July 25th - I nearly squished him (I assume it’s a he), but this common toad was quite happy in the middle of the towpath and wasn’t moving for anyone. I lit him carefully with my bike light, and I think the results aren’t too bad.
I love frogs and toads. So full of character.
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.
July 9th - I’ve worked 40 out of the last 64 hours. It isn’t leaving a lot of time for anything much, but I’m still cycling; it’s my interregnum between home and work, and enables me to straighten things out and relax a bit.
This was my journey home tonight from New Street Station, in snatched photos.
Stations at night again, I can’t help myself. It’s that Late Night Feelings thing coming to the surface again…
July 8th - It’s been a while since I got a good sunset in the bag. I was tired. I had caffeine shakes. I was a stressed, weary mess. But Cycling home in this really sorted me out.
July 8th - Working late. Exhausted, with very sore eyes, I hit Shenstone station just as darkness was falling. Pleased to note this camera takes very decent handheld shots in low light. This rural station is a long-time muse of mine, and I find the station building and environment fascinating, particularly at night.
In high summer like this, working late and catching the dark is a rare treat, and despite my bleariness, I did try and savour the light…
May 1st - I had thought I was alone on the pub terrace. However, an ominous crunch made me look down… and the patio was actually busy with slugs and snails, presumably energised by the damp after the previously dry days.
I picked up the bike and carefully stepped around them. I always feel pangs of guilt when I hear that crunch. I have a soft spot for these fascinating, bizarre creatures. Hate to kill them.
May 1st - I had to pop out in the morning, but worked from home for most of the day - which was just as well, as the weather was wet and miserable. Going out to meet a couple of pals later in the evening, I found myself chaining my bike up in a pub beer garden. Once the preserve of summer afternoons and rare, balmy evenings, pub terraces, beer gardens and play area have changed subtly in recent years, becoming a haven for smokers.
None here tonight, though, so the heaters on the parasol stayed untriggered. An odd, wet, otherworldly atmosphere pervaded the evening.
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.