------- les Francais ayant une aire de pique-nique ----- right outside our back doors!!! We were having lunch inside and suddenly there was all this noise. Okay, we were in centre of Birmingham so you can expect more than just birdies tweeting and ducks a-quacking, so we carried on with lunch. Then climbed the back steps with our cuppas and - voila !! - madness on the towpath. Several French families had set up a table and chairs and cooker and were having their lunch too - unfortunately I couldn’t spot any vin - rouge ou blanc ou meme rose - (spoil sports) - in a VERY noisy fashion which I think is quite typical for them if I remember correctly from several holidays many years ago in the South of France! I was also trying to spy if they had tents and sleeping bags but couldn’t see anything that resembled such nice-ities of camping in England in May.
Then Dai dispelled my illusions of such open air antics ---- the world champion BMX cycling event was taking place at the NIA and obviously they were just enjoying a spot of sunshine on the canal towpath instead of eating inside the arena --- but I still have to wonder why they chose to picnic right by our back doors. Perhaps they thought they could pretend to be boaters for a little while?? Or perhaps their provisions and picnic table/chairs became too heavy to carry on anywhere else. So, in the spirit of Europeaness, I smiled and didn’t shoo them away and, in any case, before they had departed, a boat moored on the other side of the canal upped anchor so we shunted over as we do prefer to be on the “Sea Life Centre” side as it’s a bit less hectic with cyclists and tourists.
Yes, we toured the Bull Ring Markets and got plenty of fruit, veg and meat bargains - it really is worth the stroll down there as there are lots of stalls and lots of value to be had - especially if you are prepared to barter like we are!
We left there on Friday and moved up (or rather, I guess, “down”) to Alvechurch where we stayed over the weekend in the glorious sunshine with lots of grassy towpath. Alvechurch village is only a short walk down the dip where there is a smallish Co-op, 2 butchers, bakers, post office, greengrocers.
Had a splendid night out at the pub, and then Sunday dinner on Jandai, with friends Martine and Phillippa of Cool Canals who we hadn’t seen for many months - they are currently moored in the marina there as deadlines loom for their next book.
So, today we are moored at the top of Tardebigge Flight (well, not strictly accurate, we have gone down the Top Lock as there are lovely moorings between that lock and the next one) and plan is to go down the 30 lock flight tomorrow Thursday (ok, ok, so we have done one so only have 29 more to go!!). No doubt we will be up early as we are surrounded by bleating lambs, anxious ewes and a VERY noisy cockerel who just doesn’t stop cock-a-doodling-do!
Since last blog we have done … 13 miles and 1 locks
Total since Setting Off ….. 1781 miles and 1391 locks
|What a Splendid Bull|
love his coat to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee
|centre of Birmingham on a hot sunny day|
with lots of people quenching their thirst!
|Phillippa and Martine waving us off|
|Breakfast please - just pass it out of the side hatch|
|info board as you go into the Tunnel|
|going by Birmingham University|
|yes - hot and sunny enough even for Dai !|