#365daysofbiking Going down:
September 26th – Crossing Cathshill Junction and heading up to Anchor Bridge, I caught it on the cusp of day and night, and realised that soon, I would be doing this once more in darkness.
I don’t know where summer went this year; it seems barely days since I was riding the roaches, eating ice-cream at Blithfield or riding in short sleeves around North Warwickshire.
Time passes so fast these days. It was a good summer – I doubt I’ll ever see one with such consistently fine weather again.
#365daysofbiking Still hanging on:
September 15th – Back on the canal in Brownhills on the way back home, the autumn was far more subtle. The hawthorn hedgerows are very, very crimson this year with hawthorn berries showing a particularly heavy harvest, and the reed beds, grass and waterside trees are still pretty green.
If I tried hard, I could just forget the oncoming season and still convince myself these were the end days of a great summer.
#365daysofbiking Back on track
September 1st – I took a bimble on the bridleway that runs from Claypit Lane by Aldershawe at Wall to to the old Watling Street by the Birmingham Road, which I haven’t done for years.
The fields on Harehurst Hill were being ploughed, and under the railway bridge, there seemed to be a fault in the rendering of reality…
A beautiful little green lane I’d forgotten all about.
August 20th – One of the sad but beautiful signs of a closing summer is toadflax, otherwise known as butter and eggs. This beautiful plant, in shades of yellow, white and orange will be common now in hedges and on towpath fringes until October.
It’;s a lovely thing but it does make me sad for a season passed.
August 19th – Talking of the harvest, at Home Farm, Sandhills, the cornfield I’d captured the rainbow and remarkable sunset from a few weeks ago has now been harvested, and the stubble, still golden in the overcast day, is awaiting ploughing back in.
My favourite tree – my marker for the seasons, the horse Chestnut by the farmhouse – is clearly laden with conkers.
What a fantastic summer and season this has been. Just what I needed.
August 15th – With all the sun we’ve had, the haws – fruit of the hawthorn – are reddening up well and in copious supply. These hard, bitter berries will last right into the winter, and although not a first choice of most birds, they will sustain many when preferable food sources dwindle.
They also provide a lovely splash of noble colour to the late summer and autumn hedgerows.
August 14th – A tiring, very long day, but despite my weekend gloom (sometimes the IBS gets you like that) the weather is still very dry and warm – although not the sun-drenched heatwave of a couple of weeks ago, it’s still warm enough to ride with just a tee shirt and hopefully catch a little warmth on the skin.
The weekend’s small amount of rain clearly hasn’t been wasted: things suddenly look green anew – the canal at Clayhanger Bridge was as limpid and peaceful as ever, but the surrounding vegetation is greening up again. It looks… Fresher. Grass is sprouting again, and optimistic, opportunistic weeds and wildflowers are shooting up on the edgelands.
Looks like summer isn’t over after all…
August 11th – On the Black Path, it felt like autumn. On the canal it rained like autumn.
I hope the sun comes back soon. I feel bereft.
August 10th – The first ride in rain for what seemed like months took me into Walsall mid day. Refreshing, warm, sweet rain. The noise of it rang like music on the canal, and for once, I didn’t mind getting wet. The birds seemed to appreciate it, and the plants were, of course, waiting weeks for this moment.
The roses at Bentley Bridge looked superb.
I was fascinated to note nearby too the odd double-headed reedmace, which I’ve never seen before.
A welcome change, but I do hope the sun returns soon.
August 9th – Kings Hill Park is looking very weather- worn at the moment. At the beginning of the hot spell, the planters were cleared for new flowers, but it was clearly felt that planting out new bedding plants might be a waste in the heatwave, so since early summer we’ve had to be content with the noble greens and golds of a hot, dry season.
This little oasis is still beautiful however, and a welcome refuge from the hectic day at work, providing me with a nearby place where I can take five, rest and enjoy peace and quiet.
It’s a lovely little park, whatever the season or time of year.