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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Even more White Stuff

By late Friday most of the overnight snow was gone and it was looking like we could get on and clean the exterior of NB Centurion. However it started again about 4pm.
Centurion in Alvechurch Marina among all the other share boats just as
the snow starts again.

We had a good evening meal in the Red Lion in Alvechurch and a couple of drinks, this morning we woke to another load of white stuff.
Snow covered boats.

We had to get round to the wharf for the toilet pump out, diesel,and gas before handing over to the next owners.
At the Marina Wharf.

We left for Norfolk around 11am with continual snow all the way home, stopping of at Bar Hill, Cambridge to call in on the daughter.

Friday, 22 March 2013

More White Stuff

Woke this morning to a couple of inches of the white stuff. Bit of a blizzard last night and blowing a howlie. Set of back to the Marina at Alvechurch around 9am.
White Stuff at Hopwood.

Very windy going past the Bittel reservoir, so windy it blow the coolie hat of the chimney.
Lower Bittel Reservoir, coolie hat still there.

Coolie Hats don't float so its lost in the depths.
Near Alvechurch.

Nearly Home.

Back at the Marina now, just driven Gill to the NEC for a Hobby and Sewing show, bit too dangerous to try cleaning the boat exterior as we keep getting short flurries of snow. Luckily it is not too dirty so hope the next owners are OK about that.
Have enjoyed the week with just the two of us despite the cold weather, at least we avoided rain and snow while cruising, the idea was to avoid too many locks so tally is 8 locks, 3 tunnels in either direction, and around 50 miles clocked up. Hopefully on our next trip we will have better weather and make it down to Worcester and Gloucester.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Hockley Heath and Hopwood

We somehow let the stove go out overnight and as we turn off the central heating when the stove is lit we woke to a very cold boat, after a good breakfast we set of from Earlswood heading the last few lockless miles to Hockley Heath, there was some very weak sunshine which brought a bit of warmth.
Sun at last.

GIll working hard at the lift bridge at Hockley Heath.

We winded at Hockley and re-traced our steps, calling at the bakery at Illshaw Heath for fresh bread and an excellent pie for lunch. We where passed while having lunch by a butty towed by a another boat.

LMS Butty "Olive"

We soon caught them up and followed them all the way to Shirley where Gill walked ahead to operate the lift bridge for them.

Last bit of rural near Majors Green. Next more suburbs until
Wast Hill Tunnel.

Shirley Lift Bridge.

We let the butty get ahead when we stopped for water at Warstock and caught them again as they turned off the Stratford heading for Birmingham. We headed left to Wast Hill tunnel before mooring for the night at Hopwood. It got very windy and cold as the day ended.
Kings Norton Junction.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Back to Rural

After a very quiet night in the Oozell Loop and a morning in Birmingham city centre for more retail therapy for Gill we left Birmingham today. We headed through Brindley Place, under Broad Street Tunnel and onto the Worcester and Birmingham at Worcester Bar.
Brindley Place.

Looking back at Worcester bar.

Very cold today as we went along past Edgebaston and the University. At Bournville we met Narrowboat Albert /http://nbalbert.blogspot.co.uk/ who alerted me to a raft of wood all tied together in a bridge hole, thanks.
We left the Worcester and Birmingham and turned onto the Stratford Canal at Kings Norton.
Kings Norton Guilottine Lock ahead.

Eventually we returned to rural pastures after Warstock, good to be out in the country again, I do like the inner city canals, seeing the industrial heritage but eventually the graffiti and rubbish wears you down.
Near Dickens Heath.

Moored at Earlswood tonight, will have a couple of pints in the clubhouse at Earlswood Motor Yacht Club tonight, very friendly place but you wont find any yachts here, only narrowboats. Got colder as the day wore on, looks as though it will be even colder the next couple of days.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Return to Brum

Left the moorings at Merry Hill  9.30 this morning, the 48 hour moorings are filled with other boats that look permanent to me. Certainly the owners locked up and looked as though they where going to work, the one behind us has the path piled with pallets for firewood and ran generator till late!
Merry Hill 48 hour moorings.

We headed back towards Birmingham, up the 1 lock at Blowers green.
Blowers Green Lock.

Deja vu as we went along the Dudley No2 canal, through Netherton Tunnel again and along the main line, but at Bromford Junction we headed up Spon Lane Locks to the old main line.
Spon Lane Bottom Lock.

