A favourite spot

by deanmelbourne

When he weather allows I cycle to my new studio. Its a ten minute ride that I can make last at least half an hour. I Join the canal at Wordsley Junction and cycle into Stourbridge. The first stretch is lined with old brick industrial units. I like them , I like the may they emerge from the water, the old windows forever open and often the sound of whistling workers drifts out. The canal itself is less pretty at that point. When its clear you can see the debris at the bottom. A lot of work has already been done to clean up this little stretch. There is usually a community of fishermen at the Wordsley end. Often young men but not always they all have a supply of strong lager in common.

There are the usual suspects, dog walkers, joggers and cyclist, all are friendly walking by the water seems to change the rules. Being polite and at ease is the order of the day. I enjoy ducking under the low bridges as much now as I did as a child, skimming my head near the brickwork. I enjoy the “stiles” less. five stops to negotiate the awkward gates that are I presume a result of frequent motorbike incidents.

I move up passed the ever growing Ruskin Arts Centre ( handy map showing the canal on their page) The centre is home to the International Festival of Glass , and worth a visit.

On the last little stretch of canal before arriving at The Bonded Warehouse there is a bend in the canal flanked by raised bridges. This bend and the stretches either side of it has become full of water lillies on mornings like this morning when the water is clear and the shoals of young fry are visible among the vegetation in the water it is a glorious spot. Evidence of industry is still apparent, the place is not beautiful in a Cotswolds way. But nature is claiming the place back and it is twitching with life with the help of some people who have worked hard on this bit of water.

Damsel flies and Brown Hawkers buzzing over the water, and families of Moor Hen and Coot taking advantage of the lilly pads make the scene. Earlier this spring I stood and watched a pair of Kingfishers circle above my head in this very spot. The little river stour runs alongside the canal, this is their hunting ground I presume.

I stopped this morning to take it all in. I needed it as my mind has been whirring the last couple of days. The noise of the traffic doesn’t quite reach here.

I desperately wanted to share the moment and so later Mrs M and little I came to visit my studio and bring supplies. We took a walk there and they got it too. You can never quite recreate those moment alone though.  What was gorgeous was seeing little I running alongside a narrowboat of senior citizens out on a day trip and the joy they all shared waving and calling to each other.

I will be cycling home in an hour, Ill be there again for the third time today. I am very grateful.

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