Category Archives: Birmingham

Ryding Over. 25th February

Coombes Bridge to Lower Ocker Hill Branch

A much quieter evening last night and we were up earlyish to start the day the only way we could with Blueberry Pancakes. A couple of years ago Jaq on NB Valerie had suggested using Bobs Red Mill’s 1 to 1 flour in baking, it’s that bit more expensive than the usual brands of gluten free flour, but I hunted down a bag. I haven’t used it that much and this morning noticed that it was just about to run past it’s best before date, so it went to the batter. It does make the best pancakes for breakfast.

Blueberry pancakes, yum

Once filled up we made ready to cruise, the sun was out, would we need all our layers? We put them on just in case and within an hour we were glad we had. The lady from Hawne Basin was walking her dog, we said we’d maybe see them on the Leeds Liverpool this summer, but she’d just been offered a job so would be staying put. But their friends on NB Lottie Jane would be up there for the festival in May. Could that be the NB Lottie Jane we had drinks on at the beginning of May last year with the NB Mr Blue Sky crew?

Going
going
gone

When talking to Paul the other week he’d suggested walking over the top of Gosty Hill Tunnel, I hopped off just before the south portal and waved Mick goodbye as he ducked into the dark. Yesterday it had taken us 18 minutes to travel through and the second half had taken around 10 minutes. I set the stop watch going.

A good place for a breather

Gosty Hill is pretty steep at the southern end but this gives you good views towards Dudley and Tipton. I knew I’d be quicker than Oleanna and at around 8 minutes stood for a rest against a brick structure in someones garden.

Nice climbing rose there

This is the top to the one and only air shaft from the tunnel (a mysteron). I hoped to be there to listen out for Mick passing below and maybe say hello as he did so. But sadly the traffic on the road was a touch too noisy and a very friendly electrician chatted to me as he got things from his van, his mate hadn’t believed him that boats still passed below.

There they are

After five minuets I finished walking down the hill to see Oleanna already popping out of the north portal, 17 minutes, positively speedy.

Mick made sure we lined up differently to bridges that had been problematical a month ago and coasted through without too much bother. Just a shame sleet seemed to be setting in now.

A right at Windmill Junction and through Netherton Tunnel for the last time this visit. We’d been wondering if our chosen route northwards would exclude tunnels until we reach Foulridge, but there are quite a few small one’s we’d forgotten about en route.

Sleet had turned to rain on the otherside of the tunnel. A right then a left brought us to the top of the Ryder Green flight. Most locks were full and we made steady progress downhill. Zooming in to Lock 7 I couldn’t see the usual drinkers but then all of a sudden they were there. No sign of the chap with dreds or the Polish chap from last time, but three new drinkers. One chap was very interested in how a lock worked, he was considering a boating holiday but would need to cut out the beer to save up!

Where are they?
There

I hopped on board. The next pound the supermarket trolley pound. If we were to get stuck I’d rather be able to make a cuppa and stay warm whilst we waited to be rescued. On the Asda side, trolleys poked their wheels up for air as we coasted along at a safe distance on a slightly jaunty angle.

The cone to warn you

The last lock landing was harder to pull into, but we got there in the end. Were the cans in the lock just one days consumption? I trod carefully around the gates as there was so much broken glass, you wouldn’t want to go falling over.

Just from today? Or longer?

Now we hoped luck would be on our side. I stood at the bow and waited to peek around the corner at Ockers Hill but an orange blob caught my eye. Was it? Would it stay put?

Hello!

A Kingfisher sat in a tree just a few feet away. As we levelled with it it swooped away to another perch and continued to show us the way for a few more hundred yards. Such beauty in amongst all the rubbish.

There was space, Hooray as we wanted to stop now. Tied up and Tilly let out we could warm up again.

Chocolate, mmmm!

This evening I made a batch of buckwheat flour pancakes. Four savoury with ham and strong cheddar which baked for a while in the oven. Then five sweat, chocolate, sugar and lemon and golden syrup. Not all together! All very nice indeed.

