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  1. 32 points
    I'd like to record how much I love this forum. Sadly my wife have become increasingly upset with the amount of time I spend posting here, and not paying attention to her and has issued an ultimatum. "It's me of the forum"! So sadly it's time for me to say farewell. I'll be back in a couple of hours when I've finished packing her things and driven her to her mothers. Don't do anything interesting without me.
  2. 27 points
    It's hard to believe that those halcyon days of endless summer spent on the Norfolk Broads are the best part of a lifetime ago. I sit in my armchair and gaze into the garden, rain making patterns on the French windows, grey clouds scurrying across the distant horizon. I have reached an age where I need a list to remind me to buy milk and bread when I go shopping. A small device in my pocket the likes of which once seemed beyond science fiction reminds me of the correct day to visit the Doctor and renew my various prescriptions and once in a while allows a family no longer nearby to check up on me. A call to see if it's worth spending a stamp on a Christmas Card or whether it's more prudent to invest in dry cleaning their funeral outfits. For all my great age and frailty I can still close my eyes and recall the names and faces of those days in Norfolk, recall them as if they were only yesterday. The man on the radio plays a tune, it's “Tracks Of My Years” time, I like that. It reminds me it's time to think about lunch. The intro sounds familiar and as the band begin playing I recognise the song we danced to so many times on those sultry evenings on Pakefield Beach, dancing, swimming and sitting around the driftwood fire, it's flames glowing blue green as the salt coloured them. They were carefree days, days of wonder and enlightenment. Everything was possible, everything an adventure, but I let that adventure die before I realised how magical it really was. Summer holidays were the one luxury our family enjoyed. Every year the money was scraped together somehow for our two weeks in Norfolk and Suffolk. Times were hard back then. We didn't think of ourselves as poor, in fact both my parents worked and we were better off than many in our local community but still there was “not much to spare” as my mother often said. She worked in the hosiery factory at the top of the street, my father was a carpenter. They paid the mortgage, sometimes with the aid of ten bob from a helpful grandparent, put food on the table and provided us with clothes, which sometimes fitted. We had no car, in fact in our whole street their was only one car, the scary man at the top of the road who worked at the bank. The street was for playing football and cricket, undisturbed by traffic. We did however have a television, and that too was one of very few in the street. Father's brother was a television engineer, remember them? Try explaining to the youth of today that when your TV broke down a man came and fixed it, or occasionally took it away in the back of his van if the repair was too involved, for it's return to be eagerly awaited like the delivery of a new baby in the family. Our TV was one which it's previous owner had given up having repaired but which Uncle Bill had pulled back from the brink of oblivion. It was black and white, of course, and it had buttons to switch between 405 and 625 lines depending on which channel you wanted to watch. There were three, can you imagine finding something worth watching with just three channels? To change the channel you had to twist the dial, little pieces of stamp paper marking the approximate location of each station. I was the remote control.... “lad, put BBC2 on” my father would say. During school holidays kids were left at home. That was the way. There would be somebody “on duty”, somewhere in the street. A non working mother maybe, or an older sibling. “If you need anything knock at Mrs Morris's” mum would say on her way out to work. I don't think it was ever said, but it was understood that you only disturbed mum at work if it was really serious. In truth we were not really “home alone” as we would be out playing all day. It seems almost unimaginable today, but kids played together outdoors back in those days. Half the things we got up to would probably have snowflakes from Social Services banging at the door nowadays. We climbed trees, built dens, made fires to bake potatoes on and if someone had got a ball we spent the afternoon in the park. Children of different ages played together, can you believe that, but there was a pecking order. The older kids decided what to do and the younger ones were allowed to tag along. Of course the school holiday we all awaited most eagerly was Summer. Nine weeks of freedom. Almost long enough to forget your teacher's name. Being factory workers my parents both had set holidays, when the works would stop and most of the county boarded a bus (our railway line having fallen victim to Dr. Beeching's axe) for Skegness. But for us, it was a car, hired, borrowed but never quite stolen and the A47 eastward East to Oulton Broad ……. to be continued …..
  3. 26 points
    Kenneth Grahame writes “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”. A little bit like the Mole, I ventured out of my hole and sniffed the late spring air. It had been a tough winter of coughs and agues, sneezes and diseases, wobbly legs, a jiggly hand and an errant and wayward cakehole. But spring was finally here and my white whiskers twitched with excitement at the prospect of adventures to come, for our granddaughter Gracie was making her first trip to the Norfolk Broads to meet Royal Tudor. Deciding who was the most excited about the impending trip to the Broads was going to be difficult. Gracie had packed her small suitcase the day we announced the trip. Walking Gracie to school became a chance to answer her questions about boats, boating and the rivers. 'Boat fever' was something I didn't mind catching in the least! How best to describe Grace? Six going on twenty-six. Bright as a button, very, very astute, long fair hair, tall and as limb-lithe as her name describes. Our walks to school were full of talk of ducks, otters, life-jackets, types of boats and pirates. 'There are no pirates Timbo, only those near Africa!'. There's no fooling Gracie! The day of departure finally arrived and after a fitful night's sleep, I of course overslept by half an hour, the day dawned bright and sunny. A quick coffee and after walking the beagles Ellie and I started to pack the QQ for the journey. Soon we were leaving 'Big G' three-quarters of an hour later than we intended with Gracie wedged in the back seat, the beagles in the boot and the QQ full to the gunwales with luggage and bits for the boat. We made our way via Doddington and Harmston to join the Sleaford roundabout. Just after the stretch of dual carriageway, Gracie was feeling travel sick. More I think due to Grandma asking if she was OK than actually feeling ill. So when I managed to find somewhere to pull over Gracie became my front seat navigator. I introduced her to the game of Pub and Church cricket. A game quite difficult to play since the demise of the public house. The rules are simple. Passengers take it in turn to 'bat'. A church with a square tower is '6 runs'. A pub name or it's sign provides additional runs to the number of 'legs' stated or depicted. So the Canary and Linnet pub provides four runs. The Carpenters Arms would have been no runs but the sign depicted two 'carpenters' holding up the arms so this was four runs. A church with a spire means that you are 'out' and the next passenger starts spotting to score. Due to the lack of pubs these days, windmills were substituted as three runs. Playing Pub and Church Cricket, Gracie reading the names of places on the Sat-Nav and handing out the mints, we were soon over Sutton Bridge and into Norfolk (According to Gracie the Bridge counted as fifty runs and brought her score to 367 not out). I stopped at the services at Swaffham, where Ellie realised what crap service we actually got from eateries at home. While Grace and Ellie went into McDonald's I sat outside with the dogs, the staff offering to bring my food outside while the ladies sat in comfort. Fed and watered we got underway again. As we drove along Gracie got more and more excited as I pointed out landmarks that were increasingly boat related. Down the new Broadland bypass, turn right for Wroxham and over the bridge and a 'wow' from Gracie as she saw the busy river and the boats. We stopped at Norfolk Marine to buy Gracie her life jacket. We were pleasantly surprised expecting a price tag of £50 plus to be asked for £25. While I waited with the 'beagle boys' Ellie and Gracie popped to Roy's for some last minute shopping. “They should call it rob-dog Roy's” Grace announced upon her return to the car clutching a new 'word search' puzzle book. “It's ever so expensive!” there's still no fooling Gracie. On our way again and we finally arrived at Stalham. Gracie was incredibly excited. The first job at the wet shed was to take the 'boys' for a well-earned wee. So Ellie, Gracie and I walked down the footpath behind the sheds while the boys stretched their legs. Back at the wet shed, I stopped by the two wrecked day launches parked on barrels outside. Gracie's face was a picture when she thought fleetingly that one of them was Royal Tudor. Just inside the shed, Dave (Janet Anne) was varnishing Uncle Mike's boat Chameleon. We made our way around the jetty until we, at last, reached Royal Tudor. Gracie was full of gasps and wonder and finally delight. It was love at first sight! While Ellie and Grace pottered around exploring RT, putting away the groceries and starting to clean, Dave and I did some catching up and waited for the chance to sort out the stern gland grease. We found this had already been done so Grace and I made a run to Tesco for last minute bits too expensive in Roy's, like beer, wine and batteries for Gracie's night light. In Tesco, Gracie looked thoughtful. “No, he's not a pirate.” “Who?” I asked her. “Dave. He might look like a pirate, but he's too nice to be a pirate. Besides, he doesn't have a wooden leg or a parrot!” “Ah!” Did I mention there's no fooling Gracie? At last with Royal Tudor fully provisioned and with the day waning rapidly, I made final preparations to get underway. By this time I was getting quite rushed, hot and bothered. I dropped RT's cockpit, took away her connection to shore power, started her engine, let loose the warps and we nosed out of the shed! Flags flying we made our way out onto the river and Gracie was elated! It wasn't long before she was acting as 'lookout' spotting birds and boats. As the river widened Gracie was even more amazed. “It's the first time I've ever been on a boat on a big river!” Gracie exclaimed. I was waiting for the look on her face when we reached the expanse of Barton Broad. As we made our way out onto the broad Gracie gasped. Both Barton Broad and Gracie's face were shimmering in the evening sunshine. What a glorious, glorious sight to see! “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”. Part Two soon!
