BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘old’

#365daysofbiking Semaphore

March 11th – A trip to Droitwich made a pleasant change.It’s not often I come out here these days – the younger folk in the team generally do it those jobs now, but sometimes I like to pay a call for the adventure of it.

Droitwich Station is interesting – the line here hints at a much busier past, with derelict sidings and a large signal box, but today the line is pretty sleepy and rural.

I’m interested to see that here, old mechanical semaphore signals are still in use, which always seem terrifically heath Robinson to me. They are a masterpiece of rods, wires, rollers and mechanical interlocking and it’s a wonder how they keep working so long.

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#365daysofbiking Farewell wellfare:

September 16th – The rain steadily increased, and I headed up the gorgeous Cross o’ th’ Hand lane to Farewell, where I called in at the church in steady rain.

Farewell church, possibly dating back in part to the 1400s (some say earlier) is gorgeous and the rain enhanced the sad beauty of the roses in the graveyard.

A sad day punctuated with great beauty.

#365daysofbiking Springing up like… Mushrooms?

September 7th – Up on the old rail line, I noticed that with the damp weather, fungi was now coming through after a very thin summer.

I’m glad to see this as the mycology fascinates me; most folk don’t realise that generally toadstools and mushrooms are merely the blooms of larger underground organisms, and the colours, textures and shapes fascinate me.

I looks like this spot will be a good place to find fungi this autumn.

August 6th – He’s been keeping a low profile this last couple of weeks, the King of Kings Hill. But today, I spotted him. Asleep in a shady under-hedge, he was dozing in his usual bit of garden and resolutely ignoring the world around him.

As is usually the case.

He’s so old is Sam the cat that I’m surprised at his re-emergence every new spring, and seeing this elderly, toothless but otherwise very well presented lad having a really good summer makes me happy every time I see him.

What more could an old fellow want than to pass his days napping, dreaming of kittenhood and being soothed by the warm sun and noises of the neighbourhood he rules around hm?

Long may he reign. Sweet dreams, Sam old lad. Sweet dreams.

July 11th – I haven’t seen much of Old Sam, the King of kings Hill lately. He had taken to sleeping on the grass in in the gardens around the old folks flats where he lives, but the gardeners came one day with their mowers and blowers and I only saw him a couple of times after that.

I needn’t have worried. He’s found a shadier spot, just out of my normal sight for the really hot days.

I notice someone had given him a bowl of water, and he was concentrating on washing, and despite my calls and invitations for strokes he studiously ignored me and got on with the important business of fur maintenance.

I adore this crotchety old lad.

June 14th – The King Of Kings Hill is still napping outdoors even though the sun’s gone in. Old Sam continues to enjoy this most temperate of seasons.

But interesting to see the effect the cooler day has on his sleeping position, in a ball, on top of the retaining wall, pointedly and resolutely with his back to the passing world.

Sorry, but I’m a little bit in love with this old chap.

May 29th – Sam, the elderly king of Kings Hill is still out in his favourite patch of communal garden nearly everyday.

Following the rains of the day before, the grass was clearly still a bit damp, so this black and withe, toothless old lad was en repose on the garden wall, and watching me carefully.

But only with the one eye.

May 23rd – Sam, the elderly puss that puts the king in Kings Hill, Darlaston, has been enjoying the spring.

Clearly in his dotage, I rarely see Sam actually doing anything – but often dozing. I didn’t see him once during the winter, presumably he prefers the indoor warmth of his nearby home, but come the summer and he sleeps around the flats complex where he lives.

Every day I’ve passed for the last week, he’s been asleep in the dappled shade of a tree in the morning, and in the afternoon, enjoying the warmth of the sun-heated wall nearby in the evening cool.

Despite his age and total lack of teeth, he has a fine set of whiskers and a great sheen to his coat and I know that his human loves him very much.

Seeing this lad out and sleeping every spring really makes me happy.

April 30th – Another sign of spring in the air is the re-emergence of the urban and urbane cat population. Indolent and mainly indoors during the cold months, characters you haven’t seen for months miraculously reappear in spring, owning their neighbourhoods like they were never gone at all.

I was particularly pleased to meet this venerable old gentleman in Kings Hill, taking the air. I now know his name is Sam and he’s the companion of an elderly lady who lives nearby. Sam himself is getting on, has no teeth and is generally a stern but authoritative figure, even when asleep on the grass around the flats where he lives.

I usually spot him inactive and dozing in summer, usually in some well-chosen, sun-dappled spot where he can curl up and dream of his kittenhood, and feel the warmth ease his old bones. Very rarely do I see him as I did today, up, about and alert.

Yet again, a lovely old lad enjoys one more spring. Welcome back, Sam.

February 1st – On my way back, the weather was more patchy, but changing trains at Aston midday, I thought of the great genius that was Nuala Hussey’s Stranded in Stechford (she lived for a while near the station) and of the incongruity of the Britannia Hotel, still with the great lady resplendent, enthroned on the roof, but no longer atop a hotel with dreams of majesty but a backstreet cafe.

Aston has changed since I was a teenager, exploring this place and the love I found near here. We drank in pubs long closed, and laughed and dreamed and made friends and argued and loved. We still do most of those things, of course, but Aston, like many places of my youth, is lost to me now. All of the faces I knew here except one have gone as I grow old, either lost, separated or drifted apart, but whenever I stand on these platforms, high above the sprawling morass below, I remember those days and it makes me sad.

Although I’m sad for the people I no longer see, I’m most sad for lost sense of belonging, and for my youth. But all through my life I’ve passed through places like this, made them mine for a while, then life took me to other places, with different horizons, and life moved on.

Aston is just a wind-blown, suburban and somewhat desolate railway station; two platforms and a junction. But there are ghosts here. And they haunt me so.

I felt old. But like my ghost, my spirit remains. 

The train came, I hauled my bike onto it and I sat down.

‘Are you OK?’ asked a lady in the opposite seat.

Caught unaware, I wiped my eyes. ‘Just the wind I think’ I said, ineffectually.

‘It’s getting colder’ she replied. And offered me a tissue.