BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

#365daysofbiking Here comes the flood

February 16th – A truly dreadful day which saw a huge amount of rain and high winds. Overnight, lots of local roads flooded and there was much damage.

I ventured out after dark, and noted that the lower meadow at Clayhanger Common was doing it’s usual job. It had flooded, storing the water from the canal and local drains that would previously have swamped the village.

Instead, the landscape forms a lake that slowly and safely drains, keeping Clayhanger dry.

The noise and spectacle of this rushing water is a sight to see, but a remarkable bit of landscape engineering.

I do hope the weather will improve soon.

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#365daysofbiking Stuck in the mud

February 15th – Another weekend, another storm, this time the more mundanely named Dennis.

Dennis was a sod though, bringing heavy rain and high wind.

Slipping out on a foul afternoon to get shopping I hit the saturated towpath to Burntwood. An attempt to plough has been made at Home Farm, Sandhills and seemingly abandoned due to muddiness.

The wind howled and rain sang on the surface of the water.

The only bright spot was the Millfield Commemorative Stones – over 130 of them – that had been driven over by a Canal and River Trust contractor – have been lovingly recovered, washed and placed back in position by local man Micheal Newton Turner, who saw my blog post on the matter.

I sent him an Amazon voucher to thank him for his hard, selfless work.

Brightness in unexpected places is always a joy.

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#365daysofbiking Things that happen when you’re not looking

February 14th – I haven’t been to Birmingham much this winter, and the first time passing though overground since Christmas in daylight made me stop in surprise at a building growing in the Colmore Row business area.

This office block has grown on the site of John Madin’s now demolished brutalist gem 103 Colmore Row: The former Birmingham Natwest Tower.

103 had passed its time and it is right, I guess that it has gone and change is happening. But I do miss it, it was a startlingly beautiful bit of brutalist design – a priapic monument to mammon.

The building replacing it is so far unknown to me: But it seems huge. In my head 103 fitted perfectly, in a forest of towers, but it clearly never was so, and the rising of a replacement is somehow shocking in size and imposition.

This is what change looks like. I’ll be interested to see this develop.

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#365daysofbiking Tenacity

February 14th – Having missed a train at Blake Street station, I took refuge from the cold in the waiting room.

It’s perfectly neat, tidy and cleaned well: But it’s noticeable a visitor from outside is being allowed to come in from the cold.

I loved how this ivy frond  which looked healthy and seemed to be growing well has worked in through the window frame and climbed down the electric cable.

The tenacity of plants is fantastic.

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#365daysofbiking Always a disappointment

February 13th – And on the canal further on, the usual characters are regrouping for the spring rituals. Soon, shady aggressive beggars like this lad will be building nests and chasing off any unwelcome visitors.

For now he was grumpy with me because I had no food.

He glared and honked at me from the water, his contempt at my lack of largesse painfully clear.

To swans, I will always be a disappointment.

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#365daysofbiking – Gaining gradually

February 13th – Food, sleep and love made me feel better, and heading home on a nicer and mercifully shorter day I took to the McLean Way that follows the old South Staffordshire Railway line from Ryders Hayes to Brownhills, for a change.

It really is a gorgeous route and when a bit drier I’ll use it loads more. The birdlife here is terrific, as is the relative solitude and peace.

A real gem.

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#365daysofbiking The ends of the day, ending

February 12th – Around 9pm at the far end of the same day. Bloxwich station.

I felt really tired, and can barely recal riding home. My stomach was uncomfortable and I needed home, tea and a hug.

But I’d done it, and I’m back up and at it. Things, like this train, were moving in the right direction.

I hate being ill.

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#365daysofbiking – The ends of the day, beginning

February 12th – Really getting back into the swing now, but tiredness is a big issue, it has to be said.

Up at stupid o’clock to get a train to Leicester, not many were around New Street Station when I arrived before the commuting day was really kicking off.

I like this place empty, it’s atmospheric and oddly beautiful.

All I needed now was a train…

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#365daysofbiking Yellow reassurance

February 11th – The spiky gorse bushes always seem almost prehistoric in nature, and flower pretty much through the winter in various spots along the canal and on particular local edgelands.

This patch of the spiny, hostile but beautiful shrub has just come into bloom at Clayhanger, adding to the impression that spring is nearly here.

A welcome, if prickly character after the cold and surprise snow of the day before.

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