BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘summer’

#365daysofbiking Remain in light

August 24th – A bank holiday weekend set for fair weather. This, whilst not unheard of, is a delight. Moreso this time as I hate the August Bank Holiday.

I hate it because it’s the last one before the darkness comes, and the suck of the dark commutes. It always feels final, the end of school holidays, the end of summer. If you haven’t done that summer thing by now, you’re not going to, and so on.

A miserable summer bank holiday drains the soul.

But not so this weekend: A heatwave beckons, and I slipped out at teatime into a glorious golden evening. I went to Hints, somewhere I’d not really been much all year. Shenstone Park was as beautiful and French-seeming as ever, and I took a walk up to Crow’s Castle to survey the landscape.

Over to Hopwas as night fell for a drink by the canal.

All around farmers were working into the night to get the harvest in, and strange machine noises and lights punctuated the ride home and made it otherworldly.

This was a perfect late summer evening, and I’m glad I managed to catch it in some of my favourite places.

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#365daysofbiking A good crop

August 17th – With my fascination with galls, it’s easy to overlook the fruiting of the oaks as it should be, and I’m happy to report this year that the crop of acorns – even though it’s been hit very heavily by knopper gall wasps – is plump and profuse.

The heathy acorns I’ll later gather to spread in hedgerows and on edge lands as is my tradition look better this year than they have for years. I guess a warm but wet season was good for them, if not so much for me.

I always have a dilemma here though: I can collect acorns solely from trees unaffected by knoppers, and assume they have so resistance, but in spreading solely those am I harming the wasp ecology? I suppose I should just spread any acorns I find, but it’s an interesting conundrum…

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#365daysofbiking Inhaling green

August 16th – Another place I love is Kings Hill Park in Darlaston, one of Walsall’s little known, minor parks.

Sadly in the last couple of years it’s not had the maintenance it formerly had, with resources going to the borough’s ‘Green Flag’ parks instead: We no longer get the planters maintained as beautifully, and the attention to upkeep is more cursory.

However it’s still beautiful and has some gorgeous flowers – just not so many as it did, sadly.

To be here, seeking space from work on a wet, blustery summer day, in peace and quiet with industry just metres away, is bliss. You can stand here, take five and just inhale the green.

A beautiful park, a credit to the town and those who care for it, but it needs more resources sparing for it.

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#365daysofbiking Fancy an Indian?

August 14th – The awful summer continues, with heavy rain for most of the day. Returning from work soaking and miserable, I rode up a deserted Brownhills High Street.

I have no idea what we did to deserve this summer – it’s been grim. Yes, we’ve had good days, but I’ve not been able to get out for a long ride for weeks.

Let’s hope we get an Indian summer to at least compensate a little.

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#365daysofbiking Late night feelings

July 26th – All hell broke loose in the afternoon. I had to travel out to investigate an unexpected job. I returned at near enough 11pm by train to Bloxwich.

The night was warm, and the train and station quiet.

I prepared the bike and looked down the line. I was tired, no, worse than that, exhausted. But stood there  in the LED light, feeling the night air and listening to – well, nothing – I felt I was near home.

For the first time since last winter, I had those late night feelings again.

What is it with me and railway stations at night?

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#365daysofbiking Going for gold

July 20th – A day of maintenance, work interruptions and grim weather. I spun out mid afternoon into the wind for a run over to Burntwood on an errand.

As summer advances, the greens of the hedgerows and woodlands are darker and more weary, and the fields are now turning gold for harvest.

How quickly this year is passing. But the summer is still beautiful.

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#365daysofbiking Route canal

July 12th – Wanting to ride the city canals the day before but unable to, I broke out of work, collected a mate and went for a spin down the Plants Brook/Newhall Valley and into Brum, returning via the Tame Valley.

The canals were as wonderful and peaceful as ever, and the wildflowers – those that have escaped the fanatical dedication to mowing the Canal and River Trust seems to have – are looking fabulous.

As was the Gas Street black cat, disturbed from it’s slumbers by our happy chatter.

Summer is all about rides like this.

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#365daysofbiking Iron man:

June 28th – Been a while since I was last at Ironbridge. A long dayride with a companion I don’t ride nearly enough with was great: Miles of chat, fun, company and relaxation were just what the doctor ordered.

Arriving at the gorge and bridge at 5pm, ice creams were had, coffee and… Pork pies. Well, it’s a Ironbridge thing.

We explored old haunts, stopped at a riverside pub, marvelled at the bridge (now a lovely deep red colour following extensive renovation) and enjoyed the river, gentle atmosphere and evening warmth, before climbing out of the gorge at the east end and riding home via Ryton and Albrighton.

A lovely place I don’t go nearly enough, with someone I really should ride more with too.

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#365daysofbiking A passing brightness

June 26th – Sad to see the last of the orchids fading away now but it’s been a great year for them.

I think they like the rain, so the summer has been good for something, at least.

I love these gorgeous purple flowers – a real symbol of the cleanliness our canals now enjoy. Such a shame they’re so transient in nature.

Until next year, then…

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