  4. 24 points
    Travelling any distance took planning. It wasn't like it is now. I can get in my car today and be anywhere on the Broads in around three hours and a single tank of fuel completes the 360 mile round trip twice. If I don't have enough fuel I'll pass at least six filling stations in the first ten miles or so from home. In the early 70's we didn't pass that many garages on the whole journey, and they opened “office” hours. Saturday morning if you were lucky, never on a Sunday. A full tank would just get us to Oulton Broad with enough leeway. Three hours was a pipe dream, the journey took six on a good day, on a bad one it could take eight. There were no “improvements” on the A47 in those days. No dual carriageways, no crawler lanes, no straightened sections. The climb up Rutland's Wardley Hill could be murderous. Lorries laden with coal and gravel from the mines and quarries of Leicestershire could make no more than walking pace up the narrow, serpentine three mile ascent. The road passed through every town and village on the route, bypass was a word still alien to our language. Every village had it's crossroads, towns had traffic lights. Travelling was stop start, stop start. There were motorways, the M1 had opened some years earlier but mother would never use it and no motorway went anywhere near Norfolk. At least some things never change. For us, the adventure began on Friday afternoon. It was straight home from school and into the back of the car. The first car I remember was a brand new Ford Escort 1100L 2 door saloon, hired from our local Ford dealership and nicknamed “Silver Fox” after it's paint colour. Two adults in the front, three kids in the back and a rather portly and often flatulent dog in the back window. A boot full of everything but the kitchen sink and a roof rack on top with father's vast array of fishing tackle. All that and the grand total of 40 horsepower. Even when you found a bit of “open road” progress was never rapid. I often wondered if mother, who was the driver in our family, father never learned, was grateful to those lorries on Wardley Hill as I doubt we could have gone much quicker if they were not there! The first point of note on the journey, for me at least was Peterborough. Dad's parents came from Rutland and he had family across the county and through Northamptonshire and so we visited those places quite regularly. Mum would borrow her sister's Mk I Cortina to take dad fishing with a visit to his parents afterwards. Many a Saturday afternoon was spent at the tea table in Nana's dining room watching the Wrestling on World Of Sport on their second, yes second TV. The one in the lounge was even colour! Peterborough was different though. We never came this far other than this one time each year when we were going on holiday. This was the start of foreign territory. Exotic began here. The next place of interest was the small village of Thorney and fish and chips for supper. Well a bag of chips between the three of us kids anyway, I told you times were hard. A bottle of Corona Limeade washed them down, that being dad's favourite. We would wait until the pop was gone so dad could return the bottle and get the thruppence back on the empty before resuming our travels eastward. The reason for our Friday departure was the content of the roof rack, the fishing tackle. Dad would never pass a river, lake, pond or even muddy ditch without wondering what he could catch from it. He was a keen angler, more than keen even. He was an international match angler, fishing alongside the likes of Ivan Marks and Roy Marlow in an era when the top anglers didn't need make up, lights or sound engineers. One of the many clubs or associations he belonged to held fishing rights on the Rivers Welland and Great Ouse and the drains of the Middle Level so once we reached Wisbech we turned off the A47 and followed the A1101 through the pretty village of Outwell and to our destination for the night, Salter's Lode. Dad's aim was always to be set up and ready to fish before darkness fell and would fish through the night with the aid of his faithful “tilley” lamp. I was a great disappointment to my father. After two daughters he was delighted to finally have a son to share his passion for fishing and shooting but that wasn't the way I was wired. He would drag me along the bank and show me how he was setting up, how he was going to fish and what, hopefully, he was going to catch. I watched with feigned interest but mercifully was considered too young to spend all night on the river bank and so for me it was back to the car to bed down for what sleep we might manage. Mother would have the thermos out and tea made, all the good things in life seemed to be accompanied by a thermos flask. Meanwhile my sisters would walk the dog along the riverbank allowing for his night time ablutions. And so to “bed” dear reader. My eldest sister would claim the passenger seat due to the hierarchy of age leaving me and “middle sister” to fight over the rear bench seat. We always had pillows and blankets in the car so we could get reasonably comfortable. We watched the deepening black of the sky as sleep came slowly to us. And then the dog farted.
  5. 21 points
    Let's start a thread about all the wonderful things the Broads has to offer, the happy times we've all experienced, the help and support we all offer each other because we have the Broads and boating in our blood, two things we all definitely have in common Romantic times like when Jay and I sat on the bow of the boat late at night cuddled under a duvet having a glass of wine, watching the stars and listening to the water The helpful people like my Dad who once helped an elderly couple (novices) who were terrified, he climbed aboard with permission and took them back to the boat yard for extra tuition. I'm sure we've all helped someone out at some point or been on the receiving end of a helpful hand It's not all crashes, bumps and drunks Don't forget all the friendly waves as boats pass each other whether private, hire or even one of those ruddy flappy things The gorgeous pubs you can visit along the way for a few drinks or a bite to eat and not forgetting the absolutely beautiful scenery along the way too. It's summer time, here's to happy boating everyone Jay and I are kayaking soon, god help the lot of you Grace
  6. 21 points
    So here we are again. Back aboard Swan Reflection 1. I’m posting from my phone courtesy of Richardson’s on board wi-fi so these posts may be brief! Good journey up from Essex. Nice lunch in Bridgestone’s Tea Rooms in Potter Heigham. Very good handover from a nice polite young man and out of the yard by 2. Very quiet cruise down to How Hill. Turned around and went back to moor at Irstead. Hurray! Finally I have managed to get on the staithe here! Took a walk to look round the church then on to the Boardwalk for a lovely peaceful look at Barton Broad. Beautiful even on a grey day. Now back on board with the heating on having a very quiet evening.
  7. 19 points
  8. 19 points
    hi, finally managed to buy the boat my wife fell in love with, at last we are back on the water, lovely mooring at Acle all sorted, thanks to everyone who's advice i duly ignored, thanks anyway. its 32 feet long 12'3" wide single volvo penta diesel (2.0 litre austin montego engine) or perkins prima. we love it!!
  9. 18 points
    Finally, at last, and those that know will tell you there were times we thought this would never happen. Then again it's all part of the ritual that is wooden boat ownership. Just got to finish the 200 or so little jobs that crave my attention, like fit the galley
  10. 18 points
    James Knight is a district counsellor. South Norfolk Council have appointed him as a full member of the Broads Authority I bet his high and mightiness is spitting feathers Griff
  11. 18 points
    Not a wedding anniversary or anything like that, but 46 years ago today, Doreen and I hired our first boat on the Broads, Sanderling No4 from Sandersons in Reedham. I remember it cost £29 plus the extras. We had never been to Norfolk before, let alone hired a boat so this was something completely new to us. Infact this was 18 months after we met and Doreen still lived in London at the time. To be honest, I just regarded it as a love-nest which was far from the madding crowd, well parents and nosey brothers anyway. We both loved it, probably for the uninterrupted time we had together, not to mention the new adventure we were on. It was so memorable I can still remember the "itinerary", which I have detailed below. Later that year Doreen asked if I would like her to buy me a new swish radio/record player for Christmas, but I declined and asked instead for a second week on the Broads, in November aboard Santa Lucia from Harvey Eastwood in Brundall. much better present! That was the start of the "addiction". It's funny how things get into your blood. The Broads has played a big part in my life, not just holidaying but working as well. Yet some people go once then never go again, or perhaps leave it for another 10 to 20 years. Saturday 3rd March. Reedham to Yarmouth Yacht Station We arrived at Reedham Station around 2pm thinking there would be a queue of taxis to take us to Sandersons. No such thing. It really did feel as though we have got off a train in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully someone gave us a lift down to the riverside. The 20ft Sanderling looked huge as we pulled up. I had read about the tides at Yarmouth and to be careful and as luck would have it, low water was at 4.15pm (about) so we arrived without mishap. I always think it's because we did Breydon etc on that first trip, that the fear you hear other people have of crossing over, never bothers me now. I can remember we went into the White Swan on the quayside for our night and there was a darts match on so it was packed out. It was a good night and we partook of the sandwiches and pork pies which were offered free of charge! Sunday Yarmouth to Wroxham We moored outside the Kings Head so we must have gone under Wroxham Bridge, though I don't remember that. Monday Wroxham to Neatishead. I can remember cruising down Lime Kiln Dyke standing with my head out of the canvas hatch above the wheelhouse, holding an umbrella above me. There were passing boats, even in March and quite a few laughed at that sight. Tuesday Neatishead to Acle (ended up at Upton Dyke) I have told the story before of how we ran out of daylight, mis-turned up the Thurne when heading for Acle, before turning around at Thurne Dyke and coming to a halt at Upton in the driving wind and rain - no mooring posts so rhond anchors. What a miserable night that was! Wednesday Upton to Oulton Broad Yacht Station There were no dramas crossing Breydon. I do remember arriving at Oulton Broad Y.S and seeing that two houseboats had been moored against the quayside. I asked one of the attendants where we could moor and he said at the floating jetty. We did so and I can recall accidentally dropping my earlier mentioned umbrella into the water and it disappearing into the depths when we were returning from a night at The Lady of the Lake, I think it was. Despite fishing for it with the boat hook and the fact that it was still erect when it went in, I could not retrieve it. It could still be there if anyone is short of a brolly! Thursday Oulton Broad to Brundall We moored outside the Riverside Stores which used to be at the head of the dyke leading to Brooms basin. I remember plenty of other hire boats there at the time. We spent the evening in the Yare Inn, which looked nothing like it does now. It was still big with two bars. We occupied the tap room/public bar or whatever it's called as that was where the jukebox was. I remember we had chicken in a basket with chips - one of the few meals we could afford to eat out. Friday Brundall to Loddon to Reedham We just went down the Chet to see what Loddon was like, spending a few hours there before returning to Reedham where we moored at Sanderson's yard. Cannot remember much about this day. Saturday Reedham - Home. Just to say that traveling by train, as many other people did at that time, involved changing trains at Norwich and Peterborough to get home to Leeds.
  12. 18 points
    Sunday 3rdFebruary We were awake by about 06:00 on Sunday morning – I’m usually up at about 04:30 and the wife by about 05:00 during the week, so sleeping in is unusual for us both. I got up, put the kettle and immersion heater on and peered out of the windows. It was a cold, frosty morning and the sky was clear, so hopeful of a photo-worthy sunrise, I pulled some clothes on, readied my camera and waited to see what developed. Debbie had taken Harley for a walk, leaving me to my own devices and as the sun rose above the horizon, I ventured outside, being extremely careful not to slip on the icy decks. The river was still as I wandered about, snapping happily away, until the first of many rowers passed by. The rising sun was casting some interesting light over the trees on the far side of the river and additional digital images were committed to memory card. The wife and the dog returned and went inside to warm up and I followed shortly after. We had breakfast of buttered crumpets and tea, before taking it in turns to shower and dress, ready for the day. I suppose it must have been around 09:30 when we started Moonlight Shadow’s engine and cast off, heading for Norwich. There were plenty of others on the river as we headed up the Yare, but only kayakers and rowers. The journey was uneventful and we cruised slowly into the ‘Fine City’, or it was until we reached the bridge at the Yacht Station. Unbeknown to me, there was an angling competition in progress that morning. I moved as far too the left hand side of the river as I could, trying to avoid the branches of the weeping willows as I went and headed very slowly past them. I hope I didn’t cause too many issues, though. We moored at the far end, between Pulls Ferry and Bishops Bridge and readied ourselves for the walk into town. It was a cold, crisp winter morning and even with the sun shining down, the pavements were still slippery from the overnight frost. Taking our usual route along the Riverside Walk and turning towards the Cathedral behind Pulls Ferry, we made our way carefully there. I wasn’t intending to go into the cathedral on this visit, but had a quick wander around the cloisters, and entered the building near the copper font and was greeted by the sound of the magnificent organ, still being played after the morning service had ended. I had a quick mooch round before going back outside to re-join the wife, who was decidedly put out by the fact that the bench she usually waited on, by the Edith Cavell memorial had been taken away. There were a couple of photographers with heavy duty telephoto lenses mounted on tripods aimed at the spire, so I wandered across to have a quick chat. It turned out that the Peregrines were out, taking in the sun. I chided myself for not taking my long telephoto with me, but took a few shots with my zoom compact camera, which does have a long telephoto lens (without resorting to digital zoom) and had to satisfy myself with the results. We carried on into the town, stopping at Greggs for some cakes (and a couple of sausage rolls – well it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it) before heading for Tesco. The city streets were busy with shoppers and several buskers, some of whom were very good, were playing in various locations. Shopping done, we sauntered back to Moonlight Shadow, retracing our steps past the Cathedral, along Riverside Walk and back over Bishops Bridge. I stopped to take a few pictures of the Cathedral, across the deserted school sports field, looking magnificent in the winter sun. Debbie made some rolls for lunch, with some ham bought from Tesco and we cast off, heading for our overnight moorings at The Ferry House, Surlingham, via the boatyard for water. It was a pleasant cruise back along the Wensum and Yare, with no anglers remaining at the Yacht Station to deal with. We chugged back to the kiosk at Brooms for water, only to find that the hose had been turned off. A sign indicated that water was available near the boat hoist, so we carefully passed the expensive craft that were moored nearby and manoeuvred close to the hose to top up with water, before heading the short distance back to the Ferry House to moor. I had booked the mooring earlier and had been told that it would be okay to moor side on, where there is usually only stern on mooring allowed and connected to the electric post. There was a substantial amount of credit on it, for which we were grateful. It was only then that I spotted a water hose at the pub, at the opposite side of the seating area and later, when we went in for our meal, I checked how much they charged to use it and was told it is free to patrons. A point well worth remembering. I set up the aerial and we watched TV for a while, before I went out to take a few photos of the setting sun. Dinner was booked for 19:00 and as ever, lived up to expectations – a warm welcome in a cosy pub and great value food. With the meal over, we left the warmth of the bar to take Harley along the lane to the village, before returning to the boat for the night. We watched Vera on TV, before making a hot drink and retiring to bed at about 22:30.
