I was delayed in getting back to Starcross on Friday owing to a visit to the bank to try and get myself listed as an authorised account signatory for the Friends of Williamson Park, of which I have just become treasurer. I filled in the forms and was then asked for proof of ID.
"Here's a driving licence"
"Thank you - and proof of address?"
"Er, it's on the licence!"
"Oh No Sir, we need a separate document, perhaps a utility bill?"
"I don't actually carry those around with me, but can you take the licence as proof of address and something else as proof of identity?
(Reluctantly) "Yes, I suppose"
"Well, here's a bus pass - it has my name and a photo"
"No, that won't do, it's not on our list."
"So, you mean that even though I've given you two separate forms of photo ID, one with an address on, that's not good enough?"
Bankers - don't you just love 'em!
I knew I'd never find a deal as cheap as my £3.30 Kinver to Lancaster "fare" but I did manage to save a tenner on the quoted fare by getting a bus to Preston and another from Wolverhampton to Stourbridge (oh! and re-booking at Crewe, obviously). Because of the fruitless visit to the bank it was after four o' clock by the time I got to the boat and half-past five before I was ready to leave. I had to make a start, however, as I'd arranged to pick up two temporary crew members at Wolverley in the morning.
One of the worst things about single-handing is having to close the gates after you when leaving a lock. It's often possible to stop just outside and nip back and close-up but there isn't always anything to tie up to and you run the risk of the boat floating away as happened to me once at Colwich. So I was happy to see this handy device at Hyde Lock.
I've no idea what it's called and I've never seen one anywhere else, but it was certainly useful.