Saturday, 16 September 2017


Friday 15th and Saturday 16th September; staying put in Birmingham

We like to spend a couple of days in Birmingham, so on Friday we didn’t hurry to get up and then cooked ourselves some breakfast.  I wanted to call in at the BBC studios in the Mailbox this morning as I am a big Archers fan and there appeared to be a tour running on Saturday.  You can only book online and it was lucky I checked the Ts&Cs as they require photo ID – a passport (which is at home) or a driving licence (mine is the old sort without a photo).  I wanted to know whether a bus pass would do but they couldn’t say; I would need to phone the correct department.  I also had to get a few bits and pieces in the shops, so Dave and Meg grabbed the opportunity for a decent walk.  They went along the towpath and round the Soho loop and I think they had the better deal - I hate shopping.  After lunch I went over to the Spring Hill Tesco to restock the cupboards, then we just chilled.  The weather was ok and the party boats were having fun as they passed.  The late sun caught the buildings with golden light.

sunset colours in birmingham

I called the BBC number to discover that it would only have a tiny bit about the Archers, and would mostly be about BBC Midlands – probably very interesting if it’s your local area, but it’s not mine.  Ah well.

So Dave booked us tickets for the Sea Life Centre for Saturday morning.  That was great!  I took photos on my phone – no flash, and a bit distorted through 4” glass, but the fishy denizens were fascinating as always.  Mo the turtle was rescued I think and has a massive pool to live in which you walk underneath and through via a tunnel.  Amazing.

mo the turtle

Living with her are sharks and all sorts of brilliant fishy things.  This is the underneath of something that I think is a ray as it swims above my head.


These are definitely rays, from another pool.  They appeared to be having fun swimming repeatedly through the stream of aerating bubbles.

ray enjoying stream of bubbles

There were some beautiful jellyfish – not the big scary ones but fascinating creatures anyway.  I think the first one has a nasty sting but I can’t really remember now.  I think the second one is a moon jelly.

                    jellyfish  poss moon jelly

These ones were strange – they really were called upside-down jellyfish, looking like some strange stuffed mushrooms!

upside down jellyfish

They also had some seahorses, which are endangered.  All the way through there were suggestions of how you could help save marine life – one is ‘don’t buy dried seahorses’. I have seen these – they are sold in foreign parts as tourist knick-knacks, and certainly used to be on sale in this country.


Other things we should avoid are shark’s fin soup.  Sharks are caught and their fins cut off, and then they are discarded to die.  And shark’s fin apparently is tasteless – the flavouring in shark’s fin soup comes from chicken stock.


Not sure what these two are but I like them.

DSC_0353 fish

And there were penguins with a deep pool to swim in.  They swim very fast and change course in a flash and it is really difficult to get a decent picture.

penguin pool

We came out to find a food market set up outside.  I bought samosa chat from ‘Mrs Patel’ for lunch – 2 vegetable samosas with delicious chick-pea curry. 

Back to boaty things.  Nansen II came by early this morning.  She is moored near Sherborne Wharf along with Scorpio and (I think) Leo, as part of Urban Safari.  This gives members of the public the opportunity to look round a restored boatman’s cabin, have a tour round the Roundhouse, and have a trip in Nansen II.  She is a tug which was used as an icebreaker.

nansen II goes by

We got back to Chuffed for lunch …….

chuffed moored

and then just lazed about reading the paper and drinking tea, though Dave did take Meg to the park for a game of ball.  It came on to rain later, which was rather a shame for the party boats but they just carried on regardless.


  1. Great blog and pictures. Many thanks ian d. I have boated some of these waters but it is nice to see the familiar as well as the unfamiliar.

  2. Thanks Ian. Watch this space! Debby