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Mouldy last won the day on October 12 2015

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About Mouldy

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  1. Another Week On Grande Girl 1

    Friday 29th September So the morning of our last full day afloat dawned, or it would have if it hadn’t have been so cloudy. It was raining too. I was up first as usual and with a cuppa in hand I watched as the murk became just a little lighter to show that night had turned to day. The wife and Iain were both up too and I went for a shower as they went out with the dogs. While I was in the shower, some total clown raced past causing a wash so severe that I was almost knocked off my feet. I pulled back the shower curtain to try to identify the boat, but all I could see through the steamed-up windows was a white hull and blue cabin top, heading towards Ludham. He must have been in a hurry. Iain and Debbie arrived back on board before I had finished getting ready, neither Simba nor Harley were great fans of the rain apparently and had both decided when they had walked far enough. I finished getting ready and emerged from the aft cabin when finally dressed to find the others watching a very gloomy weather forecast on breakfast television. The plan for the day was, as usual, a visit to Ranworth and the church, and overnight at Salhouse, but seeing how busy the rivers had been, I was keen to get away and see if we could find a mooring at Ranworth Staithe. Rachel was in the shower as we cast off and headed back down the Ant. There was loads of clearance at Ludham Bridge and no need to wind the saloon roof down or lower the windscreen, which was a relief due to the rain. Debbie lit the grill and cooked some crumpets for breakfast, hot and dripping with butter, just as I like them! Breakfast finished, the others went, in turn, to get ready. We soon arrived at the end of Ranworth Dam and headed along it towards Malthouse Broad. I had taken a pair of binoculars with me and as soon as the staithe came into view, I peered through them to see if there was room. It looked quite busy, but I thought I could see a space, so I headed for it. As we drew nearer, there was definitely a space there and it looked narrow, but I thought we could fit, so gave it a go. It was a little more tricky with the roof up, the rearward visibility somewhat compromised, however I squeezed Grande Girl in and we moored up safely. By now, the rain had eased, so it was agreed that we would head for St Helens and treat ourselves to a coffee and slice of cake each in the café behind the church. I had already wrapped some potatoes in foil and put them in the oven to cook for lunch and with the buggy set up, Harry strapped in and a couple of umbrellas we set off and soon arrived at the church gate. The lighting for photography was flat and the sky grey and gloomy, so I set my camera to simulate black and white film and took a few photos of the outside of the church before changing back to recording in colour and going in. Debbie, Rachel and Harry stayed outside whilst Iain and I went in. He ventured up the tower and a couple of minutes later, at 11:00, the church bell rung out. I hoped that he hadn’t been too close when it had rung!! I wasn’t in the mood for clambering up the stairs that day, so went out and stood with the wife (who was keeping Harry amused) whilst Rachel went up the tower to find Iain. I went round to the café to find it closed again. I had been looking forward to a slice of their cake, someone there makes exceedingly good ones and I’m sure it isn’t Mr Kipling. We were joined by the others and we went out through the gate and followed the lane round the back and past the village hall. Rachel, Debbie, Harry and the dogs went back to the boat. Iain and I went along the boardwalk to the floating Norfolk Wildlife Trust Centre. I climbed the narrow spiral stairs, found a pair of binoculars and looked through the windows to see if I could spot anything unusual, but as usual, was disappointed. I’ve visited there several times over the years and can only ever remember seeing anything out of the ordinary on one previous occasion some twenty years or so ago, when one of the staff there guided us to look at a heron’s nest, high in a tree on the far side of Ranworth Broad. Strange to think that a bird with such long legs builds a nest so far off the ground. I rejoined Iain downstairs and we wandered back to the boat, pausing to have a quick look in the shop on the way. I left him there and ambled over the green to Grande Girl while Rachel went in the opposite direction to join Iain. To make up for the disappointment of not having cake at the church café, I had a slice of the cherry cake that the wife had made to take with us on holiday, before topping up with water for the last time. We stopped there for lunch of jacket potatoes, cheese, coleslaw and salad before casting off and heading for Salhouse and our last night on board. As we left our moorings, a boat whose crew