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

Diary

It was a cloudy day, with a rough, cold easterly wind that buffeted me all the way through Birmingham's wide avenues. The scale of things is different here, the up to four lane Coventry Road, even minor roads are broad and fast.

I didn't talk to many people. Early on, though, a woamn came up to me and complained that a driver had nearly killed her on a pedestrian crossing. I was half way through sympathising with her when I realised the main cause of her complaint was that the driver was "Indian". But whoever he was, he was a driver. And she couldn't have complained to him, he'd have been gone, oblivious to the trouble he was causing. These big roads feel alienating to me, no way for human contact, no way for us to know what we're doing to other people. We communicate by signs, like the George Cross painted on the pub roof.

As I walked alongside the road, I became aware of a few signs that some of the people around here were specifically Indian in origin, although further in, at Small Heath, the feel was overwhelmingly Muslim. But the scale again! There was nothing in Sheffield to compare with the size of this place. I went into a Somali-run internet cafe to check the diary again. Only the most recent day had bad mistakes in it, and I corrected them. I noticed that you might have thought all the churches in Southmead, Bristol, were Orthodox (as in Russian..., Greek... etc.) - I just meant orthodox.

I went into Birmingham and out again. I saw people asleep in blankets. I didn't want to disturb them. I saw the houses of the extreme rich in Rosemary Hill Road, Streetly, and they wouldn't have let me disturb them. In between were poor streets, black streets, white streets, and rows and rows of suburban houses. All in a day's walk.

Pictures from today...
This appears to be a get rich quick shop near Small Heath: anyone know anything about it?
Hannah's been asking about a custard factory all the way through Devon. Presumably this Birmingham one is the one Roy Hattersley used to get eloquent about
Anybody know the story of this pavement plaque?
The motto on this pumping station reads "nil sine aqua" - "nothing without water". The people of Baghdad know about that
Prayer
We pray for all who lack
what is basic to life;-
clean air,
good water,
enough food,
warmth and shelter.
God who created all people,
give them what they are entitled to,
by our hands if necessary.
In a world in which many ideas of justice compete,
help us remember
that your children need to live.

© 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.