May 22nd - And then, returning home, I noticed this. Perspective. Straight lines and fresh growth. The canals are beautiful right now, and the Wyrley and Essington through Brownhills is no exception.
May 21st - An odd day, I was at home until lunchtime, then had to nip out for a meeting. I returned late, and took a spin out along the canal to Chasewaer, and back to Brownhills over the common. The sunset and light were lovely tonight, but not golden. Everything had a soft pink tone, which was rather soft and charming. It looked best over water, whether it was the canal or Chasewater. A splendid evening after a hectic, stressful day.
May 17th - Interesting to note that the Wakeboarding company who applied to build facilities at Chasewater have wasted no time in getting starred on building their equipment.
Presumably, these concrete bases with tethering points will be anchor weights for the lakebed.
It’ll be interesting to see how this all works out. Looking forward to seeing the pier brought back into use, at least.
May 10th - A late afternoon run out on a very dull, miserable day. Brightened considerably by the performance of the wee rabbits up on the canal bank by the Lichfield Road.
Again, a little chap, but not the same one. He froze when he saw me coming. Sadly, he seems to have a sore on his back, but he looks fit and healthy otherwise. And he has a fine set of whiskers for a little ‘un.
This one is for that there Linda Mason.
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 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.
Ingenious, perplexing and lovely. Beautiful.
April 27th - It’s true what they say, the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence. This young lamb - one of the small flock at the Big Tasties smallholding between the canal and the A5 at Newtown, Brownhills, expertly squeezed his head through the wire mesh to reach the greenest shoots.
April 26th - Cycling isn’t great for me at the moment. I had a bit of a domestic accident and have sustained bruised ribs, which is making cycling a bit uncomfortable - but I’m plodding on, just slower and more gingerly than usual.
Fortunately, I didn’t have far to go; just an errand to a few places in Brownhills. The weather was very, very changeable, and I just caught Brownhills as it was wearing it’s spring sunshine jacket. The canal side looked great, and the daffy on the verge at Silver Street were a joy. Even the canada geese looked fat and happy.
April 21st - These two 18 month old border collie brothers were having fun at Chasewater. One was scared to swim, whilst the other couldn’t get enough. Every time the plastic bottle was thrown into the water, one dog would swim to get it, bring it ashore, and give it to his brother, who took it to their master to throw again. Teamwork. Gorgeous dogs.
April 21st - It was nice to note that Brownhills Canoe and Outdoor Centre seemed to be busy this morning. They were holding an open day, with free 20 minute introductory sessions for those interested in pursuing the activity.
I love to see the place in use, and folks out, enjoying the canal. Their presence made things feel quite summery, despite the overcast weather.
April 13th - Spinning around Brownhills in the rain, it was nice to see a group at the Canoe and Outdoor Centre braving the grim weather. I love to see folk out enjoying the canal and the outdoors, and after recent uncertainty, it’s also reassuring to see the facility in use.
Next Sunday - the 21st April - the centre team are holding a family introduction day, when there will be free taster sessions and fun activities. Why not pop along and check it out?
April 10th - I notice it’s still for sale, the old Veolia site in Lindon Road on the Walsall Wood/Brownhills border. This chemical waste disposal facility, an old pit shaft, was filled with industrial effluent in the 70s and 80s. When it was full, the company kept their labs and offices here and moved the site to a different pit system at Stubbers Green, in Aldridge.
The company names operating this facility changed regularly; Effluent Disposal, Leigh Environmental, Sarp, Veolia.
The site is large, mostly empty, including the Victorian house out front used as offices for some years. There are only a skeleton staff here, as administration moved to shiny new offices up in Cannock a year or so ago, leaving this site mostly deserted.
Whoever buys this will get a lot of land. But as a former mine, the land is contaminated from the colliery, let alone later uses. Any buyer will have to deal with the shaft itself, down which the poison was poured.
Don’t think about entering this place; the security is full on and tight, and there are still people here. I wonder what will become of this site, and the secrets it keeps.
March 29th - A lazy day. Work has left me exhausted lately, and with a long Easter weekend ahead, I slouched out and did some stuff I wanted to for a change, and slipped out late afternoon for a gentle loop of Brownhills. The thaw has really set in now, but the canal towpaths are still no go, even with the snow tires. I noted at Holland Park that the tennis courts were now tennis duckponds, complete with ducks. The sunset from Chasewater, however, was gorgeous. Water is still overflowing from the Nine-Foot, and the bird life there tonight was fantastic.
By the time I returned to Brownhills, the sunset had retreated to a magenta band on the horizon, but the sky was still stunning. A great sunset.
I could handle a few more days like this. Lets hope the snow melts away soon.
March 24th - Another bitterly cold day, and the worst snows since the early 1980s continued overnight, only ceasing late afternoon. Oddly, though, the sun tried to break through most of the day.
I slipped out mid afternoon. The main roads again, were clear, and some of the more minor ones like Coppice Lane were very clear, too, although standing water was everywhere. I spun around Brownhills, getting a feel for the evil east wind that was blowing powder-dry snow in clouds. At the old level crossing at the top, a lovely little robin caught my eye, flitting about amongst the laurels at the side of the road. As I passed the common, I noticed one of the best ice-castles I’ve ever seen, with it’s proud constructor playing nearby.
Up at Chasewater, the waterfowl were quiet following the daily visit from the Swan Lady, who drove past me on Pool Road; but there were plenty of other interesting birds about defying the positively evil wind. I fought it up the A5, to the Barracks Lane junction, where the sheep weren’t minding the snow too much. The drifts in Barracks Lane were sobering.
It’s getting on to the end of March. British Summer Time starts in a week. Can I have some spring, please?
March 19th - Whilst at Catshill junction admiring the cat, I noticed that Humphries House, the Brownhills tower block recently refurbished by Walsall Housing Group at no small expense, seems to have the boys in again.
It seems access cradles have been installed again on the front of the block. That must be costly. Wonder why? Anyone know?
Perhaps they’re feeding the mice…