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The name describes my demeanour and voice! I love narrowboating and that is why this blog is mainly about the boat and our interaction with it. I have been keeping a log for Sonflower ever since we bought her and moved onto her as our main residence. Some incidents in our boating life have been hilarious, some scary and some down right dangerous. I cannot tell what will come in the future but you can now share them! The crew are an 'ordinary' couple. The Best Mate and I.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Birmingham in the Rain

Thanks to the Best Mate who was undertook nonagenarian caring duties Alex and I went to take the boat to Birmingham City Centre.

This was how we found her tied up. Obviously we had been untied at the stern and someone had retied her with both my stern lines and as many knots as they could tie around the bollard and the swan neck as well as the tee posts! Thank you to the kind hearted soul who pulled her in.

A retired vicar conversed with us for a few minutes, prompted by the WWC  labels in the windows. He told us there was a lot of traffic coming out if Birmingham.  "Good, I replied, that will help us"

We left in rain. I had Alex on board as crew and enjoyed his company. About a half hour into the cruise we came across steaming narrowboat tug Laplander. Murphy's Law applies and she was under the factory over the canal when we passed so I could not get a pretty picture
 Thence to Salford Junction, the spaghetti junction of the waterways. I always have to ask myself which way we need to turn.
The real "spaghetti junction" (A38(M) and M6 intersection) is about half a mile further on but that is the M6 above us. Passing Cookoo Wharf we said "hello" to the crew of nb Norfolk Belle who we expect to see at Banbury Canal Day next weekend. Aston locks were all set for us and we met a couple of boats coming out of Birmingham. The rain persisted.

We met nb Kew at the foot of Farmers Bridge locks and took our lunch on board. They were returning from Parkhead Festival and had a milk bottle of bitter real ale on board, bought at discount from the closing bar. It refreshed me. The WWC for central Birmingham was their lock wheeling crew down Farmers Bridge flight and we took him with us to re-tread his steps as he needed to get to an appointment elsewhere later in the day. After the first of the FB locks I felt guilty having so many hands and sent Alex back to nb Kew to replace him. The rain stopped once we were under the shelter of the buildings that cover the secretive flight of 13 locks that form the staircase to the highly developed central Birmingham exhibition quarter.

This is the iconic view to remember Farmers Bridge by with the  Telecoms tower in the background.
My crew had to leave me to do the last three locks on my own but as they were set ready by Kew's descent he opened the bottom gates of the last two for me as he passed. I arrived at the top and backed into a mooring in Cambrian Wharf at about 5pm.
This is the first time I have had every lock on Aston and Farmers Bridge Flights (24 locks) in our favour. Indeed a good road today.

Now I had to consult Traveline and check out buses. I followed their map and route to Bus Stop CS1 on Corporation Street and got a 63 bus to Erdington where the car was parked. Under and hour later I was ready to rendezvous again with nb Kew and Alex.
Here Kew positions herself across the canal to moor near the Tyburn pub where we enjoyed a dinner together with her crew before we left to return to Banbury.

                                                                          5.1/4miles, 24 locks   6 hours

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