March 11th - And at the other end, a trip from Blake Street through the backlanes for a change. A fine evening, a fine golden hour. The same sun that shines on inner city Aston shines on the country byways of rural Lower Stonnall, and just as beautifully.
March 11th - On the way home on a sunny, spring evening, with a low sun shining long over Aston. The train stopped and was held for a few minutes, dwelling on a service coming in the other direction before the points could change - as often happens. The doors were open, and I was stood in golden light, frozen.
It’s a snapshot of Birmingham, and why I love it so.
March 11th - Today, I zipped through Hall Green. I’ve been passing this store for probably five years or so now, and I hate to admit it but the name irrationally annoys me every time I see it - and I have no idea why. ‘Wine Lord’ - what does it mean? Is it a crap play on ‘Time Lord’? Is it not a pun? I have no idea. Like hair salons, off licenses now seem to be developing a trend for really daft, jokey names. This can’t end well.
As to Chicken Etc…
Spring in my garden today
March 10th - I love it when, for a short time every spring and autumn, my homeward commute coincides with the golden hour. Even more so if it does so during a period of good weather. This evening, I returned from Shenstone specifically to catch the station and two towers in the beautiful light, and hopefully see the sunset over Ogley Hay and St. Jame’s Church.
Neither disappointed. I’m loving this spring.
March 10th - I’ve not seen anything like this before. Today, I was travelling from Acocks Green to Tyseley, as I often do. One of the routes I take includes a shortcut down an alley that used to be Rockwood Road, which crosses the railway between Alexander Road and the Birmingham City Mission. On the footpath, just as you leave the railway bridge, there’s an pecuiar, improvised bollard made of cast iron and steel, about a foot high and 8 inches diameter. It bears the legend ‘Great Western Railway Co. Boundary 1888’.
It doesn’t take the brain of Sherlock to work out what it is, but why? I’ve never seen railway property delimited like this before. Further, I must have passed this scores of times without noticing. How did such a trip hazard survive 126 years? Is it listed? Are there more? Is it important historically, or just a curio?
March 9th - At Sittles, north of Whittington, a surprise. It’s amazing the things you get overtaken by in country lanes…
March 9th - I passed through Lichfield on a bright, warm, sunny Sunday afternoon, and the place was bustling. People were queueing for ice creams, browsing in the shops and just taking the air. It was an absolute joy to be there.
Interestingly, there were a huge number of bikes around the city - people really seem to be increasingly turning to bicycles these days for leisure trips at least.
A fine thing to see that lifted my spirits.
March 8th - On the former railway embankment that is now a cycle track, I stopped to survey the council depot at Pelsall Road. Slumbering in the evening, there was nobody around. This time last year, the gritting hoppers would have been on lorries and working hard. This year, they’ve barely been used at all.
Let’s hope there’s no further call upon them until next winter…
March 8th - Out late at sunset, and only time for a short loop around Brownhills. The town always looks good at sunset, and everything from Humphries House to the Pelsall Road looked great in the sundown light.
I’m really, really enjoying the early spring this year.
A beautiful sunny spring afternoon spent at Croxall Lakes Staffordshire. The warmest day of the year so far. So good to walk about in a t shirt and feel the sun warming my back. Good weather and Mother Nature; the best cures for stress ever. Who ever is charge of the weather….can we have lots more like today please?
March 7th - A great afternoon, although the wind was still very fresh. I returned via Chasewater, which was surprisingly deserted. I noticed the wakeboarding equipment had been set up for the new season, and the lake was still overflowing into the spillway. Waves broke against the southern shore with some anger and splashed any incautious walker.
The canal also looked fine as I returned to Brownhills with the sun warm on my back. This early spring is gorgeous, and it’s just what the doctor ordered - but I still can’t get the frightening thought out of my head that at the end of March last year we had the heaviest snowfalls for years.
One thing about Britain I really love: no two seasons are ever the same.
March 7th - After the despondency of the previous day, spring returned with a fresh passion today. I managed to escape work while the sun was still shining, and headed to Burntwood to pick something up. On the way back, in bright spring sunshine, I happened to glance through the gates of the cemetery opposite St, Anne’s Church. What I saw astonished me: the finest display of crocuses I have ever seen in my life. These are incredible when seen in person, and I commend any reader to go take a look. An astonishing, and beautiful thing.
Forget what I said yesterday: spring isn’t shaping up too badly right now…
7th March 2014 A week in Walsall.
March 6th - Out for the evening and returning late, the streets were very, very quiet. I sped from Walsall with the wind at my back on silent, wet roads; I even sailed through the lights at Rushall Square on green without having to slow down.
Sadly, the night was more redolent of November than March, but the ride was nice.
Still can’t get past my unease over the eeriness of Green Lane at night…