July 23rd - in the Goscote Valley on my way to work, as the day started to warm up, I was drawn to a continual crackling sound. This always fascinates me; it’s the sound of gorse pods popping open with a snap, and scattering their seeds.
The action is induced by the warmth of the sun, and makes for an interesting diversion on the way to work. I love how the pods rattle musically when you shake the bushes, too.
It’s the little things that make summer, really.
February 19th - It feels like spring, and I welcome it. More than the cessation of rains, I welcome the dropping of the relentless wind. Setting out for Telford on a spring morning, the sky was still lovely from the night before, and the ride felt good. Even the usual poor performance from London Midland couldn’t dent my good mood…
February 13th - An unlucky day for a number of reasons, but at least it was dry and relatively pleasant. The wind had dropped, and on the way to Telford, looking up from the platform at New Street Station, a beautiful blue sky.
Riding from the station at Telford, I was fortunate enough to spot the black ice - frozen surface water like glass, the width of the cycle path uphill from the station, dusted with what looked like the residue of a brief snow shower.
Had I not noticed, I could have gone a purler there - one of my nine lives, i think.
January 6th - It was a beautiful morning, but with a heavy, harsh southwesterly wind. It took me longer than usual to cycle to the station, and I ducked through the backlanes to get there, the high hedges offering some shelter.
As far as the wind would allow, the air was soft and very slightly misty, and it made the countryside of South Staffordshire look beautiful in the watery sunlight.
I saw these trees in Forge Lane and recalled Joni Mitchell’s line ‘Trees are shivering in a naked row’.
Here’s to less aggressive weather for a while…
December 25th - A total contrast to the day before, Christmas Day was bright and sunny with little wind. As is traditional, a pre-lunch ride out this year took in Stonnall, Shenstone Woodend, Canwell, Hints, Weeford, Little Hay Shenstone and Lynn. The riding was fast and quiet, and the wet landscape beautiful. Even the young porkers at Shenstone Park were enjoying the sun. A couple of hours working up an appetite, I saw lots of folk out walking, kids trying new bikes and old timers like me just out for a spin. Best Christmas day pootle for a long, long time.
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.
February 7th - None of these pictures have been doctored. Dawn, over Little Aston and Blake Street. It really was like this, one of the finest dawns I think I’ve ever witnessed.
This, my friends, is why I ride a bike.
February 5th - The cycleways of Telford were beautiful this morning. It was snowing, lightly, but the sun was out, and snow lingered in the shadier hollows and hushed my noisy wheels. Telford’s bike tracks are legendary, but not well signposted or even mapped. Now they’ve matured, they’re often very secluded, almost hidden. I could have ridden around here for hours. Just for the quiet, the air, and the light.
A diamond in the dust.
February 5th - By heck, it was nippy this morning. We’d had the merest icing sugar dusting of snow, but after the almost humid warmth of the preceding period, the cold was a shock, as was the ice on the roads, particularly Wallheath Lane. I stomped and puffed into my hands as the sun rose at Shenstone Station; it caught the clouds beautifully and I reached for the camera.
Some things are worth getting cold for.
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 - These are the days. I’ve waited for fair weather for ages. Such a change from the grey and drizzle, it lasted long enough for me to enjoy a lovely cold, crisp commute to work. Had it not been for the fact that I was already running late, I’d have cycled all the way into Brum. Grove Hill, at Stonnall looked wonderful, and the only cloud in an azure sky was the plume of steam from Rugeley Power Station. At Mill Green, the hoar frost was beautiful, and made magic everything it graced. I love rides like this.
We’ve maybe got another couple of days of this. Wrap up warm and go out - cycle, walk, whatever. I never love my world more than when it’s embraced by a fine winter frost.
November 23rd - Out early, and off to Telford. Everywhere was absolutely saturated from the night before - roads, fields, gardens, everything. I’ve never seen so much surface water. The day itself, however, was bright and dry, if a little chilly. It was a beautiful morning. On the cycle paths of Telford, the still autumnal view made me feel bright and optimistic for the first time in a week, really. Daylight. Hazy sun. No wind. But will it last?
October 26th - I was out and about early, and off to Tyseley. It was the first really cold, wintry mining of the season, and the east wind was a bitter as only it could be. The air, however, was clear and clean, and the sunrise gorgeous. I stopped at Mill Green to take pictures, then quickly remembered the winter faff of having to remove gloves to handle the camera. These cold mornings are going to take some getting used to…
October 9th - At Moor Street, I was held up waiting for the train, and took a long shot down the platform to the south. I actually love this photo. It’s got Tyseley Incinerator - not far from my destination; Camp Hill church, and Bordesley church too. I love the way the tracks shine in the haze. This is my Birmingham, and pictures like this confirm why I love it so much.
October 3rd - Out to Telford at dawn meant cycling to Shenstone Station. The weather has been really variable this week, the one constant factor being the northeasterly wind that’s blown me to Shenstone in the morning and home from Walsall at night. Just as this is the time of year for good sunsets, it’s also the time for decent sunrises, too, although I’m usually too rushed to photograph them. Today was a good example - a gorgeous sky heralding a temperate day. Coupled with the shinbone skyline, it was beautiful.