Boats, Bowling and a Birthday

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September 16th 2018
Published: September 18th 2018
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Woolly says – I’d had a busy week or so making plans for Jo’s latest birthday, this had proved trickier than anticipated as Dave, our friend that we are currently staying with….poor bloke has to put up with the women as well!.... would be joining us for the day so I was tasked with finding an outing that would appeal to us all. Having hummed and hared, consulted the weather forecast, I came to the conclusion, that I couldn’t please all the people all the time so knowing that Dave and I had a mutual interest in golf I decided that was the way to go, keeping my paws crossed that the women wouldn’t notice our activity. The big day arrived and having assisted in the opening and consuming of some of the birthday girls presents, I’m sure Jo didn’t mind really, I herded my charges into the car for the start of the days celebrations.

We had no idea of his plans except for the slight give away in the fact that he was dragging his golf clubs behind him!

Woolly says – The town of Stourport grow up around the canal basins at the Severn terminus of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, which was completed in 1768. In 1772 the junction between the Staffordshire and Worcestershire and the Birmingham Canal was completed and Stourport became one of the principal distributing centres for goods to and from the rest of the West Midlands. The canal terminus was built on meadowland to the south west of the hamlet of Lower Mitton. The terminus was first called Stourmouth and then Newport, the final name of Stourport was settled on by 1771. These days it has a flourishing basin and river side amusements to keep everyone entertained. Having left the car under a leafy tree I set off towards the golf course with the others trailing behind me.

Stourport is a place that we have visited a few times when Zoe was small and enjoyed using the extensive play area, even though the sun was out the place was deserted and I had a feeling of foreboding creep over me just as I heard my small companion scream.

Woolly says – NOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooo, the gate to the course was locked, I peered through the wire fencing and waved frantically at a zebra who was sitting on the course but he choose to ignore my frantic cries and demonstrations of opening the gate. I looked at Jo, she looked at Zoe, who looked at Dave, ‘I checked it would be open’ I stated. Zoe being used to facing closed signs on our journeys tapped into her phone and confirmed that it should be open. I kicked the gate and limped after the others in disgust.

Bless him even a ginger beer didn’t cheer him up nor did a trip round the small amusement park.

Woolly says – the funfair was equally deserted and having passed the time of day with a gorilla and avoided getting eaten by a raptor, I managed a credible win on the air hockey before we gave up and headed back to the delights of Dudley and some ten-pin bowling…… the humans didn’t stand a chance of winning!

I’m not sure that kicking the pins down is in the rules but his beaming smile and the small bounces he kept giving as he trotted down the lanes showed his delight and I wasn’t going to spoil it for him.

Woolly says – Day two of the birthday treats brought lots of grey clouds zizzing across the sky, as I sat watching the scenery from the top of the bus my tummy was fizzing with excitement for the days adventures. Although visited many many times in the past Birmingham’s Natural History museum was always one of my favourite places to go and today there was the added bonus of meeting Dippy! Dippy is a plaster cast replica of the fossilised bones of the Diplodocus carnegii. The 105 foot (32 m) long cast was displayed from 1979 to 2017 in the Hintze Hall, the central entrance hall of the Natural History Museum, in London. Cast from a fossilised skeleton found in Wyoming in 1898 he had been touring the UK and I couldn’t wait to meet him. The cold winds assaulted my fur as I jumped off the bus and with both the girls moaning about the chill factor I decided that our first stop in the museum should be the Victorian tea rooms.

Hot chocolate and cakes quickly warmed us up as we sat admiring the beautiful room with its decorated ceiling in comfort.

Woolly says – The museum was created following a private exhibition in 1829 in a former factory centred in the city centre, mixed with Victorian splendour and far newer additions to the building it is a maze of corridors and rooms, some changing on a regular basis and some that have remained the same since Jo was a small sprout. Having admired the paintings in the domed circular room it took a good ten minutes of brisk trotting to arrive at Dippy’s temporary home. I had been expecting crowds of people trying to view him in his splendour and was pleasantly surprized to find we were the only ones, Jo made to pull the door open for my first sighting but it appeared to be locked. An information desk nearby was manned by a young lady who smiled down at me whilst shaking her head, ‘Dippy’s not here, he’s gone to Belfast’ she told me. I shook my head and rubbed my ears with my paws in case the chocolate butter icing from my yummy cake that had just been consumed was blocking my hearing and asked when he would be back, ‘He won’t be he’s on tour and he finished here yesterday’.

His face was enough to break anyone’s heart and as his big brown eyes starred up at me I had nothing to offer to make it better.

Woolly says – The women tried, I’ll give them that. We wandered over to the now waterless landmark the “Floozie in the Jacuzzi” which is now a ‘Floozie in a flower bed’ since Birmingham councils’ decision to stop spending £2,000 a day in keeping it running, I sniffed, she’s wasn’t a patch in Dippy. Having shuffled round a few shops in the females wake I just hoped that day three of the birthday celebrations would go to plan.

With drizzle and cold winds, we left Zoe to head to work as I drove my small friend a few miles to The Black Country Boat Festival.

Woolly says – I had no expectations, they had probably moved the boats or cancelled it without telling me!

Although cold it appeared that the festival was on as we arrived to see a huge inflatable slide and a variety of stalls.

Woolly says – There is nothing better than racing up the bouncy steps and sliding all the way down the bouncy slide, Jo must have been distracted as she failed to notice that I was on my tenth climb instead of the three she had paid for. Having wandered through a variety of stalls selling everything from trinkets to boat spares we found ourselves at Dudley number two canal which runs through a place called Bumble Hole, which is a great name for a place and having proceeded to shout ‘bum hole’ until Jo gave me one of those stares I muttered it more quietly instead. A disused building stood starkly against the skyline once used as part of the brick industry in what had once been the centre of the Black Country. Having waited for Jo to take the necessary photo I peered over the bridge to find only a few narrow boats, I sighed and trudged along the tow path and round a bend when suddenly hundreds of boats seemed to have appeared. All lengths and colours were on display as we wandered along gazing into the small windows and peering through the tiny doorways to look at the engines. Boat people are always friendly and I waved and bid everyone a good morning as we walked onwards. Having crossed over one of the many bridges we came to the last of boats when I spotted Rosie and Jim who had featured heavily in Zoe’s childhood TV viewing, I raced over to them to find out how their trip was going and where they were headed next.

I sat on the canal bank and watched my small friend bouncing up and down in delight of finding something that pleased him after what had been a disappointing few days for him, hopefully the next trip out would live up to his high expectations and would be open!

Additional photos below
Photos: 27, Displayed: 27


18th September 2018
The Victorian Tearooms

23rd September 2018
The Victorian Tearooms

It's even better in real life
and the cakes are amazing

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