had been mud-weighting on the broad, moved towards our vacated spot as another boat who had just entered did the same. I didn’t look round to see who won, but just chugged back up Ranworth Dam to join the Bure. I had thought about stopping at the moorings for St Benedicts Church for a mooch round, as I hadn’t visited there for many years, but they were occupied so we carried on to Salhouse, where we moored at the far end of the quay heading past (and out of the way of) the water point. The weather was still grey and overcast. There had been occasional brighter periods, but there had also been a few sharp showers. I noticed that there were a couple of other Summercraft boats there, Gainsborough Girl and one of the Gala Girls. I guessed that like us, they were finishing the following morning and enjoying their last night in easy striking distance of boatyard. Iain and Rachel went to hire a kayak for an hour and we watched as they paddled past. Far too energetic for me, I’m afraid. I prepared a sausage casserole and put it in the oven and peeled the spuds to go with it. Debbie was keeping her grandson occupied, feeding a couple of swans and a large group of geese, from the sliding side door at the helm. The kids (we still call them that!) returned from their kayaking and Debbie and Iain took the dogs for some exercise. TV reception has never been great at Salhouse, but we managed to get one channel, so it was watchable and chilled for a while when they got back. We had dinner at about 19:00. Sausage casserole and creamed potatoes washed down with white wine for Rachel and Debbie (they said they needed to finish the bottle) and cider for Iain and me! With the washing up done, we had a final game of crib before turning in. Although some of the packing had already been done, it is difficult to do too much with little space to stow the packed bags, so it would need to be an early start the following morning to finish the packing and tidy up the boat. Although Iain and Rachel had been married in April this year, due to financial constraints they had put their honeymoon off until next year and would be away for their first anniversary. As a result, they’d be unable to join Debbie and me on the Broads next year, so I fell asleep thinking about which of Summercraft’s fleet would best suit us for our next Broadland adventure.
  2. Another Week On Grande Girl 1

    Thursday 28th September Thursday morning dawned and I was up at about 06:00. I lit the gas under the kettle, climbed the two steps into the saloon, opened a curtain to peer into the gloom and try to see what the weather was doing. It was raining – no sunrise photos again. Debbie soon emerged from the aft cabin and rummaged in the drawer to find the dogs collars and leads and much to my amazement, Iain materialised from the fore cabin in time to help her. Waterproofs on, they soon departed and left me with my morning cuppa. I had said that I would prepare a ‘full english’ breakfast that morning, so went for a shower. By the time I emerged, showered and dressed, the others were back, Rachel and Harry were up and the saloon curtains were open, so I set about cooking breakfast. I don’t often get the chance to have a cooked breakfast, but usually manage one or two when we’re on The Broads. The galley on Grande Girl is okay, but a little cramped, so preparation was not easy but bacon, black pudding and sausages (from the butchers in Ludham), baked beans, fried eggs, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms made it all worthwhile. A veritable morning calorific feast and certainly not one that WeightWatchers would approve of, but it was very good, even if I do say so myself. We had to run the engine for a while to generate hot water for washing up, but it was well past 08:00 and there weren’t many neighbours left to disturb anyway. Washing up done, we cast off and headed up the Ant. The others went to get ready and by the time we chugged into Stalham, everyone had showered and dressed. I headed for what was Monfleet for water, only to find that it had returned to being run by Simpsons, not that it mattered to me. We moored and topped up with water, but as the public staithe was full and we wanted to go to Tescos for the last of our shopping, I checked with the boatyard and was allowed to moor there for a short while, having first moved Grande Girl from near the pump-out point. Rachel set up the Harry’s buggy and with him safely installed, we quickly headed off to the shops. It had, by now, stopped raining and we hadn’t taken waterproofs or umbrellas, a failure that we would all regret on the way back when the heavens opened for what the wife described as ‘a clearing up shower.’ All somewhat dampened, we returned to the boat, put the shopping away and readied ourselves to cast off. As it turned out, the wife’s statement proved correct, thankfully it was the last shower that day. We turned Grande Girl round and set off, with no real plan or destination in mind, but when we reached the junction where we could turn left for Barton Broad or right to head for Wayford, I turned right. In all the years I’ve been on the Broads, I can’t remember ever going as far as Wayford Bridge, never mind Dilham. We passed the once picturesque Hunsett Mill and I wondered what had got into the planners’ minds when they had granted permission to turn the cottage into the abomination it is now. We carried on up to Wayford and it is really quite a pretty stretch of river, however the clearance at Wayford was insufficient to get under and the public moorings were full, so we turned around and headed back the way we had come. We crossed Barton Broad and headed for Gays Staithe, where I planned to moor for lunch, not that I (nor any of us for that matter) was particularly hungry, still quite full from our breakfast. As it turned out, Gays Staithe was full, as was Neatishead. I wondered what was going on! Last night How Hill had been quiet, but today everywhere appeared to be relatively busy. Debbie made up some rolls for lunch, using the last of the roast pork from the previous night and rolls we’d bought in Tescos and we ate them whilst chugging back across Barton Broad. We’d been lucky enough to moor at Irstead a couple of years ago where Iain and Rachel had bought a decorated flower pot from a stand outside a house at the junction of the green at Irstead and the road (near the church). Unfortunately, they had managed to break it and were anxious to moor there again so they could get another. The moorings looked full as we approached, but there was just room to get the stern of the boat near enough to the quay to allow them to get off, buy a new pot and get back on, but as I manoeuvred Grande Girl into position, the owner of the private boat moored there said that he was just leaving, so as he started his engines and cast off, so we pulled the boat into position and moored up securely. The dogs were grateful for some freedom and scampered around on the green, Iain and Rachel selected and paid for their pot and Debbie and I chose another to go with the one we still have. By now, the weather had improved and it was quite sunny, with some broken cloud, but a welcome change from the rain from the morning. I took my camera and headed for the church – really quaint and unusual, with its thatched roof. I spent a few minutes taking pictures and another couple of minutes in silent thought, the memory not only of my dad still quite fresh in my mind, but also the effect on my mum, who at the age of 85 and bereaved after 63 years of marriage is still struggling to come to terms with her loss. Iain and Rachel joined me a few minutes later and I returned to the boat to prepare dinner. Beef casserole was on the menu, so I cubed and browned some braising steak in a cast iron casserole dish that we had taken with us, added carrots, mushrooms onions, red wine and I hate to admit it, a packet of casserole mix, before putting it in the oven on a low heat. Debbie kept Harry amused in the sunshine, until the others returned. I was tempted to stay there for the night, but wanted to go back to How Hill and see if there would be a sunset and the photographic opportunities that it would bring, so we cast off and headed back along the river. It wasn’t long before we arrived there and it was soon obvious that there were considerably more boats moored than the previous night. My preferred spot, just past the bend and opposite the mill, was already occupied, so we settled for a mooring along the straight. I feared that we might be disturbed by the usual Richardson’s Rush, but my fears were ill founded, not many other craft passed at all – it wasn’t until Friday morning that it happened, as we found out the following day. Rachel, Debbie, Harry and the dogs went to the field in front of the house, whilst Iain and I headed for the nature trail. I expected not to see wildlife there that I couldn’t see on the rivers and wasn’t disappointed, however for the first time in all of the visits I’ve made there, the secret garden was open. Although the azaleas and rhododendrons has long since flowered, it was a colourful autumnal scene with many of the shrubs turning vivid shades of red and orange. We spent a few minutes looking round and Iain was particularly impressed by the size of the leaves of the gunnera, which looks like huge rhubarb. We returned to the boat, by which time it had cooled sufficiently to warrant raising the roof and we watched tv for a while until the sun began to set. I went out with my camera and suffered disappointment for the third consecutive night when the sunset was less than spectacular again. Oh well, better luck next year!! I returned to the others and we had our casserole, with some broccoli and the odd alcoholic beverage. With the washing up done, we settled down for another couple of games of crib, until I could neither concentrate, nor keep my eyes open. Hot chocolate and bed. All too soon another week was almost at an end - Friday was to be our last full day on the Broads for another year and I fell asleep wondering where the time had gone.
