October 10th - I came home drained, and tired. But at least it was dry, and the wind seemed to be behind me. I pushed through Walsall as the sun was setting, and caught this lovely skyline in The Butts. Great chimeys, and excellent queen pots.
Looking to my right, I noticed the Arabic (or possibly Urdu) script high on the gable end of the house close by. I like that a lot. Curious.
October 9th - I came back through Walsall and had to make a call in Chuckery. Just as I came over the brow of the hill on the Sutton Road, I caught sight of the moon.
We don’t seem to get normal, plain old moons any more. Every one lately has to be a ‘supermoon’, a ‘blood moon’ or some other silliness. Still, as long as folk look up and see our sole astronomical satellite, I guess it’s all good.
A handheld, spur of the moment shot with a small, consumer camera. Inbetween me, and that big old moon? Just static, and silence. Sobering, and impressive to think about.
October 6th - It was a dreadful morning commute, and running late on the way home meant I didn’t have much time to stop. The heavy rains and wind of the morning sapped all my reserves of energy and patience; the riding was difficult and the driving poor.
Thankfully, by my somewhat late return, it was dry with an interesting dusk sky and what I suspect was a decent sunset, although I couldn’t get in a good place to see it.
From Walsall Station it looked impressive, if a little ominous. As I passed the Black Cock at Bullings Heath later on, it started to spot with rain again, even though the moon was large and clear.
October 4th - In Goscote, what I know as the Pelsall swan family. Dad and a couple of cygnets lost to, in all probability, a fox, the tree remaining young and mum seem to be doing well, and it was good to see them.
Noticeably more friendly that the Catshill brood, they came to see if I had food, before scudding away when they realised none was coming.
I haven’t seen the Catshill swans for ages, but the Swan Lady pointed out there were cygnets on Chasewater there now, so they’ve probably joined the wider flock there.
Following these lovely birds this year has been a real joy.
October 2nd - The skies were dark and dusk was settling on Walsall when I came from work, tired and finding it hard to keep any speed up. I was loaded with shopping, and unwell, so it was a real drag; but as soon as I looked around me, I realised that I was entering the autumn dusk, and actually, it’s a thing of beauty.
I’m glad to note either my hands are steadier this year, or the camera is better in low light than previous ones, as none of these images was taken with a tripod.
September 25th - I spotted this by change in Butlers Passage, Walsall. A dark, dingy alleyway, it’s not a pleasant place, and I normally scoot the bike through here to get on the road home if I’ve been in the town centre.
Today, I happened to glance left, and there was a beautifully executed partial stencil of Snow White apparently drinking coffee with a lad in a baseball hat.
I guess it’s a visual joke based on the Italian cafe a few yards to the right.
It’s beautifully executed, and seems to be by the same hand as the now erased ‘Class War’ stencil that was nearby until very recently. The art is confident yet cursory, and beautifully thought out.
A wonderful thing that brought a real smile to my face. My compliments to the artist.
Setember 24th - My return from Walsall an hour or so later was similarly in a gorgeous, but darker golden hour that made the red bricks of north Walsall glow beautifully. The nights really are drawing in now, and I’ll soon be commuting with lights on. It actually tried to rain on me as I rode home, but the sun never went in.
I guess that just now, we’re entering the autumn period of great sunsets…
September 16th - We’re in a real Indian summer at the moment - back to cycling around without a coat, with the sleeves rolled up. The sun has been shining, and the soft, mist-suffused light - particularly in the afternoons - has been a joy to the soul.
Autumn isn’t far away, though; the trees are turning, and when the sun goes down, there’s a distinctive nip in the air my chest and bones recognise only too well.
Here on the Lichfield Road at Walsall, the atmosphere and colour were gorgeous. I love how the trees are sculpted on the underside by the double decker busses that regularly pass under their boughs.
September 11th - Less charming than the sunflower, but fascinating to me, just under a bridge in Pleck, I pull up to a halt to allow a rat to get out of my way. Brown, and in good nick, it loops around the path before diving into a drain hole in the bridge underwall. If you watch closely, it briefly pokes it’s nose back out of the hole.
Rats are a fact of life with canal cycling, and there are lots in urban areas. Previously, I’ve seen them swimming here. Humans have a symbiotic relationship with rats, and we’ve co-existed for millennia.
I don’t find them repulsive, I find them fascinating. Their adaptability and nimbleness are fascinating.
Worth watching full screen. Click on the little square box on the vide toolbar.
September 11th - I only went and forgot the camera again. This week can’t end quickly enough. Something is not functioning at all well.
On the way to work, in central Walsall the traffic felt risky, so I hopped on the canal and rode to Darlaston that way. On the way, I bumped into this family of swans.
This bunch are very attentive to humans - I suspect they get fed regularly. They were almost harassing me for food. The adults seem smaller than the Catshill brood, and there’s only three cygnets, but they’re lovely, healthy birds, and seem to have been ringed.
As soon as they realised I wasn’t going to produce bread, they went back to foraging in the weed and quickly drifted away. Cupboard love.
September 9th - This is bothering me. On the border between Darlaston and Walsall at Bentley Bridge, there’s a field of meadow-scrub next to the nascent River Tame. There has been planning permission granted here for a warehouse and new driveways and drainage which have never been built - instead, the land is being used ostensibly as storage, but is more akin to a flytip.
Building materials, old pallets and scrap, including a couple of portable site toilets are strewn around, and the water that must run off this site into the Tame is more than likely contaminated by the waste here.
I have mentioned this to Walsall Council, who assured me something was being done, although I’m not sure they understood the location or where I was referring to.
September 2nd - A better commute this morning. The sun was out, and it was a nice day. Spinning through Darlaston I was pleased to see Bull Street being resurface at long last - it was getting to the point where it didn’t need sweeping so much as ploughing.
I’ve been quite lucky this year; Green Lane in Shelfield and Bull Street both resurfaced, two roads that were nasty to ride on.
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 three years down the road, he's still cycling every day and recording a little bit of every journey.