August 5th - Grove Hill, Stonnall, on the way to work, just past dawn. Granddad used to say ‘Mackerel sky, 24 hours dry.’ On this, his rule of thumb is generally right.
This pagan place was beautiful, and despite running close to time (as ever), I stopped to capture it.
A morning like this sets you up for the day.
April 3rd - A great sunrise today, clear, and bright, but cold, with the kind of chill that hurts your forehead - but still the sharp, evil, lazy easterly. The snow is gradually fading away, and by my return this evening, it had mostly gone.
My muse this morning - Grove Hill, near Stonnall - looked beautiful. Some say it’s a mythic, pagan place, and it’s certainly beautiful, and a known landmark for miles. To sit under that lone tree on a summer evening is a joy to the heart. I adore this place.
February 7th - None of these pictures have been doctored. Dawn, over Little Aston and Blake Street. It really was like this, one of the finest dawns I think I’ve ever witnessed.
This, my friends, is why I ride a bike.
February 5th - By heck, it was nippy this morning. We’d had the merest icing sugar dusting of snow, but after the almost humid warmth of the preceding period, the cold was a shock, as was the ice on the roads, particularly Wallheath Lane. I stomped and puffed into my hands as the sun rose at Shenstone Station; it caught the clouds beautifully and I reached for the camera.
Some things are worth getting cold for.
December 13th - I lost a good friend today. It was a cracking morning ride - I had begun to think over the summer that Britain’s weather had forgotten how to make the country look good, but in the last few days - and this morning particularly - I realised that it’s just been dormant, resting, hopefully for a grand performance to come. It was cold, and black ice lurked in hollows, gutters and on bends, but riding was fast and the sky gorgeous in the late winter sunrise. I took loads of pictures, then made late by my fascination, I hurried to work. Coming up the steps at Tyseley, I performed a bounce-test on my trusty Panasonic camera, which was inadvertently hooked out of my pocket with my gloves. The little wonder was no match for the steps, and the case broke and the internal optics were shattered. Since this time last year when it was new it’s taken about 14,000 pictures, so it really doesn’t owe me anything. With a heavy heart, I ordered another.
Must be more careful in future…
October 26th - I was out and about early, and off to Tyseley. It was the first really cold, wintry mining of the season, and the east wind was a bitter as only it could be. The air, however, was clear and clean, and the sunrise gorgeous. I stopped at Mill Green to take pictures, then quickly remembered the winter faff of having to remove gloves to handle the camera. These cold mornings are going to take some getting used to…
October 9th - Dawn was excellent today, and it continued to be gorgeous as the sun rose. I don’t often get chance to record the sunrise, as usually, I’m in a hurry, but today at Mill Green it was so lovely, I had to. Autumn has finally started to reward me. A real pleasure.
October 3rd - Out to Telford at dawn meant cycling to Shenstone Station. The weather has been really variable this week, the one constant factor being the northeasterly wind that’s blown me to Shenstone in the morning and home from Walsall at night. Just as this is the time of year for good sunsets, it’s also the time for decent sunrises, too, although I’m usually too rushed to photograph them. Today was a good example - a gorgeous sky heralding a temperate day. Coupled with the shinbone skyline, it was beautiful.
August 14th - Dawn was stunning. At 6:10am as the sun rose over Stonnall and Mill Green, it caught the light mist settled in the hollows and fields beautifully. Grove Hill looked amazing. People ask me why I ride a bike everywhere: this is why. To be out, experiencing this in the fresh air makes you glad to be alive.
August 13th - Out at sunrise and off to Redditch for the first time in a while. Coasting the top of Shire Oak Hill, I noticed the sunrise was looking good from the landfill entrance on the Chester Road. This time of year, the sunrises are usually excellent. Shame the same can’t be said for the weather at the moment - after a few days of warm, welcome summer, it’s back to overcast skies and drizzle. The day turned grey and wet by lunchtime…
April 13th - By heck, it was nippy this morning. Not cold by winter standards, of course, but cold by spring ones. There was quite a heavy frost last night, and it made for an interesting mist. The sunrise wasn’t vivid like earlier in the week, but pastel-hued and ever changing. At Stonnall, my muse, Grove Hill, was stunning, as were the pylons and woods at Mill Green. An hour and a half later, on the Arrow Valley cycle route in Redditch, the lake was also captivating, it’s fringes holding a light mist, softening the light that made even the Canada Geese precious.
April 11 - For a few days, I’ll be up before sunlight. Today, I had to go to Redditch, which meant cycling to Four Oaks to get a through train. It was jolly cold this morning at 6AM, and there was a ground frost in the hollows - but what more than made up for it was an absolutely stunning sunrise, viewed from the best place around here to see it - Shire Oak. As I piled it in down the Chester Road, I caught sight of Grove Hill with a fiery red backdrop, and slammed the anchors on, and pulled out the camera. What a start to the day. These images are untouched and exactly as I took them.
The smudge of rising stem on the horizon to the north east is Radcliffe On Soar power station, between Derby and Nottingham.
March 28th - Misty mornings are the order of the week, and I’m so glad that I’m cycling to Lichfield throughout this distinctly summery spell. The days are warm, still and glorious, the evenings deceptively chilly. But the mornings? I see the countryside just after sunrise. Shrouded in lazy mist, golden light and curious patches of grey. I wouldn’t have missed the last few morning commutes for anything. Today, I had time to spare and dropped off Pipe Hill down the back lanes, down over the old level crossing to Deans Slade. Captivating.
March 26th - The morning fog, as Kate Bush would have it. A gorgeous speedy ride into Lichfield to catch the train to Leicester. I came out at sunrise, and there seemed to be some kind of inversion. An ethereal, patchy mist clung to hollows and hedges, in places only a couple of feet high. I could have photographed it for hours, but my train was due…
November 1st - It was a slightly better morning this morning than that of the day before, and the dawn seemed to come a shade earlier. As I reached Shenstone Station, I noticed the lightened sky to the east, and the perfect manner in which it highlighted Shenstone’s Victorian Gothick church tower. You don’t see gargoyles like that every day…