BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Brownhills’

#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 Fade from grey

November 30th – A misty, murky day definitely not conducive to good photography. It had been very frosty, but by the time I had change to get out with time on my hands, the frost had gone.

I had business in Burntwood and went via Chasewater and Brownhills Common – the dam looked really eerie in the fog. Spiderwebs on gorse caught water droplets and became precious.

A cold, grey but starkly beautiful day.

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#365daysofbiking Fruition

November 29th – Popping up the hHigh Street at teatime, I noticed the first community funded Christmas tree for Brownhills was now up and lit for the season.

This is a real proof of the power of community – volunteers raised the money and paid for the tree to be erected entirely on their own volition and it’s a beautiful testament to the power of community.

Our first Christmas tree in a decade, I think… well done to all involved: Take a bow!

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#365daysofbiking Dark is the night

November 25th – Returning home, I took the canal from Walsall Wood, but the towpath was horribly waterlogged and muddy, so I headed back towards the Anchor Bridge to get to High Street.

I was struck by the almost ethereal appearance of the pub, it’s reflection in the canal and the effect of the mist gathering on the water.

It was very, very dark, but so very beautiful too.

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#365daysofbiking Nicely dovetailing

November 24th – On the way back from Chasewater to Brownhills on yet another dull, wet Sunday afternoon following a frankly disappointing winter fair at Chasewater, I wasn’t expecting to find much: But I found something fascinating that’s been staring me in the face for decades and I have never once noticed.

It’s fairly well known that when Abraham Darby bullt the Iron Bridge over the Severn at Coalbrookdale, iron was such a new material that many of the jointing techniques used were adapted from carpentery, as that was the understood skillset of the day.

I noticed for the first time today that the Ogley foorbridge over the cut off stub of the Lichfield branch of the Wyrley and Essington canal – recently refurbished – holds it’s guard sides together with a neat, well fitted dovetail joint in cast iron.

The bridge, dating from around 1850 is a listed structure, and I’m beginning to see why. The rails are constructed in two half-crescents with a dovetail centrally, held rigid by a bolted mating sleeve.

It’s utterly beautiful and means the bridge is thoroughly rigid.

I only noticed due to the rust bleed into the ageing paint.

You can always find something, no matter how grim the weather…

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#365daysofbiking Cleaning the equipment

November 23rd – Despite the wet, I had the urge to pop down the Fly Bay track to the north heath. It wasn’t luck, I think my innate deer magnet pulled me that way.

And there they were – a handsome, young stag and his harem mud bathing. He had clay on his antlers that he cleaned off on a bush, the pleasure this gave evident in the stag’s expression.

Within minutes the ladies were on the move, and he drifted after them – a lovely sight on a wet, grey afternoon.

My companion and I were transfixed, and these are not my photos – but I was stood right there when they were taken…

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#365daysofbiking Damper and dampers

November 23rd – Another headache-grey wet day, with a better ride out than expected. I drifted over to Chasewater in the constant drizzle to visit the model shop there, and then went up the causeway to the North Heath.

With barely a soul around, and it actually being quite warm, it gave me chance to take in the misty, grey atmosphere that Chaewater can and does wear so very well.

I studied the power lines with their anti-harmonic and anti-gallop dampers, and wondered at the stress – both mechanical and electrical – they must be under in conditions like these.

And in the scrub and marsh there was muted colour – but colour all the same – in the foliage of the heather and marshgrass, and the marcescent  oaks that pepper the ridge.

The fresh air felt good in my lungs and I’m starting to not mind the rain either – the sort of meteorological Stockholm syndrome one only gets at the end of winter or during very wet summers.

Some cold weather might be nice, though.

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#365daysofbiking Little lights alive

November 22nd – Another horribly wet day. I returned to Brownhills at dusk and the whole town was sodden and grey, but for one thing: The Christmas lights had gone up, and this year they’re rather lovely, I have to say.

In fact, I did notice a light and reflection theme in my photos for the journey home which was unintentional but clearly on my mind.

Oh, for a few dry days though…

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#365daysofbiking Unkind cuts

November 17th – The Canal and River Trust are still doing their best to piss me off, their talent for which is so prodigious I doubt they actually have to try.

After grumbling a couple of weeks ago at pointless towpath grass cutting up on the Anglesey Branch on the way to Chasewater, I see they’ve been up on the canal through Brownhills too.

They are cutting grass that the hungry waterfowl would have grazed overwinter. a colony of earthstar fungus has been destroyed. Grass mulch now is all over the paths, bunging up the bike and folk’s shoes. Parts of the grass that were formerly lush and verdant are now a cropped mud bath.

Why? Who the hell cuts grass in winter? This is sheer, pointless, piss-poor grounds management, and an utter waste of desperately needed cash.

Please stop!

A canal towpath is a wild place. That’s it’s charm – a rough cut twice a year would be more than enough.

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#365daysofbiking Getting the bird

November 17th – Another rain sodden day. I know this is getting repetitive if you read these posts in series, but this is seriously what life here is like at the moment. It’s been so wet for weeks now that I’ve stopped grumbling at having to go out in it; it’s just a sort of a new normal.

The state of this is weird.

Down in Brownhills on a shopping trip, a wander over to the canalised for a loop over to Walsall Wood. The birds here – gulls, mallards, swans, geese and more – didn’t seem as tired of the rain as me, but they did seem a bit fractious. Maybe they were missing human feeding, which on a normal Sunday would be almost constant here.

I notice the goose with the white feathers on it’s head is still around. It’ll be interesting to track it over the winter, and see if it mates or if the colour discrepancy renders it an outsider…

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