BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘bloxwich’

#365daysofbiking The ends of the day, ending

February 12th – Around 9pm at the far end of the same day. Bloxwich station.

I felt really tired, and can barely recal riding home. My stomach was uncomfortable and I needed home, tea and a hug.

But I’d done it, and I’m back up and at it. Things, like this train, were moving in the right direction.

I hate being ill.

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#365daysofbiking Mist but not missed


January 22nd – This is a very strange winter we’re having. I hope spring and summer prove more traditional. It’s not really been very cold, but it’s been horrendously wet. I’m so used to rain now that it barely surprises or bothers me, and I think I’m developing a love of it, like some weird meteorological Stockholm syndrome.

At the moment, the warm damp is masquerading as a heavy, cloying mist-drizzle that’s settled here for the best part of a week, really. It’s grimy and horrible to ride in, and is also keeping the fumes and smell down from the local landfills and industry, making the whole atmosphere feel dirty and polluted.

Leaving Bloxwich station I passed a couple of the town’s many backstreet boozers: The venerable Romping Cat, as classic a Black Country pub as one could find, and the more boisterous Spotted Cow, which despite a chequered history, hangs on as a popular local’s pub.

In the murky, nasty mist they looked beautifully warm and welcoming. I could have slipped in there and then for a pint.

But this wasn’t 1995, and that isn’t the current version of me. So I admired these watering holes from the street, remembered fondly long gone days with workmates and their many, many post-work pints, then rode home.

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#365daysofbiking That was a bit nippy

November 18th – It was a cold, thankfully dry journey home. The roads were glistening with ice, and the main ones, a fresh scattering of road salt.

The first icy commute home of the winter is always hard. My hands and face were cold. It hurt.

Stopping at a shop in the way home, I noticed that the temperature was marginally still above zero degrees Celsius.

That was a shock. it felt much colder.

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#365daysofbiking Station to station

October 16th –  I didn’t use Bloxwich station for years, as the Chase Line trains that shuttle this line between Birmingham and Rugeley tended to be horrendously crowded into city, and a similar nightmare in the evenings, but since the line has been electrified with longer trains, it’s been a lot more convenient.

The station itself is little more than a suburban halt, but welcoming enough and I love the lighting at night. Where it does win for me is it’s a nicer ride home than Walsall, Blake Street or Shenstone, and about the same distance.

The train times don’t often work for me and this service, so I’m unlikely to be a regular user but I’m growing to like it. The Chase Line upgrade has been good for me and once the service wrinkles are ironed out it could be very useful indeed.

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#365daysofbiking Striking shrooms

September 24th – Passing by the memorial gardens in Bloxwich on my way home, a bright flash on a damp tree stop caught my eye.

Stopping and rolling back, some remarkable toadstools growing there. They look almost like tiger bread, and were brighter than even honey fungus. I have no idea what they are and haven’t had chance yet to look them up.

Remarkably beautiful.

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#365daysofbiking Strange signals

September 19th – Returning to Bloxwich station, I alighted at the north end of the platform. Since the electrification of the Chase Line, I’ve been wondering about some aspects of the installation.

I note the metalwork of the light column near this signal control cabinet and the guard rail behind has been heavily insulated and screened. I’ve not seen that before. Wonder what’s in the cabinet that’s so dangerous?

The other columns are not insulated in the same way. Puzzling.

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#365daysofbiking Late night feelings

July 26th – All hell broke loose in the afternoon. I had to travel out to investigate an unexpected job. I returned at near enough 11pm by train to Bloxwich.

The night was warm, and the train and station quiet.

I prepared the bike and looked down the line. I was tired, no, worse than that, exhausted. But stood there  in the LED light, feeling the night air and listening to – well, nothing – I felt I was near home.

For the first time since last winter, I had those late night feelings again.

What is it with me and railway stations at night?

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#365daysofbiking Monumental controversy

July 22nd – I’ve been riding through Bloxwich more often since the Chase Line upgrade, and I keep passing the remarkable sculpture of Lady Diana Spencer outside the monumental Masons that commissioned it. It’s certainly an unusual landmark.

The sculpture was made around the year 2000 in tribute to the deceased Princess, but when unveiled, it was black, shiny granite and was ridiculed for looking more like Diana Ross (according to a local politician of the day) or Dennis Nordern in the view of a local news commentator.

It was donated to Walsalls Council, who refused it, declined to place it in the local art gallery, and ended up back with the donor after plans to put it on display were apparently vetoed by the palace.

Since then, it was sandblasted to remove the sheen, and it stands outside the Masons being, well… Somewhat incongruous.

I think it’s absolutely bloody awful.

You can criticise almost every aspect of it – but the one thing nobody ever comments on that has always baffled me – the shoes.

Has she just come from welding on a ship and forgot to change her boots?

A curious bit of local legend.

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#365daysofbiking Slight return

March 22nd – Returning from Telford on an absolute bastard of a day, I couldn’t face the run from Walsall station and decided to get off the train at Bloxwich for a change.

Bloxwich railway station is functional – two platforms, two shelters, that’s it: A modern day, urban halt. But tonight, with stomach cramps and an aching head, it was good to arrive in fresh, cool air and look at my quiet, darkening surroundings and be thankful that I was nearing home.

I like this station, for all it’s dystopian desolation. Tonight, it felt like a homecoming, a return. The weekend ahead, peace and good company.

Sometimes, that’s all you need to make you feel better.

I made it home with the wind behind me in 22 minutes.

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#365daysofbiking Platform game:

October 25th – Unusually, I had stuff to do in Bloxwich, so returning from a meeting in Birmingham, I alighted there instead of Walsall. It was dark and the only lights on the platforms were in the waiting shelter.

So here come the late night feelings again…