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Mouldy

Our Week on Grande Girl 1

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Saturday 26th September

 

 

 

 

We had booked our Broadland break the day after we returned from our week on Royall Commander last September and had eagerly awaited the arrival of 26th September, when we would once again be on our way to Norfolk. 

 

 

 

 

Although I usually work permanent night shift, for the previous three weeks, I had been on days at the request of my manager, so Friday evening had been spent preparing the car for the journey, so it was all ready to load on Saturday morning.  Our son, Iain and his (now) fiancée, Rachel were taking their dog this year, so we would be travelling in two cars.  They had arrived at our house on Friday night, so with cars packed we were all ready to set off when we had a power cut.

 

 

 

 

At the same time our Internet connection failed, all this just before I had set our ‘Hive’ central heating system to holiday mode.  The system is great, when it works, but knowing how temperamental it is to reboot following an interruption to the power, we waited a few minutes to see if the power would be restored.  Fortunately, it was back on a few minutes later so we waited until the system had rebooted and the holiday mode had been set before we eventually left the house a few minutes after I intended at about 09:15.

 

 

 

 

Iain and I both needed to get fuel, so we stopped at a nearby petrol station and topped up for the journey.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky as we hit the A45 at Northampton and so it remained until we had a short comfort break at the BP services on the Thetford by-pass.  There was a seemingly long queue for the toilet, but we soon discovered that the Costa machine was right next to the toilet door and both queues had mingled into one. 

 

 

 

 

Twenty minutes or so later, we returned to the A11 and the sky had clouded over.  The weather forecasters had got it wrong again, we thought but made good progress to the junction with the A47 just outside Norwich.  We turned right heading for Great Yarmouth and then cut across country through Great and Little Plumstead, Salhouse and into Wroxham.

 

 

 

 

I had taken a picture to be framed, so we headed straight over the bridge into Hoveton and onto Wroxham Barns, only to find that the shop there was closed due to holidays.  Just not my lucky day, I suppose.

 

 

 

 

Back into Hoveton, we went into Roys for some provisions, which we loaded into the cars and then to Ken’s for some fish and chips, which were quickly consumed in the seating area between the bridge and Hotel Wroxham.

 

 

 

 

Excited, we all went back to our cars and drove the short distance to Summercraft’s yard, where we were greeted by Sue who pointed us to Grande Girl 1 and told us to load all of our luggage and go to the office for the paperwork after.  The boat’s striking livery was gleaming and she was scrupulously clean inside, with all of the berths made up ready.  I noticed a ‘Welcome Tray’ in the galley, with sachets of coffee, some tea bags, sugar and four scrumptious looking cup cakes.

 

 

 

 

We quickly unpacked our belongings from the two cars and parked them where instructed, one under cover and one in the car park.  We were issued with life jackets and went to the office where Sue went through the paperwork and gave us the Skippers Manual. 

 

 

 

 

Dave, showed us over the boat and explained that she had been fitted with a new Nanni engine a couple of years ago and that he had replaced the domestic water pump and central -heating unit the previous week.  Realising that we had been on the Broads many times before deemed that a test run was not necessary, so we signed his forms and he bade us goodbye and we cast off for our latest Broadland adventure.

 

 

 

 

We chugged slowly out of their yard at about 15:15 and turned left onto the Bure, heading towards Horning.  Due to the tide times and the probability that we would not cross Breydon, I had no definite plan for the trip, but intended to see what the weather did and busk it, so our destination for the night was still a secret, even to me.

 

 

 

 

With the kettle on and some fine looking complimentary cup cakes to eat, all was well with the world.  Rachel and my wife set about stowing all of the clothes and provisions and soon the inside was ship shape.

 

 

 

 

The sun had come out again and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky as we cruised past Salhouse Broad.  The river was surprisingly busy, which became more obvious as we progressed through Horning, with all of the pub’s moorings already full.

 

 

 

 

We left Horning and glanced across at the moorings at Cockshoot Broad, but they too were full.  Never mind, I thought, there should be plenty of moorings at St Benets, so the plan began to formulate.  How wrong was I?  St Benets moorings were packed, or should I say there were no spaces large enough to slot Grande Girl into, largely due to the selfishness of some fishermen who had spread themselves out sufficiently to prevent other boats from mooring.

 

 

 

 

By now the two dogs, Harley, our Staffie and Simba, Iain and Rachel’s Staffie cross Bull Mastiff were getting anxious and obviously wanted to go to the loo, so out of desperation I moored temporarily at a private mooring just beyond St Benets to let the dogs off.  Business done and picked up, I must add, we were soon off again looking for our overnight stop. 

 

 

 

 

I turned left at the junction of the Bure and Thurne and headed for Thurne Dyke, only to find that full, too.  By now, the time was getting on and I was becoming concerned about the prospect of failing light, so headed for Womack Dyke.  I could see over the river bank that the BA moorings were full, but there was space on the left as I turned off the Thurne, just behind Fine Gem.  With mooring made easier by the cutting down of all the reeds and grass, it seemed as good a place as any, so I span the boat round and we secured her with the ropes and rhond anchors, hammered securely into the bank with the lump hammer thoughtfully provided by the boatyard.

 

 

 

 

 

There were a couple of other boats moored there, albeit further up the dyke.  With our overnight stopping place now settled, it was time for dinner and spaghetti bolognese was on the menu. 

 

 

 

 

It must have been the Norfolk air, but by 21:00, we were all feeling sleepy.  I looked out and noticed how bright the moon was, but was too tired to set my camera on the tripod and take a few shots.   Iain and my wife, Debbie, took the dogs for a short walk along the riverbank while I made a hot drink and shortly after, we all headed contentedly for bed.

 

 

 

 

More to follow . . . . ..

 

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Edited by Mouldy

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Not sure what has happened to the line spacing, but I am writing this in Word and copying across, which may explain it.  Anyway here's part 2, hopefully with the spacing corrected;

Sunday 27th September

I woke at about 06:00, partly because Simba (Iain and Rachel’s dog) was worrying to get out and partly because it was chilly.  I got up and fired up the heating to get the chill off the air and put the kettle on.  I pulled back the curtains to see what the weather was doing, but there was too much condensation to see.

The wife and Iain also got up to get the dogs ready for their walk.  As the back doors were opened, a magical, misty scene was revealed and I had to pull on a sweatshirt, socks and boots to go outside to take some photos.  I must have looked a sight, wandering about in the mist wearing pyjama bottoms and walking boots, but who cares?  I was on holiday!!

The sun came up and spilt rays of orange light through the branches of a nearby tree and a plane’s vapour trail left a clean white line in the clear sky.  Beautiful!!

