BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘st james’

#365daysofbiking Night memories

November 13th -Back in Brownhills, I had a delivery to make in Ogley Hay, the old centre of Brownhills and location of St James Church, our once handsome seat of the parish, built in 1850.

Sadly, like many local churches, it was despoiled by a hideous extension in the 1990s, but retains its beauty in the grounds around, and the wonderfully stark war memorial.

Sadly the wind had disturbed the wreaths lain in Remembrance the previous Sunday, but in the sodium light, it was still sobering and beautiful.

St. James is a bit like the town it serves: It’s had a lot of changes, not all for the better. But they add character and I adore them.

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#365daysofbiking I spire

April 25th – The weather is grim again – it’s cold with periodic heavy showers and I’m wondering what happened to spring – then, returning from Lichfield I realise that spring is still here and ongoing.

Looking over Sandhills from the Lichfield Road towards Ogley Hay over the green growth of a new crop and trees in fresh leaf, just peaking above the treetops, the spire of St James chChurch in Brownhills.

A lovely sight and a reminder that the weather will soon be better.

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#365daysofbiking Sweet James

#365daysofbiking Sweet James:

Christmas Eve – Last minute tasks took me to Brownhills, and up to Ogley Hay.  As I passed St James Church the night sky was deep blue and the lights were on as people prepared inside the church for the evening service to come.

I’m not Christian and I’m not religious, but I love church architecture – it fascinates me, and I like Brownhills’ parish church – despite the atrocious extension, it’s a lovely, working class design, built in 1850 and still going strong.

Merry Christmas folks.

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May 19th – At Pipe Ridware, the former St James church, closed in 1983 became the charming and well-loved Ridware Theatre for a further 20 years before finally shutting around 2015. This tiny performance space barely held 60 but put on some great shows.

Sad to see it closed and decaying. I hope a new use can be found for it.

October 4th – Winching myself up Shire Oak Hill at Sandhills at sunset, I noticed the potatoes in the fields that stretched to the canal had been stripped of their foliage ready for harvest. I love that view of Ogley Hay and St. James from here, and it looked beautiful and autumnal. 

Elsewhere, harvested fields have already been ploughed, harrowed and replanted, with spring-like carpets of green sprouting winter crops, with almost springlike colour.

Whatever time of year, the farming continues.

May 8th – There can be few finer sights at the end of a long ride than the sunset over Home Farm to Ogley Hay, punctuated by the spire of St. James in the middle.

What a fantastic sky.

December 27th – Ogley Hay’s Church of St. James is gorgeous at night, but I’m not fond of it in daylight. A perfectly competent design, I find it dull and overly geometric; but at night it comes alive.

I particularly like the way the lights illuminate the skeletal trees.

January 3rd – My dislocation was compounded by the darkness. Despite the moonlight, the town seemed very dark and deserted, from the alley at the rear of the church to the footpath over the spot, which I rode over to Clayhanger to visit a pal.

Sometimes I hate the darkness. Sometimes it’s my best friend. Right now, I just wish it would hang back a bit.

Roll on spring.

March 10th – I love it when, for a short time every spring and autumn, my homeward commute coincides with the golden hour. Even more so if it does so during a period of good weather. This evening, I returned from Shenstone specifically to catch the station and two towers in the beautiful light, and hopefully see the sunset over Ogley Hay and St. Jame’s Church. 

Neither disappointed. I’m loving this spring.

December 1st – I swung past St. James Church in Brownhills to check a couple of things out, and taking the path between Great Charles Street and the Church, I noticed how much litter and leaf detritus was gathering there. I’m not sure who’s responsible for this path – whether it’s Walsall Council or the Church – but it’s pretty grim.

I also noticed that in the fantastic covered bike shed in the adjacent schoolyard, two children’s bikes had been left. It struck me as being a bit odd, and slightly sad: who’d go to school on a bike, and not come home on it? Surely the wee ones are missing their wheels? 

Few things sadder than an abandoned bicycle.