Extricating ourselves from Falling Sands Lock without any mischief this time around, we were soon pootling into Kidderminster; a short stop to let the Captain hide under the cars in the 24 hour Tesco Superstore car park , and we were soon climbing up through Kidderminster Lock, with the impressive church looming into view.
Going down Kidderminster Lock used to be a surreal experience. The bottom gate is very (very) close to a main traffic light interchange on the Kidderminster Ring Road. The ring road crosses the canal on the concrete bridge in the photo below, which is a lot closer that the wide-angle picture suggests. Before you empty the lock, if you stand at the front of the boat you can almost reach out and touch the traffic rushing past: it really is bedlam there with loads of pedestrians too.
Years ago, when the FO first came this way, as you sunk down you waved bye bye to the chaos, and when you emerged from the other end of the tunnel under the ring road, you found yourself in a different world. Right up close on both sides, tall carpet warehouses – largely out of use – loomed over you, and cut out all the noise. It was like emerging into a silent brick Grand Canyon, and an astonishing contrast to what was going on just behind you.
These days, most of the warehouses are gone. As you emerge from the tunnel the first thing you come across is a drive-thru MacDonalds. Followed by a large car park for the no-longer-in-the-high-street emporiums like Marks & Spencer, Next, Boots, Debenhams etc. etc. Deep joy.