BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘365daysofbiking’

#365daysofbiking Taking a fence

August 18th – A ride up over the Chase to Milford for a much-needed burger meant a return via the A513 through Satnall Hills between Shugborough and Severn Springs. This fast stretch of road is sadly notable for its high number of deer-vehicle collisions.

I notice an electronic deer deterrent is being tried here. I’ll be honest: I’m sceptical of these things. When I rode past at dusk, the units were just beginning to activate as they only operate from dusk until dawn.

It seems that when they detect vehicles, they emit a weird bird-chirp style noise and flash blue lights. They charge via a small solar cell, and are spaced every 15 metres or so.

The manufacturers IPTE say on their website:

‘The flashing lights of the warning sequence are intended to capture the attention of the animals while the acoustic sound makes the animals feel uncomfortable and stop and leave the roadside area.’

Ignoring the painful tautology of ‘Acoustic sound’ it’s an interesting idea that was tried on the Chasetown bypass but the units were vandalised. I did see a stag in the scrub at the roadside here, but on my appearance he ran back up the hillside.

I guess unless we give it a try we’ll never know if it works. It’ll be interesting to see the results.

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#365daysofbiking Ladies who loaf


August 18th – After a dry few weeks it’s great to see the deer at Anglesey Basin, near Chasewater.

I’m sure I’ve seen this pair of ladies – either close pals or mum and daughter – many times before. The younger one is inquisitive and not easily spooked, whereas the older one seems a bit eccentric, is quite vocal and can be nervous.

I watched them for a while loafing in the meadow, amused at their green chins from the lush meadow they’d been browsing.

Such lovely faces and they look in very good condition considering how scruffy they looked during the moult a couple of months ago. They will be regrouping back into herd groups in coming weeks in preparation for the rut.

Welcome back, ladies.

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#365daysofbiking Filthy scum

August 17th – This needs no explanation: A bag of dog waste, collected by a dog ‘lover’ to look responsible, tossed into the hedge on a canal bank near Clayhanger when nobody is watching. It will now remain here, out of reach, a monument to your lazy disrespect until the wind dislodges it.

This is a filthy, disrespectful and nasty habit.

Those doing this are scum. No more, no less.

Don’t just pick up after emptying your dog, dispose of it’s waste properly. You bought the animal, you are responsible for the shit it extrudes.

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#365daysofbiking A good crop

August 17th – With my fascination with galls, it’s easy to overlook the fruiting of the oaks as it should be, and I’m happy to report this year that the crop of acorns – even though it’s been hit very heavily by knopper gall wasps – is plump and profuse.

The heathy acorns I’ll later gather to spread in hedgerows and on edge lands as is my tradition look better this year than they have for years. I guess a warm but wet season was good for them, if not so much for me.

I always have a dilemma here though: I can collect acorns solely from trees unaffected by knoppers, and assume they have so resistance, but in spreading solely those am I harming the wasp ecology? I suppose I should just spread any acorns I find, but it’s an interesting conundrum…

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#365daysofbiking An only child

August 16th – There’s a small family hanging around Catshill Junction at the moment. The pair of Canada geese who often mug me on the towpath back toward Clayhanger this year had a second clutch, and just one gosling survives.

It’s doing well, however, and is now a large, healthy and undaunted bird, getting its feathers through and generally being doted on by mum and dad.

They were especially tolerant of me today – I think they know me by now – and there was minimal hissing and head-bobbing. Junior was undisturbed and seemed happy enough to pose for me.

A lovely little family – I hope this chicks parents can keep it safe.

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#365daysofbiking Inhaling green

August 16th – Another place I love is Kings Hill Park in Darlaston, one of Walsall’s little known, minor parks.

Sadly in the last couple of years it’s not had the maintenance it formerly had, with resources going to the borough’s ‘Green Flag’ parks instead: We no longer get the planters maintained as beautifully, and the attention to upkeep is more cursory.

However it’s still beautiful and has some gorgeous flowers – just not so many as it did, sadly.

To be here, seeking space from work on a wet, blustery summer day, in peace and quiet with industry just metres away, is bliss. You can stand here, take five and just inhale the green.

A beautiful park, a credit to the town and those who care for it, but it needs more resources sparing for it.

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#365daysofbiking The place I love

August 15th – Some things make a place what it is, although one may not be fond of them in themselves.

And so it is with the Parkview Centre in Brownhills for me.

The former council house and for many years seat of Brownhills Urban District Council became redundant after our absorption into Walsall in 1974. After a good few years as head office for a building company, this four square, red terracotta building stood empty and decaying.

It is imposing, handsome, I guess. Very civic. It’s got a clock that used to be famously and notoriously wrong (but the clock runs to time now, remarkably). It’s part of the fabric and soul of Brownhills, but I’ve never been fond of it architecturally.

After years empty it was extended horribly insensitively and converted into a health centre and library. The extensions are hideous and completely out of step with the building, and the library, although functionally fine, is boxy and dull.

However, in recent years the flowerbed out front before the Miner Island has been beautifully maintained by a local older couple and it is a credit to them, and looks beautiful. It brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

On a decent but clouding over afternoon, it was a joy to the heart. For better or worse, this building is Brownhills, and is my hometown – and I may not be it’s greatest fan but it’s part of the place I love.

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#365daysofbiking Berry wet

August 14th – On Clayhanger Common, the elderberries are ripening slowly. These beautiful, tiny back berries, beloved of winemakers for centuries make a great home brew red wine that’s known for potency and taste.

Elderberries always look beautiful in the rain and are a lovely indicator of a fruitful season ahead.

Although I’d personally not gather these particular ones due to the history of their location, I’ll be out gathering others for a relative when the time comes, continuing a family ritual that’s gone on for decades, if not centuries.

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#365daysofbiking Fancy an Indian?

August 14th – The awful summer continues, with heavy rain for most of the day. Returning from work soaking and miserable, I rode up a deserted Brownhills High Street.

I have no idea what we did to deserve this summer – it’s been grim. Yes, we’ve had good days, but I’ve not been able to get out for a long ride for weeks.

Let’s hope we get an Indian summer to at least compensate a little.

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#365daysofbiking De-stressing

August 13th – On the way back, it was still sunny and having got through my appointment quickly, I had time to dawdle on my way back. I’m glad I did, as near Bently Bridge on the Walsall Canal, I met another family of happy, content mallards being charming.

They weren’t bothered about me, and mama was happy to mind her loose group of developing ducklings from a relative distance as they dozed and chattered to each other in the sun.

Such a delightful little family. Just wthe kind of thing you need after a stressful task.

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