There’s sadness in the eyes of this model, hand-picked from Birmingham’s fruit and veg market.
Understandably so because this city’s markets have become a shadow of their former glories.
There’s little of the buzz that used to surround the markets.
Little of the sense that you’re in the beating, vibrant heart of Birmingham, which once these markets unarguably were.
At one time full of banter, colour and characters, they’re now in urgent need of a revival. If it’s not too late.
What a tragedy and a scandal.
Markets have been held on land near what is now known as the Bull Ring since at least the 11th century.
I’ve been a visitor since my childhood, which wasn’t that many years later.
I still go to buy my fish, and occasionally meat and game, from the indoor market.
And I stock up weekly on fruit and vegetables from the outdoor market.
But the rich variety of traders has diminished, the number of customers has declined and there’s a whiff of neglect about the places.
Speak to the traders and you hear plenty of grumbles about the way they’re treated by Birmingham City Council.
No doubt the emergence of cheap supermarkets has played a part in the markets’ woes, for they have always been a haunt for punters seeking a bargain.
But the problem lies deeper than that and stems, I believe, from a lack of interest and vision on the city council’s part.
Officials and councillors have invested little in making the markets an attractive place to shop and next to nothing on promoting them.
They’re desperate to close the huge wholesale market and move it out-of-town, despite the logistical problems this will cause for traders.
They seem keener to attract high street brands and sell land to developers to build swanky apartments than to safeguard and nurture a crucial part of our city’s heritage.
The legacy that this unimaginative bunch leaves to future generation threatens to be the destruction of one of the gems that made Birmingham what is is.
They’re a disgrace to Brum.