Natascha thinks we beat all the boater records in the last two days, ever. Pure sarcasm, of course, but at this point she’s allowed.
The first day on our way to Kingswood Basin we spent some 9 hours cruising. That was already challenging for us, and the cat. Although it was September, the thermometer climbed up and it was rather warm for this time of the year. We found a tremendous spot to moor up for the night, cat went out straight away and we caught the last sun rays. It was a beautiful moment.
Day two of the journey turned out the be a back breaking nightmare. There were many locks to work, 27 in total in one day! It was apocalyptic to cruise through Birmingham from the side we did, we came from the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal section and we had to pass under the spaghetti junction. Heavily industrialized landscape for miles on end and then this junction. We had to turn left into the Grand Union and shortly afterwards was a CRT mooring which we both didn’t approve of to stay overnight, silly as we were. We cruised through Birmingham at night, the canal not looking good at all, cranky old locks to work. And we continued cruising, it was getting later and later, we finally had Birmingham Centre behind us, generally it was really dark along the canal and we could hardly see a thing, apart from a massive incinerator at one point. We didn’t have a clue where we were.
The clock was hitting 11pm and we had to moor up, we have been cruising since 9am! We finally saw a boat and we decided to stay near them for the night. By that time it was already 11.30pm. Quickly something to eat, the cat went out, we were surrounded by forest, or at least it seemed.
The next morning we got up, knackered as hell, the cat nowhere. Great. So, we had to wait, had a coffee outside, it was a lovely day again. Then we discovered the mess on the roof of our boat. Blimey somebody dropped a rather big shit! Was it a pigeon or a squirrel? Quickly, we had to wash the roof, the white paint wasn’t fully dry at this point and we just didn’t wanted to have some weird green colour seeping through. The cat arrived, we grabbed her and off we went.
When we arrived at Knowle Wharf we wanted to fill up our diesel tank. Sorry mates, no diesel here…! We had to go all the way back to Copt Heath Wharf, adding another 40 minutes of extra cruising. We got there, got the diesel and went back. On the way back we saw dark clouds in the distance, it really looked like something was brewing. At the Knowle flight of locks the storm was pretty close. Still we decided to do the locks, those are massive ones, doing them alone and under pressure was hard work. Yet again! Natascha’s biceps were getting bigger by the bloody minute.
We arrived at the bottom and the famous sky opened. It was a beautiful storm, the cat unfortunately managed to get out of the boat and had to endure some serious lightning and thunder. When the storm was over we continued with cruising, thinking we will manage to reach our new home. But we slowed down the boat to the lowest gear and quietly cruised the last stretch of the cut. It was a stunning moment & Natascha didn’t make a single photo… Probably because the scenery was so overwhelmingly beautiful, we were so happy to have made the decision to move to the country side, we were in awe of it all.
Then night fell and we just couldn’t get ourselves to go up the last lock and trying to find our spot and quite possibly disturb the neighbors. So we stayed near the railway bridge for the night and discovered that we had a dead Coventry rat on our boat! Yes, bloody hell, we noticed a strange smell when passing the fridge and we thought it was the cabbage we bought… but no, a dead rat under the fridge! Out we threw it in the bushes, got the anti bacterial cleaning out and whipped everything franticly. Then we prepared supper, not the last one, but the first in our new home.
The next morning we did the last lock, filled up the water tank and moored at Kingswood Basin. It was a glorious moment. No more enforcement team, no more clogged Elsan disposal, decent water pressure. And great neighbors. Heaven.