BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘pleck’

#365daysofbiking What makes this mine

Thursday 27th January 2022 – On my way home from work in Darlaston, I stopped in Pleck, one of the most ethnically diverse areas of Walsall to get some shopping in from one of the best international supermarkets around.

Within, I took my pick of staples and treats from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, Jamaican, African and Arabic cuisines and foodstuffs, and as usual, came out with loads more than intended. I love that store.

Standing on the car park, I noticed the remnants of daylight had turned the sky a gorgeous colour in that transition from light to dark, and the skyline was  as diverse and colourful as the contents of my bulging panniers.

People knock Walsall and the Black Country relentlessly; people with divisive intent spew hatred about the diverse communities and drive poisoned wedges into any available fissure. But it’s precisely the disparate, chaotic and multi-faceted nature of this place that makes me feel at home. It’s what I love: The food, the people, the history, the complete chaos of the built environment around me.

Here are my people and this is my place… Wherever they are from.

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#365daysofbiking A ghost of a chance

Thursday April 1st 2021 – Riding home late afternoon, I spotted this amusing tribute to science by local street artist Ghost on a canalside wall in Pleck, Walsall. It’s beautifully executed, and marks a trend of the pandemic often inspiring street art. I think if covid has done anything positive, it seems to have engaged street art and counterculture in a way that current affairs have generally failed to do for two decades.

But that’s a bit of a side issue. This post was suck in draft from April until Christmas because I was so undecided what to do with this journal. As I noted in my last post, I was tired, and ill. And not able to raise the energy to continue it at the time with the passion it needed. So I entered three quarters of a year of writers and creative block.

The reason for April 1st being significant is that on this day in 2011, I started this journal as part of the worldwide #30daysofbiking project, prodded into taking part by fellow utility cyclist and top Dutchperson Rene Van Baar on Twitter. 30Days was a commitment to ride every day of April. It still happens, and one thing that’s always amused me is that the organisers over in the US, upon hearing that I just carried the project on for years, showed nothing but indifference. I never quite worked that out.

I didn’t quite do a decade continuously though, over new year the following Christmas I missed two days due to a really nasty bout of food poisoning – but other than that, I rode every single day for a decade, and documented every day with a photo post (or occasionally, a bit of video). I’m proud of that. There are a lot of words in the archive. A lot of images; a lot of my life, and this area as well as others I visited along the way.

My first post was matter of fact, and terse. It took me a month to develop my style. You can read it here.

Since then there have been 6,955 entries, and somewhere around 11,000 media items – mostly images, but around 70 videos and even the odd bit of audio.

So with all that behind me, where am I going now?

…Nowhere, that’s where.

I’m just going to post when I have something to share. So it’s be less frequent, but I will be aided by a riding companion whom many of you will already be familiar with, who deserves a voice and to be heard too.

This means hopefully there will be less filler, and more passion. I think you’ll prefer it in the long run, And it’ll be easier for me to keep up.

One thing that has changed in recent years is street photography has got really hard. Nobody used to bat an eye if they saw you with a camera. These days, you get noticed. Curtains twitch. People ask what you’re doing. You half expect to be on the local neighbourhood watch group as a suspicious individual. So the new format will be probably more picturesque stuff I think.

I find that a bit sad but it’s the way the world is at the moment.

So, are you coming with me? Let’s ride into the blue together… Hopefully it’ll stop raining soon.

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#365daysofbiking A low blow

Wednesday January 13th 2021 – Someone complained to me today that my 365days was a bit down in the dumps of late. I guess it is, a little. It’s always hard to stay positive when you’re in midwinter and inspiration, and daylight, are hard to come by.

I will try and make it a little more positive in coming days and weeks: but that shouldn’t be as hard, because we’ll soon have lighter nights, daylight commutes, and spring flowers.

On the way back to work after an errand I spotted this roadside daisy in Pleck. It was open, beautiful, and optimistic.

I think I should learn by it’s example.

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#365daysofbiking Hawkish

April 1st – Every day now there’s a new flower to see on every journey – even the short ones.

Adding to the bright yellows of spring, a flower at first glance often mistaken for dandelions. Hawkweed.

This beautiful spring soldier is generally yellow but does come in a variety of colours and types. All dwell on edge lands, verges and in hedgerows.

This profusion of flowers is just what I need right now.

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#365daysofbiking Hello, you

February 18th – on my way through Pleck, I spotted this clump of daffodils, a welcome addition to my currently grey and grim commute.

I note daffodils are gradually emerging in parks, hedgerows and gardens, and not just the traditional early patches I’m familiar with – they seem a bit early this year but I’m not sure if they really are.

Whatever they are, they are most welcome. Spring is definitely here when these beautiful characters appear.

This journal is moving home. Find out more by clicking here

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#365daysofbiking Nice ‘tache!

September 18th – Scarborough Road in Walsall is still a veritable catropolis, and I see plenty of fine pusses there. Sadly I can’t often photograph them without invading the privacy of the householders in whose gardens or upon whose window cills these fine felines hang out.

This proud puss – with more than a little of the Adolf-cat about him, have to say – was sat in a gateway watching me ride past.

He obliged me by posing for a picture. Clearly a lovely cat – someone loves this one very much.

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#365daysofbiking Urban explorer

September 10th – Up in Pleck, Walsall I spited this brisk, urbane puss who was stalking ratty  in the rubbish on the opposite canal bank by Scarborough Road Bridge. Nervous at first, I thought he was going to run away, but he found his courage and faced me while I caught him on camera.

This large black and white puss may be rooting through the rubbish but he was neat an tidy and very lithe.

Clearly one has to look one’s best, even in the most grim conditions…

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#365daysofbiking Berry well red

September 4th – Also in the bright berry department, this bright red example grows in similar urban situations as the firethorn, but has much more spread, larger berries in smaller clumps more evenly spaced.

I was surprised to find that it’s actually a type of cotoneaster – plant that I’m used to having tiny leaves and berries.

It’s certainly very beautiful and the birds are already clearly digging in…

This journal is moving home. Find out more by clicking here.

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