BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘surprise’

#365daysofbiking Things that happen when you’re not looking

February 14th – I haven’t been to Birmingham much this winter, and the first time passing though overground since Christmas in daylight made me stop in surprise at a building growing in the Colmore Row business area.

This office block has grown on the site of John Madin’s now demolished brutalist gem 103 Colmore Row: The former Birmingham Natwest Tower.

103 had passed its time and it is right, I guess that it has gone and change is happening. But I do miss it, it was a startlingly beautiful bit of brutalist design – a priapic monument to mammon.

The building replacing it is so far unknown to me: But it seems huge. In my head 103 fitted perfectly, in a forest of towers, but it clearly never was so, and the rising of a replacement is somehow shocking in size and imposition.

This is what change looks like. I’ll be interested to see this develop.

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#365daysofbiking – Snow joke


February 10th – I was at work in a windowless building. At 3:30pm I stepped out of a fire escape answering a call to find it had been snowing, but only a little. An icing sugar dusting was remaining in gutters, shady grass banks and in the shadows of trees and buildings, but disappearing fast.

I have the feeling this will be the only snow we’ll get this year.

Sad really, as I love a bit of snow cycling.

Perhaps it’s for the best, though: Spring is too important to me now I think.

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#365daysofbiking A prickly observation

November 25th – Some things that are seasonal are always a shock when you find them, as they remind you of a year passing. Snowdrops and acolytes after Christmas, the first daffodil, the first berries and galls, etc.

One that always catches me up short is holly berries.

That’s Christmas – it is after all, a great element of Yule symbolism. But they do appear a ways before Christmas and tend to be around long after. I don’t know why, but holly berries never seem that attractive to birds.

These, spotted on a wet Monday morning on the cycleway near Ryecroft Cemetery quite took me by surprise – but then, it’s only a month to go…

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#365daysofbiking Misty morning sunlight

October 28th – The descent into winter seems quite fast now: Heading off to get the train to Brum and onward to Telford on an early morning with frost on the ground and ice on the roads – and I’ve not got the winter tyres on yet, as the bike reminded me in an unguarded moment.

Stability restored, the sunlight streamed through the trees of Mill Green and despite the chill, rendered the day precious.

As welcomes to winter go, that wasn’t so bad.

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May 5th – In a world of fakery and things not as they appear to be, this really shouldn’t surprise me, but I was stunned.

On a building site near Rosliston, South Derbyshire fake chimneys, ready to go on the roofs of very expensive new build houses, complete with pre assembled pots and flashing.

I feel betrayed.

April 25th – Well, that was a shock. A light dusting of snow early in the morning was soon burned off by the sun, but my goodness, it felt cold on the m morning commute. Snow and frost this late in the year is not that unusual really – but after recent mild winters it was a shock.

By the time I reached work the only remaining snow was on vehicles.

Thankfully, the roads weren’t icy, but the unexpected snow clearly made many drivers nervous.

I knew my complaints about the recent cold were not just moaning and I was on to something….

September 15th – Catshill Junction Bridge has had this horrid step for years. There used to be a concrete ramp between the footpath and the bridge deck, but it broke up and washed away in the rain.

The Canal and River Trust have been asked to repair this on multiple occasions, to no avail.

Yesterday, they announced that a crew would be out on Wednesday ‘to make it accessible’.

I’ll believe it when I see it…

January 13th – I know these are poor quality pictures, but I hope you’ll forgive me just this once because they show something astonishing: it’s a kingfisher, by the canal. That on its own is notable, but not remarkable; however this fellow was just in the bushes overhanging the Walsall Canal next to the Scarborough Road Bridge in Pleck, Walsall.

If Walsall were a city, we could call this place inner city; it’s one of the most densely populated parts of town, and not the kind of place one would expect to see such a glorious bird.

These were very hurried, very long range shots (30x zoom) on a dark, overcast day in a rain shower. A Community Payback team were working not 20 metres away. 

This is stunning to me. I never thought I’d see such a thing in a place like that.

A real find on a very grey day.

October 18th – In Pelsall to meet a pal for lunch, I spotted the beautiful planters by the common that were still blooming beautifully. It’s only a week until the clocks go back, and yet such colourful flowers are still with us.

Beautiful and surprising, too. Well done Pelsall. 

September 11th – In Darlaston Green, a sight to bring joy to the coldest, hardest heart – a single, 7 foot tall sunflower, growing right in front of a living room window. I imagine it to have been planted by a child under adult supervision – possibly a grandparent. 

You can’t fail to adore this.