#365daysofbiking Through the haze
September 1st – I headed out to Whittington Country Fair and Craft Show (a large gallery from which can be seen on my main blog here) along Bullmoor Lane and through Wall on a warm, lovely late summer day.
This lane has always captivated me; diverted south to accommodate the toll motorway, a hill was created at one end 15 years ago that now gives commanding views of the treetops to Wall Village, with little hint of the motorway and A5 between.
A gorgeous, little known gem.
#365daysofbiking Fixed in a Hole
August 31st -For the first time in years, I travelled down Hobs Hole Lane which runs from Aldridge down to the Chester Roa, and I’d forgotten just how beautiful the rolling countryside of Bourne Vale and Lazy Hill is.
I must get down here again soon. It’s a beautiful spot and we’re lucky to have it nearby, and I bet it’s lovely in autumn.
March 24th – I had stuff to do at home, and didn’t get out until after dark, when I nipped down to Stonnall to call at a pal’s house.
Stonnall is an interesting village; it seems to be sprawling and dormitory now, and I caused a bit of a fuss a few years ago on this journal for likening it to Stepford; but the housing here from the postwar decades does seem to have enveloped what must have been quite a characterful place, and I find that the older buildings and their charm only become really evident now after dark.
It’s a nice enough place, for sure, but time hasn’t been kind to it.
March 2nd – The snow arrived in the late afternoon, one of those deceptive snowfalls with very fine flakes that deposits a large amount un a short time.
I went down to Stonnall to explore as night fell, and the deserted lanes of Lower Stonnall, with skeletal trees and an almost blue light were gorgeous.
There was no sign of trouble as I crossed Shire Oak but 30 minutes later, lorries and cars were stranded on the hill and there was chaos.
A beautiful and unforgettable journey.
November 10th – A long day, but passing Jockey Meadows in the morning showed me how lovely even the edgelands of the area can be; wedged in between Walsall Wood and Shelfield, the site of scientific special interest that is the Meadows can be scrubby and untidy, and not quite one thing nor the other, but today it was gorgeous in the colours of autumn, with leaves falling gently in Green Lane and long winter shadows.
Just what you need to set you up for a day at work…
August 16th – Riding to work down Green Lane, Shelfield on a bright sunny morning, and something gently reminded me of my grandfather.
The harvest at Grange Farm has been ongoing, and the road had been treated to a generous sprinkling of spilled cereal kernels – probably wheat. This grain, spilled by machinery and trailers as they lurch from field to barn is a feature of rural and peri-rural areas at this time of year, and is what the old man called ‘gleanings’.
Locally, ordinary folk were allowed to collect the seed lost on the roads and lanes for their own use. Few would use it for food, but many fed it to pets and livestock. Grandad said that you traditionally fed pets you kept for pleasure, not profit on the gleanings, fancy birds like guineafowl.
Guineafowl were locally called Gleanies from this practice.
I well remember the farm opposite where the old man lived until a ripe old age having guineafowl, which are noisy, shrieking birds. ‘Gleanies am off again, the buggers!’ he’d curse every morning.
On a side note, watch out for the gleanings as they’re slippery and soapy, and steal wheels and grip, particularly when wet.
A warm memory on a warm, late summer morning.
August 12th – An run out after a busy day saw me investigating a few things I’d been meaning to locally. It was a bright but slightly hazy evening, and I took the opportunity to try some familiar zoom shots from near Fishpond Wood above Stonnall, and the perennial favourite Lichfield from the quarry gateway.
It was a bit too muzzy for Lichfield, but Wall came out beautifully, unlike the familiar towers of Shenstone. I suppose the mist and haze must have been sitting in a depression or hollow between us, unlike Wall.
Wonder what the science is here?
August 11th – I had to pop to Shenstone on an errand on my way home from work, and the chance to ride these sleepy, familiar lanes, even on a dull day is wonderful.
I crossed Church Hill through the churchyard of St Johns, purely as I hadn’t been up there in a while. I have to say, the grounds maintenance at the rear in the old graveyard is currently not a patch on what it was, but I guess the wildlife appreciates the lack of disturbance.
The church remains what it has always been to me: A remarkable building in a beautiful spot, although not to my taste: A competent, muscular design in Victorian dark gothic that screams foreboding at me, not praise.
However, always good to see this landmark of my life. Love or hate it, it’s a remarkable thing.