Facing Fear. 15th September

Cast Iron Roving Bridge to other side of Sheepcote Street Bridge

There are peoples names that stay with you through your life, some for good reasons, some for bad. One such (bad) name for me is Jeff Farrow, he has affected my life from an early age right up to today and most probably beyond. Then there is Colin Pocock, I met him February last year and spent quite a bit of time in his company. Our reason for coming to Birmingham was for me to see him again, the pandemic and all that has happened in the last 18 months has meant putting off a visit. But 18 months is far better than the 30 plus years before. Today it was time to visit Colin again, my (good) dentist.

Can we have a new outside please!

Today was for a check up and I came away with a pat on the back from Colin, a new toothbrush head and an appointment for tomorrow morning to see a hygienist. We’d allowed a week in our schedule should appointments be hard to get or more be required.

Wonder If I could get that ball?

Back at Oleanna our 2 day mooring was up, we would need another day. Last year we’d asked C&RT for permission to allow us to be in the area for longer than normally permitted for me to see Colin. We’d chatted with the local enforcement officer, she checked our cruising record and had no problem, today this wouldn’t be needed. We looked around and spotted a 14 day mooring just through Sheepcote Street Bridge.

Not such a popular outside for Tilly

Tilly had somewhere new to explore, a little bit noisy as the balconies on the flats we are moored below are having some work done to them. The sideways trees are not as neat as through on the other side of the bridge, but maybe this made them more interesting to her.

Undercoat on

With the sun showing it’s face I got the undercoat out from a bow locker, gave it a very good mix, sanded back any excess primer and then gave the bits on the grab rail a coat. That’s the next layer of protection on. Top coat next and I may actually use the tin of wrong red for this and save the proper red for when I do the full length of the boat next year.

Can I come with you?

There was still an amount of afternoon that needed using. Maybe a look around the recently opened Roundhouse opposite. They are doing guided tours, but none were available today as they are only available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays currently.

Tram tracks

Instead I decided to head off for a walk and to see how the city centre has progressed in the last 18 months. I walked around the houses a little bit until I got to Broad Street. Here the tram tracks are still going in towards Five Ways, but back towards the canal the road is open again.


In front of The Rep the mirror pool looked stunning today with the sunshine, not quite all the buildings are complete yet around the area, so a few cranes feature in my photo.

The Rep is surrounded by hoardings. The theatre is getting a facelift with a new front of house area and cafe. I’d been so transfixed with the reflections in the pool and what shows were going to be at The Rep that I completely forgot to turn round to see what the Symphony Hall looked like. Last year the front of the building was being demolished, hope it’s weather proof now!

Modern reflections of historical buildings

I then walked past the Hall of Memory, over Paradise Circus which is now open to traffic and towards the Museum and Art Gallery. New buildings shine and show off the stonework, domes and spires of the old, a rather pleasing vista.

Forward Together

Besides the Town Hall and Museum is a new Luke Perry sculpture. Luke’s works are all around the BCN. The Dudley no 2 sports a fine collection, at Titford Pools the Rock Driller works at the top of a ladder, a very tall man fishes near Walsall Wood. Today I got to see his latest sculpture Forward Together, A Diversity Monument that will be on display until Christmas then moved to Colmore Square until August next year.

The sculpture is a reimagining of the city’s crest being raised by a line of 25 figures, all of whom are local extraordinary everyday people.  From those that suffered domestic abuse, to cancer, to disabilities, violence and bloodshed (Holocaust), to simple acceptance in society, to racism, to mental health. The monument visibly represents the cities multi-coloured multicultural society. Quotes from Benjamin Zephaniah are embossed on the crest, “No one is here without a struggle” and “We all came here from somewhere”.

Five of the twenty five

This evening we have treated ourselves to an Indian take away from Amir’s a short distance away on St Vincent Street. I chose some dishes we’ve never come across before, Lamb chops Shatkora Bhuna being our favourite, a traditional Bangladeshi dish. As ever we ordered too much food, so we’ll be having the left overs tomorrow night with homemade gluten free nan bread. Yum.

0 locks, 0.36 miles, 15 minutes, 1 pat on the back, 14 day mooring for 1 more day, 7 patches of undercoat, 1 sunny afternoon, 1 new sculpture, 25 locals, 2 onion bhajees, 1 chicken dish, 1 lamb chop dish , 1 sag aloo, 2 pilau rice, 3 free popadoms, 1 still unimpressed cat.