BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Brownhills’

#365daysofbiking Filthy scum

August 17th – This needs no explanation: A bag of dog waste, collected by a dog ‘lover’ to look responsible, tossed into the hedge on a canal bank near Clayhanger when nobody is watching. It will now remain here, out of reach, a monument to your lazy disrespect until the wind dislodges it.

This is a filthy, disrespectful and nasty habit.

Those doing this are scum. No more, no less.

Don’t just pick up after emptying your dog, dispose of it’s waste properly. You bought the animal, you are responsible for the shit it extrudes.

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#365daysofbiking A good crop

August 17th – With my fascination with galls, it’s easy to overlook the fruiting of the oaks as it should be, and I’m happy to report this year that the crop of acorns – even though it’s been hit very heavily by knopper gall wasps – is plump and profuse.

The heathy acorns I’ll later gather to spread in hedgerows and on edge lands as is my tradition look better this year than they have for years. I guess a warm but wet season was good for them, if not so much for me.

I always have a dilemma here though: I can collect acorns solely from trees unaffected by knoppers, and assume they have so resistance, but in spreading solely those am I harming the wasp ecology? I suppose I should just spread any acorns I find, but it’s an interesting conundrum…

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#365daysofbiking An only child

August 16th – There’s a small family hanging around Catshill Junction at the moment. The pair of Canada geese who often mug me on the towpath back toward Clayhanger this year had a second clutch, and just one gosling survives.

It’s doing well, however, and is now a large, healthy and undaunted bird, getting its feathers through and generally being doted on by mum and dad.

They were especially tolerant of me today – I think they know me by now – and there was minimal hissing and head-bobbing. Junior was undisturbed and seemed happy enough to pose for me.

A lovely little family – I hope this chicks parents can keep it safe.

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#365daysofbiking The place I love

August 15th – Some things make a place what it is, although one may not be fond of them in themselves.

And so it is with the Parkview Centre in Brownhills for me.

The former council house and for many years seat of Brownhills Urban District Council became redundant after our absorption into Walsall in 1974. After a good few years as head office for a building company, this four square, red terracotta building stood empty and decaying.

It is imposing, handsome, I guess. Very civic. It’s got a clock that used to be famously and notoriously wrong (but the clock runs to time now, remarkably). It’s part of the fabric and soul of Brownhills, but I’ve never been fond of it architecturally.

After years empty it was extended horribly insensitively and converted into a health centre and library. The extensions are hideous and completely out of step with the building, and the library, although functionally fine, is boxy and dull.

However, in recent years the flowerbed out front before the Miner Island has been beautifully maintained by a local older couple and it is a credit to them, and looks beautiful. It brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

On a decent but clouding over afternoon, it was a joy to the heart. For better or worse, this building is Brownhills, and is my hometown – and I may not be it’s greatest fan but it’s part of the place I love.

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#365daysofbiking Berry wet

August 14th – On Clayhanger Common, the elderberries are ripening slowly. These beautiful, tiny back berries, beloved of winemakers for centuries make a great home brew red wine that’s known for potency and taste.

Elderberries always look beautiful in the rain and are a lovely indicator of a fruitful season ahead.

Although I’d personally not gather these particular ones due to the history of their location, I’ll be out gathering others for a relative when the time comes, continuing a family ritual that’s gone on for decades, if not centuries.

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#365daysofbiking Fancy an Indian?

August 14th – The awful summer continues, with heavy rain for most of the day. Returning from work soaking and miserable, I rode up a deserted Brownhills High Street.

I have no idea what we did to deserve this summer – it’s been grim. Yes, we’ve had good days, but I’ve not been able to get out for a long ride for weeks.

Let’s hope we get an Indian summer to at least compensate a little.

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#365daysofbiking Clear waters rising


August 12th – Further back up the canal, on the way home, it’s pleasing to note that the thick mat of algae we’ve had all summer on the local canals is finally naturally receding.

I guess conditions have been perfect for it, so it flourished, but it has been an unsightly rubbish trap for a while now.

Of course, all that green matter is goodness and as it breaks down will be good for the waterlife – and below, the water is crystal clear now.

I’ve never seen a season like if for surface growth.

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#365daysofbiking Lily-white

August 12th – On the canal near Silver Street, Brownhills, the perfection of waterlilies. I love how they’re always a bit grubby, or host to insects. Like brightness in extenuating circumstances.

When I was young, we never had these on the canal at all. They are absolutely gorgeous – and clearly keep the pollinating overflies busy.

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#365daysofbiking Telling porkies

August 11th – Still ill and resting, I just went for a short ride around Brownhills, and checked out the recently controversial clearance work on the former Swingbridge Farm site off Northfields Way, between Brownhills and Clayhanger.

The farm that stood here for pretty much 200 years in one form or another finally shut in the early 90s when the adjacent housing estate was built on it’s land. After a period of dereliction, the buildings were demolished, and it seems the rubble and hardstandings were just left where they lay.

It’s possible the land has now been sold, and the owner is in the process of clearing it, and I must say I was unaware of the sheer amount of masonry and rubble remaining. This was really just a drop and run.

There is no planning application currently relevant for the site despite the gossip circulating, but tales of new estates, big houses and other baseless flapdoodle have been circulating like wildfire.

The simple fact is that nobody’s applied for anything yet and an owner is entitled to clear their own land providing the operation is environmentally lawful, and we’ll just have to wait and see.

But that won’t moderate the gossips to any degree…

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#365daysofbiking Duckling and diving

August 10th – I’d not been well overnight, and ventured out in the afternoon for a gentle bimble. On the canalside near the Pier Street Bridge, I came across mama mallard and her second brood, still doing well, snuggled together in the grass.

Their patient tolerance and perceptible pride made a welcome change from the constant haranguing of the cCanada Geese and swans when trying to get photos.

A lovely little family that cheered me no end.

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