We joke that Minou has gone to live on the moon with Mikado, my childhood cat. We know it’s a load of nonsense, but there’s comfort in stories and imagined alternative realities. She’s sat there with Mickey, eating moon cheese, and training up an apprentice to send to us. She sent me a teapot for my birthday, which took a lot of planning as there are significant delays in the post reaching Earth from the moon!
In Streetly on the way home from Sutton Park, we pass a petrol station with an empty forecourt, all nozzles bedecked with yellow hoods to indicate that they are out of fuel. Triggered in part by self-perpetuating media reports of fuel shortages, by the ongoing post-Brexit haulage and logistics problems, by HGV driver shortages, and by high levels of distrust in government and politicians, those who rely on their cars to get to work descended on petrol stations en masse, panic buying fuel in scenes reminiscent of the toilet paper crisis of March 2020.
“Will someone please think of the teachers”, “will someone please think of the nurses”, “key workers should get priority and be able to jump the queue”, “don’t be selfish and think of others” and other cries mimic every other crisis, shortage and challenge we’ve faced over the course of the past eleven two years under the Conservatives. During the pandemic alone we’ve heard these narratives on everything from face masks, to the use of public transport, to bags of bread flour. However, we are a nation of self-interested idiots or, if you’re feeling generous, desperate folk just trying to get by. The only effective opposition we have is a football player turned children’s poverty activist, the Labour party hell-bent on tearing themselves a new one and sitting on fences rather than taking a kick at an open goal. To the toilet paper aisle we go. To the fuel pumps we go. These crises are borne of fear, frustration, and the absolute failure of state.
The sky is painted in shades of pink, orange, and red, an apocalyptic sunset after a day of torrential rain. It is a fitting backdrop for what feels like a stage play but is sadly real life in this has-been country, riddled with nostalgia for yesteryear, and falling apart at the seams.
Moseley Bog is a nature reserve and wetland situated in the Moseley and Hall Green suburbs of Birmingham. I’ve known about its existence for some years now, but because it’s a little bit too far to be walking distance – and the other side of the Bristol and Pershore roads which are a nightmare to cross as a pedestrian – I’ve never been.