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Everything posted by Mouldy

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. And it didn't matter if you couldn't afford a colour telly!!!!!!!
  9. Star Trekkin' by The Firm?
  10. 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.
  11. Jay . . . . don't go there. I used to think Agadoo, Superman and The Birdie Song were bad back in the eighties.
  12. Reply: Would that be for three nights, four nights or a full week, sir?
  13. Could be worse: Baby shark do do do do do do Baby shark do do do do do do Baby shark do do do do do do Baby shark Mummy shark do do do do do do . . . . . . . . . . . I'd managed to avoid hearing it until last Saturday, too.
  14. Could do, but Wisbech can be a pain sometimes, as can Kings Lynn. I think on the weekend we went, the problem was exacerbated by the demolition of a bridge over the A14 causing the closure. All in all, once there we had a great few days, so it was worth it in the end. Thanks all, for the positive comments - it's good to know that when you've written up your tale, that someone reads them.
  15. Mouldy

    Boat Names

    Nooooooooooo. And look who's at the helm! http://www.broads.org.uk/wiki2018/index.php?title=Boat_Details&BoatId=1485
  16. I was going to finish this tomorrow, but the wife is watching I'm a Celebrity, so I've made better use of the time!! Monday 19thNovember I was awake early as usual and laid in bed for a while, thinking how much I would have preferred to stay for the rest of the week, instead of returning home later. By about 06:30, the need for a brew became too strong, so I pulled back the duvet and got up, leaving the wife and Harley still snoring. With the kettle on the hob and the immersion heater switched on, I went into the saloon and peered out and across the basin. I was immediately apparent that the gloriously sunny weather we had enjoyed on Saturday and Sunday had given way to a far more autumnal, windy morning. I could hear the wavelets slapping against the hull at the bow and was glad that we’d been using the aft cabin. It wasn’t long before the wife got up and dressed, ready to take Harley for her walk. She set off up the high street, just as it started to rain, heading for the church to find what paths she could take and where they led to. As previously mentioned, we’d never been as far as the moorings at the end of the Chet before and it was new territory for us both. I had my tea and made some toast for breakfast and made Debbie the same when she returned with the dog a while later. Somehow, she had found the path leading from the church to the moorings at Pyes Mill by accident. Hope she can remember which way she’d gone when we return later in the year!! Although we’d enjoyed a pleasant night there, I can imagine it would be much busier and less peaceful when the hire fleets are on the rivers and Pyes Mill looks a much more inviting proposition for a quiet night. I went to shower and dress and when finished, the wife did the same. I must say that the immersion heater is great – not having to run the engine for hot water was an unexpected bonus when we bought into the syndicate. The rain had stopped and the sun kept peeking through breaks in the clouds, but there was a strong, easterly breeze bringing a sharp nip to the air as we cast off, heading slowly back up the Chet. It was an uneventful cruise and we didn’t see another boat until we had turned onto the Yare at Hardley Cross. The wind was creating quite a ‘chop’ on the river as we headed back towards Cantley, the plant and a plume of steam spurting from the chimney clearly visible for miles across the flat land of the surrounding countryside. We were in no particular hurry, keeping the revs down and enjoying the day. It was too early to take Moonlight back to base, so I turned off the river at Langley Dyke and moored to the BA moorings near the end. Harley was pleased to get off and mooch about, the wife was busy cross-stitching and I went for a wander with my camera. The smell from the sugar refinery was being carried by the breeze as I walked up the other side of the dyke to the junction with the Yare, where I turned and wandered back. The clouds were threatening more showers, but fortunately the rain held off and the sun came out for short periods as they passed overhead. Back at the boat, we started to pack a few things away, before having some lunch, washing up and tidying the galley. To be honest, as we hadn’t done much cooking there wasn’t much to tidy, but everything was put back into place, ready for the next syndicate members to arrive. We set off again, destination Brundall and slowly retraced our earlier passage back up Langley Dyke and onto the Yare. The river was quiet, one or two fishermen in dinghies and a cruiser were all we saw. The sky became dark and threatening as we passed Coldham Hall and sure enough, the heavens opened