October 14th - Even on the dullest, wettest days this autumn has been outstandingly beautiful. In darkest Wednesbury, the foliage near Steelpark Island is gorgeous.
June 21st - I think the poppies growing so beautifully on the traffic island in Clayhanger must have been planted, possibly as part of the Great War commemorations this year. It’s fair to say that whether by accident or design, they’re really beautiful and a lovely display.
If you’re passing, do take a look, it’s magical.
November 15th - It had been a long day, the energy was low, and I didn’t have much time. I spun up the High Street at teatime and rode the backstreets for a bit. Returning, I looked at something thats so familiar, I rarely pay it much attention: Morris, the Brownhills Miner. Much as I feel uncomfortable with the extravagance in a faltering town, I do love him. John McKenna’s work in drafting all those fragments, then welding them together in a finite-element model like this is stunning, and always has been. So much better than the laser cut by numbers tat in Walsall Wood, this took a really skilled artist a huge amount of time to design, facilitate and build. I just wish the blue lights didn’t make it look so cheap.
Morris is such an obvious and cliched subject, I’ve only rarely featured him here, but it’s worth it, once in a while, just to share him. The politics and cost aside, it’s a terrific thing.
August 19th - Thanks to friend of the blog Rosa Maria Burnell, I can reveal that Brownhills has developed a second pop-up bench. Again, secondhand, it’s appeared at the junction between Silver Street and the Miner Island. It’s not a picturesque spot, but Rose reports it was being well-used.
I have nothing against such street furniture, but I’m curious as to who’s erecting them, from where, and why.
June 14th - Headed out to Lichfield late afternoon, and battled the wind, fully loaded, on the way back. Returning down the Lichfield Road, I noticed the cones were out at Springhill for the construction of a new island junction for Springhill Cemetery, currently under construction to the right of the picture beyond the houses.
This has been delayed quite some time now, and has been locally controversial. it’ll be interesting to see how the development progresses.
February 24 - Flowers have again appeared on the miner railings in Brownhills, and I have no idea why. There is no note. They are attached firmly with cable ties, and there are three separate bunches, bundled together. I can’t think of any fatalities here. The wreaths tied here at Christmas were soon cut down and taken away, which I though was rather sad.
Does anyone have any idea what this is all about?
31st December - A few folk have noticed these two wreaths tied to the central barrier on the Miner Island in Brownhills. Fellow local blogger Warren Parry asked about them yesterday, and I said I’d check them out. Passing today, they appear to have no labels. I have no idea what they’re relating to.
Can anyone help? A small, sad mystery.
November 18th - Today I made time to take a quick photograph of the concrete play sculpture at Chasewater, featured in a post on my main blog. It was created in 1962 by artist Bryan Blumer as a climbing object for kids, and originally stood in the play park. As Anne Bradbury says, it now somewhat ironically stands on a traffic island with notices requesting kids don’t play on it. Sad.
June 24th - Another day, another wet ride home. The Arboretum Junction in Walsall is a dreadful design. A perfectly serviceable island has been replaced by a hugely complex traffic light controlled crossway. I often end up here, waiting 10 minutes at a time for the lights in my lane to turn green. I loathe this fiddly, overcomplicated piece of urban design with a passion.
April 27th - clearly, today was drive like a fuckwit day, and I’d missed the announcement. Why is that on some days, you just feel really uneasy on the road and see a whole traunche of daft road use? Today was one of those.
I was on an early morning commute to work in Redditch - 7:50am on the Smallwood Island. Some duffer in a cream car just stops in the middle of the island. I have no idea why. I check he can’t suddenly floor it and hit me, then get the hell out of there.
A little further on, we see a community transport bus overtake me, only to cut me up turning left. It’s why I hate left hand cycle lanes; they encourage this behaviour. It wasn’t dangerous in this instance, but it’s as irritating as hell.
I was glad to get home this evening.