Saturday, 21 April 2007

Tardebigge or bust
Thirty six locks and two tunnels before lunch! Who needs a gym membership?
When there are so many locks to negotiate it is helpful if there is a constant flow of boats travelling in the opposite direction so that as one boat leaves a lock, the other enters. To take advantage of all the hire boats which start above the Tardebigge flight on a Saturday we chose that day to travel up the flight. Four and three-quarter hours later we reached the top having met only one boat (and not a hire boat!) So much for our smart thinking. It seems than boat hirers are not as stupid as we had thought - they all set off in the other direction which gave them an afternoon of lock-free boating to the centre of Birmingham.
About three locks up from the bottom is a lock cottage which the Landmark Trust has restored and is available for holidays. The view from the rear is very rural and is not interrupted by sweaty boaters trying to get to the pub before closing time.
We arrived at Alvechurch in the afternoon and will stay here for a few days. The railway station is right alongside the canal and we plan to visit London on St. George's Day to attend the citizenship ceremony of a friend.
The boat moored immediately in front of us is called Oh Jerusalem! and has stained glass in the front doors. Further round the corner there is a tiny narrowboat where the owner is skinning four rabbits he shot earlier in the day. That may account for the abundance of flies here.

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