  13. 17 points
    Beautiful sunrise over the early morning mist on the water.
  14. 17 points
    I have used my drone to take images of 11 points on the Broads over the last 12 months and have posted some of them on here as part of my holiday tales. I have managed to get some more stills from the video produced and together with the originals, you can see 61 images on a carousel linked below on a web page on my site. The originals are now orientated better and in some cases enhanced where they were either too dark or too light. Each location is taken from separate pages on my website so not all are captioned on this one long rolling carousel, which is not for general public viewing. To stop on a particular image, just hold your mouse over it. Needless to say, they are best viewed on a laptop, tablet or PC. The link: https://www.norfolkbroadsboathire.biz/map_viewer.asp
  15. 17 points
    Monday 4thFebruary We woke on Monday morning to a pretty miserable day. It was raining and the wind was quite strong. The wife pulled on some clothes and took the dog for her walk and I turned on the immersion heater and kettle. I made a cuppa and looked out of the window. What a difference from the sunrise the previous day. Debbie soon returned, rather disgruntled. She had somehow turned the wrong way just as a particularly strong gust of wind had blown up, which had inverted her favourite umbrella. I was obviously concerned, or tried to sound it, however the thought of attempting to remove what was left of it from a sensitive part of my anatomy curtailed my chuckles!! We had toast and marmalade for breakfast and once again, took it in turn to get showered and dressed. Before casting off, we topped up with water, using the hose at the pub. My intended destination was Oulton Broad, so we headed back through Brundall and along the Yare. The wind was blowing quite hard and the wiper on MS proved absolutely useless in clearing sufficient of the screen to see clearly the river ahead. Still, it wasn’t exactly busy – I think we only saw one other boat between there and Reedham, which was deserted as we cruised through. I turned down the New Cut. Anyone who thinks the Bure between Stracey Arms and Yarmouth is monotonous, needs to go along the New Cut which really is monotonous! It was already lunchtime, so Debbie heated some soup, which went down well with a couple of slices of bread and butter. As we turned onto the Waveney from the New Cut, the weather began to improve a little. The wind had dropped slightly and the rain had eased. We easily passed under the bridge at Somerleyton and still hadn’t seen another boat on the river since much earlier in the day. Debbie put down her cross- stitch, which had kept her engrossed for much of the journey and stood near the helm, watching out of the window. She pointed to a shape swimming, ahead and to the port side, thinking it was an otter as we approached the turn into Oulton Dyke. By the time I looked where she was pointing, it had disappeared, but it resurfaced again and I saw it was a seal. I slowed down and we travelled side by side along the dyke until the river turned sharp left at the entrance to the Broad and managed to snatch a few photos as it surfaced and dove back down again. And that proved to be the only excitement of the day, really. We chugged across the Broad and found our mooring on the outside of the pontoon that we had reserved by phone earlier in the day. With the boat secured, I set up the aerial and we watched TV for a while. By then, the weather had calmed down considerably and it had turned into a pleasant evening. The sun began to set and I went for a walk with my camera whist the wife took Harley for her evening walk. It was soon dark, so the oven went on to prepare dinner and we enjoyed a glass or two of wine whilst we waited and another glass or two as we ate. Such decadence!! With the resulting washing up done, we settled down to watch TV until it was time for bed. Granted, the weather had been inclement, but in reality we had relaxed and enjoyed the surroundings, which is what it’s all about when you’re on the Broads.
  16. 17 points
    Before the next instalment I should like to congratulate those who have made it this far. If you stick around a little longer then I promise that my Hinge and Bracketesque "random jottings" will begin to encompass the Norfolk Broads, especially Oulton Broad and the Waveney Valley as seen through the eyes of a schoolboy. I'm writing this as I go along, and although it's all in my head somewhere, finding certain bits of it takes a little longer than it once did. Please forgive me if the interlude between instalments is sometimes a little longer than would be polite. If you are expecting a new edition of Swallows and Amazons then accept my apologies now and return to your daily life before I cheat you of time irrecoverable. Our adventures were, in hindsight somewhat more mundane. There will be no mysterious castings off to investigate, no tales of derring-do as we attempt to evade the attentions of hullabaloos, though, as you will see, Arthur Ransome had a big influence upon us. I woke early this morning, as I always do, if you can call it waking. Sleep is a luxury mostly denied to me now. Days are punctuated by brief periods of restless recumberance, itself perforated by nocturnal wanderings between bedroom and bathroom. Titter not, you will find out what I mean one day. My early rising did however afford me a glorious sunrise this morning. Firstly, as I always do, I checked that I was still breathing, I consider that my main goal in life. Each day that I can "tick that box" is one more minor victory. Another night successfully negotiated. Was it Edgar Allan Poe who said "Sleep, those little slices of death. How I loathe them? There would be little for him to loathe in my nightly routine. Last night was clear and crisp, very crisp in fact. The garden was icy this morning, shining bright silver in the half light which all too briefly perforates night and day. Standing in the sack yard on top of the old "coal hole" puffing away on the "e-cig" gadget which some years ago replaced the Woodbines I stood and watched the first promise of the day to come as the sun rose between the two plane trees at the bottom of the orchard. It was quite a Stonehenge moment. It was about then that I decided to pen this minor interlude. Originally it was my plan simply to divest myself of each episode as and when they became available, inflicting them upon an unsuspecting world through the vessel of your wonderful site, without comment or explanation. This morning I changed my mind. I do that a lot just lately. So at this point I would issue a word of warning. Some of what I write, if not much of it really happened. "The stories are real, the people are real", oh golly, too much daytime TV me thinks. To that end the names have been changed, what do they say, to protect the innocent? On this occasion it's perhaps more a case of protecting the guilty, but either way changed they have been. I have watched this site for many years, awaiting the moment when it seemed germane to dump this diatribe upon you all and I am aware that there are those amongst us who will know the area and the time, and perhaps some of the people in my story. One or two here I may well have met during the period covered. I would ask that if anything thing, or anyone seems familiar then ignore that familiarity and just go with the story. It will all make sense in the end. Sense? Who am I kidding, but stick around, nonetheless. Finally I should like to issue two apologies. Firstly for the somewhat coarse manner in which I ended the previous episode. A vulgar and unpleasant word however you didn't know the dog. No more polite descriptor adequately portrays the vehemence of the flatulent pyrotechnics of which that animal was capable. And secondly? Please excuse any errors of logography, my grammar and spelling are not what they might be. Occasionally I may invent word which doesn't, but which in my head should exist, hopefully it's meaning will be clear by the context in which it sits. All my life I have been a little dysexlic, though I try not to let it show.
  17. 17 points
    Just to let you all know that today I forwarded £1000.00 in cheques to the Neuro Care Charity in Sheffield from family and friends in memory of Tan. Regards Alan
  18. 16 points
    I am setting off to the Broads in the next 10 minutes until the 7th May, if you see Ranworth Breeze on the southern rivers give me a wave, I will be flying the NBN burgee (yours for a modest price, please see the shop details). If you see me moored up pop over for a chat. Regards Alan
  19. 16 points
    A late start to work today so had the girls out for a walk around Salhouse broad. I thought it would be fairly busy as it’s half term but lovely and peaceful. The calm before the storm in a few weeks. John
  20. 16 points
    Someone who knows which way round a boat should be when going under a bridge. :-)
  21. 15 points
    Well, we arrived at Richardsons boatyard at 1pm on Friday 28th June via taxi from Norwich airport (Goldstar taxis, thankyou Robin). Swan Rapture was ready to go and Richardson's staff were super efficient. First impressions of the boat? She is a little frayed around the edges but well fitted out and very comfortable. I don't think i have ever had a more responsive helm. A joy to drive. First night at Ludham Bridge. A bit of a shaky first mooring but we made it ( with a bit of bow thrusters) then an evening at the Dog Inn. Saturday morning found us at Womack Staithe (we love that place) and then on to Ranworth for a special family occasion tomorrow. Evening meal at the Maltsters (steak and kidney suet pudding, or a well disguised mudweight). Now for an evening fish and a good red wine. So far the fishing has been high in quantity but a tad low in quality, apart from a huge eel which would have brought a pretty price gack home. I have my NBN stickers on my windows but my attempts to fly my New Zealand flag have come to nought. We are here for almost three weeks so give us a wave if you see us or say hello. So glad to be back. Chris.
  22. 15 points
  23. 15 points
    I still ain't deaded! Although it does seem that there's an ongoing plot or at the very least a concerted effort to rectify that situation! You know there is a theory that dogs start to look like their owners or the owner starts to look like their dog? Well Dylan the starboard beagle, he who sniffs out strokes and heart attacks in me...has been very poorly indeed. He started having seizures several months ago now. He was being monitored, we had barbiturates to use should a seizure last for too long. Sadly he had a seizure during the night. I was woken by the sound of my little lad banging his head against the wardrobe. I had no idea of how long his episode had lasted. He came out of it quite quickly once I got to his side. Unfortunately, he suffered some brain damage in the process. He is recovering well, now on medication daily with additives in his food...he eats better than I do. So we are now left in the position where both master and dog walk with a limp, both of us have a slight sag to our faces, both of us have discovered a childish streak...I tend to laugh and joke, Dylan has rediscovered the joys of playing like a puppy. Meanwhile, Toby has taken to looking after us both. This means that Toby, who snores louder than Uncle Albert ever did, has taken to sleeping curled up on my pillow at night. Last night I was woken by Dylan pawing at my face and then he pawed at Toby who was fast asleep and snoring loudly. When I shook Toby awake, Dylan dived back into bed and went to sleep. As did Toby...and resumed snoring. I got up knowing I would have no chance at sleep now as both port and starboard beagles started sawing logs! As many of you will know, history is a passion of mine. Time recuperating from the latest bout of pneumonia has been spent researching the history of another passion of mine perfume. To be exact, a 3000 square yard area of London and the perfumers that lived and worked there. During my research, I have discovered a new joy in life. The assorted diaries of 17th and 18th-century inhabitants and visitors to London. I started with the diaries of Pepys, moved onto those of Evelyn and I'm now busily chasing down some 300 unpublished diaries held in county records offices. It's fascinating. Better than any soap opera, far better than Game of Thrones. Talking of things fragrance and perfume my collection has been rapidly growing. It seems almost daily that new fragrances arrive. Every week we sit down for an hour and catalogue new arrivals into what will remain in the collection, what will go into storage and what will be donated to the various charities we support. The photo below is somewhat out of date. The latest additions to my collection are from Atkinson's a company started in London in 1799. 'Pirates Grand Reserve' is one of my favourites of theirs, rum, coffee and spices! I'm looking forward to getting out on RT in the next week. Ellie has been dangling a week's cruising with her and our granddaughter Gracie like a carrot to get me to behave and get well. I'm really looking forward to it as it will be Gracie's first visit to The Broads. I want to make it as special as my Mum did for my first visit. So Pirates ahoy! Treasure maps and exploring and fun and stories and...just everything Norfolk Broads and boating! Grace has already decided that I am 'Big Captain' and she is 'Little Captain'. She tells me I'm in charge of steering the boat she is in charge of 'solving clues and beagles'. Grandma is 'in charge of everything else when the boat stops moving'. Grace is looking forward to buying her lifejacket. Please let there be a light blue lifejacket for sale in her size! I don't know who is more excited. Grace or me? Once I'm feeling a bit better I will be starting work on the new curved roof beams for RT's cockpit. I will see how the first one goes before trying to make all four at the same time! Hopefully, I can get the new canopy on RT before the Beccles Wooden Boat Show this year! I have a list of jobs that need doing and will tackle them one by one...with one hell of a lot of guidance! So...I still ain't deaded and neither is the beagle and we are both looking forward to catching up with everyone on the water over this next year!
