Sunday, 20 September 2015

So Much to do – so Little Time to do it!

The first thing to do after arriving in Brindley Place, Birmingham was for James to change the engine oil. We just marked the 2500 engine hrs.
This is Julie – running to get the first hug from Doug ……..
…….. and this is Doug with Julie and Russell (nb “Nauti – Lass”) after the initial excitement of this chance meeting had died down. We haven’t seen them since we spent a Crick Boat Show weekend with them 3 years ago. They too are in Brum for the weekend so there’ll be much to catch up on!
Also in ‘town’ for a few days were friends Adam and Adrian on nb “Briar Rose” and, apologies for no pictures, they came on board with a bottle of bubbly (bless ‘em) which was very much enjoyed by all of us before walking the short distance to “Waggamama” for something to eat. As always, so good to see you both A & A.
The area around Brindley Place is beautiful. Clean and tidy and vibrant with lots of goings-on day and evening.
The canal area is very much in contrast to the chaos and mess that abounds in the city centre – more of that later.
We took some time to visit the library building which was still under construction when we last came to the city.
A stunning contemporary inside requires a while to take in the proportions …..
…… and the space!

In contrast to the rest of the building the carefully installed Shakespeare Room is quite different. Part of the redesigned Central Library from 1882 it was built in the Elizabethan style.The niches at the top of the bookcases at either end were intended to take busts of the Bard but they were never produced.
The views from the “secret garden” at the top of the building ……..
……… give great views over the city.
The garden is so ‘secret’ that it took us quite a while to find it! The directions for getting around the building are designed to out-weird the visitor and, at one point, we found ourselves in the staff area unable to get out!
Victorian Birmingham. like all our major cities, is a  wonderful example of past industrial wealth.
We had to chuckle at the “Floozy in the Jacuzzi” in front of the Town Hall which now has its water replaced by a flower bed!
We took a light lunch on Friday in the rather awesome and atmospheric Bacchus Bar under the Burlington Hotel.
The city centre chaos is being caused by the mammoth reconstruction of New Street railway station which now seems to be called Grand Central.
The construction site was being very efficiently cleared and washed down when we when we were walking back to the boat at 3 o’ clock on Saturday morning (after a very good night out!) ready for the opening this weekend.
The design of the station and shopping centre complex will not be to everyone’s taste – it looks like a UFO has crash landed! It’ll be all right on the night probably!
On Saturday afternoon we had the great pleasure of welcoming friends Claire and Leigh.
The sun was shining so it was wine and nibbles on the back deck …….
…… before a wander off to find some food. Brindley Place was heaving with people ………
….. and there was little chance of food as it was so busy. In fact, at one place we were told (at 4 o’ clock in the afternoon) that we’d have to wait until 9:30 for a table!
There’s little else to do in this situation but to up spirits and walk on a bit further for a hostelry.
We found “Nosh and Quaff” in the city centre who could give us a table. Here’s Claire and Doug with bibs at the ready waiting for their lobster to arrive.
Here it is – it’s name was Norman according to James (the veggie!).
After a good meal we all headed into town for a few drinks before we had to bid Clare and Leigh and sad farewell. Thanks you two for coming into town to see us – we loved being with you.

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