  3. Another Week On Grande Girl 1

    Wednesday 27th September As ever, I was the first to wake on Wednesday morning. I quickly dressed and went to put the kettle on, so satisfy my need for a cup of tea. I pulled back the curtains in the hope that there would be a glorious sunrise – the type that casts a golden glow and makes for wonderful photos. I was greeted by the sight of quite a dense mist, but undaunted and without stopping to brew up, I grabbed my camera and went outside. Just as I started, an old Richardsons Ocean 30 chugged slowly up the dyke, disturbing the glassy smooth water’s surface and the reflections that had been created. If only I’d been up a few minutes earlier, but the mist had created a quite magical quality to the scenery around the mill and so I spent quite a time wandering around taking plenty of photos. I was still there when Iain, Debbie walked past with the dogs, heading for their morning walk and I was till there when they returned some time later. The sun had begun to rise and had formed a deep red ball in the sky, shrouded by the mist and was creating some wonderful photo opportunities. I eventually returned to Grande Girl, satisfied that I had captured a few decent shots. It was not long after that when I heard the throaty roar of a diesel engine starting and discovered that it was our near neighbours in the Barnes craft who had eventually moored near to us the previous evening. Iain told me that their engine had been running until about 22:30, which neither the wife nor I had heard due to our cabin being at the blunt end, furthest away from the source of the noise. Clearly Broadland etiquette, as well has boat handling skills were lacking too, as it was still only about 07:30. We were in no desperate rush to get away that morning, Potter being a relatively short cruise away, so I showered and got ready and we had breakfast of toast and marmalade. By then, it was late enough to start the engine and let it tick over to heat the water for the rest of the party to shower too. By just after 09:00 the mist had lifted, leaving a clear blue sky and the mill looked so different in the bright sunshine. We cast off from Thurne Dyke by about 10:30 (I think) and we chugged into Herbert Woods yard just after 11:00, by which time the cloud had rolled in again. We all wandered across to Lathams and I was designated to dog sit whilst the others went in to do the shopping. As a gesture of consideration, they had allowed me time before leaving me, to get a coffee from the Flour and Bean and I sat at a table outside, with a crossword book and two dogs, whiling away the time until they emerged. Iain and Rachel, with Harry and the dogs returned to the boat whilst I went for a mooch round with the wife and looked a sweater that Iain had dismissed as a ‘grandad’ style. I was a grandad and liked it, so bought one. There wasn’t much else that took my fancy, so bought a couple of bags of treats for the dogs and we returned to join the others. Iain had just finished topping up with water and as the time was already approaching 13:00, decided that it was lunchtime, so he and I headed for the chippie to get fish and chips. I have often heard some not so positive comments about the Potter chippie, but on this occasion the fish was a decent size and freshly cooked and the chips were just how I like them. If I’m honest, not quite as good as Kens (in Wroxham), but better than I’ve had there in the past and quite acceptable. The food was washed down with a cup of tea and was extremely enjoyable. With the washing up done, we cast off and manoeuvred slowly out of Woods yard, our overnight destination would be somewhere up the River Ant, perhaps How Hill if there was room, or further up if there wasn’t, so made our way slowly back down the Thurne. I spied a hawk of some sort hovering over the field near to Thurne Dyke and tried, unsuccessfully to get a photo of it. With the telephoto lens at full extension, trying to hold the camera sufficiently steady and maintain the subject in the frame whilst the boat was in motion was I never going to win. We carried on, turning right onto the Bure, past the other Fleet Dyke (leading to South Walsham Broads) and St Benets Abbey before turning right onto the River Ant. Iain was at the helm and the river was remarkably quiet. We even negotiated Ludham Bridge without queuing or waiting for other craft to pass through for the first time in a long time. We had a cup of tea and cakes purchased from the bakery in Lathams whilst chugging towards How Hill, where I hoped we would be mooring overnight. The last time we had been there, it had been extremely busy and hoped that it would be quieter this time. Turf Fen Mill and How Hill House loomed into view and it was immediately obvious that there were plenty of mooring spaces. I was amazed – it is such a lovely mooring (except when the Richardson’s Rush is on), with great views, walks and the nature trail, too. By this time the sun was out again and we enjoyed the peace of the moorings with the roof wound back. Debbie and Iain took the dogs for a walk, Rachel was keeping Harry occupied and I did a couple of crosswords. A little later a Herbert Woods lowliner style boat came in to moor in front of us. Although it was one of the larger type, there appeared only to be a couple on it and their mooring style interested me – they approached the bank at right angles until the bow touched, the female crew member stepped off and held a rope slackly and waited until the stern swung in with either the breeze or current (whichever was stronger) at which point, her partner gathered the appropriate rope from the stern and tied up. They seemed quite accomplished at it and didn’t appear to be struggling, otherwise I would have offered some assistance. As the evening brought cooler air, we wound the roof back up. I waited again to photograph what I hoped would be a magnificent sunset, only to be disappointed for the second successive night. With just a few images committed to the memory card, I returned to the boat for dinner. Roast loin of pork was on the menu that night, with roast potatoes, broccoli and carrots. We had another couple of games of crib before tiredness set in and I headed for bed with my usual hot drink at about 21:30. Debbie soon followed and we left Iain and Rachel watching something on Dave.
