Still iced in here in the centre of Brum. The temperature has risen over the last two days and we are due a further two days respite before we plummet back into the minus figures. The ice has thawed around our boats but the towpaths and canal bridges are in a very perilous state. Apart from Gas Street and Brindley Place these paths have seen no salt and you take your life, or your bones anyway, in your hands trying to negotiate them and walking the dogs has become a bit of a trial in these conditions. One reason given for not treating the walkways is 'elf and safety' - raised eyebrows indeed. Apparently if you treat the paths people will walk on them - novel activity I know - and if they then fall over they could sue!!
We have arranged for diesel and coal to be delivered to the boats this afternoon - and hope that the coal boat will break up the ice enough for us to maybe move our boats and get through to the water-point at the Mailbox. The likelihood of getting out of the City before Christmas, as we had planned, is quite remote however. The thickness of the ice on the BCN Mainline and the Birmingham & Worcester canal will need a sustained rise in temperature before it is navigable.