BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Oak Park’

#365daysofbiking A shot in the arm

Tuesday January 12th 2021 – If we’re ever to escape the awful pandemic sweeping through the world, we need mass inoculation and fast – and for once, it’s good to see the UK government responding faster than the rest of the world.

The Oak Park Active Living Centre in Walsall Wood – what used to be termed a leisure centre – is open again in lockdown, but not for swimming or gym activities. It’s open for business as a mass vaccination centre.

When I passed in the evening all was quiet, but it had already been in use for some days, with the elderly and vulnerable arriving by appointment for a swift and courteous vaccination.

I’m not daft enough to think this will bring back normality quickly, but it’s certainly the beginning of the fight back and I salute it. I too will be there when called with my boots blacked.

My thanks to all working on this program, a true demonstration of the power of science.

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#365daysofbiking Monumental

March 14th – Passing through the Wood on an errand. The world is clearly on the brink of something and people have been panic buying toilet rolls and other silly stuff needlessly because they fear the spread of coronavirus.

I swung over the playing field of Oak Park to admire the pithead sculpture to Walsall Wood Colliery while I was passing. It was solid. Strong. Ever present. Reassuring in a world that seemed to be losing it’s composure.

Sometimes it’s the monuments and monoliths that make you feel most secure.

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#365daysofbiking Garden ruin


October 19th – Originally featuring tennis courts, gardens and bowling greens, the original, once beautiful Oak Park has been pretty much abandoned and allowed to decay in recent years.

This is a crime, and a civic insult to the miners and citizens of Walsall Wood to whom this place was a gift.

Only the bowling club, with a well kept, securely fenced green still get the benefit of this sad, lost place.

I cannot countenance a world where there simply isn’t the money allowed to look after our civic amenities like this.

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#365daysofbiking Stumped

October 19th – Nipping over to Walsall Wood on an errand, I crossed the sadly fading old Oak Park – not the leisure centre of the same name, but the formerly ornamental park that gave the centres their name.

Near a bench by the old waterlogged bowling green, an amazingly vivid colony of what I think is honey fungus.

There was a fair collection of disparate fungus here, to be fair. About the only thing that seems to be doing well in this sad, lost park.

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#365daysofbiking Sunset mellow


August 31st – Nipping up to Walsall Wood that evening to see a friend, I passed the pithead sculpture, which always looks dramatic with a good dusk sky behind it.

A structure I’ve never been fond of, it can look fantastic in the right kind of light.

I’m concerned to see the metal flag has sheared off, presumably from repeated wind-flexing. Good job nobody was under it when it dropped. That would have been sharp.

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January 8th – Again, handheld shots. This camera is amazing for this – and I’m noticing the daylight shots are pretty good too. Sorry, I’ll stop prattling about cameras soon, I promise. but it’s a long time since a piece of tech has had this much of an impact on me.

It was an absolutely evil commute home – the suck this season seems to be still petering out and there was some absolutely awful driving going on, and a constant drizzly mist that I believe it’s fashionable to call ‘mizzle’. It searched out every not quite done up zip and pocket. I was soaked, cold and unhappy.

As I came through Walsall Wood the lights and mist interacting with each other fascinated me. I’m not a huge fan of the Walsall Wood pithead sculpture, as is fairly well known, but in the mist and football training floodlights, it looked eerily impressive this evening. 

As to the footballers, their dedication was impressive. It must have been horrid out in shorts.

August 25th – The morning following another late night of a different kind, and a little fragile, I’d lost contact with online events the night before. I returned in the early hours to find online outrage about travellers having encamped at Oak Park.

Passing the site that morning, the unauthorised encampment was large, and I understood the community shock and outrage.

Thankfully, the authorities acted quickly and they were gone again that evening in the continual game of arrive and evict that’s been plaguing the authority this year.

January 10th – It seems the old Oak Park is finally coming down – after a sizeable fire in the derelict building last week, the council have at last acted decisively and it seems we will soon be rid of the old building and the antisocial behaviour it’s encouraging.

Built in 1974, it’s a bland, post Brutalist structure in pale block, but like many, I have memories here, and although we have a great new centre not 100 yards away, the change is tinged with just a little sadness.

It’ll be interesting to watch the building come down.

August 24th – Another spell of working very, very late. On my return I was tired and irritable, and fell straight into bed. Work is the busiest I’ve ever known it at the moment and balancing everything is very hard.

Despite the late hour, the new leisure centre at Walsall Wood still looked quite busy – it’s been impressive how well used and received this facility has been.

Those people seem to have the work-life balance managed a bit better than me at the moment…

June 24 – It was, at least, a stunning sunset, and as I travelled through Walsall Wood at dusk, I couldn’t resist a familiar skyline.

Some days, you just need the usual things in life and the reassurance of familiar surroundings.