April 8th – Following the sad, low fug of the day before I awoke determined to feel better today come what may. I busied myself catching up with the blog and this journal, and getting things done that had been withering for a while.
I actually got a lot done and felt much better, so much so that I actually didn’t get out on my bike until after dark, when I had to shoot up to the shop for some supplies. I took a more scenic route than usual, and headed for the canal since it was such a clear, still night.
The watered from Coopers Bridge looked wonderful. The only sound was the generator used by the narrowboat, and occasionally waterfowl calls. The Canon camera, as usual, drank up the dark and worked magic with it.
A glorious evening.
March 16th – There may be a return to winter forecast for the weekend, with impending snow and freezing temperatures, but on the canalside near the Watermead Estate in Brownhills, it’s spring and therefore reconstruction time again.
At dusk, the swan couple who have nested here in previous years were busily engaged in rest building, following their springtime imperative. Yes, it’ll be cold for them for a couple of days, but they know good weather and warm days are coming and they must prepare for this year’s brood.
I wish them warm days and good luck. I shall, as usual, watch with interest.
December 27th – Still suffering with the shoulder, I went for a short ride to Tesco after darkness fell.
This period – between Christmas and New Year – can vary in character immensely. It can vary from being wonderful (in decent weather) to being deadly dull if the weather is bad. I’m not feeling anything much at the moment, as I’m still recovering from the enervation of work recently.
Looking out at the lights of the Watermead Estate from the canal at Silver Street, I was hoping for good weather and a quick recovery.
April 10th – I seem to be annoying the local cat population somewhat of late (and probably those who don’t like cats and read this journal) as I keep catching them going about their feline business and that’s clearly a bit rude.
I’m interested at the moment that canal cats seem to be returning to Walsall Wood and Brownhills – after a scant few years, it’s now getting quite common to see a waterside flaneur taking the air, hunting, having a drink or just watching things over the water.
They often disapprove of the attention.
The garden panther here, told me off most vocally from behind the Maybrook Industrial Estate.
The visibly irritated black and white chap was at the back of Barrow Close, and I’d ruined his quest for a little Moorhen.
I love cats. The best thing about summer is seeing them out and about again.
January 17th – Coming back into Brownhills on a very wet, stodgy towpath in the evening, I noted it was gone 5pm and not yet fully dark. The lights of the Watermead Estate, reflected in the still canal, were beautiful and atmospheric.
It has stopped raining. It’s been so bad in the past few days, the blessed absence of rain is something to be cheerful about.
January gets you like that, sometimes.
October 16th – Still, one can’t deny the beauty of the season. A far more positive ride out over the Chase, into that open, cinematic landscape where it’s hard not to feel utterly connected to the surroundings. The leaves and bracken are turning and it really is beautiful out there.
The chilliness of the day also kept a lot of folk at home and it was a lot more peaceful than during the summer. That’s the first time I’ve seen Stepping Stones deserted for ages.
I came back over the Shugborough Estate and noted that while it’s changing custodians from Staffordshire County Council to the National Trust, there’s an awful end-of-days, deserted, unloved feel to the place. Sad, really, as autumn is the best time of year to see it.
The heron, fishing in the river by the Packhorse Bridge seemed oblivious, though…
July 27th – A foul commute in steady rain and a headwind, with the greasy roads I’d experienced a couple of days ago. There was really nothing at all to commend cycling this morning.
And then I passed the ripening rowan berries, bright orange and glistening with raindrops, and the morning didn’t seem as grim anymore.
I love how nature does that.