November 9th – In my opinion few war memorials, if any, can match that in Darlaston for sheer beauty and reverence. I’ve never seen such a loving, respectful and intimate civic sculpture and garden as this.
It needs the paths resurfacing, but it’s a peaceful spot that’s well tended and tidy, even in the midst of the autumn leaf deluge, and will see on Sunday people come from far and wide to remember the fallen and pay their respects.
I love the poppy bench and the garden for the blind with the braille and active plant labels.
We shall remember them.
September 22nd – Unusually, I had to visit Cradley on a work errand. I used to spend a huge amount of time in this busy little town, but haven’t been to visit in nearly a decade.
It changed, without me, as places do. Some familiar things remained – some shops, landmarks, factories – but there’s a shiny new bus station, lots of redevelopment an an interesting memorial to Mary MacArthur the trade unionist who fought so famously here.
The statues is by the same artist who made the Walsall Wood ones, and whilst the thought is there, it’s no Morris and it looks like money for old chain, if not rope. Oh well.
The High Street is suffering like they all are, but retains it’s quirkiness and frenetic air of business.
Around the corner, in Wood Lane, Griffin and Woodhouse still make chain to moor the world – some of it huge.
It felt sad to be back in a place I once haunted but now don’t really know at all well. Time moves on, with or without us.
January 10th – Sadly, my commuting life right now isn’t terribly varied. I’m seeing a lot of dark urbanity, stations, later and earlier. Apologies. Finding variance in a busy January when you don’t see much daylight is always hard.
Passing through Birmingham New Streetin the evening, I found myself at the same platform as the steel horse sculpture that forms the first in a chain of 12 along the line side to Wolverhampton.
Erected in 1987 and designed by Kevin Atherton, the Iron Horse project put similar horses in different motion positions alongside an urban railway line, to appear as if the train you were on was losing a race with a horse. Some jump, some buck, canter or trot. They are warm, lifelike, and softly amusing.
They have fared well and not dated, and are one of the great curiosities of Birmingham and the Black Country.
April 7th – And daffodils again, this time on a chilly ride home; these are on the site of the former railway bridge in Shelfield that’s now a public open space, and are an absolute riot. Again mixed, it’s a fantastic show this year, and a credit to those at the council who planted and tend them.