The dogs arrived back at the boat, with Debbie and Iain and we all returned inside.  I checked my phone and was amazed to see I had a signal and 4G.  I checked the football scores with trepidation, expecting to see that Manchester City had thrashed Tottenham, but was overjoyed to see that the score was 4 – 1 in Tottenham’s favour.  Happy days!!

With the boat now warmed through, the heating was switched off and after establishing that there was still hot water available, I went to have a shower.  Dried and dressed, I switched on the TV in eager anticipation of watching Match of the Day and started to cook breakfast.

Normally, toast is on the menu on holiday in the UK, but once or twice a week when on the Broads, we do enjoy a full English, so bacon, sausages, fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, fried bread, black pudding and fried eggs were prepared and hungrily consumed.  It must be that Norfolk air at work again.

We had started the engine after eight, with due respect for our neighbours, so Match of the Day viewed and breakfast things cleared and washed, the rest of the crew went for showers and I sat in the saloon watching the world go by.

With no chance of crossing Breydon, I had given some thought to where we would go and had come up with a plan.  I suggested to the others that we could go to Potter Heigham and hire a day-boat with a view to mooring at Horsey wind-pump and walking to the beach, which was greeted with enthusiasm, so a little later than was ideal, we cast off and turned left onto the Thurne.

It wasn’t long before we chugged past the first of the riverside properties, some modern, well appointed and well cared for and others, little more that garden sheds.  There were plenty of fishermen (and women) out and I tried not to upset them by keeping to the centre of the river, where there were no oncoming craft and the speed well down.  The BA moorings just before the bridge were all full, so I swung Grande Girl to the left and into Herbert Wood’s yard.  I’m sure I spotted Broad Ambition moored just beyond the entrance, but didn’t see anyone on it  at the time.

The quay directly opposite the entrance was full, so I manoeuvred to the far side and moored.  By now, the previously clear sky had clouded over slightly and there was a chill in the air.  Iain and Rachel went off to Lathams and I refilled with water.  Tired of waiting for them to return, my wife and I locked up the boat and walked across towards Lathams, together with the two dogs. 

I stopped at Woods reception to check the prices of their day-boats and as I turned round, spotted the others walking back across the car park.  I called them and they came over and I discussed the prices with Iain.

They went back to the boat with the dogs and Debbie and I went to Lathams to pick up a few necessary items and one or two that weren’t – well, it’s that kind of shop, isn’t it??

By this time it was already past 13:00, so we discussed tactics and decided that we would return for the trip in a day-boat the following day, weather permitting.  Iain and I went to the chippie for a couple of bags of chips, whilst the ladies prepared some ham rolls.

Lunch consumed, washed down with a cups of tea, we cast off and headed back to Womack Dyke where we had decided to overnight again.  I checked the BA moorings and spotted a gap big enough to moor Grande Girl in, so went a little further along, close to the entrance to Hunters Yard to turn round, but only to find that a couple in a small sedan cruiser were struggling to get into the same spot.  The bow rope was tightly secured to a post leaving no slack to allow the aft to swing in.  Fortunately for them, there were a few people on hand to give advise and assist.

We headed back towards the Thurne and moored on the left hand bank about a hundred yards from where we had moored the previous night.  Full of lunch (and probably breakfast, too) we got ready and went for a walk into Ludham. 

It was a pleasant afternoon, the dogs were playing off their leads as we walked towards the BA moorings.  There was a family taking luggage off of a craft moored at the far end, heading for their car, which was parked near Hunters yard.  One of their children was continually asking his dad where was the car, was it a long way and was it a new car, in a loud voice.  It made me chuckle to myself!  I assumed that there were others left on the boat to return it to the home yard at the end of their trip and that they weren’t going to abandon it there.

We turned left onto Horsefen Road, walked passed Womack Staithe on into Ludham village.  I fancied a sherbet fountain (big kid!), so headed for Throwers only to find they were closed, so we headed for the church as, although we had visited Ludham many times previously, I cannot remember ever going in. 

It is a lovely old building, surprisingly big for a village church and Iain, Rachel and I went in for a nosey whilst my wife waited outside with the dogs.  I stopped to take a few photos and we emerged sometime later to find the wife talking to a couple who had been making a fuss of the dogs.

We wandered back towards the boat, stopping at the shop at the top of Womack Staithe to buy a sherbet fountain, but sadly they didn’t have any, so we all had an ice cream and sat outside in the sunshine whilst we ate them.

Iain and Rachel went into the art gallery and Debbie, the dogs and I returned to the boat, followed by the kids shortly after, where we sat and relaxed with the roof down whilst watching the world (and boats) go by until it became too chilly and the roof was wound up.

I took myself off for a short stroll with my camera and took a few photos and sat for a while in the aft cabin looking through the doorway, thinking how idyllic it all was, then fed some bread to a few ducks that swam past before retuning to the saloon to sit with the others, who were amusing themselves in different ways.  Rachel was reading, the wife doing her cross-stitch and Iain was playing games on his phone.

Soon it was time for dinner (more food!!) and we prepared pork loin chops in barbeque sauce with accompanying vegetables, all washed down with wine or cider, to preference.  We had taken the crib board again, anxious to continue the girls versus boys’ tournament that we had started last year on Royall Commander, but we were all suffering from that Norfolk air again and all felt too tired to play.

Debbie and Iain took the dogs for their evening walk a little later and I noticed how bright the moon was, not realising that it was a special super moon, but again felt too tired to set my camera on a tripod and take some photos, so following a hot drink, we all went to bed.

More to follow . . . . . . ..

 

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Great write up and photos.

I think we saw you one day, I remember the boat name but don't remember exactly where.

that moon was something on monday night but I didn't have my camera at the time (was at the pub in Coltishall hic) 

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You did indeed see Broad Ambition moored at Potter Heigham, I was in Lathams with my dad trying to limit his slipper buying - seriously good write up and great photos.  I always like the look of these boats and Sumemrcraft sure keep her in fine fettle.

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In the days of Dick and Gwen Sabberton, when I hired their boats - even in October - they were like first day out for a new season, many then were woodie tops, great boats to handle. As you say, spotless, and so nice to have the beds made up on arrival.:)

cheersIain.

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You did indeed see Broad Ambition moored at Potter Heigham, I was in Lathams with my dad trying to limit his slipper buying - seriously good write up and great photos.  I always like the look of these boats and Sumemrcraft sure keep her in fine fettle.

Glad my eyes didn't deceive me.

I will try to write some of the next instalment at work tonight, but will have to post it from my computer at home to include some photos.

