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  1. Today
  2. Yesterday
  3. False dawn, buy me a beer and I will tell all, is an odd phenomenon. It was just starting to break as I awoke at 5:00 am firm in the knowledge I was being observed. A slight thump of beagle tail indicated 'the boys' were aware I was only pretending to sleep. I opened my eyes to find two beagle noses inches from my face. Out of bed, put the kettle on to boil while 'the boys' abandon ship for the bank. With Italian coffee steaming in my mug, wash kit and towel under my arm I head for the shower block. Like many men of my generation I started shaving during the disposable razor revolution. While others moved on to either an electric razor or the double, then triple, quadruple and now quintuple with battery powered jiggle, wet razor, I didn't. For practical reasons of shaving in the field I learned to use a safety razor as you can get blades almost anywhere and they cost pennies. Together with a badger hair brush and shaving soap I still use it as a challenge to keep my hand steady after my strokes. It's also a closer shave with less skin irritation than modern razors. Shaving is not a chore for me. Which is fortunate as my beard grows quickly. A shave in the morning and I will need another if we are going out in the evening. I look forward to the ritual immensely. Twenty minutes of pure self indulgence. Of course, my choice of fragrance post shave is also an indulgence. Today was Royal Water from the house of Creed. Citrus and mint in the top notes, juniper and basil in the heart notes and musk and ambergris in the base. So, lemon, mint, gin, pesto, deer butt and whale poop. Exquisite! At five past six I take the boys for their jaunt around the footpath marking the edge of what once was Sutton marsh and Broad. A loud twittering of small birds alert me to the proximity of an owl. Sure enough, sat in the branches of an oak sits a Barn Owl. In the field to my right comes the dull thud of hooves from Long Horn Cattle and in amongst them Muntjac Deer. Back at the boat and Grandma and Gracie were fast asleep, so I put the kettle back on, made another coffee, took my tablets and gave Dylan his and set about putting my bed away. The ladies were soon up and about and while Grandma fried bacon for breakfast, I was treated to 'Gracie kisses and cuddles'. Breakfast over and the girls made themselves even more beautiful. Did you see what I did there? Since I bought a boat, I have seen more of The Broads away from the water than I ever did in the forty years prior. “Do you know where you are going?” asked Ellie from the back seat. I didn't reply. After seventeen years Ellie still cannot appreciate the correlation between my love of cartography and landscape and knowing where I am. “Does he know where he is Grandma?” asked Gracie. “Is this Horning then?” asked Ellie as I pulled into the car park by The Swan. “No, it's Cleethorpes.” I muttered realising too late that I'd made an error. “Have we come to Cleethorpes for doughnuts and fish and chips?” asked Gracie the expert on 'seasides'. The reason for our trip to Horning was postcards. Ellie is a traditional holidaymaker in that the first thing she will do on holiday is buy postcards, write them and post them. In this age of technology when people post pictures of every meal and drink consumed to Facebook, postcards are a thing of the past. The postcards we could find were old, dusty and sun bleached. Grace found the whole concept of the postcard fascinating. “This actual card, with my writing, will go to Daddy?” So we bought postcards to send to Mummy, Daddy, baby Arlo, Nanny and Granddad (I'm Timbo as we have a surplus of Granddads and Great Granddads), Uncle Matty, Gracie's best friend Lola and we bought another card for Gracie to send to herself at home. Gracie needed to make sure that postcards really did work and why should she miss out on the honour of receiving one? Ellie also bought Gracie a fishing rod. A pink, toy, fishing rod which I was supposed to teach her to fish with. I shot Ellie 'the look' I usually reserve for politicians and modern art. It's a look perfected by bespectacled lecturers in universities with high entry standards yet forced to accept the idiot offspring of the wealthy for a fee. “I'm going to need some other bits and pieces.” “It's got everything in there you need!” said Ellie the fishing expert. “If I was targeting Tiger Sharks with a toy pink fishing rod, yes, this has everything that I would need.” “The chap was very helpful, and gave me all the information. He said you can use corn for bait.” “Did he mention needing a rod license? No?” Fortunately I carry my rod license in my wallet. But the damage was done. Gracie had her pink fishing rod and a kids fishing net. She loved them and I was going to have to try and catch a fish with them. So, a quick trip to Lathems and I bought a packet of hooks to nylon and a disgorger. My fishing tackle was something that Ellie had forbidden me to bring with us. Back to RT for an early lunch and then Gracie wanted to go fishing. I put the pink 'cute' fishing rod together. It reminded me of a much thinner version of my Grandfather's home made spinning rod I inherrited, made from a tank antenna that is definitely not painted pink. Two uniform lengths of 6 mm diameter metal tube with ferrules in the middle, one eye ring on the tip and one by the cork grip and about three feet in length. The reel looked like an open faced reel, but plastic throughout and loaded with 10 lb line. The float was a solid lump of plastic, the hooks were size 4's and there was a swivel that didn't swivel. This was going to take a bit of thought. So while Ellie put the kettle on, I took the dogs for a walk and had a bit of a forage at the waters edge and found the straight and dry sections of reed I was looking for. Back on RT I drank my cup of tea and had a