  24. 15 points
    We have recently completed our bi-annual AMP for 'B.A' (Assisted Maintenance Period). First time we have use Sutton Staithe Boatyard and their services for this regular event We arrived at their slipway on Friday morning 5th April as previously arranged. After a short delay, 'B.A' was safely on blocks / chocks inside their shed. Work commenced. They launched us on Mon 15th early afternoon as previously agreed. During our stay, we made use of the workshop / facilities on regular 12 x Hr days sometimes longer. We were aware that this is a working yard / business and wanted to keep any disruption down to a minimum. I would just like to state how impressed we were with Robert and his team. When we did have questions or requests or needed advice - Nothing was too much trouble for them. They treated us with a jovial manner and certainly made us feel welcome and not in the way at all. We assisted with the general customer enquiries and yard running as and when we had the opportunity to do so. I was impressed just how well organised they are. Craft turned up at allocated times, were out in a jiffy onto the hard standing, immediately pressure washed and acid cleaned if required, checked over anti-fouled and back in the water, sometimes on the same day! They carry out all manner of boat repairs / maintenance. They also offer pump out and diesel sales in the slipway along with day boats / canoes for hire. The slipway is also available for customers to launch their own craft too. So - I whole heartedly recommend Sutton Staithe Boatyard to anyone requiring work done on their boats. Our agreement was of course on a DIY basis. This facility is not normally available to owners especially inside the shed / workshop We had to seek special permission way in advance with insurance policy's to cover us in the workshop with written prior agreements for us to be able to use their facilities, third party liability and the like, it is not normally a service offered. Robert does offer outside hard-standing and is hoping to be able to offer in the future a tent affair. Would we use them again in two years? - Most definitely yes and I hope so. Griff
  25. 15 points
    Home again ... we hadn't been on the road for long this morning when I wished that I was out of the traffic and back on the boat! And it always seems so funny that in ten minutes you drive along from Stalham, past Sutton and on through Potter Heigham whereas we all know how long that journey is by boat! Anyway ... time for some Reflections on Reflection ... The Boat - Swan Reflection is still a great boat to hire. Compact at 31 feet it is a little tight for space on board but ideal for a couple especially if you haven't got much experience. Plus it warms up quickly once you get the heating on. Great to steer - you can set the revs, set the steering and it will go in a straight line for as long as you need until you reach the next bend in the river. Comfortable bed, the seating has been re-upholstered at some point, decent size fridge and ice box plus a gas cooker as well as a microwave. Electric flushing toilet which does use a fair amount of water but is a nice little luxury! I would always highly recommend this boat. The Yard - We had only hired from Richardson's once before and that was at a busier time. It still feels like a holiday camp kind of check-in to me but the system works well. The staff were all very friendly and the young lad who did our handover and refuelled us this morning, was great. He asked how our week had been, asked if there were any problems with the boat and wished us a safe journey home. That counts for a lot with me and we would definitely go back. The Food - Always a highlight of my holiday because we don't eat out much at home and it's a treat not to be cooking. The Sutton Staithe Hotel was first class, Bridgestone's Tea Rooms in Potter Heigham was excellent, the New Inn was great value and good food as always. The Swan Inn was my least favourite, good service but overpriced and not as good food as everywhere else. That's just my personal opinion based on the meals we had on the days we dined in each of these establishments. Incidentally the Staithe & Willow in Horning was closed and looks to me as if it has just been sold from something I saw on a property website. The Wildlife - there was a lot of life in the wildlife ... if you know what I mean. Plenty of birds flying around in pairs. ;) But what a delight to see an otter and to see a good number of kingfishers around Irstead. Plus the sound of the owls in the trees after dark was amazing ... I don't get that living here in the city. The Firsts - I always like to try to tick some items off my "still to do" list. This week we moored at Irstead, we went right down Lime Kiln Dyke, and we moored on the public staithe in Horning. That was good enough for me. All About March - Finally my thoughts on hiring in March as this was only the second time that we have been out this early in the season. Don't forget that even if it is going to be mild for the time of year, you are not at home in your double glazed centrally heated house. So for me it is always going to be cold and my thermals were required every day! We had one sunny day, the rest was overcast and grey but it was dry although the breeze picked up on our last day. No bright sunny frosty mornings but I'll take that over wind and rain and ice. But best of all was the ability to choose where to moor at any time of day and be almost certain you wouldn't have any problems. We were completely on our own overnight at Irstead, Womack Water and Paddy's Lane. And it would have been a full set if someone else hadn't turned up when it was getting dark at Cockshoot Broad. The photos through the week were from my phone so below are just a few off my camera. There will be a video as soon as I get time to put things together.
  26. 15 points
    It would have been Iain's 70th today. I miss my dear old friend deeply.
  27. 15 points
    Ranworth Breeze was lifted today for its Winter Service, it is currently in the old BMS workshop now run by NYA. Currently the boat is being compounded & polished to highlight any gelcoat repairs that need doing and the bathing platform rubbers are being replaced. A powered winch is being fitted and the heating replaced because of cracks in the heating casting made it too costly to repair. Regards Alan
  28. 14 points
    yes I have joined the ranks of wooden boat owners, now dont start worrying, I will still be hiring as its only a little pram dinghy, it came complete with a seagull featherlite outboard, so will enable me to potter around those areas that would otherwise not be accessible, one of the sides needs reattaching to the seat, but its transportable on top of my car, and storeable in the garden.
  29. 14 points
    Went out at silly a.m to catch the early morning light yesterday on Lady Emma. A nice cruise from Acle to Womack and back. EY7P4857 by Jeff Cranwell, on Flickr EY7P4843 by Jeff Cranwell, on Flickr EY7P4895 by Jeff Cranwell, on Flickr EY7P4963 by Jeff Cranwell, on Flickr EY7P4981 by Jeff Cranwell, on Flickr
  30. 14 points
    Well, it has taken long enough but finally here is a video of what Trixie, a 24ft Sheerline Aft Cockpit from 1992 is like. I rather like her, cosy, warm and 'cute' with everything you need albeit in a very small space. These boats come on the market every now and then, and vary a lot with internal fit-out, some have a fridge in the cockpit area, freeing up space down below for more cupboards, others have a more open plan layout but they make ideal boats for a couple and can get into moorings others cannot. Cheaper to moor, insure and toll I think they work well and have aged well too.
  31. 14 points
    Some of what you said there Robin really made me laugh, whilst other bits made me quite sad. Ok, firstly Top tip, Treat it like a stylus and a touch sensitive screen. The pencil and paper is an old system but with practice you can get quite good at it. Hmmm, yes,,, small talk... Some people find this concept difficult to grasp so permit me to offer a quick explanation. Talking (of any size) used to be the way people related to each other before the days of computers. In the olden days people used to survive having telephones that you had to speak into, most of these were attached to a network by wire and had to be left at home. This required people to have to go to places, meet other people and speak to them. This of course suffered the disadvantages of not having emoticons to explain themselves and frequently catching colds from each other. In the enlightened days we are now in, we can converse with people without actually having to meet them and one day, if we are very lucky, we might be able to go through our entire lives without meeting or speaking to anyone. The answer for that embarrassing question all children eventually ask "Daddy, where do I come from?" will in future be far more straight forwards. "Amazon" We're doomed, we're all doomed.
  32. 14 points
    Saturday usually began at or just after first light. The trusty “torpedo” camping stove came out and the first thing on was the kettle. Whilst the girls walked the dog, named Sandy who was a basenji, for those who have asked, I was despatched to tell father that the kettle was on. This was an implied instruction from mother that it was time he was packing up. Tell your mother I'll have one more cast was the invariable reply as I was press ganged into service as a donkey, carrying the little bits and pieces like his net bag whilst he catapulted the last of his ground bait into the river and packed his basket and rod bag. I noted that more often than not his nets were dry. He was good my dad, at fishing at least, but he never seemed to do much on the Old Bedford. Once the tea was made a ready prepared frying pan appeared from the boot of the car, full of part cooked sausage and bacon and it was put on the stove to finish off whilst mum sliced and buttered rolls. The reason for our early start was Downham Market, where the A1101 crossed the A10 King's Lynn to London road in the town centre. Nowadays both roads have bypasses, the former to the south of the town, the latter to the east. Mother would be keen to get through Downham before this otherwise sleepy little town awoke to the weekly chores of shopping and such like. East of Downham we turn onto the A134 towards Thetford. With Thetford behind us the greenery of the forest gave way to the rolling greenery of the Waveney Valley as we continue east on the A1066 towards Diss. The arrival in Diss was always met by the regurgitation of many, generations old jokes. “if this is Diss, where is Dat? And, is this Diss Mere? No it's Dat dare ….” They seemed funny at the time. Of course we loved them because, as much as the familiar landmarks which we passed by, they were waymarkers of our journey. An indication that we were getting close to our destination. At Scole the A1066 crosses the A140 which ran north – south through the centre of the village. This was not quite so bad to cross as other roads as it was a staggered crossroads, left then right. The right turn was easy to miss, and it took dad yelling at mum on one occasion, “turn right there, by the fellow with the blue shirt”. To this day that junction is referred to as “the man with the blue shirt”. From this point onwards the road we travelled is hardly recognisable. East of Scole the 1066 joined the A143, almost completely rebuilt in more recent years along the line of a disused railway. Much of the old road is still in use now numbered the B1062 which winds it way through the village of Brockdish, more age old puns, and then through the pretty village of Harleston where petrol was obtained from a garage straight from the 1930's. The pump was inside the garage window and the delivery pipe hung from a gantry out over the road. You didn't pull in, simply parked on the road outside and would be served with your five gallons of four star. It was there that I remember vividly my mother remarking that the price had reached fifty pence per gallon. I think that would have been during the oil crisis of 1973/4. “Ten bob a gallon, where will it end” she asked? Harleston is bypassed today, as are most of the towns and villages between here and the East Coast, which whilst a blessed relief to residents I have no doubt, is still somewhat of a shame. The road continues to Bungay but before we arrive there is another stop to be made. I grew up in an age where everything had it's season and as a result we looked forward to them. One such item, perhaps the queen of seasonal produce was the Strawberry, it arrived in the shops is June and was gone by September. It was the essence of English summer and it was best enjoyed straight from the field, and that is what we did. Pick your own was not the widespread industry that it is today, it hadn't achieved it's current day status of family day out but there was a large pick your own farm near Earsham and we stopped and filled basket upon basket with large juicy fruits ready to permeate our holidays with pies, flans, scones or at their best with the lightest sprinkling of sugar and lashings of fresh cream. If you have only sampled strawberries from a supermarket then you have never tasted a real strawberry. There is a world of difference between something grown in a field, ripened by the sun and, dare I say it fertilized with horse muck and the bland, watery, pale imitations proffered by Mssrs Sainsbury et al, heavily hybridised varieties bred for yield at the cost of flavour, grown in huge poly tunnels, usually in Spain or Turkey or Egypt and increasingly in India in troughs of water suspended at the perfect height for picking and ripened to order by artificial light. They never see the sun, they never sit in soil and they never develop any flavour. With baskets (and my tummy!) full we climbed back into the car to complete our journey. The final stretch to Oulton Broad. I remember Bungay from my childhood as a colourful, pretty little market town. We passed through the centre of the town and onwards to Beccles. It would soon be time to start searching the horizon for the giant, four legged cranes which in those days stood on the quayside at Lowestoft and could be seen from miles away. With Beccles andWorlingham behind us we joined the A 146 bound for Oulton. Despite many recent improvements, straightening and widening this road largely still travels it's original course, past North Cove and Barnby into Carlton Colville and finally Oulton Broad. Our caravan park was at the end of Marsh Road which turns back sharply from the main road. Today, this left turn is prohibited, a complete circuit of the new roundabout on Saltwater way and a right turn being the preferred manner of entry onto Marsh Road. But in the 1970's a left turn it was, waiting for oncoming traffic to clear and then swinging wide across both lanes and then down by the railway station along the somewhat bumpy lane, past the “new” holiday chalets, Knight's Creek and finally to Camping Boats.
