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.
March 28th - It had been a gorgeous day of spring sun, had being the operative word. I had errands to run in Caldmore and Walsall town centre on my return from work, and as I left there, the heavens opened. They opened again as I left Caldmore, and yet again in Walsall. For the third time this week, I got wet, cold and miserable. But hey, I had a saddlebag full of indian snacks, at least.
At 6:20pm, as darkness and rain were falling fast, Darwall Street, the heart of Walsall’s entertainment district, was deserted, but the wet street caught the light beautifully.
Let’s hope for a better weekend…
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…
December 22nd - Last Thursday, I recorded the former Shoulder of Mutton pub, lathery a restaurant, as being boarded up and derelict. Things seem to move fast in these parts, as today when I passed, the pub wasn’t open, but the boards had been removed and lights were on.
Anyone have a clue whats going on?
Reader Andy Colman said in response to the original post:
I was just thinking that my abiding memory of this pub is the smell riding past it on club runs and then you stated the same thing. Maybe if we’d popped in from time to time ?
Andy, you’re probably right. The trouble I have is that often, I pass establishments like this, and The Trooper et al, and wonder if they’re still really pubs, and would they welcome a cyclist? It’s a bit of a vicious circle, I guess.
December 19th - I see the Italian restaurant the the former Shoulder of Mutton had brome on the outskirts of Lichfield has closed. I noted this with some surprise, as I thought this was a popular, decent place to eat. I seem to recall the signs outside proclaiming awards for quality. It always smelled delicious when I passed, too.
Sadly, now it’s just another empty, boarded up pub. Hope someone can rescue it. Tragic.
December 15th - On an mission to Shelfield before tea (why does Christmas involve distributing stuff far and wide?), I took a route up Walsall Wood High Street to get the church lit up for it’s carol service. Sadly, my photos were awful, but it did look nice and seasonal. I noticed too the the Drunken Duck seemed busy for the hour. Recently under new management, it seems to be gaining popularity.
Must give it a go at some point.
December 13th - Nice to see The Old Swan at Stonnall back open again and under new management. On a very grey Friday, mid afternoon, the car park was quite full, and the place looked homely and warm. Were it not for the encroaching downpour and lack of a bike lock I’d have nipped in for a swift one.
It’s great to see a well-loved house get another chance, and I wish the new hosts well in their endeavour.
October 8th - I noted today as I passed that the Wheel Inn is still derelict, and slowly rotting away. I had thought the former pub - or at least, the land it stands on - may be in for a renaissance a year or so ago, when the new gates went up beside it, and some attempt was made to clear the yard. Sadly, this has not been the case, and the building remains forlorn, unloved and an eyesore.
I wish whoever owns this once fine boozer would take responsibility and either demolish or renovate it. It stands on Lindon Road, a grim welcome to Brownhills for any arriving traveller. I wish the owners could be forced to clean it up.
December 21st - Further down the village, the Old Swan always looks busy and welcoming in Main Street, Stonnall. Tonight, the village was quiet, apart from the inevitable queue from the chippy, but the pub looked busy. It always does.
For the benefit of @thestymaster, those christmas lights are green, OK? I checked.
December 19th - I wasn’t out long. It was just too unpleasant. But one place that does look nicer and nicer - particularly on a chilly, dark night - is The Swan, on the Pelsall Road. Saved from almost certain loss, the pub survives - and thrives, by all accounts - as a traditional, no-nonsense family and community boozer. No frills, just good beer and good company.
And that’s all you need, really…
December 5th - It was cold today, and I felt it. Winter has me in it’s grip now, and the mornings are bright, icy and clear; the evenings dark, damp and very, very chilly. Today, as I came home through Walsall Wood, I passed the Drunken Duck pub, one of the oldest in the village. Various renamed The Hawthorn and Tipplers, this house has been a stable fixture of Walsall Wood Life for over a century, and still seems popular. With the warm-looking lights on this cold winter night, it’s hard to resist parking up the bike and popping in…
October 8th - I don’t like to see the gradual erosion of our pubs. But since so many are being lost, it’s nice to see when they’re saved - if repurposed. I’m thinking here particularly of The Muckley Corner, which is now dwellings, or The Brown Lion, in Pleck, which is a refuge. Like the Knave of Hearts in Bloxwich, the Spring Cottage in Shelfield has been converted into a bustling Co-op store. Whilst the loss of the pub is sad, at least the building was saved, and not altered too much. If only more closed pubs could be saved like this…
September 14th - I hauled myself up from Lichfield slowly, fully loaded with shopping, against a horrid wind and with little energy. I was feeling grim, and Muckley Corner at rush hour is no place for old men. Having traversed it, I pulled over on the far side of the junction and took a look at the old Muckley Corner Pub/Cornerhouse Hotel. It’s been beautifully converted into dwellings - it’s clear now that there will be no form of commercial afterlife for this pub. In a way, it’s all gone full circle, as originally, the building was a corner pub and associated terraced houses.
A number of folk have pointed out the attention to detail in the reuse of the decorative coping tiles, ridge pieces and finials. They look wonderful. Shame about the chimneys, though…
June 27th - I was please to note as I spun past this evening, the formerly closed and shuttered pub The Hatherton Arms, just on the Mellish Road Island in The Butts, Walsall, is showing signs of life. The boards have been removed, the To Let sign has gone, and the place looks occupied. It doesn’t seem open as a pub, though, so we’ll have to see if that’s its destiny. It’s just nice to see it inhabited again.