Author Topic: Overseas Brummies  (Read 5930 times)


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Overseas Brummies
« on: January 19, 2006, 12:57:38 PM »
Chris, Would it be possible to have a Board Name for "Overseas Brummies" reaching back.


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Re: Overseas Brummies
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2006, 01:04:04 AM »
Rupert, you've got one!
What do you want to know about overseas Brummies? I am a Brummie but have lived most of my life abroad.


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Re: Overseas Brummies
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2006, 01:17:28 PM »
I believe you are the cyclist from Belgium, thanks for your interest. It seems to me that a great deal of the correspondence on the Virtual Brum site is from Birmingham people who have been living abroad for most of their lives and I thought that a section devoted to ex-pats might be usefull. Anyway I am greatfull for this forum for allowing people to get together and talk across the miles.
Like you I have spent most of my adult life living abroad and raising my family, in Canada, for me. With time on my hands after retiring, I have started to look back to try and revisit, via the net, things of my youth. You are right of course, some of Birmingham was drab and needed to be gone but I remember, on my last visit, that there were older sections that seemed charming and far more pleasent than some of the impersonal modern buildings. It's interesting to see the developments that are taking place with the old canals for tourism; worth a look on Virtual Brum if you have not done so already. I suppose that these could become a valuable feature if the water is reasonably cleen. If you are the cyclist, congratulations on your achievements. You may have been watching Lance in his last Tour de France last year. Speaking as an onlooker I thought his last time trial was inspiring to say the least. My cycling was limited to weekend rides to Stratford on Avon and Worcester, Coleshill etc. Nothing very grand. My pride and joy in those days was a Rudge Special.
You can't always think of things to talk about at the minute and I am begining to ramble on. So I will look in from time to time to keep in touch. Good Luck.


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Re: Overseas Brummies
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2006, 03:49:27 PM »
Hi Rupert,
Yes I am that cyclist living in Belgium. I quite agree with you many of those old houses are well worth keeping, are a big asset to Brum and very beautiful to look at. Since I stopped working, some years ago, I have spent many hours and weeks in Brum looking up old friends and relatives. There are still many areas that I find interesting but now the people have changed so much. When you walk around in Brum no one looks you in the eye anymore, so you can't give them a smile or a nod. Nearly everyone walks around with a sour face and look as though they are looking for a fight!
I love Belgium too because it has so many old yet interesting buildings and houses. In the older parts of Belgium no two houses are alike and they try and keep this tradition up. Where I live is near the town of Ghent, the most beautiful town in Belgium. The people are also very friendly, everyone will give you a smile or a nod back.
Now i'm rambling on, see ya.
P.S. photo is of me taken in a Paris park with my world championship jersey on in 1967. The jersey that I have on belonged to the late Tom Simpson who had colapsed and died in the Tour de France just a few weeks earlier. Tom's widow gave me his jersey's and underwear, a great gesture.


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Re: Overseas Brummies
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2006, 07:48:22 PM »
I did forget to say that I am a regular visitor on the virtualbrum site and have not only seen the improvements on the site, that you point out, I have seen them at first hand.
If you want to read more on my cycling then the virtualbrum site has done me proud and put me in with the famous Brummies, on page 2. You can read more about my cycling life on the virtualbrum site column "mailbag".
I nearly made it to Canada last year as the Oylimpics for Masters were held at Edmonton and I was hoping to take home some gold medals, in the over 60,s class, but a ruptured aorta while out training in May put paid to my sporting life. I guess this is why I have more time now to play with my PC.
Regards, Graham.


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Re: Overseas Brummies
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2006, 09:42:53 PM »
Hi again Rupert,
Talking about expats, in the UK there is a magazine called "Homes Worldwide" and they are going to run a series on British expats. On the 1st February they are coming over to Belgium to interview me and take some photo's. There is of course no guarantee that my case will be published.
There is also a very good web site for expats called

tassie devil

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Re: Overseas Brummies
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2006, 12:49:43 PM »
robert i'm another overseas brummie lived in aussie since 1968 perth now live in tassie [tasmania]the best spot on earth i have been back to brum lots of times gee there is always changes going on the city is looking good vic sq council house broad st canal area and at last the bull ring still i did enjoy the old markets


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Re: Overseas Brummies
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2006, 12:02:35 AM »
Hi. Graham and the Tasmanian Devil,
  Thanks for your last words. Checked out the sites that you mentioned Graham, thank-you. It seems that we might all be of senior citizen status at this point. At least thatís what we are known as in Canada. Well it beats fogies or old [censored]. I am 7 years older than you Graham but I am not sure about the Devil. Anyway I guess where I am going is that  I  can only look back at Brum from an absence of 30 years. Well I suppose that there is nothing wrong with looking back; it gives us an insight into where we came from and what made us the way we are. Some people that I have met here also came from the UK and went back home. But maybe the saying ď you canít go back againĒ is true; like you Devil some returned to Canada. You can get stuck in between.
  Itís a New Year and cold here now. With my trusty little black Pug warming my feet under the computer desk I thought I would put a few things down that I liked in Birmingham from the past and some I didnít. Maybe you and others can join in and perhaps we can re-discover memories from there. Here goes :

