This blog is about my experiences living aboard a narrowboat in the heart of Britain’s canal network, the Birmingham Canal Navigations, also known as the BCN. Sometimes seen as the poor relation of the network, the BCN has over 100 miles of canals, some of which are surprisngly rural. Sprawling through Birmingham and the Black Country, the Navigations, contain, depending on how you count them, thirteen different canals, though there are many more branches and arms.

Birmingham and the Black Country have strong local dialects. Some of the words used are easy to understand – the word “canting”, for example, means “talking”. “Yamyam” is a corruption of the contraction “yow’m”, which means “you are”, and is the noun for someone from the Black Country. For example, a Black Country mon (man) might say “yow’m agooin’g up tahn?”, meaning “are you going to the town?”. I’m a chap from the Black Country, talking about something, hence cantings of a Yamyam.


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