Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Ever up and onwards

Things went pretty much according to plan today, always a pleasant surprise. We were up and about in good time and had pretty well finished breakfast before eight o'clock when I started the engine. There was enough pottering and getting set up to cruise to keep us busy whilst things warmed up, then Sheila started the wash load and we were off.

It was my turn to lockwheel and I didn't bother riding to the first lock. They were all with us again, though one was turned before we got there. The lockwheeler concerned was most apologetic – it had been one of those marginal decisions anyway, though on balance I reckon it was really our lock. He obviously hadn't come down to the bottom end to check for a boat rising in the lock below, which was in plain view. We had a bit of a chat – they were experienced hirers in that they had a widebeam liveaboard on the K&A and had just hired this boat to do some narrow canals.

At the top, I took over steering whilst Sheila walked on to check out the moorings. There was room on the visitor moorings in front of the Queen's Head, though the edge is in very poor condition. Ironically, there is a good bit of Armco just after the 48 hour section which had three boats on it already. We managed to tie up ok and grabbed a mug of coffee before setting off to find our way to Morrisons.

Dedicated readers from nine years ago will recall that last time I got magnificently lost trying to find the store from here and after re-reading the blog from then, we wanted to check that the right footpath was still there. It is, though things have developed rather around it. To get there, walk down the road past the pub, under the railway and over the stream. Carry on up the hill until, just past the lawnmower suppliers, you come to a footpath sign:

Take this path and follow it straight through the first group of industrial units and alongside the stream until it ends at the second group of units. Turn right along the road and you'll see Morrisons to one side and Aldi to the other. It's around 20 minutes walk all told. We got some supplies including pasties for lunch and trekked back. Well, I say pasties but... there was a special offer on the Cornish ones, £1 each or 2 for £2, and the good citizens of Bromsgrove had been so impressed there was only one left.

Sheila chose to have a steak slice instead – what a good wife she is to me.

There's still stuff we'd like to get and these are 48 hour moorings. Actually, as we were finishing lunch, one of the boats on the Armco set off so we nipped out and moved Sanity Again. We were bumping on the rough stuff and this is much better. Anyway, we plan to stay here tomorrow, get another supplies trip in and maybe even eat at the Queen's Head tomorrow night. It has a rep for being pricey but we shall see.

It's been very mixed weather this afternoon – it started to snow whilst we were moving the boat and there have been a couple of fierce squalls since. In one of these, a hapless Black Prince which had just set off from their base at Stoke Prior got blown sideways into us. I shot out to see what was up and they apologised profusely.

That's two apologies in one day, I must be looking fierce at the moment. Mind you, we were just working it out. Our fourth ever canal holiday was on a Black Prince from that very base at the end of the 70s, when the boats were still painted blue and yellow. We took it for a fortnight and worked up Tardebigge and spent the two weeks exploring the BCN when it was still all dark and mysterious and very dilapidated. Not so much mucking about in boats as boating about in muck.

These young hirers today, they don't know what real boating is... ;)

Location:Queens Head

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