On Thursday we had planned to find a supermarket as we were running low on wine, ideally an Asda as they sell a very reasonably priced wine that we both like. We contacted the Birmingham narrow boat users facebook group and they told us where the local Asdas are and where to moor to get to them. We have found they are the most helpful group we have joined so far; very quick and helpful responses. We ended up cruising to Oldbury and walked a mile to the supermarket, a lot of the walk under the M5. We must have looked a sight dressed in our wet weather gear with large rucksacks and bags full of wine trekking across major roundabouts etc.
It was set to rain all day so we set off mid morning and rejoined the New Main line then turned right at Albion junction and went down the Gower branch.
It's been a while since we've cruised in heavy rain but it was OK as it wasn't too cold. At the end of the Gower branch are three locks; the last two being a staircase.
A staircase lock is where the top gates of one lock are the bottom gates of the next. It needs a lot of logistical thought as you have to work out which locks need to be filled/emptied before starting to use them. I still can't really get my mind round it but Karen always seems quietly confident.
We then met the Old Main line at Bradeshall junction and turned left to Oldbury and moored up for our trip to Asda.
Karen made a new pasta dish which we both enjoyed after a very wet day but it had a bit too much chilli in. Sometimes I loosely grind our dried chillies so they are just flakes. I also keep a jar of finely ground chillies. We should have used a measure of flakes but used the grounds instead. It was hot but we enjoyed it!
We heard today that a leak has been discovered in an aqueduct in Gas Street right where we wanted to moor in the middle of Birmingham. Such a rotten coincidence as it means the canal is being drained there and we will have to find somewhere else to moor to meet our visitors over the weekend.