Middlewich no more!
Last month I tested the new BW Mooring Auction system for the first time and as a result Zulu will soon have a new mooring at Uxbridge Lock, Grand Union Canal. Even though the Middlewich mooring is much cheaper, the cost of getting there is quite prohibitive, and we have had our fun after over a year in Cheshire, so its time to move on, with the added bonus of now having a West London mooring.
Winter stoppages, including one at Middlewich Big Lock itself mean we can’t start the journey south until 18th December, so Christmas and New Year is going to be a crazy mixture of family visits and boating. I hope to get past Braunston before the January stoppages commence, otherwise we will be stuck there until the end of March.
The auction system itself is certainly an improvement on the old tenders trial, where you only got one chance to guess a price, but I was almost caught out by the new system. At 13:00 hrs I was the high bidder and assumed that this meant I had won the auction. To my horror another bid was accepted after the deadline, and I had to log in and bid again. In fact I thought there had been a mistake, as I had scrutinised the Terms and Conditions document which clearly states that the auction ends at the closing time.
What it doesn’t mention is that the closing time is extended beyond the original deadline until no bidding activity has taken place for 5 minutes, as an anti-sniping measure. Whist this is an excellent feature I was very annoyed to end up losing the auction on a technicality, which is not even mentioned in the Terms and Conditions for Bidding but according to BW the website FAQ section must be considered part of the T&C, and it is here that the anti sniping is mentioned. So be warned – if you are bidding make sure that you watch for an extended closing time in case anyone tries to jump in at the last moment.
Fate was on my side though, as 2 weeks later the original bidder had not met their obligation and so I was offered the vacancy, as the next highest bidder. I have paid more than I intended, but I have a superb mooring to look forward to in one of my favourite locations on the canal network. Zulu was actually based in Uxbridge in the 1980s when she was one of the Royal Navy’s own hire boats, and when I bought her she had been moored for years in Batchworth, so to all intents and purposes, Zulu will be coming home.
Only 182 miles and 163 locks to go!