  33. 14 points
    Im the owner of Rafiki that is a windboat tradewind. I saw a picture of her on a thread on this sight about broads boats away from home so Ive joined the network. I bought her in 2007 when she was in windsor. At the time I was looking for the a floating digs and pretty much bought the first boat I saw and liked. She had been on the thames for a few years before I bought her. When I bought her she was in a very reasonable condition. I had no idea about concrete hulls. I didn't really know about boats in general but she had an authentic period feel that I found very attractive. She had all the period features including the original cooker. Since I bought her Ive fallen in love with her. Ive spent a fortune keeping her in a reasonable condition. The woodwork obviously needs constant attention and Ive done full revarnishing every 5 years, Interestingly the hull is amazing. If anyone wants to know how the seacrete has lasted after over 50 I can vouch its incredible. I stripped the hull a few years ago. I started with extreme caution not wanting to damage the hull. But in the end I could chip away at the paint but the hull would never show any marks. After 50 the hull is a solid as the day she was set. Ive now have Rafiki in bristol harbour. Last summer we hired on a boat on the broads and went to Woxham and I wandered into the windboat sheds and spoke to a few of the guys, trying to find out more about Rafiki. I've learned lots but I'd like to know a lot more. If any one has more information about Rafiki, archives or any anicidotes Id love to hear them . Her original number was T395.
  34. 13 points
    Saturday 29th June On this holiday me, hubby Graham, eldest son Harry and dog Seren. Almost two years since we sailed Lustre’s sister-ship Lullaby (see holiday tales July 2017). We did miss sailing last year! We started off around 9am. Had a couple of traffic delays on the way, and also stopped off for coffee at Caxton Gibbet Costas. I had suggested to Graham that we could skip the coffee break and get to Norfolk quicker, so when Harry asked his Dad if we would be stopping off for coffee, he got the response ‘Well I am, but Mum isn’t’. A signal that I’m going to be well and truly teased this week. (More than usual, that is!) We didn’t get to Ludham until almost mid-day. Made a bee-line for Alfresco Tearooms, where we always get a good meal and it's handy that they allow dogs inside as it was too hot to leave Seren in the car. Just a sandwich lunch today, but up to their usual high standard. After lunch I popped into Throwers for some bread and salad ingredients and into the butchers for some BBQ meats and bacon. We got to Hunter’s Yard just after 1pm, (a little early). The reason we had booked Lustre this year was in response to Harry’s discovering that she had been fitted with an ‘electric quant’, i.e. an battery powered ‘Torqeedo’ engine. On our previous holidays with Hunter’s Yard boats we’ve had to quant (use a very long pole to push ourselves along with) when the wind has failed us. There's been quite a lot of controversy about fitting the Torqeedo engines to three of the boats. Some people view it as sacrilege and think Percy Hunter would have been turning in his grave. We thought it was a really good aid though. We had heard that some older sailors had regretfully stopped hiring from Hunter's Yard as they found the manual quanting was too difficult. Hopefully, this will mean that more people will hire these wonderful old boats. The Yard Foreman, Ian, showed us how to use the Torqeedo. I asked whether we should buy some cards for topping up the electric charge (I have some that we bought for our last holiday on a Ferry Marina boat but forgot to bring them with us), but Ian reassured us that they haven’t yet had a battery run-out over a week’s hire. This year we just dumped all out stuff on board without bothering to unpack and got on our way as quickly as possible as we wanted to make sure to get to Potter Heigham for low tide (forecast for 4.50pm). First though, we removed one of the mattresses from forward cabin and put Seren's doggy bed in its place. Whilst Harry and Graham were taking off the awning and readying the boat for setting-off I spotted a small white bird with black markings (possibly a Little Tern?) suddenly drop down into the water of the dyke and fly off with a fish in its beak. The electric quant came into use immediately to get to the area at the end of Hunter’s Yard to set sail, and even after that we used it a little to help us down Womack Dyke, given that a SW wind was blowing down the dyke. We mostly sailed up to and through Potter Heigham, though we did use the engine once or twice when bungalows/trees ‘stole’ our wind. Seren loves it when she's allowed on deck. Mast down, ready for the bridge passage. It was getting on for 4pm by now, and since we had the electric quant, we thought we would go through the bridge without waiting for the turn of the tide. First though, Graham wanted to pop to Latham’s to get a blanket as he’d forgotten to pack the fleece blankets that we usually use to cover furnishings. It wasn’t long before we got on our way again. Harry took us though the bridges on the engine. A lot easier (and quicker) than quanting though manually! Sails back up, we continued with a fair wind up the Thurne and through Candle Dyke. We had thought we’d moor at the Deep-Go-Dyke BA moorings, but they and the Whiteslee mooring were full. We managed to find a space on the Deep Dyke moorings though, near the entrance to Hickling Broad. I put some new potatoes on the boil and Graham fired up the BBQ. We had Ludham butcher’s minted lamb chops and their soy, garlic and ginger chicken skewers with the potatoes and salad for our dinner. Yum! The chicken was especially tasty. We sat with a beer or two enjoying the late evening sunshine until sundown. A beautiful warm and still evening. Can’t believe how lucky we are…the weather has turned so favourably for us, after a fairly rainy June. A few mozzies were starting to come out, so we put the awning up and lit the paraffin lamps as they tend to deter the mozzies. A few other mod-cons have been fitted to the boat since we last sailed with Hunter’s. Some battery lights, fitted to ceiling magnets, fire-alarm and CO alarm. Harry managed to set off the fire alarm by letting his paraffin lamp smoke. We settled down for the night around 10pm, just as the light was failing. Harry and Seren (both in the forward cabin) took a while to settle as there were several flies worrying them. A lot of banging went on for a while as Harry swatted the flies. Seren settled for the night.
