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Mouldy

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Everything posted by Mouldy

  1. Tuesday 9th April Tuesday morning dawned and I clambered out of bed, hoping to see a beautiful sunrise, lighting the mill in glorious golden sunshine, creating another wonderful photo opportunity. However, I was to be disappointed. It was grey and cloudy with no significant breaks in the cloud to even let the sun peek through. No matter, we were still on holiday and still on the Broads. Deb got up and took the pooch for a walk and I tidied up the boat. It was 9th April and the wife's birthday, so upon her return I cooked a breakfast of bacon, scrambled eggs, fresh tomatoes and mushrooms. Very tasty slightly unhealthy, but occasionally, who cares? Breakfast eaten and with the washing up done (always a downside), we got ready and cast off, which is when the stiff breeze became apparent. By now, the sun had made an appearance and the sky was blue. Maybe the day would be similar to Monday – we could only hope. We chugged back up the Thurne and turned left into Womack Dyke, heading for Womack Water and the staithe to moor, so we could walk into Ludham for supplies. There was plenty of space at the staithe and we moored alongside a family on Grande Girl, a boat we have hired on four occasions previously, who were topping up with water. We had a chat and filled our tanks before wandering into the village. First stop was the butchers, then to Throwers, before wandering back to the boat, where we bought a couple of ice creams from the shop by the staithe. We cast off and retraced our way back along Womack Dyke, turning right onto the Thurne and right again onto the Bure, heading for Wroxham. We had bought a new multi-port USB charger for our phones, tablets and the wife's Fitbit, from Amazon before we came away, but it had expired with a pop in a cloud of acrid smoke when we used it for the second time and we urgently needed to get a new charger, so thought Roy's may be the place. By now the breeze had stiffened and it had become quite chilly. Definitely not the day for the roof to be back. The journey was uneventful, but I do believe I saw 'The Admiral' (Russell Thompson) heading in the opposite direction as we went through Horning. We arrived in Wroxham, so I headed for Summercrafts yard and asked Sue if we could moor there for an hour or so, whilst we went to the shops. She agreed, so after she and I had chatted about boats, hire fleets and the coming season, the wife and I headed into the town. We found a couple of USB chargers in Roy's Food Hall of all places, so it was back to the boat and back on our way to our overnight destination at Salhouse Broad. Dinner was to be at The Fur and Feather, where I had booked a table. The broad was quite busy, but we found a spot and moored, not easy with a strong crosswind, then watched several other craft attempt to moor, their skippers struggling with the difficult conditions. No sooner had we stopped than we were pounced on for the mooring fee, but £10 soon changed hands and we settled down for a couple of hours until it was time to walk to the pub. Dinner was enjoyable, but I fear that it has lost out to The Lion in terms of quality and the restaurant extension has robbed the place of its atmosphere. Were returned to Moonlight Shadow for a cheeky gin and tonic before retiring for the night. Not many photos today due to the uninspiring weather but normal service will return tomorrow.
  2. Monday 8thApril We were awake at about 05:30 on Monday. The wife pulled on some clothes to take Harley for a walk and I hurriedly dressed to take a few photos. The early start was necessary due to the tides and slack water at Yarmouth. It was quite foggy as we cast off at about 06:15. With navigation lights on we headed along Langley Dyke and turned right onto the Yare. The fog was quite patchy, but visibility was okay with the side door slid open and my head sticking out. With the engine revs set to 1500, we made good progress, helped by a strong ebbing current and were soon passing what appeared to be a silent Cantley plant. We passed through Reedham and headed towards Breydon and I did wonder whether the fog would prevent our passage across, but the nearer we got to the start of the crossing, the rising sun was burning off the mist and by the time we passed Berney Mill, visibility was returned to near normal. Breydon was calm and although we passed several craft heading south, we were the only one heading in the opposite direction. We were running a little after slack water and as we neared Yarmouth, the effect of the incoming current became more noticeable. We passed the yellow post at 08:20, some 40 minutes later than the ideal time, but the benefit was the help we had from the current as we headed up the Bure. The weather improved as the morning drew on and it wasn't long before we had to wind the roof back and let the sunshine in. We stopped at Acle for water and to let the dog off for a while and to top up with water. I’m not sure who had used the hose before, but it had more knots in than at a scouts convention. It took me a while to untangle it so that the water would flow through. We cast off again heading towards Potter Heigham. We needed some milk and I was keen to see if the bakery in Lathams had any London cheesecakes in. It was very noticeable how much more river traffic there was on the Northern rivers. We kept right at the junction of the Bure and the Thurne, past Thurne Mill, looking smaty now with relatively fresh paint and the sails repaired. It wasn't too long before we reached our destination where we got ready and walked the short distance over one of Potter’s famous landmarks to the other. Deb sat outside with a cup of tea whilst I was entrusted with the shopping. Milk, cakes and a couple of other essentials purchased, it was back to the boat for lunch before we chugged back down the Thurne to Thurne Dyke for our overnight mooring. Dinner was to be at The Lion. It was Deb’s birthday on Tuesday, so a good excuse to celebrate the day. The meal was excellent as always and the pub must now be my favourite on the Northern Broads for food. We returned to the boat at about 21:00 and it wasn't long before the early start caught up with us and we retired to bed, happy after a fantastic day rounded off with a wonderful meal.
