Saturday saw my long-awaited stint as a Tarporley witch. Hallowe'en is CCNA's biggest fundraiser of the year, running trips through Islington tunnel which we have previously hung with ghosts, ghouls and strange purple and green inflatable spiders (deflated). Small children come along dressed up for the occasion and we show them a good time. Or what passes for one when you're seven, i.e. lots of screaming and a fun size Curly Wurly.
Such an event is it, that as well as Tarporley, we bring in the Pirate Club's boat - currently Pride of Sandwell, and Angel. Having donned my witchy gear (I thought it was pretty good, although it relied on my natural witch like looks rather than any green face paint, yuck, plus I thought a hat might be somewhat impractical) I was not best pleased to be allocated to Pride of Sandwell. It is, after all, a semi-trad, even if it does have a wheelchair lift. On top of which it had been very enthusiastically kitted out with all the battery operated howling devices and singing skeletons I could ever wish to avoid. This was also not really the point to recall that I'd skimmed over the bit on the volunteer application form where it said 'must like children'.
Things improved after that. Having mutinied from Pride of Sandwell (someone with a much greener face had arrived and I gleefully handed over), the least I could do was volunteer to steer Tarporley on the next trip... overlooking the fact that by the time we set off it would be dark. This prospect filled me with some trepidation but it actually went without a hitch and was a brilliant experience. I even managed to wind rather beautifully, even if I do say so myself. Then I did a stint as Tarporley's witch in residence for some rather sweet children, and finished the evening with a sunny disposition once more.
Before heading home I visited the Canal Museum's bookshop and added John Thorpe's Windlass in my Belt to my collection, and a few multi-purpose greetings cards. The IWA do lovely Christmas cards, but why oh why won't they produce blank ones for birthdays, weddings etc. Who wouldn't want to receive a Deepest Sympathy card with a watercolour of an old narrow boat on it? Bound to make you feel better.