Alvechurch Plague Pit

This came up on some ‘Spotted Alvechurch’ type Facebook group a while back.

I think someone had heard about a plague pit in Alvechurch where victims of The Black Death had been thrown into a mass grave, and they were doubting it.

Of course, a load of us old time locals then confirmed that it was true and through up a few memories of it!

It’s only after this that I realised how freakily weird that sort of thing really is.

Yeah, I grew up around a plague pit. Big whoop – wanna fight about it?

Basically, it was well known that just outside Alvechurch village, and a short walk down the aptly named “Pestilence Lane” was a large pit where they had buried people who died from bubonic plague.

If you weren’t aware of the pit before, you were certainly made aware of it when they were building the M42 motorway just South of Birmingham, as this runs straight through the middle of it. When doing the work they actually had to do loads of tests and studies to make sure the plague wasn’t still active and going to kill everyone when they dug the ground up.

Map of Pestilence Ln, Alvechurch, Birmingham B48 7TJ

As it was, the tests deemed it safe, and records will say that the Junction 2 ‘Hopwood Services’ are build on the site.

Pestilence lane was cut in half by the M42, with one end still in existence and the other sold to a private buyer who sealed it off.

Before this it was a regular walk with my Mum to go down Pestilence Lane past the pit. It was always a bit creepy around there, and many claimed to have seen ghosts.

I myself once saw what looked like the figure of a woman in that area in a headscarf and olde fashionede dress. But then we also once saw a totally naked (and shaved!!) man lay on his back in a field around there, and ran back home for my Mom to report it to the Police!

This was probably not plague related.

I can remember a few times standing in the field where the pit was believed to be. It was a sloped field and the large dip clearly visible in the grass.

The last time I went there was after the lane had been sold, and I may have accidentally and without knowing climbed over a barbed-wire bedecked fence, using the Keep Out sign to get over it. The land owners did catch me and gave me a rollocking, but, you know – ramblers rights and all that!

Before they caught me I did stand in the field overlooking the pit again, and if I am correct, the pit was still there and still visible. The motorway must have just clipped one edge of the pit, but it not where the services are built.

I did try to find some ariel views of the plans of the services as well as anything marking the location of the pit, but couldn’t find anything, so can’t confirm this for definite, other than what I’ve seen.

So, yeah – not only did I spend my formative years living and sleeping literally next to a graveyard, but there was a real life plague pit a short walk away.

All perfectly normal.

All perfectly weird.

Hitler Was A Terrible Timekeeper/Got Milk?

Hitler Was A Terrible Timekeeper/Got Milk?

Milky milky

I’m only human.

Sometimes I fuck up, and fly off the handle for no good reason. This is extremely rare for me, because I usually keep my mouth closed when I should be tearing people apart for what they’ve done/said to me.

A few years back, I did a stint as a Security ‘Officer’ – basically sat in a 6ft X 6ft hut trying my best to avoid doing any actual work for 12 hour shifts.

Most people’s perception of Security Officers is of some jumped-up little Hitler who wears a uniform and suddenly thinks they’re some kind of Chief Of Police/Detective/Special Forces Soldier.

And you’d be absolutely right to think that. Most have more chips on their shoulders than a Lumberjack in a work-related disaster.

For instance, one of the ‘Officers’ on alternating shifts with me: I’m not a big coffee drinker. When I did drink coffee at work, I’d almost always have it black, therefore, if I bought a carton of milk, 99% of it would be wasted before it went off. After I’d worked at this place for around 18 months, I decided I wanted a plastic cup of coffee with some milk in for a change. I used a tiny splash of milk from an open carton in the fridge – not even so much that the naked eye would tell it had gone down. I finished my shift, went home, then came back to do the next shift.

“You’ve had my milk, haven’t you?” Was my greeting from the guard on duty.

“Uhhh…”

“Yes you have – I KNOW you have!”

“Yeah, ok. I had a tiny bit. How did you know?”

“I brought my scales in and weighed it!” He declared triumphantly.

Hitler xbox

 

What the fuck??? So either he weighed it ever day out of pure paranoia, or he just happened to bring in some scales (what the fuck is THAT about anyway???), and caught me the one time I did it!?

The other Guard there was even worse. He didn’t like me and was holding me back from promotions and ‘telling tales’. If I was ever 2 mins late he’d be 15 mins late next time I was taking over his shift. A proper Hitler, although he was kind-of my boss, so I never said anything.

