Once upon a time, London’s canals were so full that, to create more space, boats had to double moor.
Those were the good old days.
Now, you’ll see boats moored 3 or 4 abreast.
London is busy.
Soon boats will go all the way over to the far bank, plastic boats will park on their roofs and submarines will pile in below.
Everyone wants to be in London.
On one occasion, I saw boats moored 140 abreast. It was Cavalcade.
Recently, triple mooring has been discouraged. One argument is that it’s extremely unsafe. But, if that’s true, what is it that makes double mooring so much safer? Or Cavalcade?
Living on a boat in an overcrowded city is full of perils. Boats sink, bodies end up in the canal and boats get broken into. We get on with it as best we can.
A few weeks ago, I was double moored (on the outside) and another 2 boats moored against me – I was 2nd in a line of 4. I was due to move shortly so arranged with the 2 new boats to move to the outside position.
The following morning, a note appeared on my front deck asking me to move on account of being triple moored.
But I was not triple moored!
The boat next to me was triple moored.
I was quadruple moored!
Volunteering to move to the outside had been the boating equivalent of an own goal. I thought about asking the others if I could swap back to position 2 but, as I was due to move soon anyway, I cut my stay short and moved further East.
Once again, I found myself tied to the outside of a single boat.
A few days later, I returned to find that my boat had been moved. The boat to the inside of me had gone and I’d been pulled alongside the 2 boats behind.
Whilst I’d been out, I had, involuntarily, been moved onto another triple mooring and a pair of new boats had arrived, filling up the space where I had been.
The next morning, I got another “move your craft” note, the arrival of which induced a severe attack of tourettes.
I was describing all this to a friend in Cowroast yesterday.
“You should come here,” he said, “We’re all single moored here.”
“Of course, everyone is single moored there,” I said, “There’s a petrol station, a pub and, until 9 pm, one bus an hour to Berkhamsted.”
I put the phone down and went to sleep, dreaming of boats quadruple moored in Cowroast …. on a lock landing that doubles as a water point …. and staying put for 16 days.
November 30th, 2015
See the FINAL 2015 performance of ‘The Angry Boater’ this Wednesday, Dec 2nd at Bar Rumba, 36 Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly Circus. 7.30 pm to 9.15 pm. No triple mooring.