Midlands area but only one responded to me. A current trustee at Wolverhampton's Ramgarhia Sabha Sikh Temple responded to me within a very swift time period, that extension of communication was much appreciated. Planning to visit the Gurdwara during the mid part the month of November 2021, I was advised that the day of 'Guru Nanak Dev Ji's' birthday would be a good day for me to visit the Gurdwara due to the events festivities. I had been inspired to visit such a place of worship because my 'Like A Prayer' blog series hadn't covered any other religions from the UK that weren't either Church Of England neither Catholicism, that prayer based dilemma needed to change real quick! Picking up the pace, I walked past the Molineux Stadium as mentioned to reach my chosen Gurdwara. Let's go! 

Leaving my problems at the front door, I was on the hunt to find 'Harbinder' because that's who I had been corresponding with. He'd be my guide? Sure, I met him at the entrance after I had nervously asked a lady from the kitchen, I was about to see my first ever Gurdwara! Founded in 1974, it was amazing to hear about the humble beginnings of the Ramgarhia Sabha Sikh Temple. I'm going to keep this brief because I have whole blog post in the works that will feature my time spent at the Gurdwara. I really enjoyed that house of Guru Nanak, the people were really friendly, their welcoming nature saw me eating 'Langar' twice. That tea wasn't any PG Tips kind, it was flavoursome and even reminded me of the Masala Chai I had tried in India! Along with my MCR Mosque experience, it was an absolute pleasure to see within the Gurdwaras walls to observe that special event. I learnt that the 'Palki' acts like an altar and that the 'Granthi' is like a priest. H and his peers kindness added to my Sikh visit. So, thank you very much, R.S.G in WV! 

That delicious 'Langar' had left me feeling full and very thankful, needing to walk it off, I headed the short distance from the Gurdwara to Wolverhampton's West Park. It had been over one year since I had last visited that park, I wanted nothing more to have a stress free stroll through the park that Sunday afternoon. The autumnal shine shone a wonderful glowing light over that West Park, the golden leaves on the tress allowed me to feel part of that seasonal transitional moment. A park tongue twister? Yes, WV! Feeling centred from my enlightening experience at the Gurdwara, the Sunday sense of the park had me seeing another side of Wolverhampton. Catching that changing park scene for myself to see, I had to pinch myself to register that I was still in the same West Midlands city! People were going about their weekend things, walking their dogs and like me they looked as if the autumnal glow all had us under its spell! Wolverhampton, please tell me how you've been hiding your skills of metamorphosis? Answers!

140 years old? Opened in 1881? West Park, make it make sense! For real, Wolverhampton's West Park rightly served a healthy dollop of Victorian Park Realness! That park had done already done had herses! Baby, tell me how you still look sickeningly good! Please? It wasn't just the landscaped Victorian park that had me questioning that 19th century time period, lining the park I saw a whole host of regal looking Victorian style houses. Acting as a conservation area, those houses must retain their original charms otherwise there's a crime for that erasure of the time! Yes, Wolverhampton already knows that I am throwing out such suitable vocabulary because she's what? She's worthy of that WV destination status! Not quite believing in magic, I carried on forth towards Chapel Ash to find a certain thirst quenching beverage. West Park knows that I will always extend my deepest thanks for that slowed down park walk, that Sunday afternoon hit differently! Wolverhampton, please don't try and be that sweet talker! Best don't! 

This pandemic has tried to knock me down with a change in continents but Miss COVID-19 won't ever keep me down! Wolverhampton had one more secret combination for me to work out before heading home, would it involve a pint? Miss COVID-19, the cease and desist is in the post! Bank's, who? Bank's Brewery has been like Wolverhampton's own chocolate factory of beer since 1875, that's a grand old tally of 146 years! The pandemic has seen the factory tours being suspended but with my own approach I decided to scout down a nearby pub. Peering through the brewery gates on Bath Road in Wolverhampton, I chose to embrace that locked out feeling due to the lack of guest services. Bank's is now part of the 'Marston's' umbrella, begging the question whether the beer has changed like Cadbury's chocolate did after that 'Kraft Foods' merger? A food and drink conundrum? Come on Banks's, where was that pint of 'Sunbeam' at? I could feel something inside me saying that I wasn't strong enough to say no to that pint! No, no! 

I had embraced the Gurdwara's wishes, after staying away from alcohol for the entire weekend, I needed a drink! Like a child walking into a sweet shop, I did the same in search of a drink at the Clarendon Hotel pub. Like a prayer, that 'Sunbeam' pint called my name! I had to let 'Marston's' brewery facing pub take me there with that ice cold pint of Wolverhampton brewed history! Sharing the name of the former Wolverhampton motorcycle factory, I wasn't a stranger to that local industrious icon! I enjoyed my pint of Bank's Beer with a certain level of restraint because I need to learn how to limit my alcohol consumption, I can admit that! Wolverhampton, I can hand on heart say that one pint of 'Sunbeam' was more than enough for me that Sunday. Making tracks for the bus station, marrying the Molineux Stadium with the following Sunday's Service had me feeling accomplished to say the very least! This pandemic has robbed me of my international destinations, those places closer to home continue to come through! WV, I'm out! 

WV... Strike A Pose! 

Joseph Harrison 

Comments

  1. I love how you made it a point to add when each place you went to was established 👌🏽 There's so much history and tradition in WV🤔🥰

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment!

      Surprised myself at how much I’ve found out during this blog process.

      Joseph

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