  3. Sunday 7thApril Sunday dawned. As usual, I was first up, with the wife following. She pulled some clothes on to take Harley for a walk. I turned on the immersion heater and boiled the kettle and made a cuppa before heading for the shower. The wife returned after almost an hour, just as had finished getting ready. She’d found another new (to her) path, resulting in a lengthy walk for the pooch. By then the rest of the party were up and getting ready, so we breakfasted on hot buttered crumpets before setting off towards Norwich. The weather reports had forecast light rain showers. If that was a light shower, I’d hate to see torrential rain as in reality, there was an absolute deluge as we chugged along the river. I’ve now lost count of the times I’ve cursed the windscreen wiper on Moonlight Shadow. Fortunately, it had all but stopped by the time we moored at the yacht station. We got ready and walked into the city, stopping for a while at the Cathedral to take some photos. Once done, we continued to the centre to shop for some essentials before returning to the boat for lunch. The brother in law and his girlfriend went off to do some window shopping and get their own lunch, leaving the wife, her mum and I to walk back to the boat, where we enjoyed some sausages in rolls. The others returned and we set of, retracing our earlier route and past The Ferry House, back to Brundall arriving back at the boatyard at about 16:15. We had a cuppa before our weekend guests gathered their belongings and packed their car. They left us at about 17:15, so we cast off, heading towards Reedham. Slack water at Yarmouth the following morning was at 07:40, so the nearer we were to Breydon, the better the chance of us crossing somewhere close to the optimum time would be. We eventually moored in an otherwise deserted Langley Dyke about an hour later. The crows nesting in the trees to the side of the dyke were in full voice for a while. Small wonder the collective noun for them is a murder!! By this time, the clouds had blown over and we were left with a beautiful evening. We had dinner and watched TV for a while before heading for bed just before 22:00. It was to be an early start on Monday morning, so a good night's sleep was needed.
  4. Saturday 6th April So the 6th April arrived at the start of another week on Moonlight Shadow. I’d been watching the weather forecast for a few days and to be frank, it wasn’t looking too promising, but we’d be away and after a quite challenging time due to happenings at work and my mums continuing ill health, the break would be most welcome. We’d already invited the wife’s brother and his girlfriend to join us for the weekend, but we also took the mother in law, to cheer her up a bit. We set off from Northampton just after 09:00 and due to continuing roadworks on both of my usual routes, picked our way across some back roads to Bedford, where we joined the A421, continued on the A428, A14, A11 & A47. We arrived in Brundall at about 11:30 after a trouble-free journey. The weather had been grey and cheerless throughout the journey, but we were glad to be at the boatyard at the start of another relaxing week. It was clear that Brooms season had started as preparation of some craft was underway and a couple of early arrivals were already unpacking their possessions onto their floating homes for the week, all of which looked clean ad smart after the winter maintenance. The cars were soon unpacked, beds made and belongings stowed, before heading to the Co-op for a couple of bits and the chippy for some lunch. Fish and chips were consumed on board, washed down with a mug of tea before we cast off and headed for Rockland Broad. The brother in law took the helm for a spell but handed it back to me as we turned into Short Dyke (he said it was too narrow) and across the broad before mooring at the Staithe. The wife and I took the dog for a walk, around the broad and along Short Dyke to the junction with the Yare and back whilst the others stayed on board. Harley (our dog) seemed to realise she was on holiday too and enjoyed chasing a couple of geese that were pecking at the grass along the riverside. I took my compact camera, but wasn’t exactly inspired by the cheerless weather – just a few shots of the geese and close ups of the plants along our route. A while later, we made our way back along Fleet Dyke to the main river, turning left towards Brundall and left again across Bargate to The Ferry House at Surlingham, where I’d booked a mooring and a table for dinner. We chatted for a while before heading to the pub at about 18:45 for our meal. As ever the welcome was warm, the atmosphere friendly and the food excellent. The weather had remained dull for the whole day, but everyone had enjoyed themselves and we retired to bed around 22:00, tired and happy.
