In order to continue receiving my fortnightly stipend of socio-economic uselessness, I got dragged out to the Jewellery Quarter early this morning to have my literacy and numeracy skills tested. After being mentally taxed by Mensa-esque conundrums along the lines of "Billy has three marbles. How many marbles does Billy have?" I went for a loaf around the various jewellers, engravers, and watchmakers premises to cheer myself up. The city's getting all tarted up in preparation for the American and Jamaican Olympic teams who've chosen it as their base camp, but a stone's throw from the bunting and the eager ker-ching of shopping centre tills, the old Brummie backstreets are doing their best to preserve some measure of humdrum sanity.

Thank you, boring backstreets.

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