BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Aldridge’

#365daysofbiking Foreboding

Sunday February 7th 2021 –  Out on a short ride up to Aldridge, it was bitingly cold and I could sense winter coming in again for another go.

I don’t mind the cold; it’s life affirming and just part of life’s pageant, after all, but I’m aching for this winter to end. The foreboding told me my relief would still some way off.

The canal was grey and the towpath hedgerow still very much of the season, and the ride was hard work.

Oh well, while you’re marching you’re not fighting…

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#365daysofbiking Not what I had in mind

New Years Day, Friday January 1st 2021 – I had this daft idea to go up Barr Beacon and catch a great, frosty winter sunset – the first of the year – with a big zoom camera. So I charged up the Nikon P990 and headed off.

I was soon up on the Beacon, it’s not far. I was pleased with myself: My fitness was well up to the long climb, unusual at Christmas. Especially with my advancing age.

Just one snag.

The sun went down with barely a whimper, and everything was dull. The photography was terrible.

Not only that, the melting snow up there had seen so many feet – it wasn’t even attractive to photograph. Cursing, I left, and did a lazy loop of Queslett, Streetly and Aldridge.

On impulse, I headed for the canal between Aldridge and Walsall Wood, and I liked the marina boats, smell of woodsmoke from stoves and soft lights. The ride was saved, sort of.

As I ploughed back towards Brownhills – the towpaths were hard going, not with ice, but unrelenting mud and sludge – I thought I’d have a go at Clayhanger Bridge with the Panasonic. Not too bad considering the lack of moonlight. A lot of colour in a very dark scene. I liked it.

Some days, you don’t get what you want from a ride, but you do get what you need. And that’s totally OK.

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#365daysofbiking Ghost town

April 4th – A trip out to buy essentials – once a casual, carefree, incidental thing – is now a mission. It involves queueing, or planning which shops to visit who might have stock of what you need.

Nothing is simple anymore. Everything is an extra effort, or requires planning or more time. Even finding a curry or getting fish and chips.

In Aldridge, mid Saturday afternoon. There was the odd, waiting, mostly empty bus. The supermarkets – Morrisons, Home Bargains, Iceland – were steady, but with social isolation measures, a queue to get in each made shopping tortuous.

And then, beyond the carparks this… sunlit ghost town.

These are the strangest days I’ve ever known, or will again.

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#365daysofbiking Country roads, taken me home

March 15th – The first real ride out for the hell of it in a few weeks proved to be a real tonic. Not far: Just up over to Walsall Wood, Lazy Hill then around the lanes of Lower Stonnall, Hilton and Warrenhouse, but a delight all the same.

I hadn’t been in these lanes for the devil of it for so long. It felt like coming home – and the flowers, views and rain-sodden landscape made me feel at once refreshed and home again.

Whatever happens in coming months, I’ll always have this, my spiritual home.

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#365daysofbiking Gimme shelter

March 11th – Going to work via a call in Aldridge on a wet day, I sheltered under Northywood Bridge near Stubbers Green.

It gave me an opportunity to study the boats in the yard nearby.

I noted the one closest to me – a handsome, large craft – was loaded with junk. Perhaps someone was clearing it out.

I couldn’t help but wonder if the halloween pumpkin was to ward off evil spirits deliberately, or was just where it happened to land…

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#365daysofbiking Spruce up

December 28th – I called in a a friend’s house, who’s garden was done the whole hog for Christmas – but unlike the usual garish, flashing lights theirs were small, gentle and beautiful.

There is something unendingly charming about Christmas lights on spruce, and I can see why it has captivated generations.

It was nice to see something so pretty amidst all the garish flashing and glare elsewhere.

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#365daysofbiking A dying breed

December 24th – Christmas Eve at last, and a day carrying out errands. Stopping in Aldridge for coffee, I spotted this nice, little used ladies town bike.

A Pashley copy, it bears the brand ‘Pendleton’ – a hHalfords tie in with Victoria Pendleton, female cycling star, much like their Boardman brand.

These bikes were in fashion about a decade ago, but seem to have waned as folk realised that a heavy, cumbersome bike make make you look like Audrey Hepburn from afar but the sweat it caused didn’t aid the cycle chic.

This one is actually very cute and in beautiful condition. Compliments too on the proper locking strategy.

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#365daysofbiking Misty morning sunlight

October 28th – The descent into winter seems quite fast now: Heading off to get the train to Brum and onward to Telford on an early morning with frost on the ground and ice on the roads – and I’ve not got the winter tyres on yet, as the bike reminded me in an unguarded moment.

Stability restored, the sunlight streamed through the trees of Mill Green and despite the chill, rendered the day precious.

As welcomes to winter go, that wasn’t so bad.

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#365daysofbiking Dem feet tho


July 5th – Riding through Aldridge on the canal down through Longwood and Park Hall, the water life was busy and the canal limpid and green.

What interested me most were the water birds: I was once again reminded how very odd swan feet are – by a cygnet in this case – it’s foot tucked up on it’s back in rest position. They odd leathery texture – and those claws!

There was a gorgeously aloof, elderly heron too – who was active and looked in good health, except when he walked off I noticed a curious growth on his foot.

It wasn’t affecting his walk at all and he didn’t seem to bother him at all. I found myself wondering if it was some kind of ganglion like humans get.

Strange.

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#365daysofbiking The wind that shakes…

#365daysofbiking The wind that shakes…

May 23rd – Seemingly very early to me, but probably not: The barley is growing beautifully in the fields all around us at the moment. Every year seems to have a different crop that local farmers major on, and this year beans and alley seem to be the popular choices.

Barley is an odd crop aesthetically: it’s spiny heads interact with the wind in a beautiful way and the colours are stunning, yet close up it seems almost hostile and maybe just a bit insect-like.

Either way, it’s a sign of the rapidly advancing summer and made for a lovely sight on a beautiful morning.

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