Having been unable yesterday to moor at the secure platform on the other side of the river from the towing path, we had moored here, on the path side, with a little unease. We'd heard tell that the city has a bad reputation for crime and vandalism, and although we knew the possibility of exaggeration in such reports, we are aware of the greater possibility of such behaviour in any city centre. And the emergency services were very busy for the whole of our stay. However, we remember with pleasure a good night spent at the Gas Street Basin of Birmingham, some years ago, and a very positive experience of Banbury for several nights last year, so we moored here with an open mind, beneath a huge block of flats inhabited by students from DeMontfort University – the Uni at which Jess did her degree. And it was a very peaceful night, with no reason to feel insecure or anxious.
This morning was dull and chilly, not the warm and sunny the BBC weather forecast had suggested. We decided to stay for another night, and spent some of the day shopping at a local Tesco, and looking around this part of the city. Frankly, we weren't very impressed. It has some wonderful, old buildings, and some very striking new ones, and much of the architecture is very impressive. But I found it an uncomfortable mix of old and new, the overall result being ugly. However, I likened the ugliness to that of a Bull Mastiff. Ugly without a doubt, but an ugliness which one could get used to, even fond of.
An oddity we see here on the river is the enormous number of swans which congregate together. We're used to seeing them only in nuclear family groups, but here we've seen as many as 31 together in a 100 metre stretch of water.
We're hoping for better weather tomorrow, but we'll leave anyway, and carry on down the river.