Archives // Stories of the Everyday

A collection of snippets and stories from my everyday life in and around Birmingham.



Summer Reprieve

25.07.2020

The streets are dusty and yellow, the first leaves fallen from the linden trees providing crunch under foot on my evening walk. The air feels thick and heavy with fumes again, as people choose to drive everywhere rather than risk the bus or train. On Elvetham, my favourite neighbourhood cat conducts a spot bath on the warm bonnet of her human’s car, left foot stretched out into the last of the day’s sunshine, toes splayed, oblivious to the comings and goings around her.

In the co-op, I wait for another customer to make his selections before entering the aisle myself, behaviour which feels positively retro by July’s standards. For the time being, the requirement for spaced queues outside supermarkets has been set aside, and personal space in shops has shrunk, too. Facemasks make people bolder and more willing to cast aside the 2m rule, a thin strip of cloth encouraging them to feel invincible. I wear my mask, but keep my distance too.

At the moment life feels much calmer, but I can’t help but sense that it’s a pause, not the end, and that ‘normal’ is still a long way off. These heady days of summer feel like a brief reprieve before we head indoors when the weather cools and the infection rate climbs again in the autumn. I hope I’m just being a pessimist.

Writing |

The Lotus and the Jazz Fan

30.06.2020

A delivery driver sits on the curb in Chinatown, smoking a cigarette beneath a large mural of a lotus blossom and listening to jazz through the open door of his van. Stopping briefly to admire the new artwork, we turn and enter the Day In on Wrottesley Street in search of a jar of Korean hot pepper powder with which to make kimchi.

Writing |

Ballet in the Park

20.04.2020

Blossom petals dance along the pavement, lifted by the breeze, painting the drains, gutters and curbs a soft, ballerina pink. In a suburban park alongside the Rea Valley cycle route, a girl of six or seven shows off her ballet moves to her mother and grandmother, performing effortless twirls in her frilly dungaree shorts while residents from the terraces that border the park jog slow circles around the football pitches.

On a beautiful spring day as the fruit trees put on their magical display, the children’s play park sits empty, the gate taped shut like a crime scene.

Writing |