Explorer Day 1 - No Kipper Tie?
First boat away this morning was H and his crew on Jjinad who slipped their moorings just before 6am. the rest of us followed at intervals for the next four hours. H lived and worked on commercial narrowboats all his life as did two generations before him and various relatives. Jjina is a replica FMC 'Star' class boat built by Barry Hawkins before he went bust the second time (he has since achieved the hat trick). The name is not a rare piece of Brummie dialect but the initials of his grandchildren in chronological order.
When Marcus first went up to Birmingham University and was looking for digs one landlady asked him "kipper tie?" After several repetitions he realised he was being offered a cup of tea. Well we should be in Digbeth Basin tonight but decided to cut the day short after climbing the Aston flight of locks. this means we will have to descend the Ashted flight tomorrow morning before joining up with the rest of the party. Digbeth is also known as Typhoo Basin as tea used to be carried up the Grand Union from London docks to the tea warehouse there.
We set off at 7.45 and when we arrived at the first locks at Minworth there were three boats already waiting. As boats stopped for water or got stuck in mud we changed positions over the day
We knew we were entering the metropolis when we started to encounter bridges with these red doors to give the fire brigade access to the canal for pumping water.
Spagetti Junction may be what motorists call it but to boaters it is Salford Jct where the stables used to be for the horse drawn working boats.
I wish I had seen the stables before they were demolished in the 1960s to make way for the M6.
On the way up the Aston Locks this mural in bricks has been created which distracted me enough that I hit a very large and immovable object in the canal. If I had been under power at the time more things would have fallen out of the pantry. Fortunately nothing was broken
But more was in store as the water level declined as we climbed up the flight. About four locks from the top I ran aground in the thick black mud after leaving this lock and trying to pass a descending boat in the very short pound. This photo shows how far the water was below its usual level - look at the water line in the channel alongside the lock.