A Detour to Birmingham

Don’t worry, you’ve not read the title wrong!

Angie’s still putting together a blog post about our wonderful trip to North Wales, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about our trip home from North Wales.

Angie and I usually prefer the countryside to the city, we’ve spent most of our lives living and working in built-up areas and feel like we’ve earned our time in the verdant countryside that Castleton offers us, because of this we rarely make any trips to towns, let alone cities, if we can really help it.¬†Although we’d initially planned to drive straight home after our break in the mountains, an email from an old friend had piqued my interest and led us in a different road altogether.

When I asked Angie what she thought about us taking a detour to Birmingham on the way back home she gave him one of her classic puzzled expressions. I could see the cogs whirring in her brain, trying to fathom why I’d want to go there and what this all meant. I was half-tempted to leave her attempting to puzzle this out, but felt that explaining my case would probably make it easier for her to accept my proposal. You see, whilst we were driving to North Wales, I received an email from a college friend, a man that I had not spoken to for years, but who I thought about often.

Charlie was an excitable little chap when I met him in 1975, I’d never met someone who was so galvanised by the promise of making money. We were both freshman at Dartmouth College, sharing a dormitory in our first year, in fact we lived together for our entire time at college and, despite remaining fast friends for the entire time, ended up losing touch with each other in the years following. Without the internet, keeping in contact with old friends was a rather difficult task. We had phones, of course, but they were expensive and catching someone whilst they were in the house was a lot trickier than expected. In the years that came after our graduation, I’d often find myself thinking about Charlie. Whereas I’d set up shop back where I grew up, he hungered for a more extraordinary life.

The email was an enticing one, although it was prefaced by the usual niceties it didn’t take long for Charlie to get to the meat of his proposition. Charlie was still hard at work and showed no sign of slowing down and, much like Angie and I, he had set his sights on the UK, although for rather different reasons. It turned out that Charlie had spent the last few decades building up an enviable property empire that had grown so large that he was looking overseas for more opportunities and, hearing about some office space in Birmingham that was up for sale, and knowing that I was in the country, decided to reach out for my help. Angie had thought the world of him when we were living together and I was just happy to be able to help. We reset our GPS and headed out on the road to Birmingham, happy to have a new motivation…