December 5th - Without a functioning rail service, there was no alternative and I cycled home from Tyseley. The wind was strong, but it had died back considerably, and the rain - apart from a brief shower as I hit Park Hall - had cleared. I didn’t fancy the traffic up the main drag over Kingstanding with a side wind, so hit the canal all the way home. It got dark in Aston, and the front light - my trusty Hope R4 - was plenty good enough all the way. The going wasn’t fast, but it was steady, and much of the time I was sheltered from the wind.
Reality checks came at Tower Hill, where rocks had tumbled from the steep cutting embankment onto the towpath, and Park Hall, where a tree had similarly come to a sad end.
There was a cracking sunset, too, but I missed most of it, hidden behind the cityscape. The views over Hamstead were great though, and it made a change to see them at this time of day. I must head here for a sunset when I get chance.
I arrived home tired, but just pleased to be back, and safe. Many, many people had a far worse time with floods, the tidal surge and severe gales. My tribulations were nothing, and I did get in a decent ride, after all.
November 30th - A terrible day beset by daft problems, but mainly by a rather upset stomach. I shot out for a brief ride as I saw the sunset was so good, and caught the tail end of it. I headed up onto the old railway line at Clayhanger, and even climbed the old signal post for a decent shot. A fine atmospheric sunset, and the ride made me feel better, too.
November 25th - Sorry, but it was a great sunset. I was late for my train, and took a short cut through an industrial park. As I cut through the access tunnel, the sun pulled me up short. In the winter days, light is short and precious, which is why I think the sunsets are so much more beautiful to me. Within ten days, I’ll miss the sunsets completely.
November 23rd - I hit Chasewater for the sunset, which looked to be pretty decent, but sadly, wasn’t as great as I’d hoped. The light was good though, the park pretty much deserted. The gull roost - despite the last few boats only just leaving the water - was absolutely huge, with what must have been thousands of birds bobbing on the lake. I even saw an angler - the first I’ve seen on the main body of water since the reservoir refilled. It’s still a wonderful place to be, more so now the park has recovered.
The street light through that footbridge still fascinates me. It’s like a portal.
November 22nd - The great sunsets continue. Sadly, I was in the wrong place to catch today’s properly. On my way home from work, I had to pop to Aldridge, and dived onto the canal to avoid the traffic. As I came back through the wood, the dying sun set the sky ablaze. Just wish I’d had a better view. Bet it was spectacular at Chasewater.
November 19th - Yesterday’s sunset was clearly unfinished business. Sorry for the repetition, but I do love this view. Tonight, there was less cloud, and more smog, which sat as a band over the distant city centre. I love the gradual colour transitions and trains, like a Hornby set in the dusk.
November 18th - I came out of work, and just caught the tail end of an incredible sunset over Tyseley station. I hurried caught these shots in the four or five minutes before my train arrived. It ws gorgeous, and I was glad I caught it.
November 16th - I went up to Chasewater just to spin around the park. I haven’t done that for ages, but in the shorter, colder days of winter I’ll return to it more and more. Although it’s nice to see the lake busy in summer, like Cannock Chase, the magic comes when it’s deserted and few venture out. Apart from the odd dog walker and twitchers there to catch the Great Northern Diver that had been exciting local birders all week, I saw few folk, and as dark fell, I felt the familiar haunting feeling I get here… A mixture of enjoyment, desolation and sense of smallness in the great dark.
The lake seems to hover these days about a foot off full, and is functioning normally, with Fly Creek flowing well to keep it topped up. As I folded back over the causeway, the last bit of the sunset over Norton and Jeffrey’s Swag was quite nice, and in the dark from the Balcony Shore, it seemed the resurgent Water Sports Centre was getting ready for a party.
One of the few joys of the off season is returning to old haunts.
October 29th - A the risk of being repetitive, now we have cooler, drier weather, the sunsets are great. This was (again) the view from Tyseley this evening. I never tire of that view of central Birmingham - ever changing, yet changeless. Such a fine sky tonight, too.
October 28th - The shift from BST to GMT and the earlier fall of darkness is always depressing, but it did allow me to catch a great sunset sky over Birmingham on my way home tonight. The inclement weather had left the door open for the cold, and it felt like winter out there, cold, dark and intemperate.
Better get used to it quickly, I guess…
October 22nd - That’s more like it. I returned home from work after yet another wet morning commute on a bright, sunny afternoon. There was a great sunset over Little Aston, and after the recent rainy days I dawdled, loving it.
Ah, for the blessed sunlight.
October 19th - Photography fail. I spun around Brownhills at sunset to get some night images in; fully equipped with tripod, I caught some good shots, or so I thought. It had just rained, and the air and landscape were clear, wet and hard. It was lovely.
Sadly, after taking this picture at Clayhanger, I knocked the camera into program mode and all my other shots were fuzzy rubbish. Must take more care next time.
Still, the sunset was lovely, and the canal as still as a millpond…
October 16th - Autumn is in full swing now. As I cycled down Green Lane from Shelfield to Bullings Heath, the golden hour pre-sunset sunlight caught the hedgerow and set it afire. It was so lovely, I had to stop and take a photo.
Maybe this autumn thing can work out after all…
October 14th - I hopped on to the canal on my way back, and as the sky cleared, dusk fell. It was beautiful, in a quite understated way. I love the canal overflow at Clayhanger Bridge. I adore watching the flow of the water; powerful, noisy, yet soothing. Flowing strongly after a weekend of rain, I listened to it for ages. When you’ve been feeling under it for a while, simple things like listening to the rush whilst watching a decent sunset form can really pick you up.
I cycled homewards lifted.
September 27th - Out at sunset for a spin around town, and the sky was incredible. My grandfather used to call this a ‘mackerel sky’, and if one was observed, it meant ‘24hours dry.’ I’m not sure about Grandad’s hypothesis but such skies are thoroughly beautiful. I’m glad I got to enjoy this one tonight.