BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Brownhills’

#365daysofbiking Here comes the flood

February 16th – A truly dreadful day which saw a huge amount of rain and high winds. Overnight, lots of local roads flooded and there was much damage.

I ventured out after dark, and noted that the lower meadow at Clayhanger Common was doing it’s usual job. It had flooded, storing the water from the canal and local drains that would previously have swamped the village.

Instead, the landscape forms a lake that slowly and safely drains, keeping Clayhanger dry.

The noise and spectacle of this rushing water is a sight to see, but a remarkable bit of landscape engineering.

I do hope the weather will improve soon.

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#365daysofbiking Stuck in the mud

February 15th – Another weekend, another storm, this time the more mundanely named Dennis.

Dennis was a sod though, bringing heavy rain and high wind.

Slipping out on a foul afternoon to get shopping I hit the saturated towpath to Burntwood. An attempt to plough has been made at Home Farm, Sandhills and seemingly abandoned due to muddiness.

The wind howled and rain sang on the surface of the water.

The only bright spot was the Millfield Commemorative Stones – over 130 of them – that had been driven over by a Canal and River Trust contractor – have been lovingly recovered, washed and placed back in position by local man Micheal Newton Turner, who saw my blog post on the matter.

I sent him an Amazon voucher to thank him for his hard, selfless work.

Brightness in unexpected places is always a joy.

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#365daysofbiking Always a disappointment

February 13th – And on the canal further on, the usual characters are regrouping for the spring rituals. Soon, shady aggressive beggars like this lad will be building nests and chasing off any unwelcome visitors.

For now he was grumpy with me because I had no food.

He glared and honked at me from the water, his contempt at my lack of largesse painfully clear.

To swans, I will always be a disappointment.

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#365daysofbiking – Gaining gradually

February 13th – Food, sleep and love made me feel better, and heading home on a nicer and mercifully shorter day I took to the McLean Way that follows the old South Staffordshire Railway line from Ryders Hayes to Brownhills, for a change.

It really is a gorgeous route and when a bit drier I’ll use it loads more. The birdlife here is terrific, as is the relative solitude and peace.

A real gem.

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#365daysofbiking Yellow reassurance

February 11th – The spiky gorse bushes always seem almost prehistoric in nature, and flower pretty much through the winter in various spots along the canal and on particular local edgelands.

This patch of the spiny, hostile but beautiful shrub has just come into bloom at Clayhanger, adding to the impression that spring is nearly here.

A welcome, if prickly character after the cold and surprise snow of the day before.

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#365daysofbiking – A new cat of Cathsill

February 7th – Passing through the appropriately named Catshill Junction on the canal near Anchor Bridge, a handsome, dapper puss on the far side of the canal.

I think he’s a new resident. I saw him a few days ago having a standoff with a tabby in the same spot. I’m also thinking I’ve seen him on the towpath side too, which may mean he’s jumping the canal at the toll narrows, or crossing at Anchor Bridge.

Whatever his status, he wasn’t too keen on me taking his picture!

A lovely cat, clearly. I look forward to seeing him more as the days lengthen and warm up.

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#365daysofbiking – Small but positive signs

February 6th – the signs of the nascent spring are all around in the little things. Grass starting to grow again. Snowdrops. Gorse flower. Spring flower shoots. Easter primroses.

And hazel catkins, which although we pass without thought generally, are actually really gorgeous if one studies them, closely.

Spring is in the air, and just a wee bit in my step too.

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#365daysofbiking – Out for a duck

February 6th – My wellbeing is steadily improving, and so is the weather. Finally, it’s seems like spring is on the way and summer might be a thing, too. It’s been a long winter.

I’m still building myself up gradually with rides increasing in length as my energy, and capacity to process food, improves.

It was nice to pause at the Clayhanger canal overflow and chat with the mallards. Unlike the swans, they aren’t fussy about the company they keep.

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#365daysofbiking – Interregnum

February 5th – In that odd, vague and lifeless interregnum between ‘rather ill’ and ‘quite a bit better’ I found myself bumbling around the canals of Brownhills on what was not an altogether bad day.

Here at Middleton Bridge – overlooking open farmland not a ringtoss from where the Staffordshire Hoard found a local metal detectorist – it’s hard not to look at this view and reflect.

On the left was a chemical works in the late Victorian period, that made tar and other such products; latterly an alloy smelter that seemed to process war scrap. Local kids were attracted to the yard full of warplane fuselages and engines for scrap, and for fun, but down in the valley, real metal riches lay just below the surface in a ploughed field.

This stretch of canal is still called ‘The Chemical’ by older locals.

It looks a damn site better now the scrapyard has gone, mind…

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