BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘unusual’

#365daysofbiking Surprises along the way


Tuesday March 30th 2021 – I’m enjoying riding back from Telford so much I’m doing something I’ve not done in years, really – blindly exploring. I’m varying my route to find the best one, and today, I had an extra hour to play with as I left early. So at Stanton Hill, near RAF Cosford, I took a dive down Neachley Lane.

My word, it’s gorgeous. A lovely, quiet, long downhill run through woodlands. I loved ever turn of the pedals.

Then, as I left Bilbrook heading Coven, Brinsford ways on, I was looking for a decent backway – they’re thin on the ground in this motorway and trunk road bisected area. I found one on the map – part of the Monarch’s Way from just north of Pendeford to Coven Heath. It crossed the motorway via a pedestrian bridge, and wound around the side of the Landrover Engine Plant, horridly called ‘I54′.

Skirting a building site, it was an interesting and worthwhile route – but the best thing was the surprise I found on the far side of the motorway: A huge solar farm.

It’s so good to see this sort of thing and I just love the technology of it. I stood and admired it for some time.

I’ve passed this spot many times on the motorway to Telford, without ever realising the solar farm was there.

This my friends, is what’s great about riding a bike.

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#365daysofbiking Bleat it

Wednesday, September 23rd 2020 – I note sheep are grazing on some fast growing crop planted swiftly after the late summer harvest at Home Farm, Sandhills. It looks like some brassica or other, probably kale.

Sheep are an unusual sight here, as the land is solidly arable, but every now and again, a winter crop like this is grown and sheep from another farm are let loose to feed upon it for a few weeks. I guess it must me a good earner; last time was Christmas 2018, I think.

Nice to see them. Wonder if we’ll get the escapees again on the canal towpath this time?

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#365daysofbiking In a grump

March 25th – The country in which I live is slowly shutting down in a way I never considered likely, or even possible. Little things that make my daily life normal – stopping for coffee, calling into the supermarket – nipping out to the park – are now either not going to be possible, or require a lot of planning.

I have key worker status, and for now cannot work from home. So I continue to be out and about, but always with a letter, announcing my status and reasons for being considered so, should the police stop me.

There is now a normal, defensive hostility from strangers – like this gorgeous ginger and white floof who gave me the shoulder in Walsall Wood from the opposite side of the canal.

We’re all in a grump now, I guess.

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#365daysofbiking Trouble on the wind

March 16th – Due to coronavirus, there appear to be odd times coming, and I don’t much like the look of them, I can tell you.

Returning home in the dusk the canal was still as I paused before heading to Silver Street and central Brownhills. People had been panic buying hand sanitiser, cleaning products, long life food and toilet rolls.

All because of a virus we are lost as individuals in the face of. There is not much we can do, so we panic buy for the reassurance of affirmative action.

This is not my country.

Thankfully, though, the calm of the canal and falling night was still reassuringly so.

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#365daysofbiking – Road cones

February 10th – I went to Telford. Hard work, a tough ride, but finding my wheels again.

Sadly, they were nearly snatched from under me on the Priorslee cycleway by an unusual hazard – huge cones brought down off the nearby pine tree by the previous day’s storm.

Normally soft and compliant, these were not ripe, but hard and slippery.

Quite an unexpected hazard!

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#365daysofbiking Unusual colour

February 2nd – The Azolla bloom in the local canal, and as it matures patches of the waterway have turned a deep red.

Azolla is a small but populous growth that although strange and invasive, does little harm – it will disappear in spring as the weevils gorge on it. Winter normally sees its death, but after a very favourable summer, the winter has not been cold enough to kill it.

It’s not stringy and parts easily for passing boats and waterfowl.

But it does look very unusual.

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#365daysofbiking Flocking hell

January 9th – I had to nip up to Newtown in the morning, and went via the canal  and Ogley Junction. I was intrigued on the bridge by a quiet but fairly large roost of birds in the trees behind the old lock cottage by The Long Pound.

It turned out they were just wood pigeons.

Whilst very familiar with these ambling, affable birds, I can’t recall seeing flocks of them like this before, but I guess it must be normal.

An intriguing thing on an otherwise very dull morning.

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#365daysofbiking Getting the bird

November 17th – Another rain sodden day. I know this is getting repetitive if you read these posts in series, but this is seriously what life here is like at the moment. It’s been so wet for weeks now that I’ve stopped grumbling at having to go out in it; it’s just a sort of a new normal.

The state of this is weird.

Down in Brownhills on a shopping trip, a wander over to the canalised for a loop over to Walsall Wood. The birds here – gulls, mallards, swans, geese and more – didn’t seem as tired of the rain as me, but they did seem a bit fractious. Maybe they were missing human feeding, which on a normal Sunday would be almost constant here.

I notice the goose with the white feathers on it’s head is still around. It’ll be interesting to track it over the winter, and see if it mates or if the colour discrepancy renders it an outsider…

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#365daysofbiking Heliophile

September 28th – Out in the afternoon for an errand in Lichfield, and I noticed that the deer had trampled a gap in the hedge near Home Farm from the canal towpath at Catshill, again returning a good view of my favourite tree – the magnificent horse chestnut near the farmhouse.

Surprisingly, it has yet to become very autumnal.

However, a lone oddity in the foreground caught my attention: A solitary, large sunflower going at the field margin.

A truly wild specimen, it can only have got there via the mechanism of bird digestion.

What a fine serendipitous thing!

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#365daysofbiking Strange signals

September 19th – Returning to Bloxwich station, I alighted at the north end of the platform. Since the electrification of the Chase Line, I’ve been wondering about some aspects of the installation.

I note the metalwork of the light column near this signal control cabinet and the guard rail behind has been heavily insulated and screened. I’ve not seen that before. Wonder what’s in the cabinet that’s so dangerous?

The other columns are not insulated in the same way. Puzzling.

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