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djxjonx

May 1st - May 8th

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This for me was a long awaited return to the stunning and relaxing Norfolk Broads. I first experienced boating there in 1990 when some friends and I hired two of the Horizon cruisers for the long weekend over Easter. I had such a brilliant time then and I've always wanted to return. Last year my partner and I rented a houseboat and this year we managed to scrape enough pennies together to hire the Mermaid for a week. I'm a (im)mature student and my partner is on disability allowances so money is tight. This for me would be the first time I would actually be responsible for piloting the boat, and at times my inexperience showed!

We started off from Richardson's base in Stalham. By the time we were done getting groceries from the Tesco there, it was getting a little late so I decided to moor up at How Hill for the night, outside Toad Hole cottage. It was the ideal place for our 1st night away and a delightfully peaceful nights rest was had.

We woke up very early (5:30am) due to a combination of light coming into the boat and birdsong. However, we were keen to get to Wroxham so the tiredness didn't hit us, at least not yet! Once at Wroxham we spent time looking around Roy's shopping centre, buying a few items of clothing. We then took advantage of what would be the only showing from the Sun, lounging around with the canopy open and dozing...bliss! We had a splendid meal at The King's Head pub that evening.

Thursday 3rd: We woke up to rain but managed to sleep until 8:30 so felt much better. We headed off quite soon after waking, asking the nice bridge pilot to drop us off where we could get our sewage tank pumped. Now, listen up Richardson's! We were told by your guy to pump out every two days, but the guy who pumped out our tank said our tank was hardly even half full and only needed doing every 4 days or so. As it turned out, we didn't need to pump out for the rest of the holiday!

Our destination today was Great Yarmouth, quite a long way from Wroxham! Eventually we arrived at the Yacht Station where we were greeted by the friendly staff. Some advise was offered on knots and mooring and gratefully taken, thanks chaps :)

Friday 4th: Woke at around 7:30am and it wasn't long before we set off for Lodden. I was a little anxious about cruising through Barton Waters as our map made it sound quite daunting, but I need not have been, it was (excuse the pun) plain sailing... We moored at Reedham for some lunch and a quick look around, Reedham was superbly quiet and picturesque. We also received more advise from the guy on duty there, thanks mate :)

Later we set off for Lodden and arrived there at around 5pm. We moored right near the shops and this proved to be a popular place. For us it was a perfect compromise between a pretty village and having the practical amenities available like shops, take-aways and pubs! The next day we headed to the King's Head in Lodden to watch our beloved Liverpool FC get beaten 2-1 by Chelsea in the FA Cup final... :cry

Sunday 6th: We had another long journey ahead of us, from Lodden to Ludham! Apart from a quick loo break for our dog Lola at Yarmouth, we kept going until we got there. The effort was well worth it! We moored up at Womack Staithe, which at £3 a night was brilliant value. We really liked it there, so pretty and tranquil.

Monday 7th: Our holiday was drawing to a close. We headed to the Kings Arms pub...superb food and a novelty toy train doing circuits above and around the room to boot! Quietly, we headed back to Memaid and moored off to Stalham.

We were both sad to leave the broads and Mermaid, although we both feel a bigger boat would suit our needs better for next year. We've already decided on the San Marino...can't wait! :Stinky

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