August 17th – Well, we’ve had a little rain (but not nearly enough) and something becomes clear: Grass fires are dramatic and worrying and do lots of damage, but as can be seen here on Chasewater Dam heath where there was a fire a month ago, it’s recovering well. The fire has cleared the scubas and fresh plants are shooting anew, and the area, although still scarred, is taking on a green appearance.
The grass fires are awful and so unnecessary, but nature clearly heals, and remarkably quickly too.
July 29th – There have been mercifully few grass fires around our area in this tinder-dry hot spell, which has surprised me. Kids and discarded cigarettes, not to mention the awful disposable barbecue fad, seem to be causing a rash of fires elsewhere as they sadly usually do; but near Brownhills we have so far been impacted only lightly it seems.
One such fire was here on the heath between the dam and bypass at Chasewater; an apparently large fire when reported, it seems that quite a small area has been affected.
Whilst this is a pain, unnecessary and a scourge, it’s not the end of the world: The heath will quickly recover and for a time, smaller species should enjoy a boom, and it’ll soon there will be little sign the fire happened.
Better it hadn’t happened at all, but still…
February 8th – A poor photo, but this could have been expensive. In the bike shed at Telford, a brand new, barely used Boardman bike. Like the Carrera a few days ago, a Halfords own-brand bike, and like Carrera, pretty good quality for the money.
Sadly, the owner isn’t familiar with this kind of cycle rack – his front wheel is in the channel correctly, but his rear beside it. Hooked over the channel at the back end of the rack, waiting to get bent or snapped, the bike’s rear gear mechanism.
I gently lifted it out, and later in the day, found the owner and explained to them how close they were to a costly repair – works bike sheds are far from gently places at knocking off time!
July 11th – Today I noticed an odd little curiosity I’d not spotted before. On the canal at Clayhanger Bridge, the rope guards that were installed on the original bridge were transferred to it’s replacement in 1994.
These rusting metal posts were originally at the vertices of the brickwork on the towpath side of the underbridge. Back when narrowboats were horse drawn, the guards were fitted so that the horse towropes would not groove the brickwork, but the metal instead. The years of boats passing wore deep grooves in the metal, which are a sort of historical witness to the traffic that once passed under here.
There are very few horse-drawn boats now, and the posts are merely there as an artefact. I note they were fitted slightly incorrectly in that they no longer protect the corners, and their positions have been exchanged (the wear would be on the right hand side of the post in the picture) – but well done to those who rebuilt this bridge two decades ago for preserving a little bit of industrial canal history.
How have I not spotted this before?
June 23rd – By the new pond at Clayhanger, the pear tree I found last year seems to have a reasonable crop, but it’s under attack from something bruising or otherwise damaging the fruit.
I’ve not seen anything like this before; the pears grown here last year were small, but well formed and without blemishes.
My grandfather used to say that a late frost catching the fruit blossom would ruin a crop. I wonder if this is what that looks like – after all, we did have a late and quite heavy frost this year?
April 27th – When I left home just after dawn there was a heavy frost; I left Darlaston later in the morning for Telford in bright sunshine, which really highlighted the blossom on roadside trees. Mainly cherry, but some apple and plum, too. Absolutely beautiful.
Sadly though, this doesn’t bode well for a bumper fruit crop like last year; a frost on the blossom now will damage it and reduce the fruit yield.
With such beautiful blooms, hope the weather and sunshine pick up soon.