Birmingham was wonderful as always but one day with a night at either end was never going to be enough time to see everything that the city had to offer. As it was we saw a rather long and enlightening play at the Crescent Theatre nearby on Saturday night about the motives and morality of war as understood by a recruiting sergeant. All the parts were very dramatic and were acted well but I found the plot too long. I felt glad when the whole thing was over.
Earlier in the day I had taken Janis on a whistle-stop tour of the main Squares of the city and we both marvelled as usual at the opulent architecture of the surrounding buildings; such richness that had arrived along with the Industrial Revolution. St Philip’s Cathedral too with its bright and beautiful Pre- Raphaelite east window held our attention as we sat quietly and listened to some soft music, designed to relax entirely the busy lunchtime visitor.
The woven pattern of tiles in Centenary Square Birmingham
Janis in Victoria Square
The East Windows in St Philip’s Cathedral
In the Foyer of the Symphony Hall there was a concert of Indian music which was again very soothing for the lunchtime brain. Unfortunately we didn't see the beginning of the concert so missed the description of the instruments by the two players. One of them I know was the Tabla, the percussion instrument while the other was a type of multi-stringed Zither, which was played with two hammers. It was beautiful and again relaxing.
We also did the shops in New Street and the Bull Ring before returning to the ships. It had been a good day out.
On Sunday we slipped our moorings and travelled swiftly across the lock free Birmingham Main Line, except for the three taking us up at Tipton Green and at around five we moored in Wolverhampton at the safe mooring opposite the C,R&T depot near the Top Lock of the descending Wolverhampton 21. This mooring is completely secure from the outside world in general and the city, which has an unfriendly reputation, in particular. However because there is no entrance to the canal here it also means that the boater cannot get out. This suited us well as we were only there overnight.
The entrance to Galton Tunnel on the Birmingham Mainline
Hibernating Peacock Butterfly at Wolverhampton Facilities
The following day we descended the twenty one single locks that took us down the one and a half miles to Aldersley Junction on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. There was no traffic and the going was very tedious since every lock on the way down was empty and had to be filled before we could enter. There was no way of making things easier, for example by nipping to the next lock down, while ‘Futurest’ was being lowered, to fill it before we arrived. The locks were just too far apart to make this practical. I tried it only once but all it did was to delay Janis on ‘Roots and Wings’, waiting patiently behind, just above the lock that ‘Futurest’ was in. The most satisfactory way was simply to work our own locks till we arrived eventually, six hours later, at the bottom of the flight.
There was just one more lock, hardly one at all, after we arrived at Autherley Junction, to carry us into the Shropshire Union Canal and all stops north. The wide beauty of the ‘Shroppie’ was all ours and though it was chilly when we made fast in the country just beyond the urban limits, the Sun that had been our encouraging companion all day, was about to set in a sky with only a few high wispy Cirrus clouds to paint.
I slept well that night in quiet contentment.
Sunset on the Shropshire Union
Since then we have passed another night deep in the countryside and during the days have travelled alternately across flat open views and wonderful wooded cuttings that are beginning to burst with vibrant Spring green colours as we pass beneath tall ornate bridges. Today busy Norbury Junction slipped by where boats are beginning to move after their winter’s hibernation.
Dropping off rubbish at Norbury Junction
High Bridge north of Norbury Junction
There is another lovely sunset tonight.