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 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 2nd - The skies were dark and dusk was settling on Walsall when I came from work, tired and finding it hard to keep any speed up. I was loaded with shopping, and unwell, so it was a real drag; but as soon as I looked around me, I realised that I was entering the autumn dusk, and actually, it’s a thing of beauty.
I’m glad to note either my hands are steadier this year, or the camera is better in low light than previous ones, as none of these images was taken with a tripod.
The darkness isn’t all bad.
August 24th - Aside from the motorcyclists, it was a lovely ride home. I’d been at a family thing, and came home via Chasewater and the canals, hoping to catch the swans again. I didn’t see them, but the fading light made everything ghostly. The canal was still flat as a millpond, and Chasewater wasn’t much livelier.
The light and the water combined to make everything precious, and despite not having my tripod, I managed to get some reasonable pictures.
August 24th - Dam wall path, Chasewater, 8:24pm. Motorbike bearing L plate carrying a pillion - neither with helmets - buzzes pedestrians, scaring their dog.
The bike is distinctive as it has two blue LED lightstrips down either side of the front fairing - I’m not certain, but I think that may be illegal.
August 14th - I found myself back in Walsall at dusk, having been on a mad dash to Sutton. Finally relaxed and happy, I enjoyed the evening light and a peaceful ride home with the wind assisting me.
Some days are just frantic from start to finish. But it’s nice to feel a very hectic period come to an end. Oh for a few days off and a bit of blessed normalcy.
July 25th - A busy day, but the foot improved no end, and a great meeting with an old friend started the weekend off well. I spun out at sunset, as night fell, to Chasewater. Not a bad sunset, and the warmth and light was a joy to behold.
We are so lucky to have this place on our doorsteps.
April 12th - I got a long ride in today, but the afternoon was dull and overcast and I hardly took any photos at all. I was just too busy, stoking the miles in. I left mid afternoon, and headed out via Stonnall, Canwell and Middleton, then on to the canal near Middleton Lakes. I headed into Birmingham against a fearsome headwind, along the canals of the city centre, then out via Smethwick, Great Bridge, Darlaston and back to Walsall. Picking up some shopping, I headed home early evening. It was a great ride - just about 50 miles in total.
As I came over the Arboretum Junction, I took this from the stopline. Walsall looks gorgeous in the dusk.
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…
January 22nd - First time in Tyseley for a while, and I’m still in love with that view and sunset. As I left work - in the blessed light, how things are improving - the soft light of the oncoming dusk cast a lovely soft orange glow. The sunset was still good by the time I reached central Birmingham too.
Today, it felt that perhaps the spring wasn’t too far away, after all.
January 8th - I wasn’t expecting to be caught by the rain this afternoon. For some reason I though the rains weren’t coming in until later in the evening, and I was caught without full waterproofs. To heap on the misery, I had to nip down to Stonnall on an errand on the way home. It was wet, but not cold. I got soaked.
Surely, this rain must end soon? I’m developing webbed feet…
December 7th - The distraction was a murmuration of Starlings. They were hypnotic, and none of my images were properly in focus or did it justice.
I’ve heard there have been such murmurations here for a couple of weeks. What happens is starlings flock together in large, mesmeric formations. These started as two groups, and merged atop the electricity pylon by Jeffrey’s Swag. Up there, they rested a while, then gradually took flight in a tight pack, swirling like a maelstrom. For 25 minutes or so they circled the Swag, taking sharp spirals, about turns, each time they came close the sound of their wingbeats disturbed the quiet. Eventually, they spotted a place they liked and descended into the poolside scrub to roost.
I’ve only ever seen this a few times in my life, and never so close. The noise, the Moire visuals as they banked, the sheer bird count were all astounding, as was the manner of their disappearance into the roost.
Glad I was out to see that.
November 18th - I came out of work, and just caught the tail end of an incredible sunset over Tyseley station. I hurried caught these shots in the four or five minutes before my train arrived. It ws gorgeous, and I was glad I caught it.
November 14th - Now winter darkness is upon me, that Late Night Feelings thing is haunting me once again. I pitched up at Tyseley station this evening on the threshold between day and night, and all it took between the two was the journey downstairs to the platform.
The lights, the skyline, the signals. Bright, warming, steady, reassuring, control. The glistening, ever-crossing parabolas of the rails; the ever present shadow of the incinerator, innocuously operating unnoticed in the dry warm air of summer, but now with it’s dirty secrets revealed into the chill air in the form of a plume of steam.
Cityscape, geometry, light. Can’t stop the fascination, I really can’t.
November 10th - Remembrance. I called in at Hopwas to get a shot of the War Memorial here (there is none at Wall, to my surprise). It was darkening as I arrived, and having forgotten my tripod, I struggled. But this is a beautiful building and a delightful place, especially on an autumn evening.
Hopwas is the most curious, lovely church in all of Staffordshire. There, I said it.Yet what gazetteer or guide breathes it’s name? Who ever mentions this delightful country church?
Sitting in the shadow of Hopwas Hays Wood, high on the hillside, it gives the air of a country farmhouse, with white and timber gables, chimney and leaded pocket windows. Built in 1881 and designed by John Douglas of Cheshire, it’s a building that, to the best of my knowledge, is unique, and in a beautiful spot.
I was glad to see a wreath from the local Scouts, and several crosses. This is a fine place to be remembered.