8 locks, 8.46 miles, 2 rights, 2 lefts, 1 straight, 2 tunnels, 8 mysterons, 1 seen from the top, 1 chilly day, 2021 May, 3 drinkers, 31 cans, 1 kingfisher, 1.5 hrs shore leave, 15 blueberry, 4 ham and cheese, 5 sweat, happy pancake day.

Dynamite! 24th February

Bumble Hole to Coombes Bridge

Last night we were aware of people on the towpath across the way from us. Nothing too rowdy, but when we heard a small bang Mick had a look out through the windows. As he moved from one end of the boat to the other we could hear someone running away. Then there was no sign of anyone again. We thought nothing of it.

Luke Perry land

This morning it was still breezy, was it too breezy to reverse to the water point and then back to the junction? Or should we go under the next bridge, wind and come back? As we would be going through Gosty Hill Tunnel Mick decided to reverse, meaning that the chimney would be on the towpath side whilst at the water point and he could swap the tall chimney for the short stumpy one. This also meant we could empty the yellow water tank with ease.

Waterpoint unusable without a male adaptor

The water point at sometime in the last month has had the very handy adapter removed, the bit you screw your connector onto before attaching your hose. We hunted through all our possible hose attachments to no avail. Then the chap from inside the visitor centre also had a routle through his box of bits. Sadly there was no means of attaching our hose today. This would have to wait.

As I got ready to push us back off I noticed something that certainly wasn’t on our bow yesterday when we’d moored up. Then another one.

Dynamite!!!

Sticks of dynamite! Admittedly mini sticks. The green fuse hadn’t ignited the sticks thank goodness, but maybe this is what we had heard last night. Someone throwing fire crackers at us!

Okay

At the junction we turned towards Hawne Basin and made our way along the Dudley No 2. The engine was put into neutral to coast under the bridges, especially those we’d had trouble with before. Then our progress slowed right down as we made our way into Gosty Tunnel.

Get ready to duck

This passage took us 18 minutes, I wonder if anyone does it in the 10 suggested on the C&RT sign at the entrance? Then we made our way towards Burton Bridge the narrow entrance to Hawne Basin.

Today the wind didn’t help, it didn’t help at all. Mick managed to negotiate the bridge very well but once in the marina it was impossible to cruise in and position the stern at the diesel pump. He brought us in facing the wrong way and then we let the wind push the bow out, the stern was pulled round by Mick and a lady, whilst I apologised to the couple of boats our bow bumped into.

Filling up

Diesel. A fill up of 90 litres. As we’d come in under the bridge we got the cheaper price 59p, 10p cheaper than if you come through the gate. So very much worth the trip. Three bags of coal the use of their water point and disposal of our rubbish. Here is where I laid Mick’s umbrella to rest.

Farewell
old friend

We’d planned on returning to Bumble Hole today, but we both decided that maybe we’d stay outside the marina here instead. We didn’t really want to be a target for a second night. So instead we watched the very first episode of Vera and I sorted out a mistake I’d done on a pair of socks, meaning unravelling around 100 rows! By the end of the evening they were back on track.

Squeezing our way back under the bridge

0 locks, 3.06 miles, 2 sticks unexploded dynamite, 0 attachment, 1 reverse, 2 lefts, 1 right, 1 wind, 90 litres, 10p discount, 1 empty wee tank, 3 bags coal, 0 rubbish, 0 umbrella, 1 full water tank, 1 quieter evening.

Blue Skies And Empty Pounds. 23rd February

New Inn Road Bridge to Bumble Hole

We took time over breakfast and waited to see if the forecast was correct, the rain was meant to stop at 9am. It did, but we left it a while longer just in case before pushing off.

The top lock was full with it’s gate half open, as was the second one down. I walked to have a look from the bridge and noticed that that was where the good news stopped, the next pound down was decidedly low, bordering on being empty.

