BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Lower’

#365daysofbiking The golden hour

August 2nd – This week has been all about seasonal markers, and this evening as I left Shenstone for Stonnall and home, the harvest was well underway.

The fashion for huge, cylindrical baling seems to have ceased and we seem to be back to the more space efficient (and stable!) rectangular ones.

As ever, the machinery, synchronicity between drivers and sheer power of the operation is breathtakingly impressive, and a reminder that the countryside is still a huge, open air factory floor dedicated to our sustenance.

Always impressive to watch.

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#365daysofbiking Looks like I made it

March 20th – In the backlanes between Shenstone and Stonnall, on the way home from the station late on a sunny, warm spring afternoon.

Feeling the sun on my face, looking at the daffodils and green, and smelling the rising of the sap and the scents of earth and fresh growth, I realise I survived another long winter, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be than here, right now.

The winter hasn’t been a harsh one. But my goodness I found it tough.

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#365daysofbiking The last embers of the day:

November 23nd – Coming home from Birmingham on the train, I again alighted at Shenstone, but returned via the backlands on a misty, mystical and enchanting evening.

These were the last hours of the heaviest working week for a long time. But at home there was food, tea, warmth, cosiness, and peace, which made the last climb over sShire Oak Hill much easier.

April 17th – Every day, new flowers and leaves. This is fantastic, and just what I’ve been waiting for. All I need now is the sun to do it’s thing…

Spotted in a roadside verge near Lower Stonnall on Gravelly Lane – one of my all time favourite spring flowers – muscari or grape hyacinth. A garden favourite, I’m not sure if they’re native here or a garden escapee. But they are so very gorgeous, tiny blue arrangements of even tinier obovoid flowers.

Welcome back.

February 23rd – The mist had mostly cleared, but it was still very cold, and once more I found myself cycling back from Shentstone to Stonnall is the curious, netherworld twilight that’s neither day nor night that you get at this time of year.

I the cold and against a pretty sharp wind, the lights of the cottages and houses I passed were like soothing beacons in the gloom.

Passing through lower Stonnall my mind wandered to how many barn conversions and adapted houses there are here now: When I was a kid, they were working farms.

Such change.

September 14th – A real sign of autumn, my first conker finds of the season, and this year it looks like there’s a large, voluminous crop waiting to fall to earth.

This tree, spotted in the backlanes of Stonnall was laden, and the fruit fresh from the husk as beautiful and shiny as ever one could wish, despite the tree being hard-hit by leaf miner.

Like most men, there is an inbuilt genetic urge to collect fallen conkers and I still can’t pass them in the road without popping a few in my pocket.

July 1st – Has half the year gone already? Really? Wow.

I flew from Walsall with the wind behind me just after the rain passed, and with a call to make in Stonnall, I let the wind blow me on a lazy loop around Shenstone. The wet lanes glistened in the sunlight, and the sky was deep blue. With the wet June, everything is verdant ad green, except the barley, which is turning now to the gold of high summer.

As the year and seasons move inexorably on, although it’s been wet, it hasn’t felt like a bad year for the weather. Let’s hope we get a drier, sunnier July and August.

September 21st – I was being watched from a driveway in Lower Stonnall. An apparently elderly but gorgeous tortoiseshell was regarding me with some disdain, while her mate, a gorgeous and large blue-grey chap was taking care of security.

They didn’t like my sort. I wasn’t welcome. Mr. Grey yowled at me. I bid him good afternoon, and left them in contemplative silence.

June 20th – I came back along the lanes around Stonnall for the first time in a while. On such a warm, sunny afternoon they were a delight to the soul, and very green and peaceful.

At Stonnall itself, I noted the barn conversion at the top of Main Street is nearly complete. A beautiful, painstaking job, the pointing alone has been a work of art. I was initially shocked when the covering bushes were cut down, but this is a sympathetic and lovely conversion and the craftspeople and designers should be proud. I love the way the dovecote in the eaves has been preserved, too. 

A fine thing indeed.