The Midlands March, is that chocolate that I smell,

We were now heading due south on the Worcester and Birmingham canal, Much to our surprise the Edgbaston section around The Vale seemed pleasantly rural for such an urban area. It transpires that Lord Calthorpe decreed that whilst the canal could be built on his land, it was not to have any wharfs. So whilst he might have missed out on some lucrative 18th century investment opportunities, we benefit from a leaf soup in February.

What happened to winter spring and summer, this looks like leaf soup

However the beautiful beech trees and trim young university students out for their daily jog, were soon replaced by even more graffiti and detritus, so we focused our attention on some interesting boats along this section. This pedal powered raft might get you from A to B but it’s not very water tight

You wouldnt catch me on that one

And this one caught our eye, a Pod boat designed and marketed to provide extra space for boaters missing their garden shed. Definitely a tempting thought.

The Pod boat

But most useful was seeing the fuel boat, NB Roach cruising towards us, we flagged Richard down and transferred a few litres of diesel, refuelling mid canal.

NB Roach supplying us with diesel

I’ll say this every time we buy our diesel from a fuel boat, it brings such a sense of satisfaction that we have the opportunity to support these hard working traders and equally they support us. Use it or loose it. With the sweet smell of diesel permeating the air we cruised on to the other very distinct fragrance that pervades the atmosphere around Bournville, the Cadbury factory. Frustratingly the visitor mooring was all taken, by what looked to be winter mooring, so we didn’t stop. But unlike Lord Calthorpe who didn’t want any trade on his land, the Cadbury factory grew and thrived here because of the canal access bringing the raw ingredients and finished goods to and from the site. Nowadays there is a canal side train station, sporting a familiar purple livery.

Bournville train station

Bemoaning the fact that Eric wouldn’t let me loose in Cadbury world, (though I admit we have been before). Mr Tesco had the foresight to build a superstore canal side in Selly Oak, he didn’t have the foresight to provide mooring rings on the brick edge so Eric hovered whilst I nipped in to stock up. With fuel tank and fridge full we continued on to the next nice mooring, which turned out to be at Kings Norton Junction. It had taken us nearly 4 hours to move 4miles with all the distractions, but we ended our day at the start (or end) of the North Stratford canal.

Think we’ll got this way, down the Stratford canal