BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘spot’

#365daysofbiking Whitening

Thursday January 7th 2021 – I slipped out of work as Paul Simon might have said, onto a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. It was fun to ride home in, but very cold. We’ve not had a cold snap in several years now and this is being quite a shock to my ageing system I can tell you.

Heading up the Spot Path across Clayhanger Common the snow was pristine, and nothing except owls and the sound of snorting deer in the wood nearby dared disturb the peace.

I love evenings like this, but my knees don’t!

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#365daysofbiking Spot check


Wednesday December 2nd 2020 – Nipping to Clayhanger on an evening errand, I took the ‘new’ Spot path – the footpath that goes between Bridge Street, over the Common (’Spot’) by the settling pools and comes out by Pier Street pedestrian bridge.

It’s the ‘new’ path as it was created in the early 1980s while Clayhanger Common was being reclaimed from an old refuse tip, and served as a diversion for a shorter, more direct path called ‘Spot Lane’.

Spot Lane was reinstated as a footway when the common was complete, but the new path remained, and I’ve always preferred it. It’s especially atmospheric at night.

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#365daysofbiking Fame at last

May 18th – A spin up over Clayhanger Common and a delight to see the chalk fairy had been active again and drawn a new game on the Spot Path over the common.

Just as the previous one, it’s a long trail with lots of physical activities to do to complete it – from walking squiggly lines, to hopping and counting, it really is a lovely, fun activity for kids and parents alike.

It’s lovely that people are doing this for each other in lockdown and I hope it continues beyond, too.

Oh, and it seems I’m locally famous. I’ve got my first, physical hashtag.

Good lord, I’m flattered. Thank you, chalk fairy!

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#365daysofbiking Sometimes the darkness is your friend

January 21st – Returning home from Bloxwich through Clayhanger, I took the Spot Path back to Brownhills rather than the usually manic and stressful Pelsall Road, the main reason I don’t usually go that way. As I left the village and headed up over the common, I found myself totally alone in the dark.

It was murky and drizzly and there wasn’t a soul about. I could hear distant traffic, dogs, the sounds of people on the new estate over the back – but compared to the ride I’d just had, this was blessed solitude.

This is never a particularly beautiful spot by day. It’s OK, it’s nice enough. But it’s at night that it’s specialness comes to the fore.

Sometimes the lonely dark can actually be reassuringly companiable.

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#365daysofbiking Well spotted

July 17th – Near Jockey Meadows on the way home, I stopped to take a call on the phone, and whilst mooching around on handsfree, I noticed this 10 spot ladybird in the adjacent hedge.

It appears to be native and not a an invasive harlequin, and yes, 10 spot ladybirds often have 12 spots apparently! There’s a similar yellowish harlequin but the pattern is markedly different and there’s no tell-tale dimple on the rear of the wing cases on this one.

I guess I must have done but I don’t recall seeing one this yellow before. A rather charming and endearing find – and the client who called me had no idea what I was doing.

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#365daysofbiking Awaiting the storm

March 3rd – Sunday was a different kettle of fish. Saturday had been occasionally rainy, but had sunny periods and was warm, if a little grey and gusty. Sunday had a wind forged on Satan’s back doorstep and a driving rain that pierced clothes.

A quick run out around Clayhanger Common late afternoon to catch the dying of the day was in order. It was, to put it mildly, hell. I was glad to get home as a short, sharp but destructive storm arrived.

Some days were not made for riding a bike…

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August 1st – One of the less obvious food sources for smaller birds like goldfinches are the wind-borne seeds of dandelions, ragwort, thistle and here, rosebay willowherb. Growing like buddleia in any urban setting where there’s a scrap of extractable nutrition, this prolific weed has gorgeous pink flowers and produces huge amounts of fluff, containing its seeds.

Small birds will spend ages on seedbeds picking out the tiny black seeds and gorging upon them. It’s fascinating to watch, and these are an excellent source of nutrition.

Everything has a purpose in nature.

March 31st – Heavy rains continued into Saturday with a break in the afternoon, And I took a spin around Clayhanger Common to check out the flooding situation.

As usual in heavy rain, the canal overflow had swamped, and the lower meadow was flooding over the new spot path. I often wonder who comes out and resets the breakers on the street lights after the water level drops.

This area is designed as a flood buffer to hold water away from CLayhanger Village and resolve it’s historical flooding problem – and it does a great job.

October 15th – Further on, I hopped on the Spot Path back to Pier Street, and autumn is clearly well afoot now; leaves are turning and falling, and there’s that unmistakable nip to the air. It’s also getting dark now only a little past six pm – and in a week or so, the clocks will be going back and it’s the time of darkness once more.

Although autumn is lovely, I hate what it leads to.