Wednesday 26 June 2019

Diet starts tomorrow.....

David had been invited out for a days golf with Nick, our soon-in-law's dad.  He was up bright and early getting his kit together and then was gone, picked up from the car park here leaving me an afternoon which I was pleased to say to spend alone, some shopping may have been involved too.

I took the car to Kidderminster, I even found the main shopping centre that the canal goes right past.

I enjoyed a walk around, followed my nose, getting lost and asking for help back to the car again.  I filled a basket in the M&S food department and eventually departed for Wolverley.

Googlemaps took me passed the Rose Theatre on the outskirts of Kidderminster and I saw that there was a production of The Vicar of Dibley on this week.  When I got back to WaL I went online to see if I could get tickets but alas, a sell out, which is marvellous for the theatre.

Not long after I returned I had a phone call from David to say get ready quickly as Nick was picking us up to take out to dinner.
Oh my what a fabulous place too.  Five miles away from the  canal at Iverley, The Crown.

We over ordered, the food was delicious and plentiful.  I had shared a platter, well okay I had shared two platters with David and Nick, one with meat and olives and the other with spring duck rolls.  Followed by Special Fish pie, and then homemade sorbet, raspberry and mango.

A lovely day and tremendous food at the end of it.  I have to say I really do like The Black Country, I could retire here.

Driven back to Wolverley, we thanked our taxi driver and waddled down the tow path. 

Day of Rest!

Well Reader, today just as if it was a Sunday, we took the day off.  
Yesterday with The Boat Sharers we had cruised for nine hours.  Normal for them, but not for us.

We had a stroll to Wolverley village.  Looked into the sweet looking cafĂ© in the village on the hill, but seeing as we had only walked for ten minutes we decided against coffee and cakes.

Walking through a meadow to the church,  (You don't have to, there is a road).

From the church, looking back at the lovely pub, The Lock at Wolverley.

I was fascinated by the stone and bricks used in this building.

Garage, caves cut into the sandstone cliffs.

My daughter Verity loves a good door, so these are for her.

The circular stroll led us towards the canal via this well trodden path.

I am not a fan of willow trees, and this seems to be a good use of them, carved into a dragon from GofT's.

The afternoon was spent, well, at the pub for a slow drink and then back onboard WaL.

Supper for me was cheesy mushrooms on toast.  David had decided to finish off odds and ends form the fridge.

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Are we nearly there yet?

Well we had to move this morning.  It was due to rain again but even so, we had to move to get to where we had left the cars so we had to move rain or no.  

Wet weather kit was donned by all, I had decided to wear shorts instead of waterproof trousers. I had got very cold in Birmingham that afternoon in soaking trousers plus I thought I'd get hot doing locks.
Surprisingly by the end of the day I had met three other women in shorts in the rain.

Our mooring last night at Merry Hill.

It wasn't long before Birthday Boy put his coat on.

And away we went.  Anyone ever done locks with three crews?  Its a breeze.  The Delph Flight first, no other boats in sight.

Happy woman doing locks all day.

I have to say I've seen discarded beams on lock sides in a better condition than this one.

The old stabling on the towpath.

WaL emerging.

David L being the Birthday Boy got to choose which job he did.

Plenty of water available.

I've not seen many Herons in trees, evidently they breed in trees, anyone ever seen a nest?

He was watching me.

Well we reached to bottom of the flight in pretty quick time and carried on, it's a bit dull but peering in people's gardens is a most amusing  way to spend time.
Coffees and snacks we had and then around a corner all of a sudden was the next flight, The Stourbridge Flight.  
Initially the locks are spaced out, I went ahead and prepped and left David and Amanda to work the boat down.

Just as before we whizzed along making light work of it.

Started to rain.....  

Now as we started this morning there was plenty of water going past in the by-washes, down here there was even more....  When I saw this By-wash I was concerned enough to walk back and let David Lewis see it before coming out of the lock.  As I waited to watch the heavens opened and I sheltered under a tree....

Pretty good flow going over the grass too on this By-wash.

