Sunday, 29 September 2013

Oooops Splash and a wonderful welcome to Birmingham

Earlswood to Cambrian Wharf, Birmingham
12 miles, 0 locks

Yet another glorious autumn day.  Today’s sky as we left this morning for our run to Birmingham. 

Now to the splash – no it was not either of us or anything belonging to us, but it certainly gave us both a big surprise.  We had stopped at bridge 5 on the Stratford Canal for water and our first experience of these new-fangled water taps.  
 The first one did not work at all, so onto the next with success.  Having filled the tank we were both by the tap with our backs to the canal when all we heard was a skid and a splash.  We turned around to see a youngish man standing there watching his bike disappear under the water!!  He said the bike skidded on the damp towpath and that he managed to jump clear before the bike hit the cut.  Out came our trusty magnet and the boat pole and I am glad to say we managed to retrieve it for him and he went on his way a little shocked and with a rather drippy bike, but none the worse for his ordeal.   Well we hope he wasn’t.  We would both to know what he said when he went home!

Before we knew it we were at Kings Norton Junction

and then the first signs that we were heading for a large city.

There was a short stop at Selly Oak – Monty and I stayed with the boat whilst Chris popped in to Sainsbury’s for the paper and a few essentials.   The access is by the railings well before the bridge.  

Then it was full steam ahead for Birmingham.  A restaurant boat was winding at bridge 84a and they kindly waited for us to pass behind before completing the manoeuvre. 

This was the first big building we spotted in central Birmingham – it is near the Mail Box and, we think, it is relatively new.  Certainly different.

The sky is unbelievable for mid afternoon at the end of September, but much appreciated.
Last time we came this way there were mooring bollards in the Mail Box – very convenient for Tesco Express, but they have now been removed.

Then as we rounded the corner heading towards Worcester Bar

We got a wonderful welcome from a man waving his arms and saying ‘do you remember me?  I hope you enjoyed your review?’.(We did!)  Yes it was none other than Andrew Denny from Waterways World on his boat
He was hurrying off one way and we continued on to Cambrian Wharf where we secured a good mooring for the night.  Safe and free!  We will probably stay here tomorrow, so who knows we may yet catch up with Andrew.  
We discovered when we arrived that they had the first ever floating market in Birmingham this weekend – the story of our lives – a day late and a dollar short!  This is one of the boats on it’s way home! We are wondering if the event is to be reported in WW?  Is that why Andrew is here??  We shall see.
This is the view from our bow of the new Birmingham Library – our daughter, son in law and two children visited today.  If we had arrived about an hour earlier we could have met up with them.  Hey ho!  The library is on the ‘to do’ list for tomorrow.

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