When I took Starcross to Norbury Wharf to be put up for sale I'd assumed that the best approach was to leave her as fully-furnished as possible, to make her looked "lived-in" and therefore attractive to potential buyers as one would in a house sale.
But the advice I had from Simon and his team was to do the exact opposite and remove all the personal stuff that I didn't intend to sell with the boat. The logic was that this would allow buyers to imagine the boat as their own and help them to think of it as already theirs. Whilst I can understand the argument here it's also the case that doing so renders it less attractive for me to spend any time on board, particularly overnight, and this, of course, makes it harder for sellers to take advantage of Norbury Wharf's free moorings whilst the boat is up for sale. Or am I being just a tad cynical here?
When I'd left Starcross at Norbury last month I'd returned home by bus and train and so had brought very little back with me, and this weekend has been my first chance to re-visit and start the removals process. It wasn't particularly easy. The brokerage boats at Norbury are moored line abeast and Starcross was third boat out from the bank meaning that everything had to be carried across the sterns of two other boats to the wharf and then to the car. I'd always kept plenty of clothes, food and other essentials on board to make travelling to and fro easier so there was plenty to shift. The clothes came first- filling two hold-alls (and that's not including the coats, cagoules, fleeces etc, which were carried out separately. Then came the bedding followed by books and games and the two radios - although one of these, together with some of the books, was taken over to the Sanitary Station where what started as a book exchange has developed into something approaching a free car-boot sale in recent years.
After a break for lunch - in the Junction Inn - the work continued until eventually I had to stop as there wasn't really any room left in the car. The food and contents of the kitchen cupboards will have to wait for another day as will whatever is lurking under the beds and in the cupboards in the front well.
People have asked me how I can do all this without feeling sad or upset, but having made the decision to sell I don't find it difficult. I've enjoyed my time with Starcross and am really glad I bought her. But I've also always known that she wasn't the perfect boat for me and now, with the benefit of experience in boat ownership I have a much clearer knowledge of what that perfect boat would be.
One of the items I've brought home was the Buckby Can that I bought the first time I took Starcross to the Historic Working Boat Gathering at Braunston in 2005.
It now has pride of place on our kitchen shelf back home in Lancaster as a permanent reminder of the good times we've had on Starcross.
It still isn't "the end" and won't be until such time as Starcross is sold but it's another step on the road.