Sunday, 18 October 2015

The soup and the map

Blog reader KevinToo left a comment on our last post pointing out New Street Station has NOT been renamed.  Grand Central is actually the name of the new shopping plaza built above the station.  Thanks Kevin!

Jaq (nb Valerie) very kindly gave us some of her homemade soup before we left Cambrian Wharf.  We had it for dinner tonight and found it delicious, although a touch of lemon & pepper would have made it outstanding (Jaq will understand).  Jan thinks Jaq made a second portion for her (Jaq) and Les.  I noticed mine was full of chicken, so I guess Le got the feathers for tonight’s dinner!  He’s been away at one of the local health clubs in a attempt to shed a few kilos.  OK, Les has actually been pretty damned crook.  He was due to return to Jaq after we departed and we hope he is now well on the way to recovery.

The water pressure from the tap at Cambrian Wharf is very poor so we decided to fill the tank at Sherborne Wharf whilst simultaneously having a pump out.  The water pressure at Sherbourne Wharf is excellent but it still took 45 minutes to top up the half full tank.  We had an excellent pump out (£17).

Before we departed our mooring I walked down to the Bull Ring Markets where I enquired at all the small phone outlets about unlocking the EE mifi.  None of them could do it, although one told me he might be able to unlock it but it would take two days.  I guessed he would take it to someone more knowledgeable and then add a commission.  Unlocking it isn’t urgent so I wandered away.  I’ve found a number of websites providing information on how to unlock the mifi.  It requires two small software programs.  I managed to download one but finding a source for the second ( is proving more difficult.  I’m reluctant to use websites that want my email address or want to place some type of download management software on the laptop.

We headed north out of Birmingham down the New Main Line.  It’s all very familiar as far as Dudley Port Junction, after that it’s new territory to us as far as Wolverhampton.  It was at Dudley Junction where we discovered I’d made a mess of uploading the canal map onto the Mio PDA.  I’d double loaded the section from Birmingham to the junction and as a consequence the second half of the cruise was done using our old Pearsons Canal Companion.  We have become so used to the ease of using the Waterway Routes electronic maps and gps that we actually struggled with the paper guide book.

The surfaces of the chambers in Factory Locks (3) were full plastic bottles and floating grass.  Several bursts of reverse were required to clear the prop before exiting each chamber.  The middle lock was full with the top and bottom locks empty?  I raised both lower paddles on the middle lock and then realised it was only slowly emptying.  That’s when I noticed the top paddles had been left up!


Factory Locks

For some reason I had expected the scenery either side of the canal to be light industry and old abandoned brick factories.  It was totally the reverse; a linear park north out of Birmingham.  I must admit to preferring the Old Main Line.  The New Main Line is too straight and therefore boring (IMHO).

At 329 metres Coseley Tunnel isn’t very long.  It’s also high, wide and leaks!

P1010953 Jan was fascinated by the homes built on top of the exit portal.


At one stage we were thinking of cruising down the Wednesbury Oak Loop Arm to the CRT Bradley Workshops.  We have seen so many lock gates bearing an oval plaque stating they were made at Bradley Workshops that a visit was considered.  However it won’t happen this year.


Deepfields Junction and the entrance to the Wednesbury Oak Loop

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