Good, Wimbushesí donuts
              A plate of whelks in the fish market
              Fishing on the weekends
              Custard ( never heard of apple pie with cheese until I came here)
               Riding the tram to the Licky Hills
               Getting to the top of Mucklows Hill on my bike (only to fall off when I reached                           
               down to change gear) Chicken feed for you Graham.

Bad,       Cold damp houses
               Horrible smogís
               Riding bike on wet cobbles to work

    Hope you guys and others will have a shot and maybe we can compile the list and vote on the order of goodness and badness.

Best wishes,


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Re: Overseas Brummies
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2006, 01:41:00 AM »
Hi Rupert, Tassie devil, John,
You seem to be a group of very rare Brummies that actually react and write to each other, thanks for being there.
It's very true what you say Rupert, we must never forget where we came from. We were poor and had a hard life, now we are better off (financially), no one can buy our experiences no matter how well off they are.
Where I live in Belgium they were occupied by the Nazis during the war and when the older people talk about that time they often say "in the war we had nothing to spread on our bread". I always reply with "we were the victors yet we not only had nothing to put on our bread, we had no bread to put it on!" As for living abroad, I find that to be happy you have to intigrate 100%. I have had to learn their language and gone even further, and not only learnt their culture, learnt to love it. The food in Belgium is sublime, probably the best in the world, better than in France!
Rupert I may be 7 years younger than you but I also remember the whelks & the tram to the Licky Hills.
Learning the English language.
Ice cream from Ladypool Road.
Canal walks.
Playing in Kennelworth Castle.
Fish & chips swimming in malt vinegar.

Bad:- (I have the knack of obliterating all bad memories, but do remember, because you mentioned it)
The smog (used to go training in it on my bike in the winter, every evening did two laps of the Nį 11 outer circle bus route with a hanky round my mouth. Used the outer circle because it was well lit up at night)
The litter would irritate me no end.

Will give it some deep thought, may be able to come up with more bad things.

See ya, Graham.

p.s. recent photo of me though the beard and moustache have gone now, the other one taken in Paris is nearly 40 years old.†


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Re: Overseas Brummies
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2006, 10:47:50 AM »
Hi Graham, great photo, looks like you've just been let out of Winson Green, ha,  and when I look in the mirror, I see  some old guy thats looks a little like me, but as I remember I used to say, its the beauty on the inside thats important, the beauty on the out side changes .
and as you say Belgium is a great place to live, and for me just living next door, its just an hours drive and I'm there, true, Belgium is a great place,and the people are friendly, but I think it  helps when you can speak the language, ( Flaams/French ) my French is passable, but my Dutch could be better, but I think France is a nice place to live, ( if you make an effort to learn the language ), when you can, lots of doors open for you,
I think we both made a good choose when we moved to Europe, we both live a good life better than we would have ever done in Balsall Heath,, maybe we would have ened up in some high rise flats wishing we could have done better, I think as an expat we are a special breed who want to see whats on the other side of the hill, well we found out did'nt we, and it was worth all the effort....John ( a man from another time )
Growing old is mandatory..........Growing up is optional


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Re: Overseas Brummies
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2006, 07:16:40 PM »
Hi John,

Yes with a face like mine they were glad to see the back of me at Winson Green ;D

I did notice on the virtualbrum site that you were in Nederland. My first move abroad was to Holland. I lived in Hilversum for a few months in 1967 while I was preparing for the world championships, they were at Heerlen, Dutch Limburg, that year.

I picked up Dutch in three months and can speak, read and write perfect Dutch. As you know Flemish (Vlaams) is the same language as Dutch so have no problems with that. Mijn Vlaams is beter dan mijn Engels! Als je wilt corresponderen in het Nederlands dat kan ook, maar dat maakt het moeilijk voor de andere om ons te volgen, dus verder in het Engels.

I moved to Belgium, from Holland, because I had signed for a French cycling team and Belgium was ideal and centrally placed.

I speak several languages including French, but since my retirement and my heart operation, I have taken up a three year course in French, at a day school, to get my French reading and writing up to the same level as my Flemish. This helps to fill my days now that I can't train on the bike anymore.

On subject of moving abroad, it was the best thing that I have ever done with my life, I just can't imagine myself in a Birmingham high rise flat. In the 60's going abroad was synonymous with going on holiday. I went abroad in the 60's and never came back, after more than 40 years I feel as though I'm still on holiday! Wonderful!