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Hi Iain

 

Like you hired from Summercraft when Dick and Gwen ran it

A real gent and lovely lady

My car broke down once on arrival at yard

Dick arranged for Garage to repair whilst I was on boat

Real genuine people

 

Ray

We left the portable radio in my car at the Yard, no radios on the boats then, I phoned Dick and asked what time he closed as we were down at Horning and I had been offered a lift back from a local. Dick asked where were we moored, and later brought the radio down to us as he had the Car Keys with the car being under cover. It was the day the Falklands War began. His son in law I think I met once there, but could be wrong. As you said a lovely couple.

cheersIain.

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That is typical of Dick 

I stand to be corrected but I do not think Dick and Gwen had any children ar least not involved in the yard.

Brian I believe is Gwens brother and in later years ran the yard with Dick

These days I believe Brian and Sue run the yard but am not sure who owns what

Ray

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Monday 28th September

I was awake around 06:30 so dragged myself out of bed.  It was another chilly morning, so I switched the heating on to take the chill off the air as I had the previous morning.  I heard the wife get out of bed as I put the kettle on and she readied herself to take the dogs out for their morning walk.  There were no signs of movement from the cabin at the sharp end, so I put their collars on and she took both of them out.  With the aft doors open, I could see that the weather was looking promising so returned to the galley and made a cup of tea and proceeded to get ready.

She was gone for about twenty five minutes and by the time she got back I was showered and getting dressed.   She spent a few minutes wiping the dampness from the dogs paws before allowing them back in the boat and fed them both.

By now, there was movement from the fore cabin and Iain and Rachel emerged.  With the heating switched off, I took the curtains down from the front and rear screens and pulled the others back to reveal a beautiful Norfolk morning.  I sliced some bread and lit the grill to prepare breakfast – no full English today, just toast and marmalade, as we wanted to get back to Potter Heigham and hire a day boat, as planned.

Just after 08:00, we started up the engine to heat the water to wash up the breakfast things and for the others to shower.  I flicked the television on and then realised the significance of the ‘blood moon’ the previous evening and regretted not bothering to take some pictures.  Ah well, there’s always a next time!!

With the others showered and dressed, we cast off just after 09:30 and chugged slowly up the Thurne and back into Herbert Woods’s yard, arriving around 10:00.  I moored on the far side, near a water hose and filled up ready for our departure later.  One of their staff wandered past holding a clipboard, so I asked him whether it would be okay to leave Grande Girl there whilst we went out on one of their day boats.  He confirmed that all of the boats due back in had returned and that we would be welcome to leave her there.  I thanked him and he continued with whatever he was doing previously.

We packed a rucksack with some bottles of water for us and the dogs, a collapsible water bowl for Simba and Harley, a few bags of crisps, some slices of cherry cake and a pack of pork pies.  With other necessary bits and pieces assembled, we left off the boat, locking it as we went and wandered round to Wood’s reception.

There was some discussion regarding how long we would need a day boat for so settled for five hours.  I asked whether we would be able to extend that should we need to and was told that it would not be a problem as long as we phoned them to explain, so paid the £78 hire charge.  We were sent to the next door along and issued with life jackets and shown to the boat.

Having just left Grande Girl, it seemed so small as we clambered aboard.  The controls were quickly explained and by 11:00, we were on our way out of the dyke and onto the main river, turning left and under the bridge.  With just shy of 6 feet clearance showing on the markers, it was hard to imagine anything much larger passing through that day!!

With the throttle set to achieve 4mph, progress was extremely noisy.  It sounded for all the world as if the pistons were banging directly on the inside of the engine cover.  Perhaps ear defenders should also have been supplied and I made a mental note to try for one of the electric launches if I ever wanted to repeat the trip in the future.

As you can imagine, the river was extremely quiet north of the bridge and we only saw two saileys and another day boat on the way to our destination at Horsey wind pump.  With Iain at the helm, I took the opportunity to take a few photos as we headed up the Thurne, then left towards Hickling.  We turned right along the narrow dyke leading from Hickling towards Horsey, which soon opened onto Horsey Mere. I pointed him across the broad towards where I remembered the wind pump to have been.  We chugged slowly along the dyke near the wind pump and moored on the right about halfway along.

With the boat secured, we all climbed out and with the dogs on their leads, began to walk towards the end.  I noticed an elderly gent gesticulating wildly from inside a small Vauxhall parked on the far side of the dyke and wondered what he wanted.  All became clear when he demanded a £4 mooring fee.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t an earth shattering sum, but none of us had seen any signs indicating that a fee was payable, or how much, but I would have liked to have seen the fees publicised on some notices so we knew how much we would be asked to pay.  The ticket he issued looked official though and we certainly weren’t going to let it spoil our day.

My wife and I had walked to the beach from there on a couple of previous visits, once with Iain and I soon remembered the route through a gate on the opposite side or the road, across a couple of fields, over a stile, along a lane and a track, all in all about two miles or so.  So we set off and arrived at the bottom of the sea defence wall about forty minutes later.

Some of your are possibly familiar with the sea defences, but for those of you who aren’t, it is man made and appears to be a forty-foot high, grassy covered sand bank.  At the end of the track, there is a gap, with concrete walls to either side and the sand bank between is covered in loose, dry sand, which is slightly lower than the rest of the structure.  It is energy sapping to climb and we all clambered to the top but the view across the beach was superb.

The sun was shining, with only a few clouds dotted about the clear blue sky.  I had never seen the beach there look so inviting.  We slipped and slithered down the loose dry sand on the other side and had a good look round.  It was then that we saw the Horsey seal colony at the waters edge about three hundred yards to our right.

We turned left and walked along the beach and away from the seals for a couple of minutes to allow the dogs to have a run and splash in the sea, before putting them back on their leads and head towards the seals.  It was a novel experience for all of us as we had never before seen wild seals in their natural environment.  Rachel and I attached telephoto lenses to our cameras and ventured as far forward as we dared, so as not to cause them stress or to endanger ourselves and spent a few minutes capturing digital records of the scene.  It was a sight that will remain in my memory for a long, long time.

We walked back up the beach and away from the seals to let the dogs have another run before clambering back up and over the sea defence and heading back to Horsey Staithe.  Once back, it was coffee and toasted teacakes all round at the tea cabin near the wind pump, as we discussed the days adventure.  Time was pressing on so we headed back to the day boat and set off back to Potter Heigham in time to not incur any additional charges.  Iain was once more at the helm, I was taking a few more photos and Debbie and Rachel were sitting on the bench seat at the stern with the two dogs, who were both worn out following the day’s exertions.

The sun was still shining brightly as we passed back under the bridge when Iain asked me to steer the boat back into the moorings.  We collected our possessions and handed the life-jackets back to the guy that had come to meet us when he had secured the boat.

