What’s the Buz

My Big Brum Buz Tour experience
Saturday 6 June 2009

The Big Brum Buz is a 90-minute open-top guided bus tour which was apparently used to run years ago and was recently resurrected in Birmingham. But no, owing to today’s dire weather, I did not avail myself of a roof seat.

The informative running commentary is aimed chiefly at tourists, but also local residents with a desire to discover more about their city. There were passengers aboard this afternoon from New York, Poland, Reading, London and, er, Castle Bromwich. Some were furiously jotting information in notebooks.

Neville, the driver, and Kay, our bubbly guide, took us through the commercial heartland of Colmore Row, past numerous examples of city’s magnificent Victorian architecture, through the famous Jewellery Quarter, along the ‘golden mile’ of Broad Street, through Edgbaston, through Digbeth and Deritend, past the Bull Ring and the more modern iconic Selfridges building, and back to our meeting point opposite St Philips Cathedral.

It can be easy to take the sights and sounds of your locale for granted, and one thing I enjoyed today was hearing the manner in which Birmingham, its landmarks and eminent residents are presented to, as it were, outsiders. Sometimes to view a place through fresh eyes can be so energising. I learned an abundance of historical facts and quirky snippets of trivia.

As I said, the weather today was vile. It has rained relentlessly all day, I got a wet Brum bum, and my fellow passengers and I collectively whiffed of musty cagoule. The dye from my jeans dripped on to my trainers, customising them with lovely blue streaks! By the time we disembarked, my teeth were chattering – in June! – from sitting still so long in a sopping cagoule.

I hadn’t travelled on any kind of bus for years, and had forgotten the mysterious water that drips from the top of the windows in every single one (actually I’m sure this phenomenon occurs even when it isn’t raining). As I shuffled into the middle of my seat to avoid the trickly window, I could have been 14 again, back on the rickety old school coach!

Not that I’m moaning, just attempting to give a flavour of my ‘buz’ experience. I would recommend this fascinating trip to anyone interested in the rich history of the second city (and numerous folks exist who are).