Starcross inevitably spends most of its time on the Shropshire Union and adjacent canals so whenever I get the call to help Bernard move his boat, "Sunshine", which is based on the Grand Union (Leicester Section) at Pillings Lock I am happy to oblige.
Sunshine is in the process of being moved from Pillings Lock Marina to Brinklow as the first stage of a summer cruise to the Kennet & Avon and I agreed to join Bernard at Market Harborough.
Getting there from Hereford was straightforward enough, with a little amusement en-route that I have written about here. It involved a change from train to bus at Northampton, but this gave me an opportunity to have a look round the town - something you just wouldn't do if in a car.
It has to be said that bus is perhaps not the best way to arrive in Northampton and the bus station, parts of which have a certain 1950s charm, wouldn't win any prizes - except perhaps in cold-war era East Germany
(where the absence of litter and graffiti would have come as standard).
But the town has other delights, including an open market, in the large market square right in the town centre.
It wasn't very busy, however, and I expect it has seen better days, although the torrential rain that lasted most of the day can't have helped trade amongst a population increasingly used to doing their shopping in supermarkets and air-conditioned shopping centres.
Its not all gloom and doom in Northampton though and what I think is the Guildhall is a splendid building:
I'm not sure who these characters were - they look like something left over from the Civil War!
By now, I'd had enough of Northampton so I made my way back to the bus station, pausing only to call at a greeting card shop to buy a retirement card for my friend - and occasional Starcross crew member - Hugh, who is retiring a full 5 months before I do, and to heed these sound words of advice in the shop doorway: