Yes folks we are back in Birmingham once again. We were here the same time last year on our trip from Hyde to Coventry for the winter and then again in March (not on the boat this time) for my birthday. So we must like it.
I do enjoy central
Birmingham but as last year the trip in by boat is depressing with lots of graffiti and rubbish and not many safe places to moor until you reach the Gas Street Basin area but this won’t stop us visiting this vibrant city.
Since our last visit
by boat a year ago they have finished the building work nearer the Sea Life Centre and it is very swish with bars and restaurants. Happily it is a safe place to moor and we even let the cats out.
Wanting to do something different this year we took the
advice of our good friends Lorraine and Kev and tried the museum out. It was so interesting that we spent a whole afternoon there and still didn’t see it all. I liked the Pre Raphaelite paintings and the exhibitions of stained glass. The Staffordshire
horde was amazing, I can’t start to understand how people 1400years ago could produce such intricate work. In the pottery exhibition I found one piece from Belper pottery which was the forerunner of Denby. Always like to find things from my home area.
Last year I was able to pick up a great pair of trainers to fit my long and wide feet. So next day we went in search of the same stall on the Rag Market, but unfortunately there was no sign of it this year, sigh. I had a look at a couple of the other stalls
but with no luck, will have to try in Coventry.
On a happier note I did manage to find a great butcher’s in the Bull Ring Indoor Market next door, and with rump steak at only £8.99 per kilo had to treat the Captain didn’t I.
time over we took our leave of the city centre and back to the depressing graffiti and at one lock the signs of drug abuse and a warning to watch out for used needles (yes I did spot one) so sad, not just for the canal but for our society as a whole.
this in mind the Captain had used the wonderful tinternet to find out the best place to stop for the night, Star City a large retail/pleasure complex on the outskirts. Secure moorings on the off side made for a peaceful night.
I will quickly run through
the next few days, we stopped at a motel called the Cuttle but weren’t impressed, then on to the Dog and Doublet, stayed here and had a meal last year so the Captain treated me again, very nice but with one complaint from the Captain his carrots were
over cooked and mushy, the landlady didn’t seem to take to kindly when he pointed this out but did come over later and had quite a chat with us.
Then on to Fazeley Junction and we rejoined the Coventry Canal so nearly home for the winter, we stopped
in Fazeley and tried 2 out of the 3 pubs there, the Three Tuns had a very sociable and knowledgeable landlord and a couple of good beers on, the Three Horse Shoes more of a locals pub but a good drink.
I must at this point admit a dirty secret of mine.
I really enjoy a good kebab from time to time and had been on the lookout for a reasonable establishment to get one from. After our visit to the Three Tuns we decided to try the local chippy out (the Fazeley Fishbar) and lo and behold they did kebabs so I
just had to try one and the Captain decided to join me. I must admit they were very good and made me very happy.
One thing about Fazeley I must mention, the number of takeaways and restaurants in a small area, mainly Indians and Chinese (and of course
the chippy) and all seemed to be quite busy as we walked by. You will never go hungry even though the small Tesco Express was a big disappointment.
With this in mind we needed to do a largish sized shop at our next destination, Tamworth. Having been
here last year we knew there was a Lidl somewhere near the local Wetherspoons, The Bolebridge. After a walk round Tamworth Centre we called in at the Wetherspoons and much to the Captains delight they had 3 darks on (it’s the beer festival). A Smoked
Porter, a Nordic Stout and John Bull Stout, I had read the tasting notes on the darks at the festival and wanted to try the Nordic stout so I did and the Captain had the John Bull stout, they were quite similar in taste and body and very enjoyable. For our
second pint the Captain tried the Smoked Porter, now this was truly an acquired taste, unfortunately to us it smelt and tasted a bit like TCP for those of you who remember this well known antiseptic. So of course to clear his palette we had to have another,
then off to Lidl and a taxi back to the boat, there really was too much to carry, honestly.
On a sad note for the British pub industry, when we called last year there had been a pub called the Anchor right at the side of the canal and of course we tried
a couple. Not anymore it’s a Co op now. A loop hole in the planning laws means it’s easy for the big retailers to turn pubs into stores and this was a prime example of this practice. So another great British pub bites the dust.
But to end
on a lighter note Sam has now become ‘that bloody cat’ since she managed to catch a harmless mouse and bought it onto the boat. Catching her and getting her to drop it was a bit of a palaver but this was made worse when the mouse came alive and
made a bid for freedom in the boat. If it had got behind any of the units I don’t know what we would have done but after a bit of scurrying about I managed to grab it and place it outside on the grass but it just lay there so sadly I thought the shock
had been just too much for it. I looked out later and it was still there, (so sad) but after giving it a little prod just to make sure it came alive and shot of into the undergrowth. So a happy ending to the story.
So we are nearly at the end
of our first adventure but the blog will continue, so sit back and enjoy.