Monday, 9 February 2015

The Mattress, The Angler and The Lights in the Sky

Sunday, 1st February
The view from last night's mooring ar Walsall Top Lock
With Mark having returned to Oxford last night, Twelfth of Never was three-handed again for the passage - downhill this time - of the Walsall Locks. We were away at 9.00am and made good progress down the easy-to-work flight until being confronted by this sight:
Trouble ahead at Walsall
This caused a little delay whilst we ran water down the flight, taking care not to drain any of the short pounds above us. The lack of water exposed quite a bit of debris, including a complete mattress that had been resting on the mud below the full lock but which was then flushed down the channel by the inrush of water, coming to rest in the entrance to the lock below. It fell to me to remove it and keep it clear of Twelfth of Never's propeller as we moved down and into the lower lock. 
Not around my prop, please!
As expected, the Walsall Canal was shallow and very slow going, but we avoided any major hazards until arriving at the bottom of Ryder's Green Locks, where a fishing match was taking place. One angler in particular had positioned himself on the lock landing at just the spot I needed to put Twelfth of Never's bow to allow Steve and Pete to jump off and deal with an errant Wheelie-bin that was blocking the entrance to the lock. (If you live at no. 22 in one of the surrounding streets, I know where your missing bin is!). Wien  the hazard had been removed and the lock made ready I had no alternative but to put the tiller hard over and give the engine some welly in order to get into the lock, stirring up a mass of evil-looking black sludge in the process.

No words were said, but looking back from the lock I saw the angler remove his keep-net from the water, which was once, presumably, full of the day's catch but  now full of said sludge! He shook his head and began packing up his gear, presumably to move to a better spot, where he should have been in the first place! (I got my comeuppance later!)
An angler who has learned his lesson?
There were no further problems on the flight and we were soon at Pudding Green Junction and turning onto the New Main Line. Our passage of the Walsall Canal had been far more trouble-free than I'd expected, but better was to come with this spectacular welcome to the city in the skies above Brum!

There was even plenty of space in my favourite city-centre mooring on the Oozells Street loop, where we tied up for the night, with this view from the bow.
The view from Oozells Street


Ian and Karen said...

Enjoying your BCN journey, and a favourite mooring of ours too, that one. Plus it's where we first met you Jim. Happy Days.

Adam said...

Our favourite central Bormingham mooring too -- as long as you stop short of the air conditioning outlets!

Anonymous said...

The air-conditioning outlets were most welcome on the Sunday evening! I took my chance to travel the Midland Metro to Wolverhampton and back, and on my return to the boat it was perishing cold in the icy winds. I was very tempted to stay by the warm blast from the air-con. However, when I returned to the boat, Jim and Pete were enjoying a roasting with the central heating on, plus the solid-fuel stove. We did brave the cold later to visit the Prince of Wales pub.

Jim said...

Ian and Karen - Yes, I remember meeting at Oozells Street and of course the BCN Marathon Challenge that followed. That trip was rather dominated by the rain I recall, this trip had rather different weather, as you will read.

Adam, Those air-con vents did come in useful, as Steve has commented.

Yes, that central heating was very welcome but of course there were consequences. . . (trailer for future post!)