Well,as the title suggests,this week we have been enjoying a few of the local attractions as well as making the most of our first experience of being on our boat in the snow.We’ve had no problems,the towpath has been a bit iffy at times,but we’ve gone out every day well wrapped up and enjoyed ourselves.Got to be honest though,not having to get up for work makes everything so very much better.This is only the second time I have ever seen snow in Birmingham,the first time must have been in the late seventies or early eighties.I was driving through here in the early hours of the morning and everywhere was white over, but by the time I got back later that day,it had all gone.Snow nearly always either turned to rain or the sun melted what had settled in those days.This time it stayed and made everywhere look like a Christmas card.I’ve always liked the snow and I remember as a kid,how disappointed I was when it thawed and also the shock of getting my knuckles rapped for staring at the falling snow through the classroom window during lessons.I remember being snowed in for six weeks in the 60s when all the surrounding roads were blocked.I was in the forces in Harwich and never saw a flake,I was really disappointed I can tell you.
Nearly every day we have been out walking and taking a few pictures of the canals around here,they look very picturesque when covered by snow and with the water frozen.I guess that it’s because they no longer look so urban and industrial,the snow somehow gives them a rural look.Derelict buildings,and open spaces where buildings once stood,the bridges and the locks and even the black waters themselves seem to lose their harshness when covered in a blanket of white.
That’s Chyandour on the left,moored at Vincent Street Moorings,on the Birmingham Main Line canal,shortly after the snow first started.Not getting a lot from the solar panels that day.
Now we’ve all heard the saying “ Like water off a ducks back” ,well it seems snow doesn’t slide off quite so easily.Cambrian Wharf at the top of the Farmers Bridge Flight on the right.
Above left is of the Birmingham & Worcester Canal as it leaves Birmingham.On the embankment to the left there used to be a brewery.Anyone remember the slogan “Beer at home means Davenports”? Well,this is where Davenports brewery used to be.On the right is Worcester Bar,from 1792 until 1815 there was no canal here on this short stretch for the reasons I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.
Above are a few pictures of some more of the work being undertaken by C&RT on the Farmers Bridge Flight.As you can see,the water has been drained away and there’s some of the mud and the obligatory shopping trolley.Bottom left is something rarely seen,a ground paddle,usually underwater.It gets its name from the fact the winding gear and paddle are on the “ground” as opposed to gate paddles which,as the name suggests,have their winding gear and paddles on the gates.The bottom right is of a byewash which allows excess water to bypass the lock.This byewash is where there used to be another lock,additional locks were built alongside the present ones to relieve congestion in the 19th Century and abandoned and built over in the 20th.
As well as walking the towpaths we have gone inland,as it were,to see the Sea Life Centre and the Jewellery Quarter.
Some spectacular exhibits at the nearby Sea Life Centre,apparently the fish on the right,the ones covered in spots,are Rays and can be deadly if you should be unfortunate enough to tread on one.
Anyone recognise the structure on the left? Similar constructions used to be seen in lots of towns and cities and this one was made at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow by Walter Macfarlane Ltd.,at that time,the most important ornamental ironwork manufacturer in Scotland.Haven’t seen one for years.
The jewellers Arms pub in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham and a plaque on the footpath about the whistles on the Titanic.These were the Thunderer whistles issued to the officers on board before she sailed in April 1912,and not the ones on the funnel,which is what I first thought.
That’s all again for this week,since our blog on the 14th of January we have done 0 miles and 0 locks so the grand total is still 53 locks and 73 miles.Take care everyone.