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.
February 26th - It was beautiful as I returned along the canal. The sky was dramatic, and although not a great sunset, the dying embers of the day were still quite beautiful. And the best thing about it? 5:45pm. We really are pushing the darkness back now. I’ve really enjoyed the last few commutes in the relative dry, and it’s nice seeing the ground and countryside dry out a little, finally.
I want this to be spring. It’s mild. The weather is good. Just 3 weeks until we switch to British Summer Time. But I can’t get away from the fact that on the 22nd March 2013, there was deep snow on the ground.
We’re not out of the woods, yet.
February 20th - My morning commute was back to baby weather - wet and windy - but there was no heart to it, and the day soon cleared. I returned hume, still deliciously light at gone 5pm, in the most golden of sunset hours. The red bricks that seem to make up most of Walsall’s non-concrete architecture look great in this light, bringing magic even to the dismal design of the Saddlers Centre. Great light and great sunsets, and the extension of the day make for wonderful journeys right now.
February 19th - It feels like spring, and I welcome it. More than the cessation of rains, I welcome the dropping of the relentless wind. Setting out for Telford on a spring morning, the sky was still lovely from the night before, and the ride felt good. Even the usual poor performance from London Midland couldn’t dent my good mood…
February 18th - A great sky tonight, and a good sunset although I wasn’t in a good place to catch it. The day had been showery, but mostly dry and sunny, with a low wind. I really feel right now that the weather is, at last, settling down a bit.
I was on the lookout for good views of the sky on my way home from Walsall, and found myself unable to get any, but plenty of urban textures and skylines.
I bet it was beautiful at Chasewater, or up on Barr Beacon…
February 13th - An unlucky day for a number of reasons, but at least it was dry and relatively pleasant. The wind had dropped, and on the way to Telford, looking up from the platform at New Street Station, a beautiful blue sky.
Riding from the station at Telford, I was fortunate enough to spot the black ice - frozen surface water like glass, the width of the cycle path uphill from the station, dusted with what looked like the residue of a brief snow shower.
Had I not noticed, I could have gone a purler there - one of my nine lives, i think.
September 14th - The big sky. I went out mid afternoon, in a fruitless search for a sandwich. All the Chasewater cafes have stopped serving butties after 2pm, which was sad, but I enjoyed a blast around a windy Chasewater none the less. All the time, I felt under ever-present threat from a sky that was clearly enjoying the drama. Thankfully, the rain held off. The wind, however, was something atrocious. Autumn is here to stay now…