October 21st - A dreadful wind and threatening rain menaced me on the way to work, but fortuitously, it also blew me back. I left after the rain had stopped, and found conditions challenging. As I rode, I noted a developing sunset I couldn’t ignore, so I hopped on the canal to Chasewater, hoping to catch it.
Sadly, by the time I got there, the gathering dark had swallowed it up - but it was an interesting ride.
October 20th - I had to pop into Walsall Wood on my way home, so shot up the Lichfield Road. It wasn’t a pleasant evening, and there was a distinct nip in the air.
As I came over Walsall Wood Bridge, I couldn’t resist a dusk shot up the High Street to Shire Oak. This shows that Walsall Wood is still remarkably green, and I love how the vehicle lights look like christmas lights on the tree in the distance.
I hear lots of people talk about Pelsall and Aldridge as ‘villages’, but Walsall Wood is perhaps the one locally that still retains most of the village character. It’s a lovely little place.
October 17th - I came back from Shenstone just as darkness was falling, and spotted by chance another bountiful crop of autumn. Isolated in the hedgerow at Footherley, a large, impressive and perfect group of mature glistening ink caps. These are toxic, and shouldn’t be touched, but the temptation to is huge. I love their pure white stalks and brown-black, sing caps.
I don’t think the fungi have been so good this year, maybe due to the dry weather - these are rare gems.
October 17th - The morning commute was damp, and a little drizzly, but it brightened up as I neared work. On the way, I noted the assortment of hips, haws and berries, glistening with raindrops. For the hedgerow fruits, it’s been a bountiful year, and the birds certainly have plenty in the larder right now.
A fine autumn; best I can remember for many a year.
October 16th - The patch of grass near Anchor Bridge in Brownhills is not something I ever pay much attention to, if I’m honest; it just exists, and it never occurred to me until recently how odd it is that it has never been built upon.
It remains unspoiled, mowed regularly by the council, and separates the canal from the Lindon Road. There are a good few deciduous trees here and in Autumn, they’re beautiful.
An odd little patch of beauty in an otherwise unremarkable urban landscape.
October 15th - I returned to Brownhills late in the afternoon when it was again pouring with rain. This wasn’t everyday, lacklustre drizzle; this was dense, heavy rain that squeezed in through any not-quite-close zip or gap, and rendered me soaked.
Once again, I found myself taking a breather on a bridge, just listening to the music - a rattling percussion, accompanied be geese honking happily.
Brownhills, you ain’t no looker; but that’s OK neither am I. But I do love you. Even on the horrid days like these.
October 14th - Even on the dullest, wettest days this autumn has been outstandingly beautiful. In darkest Wednesbury, the foliage near Steelpark Island is gorgeous.
October 14th - I passed through Snow Hill Station early in the day on an errand before work. I hadn’t been there for ages, and scooting my bike across the access bridge, I was shocked to note the concourse had been retiled. I anxiously checked to see if the odd cat tile was still in place: I was relieved to see it was.
I have no idea why this hand-painted puss is here, but it’s clearly old, possibly rescued from the original station. Attempts to find out what it represents or commemorates failed.
I’m fascinated by this ceramic depiction of a cat. There’s a story here, if only I can find it.
A lovely thing; so glad it endures.
October 13th - It rained heavily all the way home, and with a driving headwind it really wasn’t a pleasant journey at all. I hopped on the canal in Walsall Wood to escape the mad traffic, and stopped at Catshill Junction to have a breather as I often do. It was quiet, except for the music of rain falling on water. There was not a soul around, and even the houses in Chandlers Keep looked deserted.
I was wet, cold and tired, but you couldn’t hate it like this. This was a moment of unexpected peace in a very grim day.
I got back on my bike, and rode home.
Monday 13th - A horrid commute, in both directions. Autumn is sitting heavily on my shoulders at the moment; the nights are closing in, and the rainy days more and more frequent.
But then, what should I expect? Half way through October. Just where has this year gone?
October 8th - As dusk fell, the sky cleared, and heading into Brownhills on this quiet, damp evening it was actually quite beautiful. It’s been a month or two since I last saw the canal look like this… I also noted that these were probably the last days of my commuting home in the light.
Everything must pass.
October 8th - The weather has really turned this week. From the warm, dry Indian summer it’s changed into a wet, squally October. Very, very heavy periods of rain throughout the day interspersed with sunshine made it a great day for rainbow hunters, but not for drivers, as many local roads were flooded.
Here at Green Lane, on the Walsall Wood - Shelfield border, the usual standing flood near the cottage. It’s not deep, but riding this on a bike needs careful observation not to be passed by a vehicle and splashed or worse.
Coupled with all this it seems very cold (although it isn’t, it’s just a shock).
Oh hello winter. I wondered where you’d got to…
October 7th - Autumn is still merrily and beautifully doing it’s thing, although at somewhat different rates.
In Wednesbury, the gorgeously shimmering red-brown willows I spotted last week have been joined by beautiful ochre-orage beech trees (At least, I think they’re beeches). The contrast and effect are stunning, even on a grey, damp morning.
On my return, Jockey Meadows is still quite green; fitting really, as this was the last place I noticed to green up in spring. The cows have long ago moved on from this water meadow, but they cut back the scrub considerably, and the effect is still lush and verdant, all under a wonderfully dramatic sky.
Beauty, even on dull, miserable days.
October 6th - It was a dreadful morning commute, and running late on the way home meant I didn’t have much time to stop. The heavy rains and wind of the morning sapped all my reserves of energy and patience; the riding was difficult and the driving poor.
Thankfully, by my somewhat late return, it was dry with an interesting dusk sky and what I suspect was a decent sunset, although I couldn’t get in a good place to see it.
From Walsall Station it looked impressive, if a little ominous. As I passed the Black Cock at Bullings Heath later on, it started to spot with rain again, even though the moon was large and clear.
A horrid day for commuting.
October 3rd - From Bridgtown, back along the A5 to Stonnall, and up Barracks Lane over Springhill. Autumn really settling in now, the fields here are barren, there was quite a nip in the air, and the moon hung is a beautiful sky.
I felt dog-rough, but it was worth being out, just for this…