The Salt of the Earth by Chris Beresford

Many times we hear the expression that Brummies are the 'salt of the earth'. I have no doubt of that. Any of the older generation of Aston residents will remember that, before the junction became controlled by traffic lights. the traffic at Aston Cross was directed by a police constable on point duty from 7.30am to 6.30pm from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays the traffic was left to fend on its' own. As a young police constable at Victoria Road Police Station I often performed this duty and it was not an easy task. The tram routes to Witton, Stockland Green, Erdington and Pype Hayes all passed to and from the City Centre and the No 8 Inner Circle bus route crossed from Park Lane to Rocky Lane. The tram drivers always gave a clang on their bell to let you know they were approaching.

One cold afternoon I was there directing the traffic and it started to snow heavily. After a while I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see a little old lady who said, "You look frozen. Come to my house for a cup of tea". I explained that it was more than my job was worth to leave my post. She went away with a shrug of her shoulders. A little while later it was still snowing when again there was a tap on my shoulder. I turned and there was the dear old lady with a cup of tea saying "Here. Get this down you". I felt a bit of a Wally standing there at busy Aston Cross drinking a cup of tea but what more proof could you have that Brummies are indeed 'the salt of the earth'.