Monday, 9 August 2010

Day Eighteen: Snap!

Wolverhampton Top Lock No.1 - Engine Arm


11 miles

We had a late start after a difficult night: we were set loose at about 11:30pm, and when we went out to check, Lyra follwed. In the dark she didn't realise that there was water on both sides and promptly fell in the cut. So we had a wet cat (who luckily managed to get herself out) but no where to put her as the boat was still on at the bows, but swinging out at the stern such that I couldn't just fling her inside the cratch for fear of landing her back in the cut. So I held onto her, shivering as she was still soaked. She wasn't having any of it, and tried to escape, gouging my neck with her claws. Luckily by this time James had pulled the boat in far enough that I could take her inside and dry her off. James chained the boat up and we tried to get some sleep.

Today was the first of two days we are planning to spend on the BCN. We began with a run down to the Black Country Living Museum. The journey there was enjoyable, in the sunshine. We both love cruising the BCN, with its industrial backdrop, but beautiful canals.

The Black Country Living Museum is a fantastic place. It does have a conventional 'museum' but for the most part it is a little Black Country village, complete with pub, shops, tram, canal, school and mine. There are 'inhabitants' (complete with costumes and Black Country accents), pigs, chickens, and horses. We went for rides on the tram, looked in the shops, explored the mine workings, ate proper Black Country faggots and peas, and looked at the boats. Properly worth a visit. It feels very unpretentious. There are no boring museum plaques, just buildings that are what they are because that's how it was.

BCLM boats

We left, having given out gated mooring to a blog reader (hope you had a good evening there, Eddie!) and headed off down the Old Main Line towards Engine Arm, where the Duck used to be moored, and where John, who used to own, and substantially refitted the Duck, was waiting to meet us. He showed us his new boat, Shuttleworth Snap, of which the interior is mostly fitted out, a sort of Duck Mk.II, with a lot of the features (bed on gas struts, wet room bathrom) that we like about the Duck recreated with a few improvements.

We took the Duck on test run to round about here, at Spon Lane, just over 2 years ago.

Arriving at Engine Arm

We had a delicious beef chilli, and them showed him what we'd done to the Duck. Not much has changed inside but the engine sounds different with the new cooling system, and the paintwork has certainly changed! It was a lovely evening, and we are safe here on the gated moorings at the end of Engine Arm, planning to do a bit more exploring of Birmingham tomorrow.

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