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Dan

3 boats, 2 big fish and a bowthruster

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Hi Everyone

Here's the little tale of my recent holiday(s)!

First of all I spent 3 nights with my Mum and Dad onboard "Guildford Duchess", a 67ft 8/10 berth narrowboat from Guildford Boathouse on the River Wey. My Sister & her boyfriend joined us for two days and the weather was superb apart from one day of rain! We had fun with the boat... managing to get it stuck sideways on a cross flow section for about 20 minutes after which my usual approach of persistence accompanied by much foul language would see us heading the correct way again eventually. My Dad also managed to get his foot caught up in the rope at one point whilst we weren't watching him, thouigh eventually we did hear his shouting... I've just managed to stop laughing at that one! Anyway, Thursday night it was back up north ready for the next part of our trip!

Friday morning and I was off again, this time with my other half and some friends, this time the Sat Nav programmed to Richardsons of Stalham!

Amazingly despite an 8am start everyone was up and ready and in high spirits. Ian especially is like an excited child (but in his early thirties!).... the only person I've ever known more excited at the thought of a boating holiday than me! With 6 of us in the car space is at a premium, the girls seem to have misunderstood and think we are travelling by Winnebago, but eventually, after a Krypton Factor style ten minutes everything fits in!

Five slow hours later and we pull into Tesco of Stalham. Because it's holiday time I havelifted the usual strict Tesco ban that is enforced in our house and we fill our trolleys, paying careful attention to the alcohol and crisp aisle! Once these essentials are selected everyone is tasked with other items to find, and we do our own version of Supermarket Sweep as we are all keen to get to the boatyard and away! This possibly is not favoured by the locals as we feel quite unwelcome and like the out of towners, everyone else seems to know one another but we're going boating, so no disapproving looks will bother us today.

The shop is loaded into the car, and once everyone is suitable surrounded and squeezed back in we are off down the road and into RIchardsons. The sun is shining and we're off to reception. Brenda completes our paperwork and advises us of the note on their paperwork to say we arent paying for our car parking... we try our best to look unsuprised and venture on to collect lifejackets and hairdryer from the friendly chap who seems to live in the lifejacket hut and is always happy. The girls are over the moon that we've got something actually resembling a 'normal' hairdryer as we have a boat with 240v although are disappointed the man doesnt also have a stock of boat friendly straighteners!! We depart before any further requests get made :-D

We've booked 44ft floating caravan "Supreme", we know it's been newly refitted after being totally stripped out to a bare shell again so we're expecting a nice boat and arent disappointed. There's plenty of space and nice wide beds... everyones quite happy, and Ian likes his fishing deck at the front! The boatyard gives us a run through before unloading because they have staff free... as ever the boatyard seems to be an efficient well staffed & run operation, everyones friendly and we're soon sailing off into the sunshine!

Ian wins the debate of where to moor for night one and tied to trees at the end of Barton Broad wins out to a few of the pubs. We're soon there and we're moored up.

For £18 we've hired a small rowing dinghy and I'm talked into going out with Ian on the hunt for Pike! We row to the reeds at the edge of the Broad and swap over. Swapping places in the rowing dinghy seems a bit like playing twister to me... we manage it though and the boat eventually stops rocking. Already gone are any day to day stresses and all is well with the world. The weather's perfect and it's nice to chill out on the Broad. We drift along near the reeds, Ian fishing whilst I try and navigate and row us not too near to the reeds, making a bit of a mess of it but totally loving it all. Then, all of a sudden we've caught something. Ian reels it in but realises it has split the hook (or some similar fishing techno-babble) so does not want to try and catch it into the net... possibly as well as I can imagine my amateur net wielding may see us in the water! Ian's getting excited as it's apparent that already we have caught an illusive pike that we're chasing on this once yearly holiday with my friends.

I get my camera as I know those on the boat won't believe us and Ian struggles to bring it in and land it without the net. A lot of splashing and fighting ensues and the Pike gets away, but we're happy and Ian is like a cat thats got the cream!

We mooch about in the rowboat for another hour or so but no more bites, so it's back to the boat for our dinner and an early night as everyone starts to flag after a long day, even copious amounts of Lager and Vodka cannot revive us, despite our best efforts.... off to bed ready for another day of fun and chilling out tomorrow.post-93-136713435816_thumb.jpgpost-93-136713435831_thumb.jpg

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Hi Everyone

Yeah - definately not safe to go in the water huh! On with the tale...

Day 2

We are woken just before 8 by Ian banging and crashing about in the galley making an early morning brew! Then he’s off in the dinghy for a bit more fishing.

Once everyone’s up we decide to head to Potter Heigham to visit Lathams for a good rummage for a bargain! Despite hiring from Richardsons more times than I can remember we always seem to forget that the glasses they provide are for some reason of the miniature, one mouthful variety! So off we set on a rather long trip to get some more suitably sized ones!

We cruise the Ant, past the beautiful houses at Irstead and through Ludham bridge. Then it’s up to Potter and past the riverside hits and houses… we all enjoy looking at all the different shapes and sizes, varying from glorified huts to thatched luxury abodes!