The ladies headed for Lathams for a loaf and Iain and I returned to Grande Girl with Simba and Harley, to unload the various camera bags and other bits and bobs that we had taken with us.  With Rachel and Debbie safely back on board, I started the engine and we cast off, threading our way round the haphazardly moored craft in Wood’s yard and back out onto the river, where we turned right and headed for Thurne Dyke, where I hoped to moor for the night.  It was just before 17:00 when we arrived at our destination and there was ample room on either side to moor.  I prefer the side opposite the pub moorings and as it was our intention to eat on board, I turned the boat around to face the main river and we tied her up, port side to the bank.

Pasta bake was on the menu that night, but I had a fancy for something more substantial.  I found that I was able to get data on my phone, much to my surprise, so checked out the menu for The Lion on-line.  Unfortunately, for the health of my wallet, the lure of beef, ale and mushroom suet pudding proved too much to refuse, so after taking some time to photograph the amazing sunset, we all headed for the pub.  Once in, we found a suitable table, managed to get the dogs to lay down quietly and we studied the menu.  Selections made, I was despatched to order lamb shanks for the ladies, a mega-burger for Iain and the chicken and mushroom suet pudding from the ‘specials’ menu for me.

The burger arrived, served with fries and the other three meals came with broccoli, cabbage, carrots and potatoes.  There were no complaints with either the quality or quantity of the food, or the desserts that followed.  I paid the bill and we left just before 21:00, ambling slowly back to Grande Girl.

As usual, the kettle went on, Iain and Debbie took the dogs for a short walk along the bank and we had a hot drink before retiring to bed.  It had been a memorable day in so many ways and I drifted contentedly to sleep.

 

More to follow . . . . . . .. .

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Edited by Mouldy

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Tuesday 29th September

Once again, I woke around 06:30, got up and put the kettle on.  I’m useless until I’ve had a cup of tea whether I’m at home or on holiday.  Coffee first thing just doesn’t cut it the way a good cup of ‘rosie lea’ does.  The wife was in the aft cabin, dressing as the boiling water hit the tea bag.  I rummaged in the drawer where we had stowed the dog’s leads and put their collars on ready for her to take them out.  There was no movement from the fore cabin, so she took them both again.

The revitalising effects of the first cuppa had started to take effect and I went for my shower.  It was another chilly morning, so I hurriedly dried and dressed.  The wife returned with Harley and Simba and I made her a tea and a refill for me and flicked the TV on to see a bit of the news.

There were signs of life coming from the kid’s cabins and they soon emerged, looking for breakfast, so I sliced some bread, whilst Iain pulled the table from where it was stowed.  With the grill on, I made some toast and we sat and over breakfast, mulled over the events of the previous day, which had been so enjoyable and memorable for us all. 

We waited until about 08:15 before running the engine for hot water.  The wife went for a shower and I washed the breakfast things whilst Iain dried.  In all of the years that I had visited the Broads, I had never moored at St Benet’s Abbey, so that was the first planned destination that day.  I seem to recall years ago that mooring there was difficult and signs warned of submerged stakes at the river’s edge, but improvements had been made over the years and the moorings now look well maintained.

 With everyone showered and ready, we cast off, turned left out of the dyke and headed back down the Thurne, bearing right, onto the Bure.  It was another fine morning, but with a little more cloud than there had been on Monday.

We were soon at the St Benet’s moorings, so I turned Grande Girl into the tide and moored at the end nearest the Abbey ruins.  We all climbed off the boat and walked along the path, stopping to read the information board as we went.  I hadn’t realised how much land the Abbey and surrounding buildings had covered, as so little of it had survived and was still visible. 

Rachel and I went inside the remains of the wind pump to take a few photos.  I stayed there for a few minutes to fit a wide angle zoom to my camera to capture some more shots whilst the others went through the gate, heading for the wooden cross.  I was busy, taking some more pictures when I heard a scream, followed by roars of laughter.   It seems that Rachel had not been watching where she was walking and had stepped into a fresh cowpat and whilst helping her, Iain had landed in it, too.

The wife took charge of the dogs and they all went back to the boat, Debbie to unlock the doors and the others to wash and change.  I kept out of the way and headed off towards the cross to take some more photos, dodging the bovine deposits on the way.  I sat on the ‘talking bench’ (yes, really) and listened to the recorded tales of what the monks who lived there spent their time and descriptions of how the building would have looked before they were demolished.

My peace was broken when a couple approached with three yapping dachshunds.  Why is it that small dogs are always the most vocal?  I started to wander back towards the ruined gatehouse and wind pump when I spotted the others making their way towards me, taking much more care where they were treading.  I took some more photos and headed back to the boat to put the kettle on whilst they went to the cross and what was left of the Abbey ruins.

They all arrived back a short while later and we had coffee and a slice of cherry cake each before casting off and heading for my favourite Broadland river, the Ant.

We needed more provisions, so had decided to moor near Ludham Bridge to top up with water and to walk into Ludham village for Throwers and the butchers.  There was nothing coming the other way, so with the roof down, as a precaution, we slipped under the bridge and moored near the water hoses.  Once the tank was topped up, we moved a little further up river and moored on the opposite side, just in front of Granada Girl, also from Summercraft.

Iain and Rachel had decided to stay on board whist the wife and I went to Ludham, but wanted to have a look in the shop, so we locked the door and wandered up the bank to the bridge.  As they went into the shop, Debbie and I headed towards Ludham.

By now, it was just past midday and I couldn’t remember whether Throwers closed for lunch, so we walked briskly, just in case.  I took Simba on his lead and the wife took Harley.  We turned right just past the Dog Inn and along Hall Road, towards Hall Common and turned left at the end onto Staithe Road, past the Health Centre and into the village. 

Fortunately, Throwers was open and the wife went in while I stood outside with the dogs.  Someone in a G4 uniform emerged from the shop and we chatted at first about the dogs and then about life in Norfolk.  He was, like me, originally from London, but had moved away (again, like me) and had been living there for about fifteen years.  He seemed extremely happy there and I was quite envious.  Perhaps, when I retire . . . ..

The wife came out, armed with most of what she had on her list and I went in to get the bits she had forgotten.  We ambled over the road to the butchers and this time, she stayed outside and I went in.  Rodney recognised me immediately and we chatted for a while about this and that. He has been there as long as I can remember and you would have to look long and hard to find a more genuine, friendly guy.  The meat he sells is always great quality and he assembled what I wanted as we chatted.  I could see the wife standing outside tapping her foot and wearing the sort of expression that you shouldn’t ignore, so I paid the bill and bade him goodbye, adding that I hoped to see him again next year, God willing.

I was feeling hungry by then, with our light breakfast a distant memory and wished that the fish and chip shop was still next to the pub.  We had walked from Ludham Bridge into Ludham several times in the past and always in time to visit Planet Codwood, at least I think that’s what it was called.  The food there was always a tasty treat, freshly cooked to order and consumed with relish in the pub garden. 

