Lived on-board Hadar

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Black Country Living Museum.

Saturday 2nd August.

Black Country Living Museum.

Having had the best nights sleep in a while, we were woken by rain tip toeing on the roof of the back cabin. This was not what we wanted, as we were going to spend the day looking around the museum. By the time we endeavoured to get out of bed however the rain had stopped and the sun was trying to put in an appearance. The Black Country Living Museum, tells a wonderful story of the history of the Black Country through the exhibitions and reconstructed buildings of the period. The place oozes with history, it gives you a real incite into life of the period.
We did the underground coalmine tour. We had to don hard hats, and then walked into the gloom, where we were told of the conditions they worked in, listened to dialogue and saw mock ups of how the men worked, to make it more realistic our torches were only the light of a candle. Miners lives were short ones, they only ever really reached the age of 30 years old. 180 men a year would die from mining accidents, which is really shocking.
A real must is to experience the taste of their Fish and Chips fried in Beef Dripping like the old days, OMG they were well worth the queuing and the £5 each.Whilst waiting for our Fish and Chips we were entertained by some street entertainment, this one involved an argument between two women over a man. (Nothing changes). The costumed characters are really friendly and play a huge part in making the place seem real. One of the real characters is the policeman, who really was a policeman in real life. He was great with his jokes and getting the public to join in.
Keith and I enjoyed a ride on the bus and tramcar around the village, which is free; they do ask for a donation though to help to keep the buses running.The buildings are really fantastic and so authentic, you can chat to characters in the houses, shops and the workshops, they even have a school, where the kids of today realise how cushy they have it these days.Not only can you eat their fish and chips you can also try their beer at the pub. But what ever you do, do not ask for a pint of lager.If you are going to go to the Black Country Museum, you do need a whole day to take it all in, as you need to walk around all the different places, the toll house, cottages, the village and much more.
Later in the afternoon, we moved Hadar towards the tunnel on a 49 hour mooring, behind Stuarts Blue Top working boat Anne, that way we were away from the road bridge and out of everyone else’s way who were trying to come in, as Sharpness the tunnel tug had moored opposite against two BW boats, so it was tight to get a boat in, especially if you’re a hirer and not so sure of your widths.
One of the things the Dudley Tunnel Trust does now is weddings in the tunnel.We were fortunate enough to bare witness to the Bride, Groom and wedding party coming out of the tunnel. Both the bride and groom looked stunning as did the bridesmaids. So if you fancy a wedding with a difference, why not try the Dudley Tunnel.
We had a fabulous day and will definitely come back again. They have new buildings going up, which should be ready in 5 years time, so we will have to come back again to see what improvements they have made to a wonderful place.

Sunday 3rd July.

A day in which we would be busy little beavers, plus make new friends.
It all began with us getting up at around 8 am, as we could hear people up and about outside and boats were leaving the museum moorings, so we felt it was time to get out of bed.
First duty of the morning was to walk Paddy, to do this we needed our BW key to take him out of the museum moorings area and onto some grass. He found what looked like a chicken bone, so I had to prize his jaws open to get it out of his mouth. Paddy was not giving in easily, but it had to be done, because not only are chicken bones bad for dogs, he has a very sensitive stomach, so I had images of upset tummies etc ewww. Back on the boat he did get his two breakfast biscuits as usual.
Keith and I then set about cleaning the boats brass, not only did we do the outside; we even did the brass inside the boat. Just as well I don’t like manicured nails, because they were as black as your hat by the time we had done. But the boat looked nice. By this time people were beginning to come in to the museum, as it opens at 10 am. Keith was in his element answering questions on Hadar’s engine, and I answered the questions on the back cabin. Parents would ask if their children would be allowed to have a look inside, to see how they would of lived in the olden days ha ha ha (we are still living like it, to a point). I was happy to sit them in the boatman’s cabin and explain the where for’s and what not’s. Some seemed shocked that there was no TV in those days and that they would be working from a young age. They do not know how easy they have it these days do they?
We spent a fabulous day, chatting to the public and those people who work at the museum. Just as the opening time at the museum was drawing to a close. Ian and Becky on N.B Marcellas came thudding into the museum moorings and we invited them to moor alongside us, which they duly did, followed closely by two other boats owned by Becky’s sister and brother.
We ended up three abreast, completely blocking the way to the tunnel, just as well no one was going through.So there was us on the inside, then Marcellus and Working Boat Seaford. We spent the rest of the day chatting to them and their families. There are not many what I call real boat families around any more, but Becky was telling me her parents had been boating for more than 50 years and it is in the blood. Kenton, Becky and Verity have followed in their footsteps and kept the tradition going along with their partners and children, which I think is fantastic. If any of them are looking in to the diary. Thank you for the most wonderful evening, we really did enjoy all the banter, it was so wonderful to see the children playing, whilst we all nattered and ate our dinners on the back of the boats. It turned into quite a little gathering, because N.B Patience also moored up and they are going to be on the BCN Explorer Cruise with us.The time got on and it was soon 8.30 pm, it was time to all descend into our own boats, as the children would be getting ready for bed and infect the evening had turned decidedly chilly. So we said good evening and disappeared. They would all be off early in the morning.

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