One Sunday morning, I woke up late and rushed to work – riding in like a Nut-Nut and preparing myself for Cunto to have a go at me, because I was a whole FIVE MINUTES past the 7am start time!

Sure enough, as I opened the door he had that smug sarcastic look on his face, and theatrically looked from his watch to the clock on the wall a few times.

I went apeshit.

“It’s five fucking minutes! I got here as fast as I could and I’m rarely late, and lately you have been late EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and I’m getting just a bit pissed off with it….”

I trailed off because he was insistently pointing at the clock…

“WHAT?” I snarled.

“The clocks went back an hour last night – did you forget? You’re an hour early.” He said happily.

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

screw you

 

Nasty Emo Ninja

Nasty Emo Ninja

I cut myself.

No, I don’t mean “I cut myself, woe is me etc”, I mean I very nearly sliced myself in twain!

Most of you will know I’m a bit handy in the kitchen, and I make sure my knives are SHARP.  I’ve switched to a ceramic chefs knife as my main tool, because it’s -ing awesome!

I’d just finished using it to make my sandwiches, and luckily washed off the Birdeye chilli’s I’d been slicing, and put its sheath back on, and for some reason my index finger caught the blade near the handle as I slid it back in a perfectly executed push-cut.

I felt it scrape across the bone which used to be covered by finger flesh and knew instantly I was in the poo.  There was very little pain because the bugger is so sharp, and it was so clean and deep that it barely even bled unless I opened the cut up.

I had a quick check fo any loss of feeling, movement and to make sure I hadn’t sliced through any tendons, and all seemed ok.  I compressed the wound for a while after washing it, decided it was pretty nasty and needed stitches… but I had a job interview the following morning and didn’t fancy getting to casualty at Midnight and waiting forever.  PLus where it was would mean they couldn’t stitch it anyway.

So, thinking back to what I’d read about superglue being invented for the battlefield during the war, I got out the strongest glue I had and used it on the cut.

Having been very careful about sticking my hand to things, it held up fine until a shower the next morning softened the glue and it bled again.  I re-glued it and went off to work.

The next day the glue had worn away, and my finger seemed to be held together ok with no more blood!

I know what I’ll be using in the future if I manage to stab myself up like a Londoner.

And on a related note, I watched a documentary last week about people (kids) in America (no comment) who believed they were Vampires and craved blood.  They would routinely cut each other and lick/suck the resulting blood.  Absolute bunch of Knob-Jockeys who said their souls were corrupt and all that malarkey.  One of their Mothers was in full support and even sat there whilst they tried to cut themselves (with the bluntest -ing knives I have ever seen in my life?!  I mean, surely if your whole being is cutting yourself you’d get a blade that could break the skin in less than 20 attempts???) and ‘feed’.

I’m pretty sure that’s an arrestable offense for a supervising adult, but meh.

And even better were the group who thought they were Werewolves.  They were pretty much the same as the Vampires, but they… wait for it… *sniggers* these ‘werewolves’ wore a stick-on tale on their little emo jeans!

https://i1.wp.com/brianchasnoff.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/wolfie-owen.jpg

What really got me was the way both of these groups would pick and change the rules, and just say “Yeah, that’s how us vampires/werewolves REALLY do it”.

The best of these was the girl who hung around with the werewolves, but insisted that she was actually a fox, not a wolf.

Seriously.

They did make one good observation, however: why don’t all the Emo kids who cut themselves do it for the vampire kids to feed on?

It’s a good question, and one that Charles Darwin would be very interested in, I’m sure.

Revenge Of The Spiders

Revenge Of The Spiders

Most of you are by now aware of my raging war against my sworn mortal enemy – the spider.

Well, it’s not ALL spiders.  A few weeks back, one of the other Legal Monkeys discovered a small spider on his desk.  He named him ‘Pablo’, and Pablo was a good spiddy, who never caused anyone any harm.

I saved him from the be-gloved hand of the cleaners several times, but whilst on holiday Pablo was brutally drowned in another of the Legal Monkeys can of Coke.

Not long before that I discovered ‘Lifty’ – a house spider who very weirdly would lay on his belly and lift all his legs in the air if you blew on him.

He’d gone before I could get the HD cam out for proper footage the following morning.