We started retracing our steps back to the bridge and the boat, stopping to take a quick snapshot of a sign I’d spotted, but remembered on the way into the village.  I’d always looked for the ducks crossing but never seen them.

The journey back to the boat didn’t seem to take as long, but that always seems to be the case when returning somewhere, or it does to me at least.  The clouds had thinned and it felt warmer than it was earlier and it had turned into another fantastic day.

The kids must have been watching for us as we crossed the bridge and Iain walked along the path to meet us and take a couple of bags.  The kettle had been on and Rachel made some tea.  They had eaten, having bought jacket potatoes from the café next to the shop earlier, so I sliced some ham and Debbie made up some rolls.

Lunch finished, we started the engine and cast off, heading towards How Hill and Barton Broad.  I fancied mooring at Sutton Staithe that night so we chugged slowly up the river.  It was not long before I glimpsed one of my favourite views in all of  Broadland as How Hill House and the nearby wind pump came into view.  I had already readied my camera and stood at the bow of Grande Girl as the view opened and I took several photos as we passed by.

I stayed at the bow with Iain at the helm and took several more pictures as we cruised slowly by the BA moorings.  We were soon passing through Irstead and I was anxious to see if there had been any progress with the refurbishment of Ice House Dyke, one of the most picturesque, iconic riverside properties there that had sadly fallen into a state of disrepair.  I had mentioned it in our holiday blog last year, and Dave (Dajen) had commented on the measures that were being taken to ensure the future of the once beautiful property.  It did not appear as if much had been done, but there was evidence of new timbers being installed, so perhaps most of the work so far is internal.  

We cruised across Barton Broad and continued up the Ant.  I glanced at the moorings at Paddy’s Lane as we passed by the river leading there on the left, incase Sutton was full and saw that there were a few spaces left, which was fortunate as it turned out as Sutton was indeed packed.  I didn’t cruise past the moorings, but couldn’t see any spaces from the end and for the sake of peace and quiet, not wanting to be too near the busy road at the end, turned Grande Girl round and made our way back to Paddy’s Lane, where we moored, again port side to the bank.

The wife and Iain took the dogs for a walk and whilst they were gone I started to prepare dinner, which was to be sausage casserole.  I browned twelve of Rodney’s pork sausages in a heavy cast iron casserole that we had taken with us from home, added sliced onions and carrots, a good slug of stout, water and a packet of sausage casserole mix (cheat I hear you say) and put it in the oven on a low heat.

By now, having returned from their walk, Debbie had settled down with her cross-stitch, Rachel was reading and Iain, once again, was playing games on his phone.  I picked up a crossword book and we all enjoyed a little quiet relaxation whilst dinner was cooking.

When ready, it was served with creamed potatoes and broccoli and although I say it myself, it was very tasty.

Washing up done, we watched the TV for an hour or so, let the dogs out for a wander along the bank, had a hot drink and went to bed shortly before 22:00 at the end of another perfect day.

More to follow . . . . . . . . ..

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Enjoying reading your tale and what lovely photos too. Our first experience of boating was from Summercraft - we still like seeing their distinctive blue and yellow boats out and about.

Your description is brilliant, It almost feels like I am there with you and your photos are great, love the seals and the sunsets

Wonderful pics, Malcolm and a most enjoyable blog!    :clap   :clap   :clap

Thanks, all, for your kind comments.  Your pictures aren't so bad, either, Dave,  Unlike you, however, I still shoot jpegs as I don't have sufficient time at present to shoot RAWS and post process them.

I've had many cameras over the years and switched from 35mm to digital about 9 years ago.  I sold my full frame Canon digital SLR earlier in this year and with the proceeds and some extra cash, bought a good quality compact system camera with four lenses.  It's a smaller, lighter system, that handles better and produces results every bit as good as my old EOS5D MkII and has renewed my interest in photography which has been a hobby since my mum and dad bought me a Kodak Brownie 127 for my 7th birthday.

The shots I've included are jpegs, straight out of the camera and with no digital manipulation at all.

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Wednesday 30th September

As usual, I woke just before 06:30.  It was another chilly morning, so on went the heating, followed by the kettle.  Much to my amazement, Iain emerged from the front cabin and went with the wife to take the dogs for their morning walk.  I was in the shower when they returned having taken a bit longer than usual over my first cuppa, whilst watching the breakfast news. 

Dried and dressed, I joined the others in the saloon, before starting to prepare the breakfast.  Some of the curtains had been taken down or drawn and it looked as if another bright, sunny day was in prospect.  Iain set up the table and I passed him plates, knives, glasses for fruit juice, honey and marmalade from the kitchen whilst making some toast and he took the butter and juice from the fridge.  I passed the toast through from the kitchen as it was ready and continued to cook until we had sufficient for all of us and joined the others at the table.  

With breakfast finished, the table cleared and engine checks done, we started it to heat the water for the others to get ready.  We had hired Grande Girl back in 2004, when the wife, Iain and I had taken my parents for a week on the Broads, before their mobility had become too bad for them to enjoy another break on-board and the new Nanni engine was much less intrusive than I remembered the original Perkins engine had been.

The plan for the day was to head for Stalham and Tescos to get provisions for the rest of the week and to head for How Hill, where I wanted to spend the night, visiting Neatishead on the way.  With the others ready, we cast off and retraced our route back up the Ant, turning right towards Sutton and left into Stalham, passing Richardsons yard as we went.

There was one boat moored at the public moorings, just beyond Moonfleet, so I turned Grande Girl round and reversed into the narrow dyke, where there was just enough room for her.  It was the first time during this holiday that I missed a bow thruster, which would have made the manoeuvre so much easier.  We wound the roof up and locked the door before walking the short distance to Tesco where Iain and Rachel stood outside with the dogs and Debbie and I went in to do the last of the shopping.  We made our choices and paid before re-joining the others and wandered back to the boat.

With the kettle on, we cast off and moved the few yards to Moonfleet to refill with water.  There were several people at the museum opposite and the steam boat was being readied.  I could smell that certain smell of a coal fire burning as I watched four or five people climb aboard and set off for their trip.  It looked smart with sunlight reflecting of the water, rippling against the dark blue hull and the brass gleaming in the sun.

Refilling with water didn’t take long and we were soon on our way back towards Barton Broad.  The breeze was strong enough for the sailies on the Broad to be making good progress and Iain took the helm and I pointed him in the direction of Neatishead as I went to take some photos.  As the Broad narrowed, I noticed that there seemed to be a procession of boats all with the same destination apparently in mind, so rather than negotiating the narrow river to Neatishead and fighting over moorings, we headed to the left to see whether there was room at Gaye’s Staithe instead.  Although there were a few boats already moored, there was plenty of room for us stern on, so I manouvered Grande Girl to allow Iain and Rachel to step off and tie up.

