Before setting off we took a stroll around Walsall Town Centre and admired some of the old building facards which have been retained and the Market which appears to be on most days of the week. Walsall is famous for saddlery, Jerome K Jerome and Sister Dora. An unusual War memorial is just like a needle and the traditional Leather saddles are depicted with a bronze statue of a saddle held by a hand.
In the main Market Square is a statue of Sister Dora. In the autumn of 1864, she joined the Sisterhood of the Good Samaritans and became known as Sister Dora. She would devote the remainder of her life to nursing. She was sent to work at Walsall's hospital in Bridge Street and arrived in Walsall on 8 January 1865. The rest of her life was spent in Walsall. She worked at the Cottage Hospital at The Mount until 1875, when Walsall was hit by smallpox. She worked for six months at an epidemic infirmary set up in Deadman's Lane (now Hospital Street), treating thousands of patients. During the last two years of her life, she worked at the hospital in Bridgeman Street, overlooking the South Staffordshire Railway. She developed a special bond of friendship with railway workers who often suffered in industrial accidents. The railwaymen gave her a pony and a carriage and even raised the sum of £50 from their own wages to enable her to visit housebound patients more easily. She developed breast cancer and decided against an operation and kept her disease a secret. She died on Christmas Eve 1878, aged 46. At her funeral on 28 December, the town of Walsall turned out to see her off to Queen Street Cemetery, borne by eighteen railwaymen, engine drivers, porters and guards, all in working uniform.
A nearby is a new work of art, which is a sculpture of the two-faced Roman God Janus, and this was erected in 2001
We returned to the boat and were the last but one boat to set off, about 10.30am, heading for the first lock at the end of the arm. There were still 4 boats waiting to go up the lock so we joined the queue and were soon on our way. Fortunately Brian had gone up the locks at 7.30 am and let water down to fill the empty pounds so that we could have an easy time going up. June took the helm going up whilst I worked the locks and we were soon at the top.
We motored on turning right back on to the Wyrley and Essington Canal at Birchills Junction and then filled with water at the Sneyd Junction facilities. We caught up three other boats at Rookery Bridge where Nb Jola had become grounded on the shallow bend. A bit of pushing and shoving by us all soon got her off and we carried on to moor in the Bentley Arm Mooring ready for a visit from a local councillor tomorrow.
Just opposite is a Coots nest with 6 Eggs.