BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘windy’

#365daysofbiking A day out of time

1st January 2021 – A ride out with Pickle on the oddest, most lovely New Year’s Day I’ve ever known. Sixty-five miles of absolute, total restorative riding. And not a moment too soon.

We set out early afternoon on a slow bimble on a sunny, bright but very windy day, marked most memorably by the warmth – it was at times 15 degrees out there. Everything was still sodden, and occasionally we rode through floodwater, but on the whole, the roads were quickly drying out and everything was very springlike.

We rode up through Hilton and Chesterfield to Shenstone, then over Shenstone Park, which looked even more like the set of the Teletubbies than it normally does. We went on up to the old A5 through Weeford and down into Hopwas and Wigginton to Syerscote, Clifton, Honey Hill, No Mans Heath, Austrey, Orton, Warton, Polesworth, Birch Coppice and Hurley. We came back up through Kingsbury Water Park, Bodymoor Heath and Carroway Head, Woodend and Stonnall.

The other thing that marked the day is that the normally grey and colourless light of this time of year was temporarily replaced by bright greens and a feeling of spring. It’s like all the time we were inside, or getting wet, we were earning this day: this ride. It was fabulous to be out in.

Pickle noted particularly the swans grazing on some winter crop of brassicas, which is important. We can’t feed waterfowl locally at the moment due to an avian flu outbreak that his killed many birds. People are concerned the swans that normally live in our parks are not able to eat – but these refugees from central Tamworth have flown out to dine al fresco on what the farmland has to offer, and as Pickle said, they seemed very socially distanced.

Clifton Hall continued to bewilder – the twin, red brick, foursquare mansions that were apparently intended to be one, but the wings were built first, and the central part never completed. Pickle observed that it was probably a good house for a couple that were no longer communicating well, but still in love. She’s probably right.

I had no idea it had been derelict for many years and only refurbished and inhabited relatively recently.

You can find out about Clifton Hall here.

As we reached the crossover point between day and night – I love the concept of civil twilight – we laboured up Honey Hill, on the road out of Clifton towards the junction of four counties at No Mans Heath. Honey Hill is a hard climb, windswept, and generally a summer place: But today it was just right. The views commanded were beautiful, and the ride had really encouraged a spirit of optimism for the year to come.

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#365daysofbiking – Blown around

February 9th – Sunday I suffered for the ride of the day before, but it wasn’t too bad. The wind was heavy and Storm Ciara was heading in – I’m sure storms were not as bad before we started building them up by giving them daft names.

I remembered that the day before, I’d forgotten to visit the lovely grounds of St. Annes church in Chasetown, over the road from the cemetery. They always have great spring flowers, and that was just what I needed right now.

The easter primroses were well worth it, but sadly most of my photos were poor.

At least the wind buffeted me home.

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#365daysofbiking Red is the colour

April 8th – Although the weather is improving with a change in wind direction (although still quite breezy) and sunny days, it seems the temperature is still staying stubbornly low. Perhaps it’s the early spring, but it feels like it should be way warmer at the moment to me.

Meanwhile, in Kings Hill Park, the deep red tulips are out and looking superb, with the rest of the park greening up beautifully. At least the chill should preserve the flowers for longer!

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#365daysofbiking Blue wonder

March 13th – A very windy, unpleasant day, but I had to pop to Tipton.

On the way, in Wednesbury’s Brunswick Park, I spotted this patch of grape hyacinths, tiny blue flowers that are one of my favourites in spring. Their composition – of multiple, tiny bell-like flowers is fascinating and one of the joys of the season.

I note also now that the crocuses are finished, a real sign of they year’s progression. Christmas now seems an age ago…

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#365daysofbiking On the up

March 10th – Despite the generally rather dry winter, Chasewater continues to fill after the rain of the last few weeks,  and the slow rise is evident at the Nine-Foot pool.

Elsewhere on the lake, there were no watersports and next to nobody around, and the fierce, indefatigable wind kept all by the hardy away. But for all that the light was beautiful and the air at least made me feel a bit better.

I look forward to calmer, warmer weather.

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#365daysofbiking Deceptive

March 10th – Some days you look at the photos you’ve taken and wonder if the camera experienced the same thing you did. Today was that kind of day.

I slipped out mid afternoon. I had things to check up on. I felt rough, I needed the air. But it was bitterly cold, had periodically been snowing, and there was a very wolfish wind that punished for any open zip or gap in clothing.

The towpaths and trails were muddy and wet, but I headed for the common anyway, and found it looking good. The heathland management is still going on here and the latest effort has been using and excavator to pull pack the grass in small squares all over the common.

This will help small, fragile plants take a hold and also give bugs and other small creatures access to fresh earth.

Looking at the pictures, I notice how blue the sky looks and how serene it appears. It was really rather unpleasant. My camera is lying.

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#365daysofbiking Fade to grey:

December 9th – A throughly grey unpleasant afternoon leeched into dusk as I took a spin around Chasewater, taking a break from my workload. I saw no deer, and even the birdlife seemed suppressed, perhaps due to the unpleasant wind.

It’s was utterly colourless, wet and my heart was heavy. Days like this get me down.

October 22nd – A very decent, dark sunset descended on Brownhills. The day was still very windy, an rather wolfish so not really great for riding, really. But I can live with clear skies, a little sun and strong wind.

Sunsets like this, now hovering around 6pm before the end of British Summer Time next weekend, remind me that winter will soon be upon us.

August 20th – A very tired day in which I felt groggy, tired and insubstantial, like I was a ghost or something. I didn’t realise at the time, but I think I was experiencing low sugar levels.

I set out late to the supermarket in Burntwood on a punishingly windy day, and got caught in a rain squall on the way back that made my forehead so cold it hurt. But there was a rainbow, too, which didn’t photograph well, but made me feel better.

Passing through Chasewater, I note the valves are still open and the water level is steadily dropping, now about 12 inches from maximum. 

I love the tide marks on the spillway weir.