BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘market’

#365daysofbiking Golden

Sunday March 21st 2021 – I felt better, and the day was bright, if not actually sunny. I got the daily jobs out of the way and headed out in the afternoon through Weeford and on the A5 to Atherstone. From there, I pushed up through Pinwall and through Ratcliffe Culey to Shenton; after that, over to Market Bosworth, Bilstone, Twycross and I managed to hit Orton on the Hill just in time to catch the sunset.

As night fell I returned via Austey, No Mans Heath, Clifton and Darlaston.

The sun came out eventually and rendered a magical golden hour.

A ride of well over 60 miles, it was thoroughly enjoyable and it was so glad to be seeing those little villages and quiet lanes again.

And of course, the beauty of a dusk skyline with a church spire elegantly punctuating it.

Great stuff.

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#365daysofbiking Rather cross

Saturday February 6th 2021 – On an errand in Walsall, I found the deserted town annoying mid-day: It saddens me to see it so lifeless. I headed to Caldmore to get some more… Comforting shopping: Asian snacks and sundries.

It says something when what is effectively an inner town suburb is far more vibrant than the town centre by several factors.

Heading up over Church Hill, a decorative cross above fire exit on the monstrous aberration of architecture that is Asda. It’s a horrid, warehouse like building and the market never stretches this far up hill now, and hasn’t for many a year.

I have never spotted this in the 8 years it’s been up there.

You can almost hear the admin folk at the store saying ‘Oh, go on then, if that’s what they want: But nowhere prominent’ – so a piece of somewhat pointless vanity art gets stuck, barely to be noticed on the side of an ugly shed, above an anonymous unused doorway.

Two what actual purpose is anybody’s guess.

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#365daysofbiking Marketing again

December 19th – I took a longer visit to the Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham, and had a great hour two pottering around. The relaxed midweek bible allowed me to visit Centenary Square and me and my companion explored long exposure and the Birmingham Eye.

As ever, the light, the atmosphere and weather combined, and it was a great evening.

Just one question: Will they ever finish Paradise Forum?

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#365daysofbiking Festive colour

December 6th – Every year I swear will be my last visit to Birmingham’s annual Frankfurt German Market. After catching an almost identical one in Leeds in 2018, I’d concluded that these things were just a concoction for tourists selling all the same tat every year.

However, whenever I’m presented with the reality – the smell of food, the noise, the colour and spectacle – my heart melts and I really enjoy a potter around. I’ve found the best time to go is at night, midweek: Busy enough to be fun, calm enough to be tolerable.

I never buy much – save for the obligatory meaty and sweet treats – but I enjoy the frenetic beauty of it.

I must say, the people who lit it and New Street this year did a cracking job.

Merry Christmas Birmingham!

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#365daysofbiking Never say never again:

December 19th – Recovery, and finally getting things done. Catching up with stuff, then Christmas shopping in Brum with good companions.

Every year I say I won’t do the Christmas Market again, but every year I do and I always fall for the lights, the pricey but tasty food and the atmosphere.

Birmingham is still changing as it has been since I first came here 40 years ago. I love this city. I  adore it’s quirks and festive foibles.

A great evening rounded off with excellent saag paneer and lamb tikka on the Soho Road.

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#365daysofbiking Pork squared


December 15th – I popped up to the Christmas Market at Chasewater Railway, hoping to catch a little of the festive spirit, and despite the weather putting a dampener on things, it was actually a great event. Plenty of stalls with interesting stuff and some decent entertainment coupled with a decent butty in the cafe.

The rain, however, was relentless.

You can tell it’s a Black Country event when they sell exotic flavours of pork scratchings, though – although the apparent tautological pointlessness of bacon flavour had me a bit nonplussed…

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#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…

June 14th – Changing places. 

On the left stood Brownhills Market for near enough 25 years. where the low block facing me is was the site of Silver Court Gardens, once the 5th most deprived housing estate in the country.

Not now; a row of new build gables, a block of modern apartments. Silver Street has been transformed. There is life and activity here in what was for several years a barren, windswept wasteland.

I’m glad to see this change, and I welcome the people that will live in these places. New builds, new starts and new people. 

Not all change is bad.

February 10th – I’m liking the look of the houses going up on the old Brownhills market site right now. Hopefully, when complete they’ll bring lightness and a more populated feel to this once very open, wind-swept area of town, and hopefully also much needed footfall for the High Street.

Since the new houses became occupied on nearby recent developments, there has been a notable increase in people on the High Street, which can’t be a bad thing.

September 9th – Change is happening fast at the site of the old market in Brownhills. At the start of the week the earthmovers and excavators were just moving on site, and a mere five days later the groundworks are well underway with new sewers and the like being dug.

I’m sad to see the marketplace gone in some ways – like most Brownhillians I remember the good days of the market here as being excellent – but we have to move on, and the days of prosperity for the traditional market generally in the UK have long since passed, their job being replaced by online retailers and everyone’s favourite tat bazaar, eBay.

But it will also be nice to see life here again once more.