February 19th saw the start of the Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the goat/sheep. On Sunday 22nd, there was a day of celebrations around the Arcadian centre, which is in the middle of Birmingham’s fabulous Chinese Quarter.
We were invited to a VIP event in Sobar, where we could watch the festivities in comfort. My mum and dad looked after Benjamin, and my brother and his fiancee looked after Harrison and Alex so Graham and me could have some time together.
It was dry when we let the house, so stupidly I didn’t take a coat,but by the time we got there it was absolutely chucking it down, hence no proper outside photos. The Arcadian was decorated with Chinese lanterns, and a main stage set up in the middle.
We arrived at Sobar at 11.30 and were offered complimentary bottles of Chinese beer or glasses of Prosecco – well it would have been rude not to! We found ourselves an empty booth and made the most of being child-free – until a family with five kids came and sat with us! We had glasses full of sweets and fortune cookies to keep us going until lunch (apparently Graham needs to buy a designer outfit and is going to meet an A-List celebrity next month!). We also had a packet of dried dates (or prunes, one of them anyway!) and baskets of prawn crackers.
The Prosecco and beer was offered regularly – I had five glasses, which when you haven’t drank much in a long time goes straight to your head! It was lovely to just relax and not worry about chasing the kids around. At around 12.30, there was a buffet lunch, with all sorts of lovely things – much needed to soak up the booze!
The show started outside in the main square but because it was raining, everyone had their umbrellas up so we couldn’t see a great deal. The Lord Mayor was there, there was dancing and singing and the bits we could see and hear from our spot in the bar were fab. There was a traditional Chinese dragon dance as well, which I always find a bit freaky!
I’m quite glad we didn’t take the kids because they just wouldn’t have been able to see anything, and they wouldn’t want to sit in a bar all afternoon. The kids that were on our table had goodie bags, with funky sunglasses, sweets and colouring sheets. As we were leaving there was an activity set up in the one corner of the room to decorate some sheep masks.
Because of the atrocious weather (torrential rain and it was freezing!) the main square seemed to empty pretty quickly, which was a shame because I imagine so much preparation and practise went into all the acts.
We had a lovely day, despite the rain! Hopefully next year the weather will be better -I’d love to go and see all the acts close up!