Wednesday, July 4, 2012

White Gold

You may remember me saying last week how much we had saved in the Birmingham Bullring Markets ------ well, last Saturday in Curdworth I thought I had at least purchased a mammy cow in the village shop.    We are used to paying around 89p for litre of milk in the supermarkets and around a pound in villages - well, this took the biscuit (or perhaps I should say “cup of tea”).    I guessed it would be around a pound cos there were no prices marked at all on anything in the shop but we needed some cow juice (one of Dai’s many quaint sayings!!) so I fetched a carton out of the fridge and proceeded to the counter.   Guess ------ (clue in the title of this blog) ---- £1.20.    Perhaps they package wine in milk cartons in this part of the world?    £1.20, it is so true.   Talk about being ripped off.    I still can’t believe it as I tell you.

What other excitement this last week?    Well, we had some luck with the weather on Friday (no rain until we moored) as we moved from centre of Birmingham down Farmers Bridge Locks (13 of them), then down Aston Locks (11) onto the Birmingham and Frazley Canal, then 3 more locks at Minworth - yes, all in one day - and couldn’t find anywhere we wanted to moor so proceeded on and finally moored just before the flight of 11 locks at Curdworth.   We were looking directly at the M6 Toll Road but no vehicle noise at all ----- instead it was coming from the M42 which was a bit over to our right but not enough to deter us as we certainly didn’t want another load of locks before mooring up!   27 in one day is quite enough thank you!

Then we met up with 2 sets of boaters (must be a special name for a “set of boaters”?) in one day while still in Birmingham City Centre - unbelievable!!    We can go weeks or even months  without seeing another soul that we know.    Bit like those buses who all arrive together!     So we had a great night in the pub with Irene and Ian off Freespirit and Roger ’n’ Pat from Cat’s Whiskers (who had the next full build slot at Kingfishers after us).    Poor old Roger took some stick but coped with all the teasing about not being real boaters (as they are fleeing the UK for next winter for much sunnier climes).

Was first time this last week that we ever heard of a canal being closed because of too much water!!    Yes, the Birmingham and Worcs was shut between Worcester and top of Tardebigge Lock Flight for a day after all those thunderstorms.    Whatever next?      Well, we moored last two nights right next to Kingsbury Water Park which is a 600 acre landscaped park with 30 lakes and pools created from gravel pits worked over the last 50 years and it was way too muddy and boggy to explore all these water features!!

Today we are now moored opposite Alvecote Marina just through Tamworth.   We haven’t planned terribly well though as it’s Dai’s birthday tomorrow and nowhere nice to go out for a meal within miles and miles ----- we’ll just have to pretend he’s not 60 on Thursday (Dai doesn’t want to remember anyway!!) and wait till we get somewhere else.

Since last blog we have done … 19 miles and 40 locks  (this is NOT a misprint!!)
Total since Setting Off ….. 1845 miles and  1545 locks

Start of Spaghetti Junction of motorways at
Gravelly Hill in Birmingham taken as we passed under

Canal's version of Spaghetti Junction??
Enlargement of signage you can see in pic above.
We came from City Centre and turned
towards Tamworth

the next couple of photos show you that we aren't
always in the countryside!!
We quite enjoyed this part of our journey
because it was so different ---- but, yes, glad to
get back into open countryside at end of the day

Factory built over canal - solid on one side
and you can see the pillars on the other side

just how wierd is this footbridge??
Must have been built by the
Drayton Manor Park owners as it is
pretty close to the theme park which
we passed but only the entrance.
Dai wouldn't look for a way we could sneak in!

----- looking from canal over some of the Kingsbury Park lakes

looks lovely doesn't it - but knee deep in mud on footpaths


  1. I'm told the Samuel Barlow at Alvecote Marina does pretty good food. Are you now out of range of there?

  2. I'm curious about that signpost under the motorway... I see the numbers have been changed. Has the signpost been moved, or has urban sprawl brought the towns closer together since the junction and signpost were built?


  3. ha ha ---- think all this rain must have shrunk the lengths!!