Thursday, 10 September 2015

Festival volunteering

The weed was less of a problem today as we made our way back to Factory Junction and down the three Factory Locks to the New Main Line. In fact, my first trip down the weed hatch was just after emerging from Netherton Tunnel, when I tried to slow down to see if we were on the moorings allocation board for the Black Country Boating Festival. (We weren't, but I'll come to that.)

When I pulled out a large sheet of rather clean polythene it was the biggest single haul I'd had for quite a while. It stayed on the bow deck until just before Gosty Hill Tunnel on the Dudley No. 2 Canal, when a man out litter picking offered to take it.

He and his wife look after the area to the north of the tunnel, conveniently right outside their house. They've made a good job of the information sculpture thing.

We had stopped there for lunch; I took the opportunity to cycle to Tesco. I'd been given the directions; what I wasn't told was that the route involved cycling to the top of the hill and down again, doing another climb of the hill coming back! Still, with only the three locks today perhaps I needed the exercise.

One bonus of the ride was seeing the air shaft in someone's front garden. What a strange feature to have!

This is the same shaft as seen from the tunnel.

We went to Hawne Basin for diesel which, at 49p per litre base price was an opportunity not to be missed.

Back at Windmill End we found our mooring and tied up the best we could. The back end is about three feet out from the bank owing to all the detritus in the canal. I pulled out a car tyre and a long piece of metal but it made no difference.

We weren't on the list, by the way, as we had booked only yesterday. Our mooring is down the Dudley No. 2, near a bridge where it seems it is obligatory for motorists to sound their horns in the most annoying way possible. At least it's all quiet now - I expect it will start up again early in the morning.

I had indicated my willingness to volunteer at the festival; we just about managed to get to the 5 pm meeting on time where we were able to introduce ourselves. Jan has a job lined up for tomorrow helping to make up the boaters' packs; I don't know what I'll be doing.

I have already made a start, though. After tea I armed myself with a boat hook and a rubbish sack and spent some time pulling out floating drinks bottles and plastic bags from an area where they had collected. Jan joined me with a litter picker device. We gave up when it got too dark.

On the way to that (unofficial) job I saw Wandering Bark and the Jam Butty arrive and wind. We said hello to Andy and Helen; I saw Barry of the Home Brew boat later too.

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