May 7th - On the subject of other people’s bikes, just when did children’s trikes evolve into bonkers apparatus like this? It requires a HGV license to push, I’ll bet.
These things seem to be following the same trajectory as baby buggies; once a small thing born of convenience and fun, they’re now hugely complicated pieces of kit that don’t seem to fit anywhere easily.
May 7th - Ach, the sadness of things. This elderly bike - a GT - isn’t a bad steed, but is in poor condition. I noticed it this morning leaning forlornly against the bike racks at Blake Street station. The rear mechanism hanger had sheared, and something looks like it has smashed in the derailleur. The bike had clearly been abandoned for the train. Sad.
May 6th - The English are still rather eccentric in their habits.
These cars - disgorging a variety of men with step ladders and camera gear - were parked on the approach to the Haselour railway bridge, near Elford, normally a quiet backlane. They were, I was informed, waiting for a couple of old diesel locomotives to come through - Class 20s, apparently, but nobody knew when they were due exactly. This was the cause of much anticipation.
I’ve not seen anything like this before. Bizarre. It takes all sorts of folk to make a world. I hope their locos came, I really do.
May 6th - A lovely ride on on a sunny, bright spring day. Wildlife and rural charm all around. To be in England, in springtime.
I find it all the more perplexing, then, why someone would take their dog for a walk, bag up their dog’s poo, and just toss the bag on the canal towpath, without disposing of it properly. Now we not only have a health risk, we have it packaged in such a way that it’ll not rot down. Archeologists of the future are going to be utterly perplexed as to why they keep digging up random bags containing canine excrement.
Have the arseholes that do this got shit for brains? In this camp I also place those idiots who festoon hedges and trees with these revolting parcels.
May 5th - The weather was too good to resist. I took some industrial strength pain killers, and went for it. The ribs still hurt. But the sun, sweat, fresh air and awakened wildlife made this ride so special. I felt like I flew; powering through lanes and over hills. I have no idea what got into me. Up over Chasewater, on the cycle route through Burntwood to Chorley, over to Longdon Green, over Fradley, Whittington, Hademore, then the canal to Hopwas. Up the 51, back over the heath, through Weeford, Little Hay and Shenstone. A great run. The oilseed rape is starting to bloom, trees are in leaf and butterflies and bees flit by. All around, nature is crying for attention, from the first bluebells to the vivid green of fresh foliage.
For years, I’d noticed a mark on the map at Hilliards Cross ‘Memorial’ - I actually remembered to stop and look at it today. I needn’t have bothered. Funny the things that make it onto maps, sometimes.
May 4th - The rabbit population is healthy and growing locally right now. After myxomatosis swept through again a couple of years ago, the population has swelled in it’s wake. This young bunny - a tiny fellow - was sitting taking the air on the canal bank near Lichfield Road. He had little fear of me, and only made a run for it when I got within 10 yards of him. Hope he develops a bit more fear soon, otherwise I fear he’ll end up as lunch for Reynard.
May 4th - A gorgeous, but windy, summer evening. Still taking it gently due to the sore ribs, I took a gentle run out through Brownhills to Chasewater, then back along the canal. The blackcurrant blossom at Home Farm was gorgeous, and my favourite tree is coming into leaf, at last, a sure sign of impending summer.
The Water level at Chasewater has been lowered to around 200mm - 8 inches off maximum, and the valve closed. I find this interesting; the overflow over the poor weather period was clearly to stress-test the dam, and presumably, it’s passed. It will be intrigued to see if they allow it to overflow on a regular basis - to irrigate to spillway wetland - or if this was a rare event.
May 3rd - Spotted in the dusk, swans nesting. Frantically busy in the dusk, they’re on a mission to obey their biological imperative. Their nest is just in front of the Watermead estate in Brownhills, 20 yards of so from the canoe centre.
That’ll make for an interesting introduction to birdlife for some young canoeist…
May 3rd - This is an interesting one. Just by the Pelsall Road bridge in Brownhills, a lovely bed of daffodils, tulips and other spring flowers, where once there was just grass. The odd thing is that the triangle forming the bed is inaccessible, except by boat, or maybe by ladder from the road above.
May 3rd - As I spun around the canals at dusk to get some exercise and food in, I noticed there were a lot of narrowboats moored up - I passed at least 5 that weren’t regulars. I guess it must be the sudden onset of good weather and a holiday weekend. It was chilly, but the air was clear and hard, and in the dying light, living aboard one didn’t seem like a bad idea.
May 2nd - Spring is on her throne at last. In bud, in bloom, in leaf. Everywhere - from the glorious crimson tulips at Telford Central Station to the cottage gardens and shady tracks of Stonnall. Could be a tad warmer, but the sun and relatively still air is welcomed by all except my hay fever. But that’s a price well worth paying.
Spring, welcome, come in. Stay awhile, and bring your friend Summer with you, please. Didn’t see much of either of you last year…
May 2nd - I spotted this remnant today at Blake Street Station I’d never noticed before; it looks like the ruins of a platform, and maybe a different track layout, probably from the original station. I must have looked at this set of orphan steps for years and never registered what they were.
BrownhillsBob biked every day for the thirty days of April 2011, part of the #30daysofbiking project, but enjoyed the process so much that he carried on. @ years down the road, he's still cycling every day and recording a little bit of every journey.