3rd September 2016
Magical day today even though it was pouring with rain to begin with. Our very good pommie mate Ian who is back in Canada comes from Tipton so we caught up with his mum, sister and brother-in-law today. Di had previously met his mum Doreen in Canada and spent a very pleasurable afternoon discussing the latest happenings of Coronation Street – this was about 8 years ago. So it was wonderful to meet up with her again after all this time. No Coronation Street catch up as Di is saving that for her gym time on her return.
We got them through the gates of the museum where we brought them on the boat to show them what a canal boat was like inside. Doreen has lived in the Tipton area most of her life and was a young girl during the second world war and was able to relay some remarkable history to us. She remembers what this area was like as a young girl and also mentioned that her grandfather was a maintenance person for the canals who was called out at all hours to sort out problems that occurred on the canal.
She also told us that she was born on Canal Street – so how about that. There is definitely “water gypsy” blood in the family with a long association with the canals in one way or another. It was a delight to be able to show her the inside of nb Lucy.
After a quick cuppa and yatter we headed off to the Crooked House for some lunch. We were not too sure what we were in for but on arrival we quickly got the gist of it.
This pub has a bigger lean on it than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. There was a photo inside the pub dated 1902 so it has been leaning for a while. As mentioned in previous blog of yesterday, this whole area is riddled with mines and it is mine subsidence that has caused this problem. Once inside the pub it really did your head in. We placed a marble on a railing inside and it appeared to run uphill. The floor was sloping at such an angle that you had to lean forward to stay up straight.
For lunch Fraser had to finally succumb and experience a Faggot and Grey Paes meal to prove to his mate Ian that he was a real guy. Think he has now passed the mateship test.
After lunch we then chugged off to the little town of Iron Bridge which is famous for the first iron bridge ever. It was built in 1779 and it is still in use though just for foot traffic. A remarkable structure indeed. Also the rain had ceased which was another remarkable event.
Whilst at Iron Bridge we of course had to have the obligatory drink in a pub and in this case it was called the Malthouse. Now some of you are going to find the next passage a little hard to believe but believe us when we say we struggled with it also.
Fras was at the bar purchasing the drinks when a guy said to him “Hello Fraser”. Fraser just about fell off his perch as it was a work colleague from our Brisbane office who was over on a two week holiday with his daughters. Iron Bridge is a pretty out of the way place that probably a lot of international tourists don’t have on their agenda. Pretty remarkable. Last time we saw this work colleague was about three years ago in Canada. What are the chances of that happening – it sounds to us like we should go out and buy a lottery ticket.
We then headed back to the boat via the “A” and “M” roads – yeah well, means nothing to us either but it felt like we were low flying after being so use to the pace of the boat for so long.
Toque and Mapes were there to greet us with their usual enthusiasm and their look of being “pissed off” that they had not been included.
We had the thought on our return to the boat that we should invite the guys with us on our trip into Birmingham tomorrow which should only take us four hours. This would be a wonderful adventure for Doreen as she has never been on a canal boat trip before. The other younger ones will be put to work as lock slaves as we have a couple to do tomorrow. Here is hoping the weather holds for us.