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Remember the mighty Birmid Foundry in Smethwick?  

The huge monolith that dominated the skyline over the Black Country until its demise in the late 1980’s?

Thousands of Black Country folk worked the Birmid or lived in the shadow of the Birmid blast furnaces.

The demise of the Birmid is almost forgotten.

Photographic records and historical narrative is hard to find on the internet and in books and the only stories that are told, are by those who served the mighty foundries. That is until now… I am part of a musical collective known as Stompin’ on Spiders based in Malvern, Worcestershire. Since April 2009, the band has been performing and recording music, which is a mix of traditional blues, acoustic rock and folk mixed with stories of modern day life.

What would you say is your favourite time of year? Personally, I would say that my favourite time of the year would be winter. Yes it is bitter and bleak, but I especially enjoy the count down to Christmas. Each year the count down everyone has been waiting for - no doubt dreading for most parents – begins earlier and earlier every year. As soon as the left over Halloween stock is snatched off the shelves, it is soon filled up with festive chocolate treats, greetings cards and special discounted gifts ideas. I’m pretty sure I saw advent calendars being sold in September!  As well there’s the Christmas traffic congestion delaying you from going literally anywhere you want to go, extremely frustrating for drivers at rush hour, as there is no rushing and takes three hours. This is all down to the hectic hell usually known as a shopping mall, which is packed with frantic panic-stricken mothers who once again have been left to finish the Christmas shopping themselves.

Instead of being a time of joy and happiness, Christmas is now a time of stress. We should all take a break from whatever we may be doing just for a few minutes to take a deep breath, relax and remember what Christmas is really about. A time of celebration, a time when friends and families come together to appreciate all we have in life, a time to relax with a cup of hot chocolate by a cosy fireplace and a time to remember Jesus being born. We don’t need all of the glitz and glamour and the expectations to what we assume Christmas should live up to, apparently Jesus was born in a stable, there was nothing fancy about that.

So, as Andy Williams said, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” and Christmas really is, especially in the village of Wombourne. The joy is being spread throughout the village as the festive lights have been placed upon the bare trees decorating the village cricket green for in preparation for the yearly Christmas celebration where the friendly faces of Wombourne gather together to watch the big Christmas light switch on. This has been a tradition for many years in Wombourne, except this year the celebrations have expanded throughout the village. On November 25th  6.00pm till 8.00pm, organised by the WRAC, the Wombourne Retailers Awareness Campaign, this Christmas celebration has encouraged more of the local shops to be included into the Christmas cheer.