Powerful flow but when WaL actually came out of the lock the flow was back inside the brick boundary.

I was right to have been concerned, a family of Moorhens were washed away right down the pound!

Then as quickly as it started, it stopped.  I wouldn't say that it was warmer.....

This, from what I can make out, it the last Bottle Kiln in Stourbridge.  Donkey's years ago we visited the then working Webb Corbett factory, we being my mother and myself.  
I was married so it was OMG 38 years ago!!!!!!  

We watched the men blow the glass.  They worked in small teams, with each team member having a particular job to perform for the glass blower to make the item.  I've always loved crystal and have a nice collection.  

Last year I was in my local charity shop just wanting some  liqueur  glasses and was delighted but horrified to find my pattern, that is "Regency" by Webb Corbett liqueur glasses.  This means that no body wants these glasses any more.  This amazing skill is lost in this country as no longer produced in the UK, but worse, not desired by this generation of homeowners.

Nearing the bottom of the flight, the ground had dried.

Rope marks on the beautiful old curved bricks

A visitors centre here, makes a very interesting visit.

So we finished the flight and carried on towards the junction between the Staffs to Worcester canal and the Stourbridge canal.  
We passed this;  

Question:  When does a vintage hull in need of restoration become a wreck?

It was about 2pm now.  We passed some fabulous moorings, but asked the Birthday Boy, what he wanted to do.  
"Oh we'll carry on won't we?"

Of course we did.  These Boat Sharers do miles and miles and miles when left to their own devices.

David Lewis's car was at Wolverley, so the aim was to go there.  When we got there the moorings were all surprisingly taken, so we went through the lock with the idea of winding (Turning around) at Kidderminster return and moor up below Wolverley lock on the other visitor moorings. 

First winding hole was impossible, the second was tried but it was two foot short of WaL's requirements.  The third was passed by, the fourth was attempted but at Falling Sands lock the space was so very shallow, so the final one before the basin at Stourport was attempted...

I think this was me up on the Delph Flight.

David Darling mending the horn.

Yep way too long for this winding hole at Kidderminster.

Finally we succeeded and retraced our steps back to Wolverely.  It was about 7pm so that was FIVE HOURS more than when David&I had seen a nice mooring.
That's Boat Sharers for you.

I cooked salmon and salad for supper (Well I opened packets) and then Key Lime pie.

We jumped into their car and they drove us back to Alvechurch to collect our car,  we called in on Marilyn and David for tea.  David has his surgery soon.  We wished him well and departed for WaL and bed.


What the ....!!!!!!

The next morning and its time to leave Birmingham.  David and Amanda had taken the rubbish up to Cambrian CART wharf for me and were having a good snoop around.  They were told that Dragon Boat Races were happening today at 10am, we loitered hoping to see, but at 10:40 nothing had happened so we untied and slipped away.  
But at Brindleyplace, it was warming up nicely.  The Teams were assembling, the races were at 11am.  
Oh well, we were under way now.

Teams of Vikings.

A partial team in Onesies.

Teams of Flamingoes.

Lok carefully to pick out Super Heroes.

We pootled around the corner and out of Tourist Central.  I was surprised to see these new builds on the loop at Icknield Port, at first I thought possibly student accommodation was told no these are for real people!  
Reminded me of pigeon lofts but I'm sure they'll be wonderful.

I think the beauty of the bridge is lost by this addition of a form of modern art.

David Lewis and I disappeared inside for him to strip down my gas hob.  I left Amanda and my David on the bridge with her sorting out the route, it's a bit all roads leading to Rome sort of thing but we did want the most straightforward road.
"Keep a look out for the islands" I said over my shoulder to both.  Our gas hob was a bit challenging to a cook, today only two rings were working and the second had to be lit by a match.  Not at all annoying.  Luckily our meals of choice are one pot dishes.  

David got out his Swiss Army Knife and took it apart, suddenly BOOOM!!!!! 

I fell sideways, as did every item inside WaL (admittedly they are not that many) but every item was on the floor or on their sides, all the drawers were open, jars fell out of the larder and David Lewis looked a bit white and was clutching at his heart....

