Friday May 3rd 2013
Birmingham to Shirley Drawbridge, Stratford Canal
Well, back at home on 9th May and time to get blogging after a week with no or very slow internet access!
3rd May; Dave took this picture last night as we walked the dog before bedtime. These are the gated flats between the Sea Life Centre and the bridges leaving Birmingham on the way to Tipton and Dudley. You can see how quiet the canals have been - only one other boat mooring tonight on this stretch.
Another lovely morning. We chose a good mooring spot to be in the sun morning and evening, but not so good for the dog; if she is still with us next time we come this way we will go down to Cambrian Wharf where there is grass. After washing off the ketchup which some wag had applied to the back of the boat, we set off towards Edgbaston passing our yesterday’s lunch stop.
We turned at the Mailbox into a cold headwind funnelling down the canal which stayed with us till we reached the university to visit the Barber Institute art gallery, our first destination for today. We moored at bridge 84a, where the uni has a mooring (though we didn’t get a response when we requested permission to use it, it seemed to be fine). Unfortunately this was a good 20+ minute walk from the gallery and we would have been better off opposite the uni’s hydrogen boat project near bridge 82 and the station. But it was well worth the effort! It is quite a small gallery, so no cultural indigestion, yet there are works by artists such as Degas, Monet, Gainsborough, Gaugin, Rubens, van Gogh, Magritte, Botticelli …. and it’s free, they just ask for donations. http://barber.org.uk/
We went on down to the Sainsbury’s at bridge 80 and stopped to get supplies and have a late lunch. We didn’t set off again till after 3, passing the scruffy but secure moorings at Bournville, which look a little better than last year now that the burnt-out plastic boat has been removed. There is a delay on Debby's digital camera which means that unless the camera is already switched on, shots taken from the side of the boat often don't quite come out as intended!
The guillotine lock at King’s Norton is in a lot better shape than when we came this way a few years ago!
The brasses on this boat were in fabulous condition and put ours to shame! It's difficult to see in the photo but its name is Brasso.
During the afternoon we heard a cuckoo in the distance, and at last have seen some bluebells in flower. We moored a couple of hundred yards before Shirley drawbridge, in the countryside again at last.