Ten Two One. 20th February

BUMingham to Dudley Port Basin

Google calendar kept reminding us this morning that we had to be mean to Tilly. We usually try to time this with her not being allowed out for the day so that her collar and cat tags can be removed. Normally the deed is done in the evening, but today I closed the bathroom door and reached up onto the high shelf for the packet. So far so good.

What’s that you’ve got?‘ ‘That’s interesting‘. Still good. 

Hang on a minute!‘ ‘You’re not coming anywhere near me!!‘ I decided to leave the job for a while as Tilly had retired into her escape pod.

Don’t you come anywhere near me!!!

This morning it was time to leave Birmingham, no waiting around for it to stop raining today! As we reached for our coats we noticed that our nearest neighbours were pushing off across the way. We waved and Dimitrios from NB Galene waved back, maybe next time we’ll get chance to talk in person.

Goodbye BUMingham!

Full water proofs this morning we were certainly going to get wet no matter what. As we pushed off we left one boat on the moorings outside the Arena, the emptiest it’s been for ages. Goodbye BUmingham and thank you.

Soon after passing under Vincent Street Bridge the rain was coming down in bucketfuls. Mick gave me permission to step below, which I didn’t question, leaving him in the rain with the brolly up.

Bye Bye

Down below it was time. Removal of Tilly’s collar first. Fur Balls!!! This I managed then waited a while. The dinette table was cleared, the seal in the tube broken, it was now or never! My legs shrank but still managed to carry me at pace around the boat. From one end to the other I dashed. She stopped… no She hadn’t!! Giant Fur Balls!!!!!! Flea stuff applied on the back of Tilly’s neck in two places, the quickest time ever.

Outside there were noises. Wind and rain and some I wasn’t familiar with. I stuck my head out to check if all was okay. Mick’s ever faithful brolly of 34 years had finally given up. Not bad service. Maybe I could get him a new one for his birthday in three months time. The tangled frame was put in the shower to drip itself dry on last time and will await a suitable disposal point in the next couple of days.

The last photo with his old faithful brolly

Smethwick Junction arrived, I popped my wet outer layer back on and went out to wheel a windlass for the three locks up to the Wolverhampton Level.

On the gate of the bottom lock I noticed No.10 was carved into the beam. No.10? How could it be No.10? The next lock was No.2, followed by No.1. Hmm?! Well at least they read 10, 2, 1 even if it was 10, 2, 12. No photos sorry as it really was wet.

Back below I did work emails whilst Mick cruised along. The world went a touch darker and I knew we were under the M5, time to pop back out safely knowing I wouldn’t get wet.

On the local news a couple of weeks ago they had announced that the works on the M5 had been completed. Since then the scaffolding has been coming down. Long lengths of concrete are now visible, but then others are still clad.

Scaffolding coming down

Two lookouts stood by the canal and signalled our arrival with air horns. The clanks and noises from above ceased as workers put down their tools over the canal. More of these look outs were dotted along the towpath and sounded our arrival, well most did Mick had to bip the horn at one chap who stood with his back to us.

Then what to do there were two boats?! Going in opposite directions? We left them to it and popped back out into the rain.

Another look out

Gradually the air dried around us. My neck didn’t! Mick swung us round into Dudley Port Basin. Blimey another boat was there! We aimed for the stretch of rings straight ahead of us nearest to the road and parking. Oleanna had picked something up around her prop about half a mile ago and as she turned in to moor something else was drawn to it. The bow swung round before I could hop off which left Mick to try to get the stern somewhere close enough to jump off with the centre line and pull us in.

Normally we wouldn’t choose a mooring so close to parking, especially when there was plenty of room further away. But with a tracksuit bottom around the prop with other items and a Sainsburys delivery in the morning booked we would make do, Tilly wouldn’t be going out anyway. !!!!!!

I’m keeping a close eye on you!!!

3 locks, 7.38 miles, 8 straights, 2 rights, 2 lefts, 3 coconuts, 5 apples, 1 lime, 2 bears, 1 peed off cat, 2 wet boaters,, 1 more so than the other, 34 years of service, 1 thumbs up, 1 cruise plan coming together, 1 mooring perfect for a delivery.