as we prepared to moor a Brooms to refuel and get a pump-out. I topped up the water whilst we waited for someone to attend and top up with diesel. With the pump-out completed and the fuel and water topped up, we moved the few yards to our mooring and secured Moonlight Shadow. The wife stripped the bed, folded and packed the bed linen and I set about the saloon, tidying cables, chargers and cameras, before taking the blankets off the settees that we always use to protect the furnishings from our dog’s hairs. Being a Staffie, she has a smooth coat and fortunately doesn’t leave many hairs anyway, but prevention is easier that the cure, so they say. I moved the car and started to pack our things, just as another shower started. It was soon packed, so out with the Dyson for a quick vacuum round. All that was left to do was wash down the outside, but as I went out with the mop, the heavens opened again. Just a quick swill round would have to suffice on this occasion, but I’m sure that nature would have helped with the amount of precipitation that followed. We switched everything off, locked up and sadly pulled away at about 16:30. I needed some diesel for the car, so pulled into the Shell garage on the roundabout as we left Brundall to fill up, before heading for home. The journey back to Northampton proved much less eventful than on the way up a couple of days previously and we arrived home just after 19:00. It had been a short trip on Moonlight, but a good one. For the most part, the weather had been clement, the boat had been great and we were happy. And to answer the question, any regrets about buying into the syndicate . . . . . . . yes . . . . . . . . . . we should have done it years ago, but we happy that we have finally made the investment and are looking forward to many more holidays on her now we are in!! Roll on February – neither of us can wait.
  17. And the more observant of you would have noticed that there was no photo of Loddon . . . . . . . . . . . hear it is!!
  18. I've pulled a few more photos off my phone, that were largely 'grabbed' whilst helming, although the shots of my dinner at the White Horse and the basin at Loddon clearly weren't!! I'll try to write the conclusion to our tale tomorrow and add the last of the photos, too.
  19. I might have mentioned before, but we're back on Moonlight Shadow in February. The wife's consulted her diary and told me ten weeks tomorrow. Can't wait - bring it on!!!!!!
  20. Good the see the thread has veered slightly of course!! All I can say is that the fish and chips we had from Brundall on Saturday were very good, easily comparable to Ken's or Greys in Wroxham (Hoveton) and much cheaper. Back to the original subject . . . . . . . . . . . Sunday 18thNovember I have to get up early during the week and the alarm on my body clock didn’t allow me the pleasure of laying in today. I got up at about 06:30, put the kettle on and looked out of the windscreen to see a glorious morning developing. I wouldn’t normally have left the heating on overnight, but I’d set it low and was glad I had, as it had been a cold night. Moonlight Shadow has an immersion heater, so I switched that on to heat the water for my morning shower. Being hooked up to shore power certainly has its advantages. Debbie got up and dressed, ready to take Harley (the dog) for a walk and stepped carefully from the boat onto the wooden key heading, which was white with frost. I pulled some clothes on and went out with the camera, after turning off the kettle, anxious to capture some images of the scene, bathed in that early morning golden glow. The river was almost flat calm, creating some wonderful reflections of the trees and shrubs on the far side. I walked a through the gate and a few yards onto The Wherrymans Walk, to look for a different viewpoint, before wandering back to Moonlight Shadow and carefully heading for the bow and watched as a lone rower made his way along the river, towards Bramerton, interrupting the reflections as he went. I waited a while longer, until the river calmed and took some more photos until a small cruiser with an outboard motor sped past, far too fast and creating a lot of wash and disturbing the surface of the water. I returned to the warmth of the boat, made a cuppa and waited for the wife to return and made her a tea, too. She had found a path to the right, off the lane leading away from the pub, which eventually met up with The Wherrymans Walk and both her and the dog had enjoyed their walk. I went for a shower and dressed, then waited for Debbie to shower too, before toasting some crumpets for breakfast. By now it was about 09:30, so we started up and cast off, making for Brundall and the boatyard to top up with water. It really was a beautiful day to be afloat, with glorious sunshine and a clear, blue sky. We arrived at the berth and I reversed in carefully before unwinding the hose and topping up