BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘festival’

#365daysofbiking Going underground

Tuesday January 19th 2021 – After the stress and drain of the day before, I went for an easier day and pottered to a meeting in Lichfield in the afternoon. On my return, I unusually came across Jubilee and Festival Gardens, and traversed the odd subway that links the two under the A51.

I had thought this subway to be old from the corrugated steel construction and bizarrely primitive square headed bolts used in its construction – but no, it dates from the 1960s. I can only assume Lichfield Council knocked it up from stuff that had around at the time.

It is oddly lit, and feels constrained inside. But the lighting, and surrounding environment make it captivating to me. It’s like some kind of portal to the underworld, and it’s almost disappointing when you emerge back into the same Lichfield you left seconds before…

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#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.

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#365daysofbiking Under the surface

January 12th – Crossing Festival Gardens at night, the very old subway under the main road is always worth a visit. The effect of the corrugated street it’s made from combined with bright lighting and cram paint makes for a very otherworldly sight in a dark environment.

It’s like something out of a science fiction film.

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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.

December 9th – I was looking forward to a snowy ride out to a couple of food fairs – one at Whittington, and one at Lichfield. Sadly, when I escaped at lunchtime, most of the lying snow had melted away and the ride was just greasy and dirty with meltwater and mud.

Still, the ride out through Little Hay was nice, and up over the Heath. The Whittington event was decent, and I was amused by the tiny, real snowman standing sentry on the door. 

After a look around, I headed to Lichfield with a keen seeming wind against me, still a bit miffed about the snow melting. But as it turned out, it didn’t turn out too badly…

August 28th – I’d heard there was going to be a a canal festival/floating market thing at Alvecote Marina in Tamworth, so I took a spin out to check it out – it was a fine event, with what must have been nearly 100 boats, floating traders, food, drink and entertainment. 

It was very crowded and a very hot afternoon, but it was a lovely do.

As ever, the dogs made it. Boater dogs really are characters.

July 11th – I finished the working day with a meeting in Lichfield, and before facing an evil headwind on the way home, I took a look around the parks and open spaces of the city, which always look so good in summer.

From the Cathedral looming over the Memorial Gardens and Minster Pool, to the stunning lavender border in Festival Gardens, the gardeners are a credit to the city, they really are.

Take a bow folks, you should be very proud.

September 16th – Not really sure what’s going on here but it snagged my attention as I cycled past: at St. Mark’s Church in Shelfield, there seems to be some kind of scarecrow festival going on.

It all looks very jolly, and I particularly liked the two chaps on the roof, but a bit unsure why the ones by the front door are apparently in jail…

June 28th – Feeling better, and a trundle to Brownhills Canalside Festival, where there was a Bird of Prey display by Armitage Bird of Prey Centre. It’s a rare and wonderful chance to get close up photographs of some stunning birds. The range of facial expression Jono the Eagle Owl can make, whilst not really having a mouth is astounding.

I love these birds.

June 27th – I was suffering with both a dodgy stomach and bad hay fever when I set out late afternoon for a gentle spin around the canals in Brownhills. They didn’t disappoint, they were glorious.

At Silver Street, the narrowboats were in for the canal festival taking place next day, and everywhere else was bathed in so sunlight.

I wish I’d felt a bit better, and I’d have been able to ride further, but never mind, there will be other days.