BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Tree’

#365daysofbiking Going nuts

Saturday January 23rd 2021 – There was cold weather coming in, with the possibility of snow. I could feel it in the afternoon air as I nipped up to Walsall Wood.

The hazel katkins were having none of it, though: They were coming out and although sparse, were a very welcome splash of light green in a grey winter landscape.

These blooms are the male flowers of the tree, the female ones are tiny. Hopefully the nut crop will not be too sparse this season, despite the thinness of the number of katkins on display…

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#365daysofbiking A changed world

Christmas Eve, Thursday December 24th 2020 – I had a busy day – the errands mounted up, last minute shopping for groceries, dropping off presents and so forth. My last task was to nip into Walsall wo pick up some vegetables in the early evening.

It was a crisp, clear evening and the riding fast but easy in the nippy air. I decided to return through Pelsall, to check out their Christmas tree.

Unusual in the borough that it’s planted, it was handsome and looked lovely in the memorial garden.

But what a strange Christmas Eve this was: Early evening, nobody around.

What a changed world we live in at the moment.

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#365daysofbiking Splendid isolation:

Monday December 21st 2020 – I can’t get used to Walsall deserted, especially at peak times. The effects of this pandemic will resonate socially for years, in ways we’re only just beginning to see – the death of town centres is clearly being accelerated.

The town’s Christmas tree, today standing in splendid isolation in St Pauls Square is an excellent specimen, though and cheered me up. The twenty year out of time, brutalist, newly renovated bus station beyond it looked welcoming, too, if only for the want of passengers. Must say the warm white lighting in there was a clever choice.

It’s hard to believe that this is 4pm on Monday before Christmas. Strange days indeed.

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#365daysofbiking A synthetic approach

Sunday December 13th 2020 – Out delivering Christmas cards, I came back through Chasetown in the early evening.

Chasetown always looks lovely at night, even more so with it’s Christmas lights back to full strength after a few years when they were minimised to save money: But one thing I can’t make up my mind about is the artificial Christmas tree.

It looks the part, and is very commanding. But it’s not very… Traditional.

Impressive, but I’m not a fan, if I’m honest.

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#365daysofbiking A completed job

Saturday December 12th 2020 – One thing that had been a bit sad about the Christmas tree going up on the miner island in Brownhills was that there seemed to be an electrical fault with the existing, permanently installed lights on the trees around Morris. When the tree was connected, these stayed resolutely off and we assumed there was some terminal flaw.

Thankfully, council electrical wonks attended, and have got the lights working again, for which we are all grateful: Morris now has that Vegas sparkle returned and he is surrounded by festive sparkle.

A job well done, and seen through to completion: Thanks to all involved!

You can find out more about, and donate to the Brownhills Christmas Tree Appeal by clicking here.

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#365daysofbiking Lighting the parish

Tuesday December 8th 2020 – I’m not certain it’s still the case, but fairly sure that the local councillors in Walsall Wood still fund the annual Christmas Tree outside the Parish Church of St John themselves; It’s an act of community spirit and largesse that I’ve always respected and appreciated, despite being miles away from the councillors politically.

The tree is the standard walsall borough tree and lights, but always looks that bit more festive in the grounds of the church.

A pleasure to see. My thanks to those involved.

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#365daysofbiking Tree cheers


Monday December 7th 2020 – Thanks to the tenacity and dedication of Susan Forster and friends who work so hard to raise money and organise the provision, Brownhills finally had it’s second festive community Christmas tree lit up on the miner island for all to enjoy.

Some electrical issues and council staffing difficulties meant it was a few days late, but no less excellent and very, very festive for us all to admire.

The tree is paid for like every other local tree in Walsall Borough by community donation and commercial support, and the volunteers have worked like demons to sort this out. The first tree they organised was in 2019, and that was the first we’d had in Brownhills for over a decade.

My thanks and best wishes to the all. You can find out more and make a donation at their Facebook page by clicking here.

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#365daysofbiking All conkering

Saturday, September 26th 2020 – As I mentioned at my recommencement last week, there are some subjects that are staples of this journal, and I can’t believe I’m a week overdue mentioning my favourite tree: The handsome, gorgeous horse chestnut at Home Farm, Sandhills, visible from the canal at Catshill.

This noble bearing of my life is an integral part of that fine view, and has just started to get on its autumn jacket.

I tell the seasons by this tree, and I judge the weather. I’ve photographed it dawn and dusk, rain, snow, hail and shine. It’s one constant, lovely thing I rely on and feel a great sense of topophilia for – yet I don’t think I’ve ever been closer than a few hundred yards to it.

In a chaotic world, we need anchors. This tree is one of mine, and long may it remain so.

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#365daysofbiking Consumption

Today, a tentative restart.
Firstly, an apology:

  • I have been rather ill, tired and on my knees.
  • Work was about all I could do for weeks. A period of working from home drove me very low indeed. I love to be out with people in my niche, the isolation was very bad for me.
  • I am recovering physically and mentally, and my distance cycling is back, and now commute both ways to work again. For a period I drove one way, rode home and back, drove home and back etc.
  • Like all of us, the pandemic has been strange.
  • What’s been stopping me updating is I have all the photos for the missing days, but I’m just so far behind, catching up is daunting. *I will fill the gap but have to work out a system to do it*

I’ll be honest. I’ve cycled every day even though I’ve not been posting, even if only up the road and back on very ill days.

It’s time to kick this thing back off. Thanks for your concern, and I’m sorry. I’m rebooting. It may take a while, specifically with the main blog. I am not young these days. I get tired. But I still love this place, my rides within in, and I still have the wide eyed wonder I always did.

Thanks for your care and patience.

Monday, September 14th 2020 – A summer like morning commute to Darlaston that was unnaturally warm and pleasant, but in the shadows and shade, the nip of autumn lurked, and the dew was heavy, a sure harbinger of Autumn.

At the far end of Victoria Park in Darlaston, a tree on the margin of the marsh and footpath continues to consume the fence that passed too closely.

I’ve watched this tree consume those steel bars for over a decade and the tree is still in rude health, despite my suspicion at one point that it was diseased.

I’ve always adored the almost pyroclastic flow over the footpath.

Trees like this are a constant to me, and as I return to this journal after too long away, it seems appropriate that since last mentioned here, the tree has grown, aged, but remained – a marker for me that probably very few notice.

Onwards, and into autumn. You coming with me?

 

#365daysofbiking Silly things

May 19th – I’m finding working from home impossible, if I’m honest. It’s very hard to keep focus with family life happening around me. There is no separation, I miss the commute; and I constantly find myself needing things from my den, or elsewhere in my workplace that would make tasks easy but without them they take forever.

I need to go back to work.

In the mean time, my daily outdoors fix is essential, and this evening I spent probably longer than necessary admiring my favourite tree, at Home Farm, Sandhills. This handsome horse chestnut is currently in bloom and looks gorgeous in the Tuesday golden hour.

Some things are markers in the madness. These fields, the canal, the sun, and that tree. They save me from nosediving. Silly things, but there you go.

This journal is moving home. Find out more by clicking here.

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