BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘green’

#365daysofbiking Going nuts

Saturday January 23rd 2021 – There was cold weather coming in, with the possibility of snow. I could feel it in the afternoon air as I nipped up to Walsall Wood.

The hazel katkins were having none of it, though: They were coming out and although sparse, were a very welcome splash of light green in a grey winter landscape.

These blooms are the male flowers of the tree, the female ones are tiny. Hopefully the nut crop will not be too sparse this season, despite the thinness of the number of katkins on display…

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#365daysofbiking Slipping from one thing, into another

Tuesday, September 22nd 2020 – On the way home from work, a journey along the Black Path that runs from the Parkview Centre in Brownhills, up through Holland Park to the Watling Street.

This well known and popular route between areas of the town has existed for many years, and at the turn of the century, was incorporated in the National Cycle Network, whereupon they split it as shared use with one of those daft central kerbs that only serves to wrong-foot pedestrians, annoy joggers and wake up sleepy cyclists, like me.

Here in a quiet, leafy corner of what is after all, central Brownhills, it’s quite clear that with rain earlier and a drop in temperature, we’re slipping solidly into autumn now.

With the pandemic madness aside, it wasn’t a bad summer, meteorologically. I’ll miss it.

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#365daysofbiking Inhaling green:

Wednesday, September 16th 2020 – While I’ve been away the canals have continued as they ever were, with small changes. They got very busy with pedestrians and cyclists for a while, a product of fair weather and lockdown, so the towpaths were well worn, and the cessation in mowing gave my beloved orchids a sporting chance this year. But the waterfowl, plants and colours were broadly as ever.

Reassuringly, beautifully, peacefully as ever.

The one change that’s been interesting is the azolla bloom that dominated the water surface in 2019 has largely faded, and in its death left sporadic patches of more traditional clumping algae, which must be a pain for waterfowl and boaters alike.

There are still traces of azolla, which was a surface invasive surviving a mild winter, but it was non-stringy and readily parted for birds and watercraft, but it’s mostly gone.

On a dull, grey autumn afternoon, the green and peace here were so welcome, I felt like I was inhaling them.

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#365daysofbiking Maybe it’s the breath of Autumn on my shoulder…

Tuesday, September 15th 2020 – First of all, thanks for all your positive words and encouragement over the last few days. I had no idea so many of you were reading this rambling pile of cobblers. Thanks so much, it has meant a lot.

I’ve started going to Telford again as the pandemic eases, but now, instead of going the longer way around by train, I tend to ride to Wolverhampton and hop on the train there, to minimise my use of public transport. It works better, if I’m honest and the ride to and from Wolverhampton is nicer than I would have expected.

Actually in Telford, the cycleway I love – up from the station to the Priorslee crossing – is showing a beautiful lack of hedge maintenance as my favourite green tunnel starts to turn for autumn.

Boughs brush my head. Squirrels and rabbits dart out of my path. Hips, haws and berries glow colourfully in the dark green.

Not all effects of the pandemic have been bad. I’ll be a bit sad when they get around to trimming this back… And the gentle feeling of autumn is not so grim this year. I’m quite enjoying it.

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#365daysofbiking As the light begins to fade

May 13th – I have come to the conclusion over the years that my favourite time of day in summer is the hour or so straddling sunset. The twilight time is when the wildlife starts to stir, when people drift home and the landscape shimmers in the evening cool.

I headed back from Chasewater to Brownhills as the light was fading, and was reminded of how beautiful the canal is here: The green overhanging trees, the reflections and peaceful separation from the road traffic.

If the saying is true that it’s always five o’clock somewhere, then it must always be twilight somewhere in my heart, too.

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#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 – It’s easy being green

April 29th – And, despite a downturn in the weather, nature still keeps me going day to day, and it’s particularly splendid right now.

On an afternoon exercise ride, I didn’t stray too far due to stomach cramps, but stood on the Pier Street bridge, one of my favourite views now has a gorgeous bright green jacket on.

The canalside trees, now so tall they can obscure the view to Humphries House are looking bright and fresh, as are the woodlands dotted over Clayhanger Common where the different species, leaf types and shapes make for a wonderful tapestry.

And on the water below? Blossom petals drifting lazily of the water surface.

It might not be much, but after those dark days and wet winter, it looks wonderful to me.

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#365daysofbiking – Back to earth

April 28th – The welcome warm, dry spell ended with a crash with a very cold-feeling day and seemingly endless rain. But it is still only April.

On a sodden evening exercise ride, I rolled and splashed up the towpath – mercifully quiet – and noted the very beginnings of a surface-air inversion, with barely perceptible rolls of mist sweeping along the canal. Sadly the wind was a little to strong for it to persist.

I suppose the water was probably warmer than the air by a tad.

It is lovely though to see the green return though, even on such a grey, wet day.

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#365daysofbiking In the meadow

April 22nd – With this working from home malarkey (I still cannot get used to it) I’ve not been seeing some familiar places this spring, much if at all.

Jockey Meadows is one such place.

Usually one of the last places to show signs of spring, when I took my exercise ride today it was beautifully green, almost verdant. A real feast for the senses with bird and wildlife clearly happy and getting on with life in a way we can’t.

Hello old friend. Happy spring!

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#365daysofbiking Home front

April 17th – A quick ride on a day that had been decent, but started to darken as I left the house in the afternoon, and actually came on to rain as I arrived home.

I nipped to the canal at Ogley Hay to check out the oilseed rape at Home Farm: Still not quite fully out but looking beautiful all the same.

But what really shocked me was my favourite tree: The handsome, beautiful horse chestnut on the skyline near the farmhouse. I tell the seasons by that tree and it’s rapidly come on to leaf.

A new bright green jacket smartly adorning an old friend.

Spring is definitely on her throne!

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