September 19th - After a languid Indian summer, the sudden dull, overcast weather was a shock, but other stuff was bothering me. The air quality seems lousy at the moment, and it was irritating my sinuses making me unusually reliant on decongestant. Visibility wasn’t great either, but the air wasn’t really damp. This is an odd season, to be sure.
The autumn is in full swing, and the colours turning from dusty, tired greens to oranges and golds. Around Clayhanger Common and the new pond, the beautiful, deciduous copses and thickets are a wonder to behold, yet I think few every really study them or note the diversity of species they contain.
If only for a bit more sun to make these colours sing!
August 29th - The bike parking at New Street Station is still rubbish. Theoretically covered by CCTV, thefts are rife and stripped bike carcasses appear every day. If you need to park bikes in Brum, don’t park here. If you do, learn to lock your bike properly. What’s happening here is that thieves are stealing bikes who have one wheel locked by undoing it, then nicking a compatible wheel from another bike, and riding the composite off into the sunset.
New Street’s bike facilities are a disgrace.
Learn to lock your bike properly.
July 12th - Crossing Shire Oak with a saddlebag full of food, I was caught by the lights. The junction is quite, quite horrid, and desperately needs resurfacing. Later on that evening, there would be a serious road accident here, blocking the junction for several hours.
It really was about time something was done to improve this junction or all users.
March 9th - Later on, in Lichfield, I cycled around the periphery of the market as it was winding down. There is a sad and unexpected joy here, that really shouldn’t be occurring. The cobbles here - laid only in 2006 at a cost in excess of £1,200,000 - are badly executed and in an apparently poor grade of York Stone. They have, in patches sunk - despite the relatively light traffic; about 40% are loose and rattly, and many have broken up due to frost, water ingress and abuse. As a consequence, when you ride a bike over them, it is to an accompaniment of rattles, clicks and clatters that really are joyful.
I doubt I’d find the enjoyment so great had my own borough council paid so much for such a dreadfully poor job.
January 19th - Fearing getting stuck and feeling a bit cold (not enough layers!), I took a train back from Rugeley Trent Valley Station to Walsall. The service was running well, and was fast, warm and comfortable. I wasn’t, however, overly enamoured with the station.
With four platforms and totally unmanned, the station could do with some attention. The footbridge and platforms were lethal as they hadn’t been de-iced. Must say, it’s quite lonely up there at night, too. Sill, the passenger information was good, and I didn’t have to wait long.
November 28th - This somewhat poor photo was quite difficult to take, due to the traffic, but after yesterday’s photo of the splendid Walsall Wood Christmas tree, I thought I’d feature the festive decorations in Shelfield. Yes, that’s a normal tree, one quarter covered with colour changing lights. That’ all there is. Utterly bizarre.