  4. Another Week On Grande Girl 1

    Thanks all for your kind comments. Helen - yes Harry certainly is bright as a button. I guess every grandparent likes to think that of their grandkids, but he is certainly very inquisitive. There may be a delay in the completion of my tale. The wife and I are taking my mum away this Friday, just for a long weekend, to give her a bit of a break. She has been struggling to come to terms with dad's passing which after a month short of 63 years of marriage really is no surprise. We're hoping it might cheer her up a bit, as the dark evenings and run up to Christmas draws nearer. Malcolm
  5. Another Week On Grande Girl 1

    Tuesday 26th September I woke early, with a little assistance from the alarm on my phone. From memory, slack water at Yarmouth was due a few minutes after 09:00, so I thought that we would need to be away from Langley Dyke by about 06:30. I pulled some clothes on and went into the saloon, where I pulled back the curtains to check the weather. It was a little misty, but not dramatically so. The wife emerged from the aft cabin a few minutes later, and as there was no sign of movement from the front of the boat, we took the dogs out for their morning walk. We walked to the main river and back and both dogs had a good run round, happy to be off the lead. We wandered back to Grande Girl and I collected my camera, anxious to get a few pictures before the glassy smooth water was disturbed. I hurried along the side of the dyke and quickly took a few shots before returning to the boat. Dozens of birds were settling on the cables suspended on poles on the opposite side, which reminded me momentarily of a scene from The Birds. By the time I returned, Iain, Rachel and Harry were all up, the curtains were drawn and the windows had been wiped. We departed from our moorings at about 06:45, a little later than I had planned, but we were going with the ebbing current and once on the Yare, progress was good. I remained at the helm until after we had passed the sugar refinery and Hardley Mill, before handing the helm to Iain and heading for our cabin to get ready. Showered, dressed and refreshed, I returned to the saloon to find that we had already passed Reedham and were well on our way towards Breydon Water. We appeared to be running ahead of schedule, so adjusted the throttle to slow our progress but we still arrived at Yarmouth about twenty minutes early. There was bags of clearance under the bridges, without having to lower the saloon roof or screen, but we almost had a head on collision with a Herberts Woods flybridge cruiser whose helmsman appeared to have cast off from his moorings at the Yacht Station without starting his engine, or some other problem affecting his ability to control the boat. He was drifting broadside down the river with the ebbing current and struggling to regain control of the craft. There was nowhere for us to go to avoid him, but fortunately the current took him past with the smallest clearance you could imagine. A little too close for comfort indeed. I looked astern as he passed under the first of the bridges and it looked as if he had regained control, which I guess would have been a relief to him, as well as anyone following us. Not sure that the boat would have been up to being swept out to sea!! We chugged on up the Bure and had crumpets for breakfast as we went. What’s that you say? Diet? What diet???? Our grandson Harry had watched as we had used the winch to wind the roof up and down during the past few days and amused us all as he tried to fit the handle into the socket to try it for himself, albeit the wrong way around. We passed Stracey Windpump and the old pub, without any further dramas, continuing through Stokesby and on to Acle, where I intended to moor for water and moored stern on at Bridgecraft. Debbie took the dogs for a walk along the bank whilst Iain and I topped up the water tank. It was strange to look across the river to see the little shop closed. It seemed to have been there for as long as I can remember. The weather had been gradually improving and the sun was beginning to break through. With Debbie and the dogs safely back on board, we cast off once again to head for Womack Dyke, where I hoped we would be able to moor at the BA moorings and walk into Ludham village. However, all the spaces