That’ll need topping up

Tim and Tracey had said they’d had to fill pounds the other day when they came up the flight so I decided to have a walk down to see if this was the only pound. Mick lifted paddles and started to fill up from above. The pound between locks 5 and 6 only had a few inches of water in it, this would take a touch more than just a couple of locks full.

So will that!

I phoned Mick to let him know we’d be needing water further down the flight, then walked to the bottom lock to check everything was closed, it was. By lock 5 there is a bridge hole where I could count 14 brick courses above the puddle that lay at the bottom of the canal. These would be around 4 inches each, Oleanna’s draught around 2ft 7inches. So we would need to fill the pound so that at most 4 bricks showed, this would still be lower than the marks on the wall suggested the pound normally sits at. Hopefully this would be enough for us to move from one lock to the next.

I will always read this as CR&S

All the lock gates were closed, then paddles at both ends opened. Once the level was up to four bricks I started to walk back up the flight closing all the bottom paddles and leaving the top ones open on the upper locks, so that they would fill as we descended. I most probably could have done this with all of the locks but if someone started to head up they might not notice an open paddle and we’d be back to filling pounds again.

Into the top lock

It had taken about half an hour to sort levels, thank goodness the pounds weren’t all that big, and we could start to work our way down. Mick closed top gates and would lift a paddle on the bottom gate whilst I walked down to open the next gate and make sure the lock below was already filling, then walk back up to set Oleanna free and close the gate.

Is that some sunshine?

On reaching the bottom pound the lock of water brought the level up to three bricks, just enough to get us over the cill and slowly into the next chamber, in hindsight another bricks worth would have been good.

Out the bottom

Once out of the stinky bottom lock we swung a right. No horn blowers today, although there were a couple of chaps walking around in high-vis, maybe just keeping an eye on things.

BLUE sky!

When the M5 yielded we got to see the sky. It was a funny colour, a sort of blue! It’s been a while since we’ve seen blue sky and white fluffy clouds. Almost a lovely day if the wind would just calm down a touch.

Under and over again

This visit to the area we’d not been up or down the Spon Branch and it’s such a good name ‘SPONNNNNN!!!’ that we just had to go down the locks. At Spon Lane Junction the canal is wide to enable the almost 330 degree turn to face the locks. This should have been okay, but the wind had different ideas and kept pushing us this way and that. Eventually we got close enough to the side for me to hop off and open the gate.

Trying to turn at Spon Lane Junction

Double bottom gates again, the top one with a handy bridge, but the other two on the branch only have a walkway on the gates without a handrail. No kicking these gates open and I don’t hop from an open gate to a closed one, only one thing to do walk round! Luckily my assistant on Oleanna had positioned the boat hook within reach so once Oleanna was clear of the gates he could push the off side gate closed, saving a trip round.

Going down

A couple of muffins helped to fend off starvation as we made our way back along the New Main Line and turned at Dudley Port Junction to face Netherton Tunnel. Up on Tividale Aqueduct we could just make out a moving boat, the only one we saw all day, we waved but no wave came back.

Turning towards Netherton Tunnel

Then we were plunged into the darkness of the tunnel. Two torches followed us and towards the southern portal four bicycles headed in, none with any lights. Popping back out into day light and sunshine we pulled in to the moorings, water could wait for tomorrow, lunch couldn’t.

Out the other side

Tilly had a good sniff around, climbed a few trees, but the whole place smells too much of woofer to be really good. A lad on a motorbike could be heard zooming around the area, luckily Tilly had taken to sitting in the pram cover for when he came past at speed. We all decided that maybe it would be better for her to be indoors.

Tree!!!

9 locks, 6.38 miles, 5 straights, 1 right, 2 lefts, 2 empty pounds, 14 to 3, 0 work for DPD today, 1 tunnel, 7 mysterons, 1 annoying motorbike, 2 muffins, 1 huge joint of roast pork with excellent crackling.

