BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘interesting architecture’

#365daysofbiking New ways out

May 27h – Recovered from the punishing excesses of Saturday’s ride, I headed out again on a grey bank holiday lunchtime for a gentle bimble once more to the west.

Finding decent routes past the dreadful Cannock/Great Wyrley/Churchbridge morass is always the challenge heading out that way and today, I took the canal to Brewood, through Wolverhampton – a lovely run of waterway I often forget about. The towpaths were good, and the only downside was an. encounter with a particularly unpleasant boater at Wolverhampton.

Leaving the canal at Brewood, I rediscovered this gorgeous village and vowed to return when the shops were open. The sun periodically came out and accompanied me north through Whiston, Bradley, Copenhall and Weeping Cross.

A ritual visit to the Wimpy at Milford reloaded the fuel tanks and kept me warm in the steady rain that fell on my way home.

All in all a nice 58 mile ride in lovely countryside.

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#365daysofbiking Station approach

May 22nd – Something that’s mostly been happening beyond my notice although I pass through regularly is the rebuilding of Wolverhampton City Railway Station. All of a sudden I notice from a waiting train that steelwork has sprung up and hoardings have been erected at the north end of the old station.

I don’t get the hate for Wolves station. It’s a bland, semi-modernist, semi-brutalist station in the postwar style common in the midlands on the West Coast Main Line. Save for the signs, at Wolverhampton you could be in Stafford, Tamworth, Coventry. It’s light, it’s open, it’s dull but functional.

My only criticism really is the steep access bridge and weird separate bridge for lift access. But it works.

Now it seems we’re in for a new structure, with new facilities and it’ll be interesting to see how it develops. I hope it’s better in outlook and ambition than the risible New Street revamp, and also that it has more aforethought and usability than the monstrous, ill-conceived access bridge at Telford.

Frankly, I’m not optimistic.

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#365daysofbiking It must be yew

May 5th – Still suffering, but a cold, grey ride up through Weeford, Whittington and Croxall to keep moving. Passing Shenstone Church on the way, something was missing.

I had an attachment to that old Yew: shelter in rain when I was a child, shady in summer and totally imperious, I’m sure it was felled for good reason, but it’s still sad.

And the mock gothic, dark and foreboding church of St John now looks even more harsh.

A great sadness, but everything must pass I guess.

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#365daysofbiking Hall or nothing

April 20th – First dayride of the year on a glorious spring day racked up a decent 188 miles.

Leaving at dawn to return in the evening, a run the length of the High Peak and Tissington trails and then over the Weaver Hills was just what the doctor ordered although I was exhausted at the end of it.

The rout was broadly Lichfield – Burton via Whittington and Walton; Derby via Findern; over to Keddleston Hall where I opened these majesticic gates to cross the hall grounds. From there, Mercaston to Kirk Ireton, joining the HPT at Middleton Top.

Return was via Rochester, Abbots Bromley and Handsace.

I have missed having the Peak District in my life so much.

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#365daysofbiking Haunted

March 30th – I had to nip to Walsall at noon. I was tired from a very demanding week, but the weather was nice and the riding surprisingly easy.

I don’t mind Walsall these days – I long ago resolved my conflict with my memories and learned to embrace the place anew. It’s never been a bad town. It’s just that many who live here hate it because it isn’t the same as when they were young.

Of course it isn’t – all places change, and what folk resent is not the change in the town, but the change in themselves, I find.

I pushed my bike up Church Hill and admired the view, I plodded around the town below aimlessly but enjoying it immensely. I stopped for coffee in the sun. Then out on the canal to call at Sainsburys in Reedswood, where I noticed the last (nearly) whole remnant of Reedswood Power Station – the old pedestrian bridge over the long gone railway, now orphaned and fenced out of use between a pub and and the retail park.

Walsall is haunted by it’s own past, let alone the half-imagined one it has projected upon it.

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#365daysofbiking Subterranean sunny station blue

March 28th – Always nice to get a glimpse of blue, sunny sky from the dark platforms at New Street Station in Birmingham.

Today I was waiting for a connection early, and although there were loads of trains, there weren’t seemingly too many people around. I killed time with a snack, and peered up out of the tangle of steel, concrete, wires and machinery to the surrounding architecture – always fascinating, always in transition.

And then beyond that to a blue sky – and even in this urban morass devoid of anything natural – the promise of a beautiful, sun-dappled spring.

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#365daysofbiking Sleepwalking

March 22nd – Working very late, a 14 hour day. I returned through a somnambulant Park Street in Walsall, the pavers shining in the electric light.

Walsall gets an awful lot of stick in some quarters, but looking tonight at the clean street and welcoming light, I was reminded that this isn’t a bad place, for all it’s detractors.

It certainly felt like home tonight.

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#365daysofbiking Slight return

March 22nd – Returning from Telford on an absolute bastard of a day, I couldn’t face the run from Walsall station and decided to get off the train at Bloxwich for a change.

Bloxwich railway station is functional – two platforms, two shelters, that’s it: A modern day, urban halt. But tonight, with stomach cramps and an aching head, it was good to arrive in fresh, cool air and look at my quiet, darkening surroundings and be thankful that I was nearing home.

I like this station, for all it’s dystopian desolation. Tonight, it felt like a homecoming, a return. The weekend ahead, peace and good company.

Sometimes, that’s all you need to make you feel better.

I made it home with the wind behind me in 22 minutes.

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#365daysofbiking Oddly empty

March 19th – Returning from work late, around 8pm I sailed through the Civic Quarter in Walsall and found it oddly bereft of people and even the roads were quiet.

Glad to see someone has finally painted over the horrid spots on Hatherton House which although painted by the tenant, were nothing short of an act of vandalism to a historic building.

This place is always odd at night: I love the interrelation of the light, trees and built environment but will always hate those streetlights. Awful design.

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