November 20th - Just the one picture today, as the commutes were horrid and wet, ad the images I took in the morning were spoiled by rain on the lens. I grabbed this as I left the station at Walsall in the early evening. The rain had stopped, but everything was wet and cold. The traffic seemed tetchy and aggressive tonight, too, but nothing really matches the glisten of a wet urban night scene. There wasn’t much business for the taxis tonight, but it’s nice to see Station Street undergoing a bit of a revival.
Even on a cold wet Wednesday in Walsall, there’s beauty to be had.
November 11th - I think the rain made this, in a funny kind of way. When I came past the war memorial in Darlaston, it was raining quite heavily, but the statue, wreaths and tributes positively glowed in the murk. It looks like Darlaston did it’s fallen proud. So touching, and beautiful, it was a great sight on a wet, grey monday morning.
A few minutes later in the town, I saw the regular street sweeper cheerfully litter picking in the rain. Just as I passed, a lady from a local shop shouted to him, and came out with a cup of tea for him, and praised him for his hard work.
November 11th - The weather is stuck in repeat. A lousy, wet and heart-in-mouth commute to Darlaston, and I hopped onto the canal as soon as I could. The roads were mad today, really, truly awful.
The rain varied between a light drizzle and very heavy, and was again glad of good waterproofs. Twice I stopped for shelter under bridges. The autumn colour is gorgeous, but I’d love to see a bit more of yesterday’s sun rather than this endless rain we seem to be cursed with tis last couple of weeks.
From November 6th - Walsall new ring road, Green Lane Junction about 5:10pm, Wednesday 6th November 2013. I didn’t feel it safe to stop as the guy behind was stuck to me like a wet T-shirt. This is far from unique driver behaviour here - get in the wrong lane trying to queue jump, then bugger everyone else trying to sort it out.
More of this run later.
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November 6th - An absolutely lousy commuting day. It was raining for the entirety of journeys both to and from Darlaston, and the traffic - still stuck in autumn muppet mode - didn’t make it easier. There were lights in the darkness, though; at Green Lane, Shelfield, I stopped to take a phone call and felt someone was watching me - so beware eavesdropping moggies when out and about. The canal at Bentley Bridge still looked green, depute the murk. On the way home, the roads glistened and shone in the spray-sweep of passing traffic.
It’s not shaped up to be a great bike commuting week, if I’m honest… at least the forecast for tomorrow is better.
November 5th - Today was April again. Chilly, a morning punctuated by sharp showers, but lit up by remarkable periods of sunshine. I headed to Shenstone for no other reason than the countryside was gorgeous, and I could spare the extra time. The rainbow was wonderful.
November 1st - returning to Brownhills from work, I had to get some errands run. It was dark, and very wet, but in the night, the town glistened. Brownhills High Street, depressed and depressing as it can be, looks beautiful and almost busy in these conditions. Even the deserted hinterland of a Ravens Court possessed an unusual air.
It’s sore abused, but Brownhills is my home, and I still love it as much as I ever did. Even in the rain of the coming winter.
October 31st - I cycled to Darlaston in soft, warm drizzle. The rain couldn’t make up its mind to stay or go, and just hovered in an indecisive, grey mizzle that painted most things I saw shades of murky grey. However, it’s time to point out that despite the grey, your local parks right now are marvellous. Whether it’s Walsall Arboretum, Holland Park in Brownhills or as shown here, Victoria Park in Darlaston, the trees are really showing great colours right now that can brighten the most dull days.
My has is tipped to those who work so hard to maintain them. Thanks, folks.
October 21st - It’s going to be a hard week. The Monday morning commute saw me heading to Birmingham in a rainstorm. Visibility was bad, and I abandoned the Chester Road and headed for Shenstone, as I didn’t feel comfortable in the spray and slime of the main road. When I got to Shenstone, I realised just how heavily it was raining. It rained too, on my way home; another fraught journey where I rediscovered the lack of traction on wet road markings and the fact that my jacket waterproofing seems to be failing.
