December 29th – Winter is a normalisation process for me. I enter it, kicking and screaming and resistant, headlong into the darkness; I fight my way through the suck, the suck that is the autumn commute, and by the time I emerge blinking and dazed from Christmas, I’m sort of used to it.
I’ve got used to the absence of light – which is OK now as it’s returning; I’ve acclimatised to the cold; and I’ve learned once more to look for oddities and interesting images in low-light urbanity.
Silver Court in Brownhills does Architecture and Morality. Peter Saville has nothing to fear.
Meanwhile, I trundle towards new year still nursing a bad shoulder and dreaming of warmer days…
August 19th – Spotted on the canal behind the building site at Silver Court, this likely lad, admiring the passing waterfowl.
That expression. Look at it. That’s all.
What a lad.
January 15th – One of those horrible, headache-grey wet winter days when it never really seems to get light and never stops raining. I plodded out to Chasewater, after checking the waxwings were still at Silver Court. Their numbers had increased, but the light was way too poor to get pictures.
Chasewater was empty save for a few brave souls, and the cafes had closed early. I mooched for a bit, looking for interesting wildlife, but found none, not even the large white geese which seem to have been missing now for weeks. I hope they’re OK but I guess by now they’re very old and I think they may have passed away.
I noticed with some amusement that new signs have been erected about not feeding the birds near the fort (due to pollution in the gravel there) – and something looked odd about the spacing of the ‘s’ on ‘birds’ – and then I realised someone had hastily removed an apostrophe. On all of them. Oops.
Also, is that comic sans?
The canal route I took back to Brownhills on the other hand was quite interesting. In atrocious light I saw the goosanders again, and I wonder if I’d ever be able to get a decent photo of these odd birds. The two remaining Abbey Road ducks were out and about too, as was Mrs. Muscovy, but her photos were so poor as to be unusable.
An awful day to ride, but I did see some interesting stuff which at least made braving the elements worthwhile.
January 14th – We’ve had some foreign visitors in Brownhills. They’ve come before, in other winters when it’s been cold on the continent, and they’re here again. It’s good to seem these somewhat rare, colourful fellows.
Waxwings have come to strip the trees by Silver Court of berries before – working their way west from Eastern Europe, when their traditional feeding grounds aren’t bountiful they venture further afield.
I don’t know if they remember Brownhills somehow, or it’s just chance, but the businesses in Brownhills are getting added trade from twitchers and it’s giving the town something to talk about.
I just adore these birds. Such pretty things.
December 23rd – Again up at the sparrow’s cough, this time I needed to go to Bridgnorth, and again had a long day before me. The dawn was warmer, and the early morning less grim than the day before.
At Silver Court, the newsagent was just open – but the building lights hadn’t clicked on yet and the shop sign made for an odd, otherworldly, brutalist portal.
November 21st – A late spin around Brownhills after a long day, and at night this place still fascinates me. The lines of Silver Court are still otherworldly and night, and the vies of the canal from the Pier Street Bridge are ones I keep returning to.
After a grinding day, it’s good to be home.