My last post was in February, we had just left Birmingham and we cruising roughly eastwards along the North Stratford canal.
We sat out storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin in a pretty little village on the edge of the Solihul district, called Hockley Heath. It had both a well stocked Co-op, first class butchers, a nice pub, and good TV reception. So we were sorted for a fortnight. Especially as I was taking part in a competitive knitting event running parallel with the winter olympics, so my enforced down time was not put to waste.
But as soon as the winds abated we set off once more on our travels. Down through the Lapworth locks towards Kingswood Junction. Such a pretty set of locks, but you’ll have to take my word for that, because that’s where disaster struck. Absolute calamity. As I was struggling to wind up a stiff paddle, my phone camera decided to leap out of my “secure” pocket and take a dive into the swirling waters of the emptying lock. In a flash of madness I was tempted to leap in after it, but despite my distress I only plunged my arm in as I watched my entire life being sucked away into the locks murky depths.
Alas no more Midlands photos. And if you have ever tried to buy a new phone online, without a mobile number to verify purchases, you’ll understand when I say I wont ever ever ever let my phone go swimming again. Thanks to some very helpful friends and family, it is now all sorted, and I am reconnected, albeit with a few missing contacts, so if you are a friend who hasn’t heard from me for a while, please get in touch.
Since that fateful day we have continued our travels, onto the Grand Union canal, down through the Hatton Flight, into Warwickshire. Which got me thinking about where we were, and more to the point, when do I draw our Midlands March to a close.
Where exactly is the Midlands? We often hear the definitions “northerners” or “southerners” bandied around, equally with pride or derision depending upon the point being made or the person claiming heritage. And I think both parties would include or exclude areas of the Midlands to their advantage or disadvantage as the mood required. But until this particular part of our canal life, it’s not a part of the country that either of us were that familiar with. Having consulted Google, the fount of all knowledge, we have come to the conclusion it’s not a straight forward question. Yes it is the mid section of England, from the Welsh borders to the Lincolnshire coast,
But there’s the West Midlands and the East Midlands to take into consideration.
The West Midlands and East Midlands regions are NUTS 1 statistical regions and were formerly constituencies of the European Parliament. Local government in the Midlands is as follows:
• Boroughs: (1) Birmingham, (2) Coventry, (3) Derby, (4) Dudley, (5) Leicester, (6) Nottingham, (7) Sandwell, (8) Stoke-on-Trent, (9) Solihull, (10) Telford and Wrekin, (11) Walsall and (12) Wolverhampton.
• Shires: (13) Derbyshire (Districts: (a) Amber Valley, (b) Bolsover, (c) Chesterfield, (d) Derbyshire Dales, (e) Erewash, (f) High Peak, (g) North East Derbyshire and (h) South Derbyshire), (14) Herefordshire (Districts: none), (15) Leicestershire (Districts: (a) Blaby, (b) Charnwood, (c) Harborough, (d) Hinckley and Bosworth, (e) Melton, (f) North West Leicestershire and (g) Oadby and Wigston), (16) Lincolnshire (Districts: (a) Boston, (b) East Lindsey, (c) Lincoln, (d) North Kesteven, (e) South Holland, (f) South Kesteven and (g) West Lindsey), (17) Northamptonshire (Districts: (a) Corby, (b) Daventry, (c) East Northamptonshire, (d) Kettering, (e) Northampton, (f) South Northamptonshire and (g) Wellingborough), (18) Nottinghamshire (Districts: (a) Ashfield, (b) Bassetlaw, (c) Broxtowe, (d) Gedling, (e) Mansfield, (f) Newark and Sherwood and (g) Rushcliffe), (19) Rutland (Districts: none), (20) Shropshire (Districts: none), (21) Staffordshire (Districts: (a) Cannock Chase, (b) East Staffordshire, (c) Lichfield, (d) Newcastle-under-Lyme, (e) South Staffordshire, (f) Stafford, (g) Staffordshire Moorlands and (h) Tamworth), (22) Warwickshire (Districts: (a) North Warwickshire, (b) Nuneaton and Bedworth, (c) Rugby, (d) Stratford-on-Avon and (e) Warwick) and (23) Worcestershire (Districts: (a) Bromsgrove, (b) Malvern Hills, (c) Redditch, (d) Worcester, (e) Wychavon and (f) Wyre Forest).
On that happy note, (if you have made if this far,) we shall consider our Midlands March closed when we turn South at Napton Junction.