BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Birchills’

#365daysofbiking Morning due

October 24th – I had to be in work very early and woke up bleary and grumpy. The cold air, clear skies and empty streets as I seed through north Walsall though were gorgeous.

Cycling through sleeping suburbia I heard alarms waking folk from their beds, and watched the day coming to life and I felt a bit like a low rent Dylan Thomas without the talent. There’s something special about being out legitimately obscenely early. I always love it.

The church visible from North Street bridge was beautiful against the sky as was the college and listening skyline.

Riding a bike can really set you up for the day.

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#365daysofbiking An venerable old lady

April 8th – Returning home at gone 7pm in grey light, I spotted this elderly lady watching me from the open space in North Street.

I suspect she’d been having a standoff with a factory cat from the yard over the road.

She looks in good condition and wasn’t fazed by me at all.

Beautiful animal, and a pleasure to see.

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#365daysofbiking Slippery customer

March 30th – Spotted on a recently cropped tree stump near the canal by Birchills locks, some impressively horrid-looking slime mould fungus that looks for all the world that it might spring to life and try to take the country by force at any minute.I’ve not seen any of this stuff for years. It was clearly living off the tree sap and the general moisture on the stump.

Stomach-churning and fascinating at the same time.

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#365daysofbiking No danger

March 21st – A remarkable early riser at the moment in this early and temperate spring is the purple dead-nettle. Not usually seen until mid April around here, there are lovely little mauve-pink patches of this small plant in scrubs, commons, heaths, hedgerows and towpaths everywhere I go.

It doesn’t sting, and I love how the upper leaves have a red colour that compliments the delicate blooms.

In the last couple of years I’ve really come to appreciate nettles – yellow archangel is another member of the family which will soon appear and it’s stunningly beautiful too.

A real gem.

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#365daysofbiking Hello I must be gecko-ing

February 8th -Taking a shortcut through the Tannery Estate in Birchills, North Walsall during the morning I noticed an interesting pair of wall ornaments on the edge of the communal pathway between the apartment blocks.

This metal lizard and frog friend have been carefully mounted on a garage wall, in the gardens.

There’s no obvious reason for them to be there at all, and I couldn’t see any other such ornaments, but they’re beautiful and delightful; a lovely thing.

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#365daysofbiking I dream of wires

January 4th – A stop on the way home on the North Street Bridge, the crossing point between Walsall’s Butts area and Birchills. The view from the railway bridge to the new college and town has always been great at night.

But sadly, no more.

The welcome electrification of the Chase Line railway below has had an unfortunate side effect of ruining the shot, with the overhead gantry stealing the foreground. But I don’t mind – I’d rather have the more reliable commuter service.

The college anyway was dull and in darkness, clearly not open yet from the Christmas break, and Austin House with it’s peculiar white halo was stark in the darkness.

Ah well, change is what happens while you’re not looking… There are other aspects on this view, I guess…

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August 1st – I’ve been enjoying watching the progress of the berries and fruits this year, perhaps more than usual. Mainly I think because with the hot, dry weather I expected the harvest to be very poor, yet it’s far from meagre. Most things seem abundant, and it looks like being a good winter for birds with a bumper crop of haws reddening gradually in the hawthorn thickets and hedges.

These tough, hard berries are a good winter food for many birds, loaded with energy but bitter so they aren’t depleted quickly.

Grandad used to say and abundance of berries meant nature was preparing for a harsh winter.

It’ll be interesting to see if he was right.

March 12th – A grim, rain-sodden commute in both directions. Coming home was a washout.

On the way, I passed the impressive flight of Birchills Locks, whose varied textures and levels made for an interesting photo in the grey, dripping landscape.

A day of warm spring sunshine isn’t too much to ask, is it?

March 6th – Passing through Walsall as dusk fell, I passed by Town Wharf. Whilst the paving and general infrastructure is looking a little tired here these days it’s looking a lot more active in recent months. Now the Wharfinger’s Cottage is occupied, and there’s more on the waterfront, it’s becoming quite a nice place to be.

There are still derelict buildings here though: to the left the old factories still cast a long physical and economic shadow.