BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

March 31st - First light work night of the year, and I found myself working late - and returning home just as it was getting dark. In Walsall it had not long rained, but it was warm and felt still. It wasn’t a great sunset, but it found a crack in the clouds; Alumwell wore it well, as did Birchills.

It is so nice to have the light back. I feel like a weight is lifted from me already.

March 29th - I left Lichfield and the madness of the crowds as soon as I could, and took a leisurely line through Beacon Park, past the brook and the willows, currently in bud. From there, I took Cross in Hand Lane to Farewaell, then hopped over to Burntwood and back home via Chasewater. A great afternoon in sandals and shirtsleeves, and some great spring sights in the hedgerows and fields, crowned by a stark but beautiful sunset.

Spring really is here now, and this was the last night of darkness until the end of October, a spring, summer and autumn away. 

Opening out - I love it.

March 23rd - It’s always good to get home. I’m quite liking this new camera, too…

March 23rd - It’s always good to get home. I’m quite liking this new camera, too…

March 15th - Coming down from Shire Oak back into Brownhills I rode into a fantastic sunset. Don’t ever let anyone tell you Brownhills can’t be beautiful. I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.

March 13th - So, having got the new camera and charged it up, I tried it out on the way home. I need more time with it, as many settings I’m used to have moved - but I was quite pleased, really. The flowers in Walsall Wood are a credit to the people who planted them, and are really worth a trip to see. The sunset over Walsall Wood, Bullings Heath and Clayhanger Common was great tonight, in all its misty glory.

The lone red deer hind was a surprise as I rode around the new pond at Clayhanger - I almost missed her; she was nervous and high-tailed it away almost as soon as I spotted her. I think they get in the osiers and scrub on the marsh on the far side of the pool, safe there from human contact.

I see the canal boat moorings are still busy at Silver Street, and it’s nice to see the woodsmoke drifting from the chimneys as you pass by. 

Not a bad first sample, really. 

March 11th - And at the other end, a trip from Blake Street through the backlanes for a change. A fine evening, a fine golden hour. The same sun that shines on inner city Aston shines on the country byways of rural Lower Stonnall, and just as beautifully.

March 11th - On the way home on a sunny, spring evening, with a low sun shining long over Aston. The train stopped and was held for a few minutes, dwelling on a service coming in the other direction before the points could change - as often happens. The doors were open, and I was stood in golden light, frozen. 
It’s a snapshot of Birmingham, and why I love it so.

March 11th - On the way home on a sunny, spring evening, with a low sun shining long over Aston. The train stopped and was held for a few minutes, dwelling on a service coming in the other direction before the points could change - as often happens. The doors were open, and I was stood in golden light, frozen. 

It’s a snapshot of Birmingham, and why I love it so.

March 10th - I love it when, for a short time every spring and autumn, my homeward commute coincides with the golden hour. Even more so if it does so during a period of good weather. This evening, I returned from Shenstone specifically to catch the station and two towers in the beautiful light, and hopefully see the sunset over Ogley Hay and St. Jame’s Church. 

Neither disappointed. I’m loving this spring.

March 8th - Out late at sunset, and only time for a short loop around Brownhills. The town always looks good at sunset, and everything from Humphries House to the Pelsall Road looked great in the sundown light.

I’m really, really enjoying the early spring this year.

March 4th - The old bowling green at Oak Park is still flooded, and it still breaks my heart. But passing this evening, it made for a remarkable sunset.

Nice as the scene is, I wish the authorities could fix the flood, and show the park some love. It used to be such a lovely place.

March 3rd - Great skies this evening, after a quite middling day. I can feel colder air coming in, and the wind has changed. I don’t think this is a burst of winter, but I think it might be a rude awakening; we are only just out of February, after all.

Of late, the clouds and sundowns have been really excellent, and it is the season of fine sunsets. The skyline at Tyseley always captivates me, but tonight, over Shelfield, the salmon-pink tinged clouds were astonishing.

February 27th - I’d had a tough day at work, and just wanted to get home fast. I wasn’t in the mood to faff about, and got the first train I could in the right general direction. That turned out to be the service that terminated at Four Oaks. It was a cracking ride home - dry, clear, crisp - a great spring evening. The sunset wasn’t outstanding, but it was pleasant in it’s starkness, and Castlehill looked as beautiful as ever in the half light.

What intrigued me most, however, was growing on a small patch of neglected flowerbed alongside the access ramp at Four Oaks. Violet flowers, looking a bit like poppies. Just the one small group in an otherwise weed-srewn border. Anyone any idea what this delightful flower is, please?

February 26th - It was beautiful as I returned along the canal. The sky was dramatic, and although not a great sunset, the dying embers of the day were still quite beautiful. And the best thing about it? 5:45pm. We really are pushing the darkness back now. I’ve really enjoyed the last few commutes in the relative dry, and it’s nice seeing the ground and countryside dry out a little, finally.

I want this to be spring. It’s mild. The weather is good. Just 3 weeks until we switch to British Summer Time. But I can’t get away from the fact that on the 22nd March 2013, there was deep snow on the ground.

We’re not out of the woods, yet.

February 20th - The week before, the canal overflow at Clayhanger had been a raging rapid of water flowing from the canal into local drainage. I posted at the time that I’d never seen anything quite like it, and I was seriously concerned over the possibility of subsequent flooding on the River Tame, when most of the canal overflows in Walsall drain to.

A far from dry week later, the flow is reduced - still high by normal standards - but gone is the angry torrent, and my fears of flooding proven unfounded. Whilst we’ve been far more fortunate than other parts of the country, it does go to show that despite massive development over the years, the local drains and water system is incredibly capacious and resilient.

February 20th - My morning commute was back to baby weather - wet and windy - but there was no heart to it, and the day soon cleared. I returned hume, still deliciously light at gone 5pm, in the most golden of sunset hours. The red bricks that seem to make up most of Walsall’s non-concrete architecture look great in this light, bringing magic even to the dismal design of the Saddlers Centre. Great light and great sunsets, and the extension of the day make for wonderful journeys right now.