BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Black COuntry’

#365daysofbiking I love this post

January 15th – Passing through Darlaston’s Victoria Park on a journey back from the hospital in Walsall late morning, I met this tidy, glossy coated very black cat, languid and sleepy on a fencepost at the Wednesbury Road end of the path.

He wasn’t particularly pleased that I disturbed his sleep, but welcomed my chatter, chin and ear tickles, for the first few minutes barely opening his eyes.

A cat of clearly senior years, I think he must live on the new esate over the back.

And adorable, aloof yet affectionate fusspot, whose acquaintance I was pleased to make.

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#365daysofbiking On the western skyline

December 1st – Looping around and back up Walsall Wood, I became aware I was in the midst of a gorgeous sunset. Chasewater would have been my place of choice to catch such a vivid one, but sadly I wouldn’t make it in time, so I headed up Shire Oak Hill.

The view downhill to Walsall Wood, Walsall and the wider Black Country is always stunning, and it’s a good while since I saw it in a good sunset. It was worth it.

This is one of the greatest local views and very much unappreciated.

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#365daysofbiking A rare burst of sunlight

November 13th – The day was better; better not just in the weather, but in the fact that I was back in Darlaston and not stuck in the hell of the local train service that seems lately to have staggered to a grim halt.

Victoria Park was showing well her autumn coat of many colours and was gorgeous in the late morning as I slid through it on an errand. Oh for the absence of rain, a little sun on my face and for the brightness of a dappled sky!

What has this autumn’s weather been so rotten?

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#365daysofbiking Signal to noise

October 22nd – On my return that evening, I crested Kings Hill during a pink and blue sunset of the most striking kind, and grabbed a chance to catch another of my muses: The Kings Hill cellphone tower with the sky and lights of the Black Country behind.

Antenna, aerials, masts and suchlike have always fascinated me. I know how they work, yet they are still mysterious: Still yet powerful structures exchanging electromagnetic radiation with the atmosphere: Ever present, unchanging yet sinister and secretive.

And particularly beautiful against a sunset or dawn sky…

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#365daysofbiking Crowning glory


October 22nd – Tipton’s Coronation Gardens on a beautiful, sunny autumn day.

The Black Country is my home, the place I love: My past, present and hopefully, future.

William Perry the famous pugilist still takes on all comers here, but is continually humiliated by pigeons. His embarassment is quiet and dignified though,like this small but beautiful park.

When you mention Tipton to people who don’t know the place, they invariably imagine dirt, factories, bleak streets and deprivation.

Both I and William Perry know different. Although he’s still annoyed about the pigeons.

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#365daysofbiking Motortown

October 21st – Nipping over to Bilston mid afternoon on a gloomy, grey Monday, I crossed the Black Country Route near Moxley.

There’s no dobt these new roads of the late 80s and early 90s helped to revive the fortunes of areas like Moxley, suffering huge loss of manufacturing industry, but they did leave many of them feeling like isolated islands in a see of ebbing and flowing traffic.

Moxley church still looks imperious, as it always has done. But now, it lords over a dial carriageway and the frantic hubbub of the daily grind, which I find beautiful and sad.

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#365daysofbiking Always restful

October 17th –  On the way to work, I stopped for a break in Victoria Park, Darlaston – the park curiously formed from a railway cutting abandoned in the 1930s.

It’s always beautiful here in Autumn and today, the trees were just shrugging on their seasonal jackets of gold.

Victoria park is a great example of how urban edge land with a peculiar topology can be repurposed into a beautiful and well loved place, that’s always restful and a real oasis in the heart of a busy town.

I’ll never tire of this place.

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#365daysofbiking On the tiles

July 24th – A sunny morning riding up the industrial, backstreets of North Walsall. In John Street, a pub with an interesting history is still thriving despite it’s secluded position.

The New Inns – or Pretty Bricks (from the tiled frontage) – is a great real ale house, and used to be a folk music venue and gay pub years ago. Now it’s a cosy, well-liked and popular real ale boozer; traditional, cosy, comfortable.

It’s well kept too, and on this sunny day the hanging baskets were spectacular.

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#365daysofbiking What lies beneath

July 7th – It was indeed a better day. The sun was out, the wind had subsided as had the discomfort in my stomach.

I headed out on the canal to Wolverhampton, taking a slow but enjoyable potter down the mainline canal to Birmingham. From there to Aston, where I left the canal and got on a train back to Shenstone.

I noted the Dudley Tourist Board had been working hard to improve it’s customer service at Coseley Tunnel, where I doubt I’ll ever negotiate the southern portal steps with a bike again, although it was certainly an adventure.

Calling at the heavily secured, ghostly Rattlechain Pool, the lagoon concealing many thousands of tonnes of the worst toxic waste was a strange experience: It looks so serene and peaceful, yet the pool – itself just a cap to the material beneath, separated by a thick impermeable skin – is securely fenced and covered by many cameras.

It’s a ghostly and controversial place.

Under the M5 viaduct and Telford’s magnificent Engine Arm aqueduct, the canal is a peaceful, gentle and serene refuge from the mad urbanity above, and the street art is, as ever, fascinating.

Passing on the canal down the Snow Hill flight, I see the view is a matter of opinion. But why? What’s that all about?

A great restorative ride.

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