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Sunday, 5 October 2008

Into Birmingham

Thursday 2nd October and the day dawned breezy but bright after overnight rain. After two days working lots of locks this day there were just 3 lift bridges and one of those was electrically powered. It was a longish trip and part of it was behind a boat that was moving forward almost as fast as a snail, I didn't know hire boats could move so slowly! The wife appeared from below, they pulled over and let us past, with him saying they seemed to be scraping the bottom. I reckon she po-pooed the idea & they soon picked up speed. The run into Birmingham is very rural to the end of the Stratford, even though the map shows buildings alongside the owners of most of the homes we passed were obviously gardeners.

This was taken at the water point by bridge 5, I guess about 4 miles as the crow flies from New Street Station.

We use a copy of Nicholson's guide that was published in 1997.....well the canals don't move much and they cost..... and it showed the stretch between bridge 15 and 12 as countryside. Not any more, it is expensive housing but as the canal is mostly in a slight cutting it doesn't intrude much.

As we approached Kings Norton Junction with the Worcester & Birmingham canal we passed through a pair of guillotine gates.

The day continued bright as we cruised slowly into Gas Street basin. We passed the Cadbury Works and I fixed for us to return the next day as I am a chocoholic. The distance from Kings Norton to Gas Street is marked as 5 miles in Nicholson, modern cast iron mile posts at one point showed 5km to Kings Norton & 5 to Gas St, which isn't 5 miles! Anyway we kept the railway company as we chugged on and used the sanitary station at Holiday Wharf before turning the corner and mooring exactly where we did many Easters ago in 1998 when we enjoyed a cool but sunny week around the area whilst others were battling the terrible floods of that year. It being a Thursday we sought out a Wetherspoons to get our Curry Night fix on Broad Street, and very good it was too.

What wasn't so good was the crashing and banging around in the wind overnight that woke me at 4am when I found our bows had been cast loose and we were broadside to the canal. I must say that at that time of day it was lovely to be able to simply fire up the engine and use the bow thruster to restore our position with no pulling of ropes or other messing around. The next morning I walked to BW Cambrian Wharf to ask if we could moor in Gas Street and also about where we could moor for more that 48 hours, and was pointed to the wharf basin opposite and which is in a much more secluded area. We set off for it sharpish and exchanged a few greetings with Simba Dada whom we last met at Foxton last Autumn & who were just setting off. We will see there again soon I believe.

The mooring is conveniently placed but is pretty quiet. Carol's back is objecting to even the distance from here into the shopping centre, but she battles on with rests at frequent intervals. On Friday we used a train to get to Bournville to do my chocolate thing. It was pretty good, but very much aimed at children. I wandered off to have a bit of a look at the Bournville village and saw that trees are clearly reckoning Autumn is coming. I never remember seeing such lovely colours when I was a child, whatever the case the colours are tremendous and with luck our cruise back to Debdale should be glorious, if only we get some sun!

We will be staying here till Wednesday morning when we will get mving back to our home base. Whilst here we will go to SeaLife and are going to a concert in Symphony Hall on Tuesday and will probably go to a performance in the newly refurbished old Town Hall on Wednesday lunchtime. Carol has already done some reverse shopping, returning a jacket she bought from M&S in Banbury when the promised long length trousers she was to pick up in Birmingham failed to materialise. Till next time.

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