June 16th - I had to go a long way, early in the day. I still wasn’t well, and felt dreadful, but the weather was reasonable, and the ride to Lichfield Trent Valley made a nice change. Whilst on the train, I noticed I was sharing the bike space with a state of the art, Wiler road bike - carbon fibre frame, forks wheels and bars, and high-end Ultegra gears. That’s about £3,000-worth of seemingly well-used bike. Not an ideal commuting steed, I’d wager, and the owner nowhere to be seen.
Not my thing - I’m not ready to trust a plastic bike yet - but a remarkable thing to be sure.
February 12th - After a protracted and tortuous journey to Telord to undertake a five minute task, I needed to be in Tyseley that afternoon. The snow remained, and it was really quite cold and grey. A succession of delayed trains, grim light and relentless chilliness darkened my mood all day, so much so that when the time came to go home, I was glad.
I’ve been away from Tyseley for just over a week. I’ve really missed it. Looking from the Wharfdale Road bridge, I liked the snow on the terrace roofs stretching out beyond the railway to Camp Hill, whilst down on the platform, the railway signals twinkled in the mist.
Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day.
November 30th - When you have to be home for something important., that’s when fate trips you up. I was dashing home. I left work at 3:50pm, and the trains I would have caught from Tyseley or Acocks Green were all cancelled due to London Midland’s ongoing staff crisis. Catching a train at Spring Road, I managed to get to New Street in time to catch the Walsall train. When that turned up ten minutes late, it was only two carriages. With other service cancellations, there was no way I’d get on, and the crush I witnessed on the platform was nasty and dangerous. I opted to try for a Lichfield bound service, but they were all similarly stricken or curtailed. After 30 minutes of faff at New Street, I got a train to Four Oaks, and cycled home from there. After a freezing, tired ride, I arrived home at 6:40pm - nearly three hours after I left work.
The local train service operated by London Midland is crippled by bad man-management and operational difficulties. I could have cycled the distance in a third of the time, and wished I had. I’m seriously considering dumping the trains for Birmingham journeys. The farce that is the cancellation of services due to staff losses and mismanagement is harming the reputation of the service, and resulting in huge crowds of frustrated passengers at New Street. Quite how bad this will get with the Christmas crowds is causing me a great deal of concern. Awful.