We remained at the moorings at Trent Bridge in Nottingham for a whole week with our solar panels happy to soak up the almost continuous sunshine. We never had to run our engines at all in order to charge the batteries.
We were lucky enough to have visits from numerous friends. Ray arrived one evening complete with dinner for us all, which we enjoyed enormously. Thank you for your kind and generous gesture Ray.
On a further evening we spent a very pleasant few hours with Mel and her friends Ann and Sharon in a noisy and absolutely heaving West Bridgeford pub called ‘The Stratford’ (I think).
On four other separate evenings we had visits from Neil, Jane, Pina and Ken, Peter, Jay and Andy so we did very well for friends thinking of us. During the daytime we went on many walks and on one occasion biked as far as the Attenborough Nature Reserve which was most rewarding.
A Lapwing at Attenborough Nature Reserve
In the end we dragged ourselves away from Nottingham on Wednesday 10th September and whizzzzzed down to Birmingham in eight days. It was fast for us; well… I call an average speed of 1.61 mph almost speeding anyway and with a total of sixty locks, I think we did marvellously well. We didn’t do our usual dawdling trick either and spent only one night at each of our moorings.
Departure from Trent Bridge
So we fled up the River Trent and then onto the Trent and Mersey Canal to frenzied Fradley Junction without batting an eyelid. Here we joined the Coventry Canal as far as Fazeley Junction, turning finally onto the very quiet Birmingham and Fazeley Canal.
The tiny Bridge 50 at Keeper’s Lock Fradley Junction
The ‘Swan’ at Fradley Junction
Quiet mooring near Fradley Village
Nearing Birmingham we passed beneath busy ‘Spaghetti Junction’ at Salford Junction where the traffic noise was deafening and navigated with care onto the Aston Branch of the Birmingham Canal System.
Disney-like Tolson’s Footbridge on the Birmingham & Fazeley canal
This was on the last day’s passage up to Old Turn Junction in the centre of the city, right by the National Indoor Arena. It meant that we worked a total of twenty seven locks in that period of eight and a half hours, including the eleven of the Aston Flight and immediately afterwards, another thirteen up the almost subterranean Farmers Bridge Flight, beneath closely packed and built, high multi-storey buildings.
Entering the Aston Branch at Salford Junction
A subterranean lock on the Farmer’s Bridge Flight
At last! The roof of the NIA at the top in the background
All that happened last Wednesday, the 17th September and since then Janis and I have been enjoying Birmingham enormously. We have visited the Museum and Art Gallery and taken tea in the beautiful Edwardian Restaurant on most afternoons. We have spent a lot of money in the extensive outdoor and indoor markets.
On Friday Ray revisited us and after dinner we three went to the Crescent Theatre to see ‘The Lord of the Flies’, a chilling and thought provoking adaptation of William Golding’s novel.
On Saturday afternoon Janis and I ambled down to New Street Station to welcome my delightful friend Nushara who lives in Thailand, and her friend Benchamas. The two ladies earlier in the week had visited London on business and before returning home I was thrilled to know that they wanted to come to see me. Neither lady had visited Birmingham before so they were very happy also to come all the way to see some of the city in the short time they had available. As well as their good will they brought lots of gifts with them too so the least Janis and I could do was to offer them a bed on board for the night, which they accepted and I hope enjoyed. The following morning after coffee at the Edwardian Restaurant they caught the train back to London for their return trip to Thailand.
Two hours later we had a quick visit from Peter and Rick, who had stopped off on their way to Liverpool from Stratford-upon-Avon, where they had been to see a play. Rick’s sister is a member of the RSC and had been in performance there. My brother David, who lives at Stratford and is a keen Shakespearean has told me that the lady is a very accomplished actor.
Today we’ve been on our own so we’ve been able to catch up with tasks that needed to be done, like blogging for example and this morning in cooler sunshine, we walked the four miles there and back to nearby Lidl in order to replenish our provisions that were getting low.
That set us up quite nicely for the day and later this evening we are off to the Crescent Theatre once more; this time to see ‘My Boy Jack’ about the unfortunate World War I career of Rudyard Kipling’s son. It sounds moving but powerful.