BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘dead’

#365daysofbiking Lane’s end

Monday March 8th 2021 – I was discussing online the other day a local lost stub of a lane that used to be Bullmoor Lane. Bullmoor Lane ran from Raikes and Chesterfield, a mile or so north of Shenstone, shadowing the Watling Street, to a junction near Wall Butts at Hilton, where it met Cranebrook Lane and Boat Lane. As a kid it was one of my first local discoveries. I loved that quiet, undulating backway, and still do.

When the M6 Toll came through at the turn of the millennium, the last half a mile of Bullmoor Lane was diverted south, to meet Cranebrook Lane without building a second flyover, leaving the old stub abandoned.

It still exists, and is now gated, but when nostalgic one can push past the gate and ride the crumbling asphalt to the edge of the new motorway, echoing in my childhood tracks.

I always find these dead, divorced and orphaned lanes a bit sad: Dark Lane at Longdon is one, just closed as out of use, like School Lane at Norton. But other lanes were lost to the toll, especially around Hammerwich and and Shenstone Park.

It’s the feeling that they hold memories, which cannot be put back, I think.

A curious bit of melancholia on the exercise ride.

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#365daysofbiking Not dead, but flowering

April 26th – Following my note on finding some lovely yellow archangel flowers in Footherley a few days ago, I need that it was a member of the nettle family – and to prove the similarity, the dead nettles are looking gorgeous on Clayhanger Common at the moment.

The flowers and leaves are similar – the colour is the big difference though.

These nettles – which have no sting, hence the name ‘dead nettle’ – have very sweet, tasty nectar which can be sucked from a plucked flower, but probably best to find some above dog pee height before trying it out…

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#365daysofbiking No danger

March 21st – A remarkable early riser at the moment in this early and temperate spring is the purple dead-nettle. Not usually seen until mid April around here, there are lovely little mauve-pink patches of this small plant in scrubs, commons, heaths, hedgerows and towpaths everywhere I go.

It doesn’t sting, and I love how the upper leaves have a red colour that compliments the delicate blooms.

In the last couple of years I’ve really come to appreciate nettles – yellow archangel is another member of the family which will soon appear and it’s stunningly beautiful too.

A real gem.

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#365daysofbiking A cautionary tale:

October 12th – Never upset the teddy bear mafia.

Barney here did, and he came to a watery end.

Consider this a warning.

#365daysofbiking – Not dead yet:

September 23rd – I said the other day that there were not many flowers about at the moment, and I hold my hands up: I wasn’t looking hard enough.

Coming into a second flush of flowering now, the dead nettles on Clayhanger Common are having one last yahoo before winter.

Absolutely gorgeous as only they could be. Such a cheering sight.

October 21st – Riding to work along the canal in Walsall in the early morning, I noticed how green parts of the towpath margins still were – the bracken hasn’t yet turned at Bentley Bridge and the dead nettles are full in flower for the second burst this year.

This has been a peculiar autumn, with many things coming into bloom a second time before dying off. The weather really has been kind to us this year, but I can’t help feeling winter is going to be a shock to the system.

May 6th -Not far away, but still on the Goscote Valley cycleway, the dead nettles are doing well. These fellows have no sting, and can be touched freely. They hold a sweet, tasty secret.

The blooms can be plucked from the plant, and the small neck of the bloom sucked for the nectar it contains, which is sweet and tasty.

May 17th – Spring wends onward, despite somewhat indifferent weather. A late afternoon spin rewarded me with beautiful dead nettles and forget-me-nots. As a kid I can remember plucking the white blooms from the dead nettles and sucking the sweet, tasty nectar from the base of the blossom.

These days, I’d be careful to choose nettles from above dog leg height.

Meerash Hill at Hammerwich is a carpet of familiar, fluorescent yellow, and Mrs. Swan sits patiently with no little dignity on the nest at the Watermead in Brownhills, whilst just up the canal bank, Mr. Goose stood guard with paternal pride as his brood explored.

I love this time of year.