Buttons, bulls and starlings

You might think that by now I’d be completely bored to death of waffling on about weight loss or the way that my life has changed because of it – but it just so happens that I’m absolutely the opposite.

It still occupies a frighteningly large part of my everyday thought processes and today I’ve been thinking specifically about how I felt on 31st August 2016 – when for the first time in many many years I took the train to Birmingham (link).

When I first stared Slimming World and began taking note of non-scale victories I was as proud as punch that back then I’d just overcome a long held fear I’d had of travelling a large distance without the safety net of my car.

Back then using public transport had become (prior to this day) something that was terrifying to me. Every time I imagined using it I was overwhelmed with both the imagined and very real physical limitations that my size and mobility presented.

All I could think about was being trapped out in the open, away from home and faced with a potential struggle to get back that would probably result in a very expensive black cab ride – because I couldn’t fit into mini cabs.

I was also at that time still dealing with cripplingly tight calf muscles (which I’d badly torn) and plantar fasciitis. It was pretty agonising at times.

However – I did it – and took the photo on the left next ‘Bully’ in the Bullring to mark the occasion. Despite my scowl (for effect) I was very very proud.

I was proud today as well.

The effort required to get to the train station was greatly reduced because back in August I was 29st 9.5lbs and in a 7XL shirt with an approximate 60in waist (link to weight loss progress) compared to 16st 13lbs, 38in and a 2XL shirt (which is baggy now has to be tucked in underneath my XL fleece).

I’m around 13 stone lighter now than I was on that day – something that if you’d told me I’d be back then I’d have had difficulty believing you.

Today consequently sitting on the train was a pleasure – because I have acres of room all around me now.


Current Davey no longer needs to avoid the seats with tables or restrictive armrests. Instead he pulls the extendable table leaf out towards him to its extremity, rests his arms on the comfortable arm rests and quietly reads as the world passes him by.

This is using public transport in a way that I’ve not been comfortable with for a couple of decades at least.

Although it represented a newfound freedom and success however that day back in August was only partially a positive memory for me though.

I’d headed off to Birmingham with some misty eyed memories of visiting the Museum when I was younger and remembering all the cool dinosaur exhibits there that I used to love so much.

In the end when I arrived at its doors I was so drenched in sweat that I was too mortally embarrassed to do anything but hide in a corner with my back to a free standing oscillating floor fan while I tried to dry my shirt off.

I’d made a tactical error and worn a blue shirt that showed up sweat in dark patches. It was very obvious to anyone that looked in my direction that I was struggling to cool down.

I never really got to look around the museum and eventually sat pretty much in the foyer looking at a statue of an angel, but feeling rather glum. I tried to make the most of the positives in my blog post that day – but I know in my heart of hearts what stayed with me above all else – and it was a feeling of inadequacy.

I was so close – yet so far away. I was edging nearer to the person that I wanted to be – but still looking across a yawning chasm with no immediate bridge to get to him in view.

In the end the dinosaurs exhibits were gone and I was ultimately left with a sense of disappointment. Although I still got to look around other things in Birmingham where it was cooler (and I wasn’t sweating so much) the day hadn’t panned out quite the way I’d imagined, and that’s how I remembered the 31st of August.

Today I took my time in the museum, trying to find something new to fall in love with.

Modern Art? Nope. Stained glass exhibit? Mmmm close… 17th Century Art? Too religious… Contemporary modern Art? Strangely Star Wars Episode 1-esque….

Mind you – I couldn’t fault the new design flourishes in the museum. It’s got a lighter and airier feel in some of the newer gallery spaces. It’s a genuine pleasure to look at.


Then – out of the blue – in the history of Birmingham area my new (and completely unexpected) favourite thing appeared…


Maybe I’m getting old, maybe my haberdashery inclined walking parter’s enthusiasm for all things bobbin shaped has begun to unconsciously rub off on me or maybe I’m just amazed at the history Birmingham had as a world class centre of button making!!!

Look at all the beautiful little buttons and try to resist marvelling at their inherent button-ness!!!

I dare you!

Have you ever seen anything so completely buttony?!!

Anyway – I stood looking at these for a while (they had a big magnifying glass nearby thankfully) until my eyes began to ache and I moved on elsewhere.

I decided to take in a free social media course at a new Google Digital Garage (an e-commerce pop up shop) on New Street – which was really helpful and informative (and free – did I mention that?)


There’s a whole range of courses that are available – all you have to do is pop in, sit down and listen. I for one thought it was a really worthwhile hour and a half spent in their company, and most importantly they weren’t trying to sell me a single thing.

Amongst other places I stopped to have a look in the new (for me at least) Apple shop which used to be a huge Waterstones bookstore – and is now a cavernous and amazingly well renovated mecca to all things ‘i’.

Say what you will about Apple’s business practices, pricing and eccentricities – they certainly have an eye for detail, and the interior of this space is impeccable.

However – as lovely as all this was – there was a better, simpler moment that put the cherry on my day’s cake.

An inquisitive little starling – interested in any opportunity to get a free lunch from crumbs that I may or may have not been dropping hopped up next to me to watch what I was doing.


I’ll be honest – although these are relatively common in urban spaces, there are none in Warwick, and honestly I don’t remember seeing one before today.

If I have then for some unknown reason I’ve paid zero attention to it – and I have no idea how that happened because it’s colouring is absolutely fantastic! look at the shades of green and blue blending into the browns!

What a fabulous little bird!

Sadly it received none of my dinner. I was eating crunchy tomatoes and turkey pieces -and felt that sharing the meat was akin to encouraging cannibalism – which didn’t sit so well with me…

On that note internet I’m in need of a hot drink and must head for the kettle. My house is chilly – and in the absence of any company tonight my inner scrooge is preventing me from turning on the heating…





8 thoughts on “Buttons, bulls and starlings

  1. Bloody brilliant! I like to revisit places where I didn’t have such a great experience the first time around. Next year I’m looking forward to going back to the Harry Potter studio tour and paying a fortune to get my broomstick photo redone. I know I’m a child, I just don’t care 😝

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve done it AGAIN damn it! Sitting here with tears running down my face from the first few paragraphs but giggling by the end.

    Maps – ✔
    Haberdashery – ✔

    *Suzie scurries off to find something else to edumacate Davey on……

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love seeing your comparison pictures… Davey by the Bullring, several months apart, and so, so different! You are amassing a wonderful collection of ‘before’, ‘during’ and ‘after’ shots to encourage not just you, but others too. Love it!


  4. Pingback: Gone to charity – daveywankenobie

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