This week we have travelled just 33 miles and gone through 30 locks, but don't think that means we are not getting any exercise. We left Stratford on Sunday and met up with Martin's sister and family, who bought a picnic and labour force for some of the locks, we had a lovely day. Stopped overnight near Preston Baggot. On Monday we went through Kingswood Junction and on up the Stratford canal and the Lapworth Locks, stopping near the top for two nights wo enable a visit to Packwood House, National Trust property, a sensible walk from the canal. Clearly here is an area of high property prices. We collected firewood and more quilting and china painting took place in the bits of sunshine. The weather all week has been variable with some lovely sun and some cold rain, if we don't like what it is like one minute we only have to wait to see what it will do next.
Wednesday took us on up to Earlswood, where we again stayed 2 nights to enjoy a lovely day walking around the lakes and birdwatching; lots of little terns and black headed gulls, crested grebes and many ducks and geese. A peaceful haven yet very close to the city. The people in the boat moored next to us were from Bude!
Friday saw our approach to Birmingham, filling up with water and diesel at a great little boat yard, Lyons, where we were able to replace missing and broken handles on the engine covers. We were going great guns when we heard a great crunch and hit a submerged log that caused the drive shaft coupling to break. So there we were stuck in the middle of the canal with no power. We were helped to the side by a friendly boater and Martin set off to see what he could get from the not too distand boatyard. He effected a temporary, as it turned out VERY temporary, repair and we continued only to stop again near Kings Norton Junction. A very nice man, with a striking resemblance to Freddie Flintoff, came from Alvechurch Marina and fitted a new one. A costly mistake but we were able to progress on into Birmingham and moor at Brindley Place.
Saturday saw Martin try to go to Tyseley Railway museum, but it was closed. The markets were great and we also enjoyed the museum and art gallery. Later we took in a Bollywood Movie - brilliant fun! Have met up with my old nursing friend, moored close by on her live aboard, much smarter than ours, and caught up on the many years that have passed since we last spoke. Everywhere along the way are duck and geese with young, and even here in the middle of the city we have been visited by a family of Canada Geese with 2 goslings, lovely.
Now sitting in the rain with a fire to keep out the wet.