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 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.
December 12th - Coming home late, it was raining quite hard. It was warm, though, and well wrapped in my waterproofs I enjoyed the sights, sounds and sensory onslaught of the traffic on the rain. At Rushall, I stopped to photograph the Christmas tree. It looks better in the photo than it looks in reality - this one seems a little tatty, if I’m honest.
In the late hour, the junction at Rushall Square was quiet, and glistening in the rain. Sadly, I couldn’t keep the lens clear and just had to go for it.
Hopefully, the weather will clear for the weekend.
April 18th - The evening sunlight was gorgeous tonight. Late home from work, I’d been blown to the station in the morning by the most incredible tailwind, hammering 40+ miles per hour down Shire Oak Hill and making Shenstone a whole 5 minutes quicker than usual. My return from Walsall in the evening was similarly assisted, but to a lesser degree as the wind had subsided somewhat.
It was a beautiful ride, even if it deal feel a little chillier than the last few days.
March 30th - Off to work early, and a return via Slowloaf in Mellish Road. Rushall Parish Chuch - that of St. Michael the Archangel - is fittingly made from local limestone, and is a handsome, Francophile church with an imposing, tall broach spire. It has a long history, although this incarnation is Victorian. History hereabouts of the village, the hall and environs go back to the Domesday book. All of which are somewhat impressive.
Reflecting on this, whatever aberrant demon possessed the architect of the modern hall, bizarrely erected in the churchyard really needs to be expunged. Sadly, the exorcism wasn’t undertaken quickly enough and similar architectural defecations occurred at many Lichfield Diocese churches in the 80s and 90s; Brownhills, Pelsall, Walsall Wood, Canwell.
January 25th - This is one that’s been annoying me all week, but haven’t managed to catch well on video until Friday night at Rushall Square junction. As well as seeing moppets driving around peering out of a small aperture in an otherwise frosted up windscreen, the failure to clean snow from your roof is lazy and dangerous. Three times this week I’ve been overtaken by people - all three in Little Aston, as it happened - who, with the burst of speed - cleared snow of their roofs into me or my path. At 20MPH it’s not funny.
It’s also against the law. When it snows again, be a treasure and wipe the snow from your roof, eh?
December 10th - sadly, I only have this pair of images for today. I took a fair few in the morning, but isn’t realise the camera was set wrong, and they came out really badly. Oops.
On my way home from work, I let the wind blow me from Walsall. It was cold, but not unpleasant, and the air was slightly hazy. Stopping at the lights in Rushall, at what used to be the village square, I thought how festive it looked. This area is always very bright at night - a combination of street and traffic lights, shop windows and signage, but with the extra light of the christmas decorations, it did, actually, feel a bit like Christmas. Ah well, only a few days of work left to go…
August 30th - I noticed this poster a few days ago, and it’s been bothering me ever since. I think it’s one of the worst advertising banners I’ve ever seen. I’m assuming that the company concerned, the builders Cameron, are trying to tell me that if I buy one of their new build houses in Rushall, I can save tens of thousands of pounds. What they’re actually telling me is I can’t save anything. I think it’s bloody awful, am I alone in this? Is it only me that is annoyed about stuff of this nature?
June 4th - The disappointments of the day were compensated for handsomely by the herons on the canal. Even the darkest bits of the industrial Black Country - and I hit the Tame Valley Canal, which has some very grim bits indeed - was host to these fine fishers. Oddly twitchy, it was difficult to get any pictures, but this fine fellow obliged in Rushall. Death on two legs to it’s hapless prey, I must have seen ten or more of these dishevelled, rickety looking birds. Also prolific were the common terns, whose missile-like fishing skills have to be seen to be believed.
March 12th - I was amused by this wonderful piece of driving at Rushall Square, just north of Walsall, yesterday. Not dangerous, but a symptom of someone not concentrating, one wonders what was going through his mind. Didn’t seem to be on the phone, either, which is the usual cause of this kind of thing.
February 9th - On the A461 Lichfield Road, between Rushall and Shelfield, a truly remarkable bit of parking. The rear tyre of this car hasn’t made it onto the pavement, but is about two inches clear of the road, too. One assumes the driver is too lazy or incompetent to even park the car properly, let alone the legality of leaving it on the pavement. Sadly, I doubt if a parking enforcement officer will wander this far from the revenue stream in central Walsall….
January 12th - I noted back before Christmas that following another of Walsall’s infectious arson attacks, the Miners Arms pub in Rushall was being demolished. Well, operations appear to have ground to a halt and work stalled. The formed pub sits truncated to the first floor, debris littered around it and on the lawn of the health centre next door. The people demolishing this building seem to have got bored and wandered off. Hardly professional.
December 9th - I like Christmas as much as the next man - that is, I generally keep my head down and enjoy the break. However, I don’t think I’ll ever match the enthusiasm of some of those who have adopted the odd suburban American tradition of decorating the outside of one’s house with lights. This example is in Rushall, and I quite like it. There are plenty of examples locally. I find the whole phenomena utterly baffling.
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.