Some readers will know that I haven't yet made any plans to buy another boat and I do sometimes wonder whether I ever will. I had been regarding the visit as a necessity - even a chore - but yesterday as soon as I turned off the A49 and started heading down the local road towards Anderton I felt I was coming home. I always think of the relevant parts of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Northants as "canal country" containing as they do the "heart" of the narrow canal network.
It had been a while since I last visited Starcross so I was pleased - and a little relieved - to find she was alright. There was just a little water in the bilges, although that's not necessarily good news as it seems to confirm that there is a leak in the water tank, which has now been emptied for the winter. When I last returned to Uplands I'd reversed onto the pontoon (I actually find this easier than going on forwards given the layout of the basin) but this meant that the rear cabin was facing the prevailing wind. One of the faults of the boat's design is that the rear doors are not watertight and a strong wind can blow accompanying rain into the rear cabin - and it had obviously been raining since my last visit!
I baled out what little water there was in the bilge and then lit the fire and made myself some lunch. The afternoon passed quickly with some little jobs (there are always "little jobs") and then with more rain forecast I thought I'd fix the plastic sheeting we keep in the bow locker over the back doors to try and keep it out. This was quite a complicated job, but fortunately I realised before I started that I'd have to switch the battery isolator off beforehand as the only access to that is via the counter hatch and the cabin doors need to be fully open to lift that up. This meant that when I'd finished I had no cabin lights, but there was still fair bit of life in the fire so that gave my the opportunity to light the oil lamp and just enjoy watching the daylight gradually fade away whilst listening to the radio.
|The oil lamp and the cabin table on Starcross|
|Christmas Lights at Uplands (Sorry about the hand-held camera)|
Despite the festive atmosphere, one thing I have found since moving to Uplands is that a marina mooring is not for me. That's not a slur on Uplands Basin, it's just that like Nev on Percy ("a bloody big boat park") I prefer life "on the line", but I enjoyed my day going nowhere. Starcross is still for sale but I'll be going through those ads in "Waterways World" (and elsewhere) over Christmas!