BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Walsall’

#365daysofbiking The run of the mill


Thursday March 25th 2021 – Another beautiful spring day with a little sunshine warmth – but wrapping up was still necessary.

For the first time in a good while I came back from Darlaston to Goscote on the canal and flipped to the McClean Way (formerly the Goscote cycleway): I avoid this route in winter as the towpaths tend to be very slippery and hazardous despite their recent resurfacing.

But they’ve dried up now, and a lovely potter back through Walsall getting acquainted with old friends. No sign of swans nesting yet, though.

Birchills lock flight looked splendid in to the low sun, as did the millennially constructed flats complex forming part of Smiths Flour Mill, which up until the 1990s was a functioning flour producing plant.

Outsiders would never suspect Walsall had such splendid spots right in its heart like this.

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#365daysofbiking Worth the wait

Thursday March 18th 2021 – Attentive readers will remember back six weeks or so I noted the camellia I’d found in a neglected front garden in Darlaston. It had loads of flower buds on it and seemed totally unnoticed by the world around it.

I’ve been watching it carefully, and the first large, rich pink flowers are emerging on this stunning, beautiful shrub.

I would guarantee it’s not known care for at least four or five years; yet it’s a stunning, healthy, flower-laden picture of health.

A beautiful splash of colour in an otherwise dull urban environment. Wonderful to witness!

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#365daysofbiking Rather cross

Saturday February 6th 2021 – On an errand in Walsall, I found the deserted town annoying mid-day: It saddens me to see it so lifeless. I headed to Caldmore to get some more… Comforting shopping: Asian snacks and sundries.

It says something when what is effectively an inner town suburb is far more vibrant than the town centre by several factors.

Heading up over Church Hill, a decorative cross above fire exit on the monstrous aberration of architecture that is Asda. It’s a horrid, warehouse like building and the market never stretches this far up hill now, and hasn’t for many a year.

I have never spotted this in the 8 years it’s been up there.

You can almost hear the admin folk at the store saying ‘Oh, go on then, if that’s what they want: But nowhere prominent’ – so a piece of somewhat pointless vanity art gets stuck, barely to be noticed on the side of an ugly shed, above an anonymous unused doorway.

Two what actual purpose is anybody’s guess.

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#365daysofbiking Somnambulent streets

Friday February 5th 2021 –  I was coming home at the end of a long week, tired and hungry. The weather was again unpleasant and it felt like snow might be coming in again. I just wanted to be home with a mug of tea and the family.

At the bend of Borneo Street in The Butts, Walsall, just before it joins the Lichfield Road, one can pause at the allotment gates and look up the terraced street of Victorian houses towards Walsall.

On this night it was dark, and maybe a little bit spooky, with so few folk around. The blue-white LED lights contributed to the ghostliness, but the contrasting house lights here and there made me realise there was warmth to be found within.

Taking that as a cue, I took a quick snap, and rode home to the warmth and comfort of home.

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#365daysofbiking Splendid isolation:

Monday December 21st 2020 – I can’t get used to Walsall deserted, especially at peak times. The effects of this pandemic will resonate socially for years, in ways we’re only just beginning to see – the death of town centres is clearly being accelerated.

The town’s Christmas tree, today standing in splendid isolation in St Pauls Square is an excellent specimen, though and cheered me up. The twenty year out of time, brutalist, newly renovated bus station beyond it looked welcoming, too, if only for the want of passengers. Must say the warm white lighting in there was a clever choice.

It’s hard to believe that this is 4pm on Monday before Christmas. Strange days indeed.

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#365daysofbiking Lit for nobody in particular

Friday December 18th 2020 – I had to pass through Walsall as I headed home from work. I had an errand to do, and I left as night fell. I thought I’d take a look at Town Wharf, the canal basin at the top end of town that was always intended to be the heart of Walsall’s millennial rebirth that wa in reality a slow developing child that 20 years later is still immature.

The Wharfingers cottage, rebuilt after it’s accidental demolition (!) is a good example: Empty for pretty much 15 years, it was finally occupied by a restaurant. Sadly, as we are in lockdown, they are confined to take-away only.

The lighting though, is gorgeous, and makes for a lovely photo. I always find this area bittersweet: It photographs beautifully but there’s always the vague smell of lost horizons here.

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#365daysofbiking I want to see the bright lights tonight

Sunday December 6th 2020 – I had something to do in Walsall, and went on a damp, grey afternoon with trepidation. With the Pandemic it’s become an oddly desolate place in retail terms: An already suffering town centre has become more desperate.

However, I took the new camera and a good friend, and we explored familiar places with not many people in them as night fell – and it was refreshing and beautiful. Particularly Church Hill and the Arboretum.

The Panasonic loves the dark, and is much more responsive to low light in a way I’ve never known previous Panasonic cameras to be. This is a revelation.

I loved the bold colours and the way it picked them up in night scenes.

Going to have some fun with this one! It turned out Walsall was far more beautiful than ever I might have expected.

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#365daysofbiking Crosstown traffic

Tuesday November 24th 2020 – I’ve got hold of a GoPro Hero 9 action camera: The last model I used was the Hero 5, I was never particularly impressed with, so I drifted out of using it.

I decided to revisit ride cams and managed to borrow a Hero 9 from work, and it’s quite a bit more complex and more polished than the 5. I have to work out how best to mount the thing for a start, so this cam is cropped down from a 4k shot in portrait. The image quality considering that is remarkable.

The light balance, exposure and colours are better, and I have to say the image stabilisation is remarkable. It’s really quite impressive. Once I can work out how to mount it on the bike securely in landscape, we’re off on some adventures. Be interesting to see the low light quality, and if they’ve sorted the formerly lousy reliability of the flash card interface.

Here’s an unedited, real time journey from an appointment near the Arboretum back towards work through the ring road of Walsall on a grey, dull Tuesday afternoon. The music is Bent’s lovely bit of electronic blippery ‘Exercise 6′.

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