  5. Or Langley Dyke. No pub, put peaceful and although there is some tidal rise and fall, off the main river and with an ebbing tide less than 2.5 hours from GYYS.
  6. I had a Karcher, that didn’t last very long. Now have a Nilfisk that I believe is a better machine. Plenty of choice on Amazon, depends on your budget and what features you’re looking for.
  7. If that’s what you want to post, crack on. If it is of interest to me, I’ll read it but if it isn’t (and frankly talking about washing and washing machines isn’t), I won’t. I think whether I do or not comes under the banner of choice. I can’t stand Coronation Street, Eastenders and the other cr*ppy soaps on tv, so I don’t watch them. Simples.
  8. The thread has been posted in The Broadscot Lounge, an area of the Forum for 'non boat/Broads related topics' so personally, I don't see an issue with it. Sorry . . . . . . just saying.
  9. Mouldy

    Over Wide Load

    The Drivers Certificate of Professional Competence is very different to the CPC required to hold an O Licence, whether National or International. The DCPC is required for all holders of a LGV licence and is obtained by completing 35 hours of training over a five year period. A current LGV licence is not valid without the holder having a current DCPC qualification. The National and International CPCs are now combined and it is not an easy qualification to obtain, necessitating knowledge of financial requirements, employment law, construction and use regulations, National and EU driving law and a great deal more.
  10. Always worth remembering that what was an expensive vehicle when new, will be an expensive vehicle to repair as it gets older, regardless of the purchase price now. As for me, I’m on my third Skoda, - a great car with VW build quality at a more reasonable price with all the modern features one would expect on a modern car. And not only does it have a heated rear window, but a heated windscreen too, so one can keep warm hands whichever way you push it!!!!!!!! (Just thought I’d throw that in before some other comedian mentioned it).
  11. Just to clarify, the heating fault the week previous to us taking Moonlight Shadow out had been identified as an issue with the burner, which had been replaced. The new fault was a problem with the fuel feed to the heater unit and probably not related. I understand that it has now been fixed and I have seen emails from other members of the syndicate stating that the heating is now working correctly. Everything breaks down, some more frequently than others. In eight years hiring from Summercraft we didn't experience anything more major than a bulb blowing in the toilet and a hair drier not working, but we have suffered much more significant issues hiring from other yards and watching some Youtube blogs, it's apparent that others have had many more problems than us. I believe even Robin (London Rascal) had an issue with a relatively new heater on Indy, so it's not necessarily a question of maintenance, just the way it goes sometimes. At the end of the day, we still enjoyed our time on the boat and we will not have to wait long to be back on board again. Syndicate membership suits us very well indeed and my only regret is that it took me so long to get round to joining one.
  12. Friday 8th February We were up at the usual time on Friday morning. Debbie took Harley for her walk and I had breakfast and went to get showered. What a godsend the immersion heater is, too. Our little fan heater had been set to low and on all night and had certainly kept the chill off. The pub moorings were not busy and we had moored side on, due to the weather and it certainly was windy and the sky grey and cheerless with heavy cloud cover. Debbie had breakfast when she returned and while she was waiting for me to finish showering, she had stated to pack. She went to get ready as I emerged from the aft cabin, feeling better for my shower. I started to move all of our bits and pieces from where we had stowed them into the saloon, so they were all together and when Debbie was showered and dressed, we finished packing our clothes, stripped the bed and moved all of our bags into the aft cabin to make it easy to get them out of the aft doors to pack the car. I topped up with water at the pub, as I knew from our experiences earlier in the week, that the hose at the kiosk at Brooms had been turned off. We had really been in no particular rush and by about 11:00, we cast off for the short trip back to the yard, filled up with fuel and had the required pump-out, which all together came to about £90. Bill paid, we moved to our berth, I packed the car and the wife vacuumed through MS. With everything done, we pulled out of the boatyard at about 12:15. We weren’t in any great rush to go home, so headed for Hoveton (for the pedants) and had fish and chips from Greys before heading for home. The return journey took about three hours, largely due to a combination of roadworks and Friday traffic and could have been worse has it not been for some local knowledge around Bedford, where I turned off the A421 and headed through some local roads home. No scenic photos on the last day – the weather was too uninspiring, just one of MS at her home mooring. That’s all for this trip – thanks for reading and your comments. Just looking forward now to April and another week on Moonlight Shadow.
