Friday, 24 April 2015

Visit to see Guide Dog Jimmy Working – 22nd 23rd & 24th April

Wednesday 22nd April                                                                                                                                                    A bright sunny start saw us set off at a leisurely pace to the outskirts of Tamworth with its lovely weeping willow trees and beautiful gardens down to the canal passed the old Canal Craft shop which now appears to be closed down.


Next came the two of Glascote Locks alongside which is sadly the now defunct Steve Hudson Yard looking really forlorn now that it is not the hive of activity it used to be. Fortunately a couple of boats were coming up the locks so we were able to go straight down.IMG_5836

At Fazeley Junction we took a tight left turn down the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal heading a short way down to the Fazeley Mill Marina passed this old canal side cottage.IMG_5839

We turned into the marina and were warmly welcomed by the staff and shown where we were to moor for the next two nights. As it happened the only space big enough for us was right at the end of the long pontoons and we had to carefully negotiate ourselves between two lines of boats to a lovely mooring at the end. This of course meant the we would have to reverse out when the time came to leave.IMG_5841

Whilst I set about readying the boat for leaving June took Ecco a walk around the wooded path which surrounds the marina.IMG_5840

Once the boat was secure we headed for the No.110 bus which runs every 15 minutes from the cross roads at the canal Junction. An hours ride via Sutton Coldfield brought to the centre of Birmingham where we caught a train home. Within and hour and a half we were back in the house.

As Ecco had been off colour we took her to our vets who diagnosed her with Colitis, so she was put on a light diet and given some Canikur to help her large intestines recover. Hopefully we will see a big improvement in a couple of days.

Thursday 23rd April

This morning I had an early appointment at the local Hospital and when I returned home we set off for Guide Dogs at Leamington Spa as they had phoned to say that Jimmy had progressed so well with his training that he was to leave a month early and we could go and see him working around the town. We were met at the centre by Liz his trainer and Helen our Snr. Puppy Walking Supervisor both of whom adored Jimmy and will miss him just as much as us when he leave for his new home.

We went into Leamington with Helen while Jimmy went with Liz in a separate van so that he could not see us or smell us as that might have distracted him from his work. We then skulled around town following Liz and Jimmy, at a safe distance, as they negotiated cross road, shops, stairs and lifts and finally back to the centre.

Jimmy worked really well and was obviously enjoying his work. Here he has stopped at a crossing control button and is pointing it out to Liz,IMG_5842

Here he is crossing the road and checking for vehicles which might not stop at the crossing.


Here he is again walking through the crowds along the High Street. We both felt so proud of him. Even though he is our 16th Guide Dog pup it is still a big thrillto see them working.


And finally here he is back at the centre with his new short hair cut for the summer. He looked very neat and tidy not the normal scruff dog we used to look after. He is so laid back and has bonded so well with Liz and Helen that we thought he would not bother with us when we saw him but he came into the room and when he  realised we were there he went made skipping around the room and nuzzling into us.


After a chat with the girls and more fuss from Jimmy we had to say our sad farewells and wend our way home to Ecco.

Because we would be very late getting back to the boat we had decided to stay another night at home and return first thing on Friday morning. This meant that we could join our regular Pup Quiz team and guess what, our luck was in as we won. Just a shame we will not be able to partake with the Gallon of Beer Prize next week.

Friday 24th April

We left home in lovely sunshine and caught the 9.30 train into Birmingham and then the bus back to Fazeley. We were on the boat by 11.15am and ready to settle our bill and move out of the marina. We reversed carefully down the lines of moored boats and bid our farewells to the staff at the marina and headed out onto the canal.



We headed back to the junction with the Coventry Canal where the new homes on the corner are finally being completed. I must say they look very nice and surrounded with a lovely glass barrier to stop people falling into the canal. It is an ideal spot to watch the world go by.IMG_5858

We motored up passed Peel’s Wharf where the Canal and River Trust have their Regional Office and moored.


There were very few boats moored but the afternoon was quite busy with moving boats, several filling with water at Peel’s Wharf. The first job after lunch was to visit the local supermarket and stock up with the essentials for the weekend.IMG_5854

After lunch I took Ecco a walk back along the canal to the Aquaduct over the River Tame.IMG_5860

We then walked across the fields to the Tame Local Nature Reserve where we saw all sorts of bird life including these Cormorants drying their wings after fishing in the lake.IMG_5870

and this Island full of squabbling and nesting Black Headed Gulls.




  1. Jimmy looks very professional -- not at all like the lanky, long-haired, slightly lunatic dog we met at Denham! Really glad he's doing so well. Someone is going to be very lucky to get him.

  2. Hi Bob and June, we're just along the canal from you at the moment, just before the next bridge. We've been at Peel's Wharf and moved along a little bit this morning as we're getting our gunwhales ready for painting. Be great to see you, if you have time pop along for coffee in the morning. Debbie and James xx