BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Walsall Wood’

#365daysofbiking – Better days

February 5th – My energy didn’t give out so I went full circle and attended to an errand in Walsall Wood.

I passed under the Black Cock Bridge, named after the nearby pub. A familiar if ramshackle affair, the bridge has been lifted several times due to subsidence and now exists in a sort of limbo: It’s not got much life left, yet replacement of the structure, on a notorious rat-run, would not be easy and due to the aforementioned subsidence, would probably be better and an under bridge with and aqueduct above.

I suspect eventually it will be closed to through traffic and left, like Hollanders Bridge further up in Walsall Wood.

It’s seen better days, as have I, but I hope there’s a few more to come yet for me. For the first time in weeks, I feel like there might actually be a summer eventually, and wellness might once again be mine.

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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 Persistence of the night

January 24th – But of course, the crippling thing about this time of year is that there’s great optimism in the morning light, when one can actually see the dying of winter.

But when the dark repossess the day on the way home, it feels like deepest winter again: Which being in January as we are, it actually is.

The persistence of the night – like here in Green Lane, Walsall Wood – is sobering, depressing, but essential. The dark may be retreating. But we’re a ways away from the death yet. We must keep pushing, keep going.

Until the persistence is no more. For another season.

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#365daysofbiking A dark chicken

January 9th – One of the more comedic things about curating this journal and blog is that I comment a lot about a geographical local feature with a very amusing name – the Black Cock bridge. Named after the pub nearby, the Black Cock has long been the source of much schoolboy innuendo and humour, but is actually a decent, old fashioned pub that always looks welcoming when I pass, particularly on a dull winter evening.

It does, of course, have a far cruder colloquial name I shan’t detail.

However, I do love the thought of sweaty-palmed people banging Black Cock into search engines, which then return multiple hits to this journal rather than the desired subject…

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#365daysofbiking Disappearing from sight

January 6th – On a weary, late return from work, mercifully with the wind behind me, I stopped on cresting the remarkably steep Black Cock Bridge, and looked downhill towards the Coppice Road, as I’ve done many, many times before.

It looks like a great downhill, but parked vehicles, a T junction at the bottom and an abundance of cats and kids in summer make it too risky to pile in.

One thing I noted tonight was the orange of the sodium streetlights. That will soon go, as the local council have now announced a plan to replace all Walsall’s old style lights for new, white energy efficient ones, which it has to be said are better for visibility, with less light pollution and lower energy.

But sadly without the comfy, warm orange glow that glistens so well on tarmac.

Oh well.

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#365daysofbiking Delicious progress

January 4th – And glancing at the GPS mid-ride, I noticed a simple, delicious fact: Sunset was now over ten minutes later than it was on the shortest day, ten days ago.

Already, we are reclaiming the night.

With drier, better weather this has meant the blessed, absence of dark until gone 4:30pm.

Winter, I’ll beat ya yet, you old rogue.

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#365daysofbiking Oddly peaceful

January 4th – It wasn’t particularly late – I think about 5pm, maybe 6. I was test riding after repairs. I’d relented and cleaned the bikes and done to urgent jobs on them. So a test ride around the bounds of Brownhills was very much in order.

I’d dropped down off Castle Gate onto Chester Road to burn in new brake pads, but as I pottered up the Chester Road back towards Brownhills, I realised there was next to no traffic and hardly anyone about.

I guess it’s the post-Christmas lull, but even the Shire Oak pub looked sleepy in the evening.

A peaceful, but somewhat odd, journey.

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#365daysofbiking The blue period

December 28th – A stretch up to Walsall Wood on my way to Aldridge in one of those remarkable but fairly rare blue dusks we sometimes get at this time of year.

There must be a meteorological or astronomical reason for them, but I have no idea other than the fact that they are really, really beautiful. The view from Hollanders Bridge glowed in the cold night.

Reall,  really gorgeous.

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