Spon Lane top lock underneath the M5.

Heading along the summit of the old main line we passed through the summit tunnel and Smethwick Pump House.
Summit Tunnel.

Smethwick Pump House.

Dropping down through Smethwick locks we picked up a load of plastic wrapping round the prop ensuring I get freezing cold down the weed hatch tearing it off the prop.
Smethwick top lock.

The locals seem to use this stretch as a dump, many cans of special brew are under and around the locks and bridges! What is annoying is that Canal and River trust clean up everyday around Brindley Place with a workboat and a couple of guys who scoop the rubbish out, but out in the suburbs its a mess. Suppose the real fault lies with the councils as the rubbish is from their residents. Saying that I saw someone 40ish feeding the ducks with a child, and then he threw the bag in the canal so there's no hope.
Now back in Birmingham on the Oozell Loop.

Monday, 18 March 2013

More BCN

Woke to a cold and frosty morning in Birmingham, set off around 9 down the main line heading for Wolverhampton, once the sun was out it was OK. Decided against Walsall and Wyrely and Essington Canal, just did not fancy all the rubbish in the cut and instead we are covering old ground.
Smethwick Junction.

Toll Island near Engine Arm Aquaduct.

They seem to have sorted the graffiti out on the aquaduct but it wears you out on all the old factories, must mean something to someone.
Smethwick Pump House.

Spon Lane Junction and locks.

We carried on in the sun and turned onto the Netherton Tunnel branch. The tunnel has had quite a lot of work done, evidence of strengthening work with ground anchors, new concrete towpaths, and some shotcreting.
Renovated Tunnel Cottages at Netherton.

We pulled over at Windmill End for lunch and to top up the water tank. 
Windmill End.

The Dudley No 2 canal was filthy with rubbish, the local populace must have dumped all their rubbish in the cut, quite different from our last trip, there has been some dredging done, but not sure they have disposed of the dredgings properly.
Dredging spoils near Netherton Hill. Its piled up untidily all the way along here.

Leaking lock at the only lock of the
day at Blowers Green.

Moored early at Merry Hill for Gill to have some retail time. Not the choicest of moorings, generator running behind us and oiks banging on the boat.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

To Brum

After heavy overnight rain it dawned grey and overcast today. We decided to take a cruise into Birmingham from Alvechurch, first off I spotted the tug Kyle at Alvechurch, then passing the Lower Bittel reservoir we saw another nice tug on the permit moorings, I always like the look of tugs, not sure if these are real or replica.
Tug "Kyle" at Alvechurch.

Tug at Lower Bittel Reservoir.

Moored at the cottage where the water flow is controlled from the reservoir at Bittel are the working boats Seaford and Alperton. These are in BW colours and both are up for sale.
Motor Seaford and Butty Alperton.

After a very wet Wast Hill Tunnel, dripping water everywhere from the roof after the rain we passed Kings Norton Junction, the junction with the Stratford Canal and headed for Birmingham on the Birmingham and Worcester Canal.
Junction house, former headquarters of the Birmingham and Worcester Canal.

The sun made an appearance as we passed Vale Park near Birmingham University.
Vale Park.

We then headed through Edgebaston Tunnel and into central Birmingham.
Edgebaston Tunnels.

Heading into Central Birmingham.

We then moored up in time to watch the F1 race from Melbourne, good win for Kimi and Lotus.
Moored opposite the NIA.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Snug and Warm on the Narrowboat

In the Marina at Alvechurch onboard NB Centurion, nice dinner, good wine, now feet up and stove lit and Gill and I all cosy and warm. It is hammering down outside.

No real plans for the week, will see what the weather does.

Monday, 11 March 2013

More Snow

Had a rough couple of days in Norfolk. Rained all of Saturday causing some flooding, then turned to snow on Sunday, usual mess getting in to work this morning for 7am start, it had turned icy and there was no gritting by the looks of it so was a struggle.
That's an owl in the middle of the photo which I have been trying
to get a photo of since it turned light in the mornings. its generally
on a fence post but fly's away quickly.

Snow near Pulham Market

Hope this spell of cold clears up as we will be on the Narrow boat shortly, any good advice on the Walsall Canal and Wyrely and Essington Canal from narrow boat bloggers would be appreciated, ie: has any body used them this year. Don't want to be the first to plow through the winters rubbish!