Sunday, 15 December 2013

Has Anybody Seen It?...

I've looked down the back of the chairs, in the cupboard under the sink and in the roof lockers, but no sign. Last resort was my wardrobe that houses all manner of curios in its dark corners. 

I seem to have completely mislaid the last three weeks!

Back to the end of November...

Crikey doesn't time fly when you're having fun. We had a lovely few days moored by the Black Country Museum. Right outside is a mooring point for paying visitors but as there was no one around and we were getting towards the end of the day after my little mishap and collecting some coal from the highly recommended Wulfruna coal merchants, we decided we were visitors of sorts so moored up. The next day we went on a little boat trip (as you do when you live on a boat) into the limestone mines and Dudley tunnel which run through Castle Hill. You are still able to book passage through using your own boat but the tunnel is a diesel free area due to the lack of ventilation so it's down to the electric tugs or legging it through.

Under Castle Hill

These few photos are of the open 'junction' inside the hill

And on our trip inside
The mines and tunnel were very interesting and highly recommended if you are cruising past the area. As we were returning to LJ from our trip we passed the back entrance of the Black Country Living museum, we declined entry as the charge is a not insignificant £15 or so each. We nosed through the gate, there was hardly anyone about, we looked a little further - ohhh the smell of chips lured us in, 'it wasn't our fault, honest guv!'. We headed up to the chippie for a tasty treat, fish and chips for Deb, roe and chips for me - yum. The other paying guests were all wearing bright orange stickers to identify themselves from chip eating, back door sneakers so it looked likely that we would get rumbled. That is until the eagle eyed sneaky chip eater managed to find a sticker blowing around in the wind - and then another! We looked further around the museum. It is probably a great place on busy days when there are displays and interactions but I wasn't really impressed with the costumed staff miserably trying to look the part behind shop windows. Still worth a paying visit but maybe reserved for a highday or holiday. 

The old lime kilns

The turn from the kilns to the cut

Iron graveyard

Chimney pots waiting for a good home 

Deb looking down a kiln chamber

Bridge across the canal to the kilns

The old tool shop needs to be working to justify the entry costs

We made the final trip from the Black Country Museum to Birmingham in chilly but bright and clear weather stopping briefly in Smethwick to top up the very nearly empty cupboards. There are loads of smaller stores on the high street but we still had a couple of hours to go so it was a quick bomb around Tesco's before getting underway again. Deb ducked below to keep out of the chill, do some boat cleaning and cook our Tesco pizza and garlic bread. 

Looking back from where we had just come

Pump house

Steps down to the mainline canal

BCN Mainline from above

Thats a lot of bricks

Hope it's stable!
We arrived, and moored outside the NIA after the sun had dipped down but as the skies were still clear there was plenty of light left. Before settling down for the evening, warming up and flaking out, we walked round to our winter mooring spot on Cambrian Wharf to see just how jam packed it was. Lo and behold, a great mooring spot behind Peter and Heather on Blackberry was free so we decided to move straight away. It was our preferred mooring as it was alongside the old wharf wall as opposed to the short pontoons that are a bit bouncy and let the wind pull the boat about. Peter came out and helped us moor up and then we finally went inside to warm up from the journey and have a well earned cuppa.

We had finished our travels for 2013. I wasn't sure about how I'd feel being in one place for three months or so, and I am still not sometimes. We have rarely had any plans during the year concerning when we arrive, when we leave or even where we were headed and I still sometimes get that instant feeling of 'lets go'. It has been one of the great benefits of cruising the system for the last nine months, we are always ready to go and can be off to the next location within a couple of minutes.

The last time we were in Birmingham was for a couple of weeks (extended by an A&E trip) last September for the excellent ArtsFest. During our time the previous Autumn we had had a enough time to have a good look around the City and sample some of it's delights so we were looking forward to our stay. To make our arrival extra special we were due to be joined by Jess the very next day.

I readied my Mont Blanc pen (part of a sales prize from my previous life, I had decided that I had better start actually using it, no point in leaving it in its leather presentation box for ever) and selected a new leaf in one of my many pads to do a little research for 'whats on in Birmingham'. Museums, BBC tour, Hippodrome, The rebuilt Rep theater, glee club, symphony hall, German market, Jimmy spices, city walks, Christmas markets, bull ring.... wow we wouldn't be short of ideas!

Next Blog... Guest(s) arrive.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back. Some (one?) of us have missed you. :-)