I have been back to the real world today as we have seen more moving boats today than we have for the past two weeks round the back of Birmingham. We set off at 0900 as rain is expected about lunch time.
The weather is overcast again and is definitely cooler. This can be seen by the way Helen is dressed. I think she is on 5 layers all ready. What will happen when it gets cold? I am determined to stay in my shorts until the end of the month though. I may well have to discard the sandals though and go to boots.
The tow path and fields are getting even more country'fied and this adds to the culture shock today.
We soon came to the junction with the Hatherton Branch. This canal is well progressed for re-opening and as it comes out on the Cannock Extension Canal so would make a good new route. There are a lock or two still working at this end.
At Calf Heath/Four Ashes is this new building. It looked like they were installing a 'living roof' and that made me wonder what it was. It turns out to be a new Incinerator for the waste company Veolia. It has been controversial, as all incinerators are, but the plans were eventually passed when the size of the plant was scaled down a little. It is set to create energy from 300,000 tonnes of waste a year. The incinerator will power turbines to generate enough electricity to power 32000 homes. The rubbish is to come from Staffordshire, Sandwell, Warwickshire and Walsall. In days gone by it would have been an ideal location for the rubbish to be brought by boat, and if on the large commercial canals of Yorkshire perhaps still could. The roof is to be planted up so as to soften the outline of the building and make it all a little more eco-friendly. You can just see the start of it being laid. It is supposed to be coming on line in December this year.
We stopped for a top up of water at Gailey and it's much photographed Roundhouse. Helen needed some post cards so ventured in to the shop on the ground floor. I think it used to be run by a Mother and daughter team but not sure now.
By the time we had negotiated five locks we were approaching Penkridge so decided to stop. It was a 'thick drizzle' by then. After a bite to eat we walked into the town as it was market day. The Market is found through the town and over the main road at the old livestock market. There were quite a few stalls there, but I'm afraid we didn't get tempted by anything today. Back in the town though we visited Jaspers Bakery and came away with a pork pie, a rock cake and a vanilla slice. We then called in at Russel Butchers and came away with Chicken and Mushroom pies. Buttons were bought at the wool shop and then a pint was had on the way back to the boat at the Star in the Market Place. Once we got back to the boat the rain fell in earnest and we were safe and snug inside. We have resisted lighting the stove again.