BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

#365daysofbiking Unknown pleasure

March 21st – Meanwhile, up at Kings Hill Park things are moving swiftly on. The crocuses have gone now, and the daffodils – always early here – are past their best and dying off.

However, in the patch of wildflowers near the gate, there are loads and loads of tiny flowers which I thought were violets, but now I’m not sure in a lilac, pastel blue and sky blue selection.

I can’t identify them for sure, but I can say they’re absolutely delightful.

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#365daysofbiking No danger

March 21st – A remarkable early riser at the moment in this early and temperate spring is the purple dead-nettle. Not usually seen until mid April around here, there are lovely little mauve-pink patches of this small plant in scrubs, commons, heaths, hedgerows and towpaths everywhere I go.

It doesn’t sting, and I love how the upper leaves have a red colour that compliments the delicate blooms.

In the last couple of years I’ve really come to appreciate nettles – yellow archangel is another member of the family which will soon appear and it’s stunningly beautiful too.

A real gem.

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#365daysofbiking A small ‘slip

March 20th – As if to cement my good feeling, on a grass verge in Stonnall, an annual first and my favourite flower: The cowslip.

These tough, beautiful little primroses are my absolute favourite flower and it’s always wonderful to welcome them back into my life.

Let’s hope this solitary soldier is the first of a record year!

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#365daysofbiking Looks like I made it

March 20th – In the backlanes between Shenstone and Stonnall, on the way home from the station late on a sunny, warm spring afternoon.

Feeling the sun on my face, looking at the daffodils and green, and smelling the rising of the sap and the scents of earth and fresh growth, I realise I survived another long winter, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be than here, right now.

The winter hasn’t been a harsh one. But my goodness I found it tough.

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#365daysofbiking Oddly empty

March 19th – Returning from work late, around 8pm I sailed through the Civic Quarter in Walsall and found it oddly bereft of people and even the roads were quiet.

Glad to see someone has finally painted over the horrid spots on Hatherton House which although painted by the tenant, were nothing short of an act of vandalism to a historic building.

This place is always odd at night: I love the interrelation of the light, trees and built environment but will always hate those streetlights. Awful design.

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#365daysofbiking A host:

March 19th – I notice this year, due to the early then slightly stalled spring, that the daffodils have been really slow-burning: The came out early, then paused for a while and are now coming out fully.

This is the time of year when verges in towns and industrial estates like here in Telford are absolutely stunning for a few all too short weeks.

These yellow wonders are gorgeous and the perfect antidote to a dark winter.

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#365daysofbiking The world spins

March 18th – I keep banging on about equinoxes, and like the idiot I surely am, I thought I knew about them. It turns out like many things I think I understand, there’s so much more to it than I knew.

Today, the length of the daylight was near as damn it 12 hours: the sunrise was 6:16am and sunset a 6:15pm. Tomorrow, the daylight will be longer than night.

But this is not the equinox (when the sun crosses the equator). This is the equilux – equal light. Although, it’s not really equal at all: A number of factors including how we might use the three definitions of twilight complicate this.

I looked it up tonight and was fascinated. The equinox actually happens on March 20th this year – that’s Wednesday.

You can find out all the gory detail of how this stuff works at this excellent blog post here – the comments are worth a read too if you have time to spare.

You learn something new every day.

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#365daysofbiking A lifetime away

March 17th – On Lea Lane, between Newton and Admaston, a nice country house. Rambling, large, with half its garden oddly over the road, it’s a curious building.

What casual passers-by don’t realise in many cases is that this house, up until very, very recently, was actually a pub called The Wicket. In the middle of nowhere, I guess the pub had a hard time surviving, and closed like so many others. And now, you’d never know.

I went in there once. It was nice enough, but quiet as you’d expect. It seems odd now that I sat with a Guinness in what is now a total stranger’s lounge.

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#365daysofbiking It’s about time

March 17th – Finally a day with a more manageable wind, although it was still hard work, and an afternoon mostly without rain, although it caught me on my evening return. But a good ride, none the less.

Rapidly going stir crazy, I was pleased to note a more temperate day – although it was cold the sun shone frequently and the rain was mostly short sharp showers.

I headed up to Cannock Chase for a decent 45 miler, Pye Green and Brocton Field, the dropped into Sherbrooke Valley and on to Milford. From there, up to Tixall, a place I’ve not been in far too long a time. The architecture and atmosphere of this gorgeous place cannot be overstated, yet it’s mostly missed as it exists in the shadow of tourist magnet Shugborough, just down the road.

I continued to Hixon and skirted Blithfield Reservoir via Newton and Admaston, and passed back through Rugeley and Longone as darkness and rain fell.

Spring is really coming on a pace now, with plump spring lambs in the fields and green evident on the hedges, woods and fields; and on Brownhills Common the deer were clearly currently entering the moult and will soon look like threadbare old rugs that nobody cares for, despite being in excellent condition otherwise.

I’d love to know what a solar loo is though…

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