rummage in my tool bag. I came up with a roll of solder, some red and yellow electrical tape, some Gaffa Tape, a large rubber band and some Milliput. Time to rig the rod. I used the Gaffa tape to secure the reel to the rod firmly as the reel seat was flimsy to say the least. A piece of reed would be our float. I'd wound the solder around the bottom of the reed to make it self cocking. I cut small pieces from the rubber band and put a small hole in each one to make float rubbers to attach the float. I topped the float off with a strip of red tape and a thin bit of yellow tape to make it look the part. I mixed up some Milliput and used tiny pieces down the line as droppers and a little bit bigger piece to nail the bait to the bottom. Finally a size 18 hook nicked through the skin of a kernel of sweetcorn as bait. A couple of test casts and we were in business. “Why is that man laughing at us?” Gracie asked. “Ignore him sweetie, now trap the line with your finger like a gun, swing, flick, finger off, put your bail arm back on, perfect!” Gracie picked casting up very quickly. Very quickly indeed. "Now dress your line, give the rod a tiny flick so the line sinks out of the wind, wind a little bit...that's fantastic!" “Can I do it again?” “Just once more, but remember the fish are in the water not in the air!” I said, sounding like Uncle Albert when he was teaching me to fish. It's funny how you slip back into your childhood memories and the lessons you learned. I can still hear Uncle Albert's litany even now. 'Keep your feet still, don't cast so far, if there's fish on the other side there's fish on this side, keep your feet still'. “That man is still laughing at me!” said Gracie. “Just ignore him and watch your float!” To be honest, the pillock fishing from the hire boat was starting to get on my nerves. His initial quips about me sitting on the back of the boat holding my pink rod in my hand had evoked a slight chuckle. Twenty minutes constant repetition to anyone who would listen was annoying, not to mention the litany of criticism of where and how I was fishing and the 'gear' we were using. We were fishing around five feet away from RT's transom and around four feet from the bank. I was getting Gracie to drop two or three kernels of sweetcorn around our float every five minutes or so. I'd also mushed up some sweetcorn, crushed up four or five of Dylan and Toby's dog biscuits to powder and mixed mixed it all with a little bit of sugar. The resulting 'groundbait' was dropped in pea sized blobs in between Gracie's sweetcorn 'free offerings'. “Little and often.” I was telling Gracie as the expert across the way tackled up his rods. I find float fishing exciting as you watch the little dabs, nips, bobs and swirls the float makes as fish are feeding. I interpreted the movements for Gracie who was mesmerised and extremely excited by it all. Our reed float bobbed. “Wait for it! The fish is just nibbling.” The float bobbed once more before making a pirouette. “Wait for it! The fish is just nibbling and nosing the corn.” Then it lifted... “Ooh, the fish has picked up the corn. Any second it will move.” ...before sliding clean under the water. “Now!” I lifted the rod and connected with the fish. I put my arms around Gracie so she could hold the rod too. The small pink fishing rod arced right over but took the strain. The rhythmic thrum to the line told me it was a bream. “Gently, gently, don't jerk or pull the rod.” I cautioned Gracie. I had to keep a firm hand on the rod along with Gracie's. The light tackle made it all the more exciting. “Slowly, watch him come up, give him a breath of air, and he's ready to come and see you!” “Grandma just look!” gasped Gracie. “I think we are going to need your net Grace!” I said. Gracie scampered off to retrieve her kids fishing net which, fortunately, was quite well made. I guided the skimmer over the lip of the net then bent to wet my hands in the water. I brought the fish in and unhooked it. “Ew! What's with all the snot Timbo?” asked Gracie. I knew there was no way Grace would be holding the fish as I explained what bream slime was for. Grandma was ready to take a quick snap of Grace and her fish 'Slimey' and the little bream was put quickly gently back into the water. There was time for another skimmer and a roach, each given a name 'Slimon' and 'Bob', before it started to rain. “Am I good at fishing Timbo?” asked Gracie. “Yes you are sweetie!” I replied. I took great pleasure in explaining a Yorkshire angling term to Gracie with plenty of volume so all could hear, especially our angling neighbour who had caught nothing. “We weren't 'water-licked' !”(pronounced watta-licked) “What's watta-licked?” asked Gracie. “It's where you go fishing and catch nothing because the water beat you!”
  4. A fabulous result and if Ben Stokes had been elevated to the ranks of the greats for his world cup exploits I think he's just ascended to the higher rank of immortality. I hope that this result, earned by the stoicism of a couple and heroism of one does not allow the ECB and it's selectors to paper over the gaping cracks and avoid addressing the deficiencies which left us chasing 350 plus in the second innings. Had England lost this match, which in truth they should have, the selectors would have had no choice but to make changes. Now they have the age old excuse of the inept, "never change a winning team" The weaknesses in the England batting must be addressed and those who are continually failing have to make way. Jason Roy and Joss Buttler are not test cricketers. Hopefully they will continue to spearhead England in the white ball game for years to come but their tenure in the red ball outfit should be at an end. Time and time again England try to fit players, batsmen especially into a position that does not suit them, and time and time again that policy has failed. It is time to select specialists.
