Monday 5th September 2016
As it had been raining for most of the night, Graham decided to wask Jannock’s filthy roof while I went into Walsall in search of bread and milk. If you want fabric or gorgeous ethnic clothing then the Monday market is for you. A couple of stalls sold fruit and veg in pre-determined quantities, all very well if you have a hotel boat but we didn’t need that much. I managed to get all the supplies I needed in Poundland, about 30 secs from the pontoon. The pictures above show before and after. I didn’t get any fruit because we remembered a good looking apple tree that we would pass again today.
Recipe – when you have half a tin of haggis left over. Mix it with a pack of stuffing mix you find in the cupboard, spread into a pyrex dish lid and cook in the oven (cooling from yesterday roast dinner) until firm. If you then add cold potatoes and mushrooms it makes an excellent toasted sandwich filling.
Back down the Walsall canal until we arrived at the apple tree we spotted yesterday. Graham then pulled the bows in close to the tree whilst I harvested apples from the front well deck. Then on to Ockers Hill junction where we went straight ahead instead of turning back onto the Tame valley again. We managed to get lunch eaten just before we arrived at the bottom of Rydres Green lock flight.
Once again this is new territory for us in Jannock – not sure we’ll ever return again. The pound above the bottom lock was very low but we managed to get through OK. At lock 7, the road bridge seems to be a gathering point for all the local drunks, luckily they were relatively pleasant as we passed and were even using a large plastic bag, rather than the canal, as a repository for their empty cans. The White Lightening Award goes to one amiable drunk who told me how ‘they’ should empty all the dirty water out of the canal, filter it and then put it back so that it was better for swimming. I suggested that would cost more than ‘They’ have, how would it be done? After all, a lot of the pollution has laid on the canal bed since the 18 somethings, and added to that there would be autumns detritus to be dealt with every year. He pondered this and then said “why would people swim in the canal when it only costs £1.10p up the baths! I replied “at least you would know what would kill you up there – drowning!” We hope he didn’t chuck his can in the cut.
We continued up through the lock of the devil and made our way up to the junction at the top of the flight. Now we were back onto familiar territory again as we’d done the Ridgeacre Branch several years ago.
Out onto the mainline and we stayed on this rather than dallying onto the old mainline. Into Birmingham and we stopped at the Fiddle and Bone to explore what services are available there now – just anything that Sherbourne wharf can sell you – diesel, gas, ice creams etc. We continued on through Gas St to find the services opposite the Mailbox – these are for everything toilet plus a shower, no rubbish disposal there. A sign did point out that the only rubbish disposal is at Cambrian wharf but we’ll have to wait until Lapworth now.
Birmingham was pretty damn full and the only mooring we could find was past the mailbox, just after bridge 88. Nice and quiet here even though we are opposite the University College of Birmingham accomodation block. Then into China town for some shopping and an excellent Malay meal. As we walked back to Jannock, the sun finally came out for the first time today.