February 5th – In that odd, vague and lifeless interregnum between ‘rather ill’ and ‘quite a bit better’ I found myself bumbling around the canals of Brownhills on what was not an altogether bad day.
Here at Middleton Bridge – overlooking open farmland not a ringtoss from where the Staffordshire Hoard found a local metal detectorist – it’s hard not to look at this view and reflect.
On the left was a chemical works in the late Victorian period, that made tar and other such products; latterly an alloy smelter that seemed to process war scrap. Local kids were attracted to the yard full of warplane fuselages and engines for scrap, and for fun, but down in the valley, real metal riches lay just below the surface in a ploughed field.
This stretch of canal is still called ‘The Chemical’ by older locals.
It looks a damn site better now the scrapyard has gone, mind…