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Monday, 27 October 2008

Egg and bacon sandwich at Five Ways

Cycling into the university from Hockley, down Newhall Hill, across the Parade, past the NIA up Grosvenor Street West and if the wind is in the west, eager as a pointing dog, I catch the aroma of Jan's cooking as I pedal up to Five Ways, Edgbaston - one of the few roundabouts in the city where walkers are still separated from motorised traffic - because its subways are short and broad unlike the murky tunnels under the inner ring 'concrete corset' - mostly gone in favour of surface crossings for people on foot. When I'm feeling like testing my skills as an advanced urban cyclist I enjoy finessing this busy roundabout, but the Council's made cycle diversions that take me directly to Jan's mobile snack bar in the centre of a tree filled eye amid the swirl of traffic and over a dual road tunnel. At his stand I watch the egg and bacon being fried, after ordering 'the usual'. I take the wrapped sandwich off towards the university, rejoining traffic hurrying down Calthorpe Road, short-cutting through to Edgbaston Park Road, to eat discretely in an empty lecture room as I await my students or, better, while leaning on the wall of the humped bridge at the Vale, gazing at walkers and cyclists, waving at passing narrow boats, offering a small portions of new bread to the bottom-feeders in the murky Birmingham-Worcester Canal. Such pleasure in anticipation and consummation! See it in my face on this fresh Autumn morning? Thank you Jan. From Barack Obama's manifesto:
Over the longer term, we know that the amount of fuel we will use is directly related to our land use decisions and development patterns, much of which have been organized around the principle of cheap gasoline. Barack Obama believes that we must move beyond our simple fixation of investing so many of our transportation dollars in serving drivers and that we must make more investments that make it easier for us to walk, bicycle and access transportation alternatives.

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