BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘food’

#365daysofbiking A king’s ramson

May 10th – The weather was still excellent the following day so I decided to ride out to another of my great restoratives – the Needwood Valley and Hoar Cross.

On the way, I came through Hanch, the tiny hamlet between Longdon Green and Handsacre.

This small cluster of large houses is old, and there’s a brook flowing noisily alongside the tree-lined lane. In the margin between the two, a veritable forest of wild garlic, or ramsons.

The smell of garlic was strong and heady, and very appetising. This common wetland plant can be used as a substitute for normal garlic and is tasty in stir fries and can make for lovely jams and sauces.

I picked a little for later…

A treat for the senses.

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#365daysofbiking Please avenge my death if necessary

February 1st – Later, returning with some shopping and wheeling my bike up the canalside on Silver Street, I met these aggressive beggars.

True, I had a bag of shopping which included a French loaf. I guess they know what a human with food looks like. They thought I’d come to feed them.

They were wrong. There was a bit of a standoff, lots of hissing and a fair bit of irritated swearing. By me, not the geese, it has to be said.

Thankfully, I found some emergency corn in my coat pocket, and that distracted the hungry assailants.

If by chance one day I do not survive one of these encounters with the Canada geese, I expect readers of this journal to avenge my death if necessary.

Thank you.

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#365daysofbiking Consolation

December 8th – I went out early to catch a festive market at Chasewater.

By 11 O’clock it was called off, apparently due to the wind. I found the situation baffling, if I’m honest: I got there as everything was being packed away. I’d actually been looking forward to the event, and felt deflated.

Still, nothing to be done and it was actually quite a nice day, so I carried on for a spin, bumping into this group of ladies on my way to the cafe, which was a decent consolation if I’m honest.

Always nice to see the deer about.

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#365daysofbiking Festive colour

December 6th – Every year I swear will be my last visit to Birmingham’s annual Frankfurt German Market. After catching an almost identical one in Leeds in 2018, I’d concluded that these things were just a concoction for tourists selling all the same tat every year.

However, whenever I’m presented with the reality – the smell of food, the noise, the colour and spectacle – my heart melts and I really enjoy a potter around. I’ve found the best time to go is at night, midweek: Busy enough to be fun, calm enough to be tolerable.

I never buy much – save for the obligatory meaty and sweet treats – but I enjoy the frenetic beauty of it.

I must say, the people who lit it and New Street this year did a cracking job.

Merry Christmas Birmingham!

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#365daysofbiking Blackbirds and bees

July 2nd – On the same industrial estate, a treat for the bees and bugs is blooming beautifully – cotoneaster, a stable of urban hedgerows and borders.

The tiny pink-red flowers are a bee magnet and every bush is alive with visiting insects, but not just that: These flowers turn into sugar-laden orange-red berries beloved of blackbirds and other songbirds in autumn, helping get the avian locals through winter.

Everywhere you look right now, nature is helping itself get along. It really is beautiful.

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#365daysofbiking Familiar hoodlums

April 2nd – Since it’s spring, I note that the aggressively begging Canada geese are back on the canal near Clayhanger Bridge. Although they’d both clearly been grazing the freshly mown grass on the towpath, they were both hungry and refused to let me pass until I gave them a treat.

Curiously, this seems to be their permanent state, no matter how much food they have…

Fortunately, I’ve been anticipating their reappearance and had some seed in my pocket ready for these shameless muggers.

I’m glad to see some traditions holding steady.

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#365daysofbiking Soul food

December 23rd – Wet but happy, with a pannier full of Christmas goodies, I called in at Curborough Craft Centre to visit an old, old cake cafe stop. Mabels, a favourite of the late, greatly lamented Maurice Purser, can always be relied on for great food and the best, stodgiest deserts.

Today it was a hearty ploughman’s lunch followed by pear and almond tart and custard.

Wonderful food, and fortifying for the wet, hard ride home.

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#365daysofbiking Pork squared


December 15th – I popped up to the Christmas Market at Chasewater Railway, hoping to catch a little of the festive spirit, and despite the weather putting a dampener on things, it was actually a great event. Plenty of stalls with interesting stuff and some decent entertainment coupled with a decent butty in the cafe.

The rain, however, was relentless.

You can tell it’s a Black Country event when they sell exotic flavours of pork scratchings, though – although the apparent tautological pointlessness of bacon flavour had me a bit nonplussed…

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#365daysofbiking A bitter pear:

September 17th – The pear tree in Clayhanger has had a good season, against my expectations.

I had thought the crop this year would be poor due to the dry summer and ravenous birds, but it’s been heavy and the fruit are large and softer than the usual small, bitter offerings. And mercifully free of bird-pecks.

But oh my goodness they’re sharp!

A lovely thing to see.

#365daysofbiking Great Scott:

September 11th – The former Scott Arms pub in Kings Hill, on the Darlaston-Wednesbury border has been derelict for many years now, but at the beginning of the year, I spotted signs of life here. I assumed it was to be converted into a house of multiple occupation – a building divided into tiny bedsits for the really down on their luck – but no, it’s actually being renovated and is becoming a Chinese restaurant.

It’ll be handy for when I’m stuck working late I guess….

Good to see this building saved from the usual derelict fate of these place. I wish the new business well.