blogging, days out, Hotel Review, Musings of Matt Doy, Uncategorized, Weekends Away

The Cobden Hotel and Birmingham – Don’t stay there

So a few months ago, Emma was planning to attend a networking event in Birmingham. I hadn’t ever been to Birmingham before, so it was going to be the first time for the both of us. Emma needed a hotel that was reasonably priced, within distance of the venue and one that needed on site parking. This seemed to rule out a number of hotels in the city.

We eventually found one called the Cobden Hotel in the Edgbaston area. It ticked the necessary boxes and seemed quite reasonable with some fair customer reviews. The journey was just over 3 and a half hours, so we left late morning. The drive wasn’t too bad until we got closer to the Midlands. People think drivers down this way are crazy, you simply haven’t seen some of them up in the Brum.

Anyway, having eventually arrived at the hotel, all seemed ok. We went in and to be honest it wasn’t the most welcoming hotel reception. Dour and drab and not exactly welcoming. The reception staff were hardly the most chirpy. We let that go as we know reception staff are only human and have all sorts of customers to deal with.

We got into the lift and boy did it stink, it was hard to guess or even want to take a guess at what the aroma was. Thankfully it was only three floors. I’m was almost sure it couldn’t get any worse… We arrived at the room and er well, it wasn’t the greatest. Just like the reception, there was no life. Yes I know it was a reasonably priced hotel, but you would still expect more warmth than a mortuary. Well there was warmth in fact too much. Two radiators giving out more warmth than either of the receptionist.

The remaining interior of the room was much to be desired too. The desk was slightly damaged and could have been patched up, the mattress was a bit springy in fact too springy.

We decided to head out to the Bull Ring  ventured to TGI Friday down the road and after a 45 minute wait which turned out to be more than an hour and a disappointing meal. I ordered a chicken burger, thought I’d go for something different, sadly the chicken burger was disappointing, disappointing to the fact that I had tasted better from a local chip shop in St Peters, is quite something.

Having returned to the hotel room, which yet again sounded an alarm when using the key to open we flicked the tv on. What choice we had on Freeview, BBC1, BBC2, BBC3,Red Quest, ITV and other usual channels seemed to have ‘No Signal’. I know you don’t go to a hotel to watch tv but when you want to relax before sleeping, limited tv doesn’t help. I guess though with the walls being not so thick that we could hear the people in the next room talking away as loud as they could.

There was no fridge either. Some may say so what, but I have stayed in a £20 a night B&B that had a room with a fridge. In order to keep the milk cold that we bought, we had to fill up the basin. That of course didn’t help when we wanted to make a cup of tea as not only did we have to empty the basin, but because of the tap size and angle, I ended up having to fill the kettle with a plastic cup that we were provided. The water needed running a while so it became clear. Talking of water, the toilet hardly flushed properly. I would have complained but I had dread to think what the alternative could have been.

Sunday faired better, a trip to the Sealife Centre was enjoyable. For all the fuss of being a city, it seemed no busier than a Sunday in Canterbury. We had lunch in the Smoke Haus. A fab meal and a mocktail. The burger was freshly made and had the home made feel about it. The Smoke Haus though is something that I would recommend for anyone going to Birmingham.

Come Sunday evening an attempt at going to bed early disappeared quicker than a Kent batting line up. We decided to check out before midnight even if it meant a 4 hour journey home in the early hours with added thick fog every so often.

Safe to say we won’t be making another leisure visit anytime soon.

Just to sum it all up, just down the road was a Premier Inn WITH PARKING!!!!!!

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blogging, days out

It’s been a while

Hello again, yes its been a while, but what with one thing and another, Ive not got round to posting a blog, so here I am once more sharing some thoughts and observations and a bit of news. So in the last 26 days a lot has happened. Footy is back, England won the Ashes and I have an amazing girlfriend whose name is Emma. We had been dating for a while (including the amusing Wrong Screen Date), but then we became officially an item at the Broadstairs fireworks at the end of July.

After various dates and evenings spent together, I was invited to the family BBQ. Wasnt particularly nervous as I had heard many good things about the family and it would seem that I would get on well. That I most certainly did, a very nice group of people and I even brought additional laughs as I stacked it  trying to get on to the garden from the patio. I could have just used the steps but hey that would have meant a detour. Thankfully Emma had taken my plate, leaving me with just a bottle of Becks. Happy to report that not a single drop of alcohol escaped onto the floor. Food was great, as were the family.

