BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘pandemic’

#365daysofbiking Behind me now

Friday March 26th 2021 – After a long day at work, I stood in the dark yard at work astride the bike ready to ride home.

I looked at the bike computer, which gives me sunset and sunrise times and noted sunset had been at a nicely round 6:30pm.

Just one more day and British Summer Time begins – the clocks go forward an hour and light floods back into my evenings. As you all know, I hate the dark in winter, and I’ve never known a winter as dark, persistently challenging and as devoid of light spiritually as the one now behind me.

Unlike many people, a few known to me, who did not make it through this far, I am still here, still riding and made it through. I remember those we lost with sadness every day.

Never have the light, and the summer days been so welcome.

Let’s ride into the warmth and sun together.

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#365daysofbiking Light in the distance

Monday March 15th 2021 – I’m spending more working time actually at work now, and things seem to be getting more back to normal, albeit a different form of normal with social distancing and masks.

Things after the pandemic will never, of course, be the same again but as spring comes, and I find I’m starting to commute in light at both ends of the day it feels like the world is waking up again. Just a little. Infection rates are falling, less people are being lost and hospitals are less full with virus victims.

The vaccine seems to be having an effect and things look positive, for the first time in twelve months.

Crossing Catshill Junction on my way to the High Street in the dusk, I stopped to capture the dying light and reflected on what a difficult year it had been – but also, on how at last, there was light in the distance.

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#365daysofbiking Going with the flow:

Sunday March 14th 2021 – An errand over to Burntwood meant crossing Chasewater dam for a second day running. I note that the water level in the Nine-Foot pool is still high and overflowing into the spillway.

With the lack of boat traffic on the canals due to lockdown, there has not been the demand for water in the canals, and Chasewater has filled and been in overflow for most of the last twelve months. Over winter particularly, through very wet weather, releasing water into the canal to flood the upper Tame overflows would be problematic, so the excess has been steadily feeding the alternative path via the spillway to the Crane Brook, to some local consternation.

An odd effect of the pandemic, it’s worth remembering that when water is released in large volumes it doesn’t just affect us locally, but all the way down the drainage system.

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#365daysofbiking Inclined:

Tuesday March 5th 2021 – I had to nip to Chasetown on an errand in the afternoon and caught the twilight.

I still can’t – and probably never will if I’m honest – get used to the empty high streets of pandemic Britain (how odd to type that phrase in 2021…) This street should be busy with late stops for supplies, people visiting pubs and takeaways and the general activity of Friday night urban life. It isn’t. It’s desolate.

It is, however, beautiful in a haunting way, and this is a period I shall never forget. I think what makes this street particularly dramatic is the hill, and the way it stretches the emptiness.

These are very strange days, and unlikely as it seems, they will pass.

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#365daysofbiking Well said

Thursday February 25th 2021 – The pandemic has been hard on all of us.

Locally, they area was plagued for a while by anti-inoculation, pandemic denial graffiti that was persistent and prolific.

I don’t know who finally snapped and replied to them in marker pen over the top of older conspiracy graffiti on Ogley Junction Bridge, but my respect to them.

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#365daysofbiking to the point

Monday February 8th 2021 –  About the only thing the pandemic has been good for has been the re-emergence of political graffiti.

It’s everywhere – the angry, the conspiracy theorists, even satirists are having a go. They’re all a bit rusty but it’s coming along nicely.

Here at Catshill Junction, just on the bridge, some disaffected soul has expressed themselves. Blunt and to the point.

Generous offer but I’d rather not, cheers.

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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 Hard days

Monday January 18th 2021 – I’d had to go a long way for work. It was tough. I left early and called in to Birmingham on my way back to collect my bike which had been left in safe keeping for my return at a nearby work site, the better to avoid commuter trains.

It was around 6pm, and the city I’ve always loved, my home, my heart – was dead. After a day of travelling, empty stations, closed cafes and lonely trains, a deserted, almost post-apocalyptic Birmingham was very nearly the straw that broke me.

There were people about. People who were fearful of contact and closeness of others – understandably. I was like that too. Masked, hostile people.

Trams and buses swept past, nearly empty each one.

But then I stopped, and I looked: The lights were the same, the wet sheen on the tarmac. This is still my place. It’s still beautiful – if now more eerily so in it’s sparseness – but it will return. The spirit lives on. We’re just in hard days.

I did what I always do – got on my bike and rode home.

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