BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘commute’

#365daysofbiking All things must pass

Monday January 11th 2021 – Life is grim in the UK right now: The pandemic is claiming higher and higher numbers of people every day, and the economy is taking sustained hits from it and Brexit. It’s taking superhuman levels of self discipline to be able to just listen to a radio news bulletin.

But all is not lost: The darkest hour comes before dawn and the vaccine is being distributed quickly and professionally. It’s nice to see science working so well.

In the midst of all this I ride my bike to and from work as usual, in an often alienating world of masked up, hostile fellow citizens. Some days it feels like normality will never return.

But it will, and the spring flowers know it. Jack in the Green has tapped the ground with his cane, and everywhere you look fresh green shoots are optimistically shooting skyward, in anticipation of the warming spring sun.

They know like we must all  know deep down, that these cold, grim days will pass. And so they will.

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#365daysofbiking Glad to be back

Friday January 8th 2021 – A warmer day, but not much: The snow was mostly melted and the frost slight as I headed home from work.

Between Catshill Junction and Anchor Bridge I opted to leave the muddy canal and hit the High Street.

I always like the end of the first working week after Christmas. The festivities seem an age away, it’s now not really dark until well past 4:30pm and things seem to be heading toward spring. Of course, the pandemic is a huge worry, as is Brexit and problems it’s causing at work, but I think we can endure.

It’s actually nice to be back in my routine.

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#365daysofbiking Whitening

Thursday January 7th 2021 – I slipped out of work as Paul Simon might have said, onto a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. It was fun to ride home in, but very cold. We’ve not had a cold snap in several years now and this is being quite a shock to my ageing system I can tell you.

Heading up the Spot Path across Clayhanger Common the snow was pristine, and nothing except owls and the sound of snorting deer in the wood nearby dared disturb the peace.

I love evenings like this, but my knees don’t!

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#365daysofbiking Remember I was vapour

Wednesday January 6th 2021 – We’re in the midst of a bit of a cold snap right now, which makes a refreshing change from the relentless rain of the last few months.

One of the things that fascinates me about modern life in cold weather are the plumes of steam emitted by the vent flues of gas boilers. Nowadays emitting little more than water vapour, on cold nights they catch the light and look absolutely stunning in the right light.

Here at Pier Street in Brownhills the heating in the former Senior Citizens day centre was running, and blowing out a fair old plume – as were the houses in line with it further down.

Captured with an iPhone, not a bad pair of photos, I think.

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#365daysofbiking Quick Silver

Tuesday January 4th 2021 – A better evening commute, but I was in a hurry to get home. We’re now back in full lockdown, and the world felt that little bit more hostile to be out in, so I just swept through the Silver Street Marina area, and took some quick shots looking up the canal to the Watermead Estate.

It’s not a bad spot this, but the paving at the waterside desperately needs some love – it’s uneven and breaking up. The view is nice though, and a bit of welcome calm in a mad world. You’d never believe this was central Brownhills.

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#365daysofbiking Not fade away

Monday January 3rd 2021 – Back to work, with the country seemingly in limbo, with a government unsure whether to put us in full lockdown or not. Another year, more dire politicians.

I came home on a wet evening along a very wet canal, and hopped off the towpath at Anchor Bridge. As I rounded the corner onto the High Street, it occurred to me to try a photo of the canal – another semi-regular night photography muse I hadn’t tried with the new camera.

I love how the colours are strong here at night, and never really fade. It’s one of those timeless views I guess.

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#365daysofbiking Splendid isolation:

Monday December 21st 2020 – I can’t get used to Walsall deserted, especially at peak times. The effects of this pandemic will resonate socially for years, in ways we’re only just beginning to see – the death of town centres is clearly being accelerated.

The town’s Christmas tree, today standing in splendid isolation in St Pauls Square is an excellent specimen, though and cheered me up. The twenty year out of time, brutalist, newly renovated bus station beyond it looked welcoming, too, if only for the want of passengers. Must say the warm white lighting in there was a clever choice.

It’s hard to believe that this is 4pm on Monday before Christmas. Strange days indeed.

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#365daysofbiking Lit for nobody in particular

Friday December 18th 2020 – I had to pass through Walsall as I headed home from work. I had an errand to do, and I left as night fell. I thought I’d take a look at Town Wharf, the canal basin at the top end of town that was always intended to be the heart of Walsall’s millennial rebirth that wa in reality a slow developing child that 20 years later is still immature.

The Wharfingers cottage, rebuilt after it’s accidental demolition (!) is a good example: Empty for pretty much 15 years, it was finally occupied by a restaurant. Sadly, as we are in lockdown, they are confined to take-away only.

The lighting though, is gorgeous, and makes for a lovely photo. I always find this area bittersweet: It photographs beautifully but there’s always the vague smell of lost horizons here.

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#365daysofbiking The changing skyline

Thursday December 17th 2020 – Another classic muse for me in winter is the view from Catshill Junction Bridge towards Brownhills, over the wide of the junction to the new flats in the foreground.

When I started this journal, only the tower block to the left was here and the rest was mostly derelict scrub, cleared of a large tower block in 2004.

As the years passed, new housing appeared and the skyline has totally changed – you used to be able to stand here in a feeling of solitude, but not anymore. Humanity is close now: You can smell cooking, cigarettes. Hear chatter, TVs and kids playing.

The skyline has changed, for the better, and I think makes for a more interesting photo. But I do miss the solitude a bit.

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#365daysofbiking That’s enough for now, please

Wednesday December 16th 2020 – Talking of water, the overflow at Clayhanger Bridge, safely conducting the excess canal water to the Tame via the Ford Brook is at a fair pelt in this wet season. I really am getting fed up of the mud and rain and would like a dry spell for a while.

With everything that’s going on in the world, would it be really be too much to ask for a cessation in the mud and wet grime of urban life with daily rain?

I shan’t hold my breath but I fear I might be getting webbed feet.

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