BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘chemical’

#365daysofbiking Glad

Monday February 22nd 2021 – As if to answer my prayer for colour, my working from home exercise ride took me out at sunset, and I enjoyed it more than I expected, finding myself heading toward Chasewater on the canal.

On the bend near Newtown, looking toward the Chase Road bridge I saw the sky reflected in the canal, and although nearly dark, it was most gorgeous golden red.

Usually about now we go through a period of getting decent sunsets. It doesn’t last long, two or three weeks maybe – and there is a similar effect for a while when the nights close in in Autumn.

It’s one of the markers of entering and ending the winter darkness.

The period in spring always makes me glad – I hope it’s started.

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#365daysofbiking Across the middle-distance

May 20th – I have featured the view over the Watling Street valley between the canal at Chemical Hill, Brownhills and Hammerich many, many times on this journal over the years.

It’s a view dear to me, and the skyline above the rolling slopes of Meerash, punctuated by that elegant church spire and former windmill make for a remarkable view from a former industrial town on the very edge of the Black Country.

I think what makes it special is indeed the in-between: There’s a busy dual carriageway, of course, a well hidden toll motorway too, and a former railway.

But this land also bore the Staffordshire Hoard and I’m sure is still holding on to great secrets.

It’s a fantastic thing to behold.

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#365daysofbiking – Regardless


April 25th – Saturday morning, again shockingly quiet despite protests of ‘too many people ignoring the lockdown’ on social media. Brownhills and the countryside around it simmered gently in the warm sun.

Things are greening over nicely now. The azolla bloom on the canal is gradually decreasing and everything looked magnificent.

I need to record and cherish these times, for they will, I think, get me through future bad ones. These times when you can enjoy the peace of the old cement works bridge or the view over Home Farm and not hear traffic, not see people but just drink in the warmth, the season and the song of birds and the buzz of bees.

Nature is regardless of human woes and that’s a good reason to keep taking the next steps.

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#365daysofbiking Supervision

April 17th – Near Newtown, just near the A5 bridge on the canal, another wonderful sign of spring on a grey afternoon: The swans are nesting here.

This is the first nest I’ve seen in this spot and I think it’s probably the mystery couple from last year who suddenly seemed to appear with hatched chicks, which I think had been incubated in a nest out of sight behind a moored boat.

I noted one bird was supervising while the other did the work. I have no doubt that if the one watching could have folded its wings, it would have done…

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#365daysofbiking Country roads, taken me home

March 15th – The first real ride out for the hell of it in a few weeks proved to be a real tonic. Not far: Just up over to Walsall Wood, Lazy Hill then around the lanes of Lower Stonnall, Hilton and Warrenhouse, but a delight all the same.

I hadn’t been in these lanes for the devil of it for so long. It felt like coming home – and the flowers, views and rain-sodden landscape made me feel at once refreshed and home again.

Whatever happens in coming months, I’ll always have this, my spiritual home.

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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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#365daysofbiking Draining colour

December 8th – I headed back to Brownhills along the canal back towards Catshill Junction, which on the way passes the beautiful view of Hammerwich across the fields of Newtown and Ogley Hay.

I notice now the fields, trees and hedgerows are very brown and lifeless-looking although there seems to be a crop down of some sort.

It will be some months before the gorgeous green comes around again, which always makes me sad.

But this is a beautiful view, whatever the time of year, it has to be said.

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#365daysofbiking A pair of characters

July 20th – Many of the ducks and smaller waterfowl are on second and in some cases I suspect – third clutches of the season. Up by Middleton Bridge I spotted momma and two ducklings.

The bond between the two chicks was very strong and they were characters and entertained me for some time.

One thing that occurs to me is I’ve never seen waterfowl – flightless until quite old – learning to fly I bet that’s something to witness.

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#365daysofbiking Bending the dark:

November 12th -I returned from Walsall via Aldridge and hopped on the canal there. There was a decent sky and conditions seemed quite still, and this view of an unusually quite marina was an interesting experiment from Northywood Bridge.

Must say the chemical plant nearby was smelling rather fresh. Glad I’m not moored here.