I joined them at the bank as a similar craft from Herbert Woods started to moor alongside.  I took the rope from the lady standing at the back and secured it whilst her husband (I assume) tied off the other stern rope.  We chatted for a while about the Broads, the different boats we had both hired and life in general.  They had holidayed aboard both Grande Girl 1 and 2 in the past, as well as Royall Commander, which it turned out was his fathers favourite boat.  We had a lengthy chat as if we had known one another for years, before they went off to check out the pub in the village.  We had our lunch with the roof down and the sun bright in the sky.  It was another unexpectedly beautiful day.

Lunch finished and the washing up done, we set off towards our proposed overnight stop at How Hill.  It was still quite early and we were in no rush, so chugged across Barton towards the Ant.  As we passed Irstead, I noticed space at the moorings there, so we took the opportunity to stop and visit the church.  I had only been there once before as the moorings are normally occupied and remembered that it was thatched, setting it apart from most other churches in the area.  Debbie stayed on the boat and watched the dogs as they played on the green by the moorings while the kids and I walked towards the church.

We noticed some painted flower pots on a stand by a house at the end of the green and went to investigate.  They were reasonably priced, so we made our minds up to get a couple on the way back from the church and continued to walk the short distance to the gate.

Once inside, I took a few photos and stood for a while, deep in thought.  I’m not particularly religious, but do have some beliefs and always spend a few minutes in quiet reflection when visiting a church. I noticed that it had been decorated with various arrangements for Harvest Festival, which had been held the previous weekend.  When we had all seen what we wanted, we quietly left and went back to select a couple of pots from the stall as souvenirs, putting the money in the honesty box before leaving.

Back on board, we resumed our journey to How Hill.  I prefer to moor at the end nearest the wind pump so continued past the moorings to investigate, but sadly my desired spot was taken, so we turned round and headed back upriver and moored for the night.

We pondered the idea of walking round the nature trail, but in all the times I’ve been there, I’ve never seen anything that I couldn’t have seen on the rivers, so decided against it.  The kids took the dogs for a walk to the field in front of the house and let them off their leads for a run.

I started to prepare dinner and cut some braising steak, bought the previous day from Rodney in Ludham, into chunks and browned them in the same cast iron casserole that I used the night before.  Setting the meat aside for a few minutes, I put some sliced onions in to sweat before putting the meat back in, with sliced carrots, some mushrooms, a good measure of red wine, water and two sachets of Beef Bourginion mix, finally covering with the lid.  The oven had been on for a few minutes and I put the casserole in on a low heat and left it to cook slowly.  With potatoes peeled and a cabbage washed and prepared I returned to the saloon and sat down.

Debbie was busy with her cross stitch, having worked out how many more threads she needed to sew to finish the picture and had calculated that four a day for the remaining days of the holiday should do it.  She doesn’t often pick the sewing up at home, preferring to do it on holidays, so they tend to last her a long time.  This particular one, showing a picture of a kingfisher, had been started in 2012 whilst on holiday in France, so she was looking forward to seeing it finished.

I did a couple more crosswords until the kids returned with the dogs and made a cup of tea.  It was getting chilly by now so the roof went back up, Iain set up the aerial and flicked the TV on and we sat and relaxed for a while.

I sat at the helm watching the boats pass, but the antics of a couple of members of the crew of the boat that had moored in front of ours had grabbed my attention and I watched with interest for a while.  They had been fishing and they set up a fish tank by the side of the path, with a little gravel at the bottom, topped up with water from a couple of large containers they had with them, adding some plants and finally they released a fish that they had caught into the tank.  One of them went into the boat, a large ‘bathtub’ from Richardson’s and emerged with a professional looking video camera on a tripod and began filming the fish.

I wondered what the purpose of all this was and was tempted to ask, but thought better of it.  Finally, they let the fish back into the river, removed the plants from the tank and transferred the water back into the containers with a couple of jugs.  Very strange, but each to their own.

As the sun went down, I reached for my camera and wandered along the bank, towards the wind pump.  A small murmuration of starlings started to perform their aerobatics and was gradually joined by others until it became quite a spectacle to watch.  Against the backdrop of the setting sun and wind pump, their display had many of the occupants of the moored boats standing on the bank to watch.  I continued to take pictures until the effect of the setting sun was lost and returned to the boat.

The casserole was ready shortly after 19:00, so it was served with creamed potatoes and cabbage.  With all four plates cleared and the washing up done, we relaxed for a while before Debbie and Iain took the dogs for their last walk of the day.  I made a hot drink before we all retired to bed.

More to follow . . . . . . . 

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Thursday 1st October

I rolled out of bed a little earlier than usual.  I’d had sciatica earlier in the year and must have slept awkwardly as my back was aching and I needed to get up and move about.  The kettle went on, as usual and I flicked the TV on to watch the news while it came to the boil for my morning cuppa.  I heard the wife climb out of bed and get ready to take the dogs out.  There were no signs of Rachel or Iain, so she took both dogs and I went for my shower.

By the time she returned, I was dressed and ready to start cooking breakfast, but another full English today instead of toast.  The kids were up by then and I prepared bacon, sausages eggs, fresh tomatoes, black pudding, baked beans, mushrooms and fried bread for us all.  We never bother with cooked breakfast at home, even on a Sunday when time is less pressing, but it always seems somehow different and more enjoyable on the Broads.

The engine had been running whilst we ate, so there was enough hot water to wash up before we moved on.  I wanted to be at Ranworth between 10:00 and 10:30, hoping to find a space, so we cleared the table and were on the move just after 09:00.  The weather was still good, especially considering the time of year, but it seemed a little cooler this morning with a chill in the breeze.  We didn’t lower the canopy until just before negotiating the bridge, but we needn’t have worried as there was ample clearance as we passed under.

The canopy stayed down as we turned right onto the Bure.  There was a fair bit of traffic on the river and I was concerned that we may not get a mooring.  We turned left onto Ranworth Dam and chugged slowly down.  There were two or three boats in front and as the view across Malthouse Broad opened up, there didn’t appear to be much space at the moorings.  As the boats in front peeled off to the left and cruised across the moorings facing the broad, I moved to the right to check the ones to the side and saw a couple of people signalling that there was a space.  I couldn’t see it as there was a tall private cruiser near the far end, but the skipper was on the bow indicating where the space was.  I wasn’t sure that there would be space to nose the bow of Grande Girl into the far right corner and swing the stern round, so span her round and reversed slowly back, feeling slightly nervous with the private boats owner watching me closely.

I manouvered the stern into the space, using full left rudder, forward and reverse gears allowing Iain to step onto the bank.  The skipper of Morning Swan, which was the name of the private cruiser, took the other stern rope and helped pull us into the space and we were quickly moored and safely tied up.  For the second time that holiday that I missed a bow thruster.