Bumping Into The M5. 22nd February

New Inns Road Bridge to Titford Pools to New Inns Road Bridge

Langley High Street

From our mooring we walked to Langley High Street where a length of shops greeted us. A Londis and Post Office which both looked like convenience stores, we were after our Saturday newspaper and some longer dated blueberries. There were few papers in Londis and the smell of disinfectant a touch too much trying to mask the bad smell at the back of the shop! The Post Office had a sweeter aroma but only copies of The Sun to be had. So much for trying to support the local shops!

Lamp shades, dog beds, rollers
Art department

One of those stuffed full hardware shops caught our eye, here you squeezed between the stuff for sale, on the floor, shelves, walls and ducked the goods suspended above. Everything from paint rollers, felt tip pens, dog chews, to large tasseled lamp shades. There was only one thing missing, a collapsible bucket. We’ll have to wait for a chandlers.

A walk further up the canal to Asda and Aldi. Here there were three copies of our newspaper but none had the good bits making it worth buying. So we left empty handed and underwhelmed with Asda as usual, but glad Aldi are still selling stove top fans. Facebook boaters pages will be kept happy for weeks.

In Aldi now

The wind wasn’t too bad, but by now it was too late in the day to head very far. One thing we could do though was wind ready for departure in the morning.

Slow the only option

We’d been warned at how shallow the canal was and where to take extra care so as not to go aground. So we took it steady, managing to ride over the lumpy bottom of the canal on several occasions. After a very narrow bit Oleanna refused to be steered setting her own course, suggesting the depth was very very shallow, but shortly afterwards she responded.

The Rock Driller

Just after Jarvis Bridge the torso of a man high up on a precarious ladder signalled our arrival at Titford Pools.

The pools were constructed in 1773-4 by James Brindley, originally designed as a reservoir to help feed the Smethwick Summit Level of the Old Main Line. In the early 20th Century they became a place for leisure activities attracting fishermen and parties to enjoy one of the prettiest spots in the Midlands.

We could go that way, or that way

During the 1st WW it fell into disuse but come 1933 it was reopened as Titford Pleasure Park. The lakes were restocked with fish, a buffet built along with a bowling green, 18 hole putting green and a shooting range to go with boat hire. It proved a popular spot until the 2nd WW came along. Hard to think of it being a tranquil mecca, as now the M5 passes right over the top on concrete legs which dip into the pools. Yet birds flock here. We surprised a vast gaggle of geese and pigeons and gulls swirled over our heads.

Under the M5

There are two pools one on the far side of the M5. To reach there you need to hold your concentration as despite the pools having recently being dredged, under the motorway is very very narrow as we discovered! We headed to the far end before winding with ease in the large triangular pool to head back.

Spinning around

The pools had become so silted up from run off from the M5 that the Highways Agency has recently dredged them. A thin L shaped island gives you a route that once you had to back out of, but now with greater depth you can glide round in a full circle back into the large pool by the motorway.

Back under the M5

In 1889, 21 year old Joseph Harvey, a horse driver, and 20 year old Lizzie Bates committed suicide by drowning themselves in the pool. At the inquest, Lizzie’s sister explained that the pair had visited Stourbridge on the Sunday and returned that night, she’d left them both downstairs in the family house. The next morning Lizzie was missing and her father found a note which read

Lots of trees have been felled some carved into toadstools

‘Dear Father, you must not grieve over me, for I have done this with Joe, because he could not have me in life, so I thought he should have me in death. He said that he should never see me again in life when he left me, so I thought I would go with him; and, Father, when you find us, please bury us as close together as you can. Give my love to all my friends, and tell what has caused it, through having a miserable life at home, and for the one I love. So good night, and God bless you all. Be kind to the children.’

