BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘shopping’

#365daysofbiking What makes this mine

Thursday 27th January 2022 – On my way home from work in Darlaston, I stopped in Pleck, one of the most ethnically diverse areas of Walsall to get some shopping in from one of the best international supermarkets around.

Within, I took my pick of staples and treats from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, Jamaican, African and Arabic cuisines and foodstuffs, and as usual, came out with loads more than intended. I love that store.

Standing on the car park, I noticed the remnants of daylight had turned the sky a gorgeous colour in that transition from light to dark, and the skyline was  as diverse and colourful as the contents of my bulging panniers.

People knock Walsall and the Black Country relentlessly; people with divisive intent spew hatred about the diverse communities and drive poisoned wedges into any available fissure. But it’s precisely the disparate, chaotic and multi-faceted nature of this place that makes me feel at home. It’s what I love: The food, the people, the history, the complete chaos of the built environment around me.

Here are my people and this is my place… Wherever they are from.

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#365daysofbiking Ghost town

April 4th – A trip out to buy essentials – once a casual, carefree, incidental thing – is now a mission. It involves queueing, or planning which shops to visit who might have stock of what you need.

Nothing is simple anymore. Everything is an extra effort, or requires planning or more time. Even finding a curry or getting fish and chips.

In Aldridge, mid Saturday afternoon. There was the odd, waiting, mostly empty bus. The supermarkets – Morrisons, Home Bargains, Iceland – were steady, but with social isolation measures, a queue to get in each made shopping tortuous.

And then, beyond the carparks this… sunlit ghost town.

These are the strangest days I’ve ever known, or will again.

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#365daysofbiking Bending the light

January 25th – The mist still hadn’t lifted, and in fact it seemed to be becoming more dense.

I’d been over to Burntwood for an errand, and came back via Chasewater after dark, getting some shopping in on the way. As I rattled down the bumpy north shore path where it runs between the Rugby Club and Chasetown Bypass, concerned for the fragility of my purchases, I noticed the curving ‘wall of light’ effect of the streetlights on the fog, bending away from me like I was repelling it.

It was one of those moments when an unexpected, mundane scene caught a unique light and became precious.

Like Clayhanger did  a few days before. Low cloud does have its benefits, I guess.

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#365daysofbiking Goosed

March 16th – A genuinely foul day, at least weather-wise. There were very strong, blustery winds and near constant rain, so I was limited to a short journey into Brownhills to get some shopping.

It was wet, cold and muddy, and really not a great day to be out.

In fact, the only souls I actually saw outside at all were the Canada geese. Even the mallards seemed to be in hiding.

Here’s hoping this grim spell passes soon.

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November 26th – A day spent shopping, eating and having fun in Cheltenham and Tewkesbury, two lovely places, left me exhausted. But oh, the architecture! Tewkesbury has lost none of it’s charm, and the abbey really is a fine thing indeed, much better than many cathedrals in my opinion. 

But the skylines? They belong to Cheltenham. I shot the chimneys, before they went up in smoke.

November 19th – In Lichfield, I had a request from fellow blogger @Bhillscommoner for some images of Lichfield, and was happy to oblige. Unlike my other recent photos, these were taken with the city busy and bustling, and I like the way the people appear as ghostly witness, indistinct to the solid, defined architecture around them.

Transients before the longer lasting.

December 19th – I rode to Rugeley from Lichfield, hoping to pay the food market a visit, but due to the awful weather it seemed to be packing up. Rugeley itself though was very festive, and I spent an enjoyable few hours shopping, getting something to eat and just wandering around. Rugeley is doing better than many similar sized towns, mainly due to the huge area it serves – with two indoor markets and plenty of little independent shops the place is a hidden gem.

The train layout is actually in one of the indoor markets, as a festive attraction. The Timesaver bus is a nice touch.

Despite the grey dampness, it felt a lot like Christmas, and I felt distinctly festive as I hauled my way back over Longdon Edge. 

My apologies for the poor picture of the wee dog, but that was the only image I managed to get. I fell in love with him!

August 1st – Also spotted in Aldridge, this loyal old dog waiting for his master outside a cafe. He was peaceful, and just lay there contentedly, secure in the knowledge that the boss would be back soon.

Such patience in those sad old eyes.

July 18th – A mad day when I didn’t have much time for anything, and again, I was suffering with a dismal stomach. But in the late afternoon, the sun was warm and the wind wasn’t so bad, so I headed over to Burntwood to get some errands in. From there, I headed back over to Aldridge for some stuff I couldn’t get. In-between the two, the canal near Wharf Lane was limpid, dark green and beautiful.

Summer really is wonderful at the moment, and just the tonic for my wayward digestive system!

July 11th – A bad day. Technical problems, IBS playing up and nothing going well, I finally made it out late in the afternoon and headed to Aldridge to get some shopping in. On the way, I spotted this superior looking fellow glaring at me from the opposite bank.

I often wonder what cats think must be going on over the water, in the place they can’t reach…