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.
On the way to town to buy birthday cards on Sunday afternoon, a man stopped us to ask if we were local and if so, where he could go for some lunch. Reliant on a walking frame he explained that he couldn’t go very far and that he wasn’t familiar with Birmingham, but that he happened to end up here as a result of a mix up with the trains. The question, it turns out, wasn’t really about lunch, but rather an excuse to start up a conversation. Step by painful step we continued in the same direction as him for some twenty minutes, covering just twenty metres in that time, but also more than twenty years of his memories. Love, loss, disability, loneliness, despair and the cost of living, but also his love of classics, philosophy and memories of all the places he has called home over the fifty seasons he’s seen come and go.
Minou is going through a phase of sleeping on our pillows at night, so I gave her her own by way of compromise. It means that we don’t wake up with a headache from dehydration, and she seems happy too.
On a very cold day at the start of January I found kitty napping on the hot pipes at the Botanical Gardens. Meanwhile, in the parrot house, a mischief of mice were busy at work climbing up the wall and squeezing themselves through the tiny mesh gaps to pinch grain from the yellow crested cockatoo’s food bowl.