Thursday, 4 September 2014

Onto the Birmingham and Fazeley. Includes a topical poem.

We are heading for Brummagem, time to sort out the Xmas shopping. We had an early, for us, start and were in Atherstone lock 10 by 0800.

At Grendon Dock the poor old butty was still looking unloved. Don't look too closely at the chap by the house, he was attending to his garden in nothing but a T shirt. I covered Jill's eyes.

Jaguar and Northolt were looking good though.

At Polesworth, between bridges 51 and 52 is the site of Polesworth Dock, originally Sephton's but acquired by Harry Atkins in 1912. I believe that Lees was a sleeping partner. They became famous for the quality of their boats and particularly for their roses and castles, the traditional decoration for the working boats.

Pooley Hall and the site of Pooley Hall Colliery. Difficult to believe that only sixty years ago this would of been a scene of frenetic activity, steam engines shunting, boats loading at the colliery wharf,

now just moorings for leisure boats, and

this was a spoil tip. Nature has soon recovered it.

Alvecote is quiet now after the recent gathering, many of the boats that were here have headed off to Shackerstone for the festival.

Between the Glascote Locks beware, this garden has nothing but plastic plants in it, has anyone informed the taste police? The bottom lock, long infamous for the slowness of its filling now has a warning sign on the railings by the old side pond.

It reads:
                                                       The Tale of the Leaky Lock.

Just a note to let you know that his here lock is very slow,
So take a breath, relax and smile, you might be waiting here a while.

The problem is, or so we're told, lock thirteen is very old.
Her paddles shot through wear and tear, the water pours out here and there.

We've had them fixed and fixed again by some of Waterways finest men
And for a while the lock works well, until again they leak like hell.

Now if this pause in you sojourn has made you stop and think and learn
That on the cut there is a pace that's not for those who want to race.

So if you're rushing, running late, this tale of Leaky Lock you'll hate.
If you've no time to gently float, then why a bloody Narrow Boat?

The Bard of Glascote Locks.

Eat your heart out W.S.

Fazeley Junction is now overlooked by a splendid bit of art, very nice but it doesn't make the sharp left turn onto the Birmingham and Fazeley any easier.

As you thread your way under the narrow and low Watling Street Bridge the name plate tells you that you are now on the hallowed waters of the B.C.N. where they prefer names to numbers for their bridges.

 You cannot traverse the Birmingham and Fazeley without taking a picture of the wonderfully eccentric footbridge at Drayton. No one seems to know why it was built as a Gothic folly but, as the family home of the Peel family was nearby, could it be another example of the local nobs insisting that if something as plebeian as a canal was going to pass their messuage then best it was tarted up?
We have stopped just beyond Drayton Brick Bridge where they have thoughtfully provided mooring rings.
As I was half way through today's literary gem there came a plaintive cry for help from a chap on a hire boat who had stopped nearby for lunch and, as he prepared to leave, had dropped one of his mooring hooks in the cut. I loaned him my Sea Searcher but he could not locate the errant pin. Then, as is the wont of hire boaters, he had to rush off to keep his schedule. So I had a shot at finding it, we now have an extra hook.

Watch this space.........

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