  35. 13 points
    Last weekend Broad Ambition got her first real outing since a bunch of work had been done during her bi-annual out of water works. Friday 21st June: Shiela and I would crew up on Friday, cruise to Wroxham in the evening and the following afternoon I was expecting 4 guests to arrive who would be staying onboard until Sunday afternoon, plus possibly 1 or 2 others who were coming for the day. Just as well Broad Ambition is 40ft long, because what actually turned out was including Shiela and I, we had 12 people onboard - 4 of whom were children. Firstly we left Stalham and I helmed, while Shiela did a through clean through - this meant every glass and mug got a wash, all surfaces wipe down, all berths and seating vacuumed - once se gets stuck in if you stand still long enough you will be dusted! Then she mad the beds, then she cleaned all the exterior windows and then she finally got around to sitting down - were passing Salhouse by then! The funny thing is I have not been on the rivers for a good while either, so being on Broad Ambition and not just out for a bit testing a new aerial, or making checks on things was nice. However there was that little issue that I had to get her under Wroxham Bridge and I have not done that for - hmm perhaps 8 or more months and as fate would have it we would be arriving at almost the top of the tide. As we were passing Barnes Brinkcraft I got the binoculars out and spied the height gauge - just on 6' 6" - this was going to be a tad tight. In fact I (and someone else I've since spoken to) now feel the height gauge at Wroxham is very much 'spot on' where for years before it was on the conservative side - a bit like Ludham Bridge's height gauge. Well we went under fine but I'd not want to be going under at what out safe minimum air draft is (6' 4") because I am pretty sure our mast would get crazed. We have a new one, and the 'tear drop' at the top is slightly longer, this causes it to lay slightly higher - just a tad - but let's just say be nice to keep it looking new for as long as possible. Once through the bridge (and hitting my head on one of the chains) it was fenders down and my Bowlady was off doing her things, straight into a very public stern mooring while people sat on their boats sipping wine and beers. Those on Gold Gem must have rolled their eyes when at gone 8:00pm we turn up. Still, we moored up flawlessly, shut down and having put the wheelhouse canopy up was straight off to the Kings Head for food. Now, I am not here to 'bash anywhere' but to have run out of clean wine glasses, and to have produce the food they did was very poor. The veg was the left overs from the carvery - minus being heated up. Long story short we ate half of the food, drunk our drinks and literally headed over to McDonalds. Back onboard we opened up the locker - Shiela's new love I introduced her to is Malibu and Coke, the issue is 'coconut flavored coke' can go down a little too easily lol. We had an early start the following day so it was off to bed pretyt early all things considered. Saturday 22nd June: We had guests coming from London who had never been further than away from the capital than Hatfield so getting them to change trains and get to a little station called Hoveton & Wroxham was not going to be a smooth process, especially when their connecting train broke down and they were sent onward from Norwich in a Taxi. We moved the boat back under Wroxham Bridge to the Hotel, this was a mistake on my part. I did it because I was anxious to be the 'correct side' of the bridge for our little tour we had planned and thought we could all meet in the Hotel, have a drink and introduce everyone and then move to the Boat. However by mid day, it was clear this was peak bridge shooting time and the Pilot had his work cut out. It also meant that everyone who were wanting to go under the bridge would arrive, find the Pilot collection mooring full and then expect their boat to stop and sit like they had stopped a car. The breeze gentle brought them alongside Broad Ambition - a few wise words from me got them on their way without incident, until a 42ft forward steer arrived. It had 5 or 6 chaps onboard, but they were all inside the boat and as they went to move forward it was a case of full throttle, left hand down a bit. The stern and the galvanized steel rubbing strake came right for our stern quarter, doing what you are not meant to, I fended off best I could with my right foot and though they squeezed our fender flat, thankfully the hard edge of the metal avoided our delicate wooden hull. Phew, I thought, where is everyone? Shiela arrives telling me there was a change of plan, we had 4 kids coming, and a couple who had only been together a short time and would be their first outing together with all their kids - oh and nobody had ever been on the Broads before.. Slowly they came, picnic items, booze, bluetooth speakers, cameras you name it - what a scene this was causing outside the Hotel. All aboard I calmed everyone down and spoke about safety and what to and not to do and let Shiela cast off and deal with the ropes and fenders while I spun Broad Ambition around and headed off to Salhouse. We past the big trips boats, numerous day boats who were all behaving themselves, even if they drove as if in a car on the left for a while until they figured why is everyone on the right hand side of the river..The suneshine was glorious, but we had a nice breeze so it was not too hot. We arrived at Salhouse, public stern mooring number 2 complete the kids went exploring in the 'forest', the girls sat on the grass and gossiped and drunk some Pimms and the men talked boats as I showed them the restoration book, and talked through all the upgrades and changes since that had been produced. It was a lovely time to be on the water. A couple of hours later we were back underway to Wroxham to drop our day trippers off - outside the Cafe were several hire boats stern moored, we were almost stern to when we were told we could not moor. Baffled I asked why - dropping off point is down there' came the reply, I said that was the Pilot's moorings, and the reply of "yes" came back. I asked again why we could not moor here - "Dropping off point is down there". Well we could have played this game all day, so I proffered money - ah now we might be able to moor. Simon, a chap I had only met hours before told the chap in no uncertain terms we were not going to negotiate to drop off 4 kids and two adults and we'd head down to the 'dropping off point' for free. So I did. Having dropped off the day trippers it was now 6 onboard and all adults - but not a bit quit - it was party time, though I was 'on duty' so declined in the dancing and drinking too much. Now where were we going to go now? Thurne, Acle? Acle there was bound to be a mooring somewhere - we headed off around 3:45pm from Wroxham. Arriving at Acle I was shocked to find everything taken - the moorings which have been improved along ther grass bank on the Pedro's side, the moorings on the opposite side and of course outside the Bridge Inn. We carried on for Stokesby. Upon arrival, it too was all full. Not good. We spun around and then I hear "Robin..Robin" and a couple on their Alpha 35 were asking if we wished to come alongside them? Oh what a generous offer. I came in against what was now a very fast running current and we tied up. I had never met them, but they had followed me on You Tube for years, and it was a chance to get to talk to me and Shiela. In more recent times I have had some rather unkind comments made among comments on You Tube and Facebook Groups. The amount of people I met and chatted to - and this couple and their kindness made me see what a small minority negative comments and people are, and what the Broads is really about is an open mind, being kind and helpful. The food at the Ferry Inn was not only good value, but first class. Even if there was some oddities like get your own cutlery and sauces, but the staff were great and we all had a lovely evening. We got back to Broad Ambition and the rest of the party went onboard to watch a DVD while I was collared again and spent ages chatting to Mal, a former National Express coach driver and his wife about everything boat..and life..Proper good folks they are. I was pooched and hit my sack, we had to be up and away before 6:30am the following morning as our neighbors were off over Breydon Water with three other boats to catch the early tide - if we were not gone we would be off to Yarmouth too lol. Sunday 23rd June: Another cracking morning, warm and sunny - we were up and underway before 7:00am and made for St. Bennets. When we arrived we got breakfast on the go, very posh it was too - smoked Salmon, toast, scrambled egg, fresh fruits and juices and I had to do nothing but enjoy. After we ate, it was off for a tour of the ruin's and we walked to the Cross. I never knew, or had seen before, the amount of coins - many clearly hammered into the cracks in the wood of the Cross. It was beautiful, and as ever so quiet here. Back onboard we took a slow cruise with everyone having their times on the helm - Mohamed who works for BA driving a tug - moving planes - was able to pick up the delicate art of boat steering as if he had done it all his life, his wife on the other hand had no idea what hand, eye and boat was doing so try as we might it was always a zig zag - the other ladies were as bad, but since Shiela is good and as I now say 'qualified helmsmadam' I cannot be sexist and say women cannot drive boats lol. We arrived at Wroxham in very jovial moods, and once again under the bridge. Dropping off our guests for them to explore Wroxham in their own time before they train, Shiela and I took Broad Ambition back under the bridge and headed for Stalham. It was strangely quiet onboard - but nice to be just us on the rivers and taking out turns at the helm. Back to the Wet Shed, clean through and off for home it all seemed to have gone so quickly.
  36. 13 points
    “Badger hates Society, and invitations, and dinner, and all that sort of thing.” Kenneth Grahame,The Wind in the Willows At home, I have neighbours and acquaintances. Just like badger, I'm not much of a social animal. But the rivers and broads make friends of us all and Grace was more than a little intrigued to discover I knew more people in, on and around The Broads than I did at home. After receiving a royal salute from Vaughan on board his new boat as we left Simpsons boatyard, Gracie was wearing her thoughtful expression. “Timbo?” “Yes?” “Do all of you friends live in Norfolk?” “Not all of them, but a lot do.” “Do they all have boats?” “Some of them do, but not all of them.” “Why do all your friends wear silly hats?” “To stop their heads exploding!” The boat was fuelled, the dogs walked, Dylan and I were medicated and Ellie was still feeling delicate from three glasses of wine and a five thirty wake up call. Potter Heigham would be our destination for Grace to buy gifts for Mummy, Daddy and her baby brother Arlo. So while Ellie went back to her bunk, Captain Gracie and I helmed Royal Tudor down the River Ant. After talking so much about Princess Grace and while my queen is snoozing in the forward cabin I should say something about the majesty that is Royal Tudor. Built in 1960 my grand lady turns sixty next year. Believe it or not, boats do have a personality. To me, RT's personality is somewhere between Margaret Rutherford and Joyce Grenfell with the looks of a young Jean Simmons. It must be well over four years ago since I last helmed Royal Tudor in near solitude. Her time off the water has changed her in some subtle and not so subtle ways. In the past Royal Tudor was deft at manoeuvring, she could turn on a sixpence with the lightest touch of the helm where it takes some effort to turn her wheel now. I'm going to have to take a look at that. In motion RT sets her own pace. There is no hurrying her unless she wants to or she needs to. There is no need for fancy instrumentation, Sat Navs or GPS systems, not that there ever is on the Broads, as the old girl will tell you if you are going too fast. If you take her above a walking pace she will groan and grumble, rattle, creak and complain. Hit the sweet spot, RT will guide you to it, and she glides through the water with barely a murmur. If you need to overtake Royal Tudor, then you are speeding. Having said that, Gracie, Royal Tudor and I took it especially slowly on our trip to Potter Heigham. Plenty of time for me to order my thoughts and reminisce on forty seven years of visiting The Broads. I retrieved the set of folding steps I used in the past for Uncle Albert to disembark and set them up in front of the helm so that Gracie could stand on them to see over the cockpit and reach the wheel. It took us the distance from Stalham to joining the Ant for Grace to master keeping Royal Tudor in a straight line. “I know what to do Timbo, I can do it!” That little girl was fascinated by everything she saw. Trees, birds, wild flowers, stoats, the names and history of the landscape that glided past us. We nosed into Barton Turf so she could see one of our favourites mooring spots and turn the boat. Around The Heater we discussed shields and sword fights. Across Barton we discussed different types of sail boats (I have to learn more), weather patterns, cloud shapes, fish nets and ecology. Gracie helmed RT all the way down the river Ant, across Barton Broad, and further down the Ant to Ludham bridge. Along the way we encountered the wherry Albion under full sail. As we were just bimbling along we were happy to sit a way upstream and follow along. But soon there was a backlog of boats behind us, many of them new helms, and Albion had slowed almost to a stop. Before we could make our move one of the boats behind us decided that it was OK to go flat out and overtake all the other boats as well as Albion through blind bends and into oncoming boats. I edged RT further out into the river to stop the rest following suit and waited for Albion's helm and lookout to look behind and give an indication. “You pillock! Give us a clue?” I muttered under my breath. The first at another hire boat trying to come around us without noticing the huge wherry in front then suddenly going into reverse, and the second at Albion's lookout. Eventually the lookout looked and waved us through. So now with clear water ahead we continued our bimble. Before Ludham I spotted a familiar and welcome sight. Listing to port, probably under the weight of her master who was looking decidedly 'piratey', was Nyx under the command of a certain Maurice Mynah. Nyx was still in the distance when Gracie started to chuckle. "This is one of your friends Timbo!" exclaimed Gracie. "How do you make that out?" "The hat!" Ellie surfaced just before we reached Ludham bridge. Gracie wanted to try the horn as we went under the bridge.The temporary air horn inflated by bicycle pump was feeble to say the least. Gracie was somewhat disappointed. “That sounds like a duck trump!” declared Gracie before erupting into giggles. A new horn is something we need to add to the growing shopping list of items Royal Tudor needs. To this list can be added two new mooring warps, without which mooring is decidedly difficult having to swap lines from various parts of the boat when coming into moor. Through Ludham we headed to the Ant mouth and turned to follow the River Bure downstream. That weekend the Three Rivers Yacht Race was taking place, so I put on some revs and got a wiggle on to Potter Heigham hoping to get a mooring. Gracie disappeared below decks with Grandma but they soon arrived back bearing cake, biscuits and a cup of tea. I have a new found enjoyment of cake. I blame my very best friend Doug for this. Call a tea break and I can guarantee Doug will ask 'Is there any cake?'. It's either Doug's fault or I admit I've entered that stage of life where cake features heavily, as do sheds. We made Potter Heigham before tea time, 4 pm proper tea time, moored in the only open space opposite Herbert Woods yard river entrance (not ideal) and took the boys and Gracie for a walk into 'town' to stretch legs, before I headed back to Royal Tudor for a well deserved nap! More later!
  37. 13 points
    Today of course is the 75th anniversary of D-Day.Just spare a thought for those that served and the many that gave there lives. We will remember them.
