Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Final Birmingham catchup for Christmas...

Strolling down towards the main line BCN to blow out the cobwebs Deb recognised the name of a fellow  cruiser and blogger but I wasn't sure, their roof was far too clear for a start. We popped for a closer look and she was right, Yvonne was just getting off Fizzical Attraction taking (Yvonne and Rogers blog) hers and Rogers border terrier, Chico for a walk. It was lovely to meet and put a face to the names so we invited then over for a coffee in the afternoon to carry on the chin wag.

Deb, Yvonne and Roger
It was great to spend a couple of hours chatting to Roger and Yvonne, but we were a little spooked out when Roger said that they hadn't been on LJ for the best part of a dozen years, had they known the previous owners then? No, but they had seen  Lois Jane back on Birmingham centre in 2000 when she was on display at the IWA festival. It was nice to hear from the professionals that they thought that LJ was still looking good after nearly fourteen years.

It's fantastic being right in the centre of the city and a couple of hours after we'd cleared away the dinner bits and pieces and went off for a nose around the market and a little gander from Birmingham's library garden. Saves a bit of battery power on the boat as well. On the way back to LJ there was a couple of 'characters' loitering outside the boat. Even from a few hundred yards away I tend to be suspicious of just about everyone outside the boat. 

'Are you James?'  Of course my brain was saying 'might be, who's asking?' But mouth volunteered an instant 'yes'. We weren't expecting anyone but were really surprised when they introduced themselves as Geoff and Lois Jane. Amazing! I've been in touch with Geoff a few times since buying LJ but to finally meet them (and THE Lois Jane) was fantastic we had a great chat aboard LJ before Jane dragged Geoff away as I they had an early start at their clinic in the city center the next day. No photo unfortunately this time but Jane promised that they would be back for a longer evening of 'refreshments' in the new year.

How exciting to have two new pairs of visitors with a bit of a connection. Now, no more visitors until... tomorrow. 

Mum and dad arrived for their first stay on LJ after a long old cross country trip from west Wales. We had a great few days revisiting the library and festive markets as well as popping back to the ICC to see a jazz band and enjoying a pleasant evening at Strada. We managed to pack quite a lot in on the couple of days they were with us and even found time to get to the balti triangle for a genuine Brummie curry.

Managed to fit four of us around the breakfast bar again

A little drink in the market

Jazz in the ICC

HRH popped in with his over due books to the library

Visitors depart

The few days after mum and dad had left for their big cosy house on the west coast were spent getting ready for Christmas. We've been making a few of our Christmas pressies this year which we've both enjoyed but it's meant long hours studying Photoshop in the library for me (I'll post some results in the next blog) and Deb knitting so furiously that if her needless were wooden we would have both gone up in flames. Well worth the effort though and I hope everyone likes the results.

We were able to get some bargain train tickets now that Deb is officially disabled, and had a 30% discount with her new card - less than £10 each to get from Birmingham to Aberystwyth. To qualify for my bit of discount I am officially Debs carer. I thought the best way to carry out my duties was to be a calming influence so once she was comfy I set about listening to some music and dozing under my cap :-) 


  1. Hi James and Debbie, Have a great Christmas and New Year look forward to meeting up in 2014! x

    1. Can't wait for 2014 cruising to begin. Really looking forward to spring now we know what life afloat is all about - enjoy NY!

  2. How nice to meet the real LJ. Have a fantastic xmas both. Hope I get to see you in 2014 x

    1. Hi Jacquie, do let us know when you are back from your adventure on a 'propper' boat. We are both looking forward to popping down and seeing you again.