OLDFIELD ROAD 4.26AM
There was warmth in the air, and I had hope when I set off. The sky was clear and there was the promise of rich colour in the dawn sky as I made my way down to Oldfield Road and James Street, near the war memorial and Islington Mill, which houses so many artists.
It’s obvious that Salford now has ambition to change, with boards going up around derelict land like screens around the body of an injured horse. Luxury apartments are being advertised everywhere and soon this city will, in theory, be able to stand toe to toe with its belligerent sibling across the Irwell.
I parked and got out of the car. Within earshot were the loud voices of two lads making their way back from the garage at the nearby Sainsbury’s. They turned the corner into James Street and saw me standing there. They were both carrying bulging carrier bags. One of them called out “Excuse me mate” in a way that clearly suggested we were not mates. I pretended not to hear and got back into my car until they’d gone past. They didn’t ask again and never looked back as they made their way to the nearby high rise block of flats. Not long after several expensive cars sped past on the way down towards Ordsall.
The birds, with their soothing song, did their best to persuade me that I was safe but my mood had been changed. I became aware of spiked railings and carrier bags flapping on lumpen posts and couldn’t stop looking around me. The cranes in the heart of the city centre, with their glowing red lights, seemed far away. I made my way back onto Oldfield Road. Here, under the brighter street lamps, were shop fronts familiar to me for years. The Chinese chippy and the cafe next door didn’t look as if they would be gone anytime soon. A church bell chimed and I felt secure once more.
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