I chatted to the skipper of Morning Swan for a while.  He said that his son and family were moored next to him on a Richardson’s cruiser and enjoying their first Broadland break.  We chatted for a while, but I saw the wife tapping her foot wearing that expression again so bade him goodbye.  We needed a few potatoes, so popped into the shop and bought a bag.

A visit to Ranworth wouldn’t be complete without going to St Helens church so we gathered jackets and cameras, put the dogs collars on and locked up the boat.  A few minutes later we arrived at the church.  There was some scaffolding each side of the porch and a couple of workmen were wheeling barrow loads of soil and spreading them along the side of the building.  Whatever they were doing, it looked as if they were nearly finished.

Iain and Rachel went in first and Debbie and I went to get a drink from the café.  I went in to order, while the wife sat outside with Harley and Simba.  I emerged with the tray - tea and a slice of millionaire’s shortcake for the wife and coffee and honey and almond sponge for me, which was extremely good.  A few minutes passed before we glanced up to the top of the tower where Iain and Rachel were waving down at us.

We waited there until they came down to look after the dogs while we went to look inside.  I went to the stairs that lead to the tower and heard some people coming down, so waited a few minutes before we went up.  Negotiating the stairs is a trial as they are so narrow and claustrophobic, but the view from the top makes it all so worth the effort.  I took a few photos and we waved down at the kids, who were sitting at the café.  The wife started to climb down the ladder to begin the descent, but popped her head back out a few seconds later as the bell rang to signal that it was midday.  We waited until the chimes had finished before recommencing the descent, to be met on the top landing by a couple on their way up.  We exchanged a few pleasantries as we passed and carried on down to the bottom. 

I took a few more pictures inside the church, which had also been decorated for Harvest Festival the previous weekend.  A lady was arranging flowers at the back of the church and I had noticed a grave freshly dug in the churchyard and wondered, with sadness, if the floral tributes were for a funeral.

We returned to where Rachel and Iain were waiting and walked through the car park at the rear of the church and onto the road.  Iain collected a couple of conkers (big kid) and put them in his pocket.  We walked past the quaint village hall and Simba found a stick to carry.  When I say stick I really mean STICK, about eight feet long.  He is never satisfied with a normal stick and always seems to find something more substantial to carry.  We all laughed as he valiantly struggled to carry his prize, part dragging and part carrying it all the way to the end of Broad Road, where we turned left onto the boardwalk back towards where the boat was moored.  Poor Simba, having carried it so far couldn’t fit it along the narrow boardwalk and became quite distressed as it became jammed.  Try as he might, he couldn’t get through the narrow gap and was forced to leave it there.  The wife, Harley and I returned to Grande Girl while Rachel and Iain tried to console him.  It was his stick and he wanted it!!

Debbie cooked the pasta bake for lunch, that we had intended to have on Monday night, but went to The Lion instead.  It was quite tasty and was just right for lunch.  Washing up done, I checked to see whether there was room to moor nearer the water hose, so we could top up.  As you might imagine, there was no room and someone had even moored part way across the day-boat dyke, so I couldn’t go there either.

I noticed a private boat at the other end of the mooring where we were, so walked up and asked the owners if they would mind if we moored alongside long enough to get water.  They agreed and I set about easing Grande Girl out of the space.  Someone had moored a yacht in front of us, making it even more difficult, but I moved out of the space and nosed forward towards the far bank, far enough to allow me to throttle up on full left lock and swing the stern round, in front of Morning Swan.  I reversed past the moored boats passsing the bow of Emmanjay (I think it was called), then turned the wheel to the right to bring the stern round and carefully ease alongside it. 

We chatted to the owners, a really pleasant couple from Bury St Edmunds, while we topped up with water.  They said that they had only had their current boat for about a month, which was their pride and joy.  It was one of the smaller 29 foot Connoisseurs, still in its original form with the sliding canopy at the front.  The wife and I had hired a similar boat a couple of times back in the eighties and looking into the craft certainly brought back memories of happy times spent.  Once filled, we wished them good luck with their boat and thanked them for allowing us to come alongside before carefully manoeuvring back onto the Broad.

I had intended to return to Wroxham and go under the bridge and head for Coltishall for the night but a call to the Pilot confirmed that there was insufficient clearance to go through, so I was unsure where to head for instead.  The couple on Emmanjay had suggested mooring on Fleet Dyke, heading towards South Walsham Broad, so we headed there but all of the moorings were taken.  I turned round and turned right onto the Bure again.  

I thought about trying Upton Dyke, having never been there before, but the rivers seemed so busy that week, I thought it likely that it too would be full so turned left onto the Thurne.  There was room in Thurne Dyke so I asked the others where they would prefer to stay, giving them Womack or Thurne Dykes as options.

I had no real preference, but the other three unanimously agreed on Womack Dyke, so further up the Thurne we went and turned left past the mooring where we had spent our first night at the beginning of our holiday.  There was one space left at the BA moorings, so I turned the boat round again and headed for the space.  There was a stiffish breeze blowing across the dyke from the direction of Potter, making mooring slightly more difficult, but we were there and started to tie the ropes to the posts.

Just a few yards further along, there were a few BA workers tamping down some fresh earth by a couple of mooring posts.  One of them wandered over and took the ropes and started to retie the knots, telling me what they were as he did.  He then asked for us to pass him the bow and stern ropes from the far side of the boat and tied those to other posts, too, explaining that was how you ought to tie your boat up.  So it may be, I thought, where there is substantial rise and fall of the tides, but it seemed a bit over the top for where we were, so we untied the extra two and stowed them tidily on deck

The wife had been preparing a shepherds pie, with lamb mince we had bought from Ludham a couple of days earlier.  She’d even remembered to take a copy of the recipe from one of Delia’s books that we like and was busy in the galley.  Iain and Rachel took the dogs for their walk and I prepared my camera, expecting a spectacular sunset that night.

I wasn’t disappointed and spent several minutes taking pictures as the sun went down.  When there was nothing more to see, I went back inside, put the camera away and set the table for dinner.  The shepherds pie had been in the oven, and smelled wonderful. We enjoyed it with some baby carrots and peas.

As usual, washing up done, we watched TV for a while with a hot drink before going to bed, saddened by the fact that Friday was to be our last full day on board.

More to follow . . . . . . ..

(Footnote - for those of you who may be interested, the first four of the photos attached were taken with a Pansonic zoom compact camera and not my usual Fuji)

 

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Friday 2nd October

As usual, I was awake around 06:30, so I got up and made a cup of tea.  Despite my efforts not to disturb the wife, she must have heard me trying to creep about, so also got up, got ready and took the dogs for their morning walk.  The week had flown by and I was sad that we were already on the last full day of our holiday.

