Monday 29th May; Hopwood to Alvechurch
It rained overnight and was overcast in the morning. The boats around us had mostly gone by 9; several were hire boats from Alvechurch and needed to be back by 10. We weren’t intending to go far today, just to the long pound between the top two locks of Tardebigge, and as our mooring was so lovely we delayed starting off and got on with a few jobs. Dave began staining and varnishing the new veneer on the wardrobe yesterday, so he did another coat of that, and I cleaned through the boat. We had a leisurely coffee listening to the larks, thrushes, wrens, etc before getting going late morning. There are towpath works starting in the long cutting between Hopwood and the Bittel reservoir. You can see how shallow the edges are here.
The little fishing lake which was looking very new and stark a couple of years ago is now established and a match was taking place.
There was a boat with no name at the reservoir moorings but it certainly had interesting artwork. Perhaps the boat’s build had been rather difficult?
We pulled in at the empty Alvechurch visitor moorings for a spot of lunch and got chatting to a chap called Ian. He had helmed NB Cecilia yesterday on the BCN 24-hour challenge and was waiting for the rest of the crew to bring her along. As Cecilia is a community boat, CRT will be allocating them a designated mooring here but it is not marked out yet. They were busy having a chat and a coffee at Hopwood when we passed so he would have had to wait a while! Apart from having to remove a large tarpaulin from the prop at an early stage of the challenge they had had fun although Ian loathed the Walsall canal. But it soon started raining and he decided to go home.
It tipped down for several hours and put paid to our notion of getting to Tardebigge.
But boats were on the move in spite of the weather. We felt very sorry for the Anglo-Welsh and Alvechurch hirers who were starting or ending their holidays in such dire weather.
Cecilia arrived while it was still raining. They unloaded their stuff and had disappeared before it finally gave over, well after 5. Meg eventually got taken for a decent walk. During the evening we watched a heron trying unsuccessfully to catch his tea.
This morning I saw a crow try to take a fish from the middle of the canal but couldn’t say whether it was successful. It’s not something we’ve seen before – the closest was a crow hopping along the offside edge with its eye on a newly hatched brood of ducklings. That failed too I am glad to say (though clearly the crow was only behaving naturally, it didn’t have the ‘fluffy factor’ so of course we were inclined to take the ducklings’ side).