Etched Behind Eyelids | March 2021

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Yearning to poke around in the glasshouses, but the open doorway with a cordon pulled across is as close as I can get for the time being.

The house at Winterbourne is out of bounds, too, except for the toilet block at the back in the former servants’ quarters. The light caught my eye in the corridor so obviously I stopped for a photo. Winterbourne House and Garden are a botanical gardens and museum owned and managed by the University of Birmingham, and it’s an Edwardian era house in the Arts and Crafts style. The house was home to a wealthy Birmingham family and the museum documents and celebrates their lifestyle at the turn of the twentieth century. Eventually the house was given to the university and used as accommodation for female students when women were first allowed to enrol, and then later still – during my time at the university between 2004 and 2014 – the house and gardens were restored to their former glory and the state they are in today. You can find out more about the history of the house here if you’re curious. It’s one of my favourite places in Birmingham. That said, I’m not particularly interested in grand homes and the lives of yesteryear’s wealthy families, and so I didn’t bother to explore it until 2012 when I discovered that there was a garden and secret lake hidden behind the beautiful house!

Having a nap in the sun whilst waiting for me to be finished with photographing light streaks. Ed is so patient with me!

Philodendron Hederaceum var Hederaceum aka Philodendron Micans

It’s a single leaf cutting. The leaves are velvety. I love it.

Peering through dusty windows into shuttered cafés and pubs lining the canal in Gas Street Basin. These two frames were captured on St Patrick’s Day. I still haven’t got used to these surreal scenes, and it’s been a full year now.

This pub closed in early November and didn’t reopen between the two lockdowns as Birmingham stayed in a higher tier of restrictions than other cities in England, so those bottles will have been sitting there for several months.

An afternoon stop in at Oozells Square on my annual cherry blossom watch. The blossom wasn’t ready that day, but the light was pretty.

Psychological tricks to try and make talking to camera a little less intimidating. I’ve made a start on a new series of tutorials for my YouTube channel this month, and so I need to get used to talking to camera as I’m going to be doing a lot more of in the coming months.

A quiet side street in the city centre. 28 or 82? Mature student or pensioner? The building is student halls, but it could just as easily be a retirement complex, the buildings are built to similar standards.

I filmed Ed singing and playing guitar and wanted some stills to use as thumbnails. This was one of the out-takes and I really love it.

There’s a private school near me and at the end of the school day the little darlings in their Enid Blyton uniforms are picked up by parents waiting in oversized cars parked on double yellows all the way down the hill. I couldn’t work out why this mask was in the ivy when I passed it one sleepy Sunday until the following Tuesday when I was passing by at school pick up. The single mask had been joined by several others, all strung up in the ivy adjacent to the rear passenger doors of the shiny 2020 registration cars.

Thankfully the school must have had a word with their students or the students’ parents, because the next day they had all been taken down and haven’t returned.

On the same walk I discovered a trail of Top Trumps cards spread out across the neighbourhood, forming a trail several kilometres long.

Broad Street on the anniversary of the announcement of the UK’s first lockdown. Broad Street is the main club and entertainment district in Birmingham, so it has been shuttered for a full year now. There is ongoing construction work too, as tramlines are being installed. The combination of everything being shut and all the building work makes it feel like you’re walking through an abandoned city at the end of the world.

My memories of the start of the pandemic are so wrapped up with the shift from winter to spring. Seeing winter fade and spring arrive with a burst of colour and the first warm days has made me very thoughtful as I reflect on the first year of the pandemic. One year on, the UK is in a much better position than it was twelve months ago, but everyday life is still far from normal.

Used bread bowls after recipe testing sourdough hot cross buns.

My secular ‘nought cross buns’ tasted good, but the noughts looked like volcanoes so I decided to keep things traditional for the batch I filmed.

A few months ago, electric scooters arrived on the streets of Birmingham. Unlike the bikes that preceded them across UK cities, they’ve been very popular and haven’t ended up in the canal, but they’re a nuisance. People ride them on pavements, coming up on you at speed with no warning, and then leave them littered across the pavements and towpaths so that pedestrians and cyclists have to sidestep them. I sound like a grumpy old woman, but I do wish people could be a little more self aware in how they share and use the public commons.

The final batch of hot cross buns.

Muscari, photographed on my balcony with a close up filter. I planted bulbs in autumn and they have just started to come through. First there were snowdrops, now muscari, and soon there will be alliums too.

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