The weather forecast doesn’t seem to be predicting much of an improvement. Oh well, at least it’s warm…
October 20th - There’s some really great fungi growing at the moment on Chasewater Dam, where the trees were removed. I have no idea what they are, and initially, they looked like piles of horse manure. It was only when I got closer I realised what they were. it has just stopped raining, and they glistened wonderfully.
October 13th - After the rain had passed. It’s been a grim weekend, really; the weather has been atrocious, and I’ve not got any miles in to speak of, but I also felt flat. I’ve been pretty low now for a few days, and I guess it’s the comedown after a good summer. I’m not feeling the cold, but I’m feeling the loss of light desperately. I’d made plans for a ride or two this weekend, and not even entertained the possibility that the weather might prevent it. I suppose I got out of the habit. That’s what a good summer does.
Today, I spent the day getting things done I’ve been meaning to for a while, writing and reading. The rain more or less cleared by 6pm, so I went for a silent spin around Clayhanger, the old railway line and the canal, before doubling back through Brownhills. Other than the odd passing vehicle I didn’t see a soul, and it was warm and peaceful. Everywhere was drenched, and the world felt oddly silenced, like it was tired, or just fed up of the rain and now glad it stopped.
I know how it feels. Autumn is always really, really tough for me, but this one is really getting me down. It’s like sand in my gears, I feel it eroding me.
October 12th - It’s quite hard to take photos on such a rainy day. You find all the good pictures are facing the rainfall, and because the light is poor, you need long exposures, usually resulting in the lens gathering raindrops. I stopped on the Pier Street Bridge to check out the golden streetlight on the canal surface, and managed to keep the lens dry enough to capture the narrowboats in their moorings. Spinning round and interested in the combination of light, wet surface and steelwork, I didn’t realise I had gathered the raindrops. But they worked out quite well, really.
October 12th - Lower than a snake’s knees. I had a mountain of other work to do, the rain was pouring most of the day and the autumn blues were really biting. I couldn’t get it on to write, or get myself organised. It’s fair to say I was as miserable as sin.
I went out as dark fell early, and shot up the canal to Chasewater in heavy rain. I blasted through puddles and threw the bike round corners and inclines to try to get my mojo back. It worked, for a fashion.
I noticed at Newtown near the A5 that the anti-vehicle gate - swinging unlocked for the past 6 or 7 years - has been wired shut with barbed wire by someone. This is not good - folk in mobility scooters do come down here and the gates are supposed to be locked with RADAR keys. I’ve never really been sure what purpose this one serves, anyway, as it doesn’t prevent motorbike access from either of the adjacent bridges.
October 11th - I was in Telford for the day, and a commute that started in bright sunshine ended in steady rain at my destination. I noticed as I stood on the covered walkway waiting for the rain to pass that the northbound platform was lined with a tree with bright, orangey red berries, yet leaves a bit like those on a cherry tree. I have no idea what this is, and the birds don’t seem to be very interested, either.
It put me in mind of cotoneaster, but the leaves and berries are way too big.
October 4th - I was in Lichfield for a work meeting, then in the afternoon, stopped awhile to do some shopping. What started out dry but dull ended up rather wet - but the sun soon came out again. It was a day of contrasts, really - from shoppers scurrying from the downpour, to the earlier peace of Festival Gardens and the pretty little oriental bridge. Also in the gardens, conkers lay thick on the ground, the sign of this year’s excellent harvest. In the City centre, a hilarious animatronic puppet performed for shoppers, controlled by radio remote.
But best of all, I loved the way the raindrops on those oranges made them look fresh and appetising.
BrownhillsBob biked every day for the thirty days of April 2011, part of the #30daysofbiking project, but enjoyed the process so much that he carried on. Over two years down the road, he's still cycling every day and recording a little bit of every journey.