The next day was the day of the Herne Bay air show. Well done to the Herne Bay Promo team for such hard work in getting it organised. It was great to see the town and the sea front so busy and buzzing.The weather played its part as it was a scorcher of a day. More time spent with Emma’s family which was great. There were no more accidents to entertain either.

Returning to my relationship with Emma, it is really great. Similar sense of humour, similar outlook on how things should be. Just as happy chilling and watching the world go by as we are going out and doing stuff. You don’t need to spend loads of money to have a good time and a laugh. Many things don’t cost anything but can bring you the greatest enjoyment.

Last weekend was the first month of our relationship. It’s the beginning of a great future and I have felt very positive about things and being fortunate to have Emma in my life. There are many things that we have planned and given the nature of our relationship there are many things happening that happen as they go. You can’t beat a spur of the moment day out somewhere. I look forward to July 29th when it will have been a year together. Life is going to be good a future happy too.

blogging, comedy, days out, friends, Musings of Matt Doy

Oh Danny Bhoy – We laughed a lot bar one miserable couple and Dreamland is back

Saturday night saw myself and my good friend Debz, headed off to catch the very funny comedian Danny Bhoy at the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury. Having seen some of his stuff on the various stand up shows, Netflix was host to his gig in Canada. It had been a while since I had laughed so much. A chance look at the Gulbenkian listings for something else enabled us to discover that Danny Bhoy was on tour and at the Gulbenkian. Thing is though with just a few weeks till the gig, we never thought we would have a chance of tickets. How wrong we were, two seats acquired and a little over 2 hours of hilarious comedy in part not just to Danny Bhoy but to the audience members who added their witty comments added to the whole evening. Canterbury could not have brought to the gig, a wide range of audience members.

When it came to asking questions, someone asked if he would visit Sandwich, he thought we were having him on, then we added that next door to Sandwich was a place called Ham, safe to say but he really thought we were having a laugh… I say we because there was once couple that sat through it, barely breaking a smile. Very odd, because the rest of the audience were happily laughing. Surely you don’t just go to a gig without checking who you are going to see, surely you go on the basis that you are going because you like the act in question. Of course it is possible to find it not funny as we all have different humour levels, but when there appears only to be two people not laughing at anything in two hours, something really can’t be right.

Dreamland amusement park opened its doors again after what was a long hard battle by local people to get it back up and running. Years of hard work campaigning CPO and a legal battle finally paid off as the doors opened on 19th June. Not many people might have expected it or believed it would happen, but here we were seeing it open once again. Sadly not everything was open and some of it out of the organisation’s hands. Teething troubles are to be had, of course you are going to get people who are unhappy, It’s normal and human nature. Hopefully though as the issues get ironed out, all will be good and Dreamland will help to bring some positivity to Margate, a town that has in the last few years been in the news for all the wrong reasons.

blogging, days out

Random days

Given when I woke up this morning, with the sun shining and the weather looking great, I left it too late to take a trip to London, so where next? Having taken Daisy for a walk, I walked into town, still undecided on what to do. I then opted to jump on the 9 to Canterbury. Thing is I didn’t really want to hang around in Canterbury, not because I didn’t want to be there, but I wanted to go somewhere different. So what did I do? I got off the 9 walked along and got on the first bus I saw. It turned out to be the bus to Deal. Normally I would venture out by train, but today it was the bus as the choice of transport.

After a scenic route to Deal I took myself for a walk round, I hadn’t been here to visit the whole place for quite a while so enjoyed walking about and visiting different streets not necessarily remembering whereabouts I was going. What I did know is that as long I could see the beach I was fine. I was tempted to take a walk on the pier but being only March and not as warm as a May or June day, I opted not to. Next time I will take a trip. I remember visiting the cafe at the end of the pier a few times. Given that it was in the late 80’s I imagine it’s probably changed quite a bit.

This may come across as a bit strange, but in a way Deal reminds me of Broadstairs. They both have their charms and they both seem to carry on as normal when other places have their troubles but Deal and Broadstairs always managed to get through the not so good times. As I walked around it was good to see whilst it was busy with shoppers, the cafe’s bars and restaurants were all busy themselves.

I will definitely make another visit, just next time I will give myself a bit more time. I recommend if you haven’t done so, you should take a visit yourself, you wont regret it.