BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘empty’

#365daysofbiking Inclined:

Tuesday March 5th 2021 – I had to nip to Chasetown on an errand in the afternoon and caught the twilight.

I still can’t – and probably never will if I’m honest – get used to the empty high streets of pandemic Britain (how odd to type that phrase in 2021…) This street should be busy with late stops for supplies, people visiting pubs and takeaways and the general activity of Friday night urban life. It isn’t. It’s desolate.

It is, however, beautiful in a haunting way, and this is a period I shall never forget. I think what makes this street particularly dramatic is the hill, and the way it stretches the emptiness.

These are very strange days, and unlikely as it seems, they will pass.

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#365daysofbiking – Alone again, or

April 24th – It was a pleasant evening so I hopped off the canal near Aldridge and did a loop over Lazy Hill and back into Brownhills over Shire Oak.

People keep saying things are getting busier. Sorry, I can’t see it.

This is 6:30pm on a Friday on one of the main arterial routes in the area. I had to wait ages for a car to come the other way and change the lights for me. I barely saw a soul in a seven mile ride. I saw more wild animals than people.

I have never seen days like these.

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#365daysofbiking Dead quiet

March 18th – Every day the streets are a little bit more dead. People are wary of each other. Public transport is emptier and emptier as worried people abandon their journeys and work from home.

I had to go to Telford.

I’m using sanitiser, obeying instructions. New Street and the train services I caught were eerily quiet.

This is a momentous time, yet it feels like it’s arriving by stealth. While everyone is… Out.

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#365daysofbiking – The ends of the day, beginning

February 12th – Really getting back into the swing now, but tiredness is a big issue, it has to be said.

Up at stupid o’clock to get a train to Leicester, not many were around New Street Station when I arrived before the commuting day was really kicking off.

I like this place empty, it’s atmospheric and oddly beautiful.

All I needed now was a train…

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#365daysofbiking Trapped in my steelwork

January 13th – Spring ended with a bump. Leaving a meeting in Birmingham late afternoon it was wet, windy and cold.

On a deserted platform at New Street I waited for a train home. The service seems to have improved a little. It was only five minutes late. And mercifully warm. Praise the lord.

I was half expecting to be buttonholed by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street on the train on the way home, explaining how hard he’d worked to sort the trains out and how I should therefore vote for him.

Thankfully, I wasn’t harassed by Brum’s very own Charles Hawtrey tribute, but it did take a while to get back. As I stood with my bike on the train, gently and rhythmically rattling over miles of steel through the January night, I felt down that there were still weeks of wet, cld and dark commutes like this still ahead.

But they will end, the light will always creep through. The steel, light and shine of New Street by night will once more be a rare treat, and not the trap it seemed like this evening.

Tonight it just looked frighteningly inevitable.

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#365daysofbiking Oddly empty

February 5th – Passing through Birmingham New Street Station on my way home, it was rush hour and the place was rammed, as usual.

Being a cyclist, I tend to hang out ant the periphery of the crowd, better to not get in the way.

I looked to my right as the train came in from my left, and realised that at peak time, the station had nobody visible and all the signals were on red.

A few seconds later, people appeared and broke the spell…

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May 19th – At Pipe Ridware, the former St James church, closed in 1983 became the charming and well-loved Ridware Theatre for a further 20 years before finally shutting around 2015. This tiny performance space barely held 60 but put on some great shows.

Sad to see it closed and decaying. I hope a new use can be found for it.

March 7th – Returning via Shenstone, in the new-found evening commute dusk, I noticed that the tiny, log abandoned bungalow at Owletts Farm on Lynn Lane is now visible, before another summer’s leaf growth conceals it once more.

I don’t know why this tiny house, like several in the area is being allowed to decay, as I’m sure that before the rot set in it would have been a nice home for someone.

It has been empty as long as I’ve been cycling these lanes – nearly 40 years now.

A sad little tragedy.

January 11th – Unusually, I came through the pedestrian centre of Darlaston today, and noted that the old Caldmore Accord Housing Association offices were now empty: this must surely have been a pub once, but I can’t find it on any old pub sites, so I’m a bit puzzled. The courtyard is lovely, and the Mindful Gifts shop next door is an Aladdin’s Cave.

I hope a use can be found for this lovely building.