July 1st – This is just wonderful. I spotted it a couple of weeks ago but I couldn’t stop to photograph it. Outside a recently well-renovated house on the A461, a new house sign lovingly and beautifully made in the image of the house.
Just look at the detail in that, the tiles on the roof. Its wonderful.
My compliments to the householder, and huge respect for the craft and skill of whoever created this wonderful curiosity.
September 13th – On the way home, I was travelling in the damp air and landscape just after heavy rainfall. Everything glittered, reflected and shone. Of the things rendered precious, few were more beautiful than the snowberries near the roadside in Pleck which looked pure and dappled with glinting raindrops.
Cycling after rain is a joy. Actually in the rain – not so much.
March 15th – Passing through Pleck on an evening commute at sunset, mashing into the wind. Not a pleasant ride, but stopping to wipe my eyes, I noticed what a lovely effect the light was having on the wonderful row of terraces on the Walsall Road.
Such fine chimneys, and remarkable symmetry. Even the sun over the canal – from what normally could barely be described as good view – was gorgeous.
I love these spring and autumn sunset commutes. Shame Walsall doesn’t have many good places to catch them from.
February 20th – When one talks about the excellent architecture in Darlaston, it’s easy to convey the impression that interesting and beautiful buildings are confined to a small area in the town centre around Victoria Park. While there are many fine examples there, the sheer joy of this wonderful place is that there are fine buildings waiting to be discovered all over the place, and this is really the story of not just Darlaston, but the wider Black Country, too, which hides many of its finest gems under its bushel.
This fine old townhouse – now bedsits I think – has the most remarkable circular ‘tower’ bay with conical roof and gorgeous gables. Everything about it is perfect, from chimneys to lintels, and it sits in a nondescript, unremarkable location on the Walsall Road.
Everywhere you turn, there’s another wonderful building.
September 6th – I popped into Lichfield on a grey afternoon for a bit of shopping, and noticed that the Panache Restaurant, which had garnered appalling food safety ratings in recent months had closed and seems to have the builders in.
This was one the Three Tuns pub, and one of three pubs in close proximity on Pipe Hill, the other two long since gone.
This is clearly quite an old building that has undergone much change over the years, and I would hate to see it lost.
I hope the next phase of this venerable pub’s life is kind to it.
July 15th – Also a pain is the himalayan balsam. This tall, beautiful plant is growing in abundance now, and flowering strongly on damp waste ground, stream banks and the hinterlands and margins. It’s beautiful pink/white, metallic-scented flowers hide the real problem: this is an invasive species introduced by the Victorians.
The plant grows so tall and thickly that it chokes all beneath it, yet once established, like japanese knotweed, it’s very hard to remove.
The A461 Pipe Hill at Lichfield, and most of the verges to the waterworks at Pipe Hill are full of the stuff, season by season edging it’s way to Muckley Corner.
A beautiful undesirable.
April 29th – There’s a lovely old house on the corner of Forge Lane anfd the Walsall Road in Little Aston. Sheltering under a huge pine tree, imaginatively named “The Cotaage’ is a lovely, well-maintained landmark on the busy road from Aldridge to Sutton. But what I really like about it at this time of year is the gorgeous lilac creeper – I think it’s Wisteria.
Beautiful, even passing by on an overcast Tuesday evening in rush hour…
July 13th – Any of you lot lost a mop? Well, I found it. Just on the corner of Edge Hill Road and Walsall Road, Little Aston. I have no idea either. Perhaps a particularly hygienic witch crashed here….
August 24th – Another late night at work, but I managed to escape by sundown. Cruising back through Darlaston and Pleck, the urban landscape was bathed in pleasant light. I noticed this house on the corner of an unmade drive on the Walsall Road in Pleck. It’s a peculiarly gingerbread house for this area of largely red brick terraces and townhouses. There are quite a few old, imposing homes on their road; it must have been quite important and exclusive in it’s day.