No, it wasn't a gas explosion but that idiot husband, mesmerised by another woman had hit one of those bloody islands in the middle of the canal at forty miles an hour or that what it had seemed like.  
Not that I was cross......

I went up on deck "I'm sorry, I don't know how that happened"

Followed by;

"I was looking out for the islands honestly I was"

I told them that we need a doctor for David Lewis who had believed it to be a gas explosion had had a heart attack down stairs.  
We had coffee to settle the nerves while my David got entangled in the reeds that were growing all around the island and disguised it and continued to swear loudly at the situation.  Several more bumps nudges and a lot of bow thrusting as he tried the other way past the island but returned to the first side and finally getting lined up properly and passed through.

Now five years ago we bumped into them being new to Birmingham and had no idea they were there.  These islands are very low, dark in colour and built of brick and metal, sorry no photos, but masses of hirers come through here, I supposed they get warned but they are a little bit of a hazard.

You'll be glad to here that David Lewis recovered his health and general composure and mended it all the hobs with bravery and a bit of Norfolk magic.

Will you believe it Reader if I was to say we hit another island later?  Yes, I know its unbelievable, there are now four documented  and mapped islands on this Main Line section in our guide book highlighted and written too in large letters.  Don't hit them.

David Lewis took over the helm as we rounded the junction to the Netherton Tunnel.  On a bridge over the junction was a couple of walkers, they called out "Are you going throughout the tunnel?"  Yes we replied, "So are we!"  we didn't think much more about it until we were half was through, but they must have been mad, its long, very long, dark and wet but it does have a pavement it's a very long tunnel too.  

Amanda heard a family of ducks and ducklings within, I feared for them as the exits were so far away I don't think a duck would see them, let alone have the sense to swim towards.   Oh well the great circle of life.

It was pretty drippy so we three left David Lewis to it.  When finally WaL emerged, it was a torrential downpour!  

We or rather the men jumped on the first bit of mooring at Bumble Hole I think it is.
Phew, it was lengthy and heavy but final it stopped.  So equipped with coats and umbrellas we ventured out to walk to Ma Pardoe's Pub aka The Swan in Netherton.  A pub of some renown and brews it's own beer on the premises.  
The men liked it.  The pub is a throw back to when folk came to talk.  It was crowded with groups, some eating but most not.  Just talking.  Hardly a phone in sight.

These two photos by courtesy go Google images.

Is this the last holiday with out Boat Sharers?

Around the corner and on a lot was the one and only lock of the day.  We didn't know how Amanda would cope with only one lock to do.  If she minded she hid it well.
We watered up here at Blowers Green I think it's called.  The rubbish point was well hidden, but I can't be beaten in rubbish disposal!

Looking towards the Dudley canal, open on special days throughout the year.

WaL watering up.

Looking south with the one and only lock today open and ready on the right.

Information boards all along the way of canals.

Best bit of warm sunshine we had today.

So on we went, not so very far and eventually arrived at Merry Hill, it's a vast shopping place, with a few pubs too.
Well would you Adam and Eve it?  Just look who is here!  
If you don't know then I refer you back to yesterday's post;
NB Yarwood.

She is looking very clean, shiny and loved, something that will please her last owners for sure.  

We moored up and took David Lewis to his last pub of the day (All Birthday treats for him)   HERE   

He had been told about it and he text a friend of his who is from The Black Country and this friend reported back that he was very envious as it is the best pub in the country, the beer is all brewed here too.    

Now my David has a spacial place for Batham's in his heart having been brought here by Nick, our son-in-law's dad five years ago.  David like many others considers this the best beer in the world, (Maybe David Lewis does now too).  At our daughter's wedding Nick brought down a barrel of Bathams and it proved very very very very popular.  
So Reader if you are near, pass by at your peril.

Photo of The Vine from Google images.

Back to WaL for a supper of spaghetti Bolognese, followed by Eton strawberry Mess, delicious thank you both.