BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘solitude’

#365daysofbiking Looking for peace

Saturday January 9th 2021 – I’d been busy getting financial and administration things in order and dealing with a tricky bike problem all day and slid out late on a fast, quiet circuit of town and ended up at Chasewater.

There was no moon visible and the photography was poor, if I’m honest.

But I did find the peace, fresh air and solace I needed in the quiet solitude of one of my favourite places.

Even in the dark, Chasewater captivates me.

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#365daysofbiking Thank god that’s over with

Wednesday December 23rd 2020 – The end of work for another year, and surprisingly late. I normally aim to finish at least a week before, to better enjoy the build up to Christmas, but this year, with so much shut and not happening, little point but to stay at work.

I did, however, feel relieved it was over. It’s been a long, hard autumn-winter period, and at least from now the evenings would open out and the days become lighter.

As I crossed the Silver Street Bridge I glanced back, and felt my solitude in the dark, and quiet. This pandemic year has been a hideous, scary, awful year at work.

Thank god it’s over with.

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#365daysofbiking Take me home

Saturday November 7th 2020 – Some important bike maintenance tasks and gusty weather kept me busy at home, and I slipped out very late on a test run.

Coming off Lazy Hill and down through Bosses and Footherley, I caught the wind behind me and the speed of empty, but owl-haunted lanes.

The reassuring light of my headlight, some good music on the phone and the joy of quiet, assured speed took me on a night flight home that was rather wonderful.

I did enjoy it so.

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#365daysofbiking Splendid isolation

May 8th – I’d had to ride into Brum to check out something for work. Public transport is unusable, and the day was lovely so I rode all the way on the canal.

At Aston Junction there’s a garden ruin of mown grass just by the canal bridges there, and within, I noticed an artist.

Clearly busy under his straw hat, he seemed engrossed in his work.

I didn’t think he had noticed me at all, and the dedicated, solitary pursuit of his art was fascinating and just a little sad.

As I left, I bid him a cheery goodbye and without looking up, he wished me a good ride.

Lockdown is doing odd things to us as a society, and I kind of like it.

This journal is moving home. Find out more by clicking here.

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November 17th – Today was a carbon copy of yesterday, but warmer, and so the mist had risen a little. By the time I got out – again, as dusk fell – the air was clearing and a very quiet darkness settled upon Brownhills. I spun around, enjoying the unusual quiet; up the canal to the old cement works, then up the old railway line to Engine Lane, and back into Brownhills via the Hussey Estate and Holland Park. It’s taken a long time this year, but tonight, I was aware of being in love with the darkness again, or at the least, in love with the things it brings. Solitude, quiet, a new aspect to familiar places.

There’s the dark town, the darkness itself, and the fear of the darkness. At some point in the last 24hours, seasonal lines recrossed and I stopped fighting it. The fear is real: it’s not the menace, or the ghostliness as found here at Coppice Lane, but the fear of never seeing the summer again. I can’t hold on to the year passed,the warm days, long grass and flowers have withered and now, it’s winter. Come Christmas, everything will open out again. 

And in the meantime, evenings like this: quiet, dark and beautiful.

September 22nd – I cycled down the spot path in near darkness, and total solitude. As the path opened out near the bend, I realised how eerie this was, and decided to take a picture. I then found I wasn’t alone at all. Just as this long exposure ended, a large male fox wandered out of the scrub on the left, turned to look at me for the briefest of moments, then walked off over the meadow to the canal.

Clearly, even in the quiet dusk of a Clayhanger Common Sunday night, there is important fox business to be done, if only the humans would mind their own bloody business…

March 16th – You ever have one of those days when nothing goes right? Yes, that. I set out to visit a pal and never found them, cycled down to Burntwood to buy something that wasn’t in stock, and then left my bike lock key on the doughnut counter in the supermarket (there’s a lesson in there, somewhere). It’s only Saturday evening, and already this feels like Lloyd Cole’s Lost Weekend. 

Crossing the bypass on my empty handed return from Burntwood, I stopped to look down the road towards the M6 Toll. I don’t know why, but I love this view. The distant, windy sweep of cars on the motorway; the endless points of sodium light; the red beacons of the Sutton Masts in the distance. The air was hard and clear, the clouds dramatic and threatening. Apart from the periodic moan of cars beneath my feed, I was alone.

Then I didn’t feel alone anymore. Something was with me. I turned around, and on the bollard at the end of the footway, perched an owl. We made eye contact, but as soon as I went for my camera, he was gone, into the darkening night.

 Somehow, it was soothing, reassuring and beautiful.