Back in the countryside

Thursday saw us off and moving again. We stopped to fill with water and empty our cassettes at the wharf near the Mailbox, then carried on the Worcester and Birmingham canal, passing Birmingham university and its huge campus. Now I would normally be putting in pictures at this point of our journey but we have a problem with our new computer (just had it a year), and all the photos are stored on it! So I’m using the phone for today’s blog. Through Edgbaston and Selly Oak, and past Cadbury World at Bournville (I’m promised a stop on the way back). We turned left at Kings Norton junction onto the Stratford on Avon canal passing under the remains of a guillotine lock and steadily made our way along. We had 2 lift bridges to negotiate; one was electric which was easy until a car tried to beat the barrier and I had to stop and reverse the bridge to let it out! The next lift bridge needed a windlass to operate it, supposed to be hydraulic but I felt quite sick after winding the mechanism as it took 3 turns to the normal one to get it lifting. Safely through and we stopped at Warings Green where we had a countryside view at last.  

 
Whilst in the area I had contacted an ex colleague from my student nurse days. We arranged to meet at Lowsonford as there was a nice pub there by the canal. So Friday the plan was to move along towards the area. I was expecting to do about 15 locks then stop; but oh no Charlie had been told by the C&RT worker at the first lock that we would make it by early afternoon so now we were on a mission to get there in one day, good job we left early. We had done 4 locks with no other boat in sight. At the fifth one I noticed a boat coming up the locks (we were going down), so we stopped in the short pound to wait for them so as not to turn the lock and waste water. Unbeknowns to us a hire boat that appeared behind us suddenly hadn’t checked the situation and suddenly was exiting the lock behind us! There ensued a bit of shuffling to get them out, us In the next lock and the boat coming up into the lock behind! We then had to carry on through the Lapworth locks as they are very close together and no room for mooring in the pounds. We carried on at Kingswood junction (left here for the Grand Union canal)., and finally made it to Lowsonford and the Fleur de Lys pub, after doing 28 locks. Now we do share the work but even so I was feeling pretty uncomfortable and very teasy. Saturday we met our friends for lunch at the pub, partaking of a few bevvies and a rather lovely pie meal. Back to the boat for coffee and more chatting and by then it was nearly bedtime! We said we would catch up with them again on our way back later in the year. We had a quiet day Sunday and moved again yesterday for an overnight stop at Preston Bagot. Another pub here will be where we have arranged to pick up the grandkids in a couple of weeks, and when they have gone some more friends will be meeting us at Wilmcote at the end of the month. So we will carry on to Stratford and explore a bit then turn back for a the meeting up. There aren’t a lot of sanitary stops along this canal, although water and rubbish are reasonably plentiful.

Hopefully will get the computer sorted meanwhile; or its back to using the old one that we’ve had for ten years and given us no trouble! 

We moved this morning to Wootten Wawen and managed to get a reasonable phone and Internet signal; the first time since we left Birmingham, hence the blog update. There is a nice farm shop and retail outlet with antique shops, clothes and other up market goods. We bought a beef pie for dinner and some bread and teacakes. Oh and some blue cheese to go with the bread. Tomorrow I need to wash the side of the boat I couldn’t do last Friday, then we are going to investigate the oldest church in Warwickshire. 

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