BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘poppies’

#365daysofbiking Poppy red

June 16th – Looks like it’s going to be a good year for crop-field poppies: The gorgeous effect where these delightful flowers bloom amongst agricultural crops and present patches or whole fields of red.

At Stubby Leas near Elford, this gorgeous patch of big red flowers in a field of oilseed rape were absolutely delightful and a patch of brightness after the sun had gone in.

The feathery, fussy and lovely flower was found growing in a ditch, beside the quarry at Sittles, all by itself.

You can’t mention poppies without thinking of the symbolism of Remembrance and they are so beautifully appropriate.

You certainly never forget with these lovely tributes occurring naturally.

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#365daysofbiking Stopping to smell the flowers

May 26th – On a weary recovery day, I pottered to Brownhills on an errand, and passed the canoe centre at Silver Street.

Although not as beautifully maintained as it once was – the planted boat has been left to wild and weed over – the poppies and other flowers growing on the embankment are gorgeous.

Some days it’s about distance, some days it’s about stopping at the wayside to admire the flowers…

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#365daysofbiking Any reasonable route

May 25th – A 93 mile dayride that was very, very challenging.

It was a nice day – not too hot, but sunny enough to get a tan, and I set out mid morning, to follow cycle route 54 to Derby – from there on route 6 to Worthington and Cloud Quarry, then back via Packington, Measham, Harlaston and Whittington.

The day was lovely and the ride excellent, with plenty to see: NCN 54 has some very pointless twiddly bits, but I did them all for old times sake and enjoyed every inch. Sad to see the development at Tattenhill, but time must crawl I guess. Falling in love with Derby again was a bonus.

NCN 6 is still one of my favourites: The run out of Derby then past Melbourne is one of the best routes in the country and a genuine joy. My only criticism is it’s time to cut the vegetation back from the viewing area at the quarry again – that stunning view should be maintained if possible.

The challenge was I’ve only ever ridden this in the opposite direction, and all the hills came at the end, and on top of some grim stomach cramps. But I prevailed and it was fantastic.

A lovely day.

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#365daysofbiking Not forgotten:

November 13th – Back in Darlaston I paid a visit, as I always do, to the beautiful and moving town War Memorial just near Victoria Park and the Town Hall.

This sombre, noble and beautiful monument is one of my absolute favourites: It is respectful, dignified and in just the right place, surrounded by a lovely, well-tended garden.

Laid out at the food of the plinth and in the surrounding beds were the wreaths, crosses and other keepsakes of Remembrance, and a good deal of time was spent reading their dedications and reflecting on my way to work on this sunny, beautiful, better day.

We will never forget.

#365daysofbiking Lest we forget:

November 10th – Remembrance this year is of course marked by the centenary of the end of World War 1, that awful conflagration that set the geo-political scene for the following century and formed the warm-up act for World War 2. Whilst I of course feel the centenary is vital to be remembered, I was cautious about the tone of some commentary. I feel that Remembrance in some ways is being changed and that worries me.

I was heartened, therefore to see the special efforts made in Aldridge and Pelsall this year, and that they were so very, very well done. Aldridge’s Poppy Road was a startling, sad and beautiful tribute to the lost and wounded of Station Road in the Great War, and the way it was done really bought the agony of a generation home.

Similarly, the poppy clock in Pelsall, adorned as Poppy Road is in knitted and crocheted blooms is also stunning. It is a different memorial to Poppy Road, and feels more intimate.

Both are remarkable, community led gestures of Remembrance and I thank all those who have e worked so hard to create them. They both restored my faith that the meaning of this most solemn of national events is not being lost.

#365daysofbiking Not forgotten:

October 28th – I was charmed and humbled passing through Hednesford on a much needed restorative ride to Cannock Chase to note the main square has been decorated with knitted and other hand made poppies and material for Remembrance. 

It’s really very impressive, and sobering. It’s beautiful to see so many displays of Remembrance in towns and villages at the moment, particularly on the centennial anniversary of the end of the Great War.

My thanks and compliments to those who took time out to make and arrange this display. Real community in action.

July 8th – At Hammerwich earlier in the ride, a disappointment. Flax had flowered here in characteristic blue a couple of weeks ago, but now it was over and I never managed to catch this stunning crop. But I had been told it was currently redeeming itself by showing a riot of poppies.

Well, it was and it wasn’t.

In fairness, in real life it’s gorgeous and well worth popping to look if you’re passing – but somehow, I just couldn’t capture it with a camera. Whatever I tried, the shots came out dull.

Oh well.

July 3rd – Also on the towpath near Darlaston, the poppies are beautiful at the moment, too. Another kind of urban pioneer, these too will grow just about anywhere, be it in a wayside patch or a fissure in some brickwork.

Riding urban backwaters at the moment – be they canals, tracks or inner city streets – is a real riot of natural colour.

June 15th – I heard about the local poppy field on Facebook, and it being very sunny and early, I took a detour on the way to work to check it out.

The field is just on the east of the Chester Road before the Wood Lane junction and is glorious. A few snatched pictures don’t do this gem justice. I will revisit it soon.

I love to see the poppy fields at this time of year, and welcome their rise since the drop in farming use of herbicides that used to kill them.I also adore the randomnesss of the places they appear – never the same two years running.

A beautiful and ephemeral thing – get out and see it while it lasts.

June 9th – It’s the season of poppies, and there are some beautiful examples in the hedgerows, edge lands and waysides locally. I prefer these little clubs in forgotten, neglected spaces. Ragged, at various stages of maturing and going over, these to me are real poppies; dramatic, beautiful, natural, and naturally flawed.

I even love the alien-looking buds, almost prehistoric in their furry splendour.

I spotted these in the sandy embankment just by Shire Oak Quarry on my return to Brownhills.

A true hero of the hedgerow, and a worthy and apposite symbol of Remembrance.