January 22nd – This is a very strange winter we’re having. I hope spring and summer prove more traditional. It’s not really been very cold, but it’s been horrendously wet. I’m so used to rain now that it barely surprises or bothers me, and I think I’m developing a love of it, like some weird meteorological Stockholm syndrome.
At the moment, the warm damp is masquerading as a heavy, cloying mist-drizzle that’s settled here for the best part of a week, really. It’s grimy and horrible to ride in, and is also keeping the fumes and smell down from the local landfills and industry, making the whole atmosphere feel dirty and polluted.
Leaving Bloxwich station I passed a couple of the town’s many backstreet boozers: The venerable Romping Cat, as classic a Black Country pub as one could find, and the more boisterous Spotted Cow, which despite a chequered history, hangs on as a popular local’s pub.
In the murky, nasty mist they looked beautifully warm and welcoming. I could have slipped in there and then for a pint.
But this wasn’t 1995, and that isn’t the current version of me. So I admired these watering holes from the street, remembered fondly long gone days with workmates and their many, many post-work pints, then rode home.