August 27th – As I travelled home along the canal, I listened to the rain singing on the water, and enjoyed the peace and quiet. Near the western side of the Watermead Estate, I came upon the swan family, still at a huge nine, still growing.
They were clearly feeling a bit chippy as momma swan took exception to my footwear and pecked at my feet continually, and the offspring seemed to be quite tetchy as well.
These gorgeous, truculent birds remain beautiful, and their antics made the afternoon, really, as did the canalside life and noting that the Canal and River Trust cleanup crew – usually mostly volunteer staffed – had been out doing their thing.
June 29th – I’m loving the orchids this year – they seem to have been becoming steadily more profuse over the past few years. I make no apology for repeatedly featuring them, for they are remarkable flowers, and this year they face a herculean struggle to avoid the rigid, inflexible Canal & River Trust mowing schedule, which has seen many fine blooms wiped out.
They’re only here for a short few weeks. Keep your eye out for that flash of vivid purple in the grass – there are several different varieties locally. This one is near Pier Street Bridge in Brownhills.
June 7th – A slow handclap please, for the Canal and River Trust, supposedly custodians of our waterways. They have really, really pissed me off. To put it mildly.
I had nipped up to Screwfix in Walsall Wood, and with the sun fresh out and warm after heavy rainstorms, I cycled down the canal to Chasewater. It looked great, and shimmered and steamed in that way it does after summer rain. Then I realised – they’ve cut the grass on the embankments.
Initially this appears to be a good thing. Then I realised – they’ve blindly mown down the marsh orchids, and miles of other wild flowers doing so well here, providing food and breeding space for loads of different bugs, butterflies and bees.
Well played, C & RT, well payed. Not.
Acres of productive, healthy and untouched flowers destroyed without need. The grass wasn’t too long, and could comfortably have been left another few weeks.
Meanwhile, despite the complaints, the chasm in the footpath at Anchor Bridge remains unrepaired and ready to swallow a foot or bike wheel.
Custodians my arse.
March 12th – The Black oak bridge has been in a grim state for a while, having recently lost some of it’s guard rails. When I noticed last week that the bridge was to be closed today for repairs, I was interested to see how the people repairing it overcame the problem of the the rotten angle iron rail supports that hold the guard planks up.
It seems we’ve been visited by Bodgitt & Scarper. When I crossed the bridge tonight, I too a look at the fix. The planks were only painted one side, and not cut or erected very well. On the northern side, they aren’t fixed to the uprights, but fresh supports have just been hammered in between the top and bottom rails to do the same job.
It’s a fix, of sorts, but it isn’t well executed, and on the northern side, will probably fall apart at the next vehicle scrape. I know the Canal & Rivers Trust – formerly British Waterways – are short of cash, but there’s little excuse for such poor work.
Disappointing, I’d say.