BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘event’

#365daysofbiking Washed out, wet and sad – a wasted journey

September 22nd – I’ve always enjoyed Tipton Canal and Community festival, and while at work on the Sunday morning, I decided to visit that one rather than Huddlesford as it was closer when I finished work around lunchtime.

The weather so far had been grey, but as I left Darlaston with a friend, it was only spotting with rain – and hey, we had waterproofs and enthusiasm. After all, I went last year on the Saturday. It pissed down all the time I was there but the atmosphere had been great and it was actually really fun.

I’d checked with the organisers online that all was still happening.

And then we arrived. What a disappointment.

Most of the boats had gone, or were closed up. Most of the stallholders were either packing up, or were not there. The rain was steady, but not terrible. There were few folk around. I have to say – and any reader here for more than 5 minutes knows I’m a positive person – It was bloody awful. It was barely 1pm – halfway through what was specified as an all afternoon event.

We bought ice creams from an almost apologetic ice cream man, listened to singers on the live stage with only their parents and us watching. We mooched around the few stalls and rides left. We were thoroughly dejected – we’d wasted a journey here.

The only really bright spot was the Master Butchers, a duo playing determinedly and with good humour to a tiny number of fans. I so felt for them, like the folk on the stage.

I know the forecast was bad. But where was the Black Country, British spirit of damn the weather? At several events this year I’ve felt that all of a sudden this country can’t do bad weather and the first bit of rain sees people go home. So sad. Tipton is a town I love and care for, and this event is a highlight of the year. What on earth went wrong?

As we stood deciding what to do next, the rain petered out. We shrugged, checked the online weather, and made for Birmingham and a bit of canal exploration to make the best of a sad afternoon.

So far it had just not been my weekend.

This journal is moving home. Find out more by clicking here.

from Tumblr

#365daysofbiking History afloat

August 25th – The second day of remarkably good weather and so I headed to what’s become an annual fixture for me: The Alvecote Marine Heritage Gathering at Tamworth, where historic narrowboats rally for the three day weekend.

It’s hard to think of a better way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon than admiring lovingly cared for ex-working craft and listening to their owners shoot the breeze.

It’s a great people watching event, with plenty of boater dogs too to entertain and delight.

A perfect afternoon.

This journal is moving home. Find out more by clicking here.

from Tumblr

August 25th – A bad time with the IBS at the moment, but I got out late in the afternoon on what was a very pleasant day to the Historic Narrowboat Club heritage gathering at Alvecote, on the far side of Tamworth. 

There were a huge number of old working boats on display, with their proud owners ready to tell you all about them – and these fine characters and their wonderful dogs made for a great couple of hours. 

A very English thing on a lovely Saturday.

December 9th – Lichfield Food Festival was huge, and very busy. I dined on tasty burgers, sweet treats and some rather divine curry goat. I bought cheese and treats and enjoyed a busy afternoon in the city, feeling very festive in the dying light. It was much better than I expected and I had a great time.

Sadly, all the food took it’s toll and the ride back was arduous. But as ever, Lichfield at Christmas was a joy. I’m glad I went, but a bit more snow would have made it perfect.

June 10th – I took a ride out on a dreadfully windy afternoon intent on visiting the Clifton Campville Country Fair. I’d been before a decade ago, when it was just a few stalls in a large garden, but I do love a country fete with cakes and all the usual things, and I’ve been determined to attend more this year. It was also a good way to force myself into a 40 mile plus ride in weather I’d normally swerve one for.

What I found was stunning; a large country event with big arena, loads of great stalls, a real ale bus, more cake than you could ever eat and lots of people. I wished I’d arrived earlier with more cash in my pocket!

It was a lovely, offbeat affair with a peculiarly eccentric atmosphere; a little disjointed but great fun.

All in the shadow of one of England’s finest churches.

The day was only darkened by the rain setting in on my way home; it started at Whitemoor Haye and didn’t stop. Combined with a 20mph headwind, it wasn’t a fun ride back.

But the event was well worth the battle.

May 28th – I got to the floating market at Fazeley about 3:30pm, when the sun was out and conditions were good. It was a much smaller event than the year before, but still quite lovely, but I was struck by the lack of visitors. I have no idea why folk weren’t here; maybe the local advertising was poor. Perhaps earlier showers had put them off. Perhaps previous years had been disappointing.

Whatever the cause, it was sad as it was a nice event that I think potentially could have been larger and better attended. As usual, the boater dogs were the stars of the show and were charming and funny.

The boaters too were welcoming and friendly and I’d love to see this event prosper, but serious work is going to have to be done somewhere to make it happen.

October 29th – Passing through Chasewater to Morrisons on an errand of mercy just after darkness fell, I passed the Chasewater Railway’s Halloween Ghost Train at Chasewater Heaths station. 

The train, full of families and excited kids, was in darkness and I bet it was great fun onboard. I’m always a bit sceptical of ‘scary’ events, but this looked very atmospheric, and a great idea – Chasewater is, after all, one of the darkest places around here at night.

The pumpkin was a nice touch too.

March 28th – Walsall’s second Night Market was great, I really enjoyed it. I didn’t expect these to be anywhere near as good as they are, as on the face of it the idea seems a bit daft. They succeed due to an eclectic range of traders and an almost festival-like atmosphere, which is most unusual for Walsall. Well done to all involved.

Despite the biting cold, there was a fine turnout.

My only reservation is the same as last time; why not incorporate this into a late shopping evening? Again, almost all the local shops were shut, which seems like such a wasted opportunity.

It’s like the market is happening outwit the normal retail boundary of the town, rather than enhancing it.

This was worth the tortuous journey, and I look forward to future events.