*****Is going there and back to see how far it is.*****













Hi I am Jo…wife, lover, best friend and soulmate to Keith. Lover of all things to do with nature and the canals. I am passionate about the Waterways and its history.


I hope you will join me in my rambles and do please comment – I love to hear from and meet new people in blogland!

Life on the cut through my eyes.

Daisypath Anniversary tickers
*****Stay safe and warm out there..*****













Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Day 18: Company and food.

Hiya family, friends and followers.

Tuesday dawned and it was so quiet. The only thing that woke me was the heating pump going off. We had forgotten to turn it off before going to bed. Up and cuppa made, which was enjoyed beneath the duvet, whilst listening to the morning news, as depressing as it was and yes it was all about the B word. This is a B free zone by the way.
It was a relaxing start to the morning, having gotten up and done the boat chores, we spent the morning doing very little. At 12.45pm we left the boat and headed towards the Mailbox to meet friends at Tamatanga Indian Restaurant for lunch. Food in a bowl at lunchtime costs £9.95 and comes with a drink. It is scrummy and well worth giving it a go if you are in Birmingham, but I recommend you book a table, because they get extremely busy. I had booked a few days previous. After enjoying a lovely lunch, we went back to our friends apartment for afternoon coffee and cake. We managed to spend a good few hours chatting and laughing. The time really flies when you are having fun. Before we knew it, the time was 6pm and it was time to head home back to the boat.
On returning to the boat, there was a huge queue outside the Arena Birmingham, so I came online to see what was going to be on. It turned out to be Panic! at the disco (no idea who they are). They were on with Arizona and MO again not heard of them, but from the noise which was coming out of the building they were loud. Looking at the write-up for Panic! at the disco, is an American rock band from Las Vegas, Nevada, formed in 2004. We knew were would be in for a loud night, because the concert was not due to finish until 10.40pm.
Whilst listening to the loud noises coming from the Arena, I made us some dinner and a coffee and settled down for the evening.

Pop back tomorrow to see whether we got any sleep. xxx

Monday, 25 March 2019

Day 16 and 17. Pints and moving on.

Hello family, friends and followers.

Sunday morning dawned and there was silence from the industrial estate. The birds were singing and the Canada Geese were honking. A Wren was singing a merry tune alongside out boat and the sun was out, but we were still awake early.
After our usual cuppa, we were up and moved our boat alongside the C&RT workboat, because Phil was coming back with his boat Valerie. We had said to him, to let us know when he was at the bottom of the Oldbury Locks and we would help him up the locks. I got on with the boat chores and cooked up some meatballs for lunch. 11.30am we got a text from Phil to say he was at the bottom lock, so we down tooled, grabbed our windlasses and headed off down the locks to do some lock setting. We found the pound below lock 4 empty again, so I went ahead to help Phil, whilst Keith let down some water. There is clearly a leak in the pound, because it was bone dry. Once we had helped Phil up the locks, I made us some lunch and then we joined Phil for a couple of pints in Spoons (Wetherspoons). It was so lovely to catch up with him and chat about his new boat Valerie, which had belonged to good friends Les and Jaqueline. Sadly Phil lost his boat in a fire along with his dog and was in need of a new boat, so we put him in touch with Jaqueline, who had her boat up for sale. Phil is so happy with Valerie and has really settled in well with her. It was so lovely to see him and to see him so happy. For me seeing Valerie was a bitter sweet moment, because we had always know her as Les and Jaqueline's boat and we know how happy they were on their boat. But she has gone to a lovely man and he will love her and cherish her as Les and Jaqueline did.
Having enjoyed a couple of pints and a good old chinwag, we walked back to our boat, where Keith gave Phil a guided tour of the railway. We then had dinner, before visiting Simon, Tracey and little Harry on their boat Evelyn's Joy.

Monday morning dawned and so did the noise from the industrial estate. It is one of those noises you get used too. For us it would be moving day though and so we got up early to get a few jobs done. I topped the water tank up, whilst Keith emptied the toilet cassette. I then lit the back cabin stove and got rid of the cold ash and rubbish. Whilst we got the boat ready Phil kindly set the locks and filled the low and empty pounds.
7.50am we were ready for the off on what was a superb morning for cruising. The sun was out and there was no wind. There was a slight chill, but nothing that warranted me putting my jacket on.
In the bottom lock of six.
Under the motorway and all the works that are going on. We had to stop at Spon Lane Locks junction, because we had a prop full of rubbish. Most of it was plastic bags.
We just about managed to get through Summit tunnel, because a tree had come down at the exit. I reported it to C&RT and they are getting it sorted out.
We arrived at Smethwick Locks. It always makes me sad to see the toll house, which was burnt out a few years ago. It makes me angry that some people do not treasure their surrounding and the history which goes with it.
By 10.10 am we had gone through Smethwick Junction and were heading into Birmingham. We decided to going into Oozells Street Loop, to see if there were any moorings and we were pleased to see there was one mooring left just for us.
After lunch, we walked into the city, because I wanted some bits and pieces. I do love Birmingham. At the moment, it is going through a huge change with loads of building work taking place and the new routes for the tram. It is a very vibrant beautiful city.

