Darth Vader. 16th September

Sheepcote Street Bridge

What makes people decide to become dental hygienists? Picking away at peoples teeth. Last year I got to meet quite a few.

This year things are different, masks, visors and an extra £20 for the full Darth Vader experience. To get the most out of my appointment today I paid the extra for the PPE and was treated to the tinnitus inducing water jet. After forty minutes I was done and I think Tom was looking forward to some time without the big black mask clamped to his face, but that would depend on his next victim!


Back at Oleanna we had a visitor, not from outer space, but from Bristol. Paul from Waterway Routes was up in Birmingham for the day and had called in for a catch up and a cuppa. We’d last seen him in February last year. Whilst we’ve been cruising we are in touch with him quite often with updates for his maps when services are moved or new bridges built across the canal.

A touch of sun on our mooring

It was very good to see him, lots to chat about, so we finally waved him goodbye at around 2pm. We’d originally planned to head out of the city today, but felt it was a touch too late in the day to push off. Instead I spent some of the afternoon putting a coat of gloss on the grab rail scratches. The finished result doesn’t look pretty, patchy at best but at least it will stop rust from forming and keep things in order until next spring when I plan on rubbing them all back and doing a proper job.

Chatting with our new neighbour on NB Bancroft I discovered that this was the chap who set up Boat Mail. We had quite a lengthy chat about Tilly, getting medical assistance whilst on the cut, and what was happening to the balconys on the flats above us. Two chaps with harnesses had been removing wooden flooring and replacing it with metal for a safer balcony. The noise they created was really quite piercing at times, we considered moving but knew it wouldn’t go on all night.

Loving the logo

Today the big screen opposite was showing Womens Twenty 20 cricket. I think Mick would be quite happy if my dentist appointments in future could coincide with test matches. He’d put a chair on the roof of Oleanna and watch the match all day long with radio commentary in his ear.

The Roundhouse

I had a walk over to see what the Roundhouse looks like from the road. Quite an impressive building, a shame really that we’d not get chance to have a look around properly. The courtyard slopes down to the archway, leading out through what is now seating for The Distillery and then out onto the canal. The rest slopes upwards to the building. It was originally used as stables and stores housing up to 50 horses. Now run by a charity set up by C&RT and the National Trust it has recently undergone a refurbishment. There are guided tours, office spaces, kayak tours head out from here and there will be a café, the building opened in July this year. It is now on our ‘next time’ list.

NB Scorpio and Butty Leo have been brought out for the weekend, moored up in front of the building ready to do boat trips.

I also wanted to have a closer look at the mural that has been painted on one of the modern walls by the canal. This has been painted by Annatomix a local artist and illustrator depicting a rusty shire horse. Her portrait of David Bowie caught my eye a few years ago down near the Bull Ring. Her style is quite distinctive using facets, she’s particularly partial to foxes.

0 locks, 0 miles, 40 minutes with Darth Vader, 1 visit from Paul, 1 coat of top coat, 1 splodgey grabrail, 2 harnesses, 1 new balcony, 1 noisy afternoon, Ohouse, 50 horses, 1 mural, 3 curries, 0.5 portion pilau rice, 2 nan breads, 1 last night in BUMingham, Hooray!!!