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 8th - Out late at sunset, and only time for a short loop around Brownhills. The town always looks good at sunset, and everything from Humphries House to the Pelsall Road looked great in the sundown light.
I’m really, really enjoying the early spring this year.
March 6th - Out for the evening and returning late, the streets were very, very quiet. I sped from Walsall with the wind at my back on silent, wet roads; I even sailed through the lights at Rushall Square on green without having to slow down.
Sadly, the night was more redolent of November than March, but the ride was nice.
Still can’t get past my unease over the eeriness of Green Lane at night…
February 25th - Caught in a short, sharp shower. The air suddenly went clear, and glass-hard. The traffic seemed to go a bit nuts, too.
Despite it’s attempts to kill me, I love the Chester Road. Night or day, summer or winter, sunshine or rain, it’s both often my route out of here, and my way back home.
February 21st - Returning home in the wee small hours, I was irritated to discover I’d forgotten my camera. As I sped from Walsall on deserted streets, there was a fine drizzle but the wind was behind me. I saw nothing but a handful of cars, a couple of foxes and a started badger. The phone is useless in low light, but these do capture the atmosphere quite well.
I’d quite forgotten the otherwordly atmosphere of being out on a bike at 1am…
February 18th - A great sky tonight, and a good sunset although I wasn’t in a good place to catch it. The day had been showery, but mostly dry and sunny, with a low wind. I really feel right now that the weather is, at last, settling down a bit.
I was on the lookout for good views of the sky on my way home from Walsall, and found myself unable to get any, but plenty of urban textures and skylines.
I bet it was beautiful at Chasewater, or up on Barr Beacon…
February 13th - It had been, by any measure, a dreadful day. Work had been a nightmare, the journey home more so. It appeared to be ‘drive like a maniac day’ too, and yet again, I’d not seen the memo. As I came through Bullings Heath on the edge of Walsall Wood, the lights of the Black Cock were like a welcoming beacon. The urge to pull up, lock the bike and have a pint was massive, and compelling. But I was hungry, and needed to eat and unwind at home.
I did the right thing. I took a photo, got back on my bike and rode on. Sometimes, you need to be amongst those you know and love.
February 11th - After the snow stopped the day in Telford was dry and sunny.
'Never mind' they said. 'It'll be dry for the journey home' they said.
I left Walsall in the dry, without putting waterproof trousers on. 5 minutes later, when it was too late, the heaven opened, and then the rain turned to snow. For the second time today, I was wet, cold and fed up.
At least no one can ever accuse me of being a fair weather cyclist.
February 6th - I’d been in Telford, in a building with no windows. When I came to leave, I realised it was raining fairly heavily. Nothing to do, but don the waterproofs and go for it. The journey was pretty miserable, really; delays at Telford and Birmingham made for a long, damp trudge home, but at least the wind was behind me.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a continuously warm, wet winter like this. Last year was bad enough, but at least we had variety with the snow. This is just getting boring now…
February 2nd - As I got back to the Innovation Centre at 5:25, I caught sight of the lights reflecting on the boating lake, and just had to take a picture. It was then I realised it was only just coming on to dusk. In January, we clawed back about an hour from the darkness, and all the time the rate of change is increasing.
Spring will soon be here.
January 31st - It was a day of ups and downs. I had to get to the dentist, which is never pleasant, but the morning was decent, and the long awaited arrival of a new computer was good news. The weather turned about lunchtime, and cleared a little around 6pm. It’s really hard at the moment to find decent photographic subjects in a wet, grey or dark landscape. I find myself really craving spring right now.
I went down to Stonnall, and experimented with long exposures without a great deal of success. The long-distance shot from the quarry gates was interesting enough - although out of focus - to feature here. I did like the ones down onto Main Street, but others I took of the Chester Road were useless.
Some days are just to dark to do anything with.
January 28th - I narrowly missed the heavy rain on both commutes, on a miserable day of stress and meetings bracketed by railway stations. I was out early, and back late, but there was a familiar lightness creeping into the sky. I just wish it’d stop raining for a few days.
It’s not too much to ask, is it?
January 25th - A horrid day. A stomach bug, too much work to do, bad weather and a migraine that kept coming back when I thought it’d finished.
The daylight was headache grey and the night wet and very dark. I spun out early evening, trying to clear my head, to no avail, but I did feel a bit better for the exercise.
This month seems to have been so long, and so very, very wet; I despair of ever seeing the town light, aired and dry again. I rode the high street, Hussey Estate and looped around Clayhanger. I barely saw a soul.
Ravens Court is particularly grim these days. So many promises, and so much talk, yet it still stands, rotting. I love Brownhills with all my heart - I really do. But today, my lack of wellbeing, the weather and the endless dark made it hateful, tense and forlorn.
January 23rd - I had to nip over to Pelsall on an errand, so I cut over The Spot and up the old railway trail. I love the view from the bridge over Clayhanger Lane. It was a great evening sky, too. If only I’d have caught it half an hour earlier, I reckon this might have been a decent spot for the sunset…
January 23 - On my way home I passed the Anchor at Anchor Bridge. A large, modern pub built in the 80s, it seems popular. It was originally built in bare brick, then later pained cream, which makes it interesting when lit up at night.
I’ve no idea what purpose it serves, but I find the light net on the poles quite nice, too…