Pop back soon xxx

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Day 13, 14, 15. Staying put.

Hello family, friends and followers.

We woke to a sunny, mild Thursday morning and the sound of the industrial estate waking up across the cut. The Canada Geese were doing their best to drown out the noise from the estate, but were failing miserably. They start working at around 6 am and the banging around begins. Just as well we are awake early. The radio went on as did the kettle and we enjoyed our first brew of the day.
The thought for the morning was to walk down into Oldbury, so after 9.30am, we locked the boat up and headed off. Oldbury has a Sainsbury and an Asda. It also has some smaller shops, but like a lot of towns it is suffering from closed shop syndrome, which makes the place look very sad. I did pop into Sainsbury's to get some Vegetable Suet, because you cannot get it at Aldi and I do like dumplings with my stews. I bought two boxes, so I have one on standby. After a wander around what is a small town, we wandered back to the boat.
I decided the rubbish bin needed emptying, so took the bag to the skip, opened the door to see a bag moving in the bottom of the skip. Out popped a rat, who sat on the bag and looked at me as if to ask "please can you help me out of the skip", because it was a good three foot down in the skip. I closed the door to and headed back to the boat to see if I could find anything to get the rat out, but we had left our fishing net on the mooring. On walking back to the skip a C&RT man appeared and he said he had a net. We both went to the skip opened the door, only to find the rat had managed to scrabble out of the skip itself. I was quite prepared to help the animal. I am not scared of rats, I grew up with them and we have them around where we moor, so they do not get me in a panic. Anyway I hope it was alright.
The rest of Thursday was spent, cooking cleaning and doing more crochet.
Friday morning and on time the industrial estate began early with their bashing and crashing. Cuppa in hand at 6.10am and the radio on. There is little point in trying to sleep. Up by 7.30am and all boat chores done nice and early as well. I got on with also polishing the mooring side of the boat. I like to polish the paintwork twice a year, which helps keep the Red nice and bright. It has worked well for Twelve years, so I will keep it going for as long as possible.
I made a Chicken Casserole with dumplings for lunch and then settled down to finish another Collies Rainbow blanket.
This is my Seventh of 2019 and will get posted at some point, along with a few others. The past couple of days I have been dealing with Sciatica, so it has been good to rest my back and do some exercises as well.
Saturday I woke to silence, yes I thought, we will have a quiet start to our mooring. I was still awake at 6.10am, so got up to make a cuppa and then came the crashing noise from across the cut. I am not adverse to noise, because we have traffic noise at our mooring. I think it is just the loudness of the crashes and bangs, which wakes me up. Anyway it did not last long and we were up just after 7am.
The BCN Society were moving their boats Phoenix and Crow down to pick up rubbish, so we offered to lock wheel them down the six locks. The pound above lock four was empty again, so we needed to let water down in order to get the boats through and the paddle gear on the top gate at lock Six was locked and none of us could undo it with our keys, so that will be reported to C&RT. Having done the bit of lock wheeling, I cooked us some lunch and then settled down to doing a bit more crocheting and reading my latest book The Summer Maiden by Dilly Court. I am very much enjoying this book. I do love the way Dilly Court writes.
I have no idea what the rest of the day will bring, but I will keep posting, when I have something to say.

Pop back soon xx

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Day 12. Oil change day.

Hello family, friends and followers.

Happy Ostara. It is the first day of Spring and the sun is out. What a beautiful start to the Spring Equinox. It is mild and the sun is lovely. Yesterday having got ourselves settled on our mooring, we had our friends in for coffee, with their gorgeous 10 week old son. He is adorable and looks so much like his dad. It was so lovely catching up with Simon and Tracey, because we last saw them at the end of last year, before their son was born.
Waking up in a strange place is always so different. This morning we woke at 6am to the sound of heavy plant being moved on the industrial estate just across the cut. Obviously they start early over there. The only thing for it was to get up and make a brew.
After getting ourselves up and sorted, with boat chores out of the way, we took the granny trolley and headed off to find Halfords. We walked a couple of miles up the towpath to where the Aldi was and then under the motorway bridge, where we found the road to Halfords. The reason for finding Halfords was because we needed some oil to do an oil change on Hadar's engine. Having got what we needed, we walked back along the towpath in the Spring sunshine. It was a good day for a walk.
Once we had had a coffee, Keith got on with the oil change. We always change the engine oil every 200 hours, to keep our old National DA2 happy. She is a very elderly lady, so keeping her content is important.
Oil change completed, it was time for lunch and another coffee. The afternoon for me will be spent crocheting with my feet up. I may even be tempted to sit out in the Spring sunshine, because we are on a nice mooring.

