Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Big One (13-7)

Saturday 30th June 2012

King's Norton Junction to Shepciote Street Bridge.

Even more rain overnight - how much can there be left?

It's the weekend and for some people a time of relaxation, but not for hire boaters it would seem. Just after 5:20 this morning I was awakened by people shouting. It was incoherent and impossible to tell what was being said. My first thoughts was that someone had fallen in the canal and needed help.

As I looked out of the back, I could see that an Alvechurch hire boat was coming up behind us. The engine was going flat out and a sizeable bow wave was being generated. Complete with a yellow rubber dingy on the roof. It was covered in "Pirate Bunting" which seems so appropriate.

On the roof stood fellow number one the source of all the noise. He was waving the boat pole over his head in accompaniment to the shouting.

Number two and three were stood out on the back cans of beer in hand. Totally oblivious to everything that was going on around them. A snap shot through the window showed why there was such a furore going on.

The rain was pouring down and they were all wearing the uniform of the lager set - Jeans, T-shirts and Trainers. At that moment, all of my good natured indifference melted away. I wished that the noisy one would fall in. 

In answer to my prayer, the boat hit the bank. Our friend on the roof was propelled the remaining length of the boat and he seemed to go over the rubber dingy on the front of the roof and possibly down into the bow well. The bow well was full of leaves, branches and other detritus of their various excursions into the landscape. 

This tumbling act was greeted with loud cheers.  It seems he was OK as I could hear him chanting at the top of his voice "full speed ahead." Peace and quiet eventually returned and all was well with in my world. I went back to bed. Later, we heard that it was a "stag do" that explains but does not excuse!

The consequences of what might have happened if he had gone over the side and into the prop were only too obvious. Another additional statistic for the Inland Waterways, another inquest, another family in mourning, another boat hire holiday gone wrong.

I thought at the time, I hope at some point they all learn a salutary lesson. But I hope even more that the bruises are not painful! Later we came across the boat almost  moored up. I stopped and secured the boat to the bank. No one had a clue that they were almost adrift. There were drunken bodies laid about everywhere. As I left, I noted that all the lights were blazing including the tunnel light! 

We moored last night on an isolated wharf. It was impossible to get away from the wharf. There is a gate off the wharf into some sort of compound which is however padlocked shut. There are several mooring bollards and rings available.

It seemed to be very secure spot and completely surrounded by steel railings. As we just wanted to chill out and watch TV, it was a good choice. So if you are at King's Norton and heading into Birmingham. And you don't need to leave your boat. The wharf is about 150 yards on the right after the junction. There is enough room for a 70ft boat.

A visit to Cadburys World at Bournville was given a miss as we arrived at the moorings in a downpour of rain. Moored up at Gas Street Basin for the night and we ran into the early morning hire boaters. A nicer group of young people you could not wish to meet. Very apologetic about their early morning escapade. Also looking slightly queasy, they were off for food rather than liquid refreshments. Later we were able to move onto a much quieter mooring at Shepcote Street Bridge when one came free.

Wildlife: Only the night-life around the basin! 

This Months Solar Panel Data
Average 19.6 Ah per day  High 42Ah Low 6Ah

Daily Total
Miles: 6.2
Locks: 0
Swing/Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 1
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 3.0
Diesel: 0

Accumulated Totals
Miles: 970.4
Locks: 722
Swing / Lift Bridges: 119
Tunnels: 9
Pump Outs: 11
Engine Hours: 2250.3
Diesel: 40L (49.57)


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