What would I give for the opportunity to again take that morning walk through the City centre to school? To leave the bus in Cox Street, alongside the splendidly-named Victor Vibrationless Engines, (still carrying the name of previous owners, Francis Barnett Motorcycles, above the door).
On the corner, the Sydenham Palace, once an old-time music hall, and where the first moving pictures were shown in the City. Opposite, the Elastic Inn, recalling previous generations of weavers, and the Alexandra cinema.
Passing the ruins of the Public Baths into Pool Meadow bus station, divided into Midland Red and Corporation sections. Ten minutes casually viewing forthcoming Bunty excursions to Barmouth and Skegness (as one does) before, quite by chance, a young lady acquaintance arrives on her bus from Tile Hill. Being a gentleman, courtesy demands that I accompany her the rest of the way. I cannot remember our conversation -- was she as nervous as I?
Priory Street, and a car park built on the site of the Triumph Cycle Works. Picking our way across the weed-strewn site of a Benedictine Monastery, known to Leofric and Godiva, and dedicated to St. Mary & St. Osburg. A portion of the medieval City Wall. Up a steep and narrow staircase into Saint Michael's churchyard, and Priory Row with its Georgian merchant's houses.
Trinity Lane, for Holy Trinity Church and the Victorian turreted library; the old County Gaol facing ruined Saint Michael's Church. Pepper Lane with the medieval Golden Cross Inn and Martins Bank where our paths separated. Across the mists of history, we parted at the gatehouse of Coventry Castle.
A journey of cobbles, tree-lined walks, iron railings and a sense of timelessness. The City had been devastated and its centre lay in ruins, but it had more charm and character than its faceless and lacklustre current successor.
Oh to walk those steps again...