Pop back soon xx

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Day 11. BCLM to Titford Pools.

Hiya Family, friends and followers.

Finally the wind has dropped and this morning it was warmer and wind free. We set off for Aldi first thing to do a much needed food shop. It is all uphill to the store, but a blessing of all downhill with a full granny trolleys. I stashed all the food away, in its rightful places, before we got ready for the off.
We set off at 9.55am with the sun shining and me in my shirt sleeves, that is how warm it was this morning.
Work still progressing on the viaduct, approaching Oldbury junction. It is scaffold city, but really quite impressive.
Turning into the Titford canal at Oldbury junction.
Titford Locks ahead. Halfway up the 6 locks we came across a dry pound, so had to  run some water down to get through the successive pounds and locks.
We were unsure if it was a leakage problem or someone had been naughty and had opened the paddles and allowed the water out. There was no leakage from the lock gates. I was letting water down lock by lock, pound by pound. 
Keith was closing up the gates behind himself to begin with, but with the pounds so low further up, I ended up walking back and doing it for him, because it was as much as he could do to get Hadar across the pounds. 
Over an hour later, we finally made it up through the top lock.
We are now moored at Titford Pumphouse for a few days. Friends to see and places to visit. 
Spring has most definitely sprung for the Coots, we saw today. They are all very busy nest building. This Coot has gone for the highrise look.
I am going to rant about rubbish again. This lot was seen canalside at a business. Surely this cannot be allowed to continue. Someone has to take responsibility for this mess and for all the other rubbish we have passed yet again. 

Pop back soon xxx

Monday, 18 March 2019

Day 10. Digbeth to Black Country Museum, Dudley.

Hello family, friends and followers.

After the fun and excitement of the St. Patrick's Day parade and all the walking we did to see the graffitti around the custard factory, I slept like a log last night. I was in bed just after 9.45pm, feeling everso slighting shattered.
This morning we both woke just after 6am. I looked out of the engine room door to see a pretty sunrise. With us being awake early, I got up and made us a nice cuppa. We were up around 7am and got everything ready for the off.
7.40am we headed off from Minerva Wharf, Digbeth and headed for Bordesley Junction, where we had to stop because we had something around the prop.
It turned out we had a dog coat around the prop. So somewhere out there, there is a dog missing its coat.
First locks of the day were Ashted locks. The amount of plastic bottles and rubbish was disgusting to say the least. We had to go down the weed hatch again, this time it was plastic bags and twigs.
Having completed the Ashted Locks, we headed into Birmingham with the BT tower showing us the way to Farmers Bridge Locks.
We met a couple of boats on the flight.
Having had a good run up the flight, we met a lovely Irish couple, who had come over for the weekend, to do the parade and to enjoy Birmingham for the first time. They loved everything they saw, which is lovely to hear.
We decided because it was still early, we would carry on to the BCLM. Whilst on the move, I put some Sausage Rolls in the back cabin oven to warm through and I made us a coffee. It was then the overcast sky decided to drop some rain on us. It was drizzly and on and off, so nothing to bother us.
We did Brades Locks and headed towards the BCLM.
All in all we had a fabulous days cruise. In all we did 11 miles and 22 locks. I am treating us to a Chinese Takeaway, because I am worth it having worked all the locks.

This Spring/Summer cruise is the first one without Paddy and Marmite. It is really strange not to have them onboard and I know that at the BCLM it will feel incredibly odd, not walking him twice a day out onto the park. They both bought us so much love and joy and I for one still really miss them both.

Pop back soon xxx

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Day 7, 8 and Nine. Playing in Birmingham.

Hello Family, friends and followers.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all.

