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Birmingham or Bust

Posted by indigodream on 8 March, 2009

Saturday March 7th 2009

I’m so excited – the instruction pack for the BCN marathon challenge arrived last week. I’ve been teasing Richard that he’s the competitive one in this relationship. But funnily enough, it was me who rushed to copy the BCN pages

BCN Planning Room

BCN Planning Room

from the Nicholson’s, stick them together to make one big planning map and put flags all over it to show the points value of different stretches. This chart is now decorating our lounge wall – classy!

We’ve found that you get points for every mile and every lock that you do, but some stretches carry a bonus multiplier to encourage you to explore the more remote parts of the BCN. The Wyrely and Essington Canal carries the biggest bonus so that’s what we’re vaguely aiming for, but what route to take? You can start anywhere you like on the BCN but you have to finish in the Walsall Town Arm.

Blue smells a rat (literally) in our woodpile!

Blue smells a rat (literally) in our woodpile!

We’ve been musing on whether to recruit a crew – it would be good to have someone to share the workload (and the hours), but you get bonus points if you’re just a crew of two – they’re canny people at the BCN Society.Β  Tricky choice – is there anyone in the world who loves us enough to put up with 24 hours of nigh on continuous cruising? On the other hand, what are the chances of me, Blue and Lou overcoming our aversion to being awake for more than 4 hours a day? It’s a dilemma πŸ™‚

Then there’s the issue of how to decorate the boat. The BCN suggests tarting up your vessel so that it’s obvious who’s taking part and who’s just lurking around the system (ah, no-one, as far as we could see from our solitary cruises round the city last year). What do you reckon? Richard has bought some magnetic paper (don’t ask!)Β  so we can make our own posters to stick on the side.Β  What else? Maybe some bunting made out of the shredded fabric that we’ve picked up in the prop on our travels? I fancy some fairy lights but will that ruin our night vision and slow us down πŸ™‚



On the Le Mans 24-hour car race it’s the endurance of the cars, as well as that of the drivers, that’s tested. So, is Indigo Dream’s engine up for 24-hours cruising? I’ll have to ask the engineer!

I can forsee hours of planning ahead – brilliant – I’m enjoying the Marathon already! All credit to the BCN Society – it must take immense amounts of thought and organisation to put it all together.

Of course, we have to get to Birmingham first. Our plans for exploring the Thames are entirely dependent on the weather as the river’s mainly been on red/yellow boards for the last couple of weeks. Our contract at Packet Boat Marina finishes at the end of March and we’d planned to take two months’ worth of weekends to meander towards Birmingham. Last year, we had to take the Grand Union up to Brum because the Thames was in flood; let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself in 2009.

The rat saga:

We live in the countryside so I’m sure that there are lots of rats in the garden. I’m fine with that provided they don’t come indoors or sit on the windowsills asking what’s for tea! But for the last few weeks we’ve had a particularly fat rat waving through the kitchen window and eyeing up the food within. But Lou amazingly earned her keep and despatched it the other day – clever girl. Next time, though, don’t do it in front of my organic vegetarian friend who was horrified by the carnage!

Blue was keen to show that he could earn his keep as well as Lou, so when we moved our two pallets of wood from the back garden to the field (long story) he was on the case. We suspected that there was a rat’s nest in there somewhere and the dogs agreed with us. They stayed out for hours sniffing excitedly and running around the woodpile as we gradually moved it. Sadly their heads were buried in the woodbin when the lone rat in the pile made a run for it! Never mind, Blue, I’m sure they’ll be back 😦

5 Responses to “Birmingham or Bust”

  1. Lesley K said

    I would have liked to do the BCN Challenge but Crick is going to be our destination that weekend. It looks as if it will be 2010, or maybe 2011 if we over in the Fens for the Summer of 2010. Have a good time anyway even if you are drug induced to stay awake!

  2. indigodream said

    Are you going to the Crick boatshow this year? If so then we’ll keep our fingers crossed for less mud than in previous years! We can’t make the show this year as we’ll be Scotland (minus the boat)for some rugby at Murrayfield.

    We’ll obviously keep you ‘posted’ on the BCN – they haven’t run it for a while and it’ll be interesting to see how it goes. As I already have a high tolerance for caffeine the drug choice will be tricky, especially if the BCN Society applies the International Olympic Committee’s list of banned substances πŸ™‚

  3. Greygal said

    I wish Lou had been on hand on one of my early dates with A. We were round the back of the Lakeside cinema (classy, you have to admit!) and doing what courting couples do. No, not snogging but stuffing pick n mix when the most enormous rat I have ever seen (coypu proportions!) ran by us, its 2 foot tail tickling my feet. Where was she then I ask you? It put me right off my white mice…

    Until the weekend…

  4. Brenda said

    Good luck for the BCN Marathon. Although we have a mooring in Gas Street Basin we always seem to be away cruising around that time – so we’ve never done it.

  5. indigodream said

    Thanks Brenda – we’re so looking forward to it. The last time they ran the challenge we didn’t have a boat(!) – honestly, there’s always some picky little detail πŸ™‚
    Hope to pass you on the cut sometime.

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