The moorings at Potter are all full, no space for our 44ft river-bus, so we trundle into Herbert Woods, but it’s Saturday so their front pool looks chocka-block. We cruise to the rear pool and trundle along their stacks of boats that are sat in unhired, we’re now running out of options but at the last minute spot a space and with the help of the bow thrusters were quickly tied up.

We get some glasses at Lathams and leave the girls searching for bargains whilst we go for a wander around the Herbert Woods boats and I have a nosey inside one or two! Then it’s the customary perusal of the boats for sale, there’s a few Safari’s and Calypso’s I like the look of, but remember I must be strong and resist!

After some lunch we are off to Horning, it’s Saturday and there’s a lot of sailies out, with a couple of exceptions few seem to be in friendly mood but all are passed successfully without too many difficulties. By we near Horning we have an excited eight year old looking forward to getting to the Ferry to spend some money in their arcade and win a teddy as has now become a tradition. Sadly he is to be disappointed as the moorings are nose to tail full as are the moorings on the other bank so we trundle on. My crew are amazed that it’s October and we cannot moor in Horning. I’m not too fussed but do consider the moorings at places people want to stop quite inadequate and wonder how many people, like my crew who might be put off a return holiday because of this concern and irritation.

It’s decided to head for Wroxham so we can waste some money there instead, I’m hoping as it’s now later in the afternoon there will be boatyard moorings free as due to high tides we cannot pass under the bridge. We see that what last year was the GoBoating site that had public moorings on the riverside is now fully private since being taken over Barnes Brinkcraft but we spy a mooring near the Sail Loft at Barnes Brinkcraft’s main site, we decide to reverse in so we are facing the bridge and river and luckily the bow thrusters make this an easy task.

Off into Wroxham and we spend a bit of money in the arcade, I waste a bit of money trying to win a Bagpuss(!) but to no avail and then back to the boat to make sure we can get a TV signal for tonight is X factor night!

The onboard bar is open and we all sit down to enjoy the live show… I know this is a love or hate show but we really did love it. Ian is missing.. he’s off in the dinghy and then as it gets dark fishing from the bank near the mouth of our little mooring inlet.

Then, a loud bang at the window!! It’s an excited fisherman! Ian has caught a Pike and we all rush out to have a look and take a picture before it’s returned to the water! It’s good to see one properly, apparently it’s not as big as he has had before but it looked a bit of a whopper to me…

And so to bed… we’re happy with the X Factor result, on a boat and all suitably light headed…. All is well with the worldpost-93-136713436162_thumb.jpg

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Day 3

Ian’s up early again and off with the rowboat under Wroxham bridge eager to catch another Pike.

We all have showers and I decide to go for a mooch at Barnes Brinkcraft’s yard. It’s Sunday and two staff seem to be working. With some bad press over customer service and boat standards I’m keen to have a look at the boats and ask to look inside a couple. Both the guys seem friendly and knowledgeable and are happy for me to have a look. I’m off inside Brinks Harmony 1 quicker than a rat up a drainpipe!! The boats only a couple of years old and seems quite nice to me, the worktops look especially good being onpost-93-136713436494_thumb.jpge moulded piece and the inside and out all looks quite acceptable to me. Then I’m off into Brinks Melody 2, really a variation on a similar theme and of equal standard, the carpets look new and as though the boat is reasonably well cared for and quite ok to me. Still, a quick look at the price list means that they are forced down the list of boats I’ve still got to hire ASAP!

Once everyone’s back we set off on our return trip, we hope to moor at the Ferry Inn at Horning and this time are successful, but only just, squeezing into the last mooring spot! Nic and Michael are off to the arcade whilst I’m off to have a mooch around Ferry Marina and to see Freedom Boating Holidays new site. It’s nice to see some hirefleets at Horning again, one of my favourite places in Broadland, and hopefully this will give us more options to moor here next year. The couple of boats at Ferry that are all branded and painted ready for next years hirefleet look smart and I cant wait to see all the boats they’ve got when the brochures come out soon! Freedom’s site looks to be under improvements, and once the old buildings there are down will no doubt be a nice little spot, their boats too all look quite appealing.

Back to the boat and off back towards Stalham, we moor at the same spot as our first night, to the trees just at the edge of Barton Broad, a lovely spot, but no more fish seem to be interested in being caught.

We all watch Peter Kay’s take on the X Factor, and after much laughter later we are off to bed. The next morning it’s the sad last half hour trip back to Richardsons, in convoy with other boats all heading back.

Once back we turn into Swan Quay and are impressed there’s lots of staff on hand to help our return, they direct us to the bottom of the quay and we squeeze into our space without disaster or boat bumping! The staff look relieved and we imagine that this is often quite an entertaining spot to watch the fun and games of boats returning!

Back in the car, only five hours to go until we’re home and that’s it for 2008. Thank goodness for the forums to tied me over to my next boating trip in March… only five months to last out!

Danpost-93-13671343646_thumb.jpgpost-93-13671343648_thumb.jpg

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Hi Dan, Lovely read, so glad you all had a lovely time.I was out sailing on the Saturday sorry we missed you.

Take care ;)

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Hi Dan

Inside Brinks Harmony 1 again

i don't know about you but i hate the way they make those sofas don't look rite don't look comfey and you can't pull them out. when you have a sofa on a boat your supposed to be able to sink into it not like having a splint up your backside.

Jonny :wave

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