Life has been quite hectic lately and I haven’t got as much stuff up here as I would have liked. Sorry about that, but things seem to be settling down a bit now, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a few things I’ve found with you readers. Some of this stuff may not be new to you, but it certainly has been to me. If you’ve got anything you’d like to share, please mail me at brownhillsbob at googlemail dot com. Thanks.
First off, I’ve really got into a blog I found by trawling the Chasewater Wildlife Group’s home page: Chaz Mason’s Clayhanger Marsh Log. It’s a wonderfully crafted blog about the area of farmland, pools and wetland between Ryder’s Hayes and Clayhanger – more or less what my generation called ‘The Swag’. Chaz documents a huge amount of birdlife, general flora and fauna as well as the seasonal changes he observes. The blog is written with humour and no little passion. I recommend starting at the beginning – where Chaz has written an overview of the area he covers, and also species profiles where he sets out the astounding range of species you can observe. I’m quite pleased to see that the author has a fondness for Canada Geese, the yobs of the wildfowl world – I find them fascinating, too.
Today, whilst scumming through twatter while skiving with a cup of tea at work, I noticed that Lichfield Blog webhead and all-round nice bloke philipjohn has posted a link to an historical investigation by Julian Ward-Davies, a resident of Lichfield, into The Lost Lake of Stonnall. My description, like the lake itself, sounds rather dry, but to anyone interested in the history of Stonnall, Lynn and Castlehill it’s an absolute gem. The paper is methodical and thorough, and deserves studying at some length. The project must have taken a huge amount of work and my hat is suitably doffed to Julian. Wonderful stuff.
I notice two connected local blogs have been created, and are coming along in leaps and bounds – both are by people who’ve commented and helped here from time to time. Chasewater Stuff’s Blog is primarily dedicated to the Chasewater Railway and is a veritable treasury of information about historic mineral railways in the area. There’s even a couple of interesting Brownhills walks documented – the first is an engaging ramble from Chasewater over the common and back, the second along the former Midland Railway to High Bridges and back. The author clearly has a wealth of knowledge to share and I look forward to seeing how the blog develops.
An altogether more gestational blog has sprung into life, this time by Chasewater Stuff’s mate, Oakparkrunner. Oakparkrunnersblog looks to be developing some interesting local history content, again focusing on railway, mine and canal. At the moment, there’s a page up about the defunct Walsall Wood Colliery Line which is looking good, and I wish Oakparkrunner well!
Another blog I’ve been keeping up with for some time is Copenhagen Cycle Chic. It’s a wonderful, feel-good photojournal about the stylish cycling culture in the Danish city. It proves that riding a bike can be possible for normal folk in an often intemperate climate, as part of everyday life, without ever resorting to lycra, mountain bikes or silly plastic hats. The site has become something of a cult and has spawned many similar blogs, although I don’t think there’s quite enough material for Walsall Cycle Chic just yet. Here’s hoping – we could do worse than adapt some of our continental neighbours’ transportation habits.
Finally, there’s been a viral video floating round cycling groups for some time now, and it takes my breath away every time I watch it. It features celebrated street trials rider Danny MacAskill, and is a professionally filmed record of some of the most breathtaking bike stunts I’ve ever seen. The jump on to the balustrade at 5:07 leaves my heart in my mouth every time I see it. This chap is both a technical genius and a true professional.