BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘pub’

#365daysofbiking Abridged

Friday January 15th 2021 – Just hopping on the canal on the way home from work, I turned to look behind me at the bridge whose challenging climb I was avoiding by taking the towpath of the canal it crosses.

The Black Cock bridge – comedically named after the nearby pub – has suffered subsidence in the early part of its current incarnation and is still monitored closely for cracks and fissures. It’s approaches are now dangerously steep, and a later footbridge has been added alongside to accommodate pedestrians.

I don’t think in it’s current form this sore abused, but not yet dead bridge will survive long now. I suspect it’s fate may be similar to Hollanders Bridge further up the Line in Walsall Wood – renovated in the 80s with a lightweight metal deck and blocked to vehicular traffic.

It’s a fascinating bridge with a remarkable history, it really is.

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#365daysofbiking When the lights go out

April 5th – An exercise spin out at dusk unusually took my mood down. I wasn’t feeling great and this one scene made my mood nosedive.

I love the view of Anchor Bridge at night from the canal. It’s magical and beautiful and the light is normally gorgeous. Tonight, though, something was missing.

The incidental light from the adjacent Anchor Pub was absent: The pub lights normally add a warm glow to Anchor Bridge night photos.But the pub is dark, silent and closed in accordance with lockdown rules.

I hopped up the ramp to the pub. This normally welcoming place was in darkness, and looked forlorn.

My heart sank.

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#365daysofbiking Fallen silent

April 3rd – A dusk ride out on a Friday at 7pm and there’s an unnatural silence descended on the area. The Shire Oak Pub should be alive, homely, lit up and buzzing with activity.

Because of the Coronavirus restrictions, it is silent, and shut.

Curtains drawn, it’s fallen silent, like the roads around it, in which I feel like an alien intruder.

These are very strange days indeed.

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#365daysofbiking Back to black

January 16th -Thoughts of spring had been very seductive, but as the following day had proven, it was way too early to call yet. A very wet, windy but warm day, I got soaked on the way in to work and soaked on the way home.

A day with bad traffic, near missed, lousy weather and terrible light.

Returning I had to leave the canal at Catshill Junction again, although I wanted to be well away from traffic, but the water on the towpaths was so bad I had no choice.

At least the lights of the Anchor Bridge Junction were pretty reflected on the canal.

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#365daysofbiking Oddly peaceful

January 4th – It wasn’t particularly late – I think about 5pm, maybe 6. I was test riding after repairs. I’d relented and cleaned the bikes and done to urgent jobs on them. So a test ride around the bounds of Brownhills was very much in order.

I’d dropped down off Castle Gate onto Chester Road to burn in new brake pads, but as I pottered up the Chester Road back towards Brownhills, I realised there was next to no traffic and hardly anyone about.

I guess it’s the post-Christmas lull, but even the Shire Oak pub looked sleepy in the evening.

A peaceful, but somewhat odd, journey.

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#365daysofbiking Dark is the night

November 25th – Returning home, I took the canal from Walsall Wood, but the towpath was horribly waterlogged and muddy, so I headed back towards the Anchor Bridge to get to High Street.

I was struck by the almost ethereal appearance of the pub, it’s reflection in the canal and the effect of the mist gathering on the water.

It was very, very dark, but so very beautiful too.

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#365daysofbiking The hiss of wet tarmac

October 25th – I seemed to have been cycling on water all day – the rain barely abated until evening. Returning from an errand in Stonnall, I stopped at Shire Oak to record conditions.

It had been raining all day. Everything was sodden. The forecast for the weekend didn’t look much better. We seem to have had a wet autumn (I’m not sure if we actually have or not, to be fair).

After a few good, dry days it wouldn’t be too much to ask for a few more, would it?

Ah well, down the hatch. I wiped the rain off my face, got back on the bike and coasted back home into Brownhills, listing to the hiss of my wheels on the wet tarmac.

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#365daysofbiking On the tiles

July 24th – A sunny morning riding up the industrial, backstreets of North Walsall. In John Street, a pub with an interesting history is still thriving despite it’s secluded position.

The New Inns – or Pretty Bricks (from the tiled frontage) – is a great real ale house, and used to be a folk music venue and gay pub years ago. Now it’s a cosy, well-liked and popular real ale boozer; traditional, cosy, comfortable.

It’s well kept too, and on this sunny day the hanging baskets were spectacular.

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#365daysofbiking A lifetime away

March 17th – On Lea Lane, between Newton and Admaston, a nice country house. Rambling, large, with half its garden oddly over the road, it’s a curious building.

What casual passers-by don’t realise in many cases is that this house, up until very, very recently, was actually a pub called The Wicket. In the middle of nowhere, I guess the pub had a hard time surviving, and closed like so many others. And now, you’d never know.

I went in there once. It was nice enough, but quiet as you’d expect. It seems odd now that I sat with a Guinness in what is now a total stranger’s lounge.

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#365daysofbiking Rising again


February 23rd – It’s not often there’s good news to share on pubs here, I normally note their closing but seldom their re-opening.

I had noted the sad state of the Meynell-Ingram Arms at Hoar Cross more than once, after its sudden closure in 2014. I genuinely thought it would never open again.

This charming old country pub was in it’s day a decent place and could, I think, be a great destination for a decent rural pint and a meal. It’s great that it’s being refurbished and revitalised.

You can find out more here on the website.

I wish the new owners the very best in their new venture.

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