BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Catshill’

#365daysofbiking Bridge to my heart

Saturday 22nd January 2022 – The endless rain and murk seems to be coming to a bit of a break – and a cessation in this grim period is not a moment too soon, I can tell you.

Out for an evening spin on a clear but cold Saturday – maybe picking up a takeaway on my return depending on how busy they were – I decided to have a punt at photographing the Anchor Bridge from the canalside adjacent to the pub that gave it it’s name. This is a familiar muse to long-term readers, but it makes for a lovely, colourful night photo and really illustrates Pickle’s fascination with bending the dark.

I’ve always loved how this bridge looks so bucolic yet is actually on the very frontier between urban sprawl and rolling countryside. On the far side of the canal, flats and houses all the way through Catshill and Ogley Hay. Behind me to my left, the undulating fields and hills of Home Farm, Sandhills. Ahead, under that bridge, the houses on Lindon Road at the foot of Shire Oak, and Chandlers Keep, the site of a former foundry.

And at the still point, me in silence, listening to the noise of traffic, the wind, the odd instance of wildlife and drinkers filling the space between them with laughter and music.

This spot, this bridge at night are in my heart and soul. It is very Brownhills, and a part of my psyche. Bizarre, but true.

The curry was most excellent.

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365daysofbiking On a lost day like this

Sunday March 28th 2021 – I had errands to do for a relative. They did not go well, but that didn’t matter really as the weather was windy and often wet, and the wasted time did not matter so much.

The only splash of colour in a grim day – The first of British Summer Time – was found in the forsythia growing by the canal at Catshill that I noticed on my return at dusk, at a pleasing 7:40pm.

Forsythia – immortalised in a great song by the band Veruca Salt that US college rock fans of a certain age will know well – used to be really popular in the UK as an ornamental shrub, but seems to have gone out of fashion. It forms a mass of yellow blossom before coming into leaf, and is truly gorgeous.

The reason for it’s decline I can only guess at, but wonder if people confused it with the highly poisonous and similarly yellow laburnum, which flowers much later but there was much anguish over in the 80s and 90s, leading to it’s steady decline.

It’s nice to see, especially on a lost day like this.

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#365daysofbiking Pushing on

Thursday March 4th 2021 – Home again, and a chance to catch the sunset on the exercise ride.

It was an interesting one: A decent sky colour, but not terribly dramatic. I took lots of pictures, but it looked best from the canal at Catshill over the trees.

I could feel maybe a little – just a little – warmth in the air and warm long days are not far away now. For now, I’ll keep pushing on into the dusk, and think longingly of them.

These things, like good sunsets, get me through.

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#365daysofbiking Home guard

Wednesday November 4th 2020 –  Working from home I left at sunset expecting to find a great sunset, but was thwarted by cloud; the disappointment was lessened, though by the lovely pink fading light over Home Farm at Sandhills.

Working from is difficult for me. I don’t mind it on odd days, but I need my commute and fresh air, and I need to be in my place at work with my things around me; during the first lockdown working from home made me very low indeed. I’m determined no to go there again.

I will continue to enjoy sights like this and must have my air and light. This time around, with another lockdown coming, I will of course obey the rules but I cannot allow myself to get as low as last time.I will continue to ride as long as I can.

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#365daysofbiking Foxed

 

Sunday November 1st 2020 – Coming back from an errand in Chasetown, in the early evening, a pair of glowing eyes caught my attention in the hedgerow near Catshill Junction. Undeterred by my light, a fox emerged onto the towpath.

This young male, sadly suffering what appears to be mange on his hind quarters, was relatively unperturbed by my presence and checked me out for a minute of two before trotting off.

Foxes are martyrs to mange, a skin infection triggered by mites that cause hair loss and open, irritating sores.

Thankfully, the National Fox Welfare Society gives away a free treatment in the UK that householders can put into food to treat the disease, and return Reynard to health. To find out more about that, click here.

Always nice to make a fox’s acquaintance, but sad to see this one suffering.

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#365daysofbiking All conkering

Saturday, September 26th 2020 – As I mentioned at my recommencement last week, there are some subjects that are staples of this journal, and I can’t believe I’m a week overdue mentioning my favourite tree: The handsome, gorgeous horse chestnut at Home Farm, Sandhills, visible from the canal at Catshill.

This noble bearing of my life is an integral part of that fine view, and has just started to get on its autumn jacket.

I tell the seasons by this tree, and I judge the weather. I’ve photographed it dawn and dusk, rain, snow, hail and shine. It’s one constant, lovely thing I rely on and feel a great sense of topophilia for – yet I don’t think I’ve ever been closer than a few hundred yards to it.

In a chaotic world, we need anchors. This tree is one of mine, and long may it remain so.

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#365daysofbiking Silly things

May 19th – I’m finding working from home impossible, if I’m honest. It’s very hard to keep focus with family life happening around me. There is no separation, I miss the commute; and I constantly find myself needing things from my den, or elsewhere in my workplace that would make tasks easy but without them they take forever.

I need to go back to work.

In the mean time, my daily outdoors fix is essential, and this evening I spent probably longer than necessary admiring my favourite tree, at Home Farm, Sandhills. This handsome horse chestnut is currently in bloom and looks gorgeous in the Tuesday golden hour.

Some things are markers in the madness. These fields, the canal, the sun, and that tree. They save me from nosediving. Silly things, but there you go.

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#365daysofbiking A golden hour

March 27th – Slipping home in the early evening, I couldn’t resist that quick hop up the canal to see how my favourite tree over at Home Farm was doing. I thought maybe I could seee a hint of green on it, but I think it was wishful thinking.

I gauge the seasons by that venerable, perfectly shaped horse chestnut tree. It’s as part of my life as cycling or drinking tea.

And tonight, in this most imperial of golden hours, it looked splendid.

This journal is moving home. Find out more by clicking here

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