Saturday, 17 October 2015


Wow, our couple of days in Birmingham turned into two and a bit weeks and it could have been a lot longer if we didn't need to move on. There is soooo much going on, the improvement works at New Street Station are finished and Grand Central was officially. The Arts Fest was on for our first weekend with loads happening and of course the RCTA Floating Marketing. We have also been kept busy with visitors to the boat and also going out the friends and fellow traders.

So on our first Thursday it was off to the market to pick up some bargains, in the afternoon we had a surprise visit from Kirsty.  On Friday the floating market opened and we had wander around meeting a few traders we haven't met before. In the afternoon James caught up with a bit of turning before we set off to the ICC for the JazzLines performance in the Symphony Hall cafe. After that it was back to the market for the big illumination switch on, Kev kindly said I could use his photo of the boats, mine attempt was very poor in comparison.


Then to Centenary Square for the Maudits-Sonnants.

Saturday Chris and Karen came to visit, they were up in Birmingham for the day from Hawkesbury Junction and popped into to say hello, in the afternoon Rebekah and Beth who live in Birmingham popped in as well. In the evening we walked down to Millennium Point and the Rugby Fanzone to watch the England/Wales game, it was packed with thousands of disappointed England fans.

Sunday we spent the majority of the day at the floating market talking to all the traders, there were about twenty boats trading, Dudley was loving it meeting all the peoples and dogs. There was also a parade with a giant puppet of Lady Godiva.

Monday we moved round to Cambrian Wharf with the only available space under the pub, we managed to get on with painting the gas lockers and back deck though. In the evening there was a boaters get together in the Figure of Eight, as more and more people arrived we ended up taking over a huge section of the pub, I think it's fair to say we all had a great evening.

On Tuesday bleary eyed we moved across to the mooring by the lock as a couple of historic boats had vacated, at least we would now get some sun for the solar panels and get the painting finished. The weather had turned lovely and warm again.

We had Peter and Heather for a visit too, they were up in Birmingham for the day, we were in the spot where they used to have their permanent mooring so it must have been strange for them to see another boat there.

The rest of the week was taken up with visits to the market and shops and also pottering around with little boat jobs. We were also told about the University of Birmingham's bakery, where the bread the students make go on sale to the public at very reasonable prices. If there is any left over it goes on sale the next day for 10p a loaf. We've made a few trips down there coming back with various flavoured breads, tea cakes, scones, chocolate ├ęclairs and doughnuts. We managed to resist the swiss rolls and various other yummy things.

I was out on our front deck doing a bit of sorting and sweeping when a boat arrived into Cambrian Wharf, the couple shouted out to the CRT fundraiser, who sets up a stall near the lock, asking which were the moorings for visitors, she wasn't sure so I pointed them to the last two spaces remaining. As they were pulling in I mentioned to James that they looked like Les and Jaq, but that it wasn't nb Valerie. It turn out it was them and they had painted Valerie so were in disguise. It was lovely to finally meet them after spending years following their blog. We have enjoyed a lovely lunch aboard Valerie with them and they came to us a few evenings later.

Jaq, Les and James
James had found out about Aston Hall on the LiveBrum website and they were holding free tours on Sunday, so we trekked the two and a half miles down to Aston Hall and managed to get onto one of the tours. I'll do a separate blog about it soon as I found it very interesting.

For about the last week we have been say we'll leave tomorrow, but something always comes up. On Tuesday we said we would definitely be leaving Wednesday, but when it arrived it was pouring, windy and quite chilly so we stay put. Later in the day we had a phone call from James' uncle Dave, Dave and Liz were on their travels in their Campervan and were staying at Kingswood Water Park at the bottom of the Curdworth Locks. So a visit was arranged for Thursday morning, we gave them a postcode of the Flapper pub and told them where we were.

Thursday morning arrived and was a beautiful day lovely blue sky and feeling quite warm. We took Dudley for a stroll and saw Keri and Dan just arriving back with their Butty Lyra. After chatting with them for a while we went back to LJ and were surprised to see Dave and Liz had already arrived. Whilst inside enjoying coffee and catching up with them Annette, the local CRT Enforcement Officer knocked to say hello and introduce herself (after our communications earlier in the year it was good to meet her). We set sail shortly after just going up past Gas Street Basin to the Mailbox and return, we moored up by the ICC and popped up to Brindley Place where enjoy enjoyed a lovely lunch with Dave and Liz followed by drinks outside the Malthouse in the sun. All too soon it was time to say goodbye to them so they could continue their journey south. It was lovely to see them both again and really nice they popped over to see us.

James with Liz and Dave

We moved the boat from outside the ICC back to the mainline outside the NIA (or Barclaycard Arena aas it's now known). We walked round to Cambrian where Tom and Jan, Waiouru, has taken our space, they were outside chatting to Les and Jaq so it was a quick hello, catch-up and goodbye. It was sad to say goodbye to Les and Jaq too but hopefully we'll see a bit more of them in the future months.

Inside Grand Central at New Street Station
Outside the Council Offices, "this stunning display is a section from Birmingham's award winning entry at the Chelsea Flower Show".

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