October 21st – Nipping over to Bilston mid afternoon on a gloomy, grey Monday, I crossed the Black Country Route near Moxley.
There’s no dobt these new roads of the late 80s and early 90s helped to revive the fortunes of areas like Moxley, suffering huge loss of manufacturing industry, but they did leave many of them feeling like isolated islands in a see of ebbing and flowing traffic.
Moxley church still looks imperious, as it always has done. But now, it lords over a dial carriageway and the frantic hubbub of the daily grind, which I find beautiful and sad.
July 18th – A flower which I’m convinced has had me puzzling before is St. john’s Wort. This tidy, bushy shrub is planted ornamentally on a lot of industrial estates, and I never identify with it as being British – it seems exotic.
Also when people talk about wort I always think off plants like ragwort, or sticky wort.
Having caught the morning’s showers the whole bush glistened and shimmered. A coating of raindrops can only ever add to a plant’s appeal, after all…
Thanks to everyone on Facebook who helped me identify this one.
June 18th – I’d been alerted by the works security system in the night to movement in the yard on CCTV. When I checked it out, two large hedgehogs were courting in the back near the grass where we have a park bench and some grass for time out and the smokers. I watched them with interest as I didn’t know we had hogs at work.
Coincidentally, at work later the groundsmen came to trim the scrub back behind the premises and disturbed this young hoglet, clearly not one of the lovers from the night before.
Cat treats were sought, and the little prickly one ate a large hearty meal before retreating back to the quiet end of the scrub.
Nice to see them about considering the way the population of these charming creatures is suffering of recent years.
May 21st – A weary day at work, but better in myself, I had things to do for work in Tipton, and on my return, rode the canals all the way back to Goscote.
Another fine day, the sallow fluff – shed from this peculiar tree’s blooms – was making me sneeze and coating everything in a ghostly grey fur.
It is curious, though. This relative of the willow is clearly having a very good year…
March 27th – And in Darlaston, near the Black Country Route, the hawthorn is coming into leaf, splattering formerly dull, barren hedgerows with bursts of vivid emerald green.
Spring really is trying her very hardest to please us.
March 27th – A wet, cold unpleasant commute in both directions made for a horrible day, but seeing wild primroses in bloom defying the gloom on a roadside verge in Wednesbury really cheered me up.
Joy and the relief it provides can come from unexpected places.
February 28th – A day with two of the harshest commutes I’ve ever known – both sub zero, both punctuated by snowstorms and ferocious winds.
On the way to work, I followed the canal somewhat unusually for me, all the way down through Moxley, and on the way noted the dagger-like icicles on Scarborough Road Bridge in Pleck, and the hardiness of the animals I saw – mainly birdlife defying Dry Marland’s IC scale, but also a sad but stoical horse tethered by the Black Country Route. At least it had plenty of hay to eat, poor thing.
Snow squalls came and went, but during them, visibility was poor. I don’t think I’ve ever known commuting on a bike this hard. The winter as it moved on from Christmas has been bloody endless.