Yesterday Shane reminded me, before my shower, that there wasn’t much water, so I didn’t wash my hair. Never mind we would get water soon. We got started in the morning as the forecast was better earlier in the day … and we wanted water! Shane and Bryn drove. Mostly the bridges are wide here, though the locks had been narrow and we went through a narrow tunnel as it had a pedestrian route through it. We are entering onna different canal from the one we entered or left Birmingham previously. Coming into Birmingham by this canal had the train line beside it, at parts, and a high built arched wall, holding back the cutting we assume.
We had to clear leaves and sticks with hard reverse quite frequently. The recent wind had made the water leafier and ‘stickier’ than usual! We are lucky our route has not got any blocked canals, as some behind us are, after recent works, but there was a little bit of obstruction.
There was a faint chocolatey whiff as we passed the famous factories and Bryn recalled enjoying Cadbury World when he was a child, on a family canal boat holiday with friends. They look less appealing from where we were.
We found water and then got to a central mooring spot, just as the rain came on. Still we had a warm Birmingham smile to welcome us on the mooring bollard.
Despite the rain Shane set off in search of a vaccination centre to get his covid booster. I got lunch ready having no idea how long he would be, while the rain got heavier.
He got back just as it was ready and was pleased to have succeeded in his mission, though he had his right arm jabbed when he had requested the left. We didn’t plan to travel the next day anyway. We anticipated a little tourism and meeting up with Paul again. After lunch Shane had a lie down.
I had a plan to buy buttons (yes, there was enough wool) to complete the cardigan. I didn’t fancy a long walk in the rain and it was hard to find on an internet search a button shop nearby. There was a place called The Button Factory, but that was a restaurant. I did research and decided to look in the morning.
Paul recommended his local Bangladeshi take away, so to avoid crowds and Omicron we were hosted in his house, rather than finding a restaurant. Shane was already feeling a bit tired too, but Paul’s house is near. The portions were generous and the local had added in starters too, so there was more than enough.
This morning Shane was definitely still wabbit. Bryn and I went on the mission of finding a haberdashery or wool shop. Our route took us past a familiar set of buildings from my last visit. Of course it was now decorated for Christmas and we found we were walking through a German market with half metre bratwurst, candied almonds, Berliner doughnuts, pretzels and gluhwein. We reached a shopping centre, near the Bull Ring area, with a raging bull statue that I had seen on my last visit, looking completely different when sequenced up with snow flakes and tiara, like a Snow Queen.
We found the shops that sold fabrics but alas no buttons . Still more searching on the internet, and we found an indoor market and helpful staff pointed us to a the haberdasher stall and an excellent array of buttons. Mission accomplished! I liked the Owl Statue entitled Unity within Diversity.
When we got back, Paul had come to the boat keen to show us around and hoping for Shane to feel up to walking, but he was really just for putting his feet up with one of the dinettes configured in chaise longe mode.
After I had cobbled together a brunch lunch for us, we had the table back, but Shane was not yet restored. So Bryn, Paul and I left him to rest and went on a tour of the Jewellery Quarter which is nearby, but on the other side of the canal from our morning tour and entirely different in style, being largely older buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, many with elaborate brickwork and included the site where James Watt lived while he was in Birmingham. We even met an “ambassador for the Jewellery Quarter” who helped us out when it leaflet map didn’t quite match the roads around us.
We had a brief view round the inside of St Paul’s, just in time before people started to arrive for a concert. Then, as it got dark, we went back to collect Shane and see how he was. He was now well enough to walk to Paul’s for the rest of the curry. A warm end to a cold day!