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"End to End via the Margins"
-the diary of a walk.

- Good Friday - Hearsall Common to Yardley


The Easter funfair that was pumping away last night is silent this morning. I walk a long way through the leafy, blossom-laden western suburbs of Coventry. It is Good Friday bank holiday and people are beginning to come to life in the sun. A fat man is pressure washing his drive. The water is spraying out over the pavement and half way across the road. Some cyclists move out round the rainbowed spray. I wait to cross. He is oblivious. I can't be bothered asking him to stop. In the end I, too, walk into the road and around it. I will never pressure wash a drive in my life. If I do, it will be because something in me has died.

Somewhere a day or two ago, stone-built gave way to brick built. I guess planners now are quite strong on maintaining local styles, despite the ease of transport of building materials.

The takkies I'm wearing today are quiet and when I came across a man attending to his garden by the roadside, it wasn't until I was a couple of feet away that he noticed me. He started up, clutching his heart. After a few seconds he concluded that he was still alive, and we had a small conversation. He suggested I try the canal. So I did. It was sort of hypnotic, walking along, half looking at the flickering reflection of the sunlight in the water, a pint of bitter inside me, the birds singing, and the pigeons going "coo coo coo coo coo". Today's question - Is there a way of saying that that's not offensive to Welsh people?

Some thirteen year old boys came past, smoking cannabis. I find this disturbing. It's something to do with attitude or age I think. It would be the same if it were alcohol or tobacco. Beyond a high fence, in the cemetery, an older man sat on a bench in the sun, with his precious drink.

I found the church by asking a local, although I had the impression that people on one side of the dual carriageway had only a vague idea of what lay on the other side. Is this what is meant by community severance? The people of Digbeth in the Field URC were very helpful with my questions, and I had a brilliant welcome at the home of Kevin and Helen Jones. Kevin's ministerial training overlapped mine ten years back.

Where does Good Friday come into all this? I'm not sure. I suspect for a lot of people it's just another bank holiday. For me, this year, I suppose it was. My timings didn't fit any church services on the route. There was alcohol and other drugs in me and others. Didn't the Romans used to offer people alcohol to deaden the pain of crucifixion? And there were the cross shaped supports in the allotment at Yardley. Little reminders.

Pictures from today...
Farm shops are part of the rural economy, within range of towns or passing drivers
A sign for Hannah
Some say Meriden is the centre of England. It is the site of an annual cyclists' service of worship
Air monitoring above the M42
Cruciform supports on an allotment
Some people from Digbeth-in-the-Field URC answering my questions
Creator God, we pray for people who suffer the effects of pollution
and deal with its consequences.
For asthmatics living next to motorways,
people who've drunk water tainted with pollutants or disease,
people who have been damaged by what they breathed at work,
we ask healing.
But more than that, we ask for justice.
Strengthen and encourage those who work to keep our world habitable.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for cyclists,
whose way of travelling benefits all of us by reducing pollution and danger,
yet who themselves can be put in danger by aggressive or thoughtless motorists.
Let them be safe we pray,
and help us all, cyclists, pedestrians and drivers,
to be more considerate of others' lives.

God of life,
who knows our death,
we mourn the death of human love
which condemned Jesus to the cross,
and which still takes countless
innocent lives
by war, aggression,
and the washing of hands.
© Bob Warwicker. The words here may be reproduced freely, but not for gain, or without attribution. All alterations must have the permission of the author.