BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Walsall Wood’

#365daysofbiking Scum

May 12th – Again, the local canals were thick with organic scum – not just the usual azolla bloom, which is still persisting but has mostly died back now, but detritus and dead bloom heads from sallow trees that border the canal there.

It looks awful but will soon disperse, and it just one of several reasons the canal forms natural organic layers throughout the year.

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#365daysofbiking Slim slow slider

May 8th – It’s always nice to welcome seasonal characters back into one’s life and none more so than the local canal’s resident reptile, Mr. Miyagi, the yellow-bellied slider.

Clearly a discarded pet, many canals and pools in the UK are home to these gentle, but surprisingly speedy vegetarians. The will live happily in our climate although being native to the Americas, but will not breed, even if they managed to find a mate. These turtles were popular a while back and sold as small animals, many were set free as they grew.

Mr. Miyagi is the size of a dinner plate, and likes to sun himself on the bank or any suitably buoyant drifting debris he can find on warm days, and his statuesque, head raised posture marks him as a real sun worshipper.

However, get a bit close or make a sudden movement – as I did today by sneezing – and he darts into the water with remarkable acuity.

I thought last year someone may interfere and ‘rescue’ the dear old soul, but he remains, reactions as sharp as ever and it was good to note his presence for another season.

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#365daysofbiking Hoked on sunsets

May 7th – It was a decent sunset and I was in Walsall Wood. That’s always frustrating, because there aren’t any very good vantage points to take one in around that area.

Then I caught the sunset over Walsall Wood Bridge past Rod, the Walsall Wood angler, who bears an uncanny resemblance to David Evans, gentleman of the parish.

It didn’t work out so bad. Shame they never sorted out the purloined fish…

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#365daysofbiking A complex question

May 1st – Not far away, just a few tens of yards up the Chester Road, the new nursing home, built on the site of a former quarry and blockworks seems open.

Castlehill Specialist Care Centre seems to cater for people with quite marked dementia and it seems to be intended to serve a growing market – and it’s a very decent looking building, which now appears staffed, and open.

I found myself wondering if they were admitting residents yet, what with coronavirus being so pronounced in such places.

But it’s a fine looking place and I wish all concerned with it – residents and staff – well.

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#365daysofbiking In the pink

April 23rd – It’s appropriate for St. George’s day I guess that apple blossom is now out. For all th frilliness and glamour of the ornamental cherries, you really can’t beat traditional apple blossom. Pink and white, it’s a gorgeous spectacle, and very British.

It smells rather nice too.

It’s in hedgerows all over, but this lovely specimen is on the canal between Clayhanger Bridge and the Black Cock.

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#365daysofbiking In the meadow

April 22nd – With this working from home malarkey (I still cannot get used to it) I’ve not been seeing some familiar places this spring, much if at all.

Jockey Meadows is one such place.

Usually one of the last places to show signs of spring, when I took my exercise ride today it was beautifully green, almost verdant. A real feast for the senses with bird and wildlife clearly happy and getting on with life in a way we can’t.

Hello old friend. Happy spring!

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#365daysofbiking Prepare to be fluffed

April 20th – I see on the canal near Walsall Wood that the sallow trees are coming into blossom. These spiny female catkins will soon start spewing huge amounts of fluff.

Sallow or goat willow is a member of the wider willow family, and grows profusely hereabouts. After the initial pretty male catkins have passed – pussy willows – then come the female catkins that you can see here. Once these peculiar green flowers pollinate, they generate wind-borne seeds in a few weeks: these evolve in the form of a large cloud of fluff that for a few days will coat the canal, towpaths, woodland paths, verges and road margins.

Sallows are not the only willow to do this peculiar thing, but they are certainly the largest group to do it hereabouts.

Bizarre, but fun…

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#365daysofbiking Ducks deluxe:

April 19th – Another first for the year on a short afternoon ride out to test the bike and legs. I’d had a go at sorting a creak in the bottom bracket, but it was still grumbling.

Although bright and sunny, there was still a chill in the air.

On the canal in Walsall Wood, my first ducklings of the year – seven balls of mallard fluff squeaking and doing their best to stick with proud mum.

This is always such a joy to see. Look forward to more of it, and goslings, too.

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#365daysofbiking In my solitude I am least alone

April 13th – Dusk, on the canal. The bite of a chilly spring evening. The sound of wind, waterfowl grumbling and no traffic at all.

I realised that for the first time in weeks, nobody else was on the canal towpath. I was alone.

Since the lockdown, people have taken to canals for exercise and walking in a way I’ve never seen before – which is good: I really want people who don’t know the beauty of local canals to come and share it.

But it’s still nice to find myself here, alone, but accompanied by my thoughts and feelings. It it at moments like this I feel least alone.

I stood enjoying it for quite a while.

Realising I was shivering, I got on my bike and rode back home.

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#365daysofbiking Similarly dead

April 4th – And as I came back along the canal, the situation was similar from Northywood Bridge.

The industrial area on this side of Stubbers Green is normally brisk, even on a weekend: A busy builder’s merchant, B&M not a stones throw away, people continually coming through.

Today, not a soul. Not a car about.

It’s seriously making me wonder how much stuff we do as humans out of genuine need, as opposed to what we do just to keep busy…

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