On 12th August 2017, my fellow Oldbury Writing Group members (Andy Number Two, Angie, and Dave) and I explored Wednesbury, which is a town with a rich history. On our trip, we visited Brunswick Park, Wood Green Cemetery, Ye Olde Leathern Bottel, and the St. Bartholomew’s Church.
Angie (our group leader) was our guide for the day, who shared her knowledge of the town’s history, and fun facts about the animals, plants, and trees in the area.
Our first stop was Brunswick Park. We found a perfect picnic spot on the grass by a huge tree (not sure what type). Both Angie and I brought picnic blankets. Due to my picnic mat being tiny, we joined the two together and used my rug as the food table. We ate sandwiches, crisps, Mello’s, and Angie made some tea. We didn’t stay seated for too long, though. Sadly, we aren’t as young as we used to be, and it can be painful sitting on the floor for too long. We did, however, have a picnic group selfie before we packed up and explored the park.
While we wandered around the park, like with our last trip, we did a writing exercise where we made a note of all we could see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. Andy Number Two and I found many places where a body could be hidden or found (this is for our stories, of course). Angie climbed a tree and managed to stand in the middle of it. We were hoping to find the crazy golf, but sadly, they don’t do it anymore. We did, however, see many animals strolling around and living their lives – I saw plenty of cute squirrels (They are cute as long as they don’t gouge out your eyes)
Wood Green Cemetery
Moving on from the park, we went to the neighbouring cemetery. Yes, a cemetery again, and I’m glad we went because we found items that could inspire either a crime or horror story (possibly a mixture of both). As soon as we entered the cemetery, Andy Number Two spotted a huge pile of grass, leaves, and soil that would be a perfect place to hide a body. Many of the graves in this cemetery are damaged, which is a shame, but there were still plenty of stunning and intricately carved headstones and monuments, some dating back to the 1800s.
While in the cemetery we did spot some unusual items. Firstly we saw a petrol can on one of the damaged graves, then we saw a bone on another grave, and finally, we saw a black trainer sitting on the fallen leaves. This made us wonder what the story behind each item could be, and if they could be connected. We also saw a tree growing out of one of the graves – I’m not sure how it got there. The whole place was full of mysteries.
As with the park, we did another writing exercise, making sure to note the odd items we found.
Ye Olde Leathern Bottel
After the cemetery, we were ready for a break and a drink, so our tour guide (Angie) took us to an old pub which she used as a setting for her first novel. Ye Olde Leathern Bottel is a pub that was established in 1510: it is known to be Wednesbury’s oldest pub.
This quaint little pub has a lovely warm and cosy atmosphere. It has a pleasant beer garden in the back. However, we decided to sit inside on one of the comfortable sofas where we drank pop (I had lemonade) and had a chat.
St. Bartholomew’s Church
Our final stop was the St. Bartholomew’s Church, which is also known as the Black Church. It sits on the top of Church Hill. This medieval church was enlarged and developed by the Victorians to become the grand building that it is now.
The church was locked when we arrived, so we couldn’t explore inside. However, we were still able to explore the grounds, so out came our pens and notepads. We were on a mission to find the earliest grave and managed to find a grave that was dated 1741. Angie found a headstone where a name used an ‘f’ instead of an ‘s’, which she found fascinating. Like with Wood Green Cemetery, some of the graves and monuments were old and damaged, but they were still an impressive sight. Angie spotted a pink deflated helium balloon (we saw a yellow one at the Warstone Lane Cemetery).
I had a brilliant time on this trip. We laughed all day, I learned a lot (thanks to our informative tour guide), and I have four new settings for my future stories. I can’t wait for our next group trip because we always have a great time together.
Do you go on trips with your writing group, or have you explored the areas near you and learned something new? If you have, then I would love to hear from you, so feel free to comment below.
Keep writing, folks!