were taken, so we carried on into Womack Water itself and found a spot between two other craft, one of which was crewed by about four or five gents all dressed as pirates. With Harry’s buggy set up and him strapped safely in, we all walked the short distance into the village. The butchers was the first destination and I had a chat with Tim, the new butcher. I asked if he still saw Rodney and he said that he still went in, but as a customer. We have always made a point of going there whenever we’ve been on the Broads. The meat was always excellent and Rodney was (and probably still is) an affable chap, who always seemed to remember the wife, Iain and I and have time to exchange a few words each time we called in. I hope he enjoys a long, happy and healthy retirement. We bade Tim farewell and told him we’d see him again next year. Time will tell if his memory is as good as Rodney’s, but he did seem a decent butcher and the meat we bought was as good as ever. We wandered over to Throwers to get the other necessary supplies and returned to the boat to find a couple of the pirates on the boat moored next to Grande Girl standing on the stern of their boat playing conkers. We didn’t hang around to watch, I wanted to get moored up for the night, so we cast off and headed back to Thurne Dyke. With repairs made to the quay heading, I moored on the mill side at the end nearest the river. The sun was out and the canopy wound back. It was a most pleasant afternoon. Debbie and I took the dogs for a wander along the bank and I took my camera along too. On our return, I spent a bit of time taking a few shots of Thurne Mill, from different angles and with different lenses. With the light fading, we watched with interest as the crew of an ex Moores, now Barnes Brinkcraft boat was attempting to moor on the angle of the dyke’s entrance, where it joins the main river. The helmsman could never have been accused of having any mechanical sympathy or a gentle touch. Full throttle forwards and back several times, getting no closer to the bank. He eventually got the bow close enough for someone to take a leap of faith to the bank and pull the craft in. It was then that they realised that there were no posts or rings to tie to, so they found the rhond anchors and trod them into the bank, securing the ropes with a peculiar round turn, two half hitch, couple of reef and a granny knot for good measure. I swear that if the ropes had been longer, they would have tied more. We had decided to try the pub for our meal that night, so after I had patiently waited to take a few pictures of the sunset, which never really happened, we all trooped along to The Lion. The difference in the decoration is immediately noticeable, with friendly staff and a good choice of draught beers and cider. We were shown to a table and made our selections from the not very extensive menu, three of us having soup as a starter and the wife selecting a smoked mackerel fillet, with various dressings. We all selected the Lion Burger as a main. Whilst the food was well cooked and tasty and the service fast and friendly, the table we were at was quite poorly lit. I enjoyed it, but would like to see more choice on the menu, to be able to see what I am eating and for it to be a little more traditional with the dishes offered. I realise that it is early days for the new landlord, so will try it again next year to see how it has progressed. We returned to Grande Girl and had a game of crib, which was won by Rachel and Debbie, before a hot drink and bed. All too quickly, the week seemed to be passing, a visit to Potter Heigham was planned for Wednesday, with the inevitable visit to Lathams and the possibility of fish and chips for lunch.
  6. Another Week On Grande Girl 1

    Just a brief aside, photos that I have taken with one of my cameras upload direct to the Forum, but with my other camera need to be resized before I upload them, so I assume that there is a limit set somewhere for the size of files that can be uploaded. If there appears to be a loss of quality with any of the images, it's not your eyes. Also, I am struggling with technology and transferring photos directly to the Forum from One Drive, where they are now stored, which is why they are uploaded on additional posts. One day I'll get used to it, but in the meantime, please bear with me.
