BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘gardens’

#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 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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March 16th – Also bursting forth now, a whole tranche of spring flowers in parks and gardens. I’ve no idea what these red and white globular ones are I spotted in Wednesbury, but that are absolutely gorgeous.

Despite not feeling well, the weather and nature have been doing their damnedest all week to cheer me up – which is welcome!

December 17th – In Lichfield, just in the gardens by Minster Pool, this fascinating yellow shrub, just coming into flower.

I’s so bright and so beautiful, it seems a shame it’s hidden in a corner where few would notice it.

What is it, does anyone know? It’s gorgeous.

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.

June 29th – I find myself running errands to Tipton a lot lately, which I don’t mind at all – it’s a decent ride from Darlaston, and there appear to be plenty of curiosities to investigate when I get there.

In Coronation Gardens, for instance, there’s a statue to a prizefighter who holds legendary status. Wiliam ‘Tipton Slasher’ Perry was one of the greatest local pugilists of all time, and held the title of English Champion from 1850-57; he was a noted character and the pub he used to hang out at – the nearby Fountain – was centre of his empire and is still a shrine to the fighter today.

William is regarded now as one of the greatest sons of the town, despite dying an alcoholic.

Today, his statue stands in classic fighting pose, his familiars pigeons. I wonder how many pass by and not know who the statue is remembering?

May 22nd – A quick trip to Lichfield after lunch on a very dull afternoon which seemed to be constantly threatening rain, yet still I noticed how immaculate Friary Gardens were looking in their springtime colours. The trees and blossom looked wonderful, and I was particularly struck by the ceanothus, the blue flowering shrub.

Lichfield has every reason to be proud of it’s parks and open spaces; Friary Gardens are little-noticed but beautifully kept and a credit to the city.

October 29th – Just near the Post Office on Victoria Road, Darlaston, stands the War Memorial. Quite simply, it’s one of the best I have ever seen.

Contained in it’s own, peaceful gardens, it’s a sombre, quiet and lovely place with a wonderful sculpture. I often stop here and have five minutes rest and reflection.

I’ve seen a lot of such remembrance art before, a lot of it in much larger towns than Darlaston. I can honestly say none has matched this one. A beautiful, sombre thing indeed.

September 12th – I needed to pop into Lichfield, so I rushed there from work, then took a leisurely spin back. Festival Gardens are really nice at this time of year, and I wasn’t disappointed. The trees are now perceptibly turning, but still green. I love the willows here, and the purple flowers and bulrushes on the Trunkfield Brook were nice. 

The odd subway here has always fascinated me. From the way its lined with corrugated steel, I think it’s very old. Don’t think I’e ever seen one like this before.

June 19th – At that moment, the battery in the camera died. This one has a slight design flaw in that you can accidentally turn it on to display mode without noticing as you put it away, drawing power unnoticed. Hate it when that happens.

I had to make do yet again with the phone camera, which doesn’t seem to like bright sunlight very much at all, but the beauty of Lichfield’s Friary Gardens on a bright summer afternoon is undeniable.

I love this spot, with it’s mature trees, weathered paths and great flowers and shrubs. An overlooked, tranquil jewel.