BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘St johns’

#365daysofbiking An awkward subject

January 26th – Like the village itself, Walsall Wood Church of St John is a quiet, understated gem. Originally a tiny church, extended massively by the Victorians, then again pretty brutally by the diocese of Lichfield in the 1980s, its personality has maintained surprisingly well.

It’s a lovely subject at night, has a great clock and presents a great aspect to the road. But for a couple of things.

The bloody streetlight just out of shot on the right, and the pedestrian crossing light in the foreground.

Any decent angle on the building includes one, the other or both, destroying the shot. It’s one of those frustrations that just make the character of a place.

But that’s Walsall Wood for you. Never less than quirky.

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#365daysofbiking The villages of the evening

December 7th – Christmas is starting to ramp up now and I find myself increasingly on errands and trips to sort things out for the upcoming holiday, and so it was this evening when I had to visit Shenstone, to collect some stuff I’d ordered and check out a present in the huge, soulless garden centre there.

Shenstone and the lanes between there and home were gorgeous in the night, same as they ever were: From the welcoming dignity of the pubs to the beauty of the old workhouse. And then, the gothic horror of the church, which I’m still not used to seeing without it’s massive, stately yew.

It was nice to be in these lanes on a relatively dry night for a change. They made a pleasant contrast to the consumer hell of a garden centre that seemed to specialise in everything except … gardening.

Am I turning into The Grinch? I think I might be.

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#365daysofbiking Slightly unreal

September 23nd – Another late night at work and there was little for it but to grab a takeaway on the way home – and thin pickings on a Monday meant calling in at Walsall Wood.

The rain had been back and I managed to tuck the homeward commute in-between periods of rain.

I thought I’d give the phone a chance to display it’s prowess with it’s lauded night mode on St John’s Church, Walsall Wood.

Oh my goodness.

This is odd. I’m not sure if I like it. There’s a lot – and awful lot – of HDR there. It seems almost unnaturally sharp. But it’s visually stunning. I have no idea what to make of this at all.

Close up the quality is not great, I have to say. These images were ever destined for social media though, and I’m being way too critical.

But blimey, there’s a thing to experiment with…

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#365daysofbiking Across the rooftops

July 29th – I came back from New Street to Shenstone, a run I do less these days since the Chase Line upgrade made those trains comparatively less crowded.

I forgot how much I love coming home through Shenstone, a great station to start and end any journey from.

I note that of the twin towers of St Johns, only the modern Gothic horror is visible above the rooftops; the older, earlier tower – the last remnants of a more handsome church – is shrouded by trees as is usual in summer.

I guess I’ll have to wait until autumn to see the twin towers again.

I’ve always adored this view in summer or winter…

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#365daysofbiking It must be yew

May 5th – Still suffering, but a cold, grey ride up through Weeford, Whittington and Croxall to keep moving. Passing Shenstone Church on the way, something was missing.

I had an attachment to that old Yew: shelter in rain when I was a child, shady in summer and totally imperious, I’m sure it was felled for good reason, but it’s still sad.

And the mock gothic, dark and foreboding church of St John now looks even more harsh.

A great sadness, but everything must pass I guess.

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#365daysofbiking Gifted:

December 6h – Every year for the last decade or so, Walsall Wood Councillors (currently messers Harris, Sears and Clarke) have dug deep in their own pockets and clubbed together to fund the Christmas Tree in Walsall Wood, and I was pleased to note tonight that the tradition continues.

Walsall Wood has a lovely tree this year, and it does look most excellent.

I am miles away from the donors politically, but I must compliment them ion their annual act of generosity.

Thanks you, and do have a very merry Christmas!

March 13th – I know I featured this the other day, but it is a view that’s quite short-lived and one I love lots. Having been to a meeting in Birmingham in the afternoon, I came back to Shenstone as usual and hit there in a sort of pink, gentle golden hour. I was only about 15 minutes from sunset, and the pink cast was from a dying sun, but it flattered the dark sandstone of St John’s church tower beautifully, it’s gargoyles proud and prominent as ever.

Also worth noting in these shots are the rooftops, gables and chimneys of Shenstone, a wonderful array. How lovely that a village should grow around the hill in that remarkable way, with the remains of an early church, and a still functioning Victorian one immediately adjacent.

February 25th – A day of continual light snow and odd sunny periods, but it was again fiercely bitter.

Returning from Shenstone Station, I stopped to note than in the daylight at last, my commute revealed the twin church towers of Shenstone – one in use, one very much derelict. 

Across the rooftops of the village, that’s a lovely sight and one that every year reminds me that although the weather may be bad, spring and warmth are on their way.