FRIENDS OLD AND NEW
Right, moored in Cambrian wharf in the middle of Brum, good for the cats and as it turns out to catch up with some friends from the wharf, Pete and Ange on Miss Mollie.
They left the wharf just before us at the beginning of the summer and had taken quite a different route to us, spending a lot of time on the Kennett and Avon and the west side of the country whilst we had spent most of our time on the east side. But our paths crossed in Brum, we had kept in contact on FB and I knew they had been there a couple of days earlier so a message was dispatched and lo and behold they were still moored in Gas Street basin so of course we had to meet up for a drink. It was great to see them and swop stories of our journeys the good and the bad, luckily there weren’t many ‘bad stories’. It was all over to soon but we will see them back in Swan Lane at the end of October.
Wednesday, and the weather wasn’t great so I caught up with a bit of cooking. whilst the Captain looked for something for us to do or see in Brum. And oh boy did he come up with something great...... we went to the library. I know this doesn’t seem to be very thrilling but Birmingham Library is amazing. Opened in 2013 its nickname is the bedsprings due to its rather unusual outer design. It has 11 floors with escalators providing access to most and being open plan means you get a stunning view as you travel on them. There are 2 gardens on floors 7 and 9 with amazing views of the city and beyond. On the top most floor is the Shakespeare Memorial room. The room was designed in 1882 to house the considerable Shakespeare collection held by the library. When the original library was demolished the room was dismantled and then reassembled in its present home. Not what you would expect to find in such a modern building. I will say it again amazing.
And then he took me out for tea pizza at the local Wetherspoons The Figure of Eight on Broad Street.
Thursday it rained
Friday, and time to sort out a new phone for the Captain. We called in the 3 shop and looked at their offers and then went to Carphone Warehouse to see what they had to offer. After what seemed like an age and a lot of to-ing and fro-ing the Captain decided on a Moto G5. After purchasing it we had to have a drink and called in The Old Joint Stock near the Cathedral it had amazing ornate Victorian interior. Whilst in here we found out about the Birmingham Weekender which was taking place that weekend so we decided to stop an extra day and it’s a good thing we did but not for that reason.
After a look round the Cathedral we returned home and the Captain played with his new phone.
Next morning and a rather shocking discovery. The phone he had been sold was not the one he wanted and even worse it was over £100 more. He had not seen the price as the sales assistant had pressed accept amount before handing him the card terminal and put all the paperwork in the bag which we never thought to look at until now. He had been sold the Moto G5plus rather than the Moto G5, not a lot of difference apart from the price. As you can imagine he was not a happy bunny.
So we returned to the shop after checking that the Plus model was not on display (it wasn’t) we spoke to the manager and I must say the customer service was excellent and the phone was swopped and a refund organised in no time. The mistake shouldn’t have been made in the first place I know but we can’t complain about the service we received.
We stayed in the centre of Brum to experience the Weekender which was a celebration of dance which embraced all cultures. We saw the Birmingham Royal Ballet in the Bullring, Thai dancers in the street and in Victoria Square on the main stage, swing and lindy hop dancers. There were street artists and the most amazing mechanical elephant called Harminder walking through the street.
We finished the day off at the floating market were we bought some very tasty Lancashire cheese from NB Periwinkle.
Unfortunately we didn’t manage to catch up with Trina and Paul off NB Bearwood Boster who live in the area, next time.
Sunday and we left Brum via Bourneville, we spent the night in the middle of nowhere, Monday and we stopped off at Hockley Green and tried a couple of pints in the Wharf.
Tuesday was a busy day with 19 single locks for me to do and we were following another boat with nothing coming the other way and we had a hire boat behind us. The boat in front after they had left the lock was raising a paddle to start the lock filling for us and I was doing the same for the hire boat behind. Then I spotted what I thought was an angel but turned out to be a volunteer lockee and he was no angel well not towards me. There were 4 volunteer lockees on the flight but they gave me no help at all in fact one just seemed to want to stand and chat. I know they volunteer and give their time up for free and in most cases are a great help but oh boy not this day.
Now for new friends, Wednesday and 20 double locks in front of me before reaching our destination, the Saltisford Arm and Warwick. As we approached the first lock a NB Ceilidh was filling up with water and we asked if they would like to share the locks with us which they did Yippeeee.
As usual whilst the men steered the boat and chatted like 2 old women on the back, I got to know the crew, Annie. She was lovely and we got on like a house on fire. I mentioned that we would be going to the pub when we reached Warwick and was very happy when she asked if they could join us. Captain Pete and Captain Ken hit it off too. A great night was had by all.
They are from the Kennett and Avon and were heading back there for the winter, they enjoy foraging as much as we do and we were soon swopping this and that, blackberry vinegar and scones from us and crab apple jelly and damson jam from them. They do a lot more preserving and wine making than we do and their boat is full of jars and bottles.
We decided to go on together the next day but only as far as Lidl in Leamington Spa for us as we needed to do a shop. We did however catch up with them at the second lock as Ken had somehow mislaid his windlass at the first lock and had to go back and retrieve it from another boat who had found it. So we buddied up again all the way to Long Itchington we had intended to call at the very good pub the Two Boats but instead we had a drink on their boat and a very pleasant evening. Ken seemed very impressed of our knowledge of the pubs in the area. They have a lovely little dog called Peggy but I don’t think Bubbles was too impressed when she tried to say hello. Bubbles was in hunt mode on the towpath as we left their boat
Next morning we parted company, they were off down the Oxford and we were heading for Coventry. They tooted goodbye as they set off but we were having a lazy lie in before heading to Wigram Turns.
That’s all for now folks.