Tuesday, 18 September 2012


The canals around Birmingham are renowned for being full of rubbish that gets wrapped around propellers, but we must surely win the award for the shortest distance travelled before getting a fouled prop.

Yesterday we were joining another cruise around the BCN and needed to set off at 9.30. For once we were ready early and cast off at 9.25 but no sooner had Roger put the boat in gear than the engine stopped dead. We'd been moored by a bridge and some "nice person" had been stripping wire from cables and dumped all the debris in the canal, so as soon as our prop turned it caught in the tangled mass.  It took an hour with a VERY sharp knife to cut it all off and the huge pile of plastic cable casing, wire, baling twine and the ubiquitous hi-vis vest filled 3 large bin bags.

We eventually got under way but then got stuck in a traffic jam  in Netherton Tunnel.  The lead boat was steered by a woman who "wasn't very confident" and went through on tick-over. It took forever and when we finally emerged into the sunshine at the other end all the other boats in front of us were moaning and chomping at the bit to get a move on.  I know everyone has to learn to drive through tunnels sometime, me included, but I wouldn't have thought that the morning after a boat festival when everyone is anxious to get away was a good time to do it.

The plan for today was to cruise the Walsall Canal and then moor in Walsall Town Wharf for the night.  We've enjoyed almost all of the BCN so far, but the Walsall Canal is grotty to say the least. It's very shallow for long stretches and is full of rubbish. Although we didn't collect any more rubbish on the prop, we saw loads of it in the canal including a sofa and a mattress. There were quite a few drunks/druggies wandering down the tow-path too so I doubt we'll be making a return visit.  The moorings at Town Wharf are good but there are no boaters facilities and the bar beside the basin was very noisy until very late.

Six of us had an evening out in town, starting in Weatherspoons and ending in an Indian restaurant where we had a superb meal.  It wasn't your usual curry house. There were no Baltis or Kormas or Madras curries on the menu. Everything was freshly cooked with over 2/3 of the menu being a healthy option, and every meal we ordered was delicious.

From the left: Roger, Bernie, Alan, Jane, Maggie & Me 

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