BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

October 7th - Autumn is still merrily and beautifully doing it’s thing, although at somewhat different rates. 

In Wednesbury, the gorgeously shimmering red-brown willows I spotted last week have been joined by beautiful ochre-orage beech trees (At least, I think they’re beeches). The contrast and effect are stunning, even on a grey, damp morning.

On my return, Jockey Meadows is still quite green; fitting really, as this was the last place I noticed to green up in spring. The cows have long ago moved on from this water meadow, but they cut back the scrub considerably, and the effect is still lush and verdant, all under a wonderfully dramatic sky.

Beauty, even on dull, miserable days.

October 3rd - From Bridgtown, back along the A5 to Stonnall, and up Barracks Lane over Springhill. Autumn really settling in now, the fields here are barren, there was quite a nip in the air, and the moon hung is a beautiful sky.

I felt dog-rough, but it was worth being out, just for this…

September 26th - Another great sky as I nipped down into Stonnall in the dying light. Coming back into Brownhills form Shire Oak, the view, as ever, surprised with it’s beauty.

The view down Shire Oak Hill to Brownhills is one of the best around here, but few ever seem to notice it. Yes, it’s urban, and not beautiful, really. But it has an interesting, busy urban charm I rather love - particularly at sundown, when the buildings catch the light and are rendered precious.

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…

Bring it on.

September 24th - I had to nip over to Droitwich late in the afternoon, just to check something over for a client. It’s actually a lot quicker to get there than you’d think; catch the right trains and it’s only 70 minutes out of Walsall. 

Droitwich has a lovely station, and as I waited on my return the light was beautifully mellow, but the sky had some very black clouds that looked awfully threatening. But the sun shone through, it was warm, and only the colour of the trees really gave any clue that this was autumn at all.

September 1st - And theres the thing. Although I’m sad for the passage of summer, I’m returning home in the golden hour. Soon, the time of great sunsets will be here.

The sky was terrified this evening, and the dying sun caught the trees by the canal beautifully.

I always think I can’t do it, but I can. There’s beauty in every season - bring it on.

August 12th - Sweet rain fell in short, sharp showers as I rode home, often out of an almost totally clear, blue sky. The weather is certainly odd at the moment; the wind has been quite strong and it’s been very changeable.

I’ve forgot in this really quite dry summer the music of rain falling on the canal and leaves as I pass. In summer, it’s an occasional delight to the senses.

So long as it doesn’t become too frequent..

August 5th - Grove Hill, Stonnall, on the way to work, just past dawn. Granddad used to say ‘Mackerel sky, 24 hours dry.’ On this, his rule of thumb is generally right.

This pagan place was beautiful, and despite running close to time (as ever), I stopped to capture it.

A morning like this sets you up for the day.

July 19th - I was still suffering with my left foot, so rest was in order and I didn’t do anything except cruise out for a bit of fresh air and some shopping. It was an odd evening - at 6pm on Saturday, Brownhills is usually dead and deserted, but it had rained nearly all day, and right now, from the Pier Street bridge, the town was coming alive - people were walking, jogging and getting shopping in.

All the time under a dramatic, somewhat threatening sky.

June 29th - Also showing well was the landscape. From the view down to Sandhills and Springhill over Home Farm, to the threatening skies over Hammerwich, the countryside looked gorgeous. Everywhere I surveyed was turning colour with ripening crops.

This people, is Brownhills. It has some remarkably beautiful views.

May 24th - There’s probably some fancy photographic name for it, but some days seem naturally high-contrast. Something about the light. I spun around very wet towpaths out of Brownhills to Chasewater, and noted that part of Sandhills was dark, and another part was remaining in light. It really was quite beautiful.

Newtown’s bunny population were out enjoying the lush wet vegetation, and could be barely bothered to run away as I approached, and the view to Hammerwich was as wonderful as ever now it’s wearing it’s summer jacket. At Chasewater, the view from the dam was remarkable, with a rather threatening sky. 

As I headed home, the heavens opened again.

But it’s summer, and warm rain is better than cold…

May 11th - I’d really not been well. My stomach was bad, and my body ached, so it was just as well the weather during the day was poor, as I didn’t feel like I’d missed much. I got out at dusk, and took in the sunset, spinning up a wet canal towpath to check up on the swan family. Sadly, I didn’t catch them - once the cygnets hatch, they tend to move around a lot so I’m not overly concerned - but I did catch an impressive sky. 

In the distance, I could see it was raining still out towards Tamworth. A fitting end to a pretty horrible day.

May 8th - I spun home after heavy rain, and had to nip to Chasetown. On the way, I was fascinated by the profusion of slugs and snails, the wet undergrowth and a really, really dramatic sky. I’m always fascinated by gastropods, as they get such a bad press, but we couldn’t really exist without them, and close up, they’re fascinating things. 

Over towards Hammerwich, the oilseed rape is going over now, but today, Lichfield Cathedral spires were clearly visible if you know where to look. I often wonder how many people realise you can see that from here, in just the right spot?

It wasn’t a great day weather wise, but still plenty of interest in Summer’s brewing cauldron.

March 18th - I stopped to look at the Pussy Willows on the canal bank near Walsall Wood, which are currently just going over. The towpath was littered with their debris, and I found them fascinating. Sadly, my attempts to photograph them were thwarted by a blackening sky which, although dramatic, made macro photography impossible. 

As I arrived home it began to rain. Looking at the weather forecast, it doesn’t seem great for the weekend, either.

Come back spring, we barely got to know you…

March 15th - Coming down from Shire Oak back into Brownhills I rode into a fantastic sunset. Don’t ever let anyone tell you Brownhills can’t be beautiful. I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.