Yesterday, almost six years to the day after arriving, I took Starcross away from Norbury Junction. I went more with a whimper than a bang. I got to Norbury off the one bus of the day from Stoke station at around half-past three and called into Norbury Wharf to pick up my keys and settle my bills. Starcross has been away from her normal mooring "down the arm" for the last month and I had to get them to send Fred out in the rain to move a couple of boats so that I could get away. At least it meant I could begin my trip by navigating the whole surviving length of the Shrewsbury & Newport Canal! After calling at the water point I'd intended to tie up on the visitor moorings to go and see if anyone was around to say goodbye to and perhaps even have a last pint in the Junction Inn but I got to the end of the line without finding a space and it was too wet and horrible to try and tie up on the embankment itself, which isn't easy at the best of times. I hadn't even unpacked my camera so I'll never have that "last shot"!
So, I left Norbury Wharf as I arrived: without ceremony and in pouring rain - and made my way to Gnosall on the start of my summer adventure. Starcross is now officially homeless (or "continuously cruising") which will, by the way, be genuine continuous cruising, as I make my way slowly down to Droitwich, back to Brum for the BCN Challenge and then over to the Trent, the Fosdyke and on to Boston over the summer.
There have been two big improvements on Starcross since my last visit: I now have a working fridge again after Hugh mended the broken power lead and, having had my propeller "chamfered" (or as Norbury Wharf put it, "furtled"), it is no longer anywhere near as noisy as it used to be: not completely silent but I can live with that.