I went for a shower, got dressed, went into the saloon and took down the curtains from the windscreen and windows at the back of the sliding roof, folded and stowed them neatly in the drawer then wiped the condensation from the inside of the windows with a leather.

By now, the wife was back from her walk with the dogs.  I lit the grill and started to prepare toast for breakfast.  Iain and Rachel emerged from their cabin and set the table up.  I noticed that there wasn’t a lot of milk left so decided to potter back to Womack Staithe for water and get a pint from the shop while we were there.  There never seems to be enough time on the final day for breakfast.  However prepared you try to be, it always seems to be a rush to get the last bits and pieces done and the boat cleaned and prepared for return, so it would be our last breakfast on board.

The only plan for the day was to get to Salhouse for our final night, leaving an easy cruise back to Summercraft on Saturday morning, so we were in no particular hurry to move off.  As usual, we had run the engine to get the water hot enough to wash and shower.  To my mind, it’s the only irritation when on holiday on a boat.  Can you not run some sort of combi boiler on bottled gas to avoid the necessity of running the engine for hot water?

With everyone ready, we cast off.  I turned Grande Girl round and headed towards Womack.  There was a mooring empty between two other boats directly in front of the water point, so I swung the stern round and reversed in.  The hose wasn’t in use, so we topped up the tank for the final time.  It never has been a quick fill there, so by the time the tank was full and Iain went to stow the hose, someone else was ready to use it and took it off him.

I wandered along the Staithe to the shop at the end, only to find that it was closed.  I couldn’t be bothered to walk into the village and with plenty of time to spare, decided to head back towards Horning and turn up the Ant to the shop by the bridge to get the milk.  We took the rubbish bags to the bins by the public loos and with everyone back on board, cast off.  Debbie lit the oven and put four potatoes in to bake for lunch as we cruised slowly back towards the Thurne and then, the Bure.

The cool breeze that had kept it cool on Thursday had dropped, but it still didn’t feel particularly warm, although there was less cloud than the previous day.  The moorings by St Benet’s were busy and there was little space available, not that we wanted to moor there, but it was a reminder of how busy the rivers had been that week.  I guessed that the unfavourable tides through Yarmouth and to the Southern rivers had kept more folk north than usual and given that the majority of the hire fleets are based north, that may have had something to do with it.

We turned onto the Ant again and just before the final bend before the bridge, lowered the roof.  Once under, I turned Grande Girl round and moored near the shop and popped in for the milk.  Rachel, Iain and I took the opportunity of walking the dogs a few hundred yards along the footpath that runs from the end of the moorings as it would be a couple of hours cruising before we reached Salhouse.

The wife had stayed on board with her cross-stitch, still trying to complete it before we went home.  She said that if she finished it, she would have an excuse to buy another one from Wroxham Barns to replace it.  She had clearly forgotten that she had bought one last year, even though she hadn’t finished one to justify it.  Best not to mention it though.  Anything for a quiet life, I thought.

We set off at a little after midday.  I reckoned that it would take about two hours to reach our destination and we made our way back towards Horning and Salhouse.  It felt warmer by now and with thinning cloud, had turned into another cracking day.  Iain took the helm as I went to take a few more pictures.  The stretch of river from Ranworth Dam to Horning was particularly busy, some folk hurrying along with little respect for the speed limit, many of whom were presumably heading towards base for return on Saturday morning.

The wife announced that the potatoes, that had been cooking in the oven for a couple of hours, were ready as we approached the moorings at Cockshoot. Broad.  There was space there, so we moored up and enjoyed a lunch of jacket spuds with butter, cheese, coleslaw and a few rashers of grilled bacon.

Lunch finished and dishes washed, we cast off and headed through Horning.  As we passed the entrance to what used to be FB Wilds yard, I thought back to the excitement of my first holiday on the Broads back in 1969.  My parents, grandparents and I had spent a week on a Caribbean cruiser, at the time one of the most modern craft on the Broads.  The memories of that first Broadland experience still linger vividly in my memory.  Little did I know at the time, it would be the start of a forty plus year love affair with the area and nearly thirty holidays later, I still get the same feelings of eager anticipation that I had all those years ago when counting down the days to our holidays afloat.

We cruised past Ferry Marina, the pub and on into the centre of Horning.  As usual, there were no moorings available.  I can’t remember the last time we were able to stop there, it’s so long ago.  We followed the river round the bend at the Swan and continued past the stunning waterside properties on the starboard bank and past the entrance to Hoveton Little Broad.

All too soon, the first entrance to the beautiful Salhouse Broad loomed into view, so carried straight on instead of bearing right with the river, checking that there were no oncoming craft and started to look for a suitable position.

We passed the first bank of moorings, near to the path to the village and moored at the start of the next, hoping that no one would moor too close to us and spoil the view. 

Debbie took the dogs for a walk, the kids played games on their phones and I went for a wander, camera in hand.  I found another section of boardwalk that I hadn’t before realised was there and followed it to a nice secluded spot with room for about three or four boats to moor.  There was little chance of anyone else staying there that night as the crew of the single boat moored had spread their fishing gear about and two fairly grumpy dogs ensured that they weren’t bothered by new neighbours.

I carried on to the end of the boardwalk and wandered back through the ‘play area’ following the fence to the top of the hill and followed the perimeter fence until I arrived at the end of the path to the village.  I then made my way back to Grande Girl where I met the wife, who was walking towards me from the opposite direction.  Somehow, we had passed one another, without seeing each other!!

We had a cup of tea and I sat at the bow, telephoto lens attached to my camera to try and capture some worthwhile shots of the wildlife.  I threw some bread out and it was not long before ducks, swans coots and greylag geese were fighting for the food.

It was getting chilly and although the sun was still bright, we sadly wound the roof up for the last time.  Iain fiddled about with the aerial and managed to direct it in such a way that we were able to watch the TV for a while.  As the sun began to set, I went out to grab a few more sunset shots with my camera and sat on the bow as the sun descended, turning the evening sky to a red glow.

I noticed a Herbert Woods boat had entered the broad in the evening gloom and the skipper moored I the space between us and the next boat along.  I went back inside and cooked our meal of grilled lamb chops, baby carrots, green beans and new potatoes.  We washed up for the final time and watched TV until just after 21:00 when, aware that we needed to be up and about early to tidy Grande Girl and return her to Summercraft, we retired to bed, happy that we had had such a fantastic holiday, but sad that it was over all too soon.

 

More to follow . . . . . . . . . 

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I know what you mean about the feeling never leaving you. The excitement in the weeks leading up to the holiday and the feeling when you get to the yard that you are finally there and it's all ahead of you......pure magic.

I've really enjoyed reading your holiday tale and seeing the pictures

thanks for sharing

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