BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Victoria park’

#365daysofbiking Respecting the elders

Tuesday, September 29th 2020 – Out and about the leaves may be starting to turn but there are still plenty of fruits, berries and seeds about. Crab apples and conkers litter the ground and edges of roads; acorns crunch as you ride past oak trees overhanging canal towpaths; one often startles birds picking at the last, dripping blackberries clinging on to wayside thickets.

The black and glistening favourite of home wine-makers, the elderberries, did not seem to have a good season this year with small, sparse fruit with only the odd profuse bush. But some still cling on, mainly to feed the birds.

As usual, there are still plenty in Victoria Park, Darlaston. For some reason the local winemakers generally leave these for the birds.

Seeing these handsome berries is bittersweet, like the fruit itself, for they signify the end of summer.

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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 I love this post

January 15th – Passing through Darlaston’s Victoria Park on a journey back from the hospital in Walsall late morning, I met this tidy, glossy coated very black cat, languid and sleepy on a fencepost at the Wednesbury Road end of the path.

He wasn’t particularly pleased that I disturbed his sleep, but welcomed my chatter, chin and ear tickles, for the first few minutes barely opening his eyes.

A cat of clearly senior years, I think he must live on the new esate over the back.

And adorable, aloof yet affectionate fusspot, whose acquaintance I was pleased to make.

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#365daysofbiking A rare burst of sunlight

November 13th – The day was better; better not just in the weather, but in the fact that I was back in Darlaston and not stuck in the hell of the local train service that seems lately to have staggered to a grim halt.

Victoria Park was showing well her autumn coat of many colours and was gorgeous in the late morning as I slid through it on an errand. Oh for the absence of rain, a little sun on my face and for the brightness of a dappled sky!

What has this autumn’s weather been so rotten?

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#365daysofbiking Submission

October 23rd – Another fine autumn day, and I must say, as it usually does, Autumn is starting to rest easy with me. It usually takes me a while to get over the loss of warmth, sun and light evenings, but when I do finally cave in, I find the season gorgeous.

In central Darlaston, the tree-lined roads, fallen leaves and sun-dapped scenery are beautiful and really enjoyable to ride through.

Yeah, go on. I can do this now. I’m ready.

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#365daysofbiking Always restful

October 17th –  On the way to work, I stopped for a break in Victoria Park, Darlaston – the park curiously formed from a railway cutting abandoned in the 1930s.

It’s always beautiful here in Autumn and today, the trees were just shrugging on their seasonal jackets of gold.

Victoria park is a great example of how urban edge land with a peculiar topology can be repurposed into a beautiful and well loved place, that’s always restful and a real oasis in the heart of a busy town.

I’ll never tire of this place.

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#365daysofbiking From little acorns

July 15th – More galls: I mentioned knopper galls recently and pointed out these wasp galls deform acorn buds to form a home for the wasp larva within. I found an illustration of this in Victoria Park Darlaston.

This is a knapper gall starting to form. The acorn cap is normal, but where the smooth, rounded nascent acorn should be, there is a knobbly, textured growth which will expand to form the gall.

The DNA of the acorn has literally been corrupted or reformed to grow a home for the wasp egg within by a chemical the egg was coated with.

How does such a mechanism evolve? It’s truly wonderful.

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#365daysofbiking Park life

June 14th – A dry commute to work (but sadly, not back) was a novelty. It was grey, and I never felt quite safe from the threatening skies but the blessed absence of rain was nice.

Victoria Park in Darlaston looks lush and green as one would expect in such a wet season. The mystic bridge I stood on to take photos from, however, was slippery with algae and lethal, so take care!

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#365daysofbiking Respect your elders

May 30th – Also blossoming now is the delightful and humble elder, a shrub beloved of winemakers for hundreds of years. It grows in woods, hedgerows, on wasteland and anywhere it can. Here in Harlaston it’s thriving at the back of Victoria Park.

The tiny, beautiful white flowers have a gorgeous scent and can be used to make wine or champagne: the berries they make way for – deep red, almost black – make a heavy, heady wine that’s almost legendary.

This gives the winemaker a tasty dilemma: White and floral or red and strong?

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