  13. Thursday 7th February The weather forecast had warned of strong winds for Thursday and Friday and just when you don’t want them to be right, they are!! I rolled out of bed at the usual time, around 06:00, followed my usual routine of kettle, immersion heater and weather check to see that the tops of the trees round the basin were bent over and the water, although we were relatively sheltered was far from millpond smooth. Not only that, but the heating on MS wouldn’t fire up, despite the repairs carried out at the boatyard following problems reported by shareholders on two previous weeks, so we had taken a small electric fan heater just in-case the problem manifested itself again. The boat soon warmed through, although the one pound credit I had topped up the electric post the previous evening with didn’t last long, but it wasn’t so bad. The wife took Harley for her walk, retracing the route we had followed the day before and I had some toast and marmalade. When she returned, I made her breakfast and went to get showered and dressed. Whist the wife readied herself, I called our home boatyard to report the fault with the heating and they suggested that I call in and they would get someone to look at it, so at about 09:30 I started the engine and cast off. The cloud cleared for a while as we chugged up the Chet, such a pretty river, but quite hard to navigate with the strong wind blowing Moonlight Shadow about, but by the time we reached Hardley Cross and the junction with the Yare, the cloud had rolled in again. We turned left, heading for Brundall. The river was as choppy as I can ever remember seeing it. White horses were forming on the waves as the formed. It was particularly bad from Cantley, where the waves were overtopping the quay heading outside the pub. As we approached Brundall, the small wooden aft cockpit cruiser we had followed the previous day from Somerleyton to Reedham was heading towards us, but with the canopy up this time. We arrived at our moorings and called the yard to say we had arrived. We were told that they would send someone straight away. We waited for about three quarters of an hour, before having our lunch, by which time no one had arrived and about an hour and a half after we had phoned, I wandered round to their office and asked if anyone was going to attend. A few minutes later, an engineer turned up and said that he hadn’t been given the initial message and apologised for the delay. He tried to get the heating to fire, without success, so disappeared under the floor (having first lifted one of the panels) and emerged some time later saying that no fuel was being delivered to the heater unit. He wandered off for some parts and fitted them without success. It appeared that the pipe feeding the heater was only drawing up air. Little wonder it wasn’t working then!! By this time it was about 16:30 and darkness was beginning to fall, so we said not to worry, we’d head off and spend the night at the Ferry House and return on Friday to end our week prematurely, so as to give them time to remedy the problem before the next shareholders arrived on Saturday. To be fair, the weather forecast for Friday and Saturday, was much the same as it had been on Thursday and although we were disappointed, it wasn’t as if we were missing too much of our break. By this time the cloud had partially cleared and the setting sun was creating some wonderful picture worthy skies, so I snapped a few shots on my phone as we cruised to the pub and moored in the same spot as we had the previous Sunday evening. There was still plenty of credit on the electricity post, so we plugged in and set the fan heater going. Moonlight Shadow was soon toasty warm and we relaxed for a while before going to the pub shortly before 19:00 for dinner. As ever, the greeting was as warm as the pub itself and we were soon tucking into our food. Finished, we wandered up the lane with Harley to let her do what she needed to before returning to the boat and our last night onboard on this trip. As usual, we had hot drinks before retiring for the night. Neither of us wanted to go home – we weren’t ready, but at least it wouldn’t be long before our next visit in April.
  14. Thanks - to be honest, the night time shots were taken with my phone. It's nothing special, just a Samsung S8, but the camera isn't too bad. There are a few daytime shots from the phone too, but in general I use a couple of cameras. I'll give the butchers a try when we are next there. I like the butchers in Ludham and despite the fact that Rodney has retired now, the quality is as good as ever it was. The rest of the tale should be completed over the weekend, with a bit of luck.
