June 4th - Sadly, a day full of other commitments and not enough time for much cycling. I did manage an hour out to Lichfield for some shopping, though. I headed up the canal to Lichfield Road, and in the process noticed that the devil wind was back, this time blowing from the east. The day was warm and clear, however, and the view to Hammerwich from the canal near Sandfields was as gorgeous as ever.
If you look closely, you can see the Hammerwich Windmill, Hammerwich Church and Lichfield Cathedral.
May 27th - Riding home along the canal, I noticed that in the field behind Sandfields, in the land between the Canal and the old Watling Street, there were some ewes with quite late lambs. They looked happy and well cared for, not noticed them before. It’s unusual to see livestock in the fields around Brownhills, so this is quite a novel sight. I’ve no idea who they belong to.
April 22nd - i’d been working from home on an important project, and not been able to get out all day. I finally escaped as the sun was setting for a short ride. I noticed when not far from home that my front wheel had a very loose spoke, so had to cut my ride short, but I got a decent ride in around Brownhills and along the canal back towards Newtown. The evening was characterised by a magenta/orange light that suffused everything. Soon my favourite tree at Home Farm will be back in leaf, and the view to Hammerwich will look a good bit greener, too.
Still, it was past eight and still warm, and just still light. Hard to imagine that three weeks before this was all under a covering of snow.
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April 6th - From Pipehill, on a reasonable day, the view of south Lichfield is wonderful. Modern, new build housing and a bypass have converted what was once a mostly rural view into urban sprawl reminiscent of Yate or Stoke Gifford in Bristol. In the middle, like some fallen baroness in a closing-time bar, sits the once noble Sandfields Pumping Station. This remarkable building once supplied water to the Black Country, but now languishes idle in a sea of buildings whose architectural and structural benchmark are set considerably lower. A pedigree hound surrounded by mongrels.
April 20th - Again managing to miss the rain, a morning spent in Leicester meant calling in for some shopping on the way home. Heading off the Walsall Road at Leomansley through the new estate on the southern fringe of Lichfield, I was struck, as I always am, by how close and claustrophobic this development is. Consisting of surprisingly large houses interspersed with flats and starter homes, the buildings are drab, square boxes with tiny gardens. Crammed shoulder to shoulder, the sunlight comes through here only in patches, and the sky is a long way up. Odd then, that in the middle, a brook that always flowed here was expanded into a kind of green lung, a ribbon of grass, small trees and water, meandering through the fake Georgian architectural hubris like an unwanted puddle of oil in an otherwise clinically clean factory floor. This place is soulless.