Turning off the thin long side of the L into the main pool

A second note to Joseph’s father was also read out. ‘July 21st, 1889. Dear Father, I leave you forever on earth, so now you will see what has been done by trying to keep me from Lizzie, the only one I could love, and I hope you will learn a lesson from this, and when you find my body you will find a glass pipe in my jacket pocket. Please give it to William James, my fellow workmate; and I wish to be buried me and Lizzie together, and I wish for my brother James to have all that belongs to me. You will find some money in the box upstairs – give it to Jim; and the pair of braces that Lizzie made me, give them to Joseph Stanfield. So I give you my best love, father and brothers, and all enquiring friends.’

Turning in

The couple had been courting for three years but Joseph’s father had objected to their marriage suggesting his son should find someone who would do him good. The lovers bodies were found tied together.

On a lighter theme in 1938 a tale of a monster in the pools was banded about, most probably a stunt for Oldbury Carnival. The scientist investigating the Loch Ness Monster was to fly down from Inverness to try to capture the monster and return with it to Scotland.

We didn’t manage 50 mph round the bend

The sculpture by Luke Perry (my how he gets about), The Rock Driller, depicts a miner drilling by hand at one of the thick seams. A hard gritty life stood on top of a ladder in pre-mechanised mining days. Down the side of the ladder there is an inscription.

Birdies

“The Devil made coal. Made it black like his heart and hid it in the deepest recesses of the earth that he would drive man mad in the finding of it.”

Towpath freedom

We returned to our mooring taking our time and once tied up the cat health and safety committee convened. Today being Saturday the car park alongside was deemed to be safe, so Tilly was granted a couple of hours shore leave to explore.

Free blueberry muffins

0 locks, 1.16ish miles, 0 magazine and food supplement, 0 newspaper, 1 hr 20 minutes pootle, 1 bump, 2 pools, 3562 birds, 3 toad stools, M5, 2 hours shore leave, 1 happy cat, 12 blueberry and yogurt muffins.

Up The Tat. 21st February

Dudley Port Basin to New Inns Road Bridge, BCN Titford Canal

Four years ago we had an early start, my brother Andrew and family were visiting and the four of us drove to Burton Joyce outside Nottingham to pick up a small bundle of black and white fur. Gosh Tilly was small. After a few hours of hiding behind the sofa she ventured out, once my brothers noisy family had left!

Tilly before she was Tilly only 3-4 months old

Since then she has become a dab paw at travelling the canals passing through thousands of locks and travelling the full length of the country (well navigable bits) by boat. She still has to reach the furthest east we can get, so the breadth is still to conquer. To celebrate her fourth anniversary she had to endure still having a wet neck from the flea treatment and being stuck in doors all day, not one tree climbed! Later on in the day I was allowed to put her collar back on, no more silent cat appearing at our heels as if by magic.

Tilly now ruling our lives at the age of four

Shortly after 10 am a Sainsburys van arrived and backed up ready to off load our shopping. Everything was in order just a large punnet of Blueberries with a sell by date of tomorrow. No way could we get through so many before they go off, so we handed them back to the driver. Before he left he handed them back to us to keep for free. I’ll have to make some muffins I think.

Crates of goodies

As soon as we untied we were blown off from our mooring, just a bit of engine required to help us turn towards the entrance of the basin before we got blown there. Then more was needed to turn back onto the canal and head eastwards.

Being blown off our mooring

A white box had attracted our attention yesterday as we’d crossed over the canal leading to Netherton Tunnel. Was this a water point not on our map? I had a vague remembrance of it being marked in Nicholsons, or having checked it before. I hopped off at the next bridge and walked up to look.

A new use!

A newish coat of white paint made the box stand out. It must have been a water point at some time, but most probably got turned off when the cottages below the aqueduct were done up, they possibly shared the same water main and would be charged for boaters filling up. But it seems it is now used for something else, a collection area for dog pooh bags!

Reflections

Approaching Oldbury Locks Junction we confused the horn blower below the M5. Mick signalled we were turning right but until our bow started to turn you could see he was poised to press his air horn.

