BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘canal’

#365daysofbiking Fair field

October 6th – A favourite local view – from the canal over to the hills of Hammerwich is unexpectedly green right now. Well, green and yellow.

The slopes of Meerash to the old railway are bright green with fresh crop growth and are dusted with bright yellow. Clearly a flowering winter crop.

I wonder what it is? Must go check it out when I feel better. A fare treat to the eye, that one.

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#365daysofbiking Something of the night

October 5th – Heavy with a cold on a week when I could really have done without it, a run over to Burntwood on errands on a grey afternoon.

On the canal on the way to Chasewater, I spotted this handsome, very black puss taking the air on a back garden angling peg.

Regarding me with clear disdain, it only moved to glare at me, following which this patch of sleek blackness resumed its neighbourhood watch.

Clearly something of the night about this gorgeous, wonderfully aloof and cool cat.

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#365daysofbiking A small bimble

October 2nd – I was recovering after the hospital appointment, but fresh air called and I took a spin out in the afternoon, enjoying the sun for a circuit of Brownhills, Walsall Wood, Pelsall and Clayhanger.

Slow and leisurely, I wanted to see if I was up to riding. Thankfull I felt no ill effects.

At Clayhanger Bridge I met the Watermead family, all now large birds, having a communal preen by the canalside. They tolerated me, and only went for my ankles a couple of times.

Beautiful, adorable birds.

To my surprise, Mr. Miyagi the turtle was basking too, but slid back in the water before I had my camera. Didn’t expect to see him out so late, but always nice to see.

The fresh air improved my mood and it was nice to find my riding wasn’t impeded.

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#365daysofbiking Heliophile

September 28th – Out in the afternoon for an errand in Lichfield, and I noticed that the deer had trampled a gap in the hedge near Home Farm from the canal towpath at Catshill, again returning a good view of my favourite tree – the magnificent horse chestnut near the farmhouse.

Surprisingly, it has yet to become very autumnal.

However, a lone oddity in the foreground caught my attention: A solitary, large sunflower going at the field margin.

A truly wild specimen, it can only have got there via the mechanism of bird digestion.

What a fine serendipitous thing!

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#365daysofbiking Night moves

September 27th – Slipping out late on an errand, I thought I’d really give night mode on the phone a go.

You know what? I’m not struck. It generates very colourful, sharp images – but also, very noisy. It is indeed a triumph of software over physical limitation – but it’s nowhere near as good as using a dedicated camera.

It will be handy, but I think it needs some refinement to be honest.

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#365daysofbiking Quick change

September 26th – All of a sudden, the leaves are turning. In a matter of days, what was the odd tree turning is now spread throughout, and autumn is kicking into gear.

Hear near Anchor Bridge on the Brownhills-Walsall Wood border is a great place to admire the season’s palette.

The nip in the air, the fading greens and darker evenings mean we really are heading fast towards year’s end now.

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#365daysofbiking Autumn on my shoulders


September 25th – A better day after all the rain. On a soft morning with light, hazy sun and the smell of the canal and wet earth, the grim trials and disappointments of the previous weekend seemed a million miles away.

It was still warm, and I have to keep reminding myself that we’re only a whisker from October, and The Suck, the season until Christmas of night-time commutes where the conditions and driving are a nightmare.

Autumn is certainly on my shoulders but today, with my sleeves rolled up and the waterfowl chattering, I could kid myself I had a few more weeks yet…

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#365daysofbiking Making the best of things

September 22nd – Dejected and wistful, we pottered up the old line into Birmingham, through Oldbury. The rain held off. The flowers and berries that were out welcomed us and glistened in there coating of raindrops. The towpaths were wet, but made for good riding. There were few people around, and the verdant, still mostly green canals were a real tonic.

Past the old engine house, Tollhouse Loop, M5 Viaduct and engine arm, and into central Birmingham. The mood improved.

An interesting graffiti writer had been at work, leaving neat-script, cryptic phrases at intervals from the Soho Loop to the ICC. That was engaging and something to spot and ponder over.

At the city centre, food, drink, then up the A34 cycleway to the canal at Perry Barr, and home via Ray Hall and Rushall Junction.

A bad day had been pulled around. The rain held off. Deep down, it didn’t feel so bad. But I’m getting far too old to work weekends – I was exhausted.

But there was one inescapable thought – if those folk at Tipton had held on, they’d have had a decent afternoon.

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#365daysofbiking Washed out, wet and sad – a wasted journey

September 22nd – I’ve always enjoyed Tipton Canal and Community festival, and while at work on the Sunday morning, I decided to visit that one rather than Huddlesford as it was closer when I finished work around lunchtime.

The weather so far had been grey, but as I left Darlaston with a friend, it was only spotting with rain – and hey, we had waterproofs and enthusiasm. After all, I went last year on the Saturday. It pissed down all the time I was there but the atmosphere had been great and it was actually really fun.

I’d checked with the organisers online that all was still happening.

And then we arrived. What a disappointment.

Most of the boats had gone, or were closed up. Most of the stallholders were either packing up, or were not there. The rain was steady, but not terrible. There were few folk around. I have to say – and any reader here for more than 5 minutes knows I’m a positive person – It was bloody awful. It was barely 1pm – halfway through what was specified as an all afternoon event.

We bought ice creams from an almost apologetic ice cream man, listened to singers on the live stage with only their parents and us watching. We mooched around the few stalls and rides left. We were thoroughly dejected – we’d wasted a journey here.

The only really bright spot was the Master Butchers, a duo playing determinedly and with good humour to a tiny number of fans. I so felt for them, like the folk on the stage.

I know the forecast was bad. But where was the Black Country, British spirit of damn the weather? At several events this year I’ve felt that all of a sudden this country can’t do bad weather and the first bit of rain sees people go home. So sad. Tipton is a town I love and care for, and this event is a highlight of the year. What on earth went wrong?

As we stood deciding what to do next, the rain petered out. We shrugged, checked the online weather, and made for Birmingham and a bit of canal exploration to make the best of a sad afternoon.

So far it had just not been my weekend.

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