Lived on-board Hadar

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Black Country Living Museum to Birmingham.

Monday 4th August.

Black Country Living Museum to Birmingham. 9.2 miles and 3 locks.

Neither of us had, had a particularly good nights sleep, we have no idea why though. Becky, Ian and the others all left around 6.30 am for their days cruising to Tixall. We went back to sleep for a while. When we did eventually get out of bed, it was time for us to leave the Black Country Museum, to head back towards Birmingham, ready for the BCN Explorer Cruise, so having filled up with water and emptied the loo, we said cheerio to Stuart, who we would see again at the Shackerston Festival. Keith turned the key and Hadar coughed into life. We then headed back out from whence we came. This time though we would take Telford’s Canal, where there would be less water weed. We had to clear the prop after we arrived, and found we had a carrier bag full of weed and rubbish around the prop. I had the three Factory locks to do, which were pretty easy, we did need the anti-vandal key to un-lock the paddles. We met a Black Prince hire boat coming up through the first of the locks and they told us that they got to the first lock and were stuck, as they had no anti-vandal key, so they had to ring the company and someone bought a key out, it seems someone had forgotten to leave a key onboard for them. I could not help but notice her attire, which was not really designed for boating, white trousers and top, with flip flops on her feet, but hey each to their own. I always wear good footwear, as I would hate to catch a toe or lose a shoe whilst stepping on and off the boat, not to mention the fact that it would be easy to slip whilst wearing flip flops. On our saunter we only saw four other boats moving, three of those were hire boats and the other was a BW work boat. It was so quiet on the water; the only other things moving on the water were the waterfowl. A juvenile heron took flight; it perched on a disused telegraph pole, as if on guard or lookout. The water had turned from a crystal clear pool, teaming with fish and aquatic plants, to a black nothingness. We could no longer see the bottom, which may have been a good thing.

No matter where you were along the route, you were never far away from either industry, a road, railway or Brindley’s canal, and yet even though there are parts which look desolate and probably moreso in the winter. With all the flora out in flower it was rather beautiful. We saw Foxglove, Evening Primrose, Golden Rod, Wild sweet Pea, Yellow Ragwort, Red Campion, Common Poppies, Tufted Vetch, Willowherb, Teasel and so much more. There was no lack of wildlife either, Heron, Mallards, Coot, Moorhen, Emperor Dragonflies, Butterflies the list could go on forever, so even though the outskirts of Birmingham may seem desolate, really its not, you just have to see what is underneath the surface. Even the derelict buildings had a purpose, they were home to the pigeons and the walls were home to Buddleia, Rowan’s, Nettles etc. Mother Nature has a way of putting things to a good use.

It is remarkable how well some of the cast iron bridges have survived the test of time and the elements, they stretch across the canal, having watched time change. If only they could talk, I bet there are many tales they could tell. As always Graffiti was never far away, if there was a blank space it was sprayed on. ‘John 4 Debbie’ I wondered if they are still an item or it was just wishful thinking on his part?

Ben 10 inch, was that his nose, his hair length what? (Ok I am not that daft really). Just because he was bragging did not mean it was actually true and if he has to brag then it probably means it is more like 4 inch.

It was not long before we were heading through Galton Tunnel and under Engine Arm Aqueduct.

We could now see Birmingham, with its high rise apartments and building cranes towering into the afternoon sky.

We found a place on the 14 day moorings and tied up; this will be home until we set off with the other boats on the BCN Explorer Cruise. The Sherbourne Wharf trip boat came past during the afternoon, giving its commentary of when the NIA was built. I wonder how many times they have given that same commentary and know it off by heart. Canada Geese had caught Marmites attention as she sat on the back counter. She likes to stalk something way above her station; still it kept her occupied for a couple of hours. There were piercing screams coming from the far towpath, so I had to find out what was going on. From the back counter it became clear it was no one in trouble, just a child enjoying the sound of her own scream. Her mother made the situation worse by shouting at her to stop, which clearly fell on deaf ears, as she continued until she disappeared out of sight. Now she is probably horse, so peace will rein in their household. If I had done that as a child, I would have been given a clip around the ear.

Tuesday 5th August.

Bleary eyed we are woken up by Marmite walking across the bed. She was announcing the fact that it was 8 am and she wanted her breakfast. Rain was thudding on the roof, which was not a good sign. This being August we were kind of hoping the sun would be shining. But it seems that the summer is never going to really get going this year, yet again.

We crawl out from under the covers, get dressed. Keith puts the kettle on, sets up breakfast, whilst I climb into my wet weather gear, to take Paddy for his walk. As usual I switch on the radio, we have BRMB tuned in, which is Birmingham’s radio station, announced on the news, was the serious road accident actor Morgan Freeman was involved in, leaving him with a broken arm, but he was going to be ok following an operation, which is good news. Marmite in the meantime was complaining loudly that she is not getting fed, so there is nothing for it, I give in, filling her dish with Tuna. She is soon silenced, head buried in her dish. Cats really do own their home and their owners. Paddy on the other hand just sits and waits for me to get my coat and shoes on so he can go out. He soon realised it was not going to be a dry walk. Paddy does make me giggle, because he will walk around every puddle, meaning I have to walk through them if I am not to fall into the canal. One of these days I will take a photo of his depressed expression when he is wet. Due to the weather conditions he was in a hurry to get back to the boat and his breakfast. I have to towel him down otherwise he showers the back cabin when he shakes the rain off of his long coat.

With the rain still falling, it looks like we will not be going far today. At present there are no other boats moored near us that are doing the BCN Explorer Cruise, but we are keeping our eyes peeled for them. Keith has written out the list of 33 boats supposed to be doing the cruise.
Having had lunch and spent best part of the morning on the net, the rain looked like it was dwindling, so we decided to make use of our free Nokia cinema tickets, to go and see ‘The X Files, I want to believe’. Neither of us saw much of the series, but the film looked good from the previews, so we headed for the cinema, handing over our tickets for seats and our free popcorn combo. There were only Twelve people in screen 7 for the performance of the X Files, twelve including Keith and I. The movie we thought was very good. Billy Connelly gave an excellent performance as a psychic, who was helping to find an FBI agent, who had been taken by a man to use for body parts. If you’re a Mulder and Scully fan then it is a must see. However if you are a little squeamish, when it comes to blood then be prepared for dismembered body parts and blood. I will say I am squeamish, and find I cannot watch anything horrific, but this film was fine, I really enjoyed it. By the time we came out of the cinema, it was clear we had, had more heavy rain, it was holding off long enough for us to get back to Hadar, where Paddy was waiting for his dinner. He knows exactly when it is 5pm and teatime, so he hates to wait. Keith took Paddy for his evening walk and we are now settled in for the evening listening to the weather report, which does not look good. A Canada goose is honking loudly outside our galley window, so he does not agree with the weather report either. There is very little on the TV again this evening, still we have the Olympics coming in the next couple of days, so there will be plenty to watch then if you are into sport. See you tomorrow.

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