KIND OF TOWN
After an enjoyable 48 hours in Birmingham, our liveaboard veers off on to the North Stratford Canal and discovers the Saltisford Arm is a lovely place to moor but loses a part of the boat en route
You might not be aware but, amid the millions of hilarious cat videos to be found on YouTube, there are some (other) terrific items. One of these is a splendid documentary narrated by Telly Savalas, made in 1981 and all about Birmingham.
From a tower block, whose outlook is mainly of concrete city centre monstrosities, he says it’s “a view that nearly took my breath away”. Over a nasty Eighties soundtrack he waxes lyrical about “tree-lined boulevards” and being “projected into the 21st Century”.
Birmingham’s roads “are revolutionary!” he exclaims, yet why not “arrive the Venetian way?” he also ponders over shots of a narrowboat going past Cambrian Wharf; “it’s my kind of town”!
With such ringing endorsements firmly in mind, I found myself moored smack in the middle of England’s second city, opposite the National Indoor Arena and just a few yards from the Sea Life Centre. Clearly it’s time for someone to re-make that video; 30-odd years has turned Birmingham into a bustling modern city that’s oft derided but I like it
(though the canals themselves seem a bit grim, with apologies to the BCN Society).
A 48-hour mooring is not really long enough to explore much but I enjoyed my stay despite disappointingly slow service with a cold burger and chips at a supposedly premium burger specialist near Gas Street. Mr Savalas would not have approved.
My mooring time then expired, it was time to head through the ‘burbs with all the advice being, just as on the way in, to get out of town in one hit rather than risk the werewolves, vampires and Dementors, all of whom apparently lurk in the shadows waiting for unsuspecting novice narrowboaters to moor for the night. At least, that’s what I hear.
First, a slightly awkward re-fill of the