Monday April 20, 2015. Day 8

Leamington Spa to Birmingham: 45km

Paul was particularly looking forward to cycling along the towpaths into Birmingham today. But first, a great breakfast and espressos at Bill’s, which included “porridge” (not oatmeal) with maple syrup, bananas and roasted hazelnuts. Marius and Helen arrived from Burton Dassett and we cycled down Willes Road to have a photo op with Jane – us on our bikes, more publicity for OWL – and then to ride past 11 Farley Street, our first home.

Our intention was to just look at our old house, but our next door neighbours from the early 80’s were still there and had just bought #11 (the other half of their semi-detached). They were in the process of opening up walls between the two houses. We were given a tour and were interested to see that, apart from decorating, not a lot had changed. The garden was totally different, however, generally for the better.

The canal beckoned and the path was pretty good until the long flight of locks at Hatton, when it became increasingly narrow and bumpy. We came off onto the Old Warwick Rd, but rejoined the waterway after a pub lunch. Again, we had to leave the uneven path and followed a route through the southern suburbs of Birmingham. At Kings Norton, we found the canal again, cycling now on a very good path past Bournville and our alma mater, the University of Birmingham. Some old buildings such as the clock tower and the Great Hall were instantly recognizable. Finally, we saw Paul’s old hall of residence and were soon at the Blue Piano, our B&B.

Friends Sharon and Charles joined us at the Blue Piano for an exceptional meal and a wonderful evening.

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