  5. grand stretch of river as well!! http://www.yorkmarine.co.uk/
  6. The fastest solution for me would to be to remove about 30 metres of track crossing Bridge Road but apparently “some” people use the Railway “sometimes” and wouldn't be very happy about it! I have dreamt of a bypass but never a tunnel, could you elaborate!
  7. Bet you were popular!
  8. Love it Chelsea14Ian your daughters getting married and you've got one eye on the cricket. I kept one eye on it then gave up when all looked lost. Kept looking back in for the inevitable defeat and suddenly the win was possible again. Unbelievable result.
  9. Oi, hands off our third crossing, we've waited generations for that! David Cameron, when he was PM, promised us a third crossing and we all know that we can trust an MP's promises, especially in the run up to an election. Personally I favour a tunnel under Oulton Broad.
  10. Bank Holiday Monday and great fun it tends to be! Big PLEA though, please don't turn on your spot lights and the like, darn things instantly kill other folk's night sight.
  11. Gorgeous! Glad you've had a great day.
  12. By the way,the car is a 1967 Mustang and the boots on the cake are from America
  13. Polly

    My Day

    We had a lovely afternoon on Saturday, visiting Boughton House. It’s really palatial and still in private hands, the Duke of Buccleuch’s I believe. It isn't open a whole lot, so we took the opportunity for a couple of guided tours. I especially enjoyed the one that took us behind the scenes, and upstairs rather than grand state rooms. Our guide was a sturdy 80 something who had been born on the estate and had first-hand information going back through the decades. ‘This is the housekeepers sitting room, I had many a tea here as a lad,’ ‘We all liked to get into the kitchen, it was pretty cold everywhere else’ ‘That is the present Duke’s grandmother, she was a lovely lady, we used to come up from the school to sing for her at Christmas.’ The Duke’s PA was a formidable woman, fair, but a bit scary. And so on... ...but the story I liked best relates back to the C18th. The family has a reputation as animal lovers; and the Duke of that time had responsibility for the Royal Menagerie in the Tower of London. When any of the creatures became too old and needed to retire, he brought them to Boughton House to live out their days in comfort and peace. No animal was ever put down. There had been a persistent story in the family of a lion in the pantry. Recently the archivist found a letter from that Duke laying down his instructions for ‘Lion’. Our guide read them to us. Lion was to be let out as soon as the servants were up and allowed to go wherever he liked. Hw was to have food prepared for him and a bowl of water always available in the pantry. He could go where he liked all the day and to be shut up warmly when the servants went to bed. Some time later Lion no 2 joined the household! That was some kitchen cat!
  14. It would also make traffic in Lowestoft & Oulton Broad flow a hell of a lot better and could save the Government millions on a 3rd Harbour crossing!
  15. oi, leave potter heigham bridge alone, cant have all and sundry up there to witness my boating actions and maybe film me taking my submarine dinghy for a trip.
  16. Brilliant photo. Some amazing colours here on the coast right now so I’m sure there must be some spectacular sunsets around the Broads again tonight.
  17. We heard the last few balls on the radio. Amazing. What a superstar Ben Stokes is ... yet again!
  18. Yeah, that would be amazing. Do the same to Reedham, blow up Potter Heigham old road bridge, and it would solve all our problems. Also, get rid of that hideous rusting bridge in Gt Yarmouth, it does`nt serve any purpose, so pull the monstrosity down.
  19. I don't suppose there's an easy solution. Leaving the bridge open and putting rail passengers on buses would sort out the river problem and everyone would still get where they need to be, but would inconvenience a lot of people.
  20. I wonder if anyone will be stuck for getting back through after the bank holiday weekend at Oulton Broad. I imagine it could have put some off going by river altogether. What happened to the NYA looking for support to take action last year, nothing seems to have improved and it must still be affecting business.
  21. During the day,I kept one eye on the cricket. What a great result. Think the last time we overcame such a high score.A certain Mr Botham was playing. Never thought we would win this one,well done boys
  22. That just simplifies " Red sky at night, shepherds delight" and forget the rest. Lovely photo!
  23. What a day, we were lucky with the weather .The theme for the day was western .The wedding was at Tunbridge wells and the reception at the kentish Rifleman.Marina went for a cream coloured dress.I had a paisley waistcoat,RAF cufflinks. and a Marshalls badge and a pocket watch.The reason being my great grand mother was Scottish, my Father in the RAF.Keeping a little bit of my past a few pics.
  24. SwanR

    My Day

    Not quite on the Broads but we’re in Lowestoft today. Have just been for a walk by the sea. You rarely see it this calm along here and the colours are amazing. Not sure the photo will do it justice. Very hazy out to sea.
  25. There probably are 200 miles of ‘safe inland waterways ‘ but the 75 missing miles are not navigable by anything larger than a kayak. Or maybe a remote controlled toy cruiser. That would be my take on it anyway.
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