At Lapworth on the GU, we were approximately 14 ½ miles to the end of our trek up the GU Mainline to venture in the spaghetti layout of the Birmingham Canals. The GU Mainline flows on for 3-4 miles to the ‘T’ junction with the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. It is a bit of a pasta dish to digest but apparently Birmingham has more Canals than Venice. Anyway, a bit of pondering over our onward cruise up the GU and comparing it with cruising up the Lapworth Locks on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal to get to Gas Street in Birmingham gave the advantage to the latter canal, fewer Locks and more direct. We need to get to the Netherton Tunnel and beyond to the Staffs & Worcs Canal.
So I’ll stick with the recent past, and the here and now. We moved DB to the mooring at The Navigation Inn in Lapworth and tied up for three nights. I went to London to meet a friend, as you do, who was visiting from ‘downunder’. Wow, it wasn’t even a hard day’s travel by train to Marylebone Station (£5.50p each way from Leamington). It was 1 ½ hrs on the train to London! It took us 14 days on DB to get from Brentford to Leamington Spa!! It made me think about the history of train tracks and canals. I’d be mad not to take the train, so I did, and we met at the small London Train Station for a few hours to walk and chat and have lunch. Our first face to face meeting in 23 years is special and our friendship has not been found in a time warp.
The media would like you to believe that London is a hotbed of racism, violence, and ‘EU Remainers’. I saw no signs or felt any hostility. We only walked between Marylebone and Paddington as far as Paddington Basin. I wanted to check out the moorings and there were a few, which is 3, available, 7-day moorings. There was one boat I remembered seeing in Brentford! Anyway, the negative news fed by the newspaper wasn’t in my field of vision. We walked along Edgeware Rd thinking the food smelt good and we checked out the price. The Lebanese cafe we went into had a ‘mezza’ (sharing plate of goodies) for £80! What!!!? I didn’t ask how much a puff on a hookah pipe would be, there were women smoking these outdoors and really I don’t see any appeal. I’m an ex-smoker. I remember seeing the hubbly jubbly pipes in use in Dahab many years ago. The roads were busy with traffic, so many traffic lights, and pedestrians waiting for the ‘Green Man’, I certainly felt that I was in another country. I had to keep asking for directions, it is easy to get disorientated. No-one I asked was unhappy to have been asked but most people were unable to give directions. The population of London is getting close to 9 million people. It’s a huge place and I was a pin prick! The Evening Standard paper and Magazine is a freebie, now, at least it is a crossword for the train and the paper can be used to wrap stuff to take to Spain. Cool to pop in for a visit but I’m thankful to be able to return to my floating home and untie the ropes!
Now I am waiting for the return of my software problem Huawei phone. It is supposed to have been repaired and is being delivered back to Leamington Spa. We want to get moving but realise it is better to wait for the phone before we get into the heart of Birmingham. I want my phone!! It’s mainly for the phone camera; point and shoot are my style.
We left The Navigation Pub, the sun was almost shining and Cpt reversed DB back to Kingswood Junction where we could get onto the Stratford-on-Avon Canal and head up the Lapworth Locks. The Locks are easy to operate Narrow Locks and we were given assistance by the C&RT Volunteer. By early afternoon we had moored up leaving 4 Locks and a couple of lift bridges to work before the run into Birmingham.
You may notice DB is flying the NZ flag. I think less than a handful of gongoozlers have recognised it is the NZ flag. Most comments are “Australia!”
I say “No, New Zealand.”
I say “You will be!”
NZ had a referendum in 2015, voter turnout was 67.8%. (In NZ there were 3,158,576 registered voters) 2,135,622 voted in the referendum.
Out of the people who voted 56.6% wanted to retain the current NZ flag (Option B) and 43.2% wanted to change it (to Option A.)
New Zealand retained their flag, now I am destined to repeat “I am Kiwi not Australian”.