The Cruise of the Dondevoy


I woke fairly early, despite being pounced on by Nick's cat during the night. However, it was another twelve o'clock start, and after negotiating the upper two locks in the Lapworth flight, I had a clear run all the way to Birmingham. I stopped twice on the way, once to buy a new propeller, and once for petrol. The propeller proved awkward, as the inner parts had corroded into place, and needed prolonged bashing with a hammer to free them. This bashing made a little filing necessary in order to fit the new blade, but all was fixed inside an hour and a half. A small muddle over change meant a delay until the man who had served me returned from lunch, but all was sorted out, and I was able to get to Gas Street in Birmingham precisely at seven o'clock, after passing through the unique[1]stop lock at King's Norton, and cruising up the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. I arrived shivering with cold, after sitting in more or less the same position for several hours, but a meal soon warmed me, and I went round the corner to The Crown for a drink.

The pub, a huge one, was full of an assortment of odd characters, none of whom looked interesting enough to talk to. It was the kind of place where people go to drink, and nothing else, despite its plush fittings. Everyone seemed as if they were still working rather than enjoying themselves - I had forgotten what life in a big city was like.

[1] [The King's Norton stop lock is an historic feature. It has guillotine gates and is nowadays permanently open. B.E.N.]

King's Norton Stop Lock. Picture from the blog Narrowboat Caxton

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