the tanks. Once done and with the hose wound back onto the reel, we cast off again, heading in the general direction of Reedham. My plan was to overnight at Loddon. We hadn’t ever been to the basin there and the last time we’d cruised the Chet was about 23 years ago, when we hired a cruiser called Tramontana from Gale Cruisers. I knew that there would be electric hook-ups and with no hire craft on the rivers, moorings should be available. We were making good time, without using excessive revs, so having negotiated a flotilla of saillies, decided that there was time to have a look at Rockland Broad and moor at the Staithe for a while. I turned right, off the main river and down Fleet Dyke. It’s evident that Rockland is a haven for wildlife – it was teeming with birds. Swans, grebes, cormorants and gulls were scattered across the expanse of the broad. We turned right onto the narrow dyke, leading to the Staithe and cruised slowly to the end, before turning and mooring. Harley was grateful to get off and mooch about on the grass, I went for a wander with the camera and the wife was concentrating on her cross stitch. We whiled away some time before having some lunch and set off again, across the broad and along Short Dyke to rejoin the Yare. We saw a couple of other boats, heading back towards Brundall before passing the sugar refinery. The chimney was belching out thick steam, which was quite a visual contrast to the clear blue sky and the smell wasn’t too pleasant either, so I was grateful to be past it. Aside from a water ski boat and skier passing in the opposite direction, which made Moonlight Shadow rock and sway in its wake, not much else happened on the way to the mouth of the Chet, where we turned right. I had forgotten just how narrow and winding it is and in a stiffening breeze, there was no time to let the concentration wander as we meandered along its twisting course. The sun continued to shine brightly as we passed the moorings at Pyes Mill. Definitely on the list of potential moorings when the weather is warmer and we don’t need shore power. I recognised what used to be the base for Gales Cruisers and wondered what happened to the couple that ran the yard, who were so helpful and friendly. We hired from them twice, in 1994 and 1995, both times on Tramontana. They were our son’s first experiences of a Broads holiday, the first time when he was six. He, like us, is smitten with The Broads and is looking forward to when he, his wife and son can come with us on Moonlight on a future visit, possibly next year. Soon, we arrived at the basin and wondered what was going on in the far corner, nearest the road. Two cruisers were there and it was only as I drew nearer I could see that one was pulling the other. I moored near to the first electric post and as I turned, the skipper of the first one, an Elysian aft cockpit, called to me that he’d just pulled the other off the mud in the corner, due to the low water levels and to warn anyone else who may turn up not to moor there. I was pleased to have chosen to moor where I had!! I hooked up the electric, which had 49p left on it and added £1 for good measure, before setting up the TV aerial. I wanted to try the burgers in The Kings Head, so we went for a walk and called into the pub to book a table, only to discover that they don’t serve food on Sunday evenings, then saw the sign outside The Swan saying that there was no food served after 14:00 on Sundays. Concerned, I called The White Horse and was told that they stop serving food at 19:00 and as they were quiet, there was no need to book. That was settled then – no need to buy dinner from the Co-Op. I had a mooch round the church and the wife took the dog for a short walk before we returned to the boat. Darkness fell and I read and Debbie knitted, just passing time until we were ready to go for dinner. We had a great welcome from the landlord, selected from the menu and waited for the food. The wife had a mackerel dish to start (I can’t remember exactly what it was) and I had cod cheeks. It must have been a huge cod – the cheeks were lovely and the presentation of the food was outstanding. We had both chosen roast sirloin of beef for mains, with roast potatoes, parsnip, carrots, Yorkshire pudding, cabbage and green beans which was very tasty and also well presented. For once, there was room for dessert, so the wife had ice-cream and I opted for the apple crumble and custard, which did not disappoint in any way. It would be wrong to describe the food as pub grub, it was much more civilised, but great food nevertheless and we will be back. We sauntered back to the boat and settled down for our last night on board for this trip at least, watching the TV for a while (the wife wanted to see who was on I’m a Celebrity) before our customary hot drink and bed. Neither of us could believe how lucky we’d been with the weather – clear blue skies for both days.