  7. Another Week On Grande Girl 1

    Monday 25th September As usual, I was first up. Getting the kettle on was a priority as I don’t seem to be able to function without my early morning cuppa. I pulled the curtains back to see mist hanging over the river, so headed quickly back to the cabin to pull my clothes on so I could go out and take a few photos. The wife was already up too, although there was no movement from the cabin at the sharp end where Rachel, Iain and probably Harry were obviously still sleeping. Camera in hand, I headed outside and took a few pictures, hoping that at some point during the holiday I would manage to take one worthy of a place in this year’s NBN calendar. Such vanity!! Pictures taken, I returned to Grande Girl just in time to see Iain and Debbie taking the dogs for their walk. I opened all of the saloon curtains and sat watching the river, drinking my tea and reflecting on how much being on the Broads still meant to me so many years after my first visit in 1969. Rachel and Harry emerged from the forward cabin, so I made her a coffee and went to get showered and dressed. Norwich was the planned destination and I hoped to get back to Langley Dyke, ready to cross back over Breydon in time to catch slack water at Yarmouth on Tuesday morning. The others returned with the dogs and we had toast and marmalade for breakfast before casting off from our moorings at about 09:15. The mist had cleared and there was no rain, but the sky was grey and a little disappointing after the beautiful weather we had enjoyed the previous day. There was little traffic on the river as we passed the moorings at Bramerton Common, under Postwick Viaduct and along the cut at Thorpe, before bearing right onto the Wensum at the junction of the two rivers. The cruise into Norwich was uneventful, but there is something special about entering the City on the river. There seemed to have been further changes to the buildings on either side of the river, with more development of residential properties than I recall seeing on our last visit to Norwich on Royall Commander back in 2014. I have read recently that Colmans may soon vacate the City and wonder what will happen to the land that the factory now stands on, should it close. We chugged slowly under the last bridge before the Yacht Station and paid the mooring fee, before finally securing Grande Girl at the far end of the quayside, close to Bishop Bridge. There were no other boats there as we arrived, but by the time Harry’s buggy had been set up, I could see that there were two or three others moored further along. With him safely installed, we all set off for the walk into town, to see the Cathedral again and to do some shopping. Crossing the nearby bridge, we turned left along the riverside walk to Pulls Ferry and headed along Ferry Lane before tuning past the refectory to the Cathedral. Debbie took the dogs to sit near the Edith Cavell Memorial, whilst we went for a nosey around. I never cease to be amazed by the architecture of the building and marvel at the ingenuity of the craftsmen that constructed it all those years ago. It would surely be a challenge to recreate it now, with all the available machinery and technology, never mind how it was done back then. I have visited many Cathedrals in this country and Norwich is by far my favourite, thanks in part to the fact that the area surrounding it has been largely left unspoiled by modern buildings. Iain, Rachel and Harry went for a look round together, leaving me to wander on my own, taking a few photos as I went and allowing myself a few minutes to lose myself in my thoughts with the memory of my dad and his passing still quite fresh in my mind. I re-joined the others shortly after and was pleased to see that the grey skies were beginning to give way to some sunshine as we walked along Queen Street and into the city centre. Debbie and Rachel needed to top up their cash reserves, so we paused outside Greggs whilst they went to a nearby hole-in-the-wall. We wandered through the Royal Arcade where the number of empty units came as a surprise, eventually arriving at the market. I needed a new belt, found a stall and selected one that I liked, before going to Tesco to pick up some bread and other necessary supplies. I was surprised that Rachel turned down the opportunity for more retail therapy, as she does enjoy window shopping, however we all retraced our route back to the boat and had bacon muffins for lunch, washed down with a cup of tea. There was no water hose near to where we had moored, so we cast off and tied up again, near to a hose where we topped up the tank, before finally leaving Norwich for another year. By the time we left, the Yacht Station was quite full, probably busier that I had seen it for a long time. It had clouded over again, but was still bright and not too cold and as we made our way back the way we had come earlier in the day. There was no great hurry to reach our overnight moorings, but with the app on my phone showing a steady five miles per hour, it didn’t seem too long before we arrived at Langley Dyke. I hoped that there would be space for us as we cruised slowly towards the BA moorings and was initially concerned as they appeared to be full, but was relieved to see that there was space right at the very end, so carefully turned Grande Girl round and moored without incident. Debbie and I took he dogs for a walk, accompanied by the noise of the crows settling in the woods to one side of the dyke for the night. No wonder he collective noun for them is a murder – what a racket! Once back to the boat, we watched TV for a while and had spaghetti bolognese for dinner. The effects of the Norfolk air were evident again and by just after 21:00, I was struggling to keep my eyes open, so I had a hot drink and went to bed. A return to the Northern rivers was the plan for the following day and an early start was needed.

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