BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘water lily’

#365daysofbiking Life in all it’s forms

January 10th – At this time of year, I desperately scan the world around me for signs of the oncoming spring, however small or odd. Today, I spotted one.

This floating root in the canal at Walsall Wood spotted on the way to work is just such a sign. It looks like a random piece of flotsam in amongst the maturing algal bloom which in recent weeks has turned red from green. But this root is actually the front guard for a larger movement.

It’s a water lily rhizome.

These roots break from last year’s dead growth and sink to the floor of the canal, then as spring comes, they gain buoyancy and begin to float. They move with the currents, boats, winds, waterfowl moments and eventually settle and sprout roots.

In high summer they will provide a new carpet of the familiar huge leaves and bright flowers for us to enjoy.

So it’s good news: Lily thinks spring is coming!

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#365daysofbiking Lily-white

August 12th – On the canal near Silver Street, Brownhills, the perfection of waterlilies. I love how they’re always a bit grubby, or host to insects. Like brightness in extenuating circumstances.

When I was young, we never had these on the canal at all. They are absolutely gorgeous – and clearly keep the pollinating overflies busy.

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#365daysofbiking The thrill of The Chase

July 14th – Working in the morning, I slipped out late afternoon for a fast ride over Cannock Chase and back through Rugeley via the canal and Longdon.

The sun, canal and golden hour were just the tonic after a hectic day, but my energy was low.

I don’t often visit the Chase in summer, as it’s usually crowded and bikes and dogs don’t really mix, but this evening – probably due to sporting excitement on TV – it was very quiet and away from the centres at Marquis Drive and Birches Valley I saw hardly anyone.

I note Rugeley Power Station is looking forlorn now: The desulphurisation plant has been removed and demolition continues with most of the ancillary plant no gone. It won’t be long now before the huge icon and photographic muse will be nothing but a memory.

It was a long, slower haul home but a lovely ride.

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#365daysofbiking Come over to my pad

June 9th – A decent enough day following the heavy rain of the day before – I had stuff to do at home so just nipped out on errands.

Another beautiful sign of the season slipping by is the waterlilies are blooming on the canals – not my favourite white ones yet, but the yellow are coming on a treat.

We just need some warm weather now…

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#365daysofbiking Canal dreams

August 28th – Back to work and still grey, but feeling better. On the canal at Darlaston the greenery is still uplifting, and we may get an Indian summer after all. Perhaps.

The water lilies are still showing well too, which is always a lovely thing to see. Still can’t quite get over the fact that we have them here.

May 29th – The season is moving along so quickly now. All along the canals of Walsall the waterlilies are bursting into bloom. These large-leaved water plants spread from floating rhizomes in the spring, and have the most gorgeous yellow flowers that bugs seem to love.

There is a later strain that have white or pink, more ornate blooms. that won’t be far behind.

We never had this kind of beauty on the canals when I was a child. I still find it amazing.

April 10th – This looks like some pretty revolting flotsam and jetsam, but it’s actually an important and encouraging sign of spring.

These knobbly, odd looking root growths are the rhizomes of the water lilies so common here on the local canals in high summer, and this is the first stage of their… seasonal deployment.

When the season ends, water lilies decay, and the stalk and root mass they grow from sinks to the canal bottom where the excess growth rots off and the stalks over winter in the mud where the water stays warmer, fragmenting as they do so.

When the waters warm in spring, renewed cell growth in the fragmented stocks gives buoyancy once more and they rise to the surface, moving freely in the wind currents and boat wash. 

In time, new growth will sprout and they anchor, growing the familiar leaves and flowers we know so well.

It’s a wonderful, and very successful natural mechanism, and a sign of an oncoming summer…

June 26th – the weather was grey and overcast on the way home and it had been raining, but I managed to just miss the showers. At Walsall Wood, momma mallard was inexplicably stewarding her new brood through a clump of water lilies. 

The ducklings, confused, were endlessly entertaining as they tried to stand on the foliage and invariably failed. Their mother seemed to be enjoying the spectacle and there seemed to be plenty of food in the clump too.

A lovely entertaining thing to see – and those waterlines are gorgeous.

June 21st – Another high summer day, the longest as it happens, and from here on in, the days shorten to darkness; but there’s plenty of summer left and it’s been glorious so far, so I’m not too sad.

On the Walsall Canal heading for Darlaston, life is busy hunting, blooming and multiplying, with herons hunting on the far bank, families of geese making their way through dense waterlily beds and flowers looking gorgeous in the hot sun.

A Walsall Top Lock, basking on a piece of drifting wood, I even saw a terrapin, about the size of a saucer. Sadly, it slipped away before I got the camera out but these poor creatures, often released into the wild when too large for captivity are becoming a common sight in canals and pools of the UK.

A great day to be on a bike in the place I love.

August 27th – As I travelled home along the canal, I listened to the rain singing on the water, and enjoyed the peace and quiet. Near the western side of the Watermead Estate, I came upon the swan family, still at a huge nine, still growing.

They were clearly feeling a bit chippy as momma swan took exception to my footwear and pecked at my feet continually, and the offspring seemed to be quite tetchy as well. 

These gorgeous, truculent birds remain beautiful, and their antics made the afternoon, really, as did the canalside life and noting that the Canal and River Trust cleanup crew – usually mostly volunteer staffed – had been out doing their thing.

Thanks, people.