#365daysofbiking Chains changed:
November 16th – Heading back to Brownhills and home, I stopped to look at the view of Silver Street now the building works are finished here. Around 200 new, modern dwellings on what was 12 year dead wasteland and an abandoned marketplace. The change from desolation to signs of life and habitation is remarkable. Every time I see it, I struggle to take in the massive change here.
Change for the better.
About 6 years ago I speculated that this then desolate, windswept, empty place was haunted by the ghosts of civic failure. They have been exorcised, and gradually, almost imperceptibly, there are signs of life developing in my old town again. The people that live in these houses now will use the local takeaways, pop for a paper, a haircut and use the high street out of convenience. No, it’ll never boom like it did, but this trade fillip has to be welcome.
Finally, Brownhills is becoming unshackled from the system built housing misadventure of the sixties. All we need to do now is finally rid ourselves of the blight that is Ravens Court…
#365daysofbiking Ooh matron:
November 14th – Coming home from work, late. Diving off the main drag onto the canal at the unfortunately named Black Cock Bridge, which takes it’s name from the adjacent pub, The Black Cock.
Subject of schoolboy humour for over a century or more, this steep, precarious canal crossing probably hasn’t got many years left in it’s current form. decidedly too steep for many vehicles, weak and narrow, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to The Black Cock Bridge in the long run, as the geography has changed so much since the bridge was built that and undebridge with an aqueduct would no be more suitable.
In the mean time, at night, it’s wonderfully photogenic.
July 28th – The hazel hedge by the canal, between Silver Street pedestrian bridge and Coopers Bridge is heavy with nuts this year – clearly to the joy of the local squirrel population. Thankfully when I spotted these healthy specimens, they grey rodents hadn’t completely stripped the trees of their creamy bounty yet.
But they’re having a jolly good go, bless them.
Still can’t get into my head that w have fruiting hazels growing healthily on what used to be an open, festering refuse tip.
July 8th – Always pleased to see the wild sweet peas growing around the old coal loading chutes at Anglesey Wharf near Chasewater. They are a symbol of change for the better.
As recent as 50 years ago, this was a busy, filthy and polluting coal loading interchange between road, rail and water. Coal was loaded into a continual stream of narrowboats and the sea was treeless and devoid of life.
The coal here stopped in the 1960s, and nature reclaimed – but the coal chutes stayed, a monument to an industrial past.
Now, surrounded by greenery and wildlife, they are an anachronism, but the sweet peas bloom and speak of peaceful, cleaner, better times. A lovely sight.
February 6th – On the corner of Gladstone and Station Street in the industrial backstreets of east Darlaston, a curious little bungalow cottage I’ve always wondered about.
Painted terracotta red with two tall chimneys, Victoria Cottage is an unusual house that doesn’t seem terribly large, but someone is awfully proud of. It has a plaque dating it to 1897, and it’s well cared for and the people who live here clearly love the place.
It looks almost like it was built as a project by someone, it’s such a curious shape. I’m sure there’s a bacstory here that must be fascinating.
Anyone know more?
January 11th – Unusually, I came through the pedestrian centre of Darlaston today, and noted that the old Caldmore Accord Housing Association offices were now empty: this must surely have been a pub once, but I can’t find it on any old pub sites, so I’m a bit puzzled. The courtyard is lovely, and the Mindful Gifts shop next door is an Aladdin’s Cave.
I hope a use can be found for this lovely building.
January 3rd – Returning to Brownhills, there was a lovely, low sun at lunchtime so I visited the row of trees that make for such great autumn pictures during the leaf fall.
It’s fair to say they look totally different undressed, but no less beautiful.
Every time I see these, I can’t help but remember the when I was a kid, I remember these saplings being planted.
Oh, how that makes me feel old…