Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Winter Moorings “Go Live”

Monday 4th October


Today, I planned to log on to the BW mooring vacancies website to buy our winter mooring in Angel and then begin the epic journey back to Roydon, via London. However, due to a London tube strike and the moorings system now going live at 3pm we are staying in Eastbourne today so that I can buy the mooring, and have an easier journey back home tomorrow.

I enjoyed a warm bath this morning and washed the dishes with instant hot water. I noted that the rubbish and recycling did not have to be carted off anywhere in the double pushchair, and I began to imagine what life would be like if I lived in a flat like this. I would probably have put a load of laundry in the washing machine first thing, so that it would be ready to hang out by the time I’d done the dishes. Without the need of a trip to sort the rubbish, recycling or laundry, our outings today were to the supermarket, a child friendly cafe with toys, and a park. My mind seems to have done a swift turn-around from considering a bigger boat, to fantasising about a cottage in the country.

This morning the British Waterways website confirmed that the Winter Moorings 2010 system will now launch at 3.30pm today. I made sure that myself and the girls were home from the park by 3pm and checked the website again. It was then updated to say it is now scheduled to launch at 4pm, and later updated again to change the time to 4.30pm “at which time all Winter Mooring vacancies will be available to view and ‘buy’.” However, “If any problems are found during the update, the system will be rolled back and the update postponed to the following day to allow assessment of the problems encountered.”

Single Boat Mum has decided that she will not get a winter mooring, and will continue to cruise around with her adopted “boat family”. Barge Mum and Barge Dad have had some people interested in buying their boat, so have also decided that they don’t need a winter mooring. They could be in a house soon! Barge Mum texted me yesterday to say that the wind nearly blew the Little Flower’s pushchair into the cut yesterday – with the baby in it! Apparently she was unharmed and hardly noticed, but it sure did frighten Barge Mum. So, we must add ‘buggies in the wind’ to the list of dangers that boating parents have to be aware of!

The last time I checked the website a message said they would begin uploading the winter mooring system at 3.30pm and this could take up to two hours. They suggested checking the site again at 4.30pm. I stayed on line throughout that time but inevitably by four o’clock I was dealing with a crying baby, trying to begin cooking their tea, and then supervising Big Sister’s visit to the toilet. At about 4.15pm I found the system appeared to have “gone live” and I started searching for Angel moorings in the system. At first I couldn’t find it, but then I found that the site was called Islington: Regents Canal. I entered the amount in metres that I would like to buy and received the error message; “Insufficient mooring space available. Currently, we have 3.17 metres available. Please contact the Mooring Sales Administrator who may be able to assist you.”

By this time it was 4.23pm. I tried phoning the Mooring Sales Administrator and British Waterways main switchboard number but I just kept getting cut off. I eventually spoke to someone at 4.49pm who said they had been experiencing problems with their phone system today. I explained I had been having trouble trying to buy a winter mooring and after consulting with a colleague she clarified that the website had said the system would go live “at some point over the next two hours” (after 3.30pm) and that customers should check the site again at “around 4.30pm”. She confirmed that two customers had already purchased mooring space at around 4.00pm and that the website now says there is only 3.17 metres remaining. She then said that the mooring officer for that area could call me back so I left her my number. No one called me that day.
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