#365daysofbiking Repellent magnetism:
September 22nd – There’s a current fad happening on local canals at the moment that’s really bloody irritating.
Well, perhaps not the activity itself, but the end result. Chancers get hold of very strong magnets on the likes of eBay and then tie them to a line and dredge them along the canals to see what metal they pull out.
I guess they’re looking for interesting stuff, but nobody’s going to pull out gold coins, only ferrous stuff, obviously although I’m not sure the anglers have twigged that yet.
The problem comes when they pull out worthless junk: They just leave it on the towpath for some other poor sod to deal with, where it blocks access and really makes the canals look messy.
To my mind, these people are, at the very least, littering and should be prosecuted if caught.
Thankfully, selfless and dedicated volunteers in collection boats – here seen passing through Tipton – are working to clear up the mess left by these irresponsible, greedy scavengers.
#365daysofbiking Warm rain and what lies beneath:
September 22nd – Thanks to a reminder from the most excellent Stymaster, I got to attend the Tipton Canal and Community Festival, all be it on a really wet, rainy dray. The weather notwithstanding, I had an excellent time, as can be seen on my main blog here.
Having ridden to Tipton from home in the rain, I decided to carry on down the canal into Birmingham following the old mainline into Birmingham.
This time of year, the Galton Cutting is gorgeous, and it’ll be even better when the leaves really start to turn.
The huge maze of scaffold under the M5 viaduct at Oldbury is hugely impressive from underneath, too. I wonder how many delayed, queueing motorists above know the complexity of what lies underneath them?
May 21st – A weary day at work, but better in myself, I had things to do for work in Tipton, and on my return, rode the canals all the way back to Goscote.
Another fine day, the sallow fluff – shed from this peculiar tree’s blooms – was making me sneeze and coating everything in a ghostly grey fur.
It is curious, though. This relative of the willow is clearly having a very good year…
April 3rd – A better day. I set off to work in Darlaston on a pleasant, warm and sunny morning, and then rode over to Tipton at lunchtime.
I was reminded why I love this place, and what the Black Country has my heart; The view of Church Hill, Wednesbury and the twin sisters from Ocker Hill was bustling, frenetic, and yet home to me. Then at Tipton, the canalside park devoted to William Perry, the Tipton Slasher and prize fighter of folklore was gorgeous and peaceful.
You can’t beat the Black Country.
November 17th – But still, some vestiges of autumn cling in in the final trees still shedding their formerly green leaves. Noticed while on an errand to Tipton, this sycamore in Ocker Hill was showing a beautiful range of colour against the bright blue frost-morning sky.
Sad, but very beautiful on such a chilly morning.
September 17th – I left at lunchtime and headed to Wolverhampton, hopping on to the canal at Wednesfield, then heading to Tipton at Horseley Junction. I was going to Tipton Canal Festival, a do I’d heard great things about but never been to.
Despite the periodic rain, there was bright sunshine too and it was indeed a great event – more on my main blog later in the week. From Tipton, I meandered on the old line into Birmingham via the Toll House Loop, past the M5 viaduct with it’s maze of fascinating scaffolding and derelict dignity of Chance Glassworks.
The cats stayed out until the rain came, and the weather worsened as I approached Birmingham. The peculiarly black, wet heron summed up the feeling of the waterfront at Gas Street perfectly. Is it common for herons to be so black?
By the time I reached Aston the light was failing, the pavers on the towpath were treacherously slippery and the rain was penetrating, so I hopped on a train to Shenstone.
A great ride, despite the weather, that reminded me of why I love Birmingham and the Black Country.
September 12th – While I was in Tipton I noticed there’s something special going on there this weekend.
Tipton Canal Festival always has a good reputation, and this weekend if the weather is decent I may well pay it a visit…
Probably last chance for a good day by the water this year.
September 12th – Remember that traffic island planted with wildflowers I found in Tipton way back in the summer? I passed it again today in the sunshine and it’s still very, very beautiful.
Although the huge mass of flowers is gone now, there are still plenty of diverse, beautiful and understated blooms attracting bees and bugs. And it still gladdens the heart.
When people tell you we live in a dreary, ugly, industrial place, think of this, and smile.
July 25th – On an unexpectedly sunny afternoon, travelling between Tipton and Darlaston at 3pm, this gem looked splendid indeed.
On the island at the bottom of Owen Street – Tipton’s High Street – just by Coronation Gardens, Sandwell Council planted the centre with wildflower seeds. This is the result.
It’s gorgeous, captivating and a joy to the heart. Thank you to whoever did this, it’s a real act of beauty.
The Black Country: It ay all chimmocks and grime these days…