In many ways it was a very sad, run down, place. In the high street, even the HSBC Bank had a landlord's possession notice on it. Attempts at retail-led regeneration appeared not to have been successful:
Twenty years later all the shops in this precinct were boarded up:
House prices are not particularly low, and in fact there was a lot of new building too, suggesting - from my Newhaven experience - that Brownhills may be serving as a dormitory for Birmingham and that its residents are doing their shopping elsewhere. That elsewhere may even be Walsall, which (and we shall proceed there properly in due course) didn't seem to be doing too badly in its retail centre.
Enough of retail depression, I hear you mutter. Show us some boats! I think we put on a pretty good show:
The local Brownhills Bob blog was appreciative, and posted a nice montage of photos (in which Chertsey features quite heavily. Another roving photographer, Roger Dutton, sent me this photo he took of Jim putting a final polish on the paintwork:
On the other side of the canal from the road, Tesco's and the high street were the extensive woods and common land. We took Ricky for a walk there and were immensely impressed with it. And we were amazed, on our return at dusk, to meet at least half a dozen red deer: