walsall

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March 23rd - I headed home in a dreadful headwind, needing to call at the supermarket. I hit the canal, and went to Sainsbury’s at Reedswood. It was a genuinely wonderful evening, but oh so cold.

The weather can be deceptive this time of year: it looks like it should be warm, but my hands and face were freezing, and it took me ages to battle home.

The sun’s great, now can we turn the heating up a notch and the wind down a bit, please?

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March 23rd - A mystery that’s been puzzling me for a long time has been solved.

This time of year, I always note floating roots in the canal, often sprouting foliage. I had thought they were the way reedmace spreads, but discovered this was incorrect last year, so they remained a mystery.

Thanks to someone I work with (thanks, Dagmar) I now know these are the way a water plant spreads, but not rushes or reeds, but water lilies.

These roots are water lily rhizomes, from which the clumps of the delightful summer flowers spout. I never realised that under the water, they were linked in clumps.

Isn’t nature wonderful?

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March 11th - Unusually for a Saturday, I was at work all day, and returned on a pleasant ride that started in daylight, and finished in darkness after a trip to the supermarket.

Hopping on the canal at Bentley Bridge in Darlaston Green, I noted the resurfacing of this section of towpath was well underway, and a nice job it is too - although more beneficial than the previous stretch, the towpath wasn’t that bad here and I don’t really see the point - but it is nice and I’ll use it more. 

The sweep over the derelict arm bridge near the Anson Branch rolls wonderfully and will be fun at speed.

At Pleck I was puzzled by the graffiti sprayed on the wall behind the wine warehouse - anyone any idea what this is about? I feel it’s genuinely historical rather than just being the work of some addled stoner but can’t put my finger on it.

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March 17th - Coming back from Lichfield, tired after a hard week, I stopped on the motorway bridge at Summerhill and tried long exposure photography again. 

I finally got just what I wanted. and the experiment of setting the camera on the ground looking down the hill towards Sandhills worked better than I could have imagined.

That’s taken a while, but I’m happy with that.

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March 20th - One aspect of springtime in Walsall that’s always worth a mention are the fantastic displays of daffodils on public land - grass verges, open spaces and parks are full of cheery patches of which-growing gaffs, and are always a joy to behold.

Here at Shelfied, where the railway once ran, white blooms form a positive sea of colour. Planting them was clearly very hard work, and an inspired act of beauty and felicity.

Thanks to those who did so, and those who are careful not to mow the deadheads down afterwards, thus protecting the following spring’s showing.