On Friday we set off from Catherine de Barnes, in a breeze and a bit of drizzle. To be honest it was not to bad. The outskirts of Birmingham are actually quite pretty in their own way.
Our day ended up moored on Minerva Wharf, Warwick Bar, Digbeth, where friends of ours have one of the units.
It was an extremely blustery night and heavy rain, but we were fine where we were moored.
Saturday morning dawned and we decided that we would spend it in the Thinktank.
We had never been to the Thinktank before, and we were not disappointed. There is so much to see and do especially for the children.
We had lunch in one of the cafes, before finishing off looking around. If you have never been there, do give it a go.
On our return to the boat, we popped into see our friends Lou and Alison. We spent a lot of time chatting and laughing over coffee, before it was time to let them get on and I needed to do something for dinner. The wind finally calmed down overnight, which was a blessing, because it has given us disturbed nights.
Sunday morning. St. Patrick's Day and we were going to do something we have never done before and that was go to the 3rd largest St. Patrick's Day parade in the world.
Firstly we went around the area of the old Custard Factory, which is now known for its Graffiti art. There are some very talent people out there. This is art, not the tags you see on walls, which are just words.
Having enjoyed all the art work we could get too, we went and found a spot to stand for the parade, because 100,000 people were expected at the event. We were actually standing on Digbeth high street an hour before the parade, watching people coming and going. Some of the sights did make me giggle. Many of the folk there headed to the Old Crown pub for a pint. It is the oldest pub in Birmingham dating back to 1368. The queue was extremely long.
The parade began not long after 12 noon in the sunshine, although it was cold with a breeze.
The atmosphere was amazing, so we were so glad we decided to attend.
The problem then came with the black clouds gathering, because it absolutely hammered it down with rain, sleet, snow and hail. We had all the season within half an hour.
It did not stop the parade or those attending enjoying the whole event, which runs into the evening. Again if you have never attended the parade, do it at least once in your life, because it was excellent. Back home and we are spending the evening relaxing, ready for moving tomorrow, because Farmer's Bridge locks are now open.

Pop back soon. xxx

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Day 5 & 6. Hold on tight. The Black Boy Inn, Knowle to Catherine De Barnes.

Hello family, friends and followers.

Well, what can I say about the weather?
It is dreadful. Yesterday although windy, was sunny and we had our nice walk. Last night we were most definitely rocking and rolling. Rain was thumping on the roof of the back cabin as I lay in bed, wondering if there was anything outside which would blow away. Sleep was on and off overnight due to the wind.
On waking up, we woke to the wind still blowing a hooley and the rain lashing down, so no change.
The only thing to do was to cook, crochet and read.
The sun did pop out at 3pm for a short while, but we were bracing ourselves for Storm Gareth.
After the storms of yesterday, this morning we woke to yet more wind and rain and the thought of "Shall we move today". The answer was possibly yes, if as the forecaster suggested it calmed down. However at 9am the rain was lashing down and the wind was blowing a hooley.
Come 9.20am and it was such a different story. The sun was out and the wind had dropped, so we decided to brave it and leave The Black Boy moorings and make our way to the Knowle Locks. But before we could do that we had a little matter of actually getting off the mooring. Due to it being shallow, we were sucked onto the mud and Hadar was not for moving. It took a bit of toing and froing before finally we made it into the middle of the cut and were on our way. We said our "Goodbyes" before leaving in the wind.
As we approached Knowle Locks, the wind was getting up again. I managed to get off the boat to get the first locks started.
Once in the lock and the paddle up, I walked upto the second lock and emptied that, so that once the first lock was full and Keith had opened the gate, he could make his way into the second lock, whilst I walked back and shut the gate. This plan worked well and meant Hadar did not get caught in the pound by the gusting wind. Of course it meant more walking for me, but needs must and all that. Then there was also the problem of the gates blowing open once shut, so I was having to do them all over again.
We made it to the top lock. Whilst in the lock, I got rid of rubbish and emptied our cassette. I thought rather than mooring on the towpath, it was easier to do it in the lock, so we did not get caught by the wind.
After a very windy cruise and some heavy rain, we made it to Catherine de Barnes. After lunch we walked the short distance to the Spar store to buy some fruit, because we like fruit and yogurt after our lunch and we have run out. I like to support village shops when I can, after all if they do not get supported they close. Catherine De Barnes sounds like such a posh name for a village. Its name originates from Ketelberne, the man who owned it after the Norman Conquest in 1066. However it is mainly a later settlement probably dating from the building of the Grand Union Canal there and the present St Catherine's church, now a village hall, was built by Joseph Gillott in 1879. The village pub is called The Boat Inn and is a Chef and Brewer opposite the Spar store, so not far to walk, should anyone feel the need for a pint.
We are stopping here for the night and so I will start a new blanket for the Collies, because I have just finished my sixth blanket for 2019.
This one has wool in it which has come all the way from Canada. I use all donated wool for the Collie blankets. I am so grateful for all the donations and the Collies love their blankets.

Pop back soon xxx

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