June 30th – At Hints Ford, the water was cool and the air shady and still, and I spent a good 30 minutes just enjoying the relaxed, verdant scene and listening to water.
Sometimes, after a long ride, that’s all you really need.
I’ve been coming here since I was 12. It’s not really changed much, thankfully. This place is in my heart.
June 22nd – With the excellent weather we’ve been having, Friday night, post work rides into Brum have become a thing, it seems, and this evening I really needed it. Into the city by the main line from Darlaston to Great Bridge, then coffee, cake and out again vial Spaghetti Junction, Castle Bromwich and the Plats Brook/Newhall Valley cycleway – one of the finest, anywhere.
A lovely, gentle, restorative ride.
March 17th – I’ll be honest here, I can only fit ten pictures in a post so I include two more shots of the deer. But the other two are of the spillway at Chasewater, fulfilling it’s purpose. With the main reservoir overflowing with rain and meltwater, the surplus has formed a stead river along the spillway and ins flowing into the 1980s era storm drain under the Victorian brick-lined overflow. The new system conducts the flow into the crane brook, a tributary of the Footherley/Black/Bourne Brook, itself a feeder of the Tame.
The storm system is documented in this post on my main blog here.
It will be interesting to see how long this situation is allowed to continue, as the reservoir owners Staffordshire County Council are currently at odds with the Canal and River Trust, who expect access to the water it contains for maintaining the level of the local canals.
I must try and get to the Crane Brook downstream and see what the flow is like before it stops.
March 10th – I had to pop to the garden centre in Shenstone, which always grinds my gears, as there’s no suitable bike parking and the place seems to be cunningly and cynically engineered to hoover money out of the pockets of the older folk who seem to be it’s target customers, mostly in exchange for expensive items one could find cheaper elsewhere. Walking in with concessions of a pet shop, 3 or 4 clothing brands and other such stuff, the actual garden stuff seems a sideline.
I returned from the garden centre grumpy and decided to travel the length of the Lammas Land in Shestone, running from the Birmingham Road to just near Shenstone Station.
Spring is trying to start here, and pleasingly, the daffodils were out, but on the whole, the place was still very much of the winter. I stopped to look at the Shining Stone of Shenstone, which looks no less like a silver turd every time I see it. It’s a peculiar thing.
I was intrigued by the purple alder-like tree I found there – with purple male catkins and the familiar more globular female ones. If the leaves match that will be an extraordinary sight.
April 7th – A day at home doing bits and pieces, and then an errand to Shenstone on a lovely sunny afternoon. On the way, I came over the old bridge at Footherley, and was reminded it was very nearly the anniversary of a piece of graffiti that fascinates me.
I remember the boldly carved script ‘Billy + Tracee 30-4-83′ from when it was new and surprising. Now, nearly 34 years later, I wonder, as I do often who Billy and Tracee were, where they are now, and wonder if they’re still a couple?
I do hope they’re still local, still together, and pass this, often as a reminder.
April 4th – The people living by the pool formed from the Trunkfield Brook at Cathedral Walk in Lichfield have a rare treat right outside their front door: nesting swans. Presumably, mum is sitting while dad stands cautious (and probably bombastic) sentry. How lovely to be able to watch cygnets grow at such close quarters.
Not so lovely perhaps for any pet cat or dog at the same house who will be unable to go about their business without the noisy attentions of a protective swan…