May 21st - An odd day, I was at home until lunchtime, then had to nip out for a meeting. I returned late, and took a spin out along the canal to Chasewaer, and back to Brownhills over the common. The sunset and light were lovely tonight, but not golden. Everything had a soft pink tone, which was rather soft and charming. It looked best over water, whether it was the canal or Chasewater. A splendid evening after a hectic, stressful day.
April 22nd - i’d been working from home on an important project, and not been able to get out all day. I finally escaped as the sun was setting for a short ride. I noticed when not far from home that my front wheel had a very loose spoke, so had to cut my ride short, but I got a decent ride in around Brownhills and along the canal back towards Newtown. The evening was characterised by a magenta/orange light that suffused everything. Soon my favourite tree at Home Farm will be back in leaf, and the view to Hammerwich will look a good bit greener, too.
Still, it was past eight and still warm, and just still light. Hard to imagine that three weeks before this was all under a covering of snow.
April 18th - The evening sunlight was gorgeous tonight. Late home from work, I’d been blown to the station in the morning by the most incredible tailwind, hammering 40+ miles per hour down Shire Oak Hill and making Shenstone a whole 5 minutes quicker than usual. My return from Walsall in the evening was similarly assisted, but to a lesser degree as the wind had subsided somewhat.
It was a beautiful ride, even if it deal feel a little chillier than the last few days.
November 21st - At around 3 o’clock the weather made a sudden about-turn. The sky cleared, the air lightened. Crucially, the rain stopped, and for a brief hour, the sun came out and made the industrial backstreets of Tyseley steam. Heading home at dusk, I stopped to admire the sunset. Maybe that’s why I do this, after all.
September 8th - A great sunset. I’d been stuck in all day working, but my sunset escape was slightly hampered by forgetting my trusty camera, so I was restricted to my phone. Not too bad, I guess, but it didn’t capture a glorious golden hour around Stonnall and Brownhills quite how I would have liked. There was a delicious slight chill, and the sun was low any golden. A wonderful end to a lovely day. These days must surely be numbered now…
19th August - I again sneaked out in the early evening. I’d been working all weekend, and was aching for a bit of freedom. I spun up the canal in a lovely golden hour, and I noted the hedgerows and greenery that’s just exploded with growth since the warm weather came. Ferns, hawthorn and nettles are staging a battle to reclaim the towpath along the stretch from Anchor Bridge to Ogley Junction. It’s beautifuly green, lush and verdant.
Later, at Chasewater, I noted how the birds were returning to their old haunts on the main lake - The jetty from the waterski club is now serving as an impromptu gull roost.
A gorgeous evening.
August 18th - I left the house in the early evening to get some shopping in and pick up a takeaway. On my return, I crossed Chasewater. It’s really filling up now, and the recovery continues. The depth gauge on the pier now is only about 500mm clear of the water, and slowly, inexorably, the water is reclaiming the reed-beds and willows that populated the dry bed. I’d forgotten the joy of seeing a fine sunset reflected in the lake surface. Majestic.
July 24th - The trains were awful this evening. I left New Street at 5:35pm, and my train limped into Blake Street, where it prematurely terminated - an hour later. Hot and bothered, I welcomed the journey through Little Aston and Mill Green. I noticed how fine Little Aston church looked in the sunlight. It’s and interesting building; sometimes I don’t like it, other times it looks wonderful, depending on the light and the season. I do love how it’s still got the air of a rural parish church, even though it’s surrounded by suburban sprawl. The surrounding meadow just makes it that bit more beautiful.
July 15th - It was, on occasion, a bright sunny day. But it wasn’t warm, and when the sun went in, the chill was evil. I was cycling in the evening, and my journey to Yoxall, Barton and the Trent and Mersey river section at Alrewas was beautiful, but challenging. I was in shorts and cold; my energy low, and I bonked. (That’s where you need food, and you suddenly flatline. Runners call it ‘Hitting the wall’). Still, the countryside was as gorgeous as ever, and it reminds me to keep grazing and stock up with snacks before I leave for a long ride.
May 10th - Yesterday was hard. I had to go to Telford, then attend a meeting in Birmingham, before returning to Walsall for another event. I got home late, tired and hungry. In Birmingham at 6pm, I enjoyed a spin around the city, and made time to call at my favourite coffee shop, The Urban Coffee Co., in Church Street. I love the place, despite it being a tad prone to be full of hipsters. I noticed when travelling around the evening city, these old red K6 phone boxes beside the Council House. I wonder why they remain, and why the curious spacing? I also noticed in Colmore Row that pavement cleaning is a serious business these days. I bet that guy goes home with wet legs…
April 16th - A late spin out after a tough dental appointment provided welcome solace. The wind was horrendous, to be honest, and the weather not really warm, but I had unfinished business at Chasewater, so I headed there. On the way back I returned via Pool Road and trundled past all that remains of Highfield House and farm; the house has gone, the bricks being slowly reclaimed and only a few outbuildings remain. It’ll be interesting to see what gets built and how quickly. This place deserves someone who cares for it and I wish the new owners well.
April 3rd - What a cracking sunset. A so very unexpected. Retuning home at half seven in the evening, the rain had stopped, the sky was clearing, and a weak sun lit the whole thing up. It cheered me as I cycled home from Shenstone. Unexpected pleasures. What a sky!
October 25th - I got caught on the way home by the same shower twice. At least, it seemed like it. It rained on me in Redditch, and stopped just as I got to the train; as I alighted in Sutton, the heavens opened again. Oddly, despite the grim northern sky, it seemed lighter later than the previous evening. Everything was revelling in the soft drizzle as I returned via Lower Stonnall - I even I found myself enjoying the change in light, air and experience. As darkness fell, the countryside dripped, gently and quietly absorbing the currently rather rare dose of rain.
October 12th - Returning at the same time as the previously dark and dingy evenings this week, it was still fairly bright without the cloud that had overcast the previous two days. The low sun came out, and the sunset rendered many views golden. At Mill Green, it added a glowing sheen to the hedgerows and cottages, while it’s final recedence as I passed Lazy Hill made for a dramatic and beautiful sunset. This is more like it…