Fast forwarding to later that week, another huge (Bad) spider was having a swing around my house, no doubt planning all kinds of hairy-legged badness – and of course, being over the size of a small childs fingernail had to be killed for the sake of all humanity.

As he was a big ole bad boy, I couldn’t risk him grabbing hold of my Ginty Stick and beating me to death, so I drew my trusty air pistol and shot him.

It seems that this filthy great lummox of a spider had some connections, and last night I was the victim of a violation of terrible proportions…

As I sat alone on the couch, watching ‘The Inbetweeners’, I felt a wee itch on my shin.  I idly scratched at it only to feel it itch even more.

Thinking I had a fly up the leg of my jeans, or some fluff or something, I grabbed the leg of my jeans and gave it a good wiggle, and then

A BIG FILTHY GREAT SPIDER DROPPED OUT ONTO THE CARPET!!!

ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I was sick in my mouth a little with the shock, and the only small pleasure I could try and take from the whole ordeal was watching Legrape The Spider running around in circles as the legs on one side were all damaged where I’d scratched at him through my jeans!

After a while I put a sock over my hand and gently punched him to death.

The spider

SCREW YOU, LEGRAPE!!!

SCREW YOU!!!

Vibram FiveFingers – New Feet For My Feet!

Vibram FiveFingers – New Feet For My Feet!

https://i2.wp.com/www.foundryfit.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/vibram_five_fingers.jpg

I laughed when I first saw these freaky things!

I was looking for new trainers to inspire me back into some form of fitness training, and after the ‘posture-shaping’ trainers stumbled onto the Vibram FiveFingers website.

But as curiosity got the better of me, and as I read on, they started to make more and more sense.

Think about it:  Everybody loves the barefoot experience.  A few years back I even went barefoot in the snow, just to see what it was like.  Many times as a kid I’d take to the streets barefoot, only to be hobbled by a stray stone.

I mean, barefoot is natural, and we’ve evolved to have amazing feet which can deal with all kinds of terrain, boost our balance…. and then some idiot goes and designs shoes with a big flat sole that totally boxes our toes in and ruins all that evolution.  Even the Ninja recognised this and have a split so that your toes are split into two sections.

Go and wear mittens on your hands and see how your day goes without the use of your fingers.

Then factor in all the highly developed muscles and tendons which are made redundant by ‘normal’ shoes, and ask yourself what REALLY makes sense?

A few years back, Mister Smalls (a fellow MySpace blogger) bought a pair for himself, and that was really the final straw for me – I neeeeeded some!

Today I (finally) opened the box to find what looks like the unfortunate remains of a gorilla.

‘Slipping’ them on doesn’t really happen – it’s more a case of making sure all your toes go in their separate spaces (a toe-spreader would help here!) but then a very effective and simple tug on the velcro fastener adjusts the fit around the heel and over the bridge of your foot.

I’d heard that the FiveFingers seem very big, so getting them fitted properly is by far the best plan, although there are fitting videos available online to watch before you buy.  Unfortunately, of the few rare places with these on their shelves, nobody had anywhere near my size (UK 9/EU 43’s are like gold dust!) so I just had to buy and hope they fitted when they arrive.

They still seem a bit long in the toes, but then unless your toes are the exact length the shoes are moulded for there will always be a few too loose or tight.  And with full toe movement and socks, these seem just about right for me.  Oh, and having sat here wearing them indoors for a few hours, those socks may be a good investment – after my toes being snuggled next to each other in a big clump all my life, now they’re separated they are COLD!

Unsurprisingly, considering your feet have evolved to shape and re-form for maximum adhesion, they seem to have awesome levels of grip over trainers simply from the extra movement keeping a bigger contact patch with the ground.

The soles are sturdy but do seem thin.  Small chunks of gravel should be no problem – a big sharp rock at the peak of the Malvern Hills could hurt.  I’ll just have to test them, and even if it does hurt I’m sure it’s possible to get used to it once your feet harden up.  I never wear slippers and am barefoot or just in socks whenever possible, so I’m hoping I fare better than most people with this…

Because of the grip and extra movement, they seem excellent for martial arts!  It really is a lot like wearing nothing, and that especially comes over when performing kicks.

I’m looking forward to seeing what driving is like in these – I will update this after that experience, and also my next time at the gym…