BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘wood’

#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 Flocking hell

January 9th – I had to nip up to Newtown in the morning, and went via the canal  and Ogley Junction. I was intrigued on the bridge by a quiet but fairly large roost of birds in the trees behind the old lock cottage by The Long Pound.

It turned out they were just wood pigeons.

Whilst very familiar with these ambling, affable birds, I can’t recall seeing flocks of them like this before, but I guess it must be normal.

An intriguing thing on an otherwise very dull morning.

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#365daysofbiking It’ll all wash down when it rains

July 28th – If Saturday’s weather had been poor, on Sunday it was atrocious – the rain just didn’t stop all day. I was low, everything was on top of me and I’d had enough. I went up Walsall Wood to see friend who was out then I called; I went to pick up a takeaway. They were closed for summer holidays.

I dripped and squelched back to Brownhills. I was wet. The town was wet. Everything was wrong.

This was certainly a lost weekend. But maybe not quite as bad as Lloyd Cole’s. At least there was no hotel bill…

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#365daysofbiking It may not be obvious

May 19th – It was a weary run out – Through Shenstone, Weeford, Hints, Tamworth, then up the canal to Hopwas, Whittington and home via Wall and Lichfield. Not a long run, and on a grey, warm afternoon that always seemed to be just on the verge of rain.

It was nice, but I wasn’t feeling the love. My stomach was grumbling and I was tired.

But as usual, a combination of the things I found, the quirkiness of the the country I live in and the beauty of thriving nature around me perked me up.

I’m still chucking about the warning of troops training. That’s so Monty Python and utterly British. And sadly, there was no sign of the cat. I like to think it was called ‘Fluffy’ or some such.

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#365daysofbiking Everything counts

March 7th – It’s time for the periodic traffic survey in Walsall, and the sheer number of traffic counter units fitted across the borough’s roads is causing some comment on social media.

They aren’t sinister at all: By law local authorities have to take traffic counts for planning and other reasons and like most councils now, the work is deputised to a specialist contractor.

These Metrocount units – that use the familiar, traditional rubber air tube and pressure switch technique are surprisingly sophisticated and the manual for them was found online by The Stymaster – you can read it here.

I crossed at least eight between Brownhills and Darlaston. Just setting them all up and gathering them back must be a mammoth task, let alone analysing the data…

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#365daysofbiking Feeling so much better



February 17th – I carried on the ride – out through Hammerwich where I met the most wonderful pigs in a laneside paddock. They trotted over to investigate me and were real characters.

From Hammerwich through Moat Bank, Hilton and Chesterfield to Shenstone, with both towers visible until the leaves come. From there up through Weeford to Whittington Common, over the ranges and to a dusk thrash around Hopwas Hays Wood.

It was a great ride in generally good weather that I enjoyed thoroughly. Looking forward to getting more of this in now spring is coming.

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August 25th – A good deed for the day. Heading out, I noticed for the second time this year, a pwood pigeon downed in the canal near Ogley Hay. 

I was unaware wood pigeons couldn’t swim until I found one in the canal near Oldbury in the summer – they float, but just drift and will clearly drown before long. I rescued that one, but it was difficult as I had nothing to get it close enough to grab from the water. In response to that I now carry a length of thin rope which I held both ends of and tossed the loop over and beyond the stuck bird.

Gently pulling it to the bank, I took the pigeon from the water, and popped him under the hedge to dry out, poor thing.

Funny how I’ve never seen this before and find two within a few months.

February 27th – The coldest early evening commute I’ve known for a long time, I battled a vile headwind and sporadic black ice and made my way home carefully.

My ice tyres worked well, and the roads – like the Green Lane here at the Black Cock Bridge – have been very well gritted. But pavements, backroads and car parks were deadly and I made careful, slow progress.

It’ll be interesting to see how bad this gets.

December 31st – At last, a decent if rain-sodden ride. Going stir crazy on a wet New Year’s eve, I slipped out at 3pm determined to test the loan cameras on something decent. Instinct had me head for Hopwas Hays Wood near Tamworth. 

Both cameras are excellent. At the moment, the GX7 has the edge but the user interface is bizarre to me. I’ve never had much joy with Canon kit before, but this was a revelation.

I didn’t use flash once, just the bike headlight. I’m quite pleased with these.

Oh, and happy new year!