Every December as the last leaves fade to dust and the world around me descends into a frenzy of overconsumption, I dream of spring. I dream of the first day it is warm enough to go out without a coat, of longer daylight hours, and I dream of the equinox winds which freshen up the city streets. I conjure birdsong to drown out the sound of relentless 80s Christmas music, and I close my eyes to imagine the world painted pink as it is each spring.
In the late summer of 2018 construction work began on two high rise tower blocks north and west of our flat. As seasons passed I watched as planning permission was granted, the old buildings on the two sites were demolished, foundations were filled and the steel skeletons of the two towers climbed ever higher. By the spring equinox I was worried that the tower to the west of us was going to block golden hour.
A Sunday afternoon visit to Winterbourne. We’re lucky as there are two botanical gardens in Birmingham, and both are walking distance from home. Each of the gardens has a different character, and Winterbourne is the quieter of the two. I love visiting Winterbourne year round, but especially in late autumn and winter as the glasshouses are a peaceful, bright and warm place to sit and watch the world go by. All that’s missing is a resident cat. A couple of summers ago the caretaker at the private school next door to Winterbourne had a cat, and they would frequent the terraces on busy days, but I haven’t seen them in a long time.
It’s half term at the moment, and so Ed and I decided to get out of the city and spend a couple of days in the mountains up in Cumbria. As October half term is split this year and Birmingham doesn’t share the holiday with London or a few other regions, we managed to find space in a couple of hostels. They’re usually booked up months in advance for the school holidays, so this was a bit of luck. We stayed at YHA Honister Hause for two nights and then YHA Helvellyn on our last night.