Estoy triste. Ich bin traurig. Je suis sad as.
Let me set the scene. It’s 5am and a cheery alarm rings out sudden and loud over Albion.
I wake up and hit Ed on the head as I am wont to do when startled.
“Why did you hit me on the head?” said Ed.
“I set the alarm to wake up and book our winter mooring,” I said.
“I wasn’t snoring,” said Ed.
“No… I’ve woken up to book the winter mooring,” I said.
“You can’t just hit someone on the head for snoring,” mumbled Ed into his pillow.
“No, Ed, listen. I’ve woken up to book the winter mooring. Am I going ahead with it or not?” I said.
“No,” said Ed.
No. N-O. Two little letters and one little word that sent cold, cold icy shards into my heart. A bitter winter fog descended on my chest. Images of iced-over canals and snowy towpaths froze my soul.
I lay in bed, already part White Walker, as I contemplated this news. This year, we would not be taking a winter mooring.
As anyone who reads this blog might know, I love winter moorings. I know they’re a contentious issue amongst boaters, many of whom don’t see the point in shelling out yet more money on top of your license for the privilege of mooring somewhere for a few months yet still having to move every two weeks to empty the toilet and fill up with water anyway.
To which I usually respond, “Yeah but guys… Berkhamsted.”
I love Berkhamsted even more than I love winter moorings in general so was feeling pretty darn excited to book the same winter mooring we had there last year.
Imagine, then, my disappointment when I excitedly browsed this year’s winter mooring information only to find out that the Berkhamsted mooring had been treated to a right royal cubuph.
In case you don’t know what a cubuph is, it’s a word I just made up that stands for a Completely Unfair Bloody Unjustified Price Hike.
Our little mooring in Berkhamsted had been upgraded from a Band 3 mooring to a Band 2, meaning a price hike that would now cost us £200/month if we wanted to take up a winter mooring.
Just FYI, here’s the difference between a Band 2 and a Band 3 winter mooring.
Now here’s the spec for a Band 2 winter mooring, with my edits to show what the Berkhamsted mooring actually offers.
The Berkhamsted mooring offers pretty much none of the things specified by the Band 2 description. There are no mooring rings or bollards and no facilities, unless you count the water point and elsan round the corner which it once took us two hours of painfully cold ice breaking to reach.
In fact the only thing the Berkhamsted mooring has to offer to make it a Band 2 mooring is the fact that it’s within walking distance of a popular town. NOT THAT I’M EVER CYNICAL ABOUT THESE KINDS OF THINGS but it seems to me that the price hike is a bit of a shameless money grab based on the fact that Berkhamsted is super popular and people will pay money to be near it even if the mooring fulfills none of the other things it’s supposed to.
Not only that, but our mooring last year was far from stress-free. The water levels in Berkhamsted are notoriously terrible and more often than not we woke up completely tipsy.
Smashed posessions and wobbly showers aside, the facilities the mooring supposedly offers include the elsan point in the grounds of the Old Mill pub that is currently a battleground between the pub and CRT, who can’t seem to decide who is responsible for keeping it clean and functional. Add to that the fact that local builders seem to frequently use it to dispose of waste materials and you get an elsan that, last year, was blocked more often than not and took months to get repaired.
“But Carli,” I hear you cry. “If the mooring was that terrible, why would you even want to spend money to stay there anyway?”
To which I reply…
Unfortunately even the delights of Berkhamsted couldn’t change the fact that the new increased price was just too much for our freelance bank accounts, especially considering how imperfect the mooring had been last year.
That’s why this morning, with a heavy heart, I switched off my 5am ‘BOOK WINTER MOORING’ alarm, and went back to sleep.
Now, instead of our lovely, crappy, comfy, useless winter mooring, we’re going to be roaming the canals all winter, fighting the ice, and braving all sorts of terrible and hilarious incidents I’m sure.
Which is bad news for Carli, great news for Carli’s Blog.
Watch this cold, cold space.