March 8th - There’s not much, photographically, you can do with a day like this, except record it as it was. For the second day running, it was wet and foggy. The traffic was still acting strange, and I was glad to get home. It’s not really cold, and the cycling was surprisingly good due to the still conditions - but the flat, grey outlook, devoid of decent light, is relentless.
Please, spring, come back! What on earth did I do to scare you off?
March 5th - A beautiful, late winter/early spring day. I left when the morning fog was thick and cold, and headed to Telford. As I got nearer the station, the mist was gradually burned off by the sun. I came back to Tyseley later, and it seemed the colour of the day was gold. The mist lingered, and made for beautiful skylines.
This spring thing? I think it could be a goer…
February 19th - A beautiful, sunny, frosty winter morning. I love days like this. It was cold, but the warmth in the sun was tangible, and felt good on my shoulders. In Little Aston, mist quivered in the hollows, before being burnt up in the sun.
A great start to the day.
January 22nd - A gorgeous morning. It was bitterly cold, but the sun was out, and small patches of mist hovered in the hollows. Today, it was a real joy to be cold, on such a fine winter’s day. The road through Mill Green was challenging, but better.
I couldn’t think of anywhere finer than here and now.
January 9th - I’d been working indoors all day, and ended up working late. I’d not seen the sky or daylight since 9:15am, so when I sped away from work at 8pm, I was shocked to find Birmingham wearing a low, thin mist. As I headed northwards home, the mist thickened, until, upon alighting the train at Shentone, I realised it was quite a serious fog. It was patchy, and in the country lanes through Stonnall, in places very dense indeed. I rode on my nerves, straining to look for headlights or unseen hazards, water vapour condensing in my hair and on my face.
Riding in heavy fog is hard work and uncomfortable. Hope it’s gone by morning…
January 9th - A beautiful morning, really, and although not very cold, after the warm weather of late it felt bitter. The sun shone, at least while I got to work - and everything had a gorgeous softness to it. In the light haze, the railway fascinated with its extended perspective and shine, and the row of terraces that back onto the junction by the station continue to fascinate in their recursion.
Even the Tyseley incinerator - working normally, as it does everyday - looked impressive; it’s water vapour, not usually visible, was forming plumes of steam in the cold air. Magical.
December 11th - It didn’t take long for the mist to settle in, but even that was enjoyable. Just as well, really, as despite the promises of a new dawn, the London Midland train reliability is still lousy, even with the new timetable. 6 out of this week’s 8 trains so far have been late. I still love the sights and views of the railway. I’m not interested particularly in trains, but I love the slightly unreal, meccano landscapes they create, with vividly pronounced perspective, repetition and reflection. I love the impression of distance and connection they create, and of the illusion of solid control, like a huge machine.
The machine is broken, and deserves some love and attention, and a master who loves it, but it’s still a wonderful and oddly beautiful thing.
December 3rd - A great journey to work. When I awoke, it was raining, heavily. But as I left the house, the rain ceased and the sun came out, making for a smooth a fast ride to the station. It felt warm and the wind was at my back. Passing Little Aston church, I noticed the meadow before it was wreathed in mist and looking rather beautiful.
All the time, the sky became more and more gorgeous. This was a great winters day. We’ve had way too few of these so far this season.
November 16th - A little further on stands the ghost of the Catshill Flour Mill. Now converted into pleasant flats, this imposing, foursquare building once milled the flour for the bread of the town, before being converted into a factory making metal components. Repurposed 20 years ago, the mill still stands imposingly over a largely limpid and quiet canal. Oh, the tales it could tell…
November 16th - A day working from home - for working, read pottering about. I had to go to the dentist mid day, and wasn’t looking forward to it. I spun out for a short ride before the dreaded appointment. It was still murky, and a gentle mist sat over the fields towards Home Farm at Sandhills. My favourite tree - my seasonal chronometer - is now leafless, heralding the end of Autumn and the barren darkness of winter. Still, it’s a beautiful thing, whatever the season. I pulled up my collar, and pressed on.
November 15th - Autumn - season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Well, we got the mists. Cycling on foggy days like this is unpleasant. in a short, 20 minute journey to Blake Street, 6 cars and 1 cyclist without lights at all. The usual selfish, aggressive driving. The discomfort of water condensing over your clothes and face.
It does, however, add a pleasantly enjoyable air of mystery to otherwise unremarkable scenes. A challenging day for riding, and photography too.
October 26th - I was out and about early, and off to Tyseley. It was the first really cold, wintry mining of the season, and the east wind was a bitter as only it could be. The air, however, was clear and clean, and the sunrise gorgeous. I stopped at Mill Green to take pictures, then quickly remembered the winter faff of having to remove gloves to handle the camera. These cold mornings are going to take some getting used to…
23rd October - As I headed homeward, conditions - and the light - didn’t improve, but at least the wind was almost behind me. The amount of motorists I saw without lights was astounding, and by the time I was negotiating Shire Oak Hill, it was both raining steadily, and very nearly dark. This weather is difficult to ride in - not just for practical visibility and comfort reasons, but the rain makes people drive oddly, and it puts me on my guard. One would imagine that bad weather would make people drive more carefully, but the opposite seams to be the case. Most bizarre.
October 22nd - The day remained grim and unphotogenic. My return was marred by a heavy headwind, and very, very fine drizzle - the kind that soaks your clothes and trickles down your neck without ever having the decency to actually rain properly. The light, and consequently the photography, were awful. At Jockey Meadows, near Walsall Wood, the fields were misty and dank. The last of the beans remained in the field by the road, as the ground was too waterlogged to harvest them. This doesn’t look like OCtober, it looks like December. Let’s hope the weather picks up soon.
October 22nd - The trains were lousy again, so I opted for a day in Darlaston instead, so I didn’t have to catch any. The commute was evil - raining, wet with really, really bad visibility. I was shocked to see so many drivers without lights - which makes spotting them over your shoulder in these conditions difficult. At Scarborough Road, in Pleck, the trees of this interwar period avenue are beautifully golden, and they cheered me. But the day remained grim.. I think it’s in for the week…