What’s wrong with Walsall?

I used to come to Walsall frequently in my thirties, to a fabric shop called the ‘Hole in the Wall‘. My elder sister and I would make all our own curtains, and that was the best place to get fabric.

In the autumn we’d bring our children to the illuminations at the Arboretum, which are still going strong.

Mooring in the basin on the ‘Walsall Town Arm’ yesterday evening, we’ve been struck by how few boats we’d passed travelling. In fact there were none! A hire boat had descended the locks ahead of us, but was nowhere to be seen on our journey.

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All on our lonesome

We’ve been in this charming basin for over 24 hours now and still no other boats.

Are we missing something?

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Lots of plastic bottles congregating in a corner – we feel like getting a fishing net and clearing it up!

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Yep, just us …

Admittedly the canal approaching Walsall from the north was rather shallow in places, very clear and clean water but with a good deal of hidden debris that was attracted to our prop. The locks were challenging, especially when the heavens opened upon us, but apart from that …

We had a walk around the city centre last night, with a mission of dining at the Fountain Inn, which Barry had read served good food. Unfortunately his information was out of date and the only food they were serving was pork pies. One of the customers recommended ‘Arbor Lights‘, just around the corner, so we strolled there and had one of the best meal experiences for a long time. With a special on of £30 for two people – two courses AND a bottle of wine, we were well pleased! One of the many things that impressed me was having water tumblers on each table, and a carafe of ice cold water served. It was a routine part of life eating out in New Zealand, but a rarity here in England in my experience.

But I digress …

Back to wondering why there’s so few boats here.

One of the reasons we’ve concluded is a dearth of nearby services. No water, rubbish disposal, elsan, pump out. In fact, we’ll be due the latter in the next few days so Barry will have to travel to Sherborne Wharf, the closest place to our knowledge.

Walsall centre is a fine looking place. Everyone we’ve met has been welcoming, friendly and helpful. Lots of interesting buildings, the usual chain stores, and a couple of museums and an art gallery. The waterfront is undergoing some tasteful new development, and we’ve enjoyed our short stay here.

I’m back with my parents from tomorrow afternoon until late on Monday, so if anyone’s around do give Barry a call and come and visit him.

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