Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Diane’s in the kitchen smelling knickers ‘cause she has new balls.

Sunday 5th March to Tuesday 7th March 2017

Sunday morning was really quite relaxing – we settled down with the papers and enjoyed the coffee that went with them and the sun was streaming in through the window – lovely!!

But too much enjoyment does not go unpunished, but on this occasion we opted for the exploring option – walking down to The Mailbox to re-verify what was down there – seems pretty much as usual – a couple of new places have opened up – we tried Tom’s Kitchen – and then it was back to the boat before the rain came.

Practically dragged into the outer foyer of BBC Birmingham
under fear of extermination

The rest of the day was a mix of work and relaxation – isn’t that a bit what life is about anyway.

Monday was similar to Sunday, weather-wise, except for the prospect of rain. Diane had seen in their blog that Helen and Tony (nb Holderness) were moored just down near Aston University and would be heading up the Farmers Bridge locks the following morning – our services were offered to help work them up.
So, on a text from Helen we headed down – windlasses at the ready – and met up with them at Lock 12 (2nd lock coming up) and with Helen and Diane filling the locks, letting Tony take the boat out and then chatting all the way up, and with the locks being readied for the boat to go in, we exited the top lock a little over an hour after they had started.
It was a great workout without exhausting ourselves – we got the old muscles working again – just wait until tomorrow and we will feel it.
With 13 locks behind, Helen and Tony were glad to see the top - now finished
After mooring up, we joined them on board for a cuppa and a piece of cake before Tony got to it (just kidding Tony) and as we all do, exchanged our stories of what we have been doing and planned on doing – we had last met at Bourne End on the Thames last year.

Both Helen and Tony have volunteered to be part of the celebrations in Hull for this year for the City of Culture 2017 activities that will be taking place – their enthusiasm for all things Hull has convinced us to get our backsides there when we are a bit closer – so Hull will be the place to be.

We agreed to meet later in the afternoon for a drink and maybe something to eat.

It was off to The Wellington with a promise from Tony that they had Titanic ales – like their Plum Porter – he was not wrong and we all had a lovely time in the upstairs bar.

Enjoying - no that should be enjoyed, a drink
It was getting on a bit and no-one felt like having to go back to the boats to eat so on Tony and Helen’s recommendation we all rolled into the Barajee Indian restaurant on Broad Street.

The service and the food were of such a high quality it was pleasantly reassuring to have such a great place to eat so close by – my allergies to onions, garlic and leeks were very ably dealt with and I know that the others enjoyed their selections.
The price was very reasonable as well – so we can all recommend it.

There are times when you wish the night not to end and this was certainly one of those, but we needed to get back to the boats with the promise of seeing Tony’s skills on show as he was reversing the boat back from their mooring to head down to Sherbourne Wharf.
All the skills were on show - Helen was at the front protection the new paint job

Clearly the skills were were honed and nb Holderness
cleared through the bridge hole with no problems

The following morning we saw for ourselves that his playing down of the skills was grossly exaggerated – he performed the task with consummate ease and with the disappearance of Holderness under the bridge we waved our farewells – for now.

We had had every intention of spending more time moored where we were, but together we had the epiphany of heading off ourselves and within probably 30 minutes we too were moving away – heading west – in the Wolverhampton direction, not intending to go that far.
It would be a shame to not enjoy a brilliant cruising day in March

A bit of the industrial landscape

...and some of the canal 'scape

We duly moored up, after watering, at the Black Country Museum – Diane had the intention of sampling the wares of Mad O’Rourkes Pie Shop on Wednesday.
Just leaving the water point and heading towards that vacant mooring spot
 before anyone comes through the bridge hole

Later on, enjoying the sun and a coffee at the Dudley
Canal and Tunnel Trust's new cafe

Now someone may be wondering about the strange heading for this blog – so here I go to explain it all.

When we were back in Australia over December and January, we tootled along to a street market in Caloundra (Queensland).
I did as I normally, walk along casting a non-discerning eye over the goods on offer – I take in, evaluate and the usually dismiss what I see and move along to the next stall.
Diane is more circumspect and will spend an inordinate time on some things and on other she will just dwell there.
At one such stall was an older fellow selling round, slotted balls with ceramic or nylon balls inside – the promotion/promise was that putting one of these in with the washing you wouldn’t need to add any laundry detergent (powder or liquid) and you would only need to use the rinse cycle. Diane of course could see the benefits; I could see the wallet simply being a fair bit lighter.
As usually happens, the wallet does get lighter and I have something else to carry.

Anyway she wanted to try this on the boat.

So after preparing the machine to remove any traces of existing detergents we (read that as Diane) gave it a go.
The only thing that is said in the literature is that heavy soiled items may need some pre-wash attention – we would have done this anyway.
So washing machine switched on; rinse cycle only; no heating cycle at all – 32 minutes later (it was the longer rinse cycle of the two available) – all done – Diane checked it all out and gave a thumbs up.
Everything passed the sniff test – to make sure that the personal odours had all gone.

We repeated this with the next wash – this time it was a larger wash – normal 6kg load – and on the quicker rinse – 27 minutes later and about a third of the usual amount of water used and virtually no drop in battery level – the machine door was opened.

This time it went through the serious sniff test and here she was in the kitchen sniffing all of the clothes (including the knickers) – all of the smells were gone and the clothes were all clean – all down to her new ball containing new balls.
Diane with her balls in hand
So less water, less power, no detergent, less time – we could be onto a winner here – glad that she stopped to talk to the guy selling them.

9 Miles, 3 Locks, 1 Tunnel
YTD:  103 miles (166 km),76 Locks, 6 Tunnels, 3 Lift Bridges, 2 Swing Bridges

Total: 4735 Miles (7620 km), 3227 Locks, 130 Tunnels, 69 Lift Bridges, 174 Swing Bridges


  1. We have the eco eggs that they sell over here and use them both at home and on the boat. It saves a fortune in detergent and softeners and does the job. Jennie nb Tentatrice.

    1. Jennie, I am sometimes very sceptical about these things that are sold claiming all sorts of things - at least on this product I am convinced about it.
      It certainly does the job


  2. What are the results if you do a load without the ball?