August 10th - I realised I hadn’t really done a circuit of Brownhills like this for a while, and despite the grim weather warnings, it’s wasn’t a bad day at all. The light was bright, and the scenery good. It was a good day to photograph landscape, I guess.
A the Pelsall Road bridge on the canal, I discovered how the otherwise inaccessible flowerbed was being maintained - formerly I’d wondered if it was from the boat so often moored nearby.
At Chasewater, the lake was very, very choppy. The wakeline had been abandoned for the day, and only a few very brave windsurfers were out.
I note that the valves are currently open, and the water level at the reservoir is steadily lowering, probably to the lowest level since last summer, the high watermark evident on the spillway bridge in a line of white surface scum.
An unexpectedly great day to be out.
March 8th - On the former railway embankment that is now a cycle track, I stopped to survey the council depot at Pelsall Road. Slumbering in the evening, there was nobody around. This time last year, the gritting hoppers would have been on lorries and working hard. This year, they’ve barely been used at all.
Let’s hope there’s no further call upon them until next winter…
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.
September 26th - Further up the canal at Pelsall Road, I noticed what appeared to be oil on the surface of the canal. I was quite concerned as I approached, but I realised as I got closer that the scum is in fact a mixture of leaf-litter and other seed debris that had fallen onto the surface of the water. There must be physical reasons why it all seems to clump in one place…
September 15th - My nosiness will one day be my undoing. For months now I’ve been curious about a drain cover I noticed at the top of the rough steps up to the old railway walk, just on the canal by Pelsall Road, Brownhills. It’s puzzled me because, well, there are no services up there, and no drains - certainly no electrics or telephony. But the access cover is new, and probably put there by whoever constructed the steps (and I never did find out who was responsible for those). Today, my curiosity bettered me and I flipped the plastic lid open - there’s a empty, corrugated tube veering to the side. A pebble dropped goes a fair way.
I popped the lid back, and went on my way, none the wiser…
May 3rd - This is an interesting one. Just by the Pelsall Road bridge in Brownhills, a lovely bed of daffodils, tulips and other spring flowers, where once there was just grass. The odd thing is that the triangle forming the bed is inaccessible, except by boat, or maybe by ladder from the road above.
Ingenious, perplexing and lovely. Beautiful.
December 2nd - I was still knackered from the past few days, and couldn’t raise the wherewithal to get out until after dark. When I did, by jove, was it parky. There was a thickening ground frost, but it was still and the bike went quickly. I spun out to the common and headed down the old railway line in the darkness. On the way, I startled a group of red deer does who were stomping and snorting together for warmth on the shelter of the cycle track; my light picked our the vapour of their breath as they fled down the embankment. On the old cement works bridge, it was silent, and over the factory yards and forgotten corners of Apex Road and the industrial estates nearby it was also eerily quiet. Looping back through Clayhanger, the night was dark, but the lights where on at the chapel and it looked great over the fields. After what seems like the longest autumn ever, it’s now cold, clear, crystal winter. This is more like it…
June 22nd - The new council depot on Pelsall Road in Brownhills seems to be fully operational now. Now the days have just started getting shorter, the sight of gritting lorries parked in neat rows and a slowly increasing stock of road salt seems to be an unwelcome reminder of winter.
I just hope that if we get a northerly wind, that tent assemblage is fixed down well…