While I was out having a refreshing lime and soda and catch-up with an ex colleague, on a roasting day, Shane made his way to the hospital for another infusion of Nivolumab with the same nurse as last time so it was all very familiar. His confidence that he was unlikely to feel ill afterwards has been proved right and we had a smooth journey back to Bartimaeus in Coventry. At one point the train was brought to a siding for a full reset as they were running on half power which was a bit worrying and we were warned the lights would go off, the air conditioning would stop and to avoid the large toilets with electronic doors for the duration of the reset as you might get stuck there. Luckily the switching off and on again worked a treat. The train was crowded in parts but hardly anyone has bothered to go to the very end “quiet” coach, which was, as a result, very quiet indeed.
Back at the boat, Shane got stuck into trying to solve the unproductive panel problem, checking all the diodes down the port side. I wasn’t much involved apart from holding one end of a bit of plank.
When he had come to pause in his testing, we headed into town for dinner. The choices were wide but we plumped for the place we had been before for Caribbean food. Perhaps that is a bit dull but since there is a fair amount of scotch bonnet peppers on the menu, we expected an adventurous enough meal. We had enjoyed the ambiance, music and the 2 for 1 cocktails offer as well as the food and it had an outside seating area. With so many COVID cases (including among friends) and a lot of medical appointments and travelling we are still wary.
On approach we saw groups of young people, being directed by police, who also stopped for photos with the youngsters. They were dressed in sports team colours and with nationalities on their shirts, many carrying flags of their countries, Spirits were high. We knew Coventry Arena was being used for a second spot for the Commonwealth Games hosted by Birmingham, but Israel, Mexico, Italy and Slovenia had never been in the Commonwealth. We puzzled over this with the chatty meet and greeter/bouncer who looked the part for a Caribbean restaurant (and bouncing) and was from Birmingham. He couldn’t explain the parade but was enjoying the spectacle with us and interested in the boat. He was certainly suited to the relaxed meet and greet vibe. We got in with nine minutes to spare before the end of double cocktails and really enjoyed our night out and the temperature certainly added to the Caribbean feel.
We only moved the boat far enough to top up with water and back again the next morning and that did not even require switching on the engine. We wanted to enjoy a bit more of sunny Coventry as our last visit had been in much colder weather last November. So it was back to town the next day and there we found out what all the parading was about. Perhaps an opening ceremony for a different international sports event altogether.
Some teams had countries (like Austria or Kenya above in pink) on their shirts but some did not and other teams were names of cities so I am not sure how the teams were organised but it was all part of the very relaxed atmosphere of Coventry city centre. The Kenyan girls (not in pink) and Irish girls lined up alternating in country for a post match photo.
Coventry itself is a multicultural city and has risen from the flames of heavy wartime bombing to a very vibrant space and even though we were not on the towpath many people smiled and said hello. While many sought the shade others were making the best of the sun. Mind you these fountains were heavily used by children in November too who seems to cope with getting soaked despite the chill, but today it was certainly tempting.
The poetry seemed to be about ribbon weavers in other parts of the newly built city centre. We also fitted in a trip to the old Coventry cathedral that was bombed in the war. We only managed to see that through building works and hoardings in November as it was being made into an ice rink! New and old run side by side.
A late morning coffee made for a late lunch. Shane continued to pore over the poor panel power and do some electric experiments and tried out some connectors replacing some of the damaged diodes. Staying inside was cooler than standing in the sun. I went back into Coventry to search for wool but neither of us were very successful. I got no wool but had an interesting tour of the town and an ice-cream and Shane got some more power from the panels by establishing which of the solar panels could generate a little and which not at all – 4 in each – and reconnected to get some charge but it’s still not right and I still need to find a wool shop. We might be back…and may be able to moor in the basin next time. There was no space this time.
We have now left Coventry and negotiated the bridge that rolled us and spilt cumin (better stowed) in the other direction. We have a few issues to resolve but have found a spot where we might be able to get some of these sorted and Shane has sorted one issue tonight by operating the same basic reset procedure on the raspberry pi, in the cupboard, that plays music as the train operators did in the siding in Stafford, to run the train, with similar results.