June 12th - An awful commute from a weather point of view. The wind was dreadful in the morning, and the rain caught me on my return. I only took photos in Tyseley, in a rainstorm. Everything was wet; the station, the commuters, the trains. I felt miserable, and didn’t enjoy the journey at all - yet strangely, the Tyseley photos have an odd, lonely kind of charm.
It’s difficult to love the weather this week.
May 30th - It hasn’t been commuting this week, it’s been a test of endurance. This morning, I left for work in heavy rain with a heavier heart. All week, the weather and travel has been grim. I’m fed up of it and would really like some summer, if that’s OK with you.
Thankfully, after my browbeaten, besodden and bedraggled journey to work, the return was in warmer, drier conditions. The air this morning held mist; this afternoon it was clear. As I came past Jockey Meadows on my way home, it was positively glowing and glistening, as only fresh green growth can.
Let’s hope this is the start of a dry spell.
May 29th - I had expected to get very wet on my return home. As it happened, it was merely a light drizzle, in the gap between downpours, but there was a significant headwind, and the going was grim. Cowparsley and hawthorn buds line the verges and hedgerows, and the cheesy scent of rapeseed hangs heavy. But there’s little sun about, and the lanes look grey and dull. Even the rabbit that darted in front of me, causing me to brake sharply was soaking wet.
We must be due a hot, dry spell soon, please?
may 28th - After a dreadful day of travelling - 7 hours of commuting just to get to Telford and back - I came home from a day unusually not on my bike. Hopping out as dusk fell, I shot up the Parade to Chasewater, then back along the canal. After a very wet, miserable day the air had begun to clear, and the rain ceased. The sunset wasn’t great, but after the murk, the crack in the clouds seemed heaven-scent. The Parade looked great with the fresh foliage, but I think we could do with some sun now. I need to feel more of the summer warmth.
May 16th - A day without rain, for me at least, and quite pleasant, if a little cold. The rain seems to have made everything bolt - these growing plants, in a field just west of Shenstone - were not evident last week. Wonder hat they are? Anyone know?
May 14th - Shire Oak Hill is a very old adversary. There’s no real, practical way around it, and it’s got an awful profile - it gets steeper as you get towards the top. Going down is usually fun, but that climb comes need the end of many rides, and can be a killer. Today, it was OK as I had the wind behind me. I looked back as I reached the top and noticed the greenery, the blossom, the copper beech, and a fuzzy outline of Lichfield Cathedral, still visible in the continuous drizzle.
It’s a view I know well, yet still surprises me.
May 14th - Grim ride home. The morning wasn’t bad, but just as I started the evening commute, the heavens opened. It was thoroughly wet, dark and miserable. Not helping the mood were the remarkable number of speeding drivers on Lynn Lane at Shenstone - two were actually racing each other in very bad conditions indeed.
My glum determination was lifted, however, by the familiar cheesy, flowery scent of oilseed rape. The thick, heavy pollen was being stirred by the raindrops. In the dark afternoon, it was gorgeous.
There’s beauty in the most unpleasant days.
May 12th - I have a horrid feeling that the three glorious days of the May Day bank holiday were, in fact, summer. Today was wet, but warm, so I donned waterproofs and hit Cannock Chase. It rained steadily for pretty much the whole journey, and the light was awful for photos. There is a huge spread of cowslips at Brindley Valley, and everything else was vivid shades of green - even Rugeley Power Station was surrounded by verdant pasture. The Chase was lovely, and peaceful, and I didn’t see another soul from Rifle Range Corner all the way to Seven Springs.
Anyone would think humans were made of sugar… the forest is lovely in spring rain.
May 11th - I had to go to Aldridge in the afternoon. It was one of those intensely frustrating days when it was bright sunshine one minute, and raining heavily the next. I returned via the canal, always a joy. The view of the marina from Northycote Bridge was wonderful in the sunshine. It rained twice again before I got home…
Hope the warm weather returns soon.
May 9th - The journey home was a tad challenging. I elected to return from Blake Street, to best employ the strong wind that had built up. When I got off the train, the rain was horizontal. Even with waterproofs and wrapped up, it was vile. I’m just glad it was mostly blowing me home, and not against me.
Mill Green looked good, though, and this rain should provoke a growth spurt in the flora.
Let’s hope for a better day tomorrow.
May 8th - Sweet rain.
As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time outdoors, I’m fairly honed to the seasons and their timetable. That was, until this year. Spring is so late, it feels like a chunk of the year has just gone missing, lost, been edited from the tape.
The natural order being disturbed, I’ve missed little things without realising them. One being the smell of the countryside in spring after rain. When I travelled to work, the drizzle was very, very fine and almost not there at all, but heavier on my return. At Shenstone, the air was damp, musty and smelled beautifully of pollen, oilseed rape, moist earth and growth.
I didn’t know how much I’d missed that smell until today. I got off my bike, and stood there, just opening my senses to it. Not just the scent, but the colour, the light, the birdsong.
It was glorious. Even dull days can be a joy.
March 20th - A day so dull, grey and lifeless that not even it’s mother could love it. As I hurried to work in the morning, it was half drizzle, half very fine snow, and bitterly cold. When I left for home, it was the same. Taking account of the wind, I came back from Shenstone, but even still, the bike felt leaden and I was tired. Things really aren’t letting up at the moment; the weather is awful and work is hard. If only the sun would shine…
Nature is holding it’s breath. The daffodils are ready to go. Nascent crops are greening up the fields. All we need are a couple of days of sun and clear air and nature will explode into action. You can almost hear it, tapping it’s foot impatiently.
I’m waiting with mother nature, too. This winter has to break soon…
March 16th - I passed through Chasewater late afternoon on another dull, wet day. I was interested to see if the level had reached the top of the weir at the back of the Nine-Foot pool, as when water crosses the new concrete breakwater and enters the spillway, the level of the main lake can rise no more.
As it happened, the water is just short of overflowing. Id say there’s bout 10-15mm in it, that’s all. The water has risen about 20-25mm from last weekend, and unless someone opens the outlet valve, I think water will be entering the overflow system by next weekend.
It’ll be interesting to see if the powers that be let that happen, or whether they start letting so water out to prevent it. Watching the water level rise here has been one of the few really positive things about this winter.
15th March - After a couple of dry, largely sunny days, the rains returned. It rained on me on the way to work, and again as I travelled home. In Tyseley, what was a light shower became a downpour as I left Walsall; by Shelfield, I was soaked, it was still hammering it down, yet over to the north, the sky was clearing and the sun was out.
Commuting on a bike on days like these is hard - damned hard. The hardest bit of winter is often the endgame; this year’s is beginning to seem endless.
March 7th - Today was grim. The commuting weather was as miserable as it gets. It felt quite warm, but there was a persistent rain of the kind that hunted out the gap between collar and neck, or any slightly-open zip. The traffic was mental, and everything seemed to be functioning half-asleep.
Coming home from Walsall Station, I noticed the taxi rank at the side of the station seemed to be afflicted by the wet-day madness, and I found myself waiting at the lights at Rushall Square, stoically bracing for some idiot to cut me up.
I’m sure there’s valuable research to be done on why many drivers brains turn to porridge in wet weather. A real puzzler.