  38. 13 points
    “Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that's always changing!” Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows “Just look at it!” Gracie almost squealed. “Grandma! Timbo! Just look at it! How far does it go?” There is nothing as joyous in life as watching someone discover something new and exhilarating. I felt like a showman. 'And for my next fete of prestidigitation...' “How far are we going?” asked Gracie. “Around Pleasure Hill Island and back to find somewhere to moor for the night.” Gracie's brow furrowed. “No, we are not!” “Not what?” I asked a bit concerned. “Going to Pleasure Island.” “We are it's over there!” I said pointing out the hummocks marooned mid broad. “That's not Pleasure Island!” exclaimed Gracie. “Not that Pleasure Island sweetie. A different one,” said Grandma saving the day and realising Gracie was thinking of Cleethorpes. Satisfied I was not pulling her leg and we were not bound for the 'Costa del Cleggy' Gracie hopped onto the step beside me. “Do you want to drive?” I asked her. I didn't really need to ask as Gracie swarmed onto the stool and took the wheel. So, we bimbled across Barton Broad, rounded Pleasure Hill Island and headed back upriver into the Ant looking for a mooring for the night Gracie 'at the helm' as I remembered my very first experience of The Broads. The last day of our holiday aboard Captain XII singing 'we shall not be moved' with my brother. 'Old hands' will have to forgive me, but for many years I've been renaming parts of the Broads. There's 'Perch Corner' which is the downstream end of the moorings that separate Salhouse Broad from the main river. This is where Matty our youngest son caught his first ever fish, a 3lb perch. There's 'Telephone Corner' one of the wild moorings on the starboard bank of the River Ant above Barton Broad where my daughter Holly dropped her phone and, like a good Dad would, I stood up to my neck in the water trying to retrieve it while the Stalham Mafia sent their wash to engulf my head. So that night's mooring was named by Gracie. The wild mooring on the port bank on the last corner of the straight before Barton Broad is now named 'Gracie's First Night Sleeping On a Real Boat Corner'. I should have learned my lesson about letting kids name things, especially pets, having had to walk a dog named 'Spot' for seventeen years! After a tea of sausages, bacon, eggs, beans, bread and butter and cups of tea Gracie decided she needed to try Royal Tudor's shower. So while Ellie supervised and Dylan and Toby stood guard, I opened the fridge and reached for a beer. Contrary to popular belief, I very rarely drink at home and Ellie almost never. A cold beer is something I save for boating, and boy did I enjoy this one! RT's new fridge was working perfectly. The ice box was frozen and the beer was chilled. What more can you ask for? It was at this point that I realised I had forgotten my medication and had left it in the car along with Dylan's medication too. But Dylan was engrossed in chasing flies on the river bank and I was feeling decidedly relaxed so I decided I would retrieve them in the morning. Out of the shower and dressed in gym-jams Ellie and Gracie joined me in the saloon while I telephoned Doug to let him know how we were getting on and that nothing major had dropped off either me or the boat! Then it was Gracie's turn to phone her Mum and Dad. “It's amazing Mummy you would love it! It's like a floating house, well a floating bungalow, you can cook and sleep on it and go for a shower and go to the toilet and I have my own bed and there are ducks and geese and water and boats...I LOVE IT!” Job done I think! With Gracie in bed, Ellie and I sat and relaxed over a glass or three of chilled wine. We talked well into the night. Something that, with the rush and bother of daily life, we don't really make time for and we really should. And so to bed where I slept like a log. If logs snored. Being kicked in my stomach at 5:30 am was a bit of a rude awakening. Dylan was in full seizure. Shouting Ellie, who was feeling a little delicate, aid arrived just in time as the dinette bed collapsed. I crashed to the floor nursing the still fitting Dylan. He came out of his fit and I immediately went into one preparing to leave the mooring and return to the wet shed to fetch his tablets and mine I fired the engine and freed the warps. RT must have sensed my urgency and responded quickly as I headed back to the shed with some haste. A cruise that had taken an hour the evening before was done in ten minutes with the tide pushing behind us. I tied up outside the shed and shambled and jogged, 'shogged', to the car to fetch medication. Tablets, a cup of tea and multiple slices of toast down the both of us and Dylan and I were almost ready to face the day. I say 'almost' as Dylan required an extra tin of dog food. He's always ravenous but particularly so after a seizure. The shock of Dylan's medical episode and three glasses of wine meant Ellie was feeling, let's say, delicate? Laid on the cockpit floor, eyes closed while Gracie applied make-up. This is not as bad as it sounds. Gracie loves make-up, make-up brushes, palettes, bottles, jars and generally related goomph. Working where she does, Ellie has been teaching Grace the professional techniques of application and regularly acts as Gracie's test subject. Grace, although only six, knows her stuff and makes a better job of applying make-up than you will see on ninety per cent of wearers on any given Saturday night. “Where to now?” asked Ellie opening one eye. “Time for a dog walk, then fuel the boat and then it's up to you guys!” I said fetching dog leads. “Potter Heigham! Gracie wants to buy presents!” “Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that's always changing!”
  39. 13 points
    Tuesday 28th May Waking up to a grey and wet Potter Heigham, as usual I enjoyed a coffee listening to the rain hitting the roof, as everyone laid snoring away. I took the dog for her morning walk in the rain, something which she seemed overjoyed about as she came back inside drenched and cold. I was told that the kids wanted to head back South today which was a great surprise to me as I had plans for cruising up the Ant, nevertheless I set off down the Thurne, and then along the Bure. As we reached Acle, there was a pub mooring available just after the bridge and so another 180° turn into the mooring and we headed inside for a pint, as the kids ran off to the amusement area, and "won" pockets full of sweets. We were enjoying the Bridge Inn so much that by the time we set off back down the Bure to Yarmouth it was 1345, slack water at Yarmouth that day was 1245. Oh well So we travelled down the lower Bure fighting the tide as the sun began to appear, a welcome promise of the afternoon and evening which lay ahead as we contimued passing a number of boats as we went. The yacht station was busy, but we were ok as we went through the bridges, which were showing plenty of clearance for us. We travelled over Breydon and down the Waveney, the Fisherman's Inn was looking busy, and the old Burgh Castle moorings were being made use of but I continued to meander my way along the river. There was space available as we passed through St Olaves, but again we continued under the bridge and onwards. The kids had pointed out we hadn't stayed at Somerleyton so far this week yet, and despite me making it clear that it wasn't a necessity, I was told we should try and visit tonight anyway. As it turned out, there was no space on the moorings at all anyway, not helped by the BA boats taking a number of spaces along the moorings. We passed under Somerleyton Bridge and along the river, passing a speedboat and water skier, which was fun to watch as they went by, and enjoyed riding the waves they had created. As we reached the Oulton junction, I fancied taking a look at the refurbished Dutch Tea Garden moorings, so took the turning for the Dyke and although the moorings were fill, the pontoon was empty and so spun around into the space. We set off for a walk from the moorings, along the footpath and roads to Oulton (yes again) passing the broad along the way. Finally reaching the Commodore pub, we sat out in the garden enjoying the views in the evening sunshine. It wasnt long before we moved on to the Wherry Hotel, and as I sat down to enjoy my pint, I was informed that nobody wanted to walk back to the boat, as it was too lovely sitting in the sunshine. It appeared that muggins here was to leave the lady and the kids and make my way back to the boat alone, before bringing it to the hotel moorings again, for everyone else. So, off I set back to the boat, a journey that took around 40 minutes When I got to the boat I began taking her down the Dyke And over the broad, before mooring up stern on to the hotel mooring. Once complete we headed off out for a beer in the Waveney, before returning to the boat for something to eat and then, after walking the dog, it was time to go to bed once more and get our heads down.
  40. 13 points
    Monday 27th May I sat with the roof down enjoying a coffee on the bank holiday Monday morning There was a hive of activity going on around Salhouse as people made their preparations for heading off, after filling with water and such like. By the time I was taking the dog for a walk a lot of boats had left for the day leaving us in peace and quiet. Once the dog was sorted I made use of the water point myself and after making another coffee, set of in the morning sunshine. It was to be a day of short cruising it seemed, particularly in contrast to the previous day as I made my way back along the river Bure, the sun kept popping out from the clouds and the rivers, whilst busy, seemed to have quieted down a tad. Nevertheless there was still a constant stream of boats passing by, and also ahead and behind me all the way to St Benetts, which had empties out a lot to the previous day and so I made a 180° turn into the moorings there. We set off down past the Abbey And along the footpath between the farmers fields and joined St Benets Road before turning left along Hall Road which brought us to The Dog Inn at Ludham Bridge after 25-30 minutes. We had a refreshment break and the kids had a light dinner before we set off back to the boat, this time using the Permissive Path which follows the river from Ludham Bridge to St Benets Abbey. Once back on board, having achieved one requirement of the kids, I headed off to Potter Heigham to try and do the second. The rivers were busy still, but much less than the previous day and as I headed along the Bure I soon came to the Thurne mouth and made a turn to port, and headed up the Thurne. Not long after I came upon the Wherry, Maude. She was slowly winding her way up the Thurne too, and the hire boat in front of me seemed in a rush to get by and head down towards Ludham. I chose to follow behind for a while enjoying the slow progress and scenic views on offer. Once past the Ludham turning, I made my progress past the Wherry, exchanging greetings as I continued up the river. The rain had started to lightly fall as I approached Potter Heigham After reaching the first set of quiet moorings which were empty I decided I would make a turn and moor up there, we didn't need electric and expected the moorings nearer the bridge to be busy. Just as I was about to make my 180° turn outside Maycraft boatyard the wind kicked up incredibly and the rain became torrential, and made the manoeuvre all the more difficult. Once complete I moored up using the rhond anchors and returned back inside the boat soaking wet. Incredibly as seems to happen, as soon as I was inside the wind and rain stopped. I changed my shorts and shirt, and soon we was all heading up the footpath to Potter Heigham. The moorings were as expected, much busier than our quiet mooring spot, but there were spaces left. Once at the bridge I headed into the Norada for a beer or two whilst Lathams was raided by the kids. They were not pleased upon their return that the bakery had just shut and deprived them of their now traditional pastry craving, but soon got over it as we enjoyed messing around in the pub for the evening. Eventually we walked back to the boat, where my youngest once more made us a delicious tea on board Then after a little bit of relaxing and another walk for the dog, it was time to go to sleep, bringing another day to an end.