  15. Wednesday 6thFebruary I was up at about 06:00 as usual and followed my usual routine, kettle and immersion heater on and a quick inspection of the weather from the windows of the saloon. It wasn’t raining and it wasn’t as cold as the previous morning and is it became lighter it became apparent that it was cloudy. Still, it was early February and we hadn’t been hit with a repeat of the atrocious weather that started 2018. Debbie took the dog for a walk and I cooked some toast for my breakfast and ate it whilst they were out. Being the caring sort of guy that I am, I even cooked her some when she came back!! She told me that we would have to go back into Beccles as she had decided that she needed some wool and a pattern to knit a jumper for our grandson. Why she couldn’t have decided that when she was in the shop the previous day, I don’t know! Showered and dressed, I called into the harbour Master’s office to pay for the mooring before we headed back into the town, where I spent another fifteen or twenty minutes patiently waiting outside the needlework shop before Debbie emerged with a bag full of wool, needles and stuffing for the cuddly toy that accompanies the jumper she intends to knit. It was only as short walk back to Greggs, where I managed to get a London Cheesecake – one of my favourites and a quick wander around the town before returning to the boat. Whilst we were out, the cloud had broken and it had become sunny, not the strong sunlight, but the watery veiled light that we frequently see during the winter months. I filled up with water and had a cuppa before starting the engine and casting off, destination Loddon. The river was quiet as we headed back along the Waveney, although we did follow a small cruiser for a while, although whoever was at the helm had little regard for the speed limit and had soon disappeared from view. By the time we’d reached the junction with Oulton Dyke, it had clouded over again but the sun did try to break through at odd times for the rest of the journey. A small wooden aft cockpit cruiser pulled out of the boatyard just beyond the bridge at Somerleyton and we followed it all the way to the other side of Reedham, the crew resolutely helming with the canopy down. Just a bit too chilly for me, though. Reedham Quay was deserted as we passed, but I did have to slow a little as we approached Reedham Ferry as it made its way across the river, wary of the chains and the potential for disaster that could be caused by passing too close. We turned onto the Chet and soon arrived at the basin, where I moored at the end away from the road. We both got ready and took Harley for a walk (yes, really – me as well!!), turning left out of the car park to the church, then following the lanes and road to Pyes Mill, returning to the moorings through the field to the side of the river. I’d only taken my small camera with me, but still managed to capture some acceptable shots of a heron stalking about in the field, before arriving back to the boat. With the aerial set up, we watched TV for a while, the wife did some knitting and I did a crossword or two, until it was time to start cooking the dinner, nice big pork chops purchased the afternoon before in Beccles. After our meal, with the washing up done, we watched TV for a while and as ever, headed for bed at about 22:00 with a hot drink. I was slightly concerned about the threatened strong winds and was thinking about what we might do if our concerns proved to be warranted as I drifted to sleep.
  16. Tuesday 5thFebruary We woke on Tuesday morning and it seemed quite cold. I got up and turned the heating up before putting the kettle and immersion heater on, before pulling back the curtains to see what the weather had in store. I was surprised to see that the broad had frozen over and that the gathered seabirds and ducks were standing on the ice. The wife readied herself before taking Harley out and I hurriedly pulled some clothes on and went outside, armed with my cameras. As the dawn broke, the true beauty of the scene became more apparent, with the cold, blue hue being replaced by the golden light from the rising sun, hidden at times behind the patchy clouds and forming some wonderful photo opportunities. Debbie returned with Harley and commented on how friendly the people she had met on their walk. I stayed outside for a while longer, anxious to make the most of the light, taking plenty of photos. Before returning to the boat for breakfast, I went to the Harbourmasters office to pay for the moorings, had a brief chat whilst there and noticed an NBN calendar on the wall amongst the other posters and documents pinned up. I asked where the water hoses were and was told that one on the pontoon was still on and working, but we would need to move the boat to top up first. I returned to the boat to get showered, dressed and make breakfast. As we were frozen in, I cooked some bacon, scrambled eggs and fresh tomatoes, which went down very well indeed. It was about 11:00 before the ice around us had thawed sufficiently to allow us to move to get water, before setting off for Beccles. A work barge and a yacht had already ventured across Oulton Broad, so I picked a way slowly and carefully, using the clearings they had created through the remaining ice and by the time we reached the dyke, all signs of the frozen surface were gone. On the way to Beccles, the sunshine was replaced by cloud, but it wasn’t raining, so it wasn’t too bad at all. We arrived at Beccles yacht Station at about 13:00. The side nearest the road was filled with anglers (I later discovered that there was a match in progress), so It did my best to moor without causing too much disturbance on the opposite side. We wandered into town to get a few bits and pieces. I wanted