Saturday, 23 September 2017

North West Passage: Day 29

Last night's concert in the car park was excellent. The first part of the evening comsisted of what they call living programme notes, where there are small groups of musicians dotted around the space explaining elements of the music. Then the whole orchestra came together to play the whole of Beethoven's Fifth.

This morning, I spotted Paul Balmer from Waterway Routes on the towpath and we spent some time talking in the drizzle. Paul also kindly furnished me with the latest update to his excellent map. Later, as we started to head out for a walk, the boat in front was just leaving so we paused for a moment and pulled Briar Rose forward so we were no longer right under the bridge. Then we walked along to the Mail Box to see the Archers exhibition at BBC Birmingham. After lunch, we had a visit from Diane Kemp, who was one of my tutors when I did my post grad in Broadcast Journalism at what was then UCE (and is now BCU) way back in 1994. Neither of us has changed a bit, obviously.

We ended her visit out by Old Turn Junction where another of the Birmingham Weekender events was taking place -- the Canal Serenade, with musicians on three boats plus choir members on the towpath. The music was, frankly, a bit avant garde, but the spectacle of the boats moving around was enough to keep the interest.

Once Diane had gone off to Opera at the Mail Box, we had a look at the floating market and bought some smoked Lancashire cheese. As the sun had come out, we walked along to Gas Street Basin. The moorings here look much more organised, and the James Brindley pub has been transformed into the Canal House. It was really busy, and we stopped for a drink in the sunshine.

Birmingham really is a favourite city and always worth a stop. It's also great to see the whole canal area busy with people. Tomorrow, we start moving again.

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