2006 (Birmingham Canals)

First Day: Friday 1st September

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Back to the house by about one o’clock. I had a few things to sort out in the office — and of course the packing for the holiday. The packing took a while, since I hadn’t had time to do much beforehand, but I was quite pleased with the fact that I got things packed more efficiently than usual. I had the clothes packed in one bag and the other items packed into quite a compact bag. I think this is the lightest I’ve travelled on one of these canal trips and I’m making use of the sort of waterproof clothes that have been so useful in my walking and sailing over the past couple of years.

Alan and I walked into the town to join Nick and Penny at the Shoulder of Mutton. I particularly enjoyed the bitter they happened to have today: a brew called Moondance, from a brewery called Triple FFF, in Alton.

June had just got back from visiting her aunt and she joined us a little later. We all went off for supper to an Indian restaurant called Sylhetti Spice. On the menu, my attention was drawn to a dish that was described as ‘very hot, with chillies, yet strangely mild’. I found that it was indeed very hot, but an excellent taste — really, the best curry I’ve ever had. Not really like any other curry. I would say that, along with the spiciness of the chillies there was a somewhat heavy, slightly sugary taste. It sounds quite odd but really it was very pleasant and most original.

Back to the house about ten o’clock — and so to bed, as Pepys used to say. I’ve stayed with Alan and June so many times over the years, even though it has normally been at quite long intervals. The little room halfway along the corridor really feels quite like home.

Next Day