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As she passed through the main doors of the library, she was greeted by a splendid, blinding glare, a bright summer’s afternoon in June that had put both a frown and a smile on the faces of everyone in Centenary Square. The joy of surviving another working week had combined with an unanticipated warmth to overwhelm the usual melancholia that came with the territory, the territory being Birmingham city centre; while the frowns, caused by a perfectly understandable failure to pack sunglasses, did resemble the more traditional facial expression, they were mere simulacra, disguising a less traditional cheeriness.


Centenary Square from the Library 


Centenary Square in the sunshine: The Hyatt Regency and Symphony Hall

Breezing through the square, Ivy resisted the temptation to pop into the Repertory Theatre to see what was on, distracting herself with thoughts of getting home and wondering, with an element of annoyance with herself, exactly why she’d asked Sam to help out with her research. The obvious answer, that he was quite brilliant, didn’t satisfy her. Wasn’t she brilliant enough herself? And it wasn’t like she was helping him out, especially since he had his own research to do for his Ph.D.

Grudgingly, she owned up that she knew the answer. It was because she knew he wouldn’t say no. She and Sam had grown up together. Of course, it was also because he was cheap, although he was cheap because he was a friend. A good friend. A friend who went way back. A friend willing to help another friend in need, regardless of his own commitments. A friend who was already getting on her tits.


Birmingham Repertory Theatre: Restricted Entry

She crossed over Paradise Circus towards Colmore Row and turned right, onto Temple Row West, changing to the other side of the road to avoid the Old Joint Stock pub and to cut the corner round the side of the cathedral.


The Old Joint Stock Pub


St. Philip’s Cathedral (Front)


St. Philip’s Cathedral (Side)

She pressed on with her head lowered because she could still feel the heat of her flushed face, not realizing that had she looked up, she would have seen many other Brummies equally pink; the sun’s unusual heat rendered her embarrassment indistinguishable from their incipient sunburn.


Temple Row: Bloody Hot

Just past Needless Alley, she reached the doors of the Hartfield Foundation, the HQ of those very astute and discerning folk who had spotted Ivy’s genius, who had hired her to produce a series of position papers on. On? On what, exactly? Even after a couple of months, Ivy still wasn’t entirely sure.


Needless Alley: It’s all downhill from here


Yes, it exists! Needless Alley!


Needless Alley just ahead. Could that be the HQ of the Hartfield Foundation?

Text from Chapter 1 of Ivy Feckett is Looking for Love: A Birmingham Romance

But wait!!

A Special Bonus: Here, on Temple Row, yards from the headquarters of the Hartfield Foundation, I found Ivy!! What are the chances of that?!!


Yes, THE Ivy!


Serendipity or Synchronicity?!