Friday 11 October 2013

Birmingham to Black Country

NIA mooring to Black Country Museum : 9 miles, 3 locks
To date : 818 miles, 549 locks

We decided at the last minute this morning to turn back to Cambrian Wharf and fill the water tank.  We did a load of washing before we left and started breakfast while the tank filled.  Anthony and Leanne had a couple of bags of washing so we figured we'd get it all done today if we had plenty of water.  Much to our amazement Barry and Carol were ready to go before we were!  Must have wet the bed.

Mick ate his breakfast on the run and we headed off.  We'd had a boaters meeting the afternoon before and decided we'd take the Old Main Line to reach the Black Country.  We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise along the old line.  It was fantastic cruising along beneath the pillars of overhead roads.  Excellent!  Yes, there was a bit of rubbish in the water but it really wasn't that bad.  Mick says it has been one of his favourite days cruising.

Both Anthony and Leanne had a go at steering the boat... quite successfully.  We had three locks to negotiate and despite having to scramble around for the anti vandal lock key, all went well.  We arrived to find 2 moorings just waiting for us on the museum side. 

Thinking we'd try the fish and chips and bring them back to the boat for lunch and have a look at the museum later, we walked up the ramp and went to order our fish and chips.  A woman came racing in after us saying we weren't allowed to buy the fish and chips until after we've bought a ticket.  She was aiming at Carol who had gone and made enquiries about where we buy our tickets from.  For goodness sake, if we'd planned on sneaking in without tickets would we have gone out of our way to enquire about where to buy them?  We explained that we planned to have our lunch and then head out to see the museum but she was having none of it.  She insisted we all troop down to a little office building near the trip boats to buy a ticket.  I'm sure I caught the fish shop fellow roll his eyes and then he said to just finish giving him our order and he'd have it ready when we got back. 

At the ticket office we asked if we could have half a day today and then the following morning as it would be 2pm by the time we sorted out the lunch fiasco.  The lady who had chased us down said we'd need to go to the main entrance ticket desk to do that.  She insisted we go out the side gate and walk all the way around by road to the front gate.  I'm guessing it must have been 1 kilometre around.  The very helpful lady at the front desk couldn't believe it when we told her the story and she most definitely rolled her eyes.  She handed out our tickets and quickly shooed us on our way back to the chippy!

I'm sure they have plenty of boaters that sneak in the rear entrance without paying.  I found it a bit amusing that it was us that got this run-around.  We don't at all mind paying entrance fees to historic museums etc.  It's the entrance fees that keep the places open and we're glad of it!  It added a bit of interest to the day anyway.




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