BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘pubs’

#365daysofbiking Ain’t nobody home

Thursday January 14th 2021 – One of the toughest bits of the pandemic for me personally – and I am, of course, aware there are much worse things going on – has been the darkness in roadside pubs and restaurants during lockdown.

Never a great pubgoer, I do like the atmosphere when you pass a busy pub at night. They always seem so warm and welcoming. And this winter that’s been largely absent.

I’m glad to note though up on Chester Road North, the Hussey Arms, although well and truly shut, has kept the lights on.

It’s like a little beacon of hope in the darkness.

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#365daysofbiking This is not my homecoming

Friday November 20th 2020 – I’d been in Birmingham and returned early evening on Friday. It wasn’t late, maybe 7-7:30pm. Shire Oak Crossroads, a homecoming beacon for me for decades with it’s brightly lit pub, frenetic traffic and air of hilltop crossing has always been special to me.

For one thing, it means the journey from here is almost completely downhill and I can coast. But it also means I’m very nearly back home and I love to see the lights and busy but patient traffic at night.

Except at the moment, during the second lockdown, there is surprisingly little traffic and the pub whose welcoming lights I cherish sits in darkness, forbidden from opening.

This is not the homecoming I love. This feels desolate, empty and almost nightmarish.

I’ve talked a lot about steadying influences and anchors the last few weeks here. This is one I rely on usually that has sort of gone – well not gone, but been temporarily lost. And it affects me more than I would imagine.

It’s now like a symbol of the times.

Ah well, these days will pass. They have to.

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#365daysofbiking Really Greet

Wednesday, October 7th 2020 – I was once again visiting a client near Tyseley, and the meeting was done and dusted quickly. I’d got there by hopping onto a train to Aston, and dropping on the canal. On my return, I visited one shops in the Balti Triangle for snacks, treats and ingredients, then rode back on the canal home.

Birmingham’s inner city captivated me as it always does – but the plight of it’s Victorian pubs is concerning me, with the Swan and Mitre in Aston up for auction again, and the Marlborough in Greet still decaying, slowly.

Few things comment more eloquently on urban decay than stopped public clocks.

It was, of course, the canal and its culture that was the star. Nice to see Anatomix’s Tangram Fox is still proud on the side of the Bond, and Bill Drummond has been at it again under Spaghetti junction. But the colour was not limited to the graffiti: Autumn is really setting in now.

A lovely ride on a nice day – but quite chilly.

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#365daysofbiking The last day

March 20th – I passed the Shire Oak open for the last time for the foreseeable future.

The lights were on. It looked warm, welcoming.The sky, street light and and atmosphere made it look gorgeous. People were inside. I considered joining them. Fleetingly.

What on earth will this country be like without pubs? I have no idea.

At least we can still get a curry… For now.

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#365daysofbiking Lonesome roads

March 20th – It was eerily quiet on the main roads too: Only the windy sweep of the odd car as I came up the Chester Road.

The colours were great in the gathering night. The view and the feeling was strangely beautiful – but life was just about to change in a huge way. It was announced that in order to stem the spread of coronavirus, pubs, cafes and restaurants would now close from this night forward.

Only takeaways would remain.

That had put a new, odd spin on the atmosphere.

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#365daysofbiking A dark chicken

January 9th – One of the more comedic things about curating this journal and blog is that I comment a lot about a geographical local feature with a very amusing name – the Black Cock bridge. Named after the pub nearby, the Black Cock has long been the source of much schoolboy innuendo and humour, but is actually a decent, old fashioned pub that always looks welcoming when I pass, particularly on a dull winter evening.

It does, of course, have a far cruder colloquial name I shan’t detail.

However, I do love the thought of sweaty-palmed people banging Black Cock into search engines, which then return multiple hits to this journal rather than the desired subject…

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#365daysofbiking Unexpected discoveries

June 1st – I had been to the steam event at Klondyke Mill near Draycott-in-the-Clay as is usual the first weekend in June, and had left on a dull but warm late afternoon to have a pint and a rest at the Vernon Arms in Sudbury – which to my total consternation was closed, and had been for some time.

That pub – opposite Sudbury Hall and with a fantastic beer garden and architectural impression – should be a goldmine. I have no idea how it could fail.

Sad but undaunted, I headed for Rolleston on Dove via Scropton and Marston on Dove. Arriving at Rolleston, I found the beautiful Spread Eagle pub.

After a lovely drink on the benches by the river, watching ducklings potter around the and enjoying the comings and goings of this charming village, I rode south to Anslow.

On the way though, I by chance took a look to my right and noticed a high weir arrangement in woodland. For the first time ever, I’d noticed Brook Hollows Spinney, despite passing it by for 25 years or more.

I can’t find much online about it at all – it’s a high weir with a beautiful footbridge with a double arch; behind it there’s a pool and an island and all around, tucked in by the houses of the south of the village, wild garlic scented woodland.

It’s tranquil and nthoroughly gorgeous.

I must return when I have more time…

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#365daysofbiking An unassuming house

February 19th – Passing through Shelfield on the way home, I noted that the Four Crosses pub was looking warm and inviting as it usually does, but is still, several years from its renovation not carrying any signage to tell anyone it’s a pub at all.

The pub, partially converted to bedsits, has always been a popular, traditional local, but like many pubs, suffered for lack of business. Following a period of closure it was purchased and renovated.

It remains a popular and well thought of traditional Black Country pub.

I’m not sure how not having any kind of sign helps with the business, though.

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#365daysofbiking Repurposed

January 11th – On a grim, overcast day little caught my attention but popping out of work mid day I did stop to look at a pub I thought was lost, but has found a new life – and has actually been refurbished quite well and sensitively.

The former Scott Arms in Kings Hill had been derelict for many years, having closed following the decline of nearby large factories. I had thought it would be lost forever, such was it’s decay.

However, it was bought, and permission granted for a takeaway, and over the preceding months the building has been modified and renovated.

I’m not sure if it’s actually ready to open yet, but it looks close. My best wishes to the new owners.

It’ll be handy for a spring roll when I’m working late…

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#365daysofbiking Village lights

December 30th – A spin out at dusk to Lichfield and beyond was lovely. Although I’d vowed (and promised) to rest I was going stir crazy and the chin fever was mounting. I had to get out.

The late afternoon spin – out to Lichfield, then Whittington, down the canal to Hopwas and back up the old A5 to Weeford and then through Shenstone.

The villages of Whittington and Shenstone were glorious and pretty in the descending night. A real joy to the heart.

For anyone planning to ride between Hademore and Hopwas on the canal – beware. The towpath, which is just packed earth and unsurfaced – is clearly being used for a horse gallop and is very hard going on a bike. Beware – it’s muddy.

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