gubster's Diaryland Diary


Sunday in Birmingham

Its Sunday in Birmingham, the social obligations of Friday and Saturday are over and I can relax again.

My Sunday ritual begins. I plod down the petrol heavy Pershore road, filling my lungs with fumes as I await that famous 47 bus. I sit on the top floor of the red double decker beast and view Birmingham from a height, as I trundle towards the city.

I pass the wholesale markets. I am not great with religion, I am not sure what Sikh’s believe, or who wears the head scarf, or which ones don’t get on with who, but I do know that on Sunday afternoon, after everyone has been to their respective church they all met here in their Sunday best at the wholesale markets. This is the real meeting place. All life is here. To the average brummie it may seem mundane but to me this is exotic. The women in their full burka look so mysterious and allusive and also kinda scary with their dark eyes peering out from under their veil. The Sikh’s tall, proud and turbaned complete with a gaggle of happy laughing long haired children always look at peace like they have the secret of life. The Indian women in their exquisite colourful sequenced clothes, never a hair out of place, with their kohl eyes seeking out the best prices, the old men in long white dresses look like they have all the knowledge of the earth in those long grey beards as they talk softly to each other and float by. Yes I have seen some different countries but here in the markets of Birmingham this to me is exotic!!

I continue on my Sunday ramble up to Victoria square, admire the architecture, The Council house, Town Hall, the old Post office, Chamberlain square, all grand and pompous and British (and I suppose impressive). If the mood takes me or the bells call me I wonder by St Chad’s to see the colourful windows. When I enter a church like this a lot goes on in my mind. I become intoxicated, with the smell of frankincense, the vibration of the large organ and the melody of choir hymns. They all mingle in my brain and I am 12 years old again in Caherdavin Church surrounded by familiar faces, winter coats, and green carpets. I escape before the words begin to ruin my warm memories and continue up to New Street. Into the other side of town. All glass and clean and shiny, with a new sub-set of the Brummie community. The skaters with their trends trying so hard to impress that it hurts just to look at them, all eager and awkward and in this second’s fashion. The black kids all loud and manicured, music blaring on the phones- a throwback to the ‘80’s getoblaster. The couples . The young families. The mothers with the strollers. The ones with money sitting in Café Rouge sipping wine by St Martins. The ones without selling the Big Issue. The buskers, the street entertainers and the shoppers.

I reach the bull ring. The shopping paradise. In Starbucks or Café Nero I am sure the people have the same conversations and worries as they do across town in the markets, but somehow the chats over a cappuccino in starbucks seems less important than the chats over the halal meat stand at the other side of town. Why is that? I plod on into the bullring; I fill my head with materialistic dreams of iPhones and iPods.

I buy my papers and find starbucks and I read about the problems in the world. I dream about life in other cities, I think how nice it is to live in Australia away from all the words problems. Away from war and east versus west, away from trade deals, oil talk and recession worries. Because there are no problems in Australia. (!) Nobody thinks about Australia and word of life there never reaches my Sunday paper- they are lucky!

I dream about Big Sur and Highway 1, I read about Alaska and remember my time there, I dream of living in the rugged mountains of New Zealand. Suddenly I want to be in my beach in Fiji, I want to see the Scottish landscape, I want to hike the blue mountains again, I want to see Easter Island, I want to live seven different consecutive lives so I can do and experience everything at once, I want to be in the deserts again, I want to visit Sausalito again , I want to live in Montana with my huge red Dodge truck, with tires taller than me. I want to live in Utrecht with my bicycle and wicker shopping basket, I want to live in Galway just for the atmosphere, I want the large cappuccino, I want to see how life is in Japan, but most of all…………………………………… I want it always to be Sunday in Birmingham.

2:28 p.m. - 2008-09-17


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