BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘village’

#365daysofbiking Restoring a light in the darkness

Friday November 6th 2020 – The second lockdown is not so far as bad as I feared: With kids at school, people are going to work and there is life and people around.

I kept up my commitment to fresh air and exercise by riding to Lichfield on an important errand, coming back after darkness fell through the little village of Wall.

Wall phone box is an original Giles Gilbert Scott and had been under refurbishment for some time, but is now thankfully fully and beautifully restored and returned to it’s post-mobile era as a community library.

But the best thing about it? It still has a light. So many lost their illumination when transferred to community ownership, but this one has not. As a cyclist of a certain age, the night-time rural beacons that were isolated phone boxes were almost romantic and welcoming to me, and their disappearance makes me sad. To see one restored is a joy to the heart.

Well done, Wall. Well done.

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#365daysofbiking The village green preservation society

March 3rd – I’ve honestly lost track of whether this is an early or late spring. I don’t suppose it matters, but I think it’s a bit early. The rain seems to be tailing off a bit now, and the daffodils are taking over from the crocuses which are now passing over.

Early, passing through Walsall Wood, the patch of grass next to the Red Lion, in front of St Johns Close – remarkably claimed to be a ‘village green’ some years ago to best a planning application – looked gorgeous as many patches of Walsall verge at the moment with a dense, beautiful carpet of flowers.

This is always an excellent display and never gets enough appreciation.

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#365daysofbiking An awkward subject

January 26th – Like the village itself, Walsall Wood Church of St John is a quiet, understated gem. Originally a tiny church, extended massively by the Victorians, then again pretty brutally by the diocese of Lichfield in the 1980s, its personality has maintained surprisingly well.

It’s a lovely subject at night, has a great clock and presents a great aspect to the road. But for a couple of things.

The bloody streetlight just out of shot on the right, and the pedestrian crossing light in the foreground.

Any decent angle on the building includes one, the other or both, destroying the shot. It’s one of those frustrations that just make the character of a place.

But that’s Walsall Wood for you. Never less than quirky.

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#365daysofbiking Wood and heart

January 26th – And there it were – gone. With neither a thank you nor a goodnight, the mist upped and left, and Sunday was damp, wet but mercifully clear with an appreciable wind.

The air was clearer. I could breath again without feeling that grip on my chest from traffic fumes.

I came back from helping a pal in the early evening, and stopped for the cashpoint in the High Street. It was quiet. The takeaways were doing trade, the pubs seemed alive, but traffic was light and this still identifiable ex-mining village straddling the Walsall to Lichfield Road slumbered peacefully.

I like Walsall Wood. I always have. It’s not prepossessing, exotic or flash. But it has soul and warmth and always looks welcoming at night.

It’ll always have a bit of my heart.

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#365daysofbiking Heavy weather traffic

November 2nd – Out again after dark for a supplies run to Walsall Wood, and on my return, I stopped on Walsall Wood Bridge as I often do in winter to admire the lights of the village that straddles the A461.

Walsall Wood is an interesting place. Unlike Pelsall and Aldridge, Walsall Wood actually seems a little like a village still: a smattering of shops, trio of pubs, a parish church all in a quarter of a mile, surrounded by housing and further out, factories and industrial sprawl.

In daytime this place is pleasant if unprepossessing enough.

But at night, it develops a really interesting feel: almost like a sort of semi-permanent Christmas. The lights of the shops, pubs and takeaways combine and make this place look bright and welcoming in the gloom, in a way most other places don’t.

In this period between rain showers, there was a lot of traffic for a Saturday and cars made that noise they always do on wet tarmac. But it all combined as it usually does and looked beautiful.

I always love this view and I think I always will.

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#365daysofbiking Community chestnut

September 12h – Also on my way back from Shenstone, at the bottom of Main Street in Stonnall, a different type of chestnut is absolutely profuse this year.

Sweet chestnuts in their spiny shells don’t really grow edible fruit in this country due to the climate, but they are beautiful ornamental trees with their shiny leaves and fascinating, almost prehistoric looking fruit.

This tree is always impressive.

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March 2nd – The snow arrived in the late afternoon, one of those deceptive snowfalls with very fine flakes that deposits a large amount un a short time. 

I went down to Stonnall to explore as night fell, and the deserted lanes of Lower Stonnall, with skeletal trees and an almost blue light were gorgeous.

There was no sign of trouble as I crossed Shire Oak but 30 minutes later, lorries and cars were stranded on the hill and there was chaos.

A beautiful and unforgettable journey.

December 29th – I had to pop up Walsall Wood, late. A curious thing about Walsall Wood is looking back up the High Street towards Streets Corner, it always looks like it might be Christmas, even on a midsummer night, such are the many lights that make it such a charming view.

Walsall Wood is a place people pass through without studying. It really is worthy of closer study; it’s a lovely place.

December 20th – Returning through Shenstone, I popped into the village to the shop on an errand. Coming back down the village, I was reminded what a handsome pub The Railway is.

The extension in the foreground was once a chapel, then a butcher’s shop, but is now part of the stone-flagged lounge and has a large window it’s great to sit by and watch the world go by.

A lovely pub I’d almost forgotten about.

July 26th – In Stonnall itself, the village has been tidied and maintained this year I think for the Best Kept Village competition. There are some lovely touches, like this old bike turned into a planter and the wheelbarrow full of gorgeous flowers.

It’s a lovely thing to see. My compliments to the villagers working so hard. Everything looks splendid.