BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

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#365daysofbiking Fair field

October 6th – A favourite local view – from the canal over to the hills of Hammerwich is unexpectedly green right now. Well, green and yellow.

The slopes of Meerash to the old railway are bright green with fresh crop growth and are dusted with bright yellow. Clearly a flowering winter crop.

I wonder what it is? Must go check it out when I feel better. A fare treat to the eye, that one.

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#365daysofbiking The spore of the moment

October 6th – Another day with the cold and no energy, but an unexpectedly fine afternoon with sunny spells. It was, however, rather blustery and Chasewater had white-topped waves beating it’s shores.

I roved for a couple of hours around the common, canals and Chasewater looking for fungi, and was rewarded with the usual suspects – good fly agaric, ammonite, puffballs, honey fungus, polypores and earth balls.

But there was one find I was most pleased with – and a species I’ve not seen since I was a child: Amethyst deceiver.

These tiny, delicate, beautifully purple shrooms are actually edible and absolutely gorgeous. Hard to spot at first, they look brown at first, until you see them in the light – then the magic happens.

A great afternoon against my expectations.

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#365daysofbiking Default browser

October 5th – And then, in the scrub at the top of Chasewater dam, between Pool Road, the bypass and rugby club, this fine solo lady was browsing the scrub and posing for photos.

With the rut starting now and the old herds regrouping, odd to see a lady on her own, but she was in good condition and her coat was sleek and beautiful.

Always a fine sight and one I’ll never quite get used to.

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#365daysofbiking Something of the night

October 5th – Heavy with a cold on a week when I could really have done without it, a run over to Burntwood on errands on a grey afternoon.

On the canal on the way to Chasewater, I spotted this handsome, very black puss taking the air on a back garden angling peg.

Regarding me with clear disdain, it only moved to glare at me, following which this patch of sleek blackness resumed its neighbourhood watch.

Clearly something of the night about this gorgeous, wonderfully aloof and cool cat.

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#365daysofbiking Blooming late

October 4th – Taking a well earned breather in Kings Hill Park on my way to work, sat with my coffee, I noticed something dark red in the shrubs near the northern hedge.

It’s a very strange flowering shrub I’ve never seen before, and it’s in full bloom. In October.

The beautiful red blossom hangs in chains, a bit like wisteria or it’s relative, laburnum. But the odd thing is it also has smaller, white flowers that could easily be from another shrub – but clearly aren’t.

Does anyone know what this is, please? It had me fascinated for ages.

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#365daysofbiking Into the darkness

October 3rd – The sunset now is getting really, really early and is quite a shock.

That was a hard, wet and punishing ride into the wind. It was hard work after the week I’ve had.

The winter lights are on, the scarf is out of the drawer and the thermals are being checked and washed.

And so, into the dark I disappear for the worst half of the year.

I hate this, but you have to have the bad with the good, so here goes…

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#365daysofbiking Explorations

October 3rd – I drove to work and rode home – sadly I chose a really, really unpleasant evening to do so. Again, drizzle and a punishing headwind – but at least the town looked beautiful in the glistening, dripping night.

I decided to quickly try the camera and the phone for a comparison.

Top, the iPhone 11 Pro Max in night mode, which since a beta firmware upgrade on Wednesday evening seems a whole bunch better. It’s not as hyperreal, but is still very strange, but beautiful I think.

My preference is still to the warmth of the Canon G5X, below, which is altogether mellower without losing detail.

Further explorations to come, I think.

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#365daysofbiking A small bimble

October 2nd – I was recovering after the hospital appointment, but fresh air called and I took a spin out in the afternoon, enjoying the sun for a circuit of Brownhills, Walsall Wood, Pelsall and Clayhanger.

Slow and leisurely, I wanted to see if I was up to riding. Thankfull I felt no ill effects.

At Clayhanger Bridge I met the Watermead family, all now large birds, having a communal preen by the canalside. They tolerated me, and only went for my ankles a couple of times.

Beautiful, adorable birds.

To my surprise, Mr. Miyagi the turtle was basking too, but slid back in the water before I had my camera. Didn’t expect to see him out so late, but always nice to see.

The fresh air improved my mood and it was nice to find my riding wasn’t impeded.

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#365daysofbiking Stars on earth

October 1st – I had to go to have a medical procedure, so I was out in a rainy dawn on a quick spin to get the ride in for the day.

On Clayhanger Common, a first for the year: Earthstar fungus.

This remarkable, almost unreal looking fungi grows quite widely now but was once a rarity, and there are lots on Clayhanger Common from now until Christmas.

They work like puffballs, and the central sphere pops releasing it’s spores to the wind.

They always look like plasticine to me. Beautiful, curious things.

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#365daysofbiking Suckback

September 30th – The first commute in darkness and bad weather of the autumn is always a shock, and this one was dreadful.

The Suck – the name for the gradually darkening, dangerous and unpleasant evening commutes up until Christmas – is a harrowing time.

A combination of bad weather, drivers unused to otherwise familiar journeys now in darkness and lack of patience make for a psychologically and physically difficult time to be on a bike.

It had taken a good ten minutes longer to grind home – and I was still a good way away. I was wet, cold and had a number of very close passes despite lights and hi-vis.

If I could just fast forward to Christmas when the light creeps back and people have settled down, that would be great cheers.

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