  41. 13 points
    Saturday 25th May Waking up at 0600 I set about making the preparations ready for departure. The classic game of car boot tetris as I tried to fit everything into the enclosed space. Once I had finally achieved the seemingly obvious it was time to head off upstairs to shower and get myself dressed ready to set off. Once scrubbed up to look and feel as good as this mug gets I headed off out to get in the car, only to find another collection of bags and belongings had accumulated in the hallway from the kids. Further bursting the cars welds and suspension to their limits to ram them in we finally set off to the boat at 0815. The 150 mile journey usually takes around 2¾ to 3 hours, today however with the bank holiday weekend in full swing, a larger number of caravans were slowing down progress along with the usual tractors, lorries, horse drawn gypsy caravans and the like. Fortunately however whilst slower, we weren't stuck stationary for any length of time and finally arrived at Brundall after 3½ hours. Only seemed one thing to do after all of that trauma, so we headed into The Yare for a quick bite to eat for the kids and a beer or two for myself. After the kids had fed their faces, a few glasses of wine enjoyed and I'd managed to savour a couple of pints of fine Kronenbourg we was off to unload the car and give it's well worked suspension a break for the next week. Once all the bags were thrown into the middle of the saloon (that's what unpacking is right?) And the essentials (beer, wine) were in the fridge chilling, we were ready to head off down the river Yare, after pouring another cold one to keep my whistle wet. I had a good idea where I wanted to end up that evening, and spent the next few hours convincing the kids that we didn't have to stop at Somerleyton on the first night, every time we were on the boat. So at 1350 (ish) we set off and cruised along the river in a lovely afternoon sunshine, the odd bit of cloud not hiding the sun away for too long each time. As expected for the bank holiday weekend the rivers and moorings were busy as we passed along with people enjoying the water and weather. After an hour we had wound our way to Cantley, which was also busy, but as we were continuing on anyway it didn't matter at all Our continuing cruise took us past the chain ferry and through Reedham and down the Haddiscoe New Cut, where we turned right to head down the River Waveney. By 1630 we had reached Somerleyton and having won the discussion on where to stay, I continued through the open swing bridge and down the river By approximately 1715, I had reached the junction of Oulton Dyke and turned to head past the refurbished Dutch Tea Garden moorings and out onto Oulton Broad. By around 1745 I was all moored up outside The Wherry hotel, which were completely empty with my exception and remained to be all night. No mooring mishaps occurred which is always fortunate when you don't know who is watching you on the hotel webcam. After a brief 45 minute relax and chill on and around the boat with the roof down.. We set out to the Commodore pub to enjoy the early evening sunshine looking out over the water from the beer garden. If my memory serves me correct, I remember the Commodore moorings being in a bit if a state, however they seem to have been refurbished and look very good once more now though, or maybe my mind is playing tricks on me and they never were the mess I thought Anyway, later we moved back to sitting outside The Wherry hotel for a few more beers (or wine for those that prefer) being warmed by the outdoor heater and generally talking about nothing in particular, but enjoying the company we had. Later in the evening the kids enjoyed a takeaway (not the best it seems) back on the boat, before everyone had a fairly early night as they were tired, it must be exhausting watching me do all the loading/driving/helming/mooring/work I stayed up a little longer and took the dog for her final days walk, before I joined everyone else in the land of dreams, happy to be back on the boat enjoying the rivers.
  42. 13 points
    Porter & Haylett's yard at Wroxham in its Connoisseur days, Sept 81.
  43. 13 points
    I don't often do holiday tales, but having been accused today of ratcheting up pressure on the BA, apparently in a pompous and dogmatic way, that and seeing the water clarification project thread, I thought it was time to turn my hand to a holiday tale, partly by way of an explanation. Just over two weeks ago I headed to the boat with a friend to spend a week aboard. After spending the first day catching up with a few jobs and spending the first night in the marina we headed out on the Sunday to travel North for the week. Sunday night saw us nestled on The Bridge Inn moorings and a few pints and a very enjoyable meal, whilst we discussed plans for the rest of the week. Now normally at this stage we would discuss a route that involved a trundle up to Potter to check the bridge height in the hope that we might get through and plans for when we didn't. My boat is an ex hire boat, and was built to pass that bridge on occasion. Since it has been in my ownership it has passed that bridge about five times, but not for about four years now. Anyway for some reason we made our plans and never even considered Potter bridge and beyond. The plan was for Coltishall on Monday evening and to try out The Rising Sun which is now in the hands of Colchester Inns. For those that don't know, the same group that run The Recruiting Sargant and The Ship South Walsham. Monday morning see us up early as we knew the noise from the road bridge would mean little chance of a lie in. Coffee machine on and cast off and head towards South Walsham to drop the mud weight and enjoy breakfast. A thoroughly enjoyable breakfast done and it was time to cast off and continue our journey. The empty moorings outside The Ferry and it being lunchtime meant it was rude not to stop and part with some cash. Ever mindful of our final destination we didn't spend too long there and cast off to continue our journey. A very pleasant cruise towards Wroxham and as we headed into Wroxham, we were absolutely gob smacked and couldn't believe what we saw. 7ft7in clearance under Wroxham bridge! Yes that's right 7ft 7ins! We both looked at each other and at the same time said, "we never even consider Potter bridge this trip, what clearance is there under Potter?" My boat only needs 6ft6in under Wroxham, slightly less if I'm feeling really brave. My record so far is 6ft 4.5ins and never again at that. Any way we continued to Coltishall and enjoyed a thoroughly good meal in The Rising Sun. Perhaps not quite the standard of their other pubs, but given it's mass market location, still very good. A definite improvement and we shall be going back. The next morning dawned and so did a phone call to the pilot. Low water is still a few hours away and we have 6ft9in clearance. Give the pilot the name of my boat when it was in hire and he confirmed we need 6ft 9in. Wahay! I know that Pat took it under at less than that, but I'm happy when there're happy. Weather is looking fine for the next couple of days and we deliberate on whether to alter our plan which was for Tuesday night in Wroxham and give Liberty a chance in it's new disguise, or head straight to Potter. Wednesday had been planned for going up the Ant, but that would definitely be Potter if we didn't go Tuesday. Tuesday morning dawned nice and sunny and we had remembered the EA gauge at Repps and clearance was still holding good and potentially improving slightly so we opted for Wroxham Tuesday night. A very good meal was had in Liberty and I can only say that it really doesn't compare to last year's meal. Not sure if it is still the same owners as rumoured, but they have done more than just try to bury the bad reputation. The food and service is chalk and cheese. Sitting at the table just finishing dinner and talk turns to heading to Potter the next day for that bridge! We are moored at the Viaduct moorings and we could stay there, or perhaps take a night cruise to a more peaceful mooring! The trains do rumble through quite early. It's dark outside but little alcohol has been consumed, the bridge clearance is still really good at Wroxham and the thought of passing the bridge whilst it's quiet and without the day boats etc, buzzing around is just too appealing. TBC
  44. 13 points
    Being both a boater and an active Angler, I too have a trotter in both camps. With regards to those that quote scientific argument on either side of maintaining or abolishing the closed season - I don't give a toss - Not even a nanno. I do however have an opinion and complete any surveys related to this hot topic I come accross I want the closed season maintained just as it is, not reduced but maybe extended if owt. My reasons are not scientific but they are my reasons, opinions and I'm entitled to them all the same. I do not expect others to agree with my opinions, just respect my right to voice them whether they are agreed with or not. I'll list a few of my reasons to continue with the closed season on the rivers of the Broads in no particular order. My list is not definitive and I maintain the right to add to it as I see fit:- 1) It gives the banks / fauna a respite. 2) It gives nesting birds a respite. 3) It give none nesting birds a respite. 3) It gives all riverside wildlife a respite. 4) It gives the fish a respite. 5) It gives boaters a few precious weeks of not having to keep a wary lookout for bank anglers camouflaged or otherwise. 6) It gives the rag-n-stick brigade full use of the river without having to worry about anglers. 7) It removes any potential arguments with regards to mooring / angling for a few precious weeks. 8) It gives no end of partners a respite from the Angler onboard a vessel choosing a mooring based on the prospect of fishing. 9) It gives non fishing partners the opportunity to 'Get Stuff Done' by their Angling other halfs. 10) It sometimes gets my blood pressure up witnessing out of season fishing but a chance to 'Do the right thing' - Report them! and finally 11) I like the closed season Griff
  45. 13 points
    Thursday 18th April A relaxed morning overlooking the broad in the sunshine was the order of the day this morning. It ended up being nearer 1100 before I eventually set off for a dinnertime stop in Beccles. We travelled down the river in glorious sunshine, reaching Beccles and mooring in the Yacht Station. We had a walk around the town, and a quick refreshment in the Bear and Bells garden. Returning to the boat I set off back up the Waveney being assisted by the tide, and made good progress along the quiet river. As I reached the New Cut I began to fight the water more but reached Reedham sometime after 1730 taking the last available mooring spot. We then had a walk to the Reedham Ferry for a few drinks before taking the riverside walk back towards Reedham. When we got back to the waterside village we popped into The Ship to refresh ourselves before returning to the boat for tea and some games, before finally it was lights out.
  46. 13 points
    I see your point Chris, but don't agree with it, or perhaps more accurately don't see it in that way. The amount of waterway available isn't really an issue. When a visitor comes to the broads for the first time Life is very different from the norm. Life is afloat and with new and variable things to see. If that visitor returns many times his/her experiences change with each visit. The first time getting everywhere seeing little, the 20th time going to fewer places but seeing much more. The more frequent the visits, the lower the mileage. The Liveaboards (a generalisation) probably do the fewest miles yet absorbing the greatest amount of the peace and tranquillity to be had, and would, if permissible and practical, stay weeks on end in one place. (yes, I know some do, but that's another issue) The diversity to be seen on the broads is as good as you will get for the most part on any other waterway, missing out only on the more industrial features to be found on the canals. Another difference my parents and I found between the canals and the broads was the attitudes of people. On the broads the vast majority of people one meets are on holiday. They are all enjoying themselves, all having (or trying to have) a good time. This happiness is infectious (unless you are an angler :-) ) On the canals, the people you are most likely to meet ashore will be normal people doing their normal things. The pubs don't have that "holiday spirit" and are full of people not on holiday and busy moaning about their day at work. (Though they do make the anglers seem a jovial crowd.) No! give me life on the broads any day.
  47. 13 points
    We're visiting the Broads, for the first time ever, in mid-June. We're both approaching 60 years of age but I've always wanted to have a boating holiday on the Broads and have finally got round to visiting. We're hiring from Richardsons in Stalham, and I've read this thread with interest, and have watched several YouTube videos including nearly all of the excellent and informative Captain's Blog ones. I fully intended to cross Breydon Water and will still do so. I'll be following the helpful tips on this thread and am really looking forward to it, but will also treat the waters with the respect they deserve. Steady as she goes seems to be the overriding message.
  48. 13 points
    Not sure why owning or hiring a boat makes you any more or less a lover of the Broads? I for one enjoy seeing members pictures on here, either their own boat or ones they are hiring. Does seem a bit of a shame to dampen the mood of this thread. Obviously the OP and his wife are very happy with their new boat and I for one wish them many happy hours on board and enjoying the Broads.
  49. 13 points
    So here are the final pictures from last years maintenance that turned into a saga. No job yet but still working on it, but here is something to cheer us all up. The pictures are two angles for the new galley and the new window from inside showing the new window and underneath that the plank well fitted in and varnished to match already existing wood, great job Roger. View from the stern well: View from the saloon: New window and new internal planking: I hope you will all agree that the guys have done a magnificent job. We will be (me and Fiona no doggies unless Brexit rules sorted for pets) out for Easter, a few days before, then Easter, hopefully with Charlie Dolphin (if anyone wishes to say hello), then a few days after depending on the weather. If it's glorious we will stay longer, if rubbish we back on the Harwich ferry pronto like. We look forward to seeing you all out on the river and thank you all for following the continuing restoration of our old lady. I really do hope Clive can do something with the roof over us in the wet shed after all this expense. To watch it dripped on and the new canopies discoloured will be a PITB to say the least. Hopefully this year we can forgo the major hull dents too...lol. Malanka's poor port and starboard bows, starboard side and transom took some battering last year, almost exclusively from boats with bow thrusters and also stern thrusters. This year we hope for less. We hope not to be broken into as well, oh and less sinking would be good too. Without a job I will have more time for Malanka tales and so will write them up in 2019, until work drags me away. Best Wishes to everyone except southern Jessie Drascomb sheet danglers....Go northern monkeys go......lol More later Martin..
  50. 12 points
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