March 6th - The spring evaporated today. On the way home, it rained, and the the wind was horrid. It wasn’t a good day to be out on a bike and I found myself longing for the mild weather to return.
Sadly, the dry towpaths I’d been enjoying for a couple of weeks took a set back into muddy slurry again.
Ah well, there’s always tomorrow…
Hi Browhill Bob, I'm emailing from Yahoo News UK and I was wondering if I could please use your picture of Redditch Church in a slideshow I'm compiling for the site? You will be fully credited. Thanks
Yes, sure. What’s the nature of the slideshow, and can I see a link when it’s finished please?
March 5th - It wasn’t until I hopped on the canal at the Black Cock Bridge and headed for Brownhills that I realised how still it was. The canal was like a millpond, and conditions were really quite silent. It hasn’t been like this since well before Christmas.
There’s definitely a change in the air. It really has been a detestable couple of months weather-wise; I really felt at one point that it was never going to stop raining.
Let’s hope the weather continues on it’s improving path for a while…
March 5th - The nascent spring seemed to tone it down a bit today. It was a nice enough day to commute, but the light wasn’t as good as it has been for the past few days, and it felt chilly. I really wasn’t inspired at all by the light, until I was coming through Walsall Wood and noticed that Jockey Meadows hadn’t really started spring yet. Whilst other places were greening up, it still looks grey and lifeless here. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen the deer here for a while, either.
In these deciduous woods, hedgerows and water meadows spring always comes late.
March 4th - The old bowling green at Oak Park is still flooded, and it still breaks my heart. But passing this evening, it made for a remarkable sunset.
Nice as the scene is, I wish the authorities could fix the flood, and show the park some love. It used to be such a lovely place.
March 4th - I came through Acocks Green today, a place I haven’t visited for a while. I love the sleepy, suburban Metroland feel to the backstreets, the Art-Deco townhouse terraces mingling with much older cottages from a more bucolic history. On the corner verge, a roadside flowerbed, planted with polyanthus and miniature daffodils.
I’m sure there’s an aspidistra in one of these front rooms. I hope they keep flying it.
March 3rd - The Four Crosses at Shelfield is a classic community boozer. Basic, but comfy, it serves fine real ale and is friendly and welcoming. I love the place. It’s telling that this small pub survived, while the plusher and larger Spring Cottage less than 50 yards away closed and became a retail grocery store.
Recently, following a frankly bizarre planning application, the venerable pub has been declared an ‘Asset of Community Value’ by Walsall Council. This declaration is essentially meaningless, but does show the council’s commitment to support this tiny pubs existence, which is appreciated.
The other pub I know to be listed in such a manner is The Black Horse at Edingale, which closed some time before it came to Lichfield District Council’s attention,and was awarded the status primarily to prevent the former inn being converted into flats. When I passed the other day, the Black Horse was still closed, and appeared to be in use as a private dwelling.
The unescapable fact of these things - ACVs, Local Listing and other such declarations - is that although planning can sometimes stop stuff being changed, you can’t force a business to continue to exist; you may well preserve a building, but not the pub itself.
A quandary for our times, and a demonstration that planning, heritage and community are uneasy bedfellows.
I wish the Four Crosses, it’s regulars, landlord and community well. If ever a pub deserves to thrive, it’s that one. Long may it do so.
March 3rd - Great skies this evening, after a quite middling day. I can feel colder air coming in, and the wind has changed. I don’t think this is a burst of winter, but I think it might be a rude awakening; we are only just out of February, after all.
Of late, the clouds and sundowns have been really excellent, and it is the season of fine sunsets. The skyline at Tyseley always captivates me, but tonight, over Shelfield, the salmon-pink tinged clouds were astonishing.
I’ve had a message today from an anonymous commenter who thinks the black bags in the lay-by at Coppice Lane, Brownhills may be rubbish collected by Community Payback crews and left for collection by organised waste disposal team.
Have to say, that’s great if that’s actually the case. However, it’s odd as Coppice Lane was as litter-strewn as ever and it is a notorious flytipping hotspot.
Interesting. I may well stand corrected, and thanks for the tipoff - but my views of flytipping remain unchanged, obviously.
March 2nd - Meanwhile, over in the layby at Coppice Lane, the flytippers had been busy. There must be 20 or 30 bags here - none were open, so I have no idea what was in them, but it looks like domestic refuse - all dropped in a pile, clearly from a van or truck.
The people that do this are criminals, and scum beneath contempt. If you know who did this, please dob them in to the Council or cops.
This stuff can present a health hazard and costs a fortune to deal with. Civilised humans don’t flytip.
March 2nd - Whilst in the public notices department, it had been drawn to my attention that the Black Path - the popular right of way from the bottom of The Parade to Watling Street by Brownhills School - had been temporarily closed by council order following the flooding I documented recently. Today, I noted that the water on the tennis courts and at the foot of the incline at the top of the path had receded. Both problems will now, without doubt, be forgotten by the council until the next period of heavy rains.
Oak Park’s bowling green is still doubling as a lido.
Is it too much to ask that these problems be fixed once and for all before the next wet winter? Closing the Black Path may not seem much, but if you have to walk it’s a very long way arouund…
March 2nd - There’s been some comment locally about a new set of speed bumps that have been installed on Silver Street, Brownhills near to the Miner Island. I knew they were coming - I’d noticed the traffic order posted on a nearby lamp-post way back in the summer, but I’m surprised to note it’s only a single set. There have been a number of minor accidents here, and with the Silver Waters development nearby, I guess there’s an imperative to try and subdue the traffic a bit.
No such measures are required on the nearby High Street, of course, where a set of cleverly installed potholes™ do the same job. Some are so large now, they have their own ecosystems and microclimate. Such is their severity and longevity, many are in receipt of birthday cards from the council. They would, without doubt, even slow the approach of a Sherman tank.
" Birmingham main line canal 2 " Engineered beauty
From the engineers who first built the canal.
To the engineers who built over it !
A true testament to remarkable engineering.
" Birmingham mainline canal 3 " And the bits in between
Just a few other shots, I thought were worth sharing.
After praising the efforts of past engineers, The present day planners & builders are sadly lacking, after coming up with this monstrosity !