February 27th - That moment when you’re passing through Moor Street Station in Birmingham - the lovingly rebuilt and restored Great Western Railway station - and realise that even the washers used in the architectural ironwork are an ornate stamped flower design.
That, readers, is attention to detail. Never noticed it in 10 years of using the station…
January 27th - I was stood on platform 5 waiting for a train at New Street Station. I looked up at the odd, tube-like access bridge hastily added as a second access system here in the early 1990s, in the wake of the Kings Cross Fire; because New Street was classed as a subterranean station, it had to have separate access. So cranes added this monstrosity, now out of use.
Looking up in my early morning fug, I noted the arrangement of walkways, barriers, rails and safety harness mounting points spanning the top of the structure.
The only purpose to be up there is to clear the skylight windows.
If you design something, and most of the complex steelwork is to ensure the safety of a window cleaner whose job is to clear less than 15 square meters of glass, you’ve failed as a designer.
Sadly this monstrosity looks set to survive the renovations.
January 18th - At the cycle jumble, I picked this hardback book for a fiver. Published in 1991, it has some great curiosities within about the origin of cycling and cycle culture. I spent an hour or two chuckling over it last night.
I’m pleased to see the Hobby Horse noted. So many cyclists, me included, have them. Sad to see the ancient cycle touring arts of skinflinting and grudge honing are not mentioned, though…
January 15th - I spotted this unfortunate tree on the cycleway in Telford today. It must have been growing like that for years, and I’ve never noticed it. Oddly, as yet, it doesn’t seem to be distorting the fence…
I love trees that grow unusually in response to their environment.
January 12th - No sniggering at the back. If this was deliberate, I condemn the mischief but salute the wit; since these signs were erected (fnarr fnarr) as nothing more than willy-waving by Hammerwich, I found this one, at Barracks Lane, rather amusing.
December 30th - Up the road in Pelsall, I slipped into the village unnoticed by the border guards, who were clearly either slumbering, or skiving the night off. I like Pelsall. It’s villagey, and semi rural, but a bit up itself sometimes. I noticed a new cafe here I must try out.
I’m wondering if the letter ‘I’ went missing from the Kandu Hair salon sign as an act of sublime urban mischief or just happenstance; maybe the owners are planning to convert to an Afghan restaurant and wanted to save on a new sign.
Yes, I know it’s not quite the right spelling, but it’s close enough for Pelsall…
December 22nd - It was a day of silly observations, really. I have no idea whatsoever why anyone would need to point out with some permanence where the roof to their stable was. But they did. Odd.
A couple of hours later, I spotted this stray, lost pumpkin, beside the London Road in Canwell. Unharmed but clearly aged, I have no idea how it got here; there are no shops or even houses nearby. What’s even more troubling is it isn’t the first such vagrant gourd I’ve featured on the blog, there was the one I found in Acocks Green…
December 12th - I spotted him on the canal towpath in Pleck, Walsall. This large, curiously vocal calico cat. He saw me coming, and scrambled up the embankment, and stood, yowling and mewling at me from high in the scrub. I stopped. I spoke to him,. He replied. I spoke again. He replied. We had quite a long conversation. Then he got bored, and wandered off.
I suppose that was me told, then.
I will continue to talk to cats, dogs and passing wildlife until someone convinces me that the animals are not listening to what I’m saying.
November 19th - It didn’t feel icy. But it was cold, and I guess the first really winterish commute of the season. But this sign - a new appearance today at Moor Street Station - seems to indicate lawyers have been earning their corn somewhere. The language is mealy mouthed too.
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 two years down the road, he's still cycling every day and recording a little bit of every journey.