Tuesday, 19 October 2010


after too much time spent in the (taxi?) driver's seat
i am back in the slow lane with a vengeance
i have an eight or nine mile cross-city commute
to the badlands of lozells
scene of riots in 1981 that almost razed my grandad's shop to the ground
(miraculously price & oliver remained unscathed)
a car would be a liability on this rush-hour mission
so i leap onto my trusty giant and pedal romantically away
through the morning's anticipation
it's a few leafy minutes up hill and down dale to selly oak
where an eerily empty giant new roundabout guides me down and up
past the new QE spaceship-cum-hospital
to the green suburb of edgbaston
one of the few places in birmingham that has a london-like feel
luxurious detached houses set back from the wide curving avenues
recline like thirties dilettantes
their eaves sculpted with gargoyles
their porches large enough to shelter a saloon car
i sail past long queues of idling cars
then fly along monument road past perrot's folly
said to be the inspiration for tolkien's twin towers
now a short stretch on a couple of birmingham's notorious ring roads
which still strangle the city centre in a vice-like grip
under the hockley flyover
where the stone pelican surveys the endless traffic
and finally a bit of deft manouevring through some back streets
across a park and a children's playground
and up into the mean streets of lozells
forty-five minutes door to door is good going
it's time to meet my new class of refugee doctors and nurses
hope they'll be a nice bunch...

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