BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Walsall’

#365daysofbiking Sky gazing


December 3rd – Returning to Walsall a little earlier than usual from Birmingham, I was just in time to see a most beautiful sunset descend upon Walsall – but not in the best place to catch it on camera. Standing on the steps at the station side entrance. the view down Station Street and back over the empty station platforms was much better than I expected.

I’m glad I caught this one – but by heck, it felt cold…

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#365daysofbiking On a green hill

November 29th – I nipped into work for a short while in the morning, and out of necessity, went through Bloxwich and down through Bentley, the sprawling suburb that separates Walsall From Willenhall.

Bentley has a fascinating landmark: A church on a large hill.

Emmanuel Church is a modernist, almost brutalist design by Richard Twentyman in the mid 1950s, and although interesting, I’ve always found it to be a stark, unsettling building. Twentyman was an acclaimed church architect who had also designed pubs and crematoria, so perhaps the stark nature of his work was appropriate.

The church though plays second fiddle to the Bentley Cairn, something I’ve never really stopped to look at before – it’s simply put an extraneous rock with some debate over the actual origin, but it marks the site of three halls which were historically significant. The cairn was restored and enhanced a decade or so ago, and now is a bit of an out of the way curiosity.

The views aren’t bad, but are not quite as good as one would expect, either; interestingly, the green hill with the striking tower atop looks far better from below than the surrounds do from atop it.

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#365daysofbiking A prickly observation

November 25th – Some things that are seasonal are always a shock when you find them, as they remind you of a year passing. Snowdrops and acolytes after Christmas, the first daffodil, the first berries and galls, etc.

One that always catches me up short is holly berries.

That’s Christmas – it is after all, a great element of Yule symbolism. But they do appear a ways before Christmas and tend to be around long after. I don’t know why, but holly berries never seem that attractive to birds.

These, spotted on a wet Monday morning on the cycleway near Ryecroft Cemetery quite took me by surprise – but then, it’s only a month to go…

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#365daysofbiking That was a bit nippy

November 18th – It was a cold, thankfully dry journey home. The roads were glistening with ice, and the main ones, a fresh scattering of road salt.

The first icy commute home of the winter is always hard. My hands and face were cold. It hurt.

Stopping at a shop in the way home, I noticed that the temperature was marginally still above zero degrees Celsius.

That was a shock. it felt much colder.

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#365daysofbiking Crawling up a hill

November 16th – Another wet and grey day, another errand: I had to pop over to Shenstone and then to Lichfield at teatime. The wind was hell coming home and the rain sporadic. It wasn’t;t a great ride if I’m honest.

Coming back up the A461 to Shire Oak over the Summerhill motorway bridge, since there was a break in the rain, I tried a long exposure with the G5X. Interesting result, but I needed more traffic – unlikely at this time on a Saturday, to be honest.

With the wind against me, rain starting and no fuel in my tank (I’d forgotten to eat during the day) the ride uphill was not nice.

Still, it was nice to get home.

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#365daysofbiking Surface tension and the biblical propensity

October 25th – Passing through Walsall on a wet and very blustery day, I passed Town Wharf, the canal basin that’s been in Walsall for a while now. In fact since the canals were built here, a couple of hundred years ago.

I notice we now have hastily added deep water warnings, because apparently people are mistaking the weed on the canal for grass and falling in.

There has been a sudden rash of such incidents in the last few weeks.

Once can only speculate why so many folk suddenly should try to replicate the biblical miracle of walking on water here in Walsall. Perhaps the nearby establishments that sell wine may be linked. Maybe they converted it from canal water (not too much of a transition for some of the local ales, to be fair).

It’s all most peculiar. But do mind how you go. It’s wet down there.

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#365daysofbiking Morning due

October 24th – I had to be in work very early and woke up bleary and grumpy. The cold air, clear skies and empty streets as I seed through north Walsall though were gorgeous.

Cycling through sleeping suburbia I heard alarms waking folk from their beds, and watched the day coming to life and I felt a bit like a low rent Dylan Thomas without the talent. There’s something special about being out legitimately obscenely early. I always love it.

The church visible from North Street bridge was beautiful against the sky as was the college and listening skyline.

Riding a bike can really set you up for the day.

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#365daysofbiking Daisy, daisy

October 19th –  A puzzle. I found this flower growing from the brickwork at the canal edge in Walsall. It’s clearly day-like, but not a daisy. But it’s delicate and very, very lovely.

My curiosity was piqued by the colour. In the soft autumnal sunlight it appeared to be a very, very light purple or pink. But I can’t actually tell for sure.

Any ideas?

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#365daysofbiking Completing the circle

October 17th – One of the things that makes me happy in autumn is the parting of ways of that year’s cygnets and their parents. Gradually, as winter closes in, that year’s clutch are gradually pushed away by the parents who still keep a loose family group but won’t tolerate the young too close.

This gradual transition into adulthood is visible about now as you meet lone cygnets like this one, hustling for treats on the canal in walsall, a few hundred yards from its parents.

For once I had some corn and it ate like they always do, like tit had never had food before.

Soon, it’ll join the main local flocks and will spend a few years socialising before pairing off and the family cycle continuing.

Another successful year for the local swans.

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#365daysofbiking Station to station

October 16th –  I didn’t use Bloxwich station for years, as the Chase Line trains that shuttle this line between Birmingham and Rugeley tended to be horrendously crowded into city, and a similar nightmare in the evenings, but since the line has been electrified with longer trains, it’s been a lot more convenient.

The station itself is little more than a suburban halt, but welcoming enough and I love the lighting at night. Where it does win for me is it’s a nicer ride home than Walsall, Blake Street or Shenstone, and about the same distance.

The train times don’t often work for me and this service, so I’m unlikely to be a regular user but I’m growing to like it. The Chase Line upgrade has been good for me and once the service wrinkles are ironed out it could be very useful indeed.

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