Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Brum, Brummie, Brummest !!

Sunday 15th September to Wednesday 18th September 2013

With Sunday predicted to be again be a wet, windy and generally miserable sort of day, we decided prior to it to spend the day relaxing and getting a few little jobs done around the boat.

The dropping of daily temperatures from just a couple of weeks ago made up our minds to refit the double glazing – this we achieved for four of the main windows and the new magnetic strips fitted very well now.

The fact that the predicted conditions didn’t arrive didn’t concern  us at all – we were glad of the rest – we had had a week of strenuous work with locks and miles and more locks.

Monday was to be a better day – still a chance of light showers but we were aiming for Birmingham and with just 15 miles we were thinking a 5-6 hour trip.

When the sun was out it was simply wonderful
the less illuminated places were still very pretty as well

The rain has meant muddy towpaths, not helped by the bikes,
but they are legitimate user as well

a well known sentiment - although the Australian version
contains an extra word in there

Lock no 1 on the Stratford Canal, but
no longer in use...

... and King's Norton Junction - the end of the line - now we turn left
I guess we had allowed for the canal to be shallow in places but we found it slow going in many places and the odd prop clearance was necessary – although we only had to go down the weedhatch just once.

A few fairly heavy showers did eventuate during the trip in; but we arrived at a decent hour and were pleasantly surprised to see so few boats.

The left turn at The Mailbox turned out to be a bit annoying – well not actually the turn but the couple on nb Wea-Ry-Tired.

As most will know, the turn is not one to be taken at any sort of speed or else you end up wide and in the trees, and so we were slow in the execution and within a half boat width of the moored boats and going quite slowly – the woman on board had the audacity to tell us to slow down – she copped a bit back as did the guy who decided to poke his head out.

Interestingly though, was that the three boats immediately after them barely moved with our passage – we did see that these boats were securely tied up; just a little further on we allowed the trip boat through the bridge hole and I mentioned to the skipper that the end boat thinks tickover is too fast – his knowing expression and nod of the head acknowledged that he immediately understood.

Still we moored up, with just one other boat on each side – later we were joined by a number of others including Granny Buttons.

We phoned James and Debbie to advise them that we had arrived and arranged a time and place for dinner with them and the girls – Katherine and Rachel.

Café Soya was an interesting choice and the food was extremely good with no complaints from any of us – so very good to catch up with them and their busy schedules.

Tuesday was a late start to our departure into Brum but we needed to visit to the travel agent and pick up a car  voucher for our upcoming US trip – job done – in the meantime the rain had appeared and steadily increased in intensity – we wandered or is that scurried down to the markets for some fruit and I needed a soldering iron – all done and a few treats for Banjo as well.

Back to the boat to dry out a fraction and some lunch before we headed out again.

We had wanted to have a look at the new Birmingham Library - ₤10 million  to build.

In years to come it may well be considered a regional icon, but for me it is an end result of an architects ego.

To spend that sort of money on a building in these times of council cutbacks is not what I would call good value – if there is one thing that governments know how to do well it is how to spend your money – fortunately it is not mine.

With the exception of a few music rooms and a few more meeting rooms there is nothing in there that could not have been digitalised and be made available on-line and shared with the whole country.

Probably of some importance is the Shakespeare room -
preserved from the original library

At least the café served a very nice hot chocolate and the cake was very good.

Very pleased to say that the diesel stove is working wonderfully well and with a minimal amount of effort it lights very easily and heats up exceptionally well – just the thing for the fast approaching winter season.

It was a bit drier on Wednesday and with the memories of two pairs of boots that leak from the bottom up, we decided to visit one of the NorthWest Boot Co. outlets which was located in Small Heath.

After some fun and games with us taking the train going the wrong way, we eventually made it – probably made the right decision to not take the dog through this essentially Islamic community, but also one with a great cultural diversity; found the shop and purchased a pair – I was even allowed to wear them home (just like being a kid again).

The cupboard will be cleaned out a little bit more with at least two pairs gone.

A quiet afternoon drink at The Malt House watching the boats and people go by and then a stroll back to the boat; check on the weedhatch (ready for our next cruising day) and we were in for the evening

mmm - anyone for a bit of beaver !
15Miles, 2 Tunnels, 1 Lift Bridge

Totals: 2138 Miles, 1590 Locks, 70 Tunnels, 32 Lift Bridges, 145 Swing Bridges


  1. Hi Ray,

    You have made me curious. What is special about footwear from NorthWest Boot Co? I looked at their website and there are no prices. Did you buy boots or shoes?


  2. Hi Tom,
    Diane told me about them - they make good quality boots that don't fall apart and don't cost the earth. They are mostly available on-line, but i needed a stockist to get the right size.