365daysofbiking Ever falls the twilight:
October 6th – I returned to Brownhills in the overcast weather hinterland between night and what passed for day. It was damned grey and inside, I felt that way too. The onset of winter has me by the neck this year and I’m alternately OK with it and then quite down. I somehow feel I let summer slip away – I didn’t, I rode lots and saw lots and it just ended early, but I feel bereft.
From the Silver Street pedestrian bridge, I surveyed one of my classic winter views: Autumn is settling well here now, and the new houses with the nice line along the canal made an interesting match to the colour of the trees before them. There is life here now, lights in the new dwellings, and no longer does it feel desolate to stand here and be confronted with the place I love.
This town is changing, like the season; slowly, imperceptibly if you’re not attuned to it, and I think for the better. Finally, the ghosts of the civic failure here are being exorcised, and there is evidence of a little hope, a little life, a little warmth.
Unlike the season, Brownhills is opening up. Perhaps this grey twilight is better than I thought.
October 16th – With the sun more or less returned to normal and a ferocious tailwind, I hammered back to Brownhills late afternoon for an appointment. Watching me from the far side of the canal near Silver Street, a familiar character who clearly doesn’t care for my sort much, but that’s a huge bruiser of a cat. A real character.
At the old market place by the Pier Street Bridge, I’m happy to see the housing development is using forward with footings already in for the first houses.
It’ll be so nice to see this place inhabited and alive again.
April 5th – I noted from the local news reports today that these old derelict buildings on Park Lane on the Darlaston/Wednesbury border are now scheduled for demolition and replacement with new housing – not before time, either: they’ve been derelict for as long as I can remember; an eyesore, they’re of no historic value whatsoever and in times of a housing shortage, their replacement is long overdue.
What is interesting – and I’d never noticed it before until @thestymaster commented today on Twatter about it – the old garage sign here is a bit of an antique, but it has sadly seen better days.
May 26th – Around the corner, the new housing development at Streets Corner is looking very nice. Replacing homes that had been derelict for a decade or more, this new build project has been a long time coming, but I like this modern townhouses a lot. I like the materials used, and the pleasant, traditional approach.
So much better than what was here before, and much more aesthetically pleasing than I expected.
August 30th – From the top of Shire Oak heading into Rushall, I stopped to admire the view, as I often do. It’s worth clicking on that top image and checking it out closely – beyond Walsall, Dudley Castle is clearly visible to the left. From here one can see just how green and verdant our area is in Summer, and I do think this vista – with the church tower above the treetops – is rather beautiful in summer. I’m still no wiser as to what the tower central on the skyline is.
Further down the Lichfield Road the houses being built on the former St. John’s school site are making progress. Interesting to see the old roof truss still in use on the open gable. In time, the new houses will adjoin the remainder of the old school.
A dull, overcast day, but still plenty to see.
June 3rd – I’ve often thought that one of the most attractive things in a person – male or female – is if they don’t realise just how attractive they are. As I’ve got older, I’ve begun to realise this applies to places too.
One of the reasons Walsall is such a gem architecturally – and it is, despite the abuse of it’s more conventional historic assets – is that it doesn’t realise just what a wealth of diverse riches it has. Stop in any suburb or part of town. Look around. Somewhere, close by, there will be something remarkable – not necessarily beautiful, but always engaging. And the town as a whole doesn’t really know.
I came into Walsall from Aldridge and took a route through Highgate. This house caught my eye while I waited for a reversing driver to complete their manoeuvre – just study it; take it in. Possibly not at it’s best, but from the chimney pots down to the front wall the detail is incredible. A fantastic roofline and gables, and the detail in the window arches.
There are treats like this all over this town, and Walsall just doesn’t know about them.
April 10th – The old derelict terraces at Streets Corner in Walsall Wood have been demolished now, except for the one at the southern end. This odd little house, under renovation for as long as I can remember, remains steadfastly in private ownership, and will, apparently, be built into the new development of houses to come here.
The new build scheme here seems to have taken ages to get off the ground. I hope it progresses well – the dereliction here until the demolition has been a blot on the landscape for many years, and that little end terrace, covered in creepers, looks very lonely on its own.