It has been quite a while since I took a proper stroll on this blog, so I thought it might be a walk might be good place to start as I clear my head of September squares and work out what I am doing this month! My walk is one I did last year in Birmingham, and Monday Walkers may recognise parts of this walk as MrB and I found ourselves at times walking in Jo’s and Gilly’s footsteps. This hadn’t been intentional as I didn’t know we were going to Birmingham until we were on the train so I had not had an opportunity to revisit Jo and Gilly’s wonderful adventures prior to our trip. However they must have been watching over us as more than once I found myself walking past something, such as this lamp, which reminded me of their Birmingham adventures!
The lamp is outside one of the entrances to the Mailbox; once a Royal Mail sorting office now a hub of expensive shops, numerous restaurants, residential apartments and hotels. Unfortunately many of the canal wharves were destroyed when the Mailbox was built in the 1960s, but some still remains and the redevelopment in 2000 has made sure that the Gas Street Basin is once more a vibrant and essential part of this part of Birmingham.
MrB had never been to Birmingham before and so he was in for a treat. There is lots of concrete in this city, and certainly not enough parks in my view, but if you take it slow and know where to go there are some wonderful sights.
It is said that Birmingham has more canals than Venice, but their feel is quite different and they are also not quite as obvious! Birmingham’s canals were once the industrial waterways of Britain, but these days most of the activity seems to be on the tow paths rather than the actual water.
As we made our way off the bridge and back onto the canal path we came across this.
I was intrigued. I needed to discover the rest of the poem so I went off to do some research. But before I could find it I was distracted by duck lanes! Towpaths were originally designed for the humans and horses moving the narrow boats on the canals, and consequently they are quite narrow. Which can be a problem these days when the towpaths are used by cyclists, walkers, families and so on. If you are ever on a towpath be aware that priority should always be given to the slowest users of the towpath. And to highlight the importance of sharing the space the Trust has created duck lanes in some areas. Now they admit they are not expecting the ducks to really use them but they did ask their resident duck correspondent for a quote!
“We love the duck lanes. It means we can enjoy our morning walk without worrying about any humans invading our personal space and getting into a flap.”
Doesn’t that make you smile! So next time you are on a narrow path, whether it a towpath or a busy shopping street watch out for those who are going slow and give them priority. But the poem I hear you cry.
We could have easily kept walking on the canals but the sun was close to setting so we headed towards the city centre. There was still a hint of the sun on the library, and I thought it would be great to finish our walk in the gardens which Jo and Gilly had told us all about in the summer. However it was too late the library was closing and so the gardens were closed. And it wasn’t long before the sun had gone too.
Once set it all felt rather grey, and we decided to head back towards our hotel to find somewhere to eat. I didn’t take any more photographs on our walk. So I am going to finish with another shot of that glorious sunshine on the roofs of Birmingham.
I have really enjoyed my return to Birmingham today so perhaps I will share another post or maybe two again this month. We did sneak in quite a bit over our weekend from more walks, to gallery and museum visits and even a show. So watch this space! In the meanwhile if you want to enjoy more canal poetry visit The Waterlines.