BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Darlaston’

#365daysofbiking Shroom for improvement

Monday November 23rd 2020 – It’s not been a good autumn for fungi, if I’m honest. The weather was pretty dry and many of the usual damp-loving species popped up at the wrong time or not at all. I saw very few decent fly agaric, no Japanese or shaggy parasols, and very few ink caps.

But as I noted today when the frost of the night before had passed, there are some examples about. This cap I couldn’t identify had clearly been broken and lay downside up on the grass verge outside work.

The gills and the detail in them are absolutely beautiful.

It’s nice to be reminded of the beauty of toadstools now and again. Hope they have a better season next year.

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#365daysofbiking Devotional

Tuesday November 17th 2020 – One of the nice things about lockdown Remembrance has been the impromptu and additional devotional displays in towns and villages throughout the country. Decorating of railings, parks and war memorials have been undertaken lovingly and in line with guidelines, creating a sense of community endeavour that has sustained even in lockdown.

One beautiful example are the tributes at Darlaston Town Hall I passed while nipping to the post office on my lunch hour.

I particularly liked the purple poppy dog, the purple poppy symbolising the the sacrifice of animals in war.

My compliments and thanks to the people who created this. It’s gorgeous.

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#365daysofbiking These days will surely pass

Tuesday November 10th 2020 – Autumn seems to have lasted for ages this year, and at the same time, seems to have passed in the blink of an eye; but then, it doesn’t seem five minutes since I was delighting in daffodils here in Kings Hill Park, but this most unusual of years has passed quickly.

I’m hoping the future holds a return to some kind of normality, but for now, my traditional anchors keep me stable, and as November ticks away and turns to my least favourite season Winter, I look to the changeless things to keep me going.

My beloved twin sisters are still watching over Wednesbury and the last of the golden leaves are now falling. They have seen this season many times, those spires and they will yet see many more. They have witnessed war, disease, boom and recession; Christenings, weddings, funerals and the Sunday worship of generations. They know as I do that these days will surely pass.

So I look to them and feel comforted that in unsteady times, there are still my anchors to rely on, here in my beloved Black Country.

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#365daysofbiking Acceptance

Tuesday November 3rd 2020 – A better day with milder weather and better cycling. I crossed Kings Hill Park on an errand, and stopped to admire the autumn colour.

There comes a point in autumn where you have no choice but to roll over and accept the darkness and cold, and just get on with it – but the consolation is always the colour and what the season does to favourite places like this park.

Autumn isn’t too bad once you stop fighting it, and then it becomes stunningly beautiful.

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#365daysofbiking Last of the year

Wednesday, October 28th 2020 – Over in Darlaston, the parks – Victoria and Kings Hill – are gorgeous in their seasonal jackets. I notice there are still beautiful flowers in bloom in the planters at Kings Hill, and the fallen leaves make for lovely colours in these vital, hidden gems.

I will always shout up for the parks in Darlaston: They get very little attention and they are such a lovely part of the town.

A real spirit lifter on the way to work.

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#365daysofbiking Slipping away

Tuesday, October 13th 2020 – Another darkness commute, and less than two weeks until the clocks go back. I hate this time of year, I really do.

The one downside of having a GPS on the bike is that it allows you to morosely monitor the closing in of the days, but also the opening out, which is why I keep the data field active.

As the daylight slips away and I get used to the return of the night, it’s hard to find good images and can be difficult to be positive: But in truth, you can’t have the great, long days of high summer without paying for them with cold, rain-sodden commute in winter.

So onward, into the dark…

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#365daysofbiking Respecting the elders

Tuesday, September 29th 2020 – Out and about the leaves may be starting to turn but there are still plenty of fruits, berries and seeds about. Crab apples and conkers litter the ground and edges of roads; acorns crunch as you ride past oak trees overhanging canal towpaths; one often startles birds picking at the last, dripping blackberries clinging on to wayside thickets.

The black and glistening favourite of home wine-makers, the elderberries, did not seem to have a good season this year with small, sparse fruit with only the odd profuse bush. But some still cling on, mainly to feed the birds.

As usual, there are still plenty in Victoria Park, Darlaston. For some reason the local winemakers generally leave these for the birds.

Seeing these handsome berries is bittersweet, like the fruit itself, for they signify the end of summer.

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#365daysofbiking Shroom to manoeuvre

Monday, September 28th 2020 – This journal is now so venerable that I feel it has seasonal traditions, and one of the most important to me is it’s devotion to documenting the fungus season with the many photogenic and interesting varieties of toadstool, ball, mould and slime that abound in autumn.

The mycology is tragically overlooked – it’s a huge kingdom completely different to any other, and without it life on earth could not function at all. And when it blooms and fruits, it’s stunning in its otherworldly beauty.

So far this dry autumn, there hasn’t been much fungal action but with showers in recent days hopefully the shrooms will have the trigger they need to emerge.

I’ll kick it all off this year with these humble but beautiful honey fungus, spotted by the canal in Darlaston on my way to work. Hopefully the first of many this year.

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#365daysofbiking Berry colourful

Friday, September 18th 2020 – One of the joys of late summer/autumn fruiting is pyrocanthus, colloquially known as firethorn.

This colourful member of the apple family – it’s fruit are not really berries but pomes, i.e. apples – is insipid to humans with mildly poisonous seeds within, but very valuable for wild birds as a long lasting food source into the cold months.

For bystanders, though, if means beautifully vivid boughs laden with glistening fruit in shades from nearly white to deep, deep read, a real autumn treat.

These bushes near Darlaston entertain me every year.

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#365daysofbiking Consumption

Today, a tentative restart.
Firstly, an apology:

  • I have been rather ill, tired and on my knees.
  • Work was about all I could do for weeks. A period of working from home drove me very low indeed. I love to be out with people in my niche, the isolation was very bad for me.
  • I am recovering physically and mentally, and my distance cycling is back, and now commute both ways to work again. For a period I drove one way, rode home and back, drove home and back etc.
  • Like all of us, the pandemic has been strange.
  • What’s been stopping me updating is I have all the photos for the missing days, but I’m just so far behind, catching up is daunting. *I will fill the gap but have to work out a system to do it*

I’ll be honest. I’ve cycled every day even though I’ve not been posting, even if only up the road and back on very ill days.

It’s time to kick this thing back off. Thanks for your concern, and I’m sorry. I’m rebooting. It may take a while, specifically with the main blog. I am not young these days. I get tired. But I still love this place, my rides within in, and I still have the wide eyed wonder I always did.

Thanks for your care and patience.

Monday, September 14th 2020 – A summer like morning commute to Darlaston that was unnaturally warm and pleasant, but in the shadows and shade, the nip of autumn lurked, and the dew was heavy, a sure harbinger of Autumn.

At the far end of Victoria Park in Darlaston, a tree on the margin of the marsh and footpath continues to consume the fence that passed too closely.

I’ve watched this tree consume those steel bars for over a decade and the tree is still in rude health, despite my suspicion at one point that it was diseased.

I’ve always adored the almost pyroclastic flow over the footpath.

Trees like this are a constant to me, and as I return to this journal after too long away, it seems appropriate that since last mentioned here, the tree has grown, aged, but remained – a marker for me that probably very few notice.

Onwards, and into autumn. You coming with me?