Since I retired I have been doing some "consultancy" work for a small Herefordshire bus company - one I used to spar with in my previous role at the council, a classic case of gamekeeper-turned-poacher! The owner and his manager have been fascinated by Starcross and the canals in general and have been very keen to come and see for themselves for some time. It's not easy for people in the bus industry to get away from the office - it's a seven-days-a-week operation requiring hands-on management (a bit like the waterways in fact) but finally they've found the time and tomorrow is the big day.
Starcross has been temporarily moored at the (very) far end of the moorings at Norbury Wharf, but Simon had promised to clear my proper mooring space so that my visitors wouldn't have to walk half-way to Grub Street through the work-in-progress on the moorings refurbishment. So on Thursday I caught a train to Stoke-on-Trent, re-booking at Manchester to save £8, and then got the only bus of the day from there to Norbury village, walking the last mile or so to the wharf. Once I'd made my way out to Starcross I took her up to Grub Street to wind, then back to the wharf to wind again so that I'd be facing the right way in the morning. I could have just reversed, but with boats moored each side and a fairly steady stream of passing boats I thought it would be easier that way - and the batteries needed charging anyway, or at least that's my excuse.
Like my visitors, I don't know quite what to expect - they know they are not supposed to call Starcross a barge and hopefully they've got all the obligatory jokes about pirates and barnacles out of their system. It's not often I entertain people who have no knowledge or previous interest in waterways at all. I'll let you know how I got on tomorrow.