November 25th - Ladies and gentlemen, I can make an announcement. This coming winter will be warm, without much snow or ice.
I have guaranteed this by purchasing new snow tyres for this season. Therefore, fate dictates that I won’t need them. Which will probably be a shame, as they look like they mean serious business.
This has been a public service announcement to 365daysofbiking readers.
November 25th - Sorry, but it was a great sunset. I was late for my train, and took a short cut through an industrial park. As I cut through the access tunnel, the sun pulled me up short. In the winter days, light is short and precious, which is why I think the sunsets are so much more beautiful to me. Within ten days, I’ll miss the sunsets completely.
November 24th - These little sets of steps near bridges are a mystery to many folk. They’re horse mounting blocks, intended for equestrians to easily mount or dismount their steeds as they use the bridge nearby, and rein their horses over.
This one, dedicated to the memory of great CTC cyclist Alan Woollat, is by the pedestrian bridge system over the A38 at Weeford. Before this bridge - which Alan campaigned tirelessly to get - cyclists, walkers and horse riders used to have to negotiate the A38 which was dangerous, even on a quiet Sunday like this. As a fringe benefit of the M6 Toll/A5 by-pass work, we got a few good bridges like this over local danger spots, and now we can all cross in safety.
Alan was a good man, and a fine cyclist. I think of him every time I use the bridge dedicated in his name.
November 24th - I enjoyed today’s ride more than I was expecting to. When I left home, it was cold and the air was murky. For some reason, the chill didn’t seem to get to me today - I just wrapped up warm and went for it. The leaves are beautiful now - this is the kind of scene I always expect in late October, but doesn’t seem to happen until later. I shot around Hilton, Wall Butts, Chesterfield, Shenstone, Weeford and Hints. From there, I dropped onto the canal at Hopwas and returned via Whittington and Wall. Between Weeford and Hints, I cycled Dog Lane, a green lane I try to ride at least once a year. The colours were great, and had this been a sunny afternoon, would have been stunning.
If you get chance this week, go for a walk in your nearest countryside, before the next big winds. It’s gorgeous.
November 23rd - I was passed by a grit lorry on the Chester Road, and winced as the rocksalt tinkled off my bike. It is winter now in all but name, and I’ll get used to it. The cold was bitter, and frost was on the way, so it was good to see Walsall Council teams out on a Saturday treating the roads. As I passed the back of the depot at Apex Road, the yard was busy loading lorries as they came in, and I noted that the salt barn was pretty much full, all set for the winter ahead. A sobering thought.
November 23rd - I hit Chasewater for the sunset, which looked to be pretty decent, but sadly, wasn’t as great as I’d hoped. The light was good though, the park pretty much deserted. The gull roost - despite the last few boats only just leaving the water - was absolutely huge, with what must have been thousands of birds bobbing on the lake. I even saw an angler - the first I’ve seen on the main body of water since the reservoir refilled. It’s still a wonderful place to be, more so now the park has recovered.
The street light through that footbridge still fascinates me. It’s like a portal.
November 22nd - The great sunsets continue. Sadly, I was in the wrong place to catch today’s properly. On my way home from work, I had to pop to Aldridge, and dived onto the canal to avoid the traffic. As I came back through the wood, the dying sun set the sky ablaze. Just wish I’d had a better view. Bet it was spectacular at Chasewater.
November 22nd - Passing through Aldridge on the canal on my way home, the scent of woodsmoke was never far away. There are few things better than seeing an occupied narrowboat with a nicely smoking chimney. The sight and smell are a joy to behold - and the whole scene was set off beautifully by the autumn colours.
November 21st - I returned to Shenstone quite late, and the night was fascinating here, too. I never tire of that station; it’s got no facilities whatsoever, but the atmosphere and architecture make it one of the most lovely stations in the Midlands.
I’m fascinated by the feeling of isolation here at night, the islands of light and the elegant perspective.
I was captivated, too by the chap waiting for his lift under the streetlight on the corner of the car park. A long range, grainy shot, but there’s something about it I can’t explain.
November 21st - At the other end of the day, it was even colder. But the air had developed that hard, glassy-clear quality that it only really develops in winter; when even sounds seem sharper. I noticed as I hopped between stations that the view of the mid-renovation New Street Station, Bullring and Smallbrook from the access bridge was quite stunning, so I stopped to photograph it a while.
Quite surprised I wasn’t collared by the ever-present security as I took these, to be honest…
November 21st - In contrast to the day before, it was bright and sunny, but there was a keen wind and it was rather cold. A typical winter morning, in fact, and today it really did feel like the inexorable slide toward Christmas was underway.
Moor Street Station was as light, airy and beautiful as ever. The flower stall in the old wooden ticket booth caught my eye; such bright colours, untypical of the location and season. The effort the lady who runs it puts into her displays is admirable, and always joyous.
I adore Moor Street Station. It’s probably the best station I use, and it’s a credit to the staff that work there.
November 20th - Just the one picture today, as the commutes were horrid and wet, ad the images I took in the morning were spoiled by rain on the lens. I grabbed this as I left the station at Walsall in the early evening. The rain had stopped, but everything was wet and cold. The traffic seemed tetchy and aggressive tonight, too, but nothing really matches the glisten of a wet urban night scene. There wasn’t much business for the taxis tonight, but it’s nice to see Station Street undergoing a bit of a revival.
Even on a cold wet Wednesday in Walsall, there’s beauty to be had.
November 19th - Yesterday’s sunset was clearly unfinished business. Sorry for the repetition, but I do love this view. Tonight, there was less cloud, and more smog, which sat as a band over the distant city centre. I love the gradual colour transitions and trains, like a Hornby set in the dusk.
November 19th - It didn’t feel icy. But it was cold, and I guess the first really winterish commute of the season. But this sign - a new appearance today at Moor Street Station - seems to indicate lawyers have been earning their corn somewhere. The language is mealy mouthed too.
Oh well, it kept a sign maker busy somewhere…