"Black Country Curry"

(CurryMarks on tour in the Black Country)

After many years of talking about it, the more committed Club members finally managed to get away for a weekend in the Black Country to sample the infamous Balti cuisine in situ. Those that made the effort were: Mark, Robin, Dom, John, Jeff, Brian, Jon and Graeme.

A variety of activities were planned to keep us occupied before the main event. These mainly involved drinking in various establishments and going horse racing (in an attempt to stop us drinking too much on Saturday afternoon, although this wasn't a completely successful plan). We were chauffeured around the Black Country in a hired mini bus which was driven by Roger - very civilised!

Most of us met up on Friday evening and had a few drinks in the hotel bar and a nearby pub. John arrived after breakfast on Saturday morning to commence, what was for him, Black Country Curry Lite. Apparently he was delayed by a problem with flooding in his lower field.

At lunchtime on Saturday we visited the Crooked House pub for lunch and a couple of very slow beers. This pub is about 200 years old and has suffered huge subsidence as a result of coal mining. Thinking about it though, it was an inspired piece of fore-sight to name it the Crooked House - perhaps showing a lack of confidence in the builders?

Saturday afternoon was spent at Wolverhampton race course. It was an enjoyable afternoon of fine weather, good conversation and generous contributions to the lavish lifestyles of the bookies (washed down with a few beers). It's a strange sport - nothing happens for 29 minutes then the noise levels rise before the wild excitement of seeing the horses gallop down the straight and past the post ... then it's all quiet again. People had varying degrees of success with the betting. I didn't get a sniff of a result - in most races, my horse finished behind the proverbial three-legged one that other people joke about when things aren't going their way. At the other end of the scale, Mark had the winner in 4 of the 6 races - now that's impressive (but he still didn't offer to pay for the whole weekend).

Later on, we went back to the pub near our hotel to watch Middlesbrough vs Man Utd on the TV (2-2).

And so to the highlight of our weekend ... a trip to Lye to visit a typical Balti restaurant. We had taken the precaution of pre-booking Laxy's, the best curry house in Lye (it said on the window). I think everybody enjoyed the evening but what did they think of Laxy's? Click to see our report.

The day finished with a visit to the hotel bar for a totally unnecessary nightcap.

Interesting things learned on the weekend ...

[Jon "Google Boy" put his portable internet contraption to good use to keep us up to date with football scores, etc but, more importantly, he found the origins to a couple of Cockney rhyming slang terms that had stumped us:

A "kettle" is a watch (kettle & hob ... fob ... fob watch ... geddit?)

My "drum" is my home (my drum & bass ... place)]

Many thanks to Jon for persevering with the idea of the Black Country Curry (despite varying degrees of apathy from the rest of us) and making the arrangements for the trip. And thanks to Jeff for suggesting and organising our afternoon's racing at Wolverhampton.

Here are Dom's photos from the weekend ...

Photo courtesy of the Millennium Hotels & Resorts website

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