to check the opening hours of the fish and chip shop and the wife wanted to go to the needlework shop. A quick glance at the sign in the window of the chippy was all the time I was allowed and then I had to cool my heels with the dog outside the needlework shop whilst Debbie decided what she wanted. I was amazed when she emerged about a quarter of an hour later without buying anything. We went to the butchers, the bakers and the Co-Op for other supplies before returning to the boat to relax. I went to the chippy later in the evening for dinner and returned with two of the biggest pieces of cod I’ve ever seen (with chips obviously), freshly cooked, piping hot and very tasty. The weather report was warning of strong winds on Thursday and Friday, which gave cause for some concern, but not enough to dampen our spirits. We watched TV for a while and went to bed just after 22:00.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Saturday 2ndFebruary Somewhat belatedly, I will try to recall some details of our first (almost) full week aboard Moonlight Shadow since buying into the syndicate last August. Life has been somewhat hectic since due to a TUPE transfer and having to unlearn eight years worth of system knowledge, processes and procedures and learn all about the functionality of the new systems, processes and procedures. The journey to Brundall was fairly uneventful, with the usual traffic delays on the A14, but the weather was certainly interesting. We left home on a cold, crisp winter morning in bright sunshine. It clouded over around Cambridge and by the time we reached Newmarket the sky was dark and threatening. We passed through a light snow shower near Red Lodge that soon cleared, only to drive through a blizzard between Thetford and Snetterton, before the clouds rolled away and we arrived at Brundall in bright sunshine. The wife had to call into the Co-Op for a couple of things she had forgotten to bring, I called into Brooms offices to buy some additional electric cards and we pulled up at MS’s berth at about midday. With the car unpacked, the bed made and most of our bits and pieces stowed away, I popped round to the chippy for fish and chips, which were consumed back on board, with a cup of tea. We set off from the moorings at about 14:00, heading towards Reedham, but with the intention of turning through Bargate, before returning to the Yare and heading for my planned overnight stop at Brammerton Common. The river was quiet, no real surprise for the beginning of February, but it was a pleasant, if uneventful cruise. There were a couple of other boats moored when we arrived at our destination, so I moored near an electric post, made MS secure and connected to the electric. Bliss! We sat quietly for a while, relaxing and enjoying being back in Norfolk and on the Broads, before the wife took the dog for a walk. I watched TV until Debbie returned and lit the oven to prepare dinner. We watched the TV, had our food, washed down with a bottle of fermented grape juice (well it would be rude not to), washed up and whiled away the evening until it was time for bed. As usual, hot drinks were prepared and we retired contentedly to bed, reflecting on the day and looking forward to the cruise into Norwich on Sunday. More to follow.
  20. The only hose operational at Brooms at the moment is bythe boat hoist, which is extremely difficult to get to as you have to navigate amongst privately moored gin palaces to gain access. The hose at the fuel kiosk has thoughtfully been turned off, however we were able to top up with water this morning at The Ferry House, Surlingham, which is free to customers.
  21. And it didn't matter if you couldn't afford a colour telly!!!!!!!
  22. Star Trekkin' by The Firm?
  23. Looking at Griff's response, I'd say that more or less all of the remedial work is completed by the syndicate. If you were to get a small group of owners together, how many would wish to commit several days a year looking after the boat and keeping her looking good, or have the necessary skills. This includes compounding and polishing the gel coat, repairing any damages, servicing the gas system, heating, engine, gearbox, repairing or replacing damaged upholstery and other remedial maintenance etc. What would the cost of lifting the boat annually for cleaning be? Who would provide repairs to defects reported by owners at the end of their holidays and how would they be funded. Even what appears to be relatively run of the mill repairs are costly - a new fridge fitted to Moonlight Shadow recently was circa £700. Googleing Aquafibre Diamond 35s has revealed a few on the market, all around 60k: http://www.broadlandyachtbrokers.co.uk/boats/183 With just 6 members of a syndicate, that's 10k to buy into it anyway, without an initial refurb (if required). I know the maintenance figure for Moonlight Shadow appears quite high on the BCBM website, but that includes all maintenance costs, moorings, winter maintenance, cleaning and a contingency for unexpected costs arising. I realise that this will not suit everyone, but when I get holidays from work, I would rather spend my time cruising, not working on the boat. Personally, I think that a venture of this sort would be too easy to go into with rose tinted spectacles, without looking realistically at the potential pitfalls and your hypothetical costings look, to me at least, extremely low. Although buying an ex hire craft should guarantee that it has been regularly maintained, it almost certainly will have had a hard life.
  24. Jay . . . . don't go there. I used to think Agadoo, Superman and The Birdie Song were bad back in the eighties.
  25. Reply: Would that be for three nights, four nights or a full week, sir?
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