We had a good night on the moorings last night, but I think the boat behind us who was moored under the footbridge got disturbed. We could hear faint talking when we went to bed, they must have been right over him. This morning as soon as the boat in front of us left the boat behind up sticks, shot round the look and moored ahead of us. He was the only one there when we left this morning about 10AM.
We needed water but there was a boat already on the services at Granville Street so we carried on knowing we would pass two more taps before we moored up for the night. We had to do a stop at Selly Oak so that Diana could do a quick trip to Sainsbury's which is quite close as we needed a few things to last us to Warwick. While she was gone I grovelled down the weed hatch in the inky black water, the prop was clear and then I spotted this ex working boat "Saltaire" coming towards us, he had just met a pleasure boat and when they were side by side the working boats bow looked higher than the roof of the pleasure boat. What's more I recognised the steerer who we had been chatting to at the BCNS meeting, it was one of the Waterways Chaplains.
When Diana returned we set off passing the Cadbury Bournville works on our right and the empty secure visitor moorings on our left. I was surprised to see a private boat moored on the towpath side and not the secure moorings.
At Kings Norton after a short delay while a hire boat coming towards us had several attempts at getting through the bridge, its a right bugger if you don't know it and get the line right as its a full 90° bend on a T junction through a bridge. Once he had it sorted we went through the bridge and turned left onto the North Stratford Canal.
As the Stratford canal and the Birmingham and Worcester canal use to fight over water a stop lock was installed in the entrance to the Stratford canal, the water level now is the same both sides, but this lock was a bit unusual in that it had guillotine gates at each end, these are now fixed in the open position.
The weather by now was doing what it liked, one moment bright sun shine the next very heavy rain that would last maybe 5 minutes, sometimes the sun and rain came together, we had over 6mm in total today. As it was trying to rain when we set off I had got my wet weather gear on but on a long run like this with no locks I also use a brolly as it keeps the back end of the boat dryer as well as me.
As I said we needed water and there are two taps about 2½ miles along the Stratford canal so we spent about half an hour there filling the tank before continuing on.
We are now into the Sloe season for making Sloe Gin and until today we hadn't seen any since Froghall, when it was still a bit early to pick them, so I positioned the boat so that Diana could stand on the bows and gather them, unfortunately they are small and not many of them, lets hope things improve.
We had to pass under an electrically operated lift bridge that carries a road across the canal, it is very aptly called Shirley Drawbridge as its in Shirley and as far as the traffic is concerned its just like lifting a drawbridge, it all stops. today we had 5 cars one side, we would have had more but oncoming cars on the main road saw the problem and took an alternative route, you could see them stop, indicate right, see the hold up and change their minds and go straight ahead to cross elsewhere.
We were going to stop at the Bluebell Cider Pub but I loath mooring under trees, especially if its raining, due to the drip drip drip on the roof of in storms bits falling on me so we carried on almost into Hockley Heath for the night.