It is my last day staying at my parents’ house. I had another walk in the sunshine along the glorious Wyrley and Essington Canal.

Maybe it’s something to do with being in my 40s, but I’ve become obsessed with all the old shit along the canal. I’ve bored my dad with my new obsession, and when I get home, I plan to bore my wife.

Today I headed west, past Ogley Junction, where the Anglesea Branch gives way to the Wyrley and Essington Canal proper. Initially, the Anglesea Branch was a non-navigable feeder from Chasewater. In 1869, some bloke called the Marquess of Anglesey started digging up the coal near Chasewater and made the feeder channel wider.

Besides all the old shit, there was lots of new stuff too. Swans hissed as I passed by, protecting their cygnets. The canal was teeming with fish; bloody great Carp swimming among hundreds of smaller fish. The water was much cleaner than I remember, but there wasn’t anyone fishing, save one bloke with a pole on the jetty at the back of his garden. We used to fish for all kinds of species on the canal; it was odd not to see many more anglers. “They’re bloody hard to catch”, said a friend when I asked why people had stopped fishing the canal.

The bridge at Ogley Junction on the Wyrley and Essington Canal in Brownhills. It’s beyond me why people want to cover such a beautiful piece of the past in graffiti. I suppose it’s something about making your mark before you die. Now that’s a depressing thought.
Three fish are visible in the canal. I think these are carp.
Two adult swans on the warpath surrounded by their cygnets.