May 23rd - A horrid day. Rainy, wet, and the warm summer air seems to have left us for a while. I slipped out in the evening to Mill Green to run an errand, and coming over Shire Oak, stopped at the quarry gates to capture my familiar muse in the murk.
A horrid, headache grey day. I didn’t feel great, either. Summer, come back soon, please…
April 3rd - The poor air quality brouhaha at the moment isn’t all hype. As a chap given to a degree of sinus trouble, it’s hell out there at the moment. There’s an appreciable wind, and the air isn’t wet like in normal mist; yet it feels oxygen-less, like being stuck in an unventilated house with the heating on. It makes me feel breathless faster, and stings my eyes, as well as causing a blocked nose.
I’ve never experienced days like these before. I’m used to traffic fumes in the city in high summer, and the effect it has on my hayfever, but I’ve never seen this before.
The New Ring Road in Walsall looked ethereal and grey, even dystopian. But I did notice one thing; that’s a fine weathervane on the roof of the old Workhouse Guardians office, there.
March 25th - The commute to work had been wet and quite, quite horrid, but the wind was more or less favourable. The roads were greasy, the traffic was mad. It wasn’t a hugely enjoyable journey.
Later in the morning, I felt rather ill, and was resigning myself to getting a lift home if I didn’t feel better. Thankfully, sweet tea, a lie down and some food sorted me out, but on leaving work during a break in the rain, I just floored it and sped home as fast as I could. I just wanted to be back, safe and sound in the dry and warm.
I noticed in Green Lane near Jockey Meadows the mist was rising off the marsh, and everywhere was sodden again. This is one of the very few places in life I find intimidating in it’s desolation. I felt it this evening. I have no idea why it makes me feel like this.
I took a photo, then pressed on homewards.
January 20th - It was an awful day for travelling (and work generally, really). I went a long way on a fools errand, and on my return, got tangled up in travel chaos on the Cross City line.
In between, however, the day was misty, bright and cold with a beautiful frost. Sadly, I spend most of my cycling time dashing late from one place to another and didn’t get chance to take many pictures.
I’d like a few more days like this if possible…
January 12th - The day, which had started beautifully, turned to grey murkiness before I got free. The mechanical issues of the previous day were still dogging the bike as I headed out to Chasewater. The canal was quiet, but Chasewater itself, surprisingly busy. A light mist dwelled in the air, and drizzle came and went.
I notice the lake is mage 50-60mm off full again; just as it was at this time last year. I’m wondering if they’ll let it overflow again, maybe as a test. Perhaps the lake is just being used as a storm buffer for a while.
Fly Creek, where the boardwalk crosses is flooded, but the steps are currently being rebuilt anyway, so probably best not go that way for a while. Crossing it on a bike was fun.
I came back over the common, which is showing evidence of wind damage. I also noted that the conifer saplings are still growing and choking the heather on the heath. Let’s hope removing those is a priority for the heathland management work to come.
October 3rd - I set out for work a little early on a murky, misty, wet autumn morning, and realised as I sped down the Chester Road that it was oddly photogenic. I decided to take a diversion and spun up to Shenstone, and grabbed some pictures as the season began to turn the leaves.
It worked rather well, I thought. It’s unseasonably warm right now, but I’ve got the feeling we’re on the verge of some really dramatic colours. I think this one could be worth keeping an eye on…
Setember 5th - Tyseley, about 6:30pm, heading for Darlaston. There was a soft sun, combining with city haze, smog and no wind. The shapes of the city looked gorgeous. I’d forgotten over the summer that it could look like this. I was tired - blitzed, to be honest - but this pulled me up short. I don’t think anyone else noticed.
I love this city. This place. This moment in time. The rooftops, spires, tower blocks, chimneys. It felt like the city was mine. It’s nice when that happens.
August 27th - Is it late summer or early autumn? My dilemma over the seasons continues. I guess we’re in the interregnum now. Cycling back through the lanes of Stonnall this evening, It was hazy and warm, with a light, barely perceptible mist the sun had been unable to burn off. The fields looked gorgeous, and I was fascinated by the impromptu parliament on the overhead lines.
Who cares what season it is? It’s beautiful.
March 8th - There’s not much, photographically, you can do with a day like this, except record it as it was. For the second day running, it was wet and foggy. The traffic was still acting strange, and I was glad to get home. It’s not really cold, and the cycling was surprisingly good due to the still conditions - but the flat, grey outlook, devoid of decent light, is relentless.
Please, spring, come back! What on earth did I do to scare you off?
March 5th - A beautiful, late winter/early spring day. I left when the morning fog was thick and cold, and headed to Telford. As I got nearer the station, the mist was gradually burned off by the sun. I came back to Tyseley later, and it seemed the colour of the day was gold. The mist lingered, and made for beautiful skylines.
This spring thing? I think it could be a goer…
February 19th - A beautiful, sunny, frosty winter morning. I love days like this. It was cold, but the warmth in the sun was tangible, and felt good on my shoulders. In Little Aston, mist quivered in the hollows, before being burnt up in the sun.
A great start to the day.
January 22nd - A gorgeous morning. It was bitterly cold, but the sun was out, and small patches of mist hovered in the hollows. Today, it was a real joy to be cold, on such a fine winter’s day. The road through Mill Green was challenging, but better.
I couldn’t think of anywhere finer than here and now.
January 9th - I’d been working indoors all day, and ended up working late. I’d not seen the sky or daylight since 9:15am, so when I sped away from work at 8pm, I was shocked to find Birmingham wearing a low, thin mist. As I headed northwards home, the mist thickened, until, upon alighting the train at Shentone, I realised it was quite a serious fog. It was patchy, and in the country lanes through Stonnall, in places very dense indeed. I rode on my nerves, straining to look for headlights or unseen hazards, water vapour condensing in my hair and on my face.
Riding in heavy fog is hard work and uncomfortable. Hope it’s gone by morning…
January 9th - A beautiful morning, really, and although not very cold, after the warm weather of late it felt bitter. The sun shone, at least while I got to work - and everything had a gorgeous softness to it. In the light haze, the railway fascinated with its extended perspective and shine, and the row of terraces that back onto the junction by the station continue to fascinate in their recursion.
Even the Tyseley incinerator - working normally, as it does everyday - looked impressive; it’s water vapour, not usually visible, was forming plumes of steam in the cold air. Magical.
December 11th - It didn’t take long for the mist to settle in, but even that was enjoyable. Just as well, really, as despite the promises of a new dawn, the London Midland train reliability is still lousy, even with the new timetable. 6 out of this week’s 8 trains so far have been late. I still love the sights and views of the railway. I’m not interested particularly in trains, but I love the slightly unreal, meccano landscapes they create, with vividly pronounced perspective, repetition and reflection. I love the impression of distance and connection they create, and of the illusion of solid control, like a huge machine.
The machine is broken, and deserves some love and attention, and a master who loves it, but it’s still a wonderful and oddly beautiful thing.