Fazeley Junction, 0 miles, 0 locks
Still can't get on the internet, even though I try with the computer on top of the cratch thanks to the sunny weather. It occurs to me that there might be a free WiFi network around and there is, although it's amazingly slow. Slow will do, though, and it allows me to find where the station is and the train times. I get chatting with the people three boats down, who are locals and who tell me that the easiest way to London isn't from Tamworth station; it's from Wilmecote, which is about a mile away. I decide to walk there to get the lay of the land, passing another boat that has a pipe organ on board! It is from Belgium and is the kind that would have been found in café's before the arrival of the Juke Box. The captain tells me that he's 80 and that he owns several organs, but after his wife died he decided to live on the boat and the little Belgian organ is there to keep him company.
When I get to Wilmecote, sure enough there's a train to Birmingham early enough to get me to London for 10am and plenty of trains back. I start to walk into Tamworth, but as usual the road signs are made for cars, not pedestrians and they're taking me a long way around, but I'm passing a bus stop as a bus arrives, so I jump on that.
Central Tamworth could be central anywhere, which is a shame given that at one time it was the capital of the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Mercia. The main tourist attractions are the castle and the large church, but I'm not really in the mood. Now that I'm in town, I can get a phone signal so I call the customer who I'm supposed to see on Tuesday or Wednesday. They've gone live with the work I did last time I was there, but they want to let it bed in for a while to see what needs doing next. We leave it that I'll do another day there once I'm a bit closer to home, which is fine by me. Now that the pressure's off, I'm regretting having not set off for Atherstone, which I've decided will be my next stopping place. I've heard that tomorrow will be wet and there will be locks to do, which would have been better done today. Still, that's just me pressuring myself to get on. I stop by the 3 Store and ask if they're having technical difficulties and it turns out that they are: they're starting to share transmitter poles with T-Mobile and that means re-jigging the network to use Nokia switches rather than Ericsson (or was it the other way around?) The upshot is that although there's signal and the network is carrying voice, it isn't carrying data. The girl in the shop hands me a piece of paper which explains some of this and says that when my bill arrives, I should take it in and they'll refund the days when I've had no service. Although they specifically mention Tamworth, I'm wondering whether this is affecting the rest of the region too, which would explain why I've not been able to get on-line for days. Wandering through Tamworth, I remember that both McDonald's and Costa Coffee do free WiFi. If only I'd brought my computer, I could have got on-line. Drat!
After getting a bus back to Fazeley (since I have no idea how to get there), it's on with the heating and dinner is the leftovers from yesterday's tacos. It's all quite comforting, as is listening to Russell Brand's podcast. I notice that I've got two new One Life Left podcasts, so I listen to one of them before bed. Now I don't have to worry about work for a while, I can enjoy the rest of the journey home without having to worry about the outside world. At least, until it starts to worry about me.