Oldbury Locks

Now in front of us were the six Oldbury Locks which climb 38 ft up Tat Bank to the highest level of the BCN at 511 ft. The bottom of the locks was decidedly stinky, diesel on the surface and as Mick manoeuvred Oleanna around blobs rose from the depths and spread out on the surface. After a couple of locks the surface cleared up and the smell dissipated.

?!

You get very used to keeping an eye where you tread around locks, but today there was something unusual lurking in the grass for us. Mick picked it up to add to our mountain of rubbish.

Is that a familiar face up there?

One lock was empty, which was strange as I could make out someone in a red coat ahead who looked like they were working the locks. Were they going up or coming down? It didn’t take long to realise they were also heading up.

Looking down the locks

The wind was a touch keen so I’d set the next lock, raising the level just enough to get over the cills before heading back down to close the gate behind Mick. Once up the last lock we had reached our destination of a week ago, Titford Pump House, but storm Dennis had kept us in Birmingham.

Here at last

Two familiar faces walked towards us, it was Tim and Tracey Clark from NB Sola Gratia. We’d been following them up the locks, thankfully they had done most of the filling of the pounds as some had been very empty. We chatted for a while before they headed off to catch a train.

Titford Pump House

Next rubbish. At the end of the railings of the Pump House there is a gate, so we ferried our rubbish, waste and the iron round to the big skip. The wind was really quite strong now and anyhow we wanted some lunch. We pootled on to opposite the wonderfully atmospheric ruins of Langley Maltings before we pulled in and tied to some rings.

Highest section of the BCN

We’d soon made the decision to stop for the day as we seemed to be in the middle of another storm. So instead of exploring the Titford Pools and avoiding getting stuck in the narrows we sat in front of the stove and watched an old episode of Lewis before I jointed a large chicken for the freezer.

A Hammer House setting if ever there was one

6 locks, 3.05 miles, 1 windy wind, 3 straights, 2 rights, 2 seater sofa, 1 iron, 3 coconuts, 5 years since our last chat, 1 chicken now 5 meals, 6 boxes of wine, 2 many boaters jumping to conclusions, 1 episode of Lewis, 1 unnamed storm, 4 years of our second mate ruling our lives.

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.

When In Birmingham. 19th February

BUMingham

All the boats around us moved off this morning, some that way others the other, they were all getting or going to get a touch damp as the rain came and went for most of the day.

Tilly about to adjust the seating for a better view

I spent much of the day taking photos of the model for The Garden and persuading our new printer/scanner to actually scan my costume drawings. Not just part of them, but the whole drawing and in the format I wanted. It took forever, maybe I need to read the instructions! Or maybe it is just contrary!!

Rainy BUMingham days mean toy box days

Tonight is our last night in the centre of Birmingham for this visit, so we decided to head out for a curry. It would have been rude not to.

Having done a little bit of research before venturing out we looked at the menu in one restaurant on Broad Street and decided that our boaty shoes would show us up, even if the lighting was subdued, also our bank balance would appreciate us going elsewhere.

View down to the canal

In the end we chose to climb the stairs up to Barajee which sits on top of the canal. We’ve had a takeaway from here before. Their website has a legend for allergy symbols, although no symbols showed against any of their dishes. But inside the restaurant the menu had the reverse, so I knew I’d be avoiding anything that wouldn’t agree with me. We’d chosen Indian as I knew I’d have a lot to choose from rather than just Hunters chicken, steak or gammon all of which get a touch boring.

Curry

We chose a Murgh-e Achari and a Lamb Pista Badami, both of which we’ve never had before along with a sag bhaji. They were all very tasty, good choices and we only just ate a touch too much whilst being able to look down onto the canal. A good way to end our visit.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 last smiley man, 38 photos edited to 12, 1.5 hours scanning! 10 days early for white card, 1st pay cheque, 1 agent prod, 2 glasses wine, 2 new currys, 1 bowl of sag, 2 full contented boaters, 1 last night in BUMingham.