  21. We didn't want too much to eat at lunchtime, knowing where we were heading for our evening meal. The chippy was good (well, we thought so anyway). Still haven't sampled the food in The Yare, but we may well do on our next trip in February. Can't wait now!!!!!!
  22. Saturday 17thNovember When we bought into the Moonlight Shadow syndicate, our first allocated week, which had been drawn at the AGM in 2017, was due to be in February next year. The wife and I felt a bit like children who had been given Christmas presents and told we couldn’t open them until June. However, at the AGM in October, we managed secured an unwanted week, but due to holiday restrictions at work, was only effectively (for us) a long weekend commencing 17th November, which gave us the opportunity of experiencing the boat for ourselves. I had been anxiously watching the weather forecast on the BBC to see what was in store for us weather-wise and much to my amazement, it was looking promising for Saturday and Sunday at least, so with the car packed, we left our house at about 08:40 on Saturday morning. The weather was grey and gloomy, not the bright sunshine that had been forecast, but we were heading for The Broads and our first trip on the boat we had a share in, which made up for it. I was in two minds about the route – with roadworks expected to last until 2022, on the M1 from Junction 15 to 13 and works in progress on the A14 between Huntingdon and Cambridge, I had pondered which would cause the least problems. I chose to go A45 to Thrapston, then the A14 and was making good progress until just before the junction with the A1, when the overhead gantry signs warned of the closure of the A14 between Junctions 26 and 29. I was not best pleased, so turned right onto the A1 to Eaton Socon, before turning onto the A428. All was going well until we hit traffic that had been diverted off the A14 by the closure. The sat-nav came up with an alternative route, which it said would save me a lot of time, so I followed it through some unfamiliar lanes and eventually came back out on the A428 and familiar territory. The diversion had cost us about half an hour, but the predicted eta on the TomTom was still 11:30, so not too bad. My mood was improving with the weather, which was becoming ever better the nearer we got to Norwich. The rest of the journey passed without further delay or incident and we arrived at the boatyard pretty much on time and in bright sunshine, just as forecast. Having viewed Moonlight Shadow in August, we knew where she was moored, so drove to her berth and tried our keys for the first time. We let ourselves in and had a look round – all was clean and tidy, ready for our arrival. We were met a few minutes later by the representative from BCBM, who officially showed us round, pointed out a few bits and pieces, but realising that we had hired many times previously didn’t go into unnecessary details. We were quickly signed off and we were left to get on with unloading the car and preparing to start our first cruise. The wife sent me to the Co-Op to get a couple of breakfast essentials for the following morning and I called into the chippy in Brundall for some lunch, whilst she made up the bed unpacked our clothes. I drove back to the berth, parked the car and we had our fish and chips (which were very tasty indeed), before starting the engine and casting off. I have always been careful with every hire boat we’ve been on in the past, but was doubly cautious as I went astern, knowing that it was I was at the helm of a craft that was jointly owned by our fellow syndicate members and us. Realising that it would be dark by about 16:00, in bright sunshine we turned towards Coldham Hall and set off for a comparatively short trip to our overnight stop at The Ferry House, Surlingham, where I had booked a mooring and a table for dinner. We turned off the Yare and across Bargate, before re-joining the main river towards Bramerton. Despite the lateness of our visit, there were still some leaves clinging to the trees, creating some wonderful colours on either side of the river. The river levels seemed quite low, a fact born out by something we witnessed on Sunday afternoon. There were a few private boats about, but not many as we headed up to Bramerton Common, before turning round and finding our mooring at The Ferry House, right by an electric post. I checked, but there was no credit on it and was advised by someone on a nearby craft that the cards were available from the pub and that the BA cards didn’t work in them. I went in and bought one, before hooking up the cables, setting up the aerial and settling down to watch some TV. It was getting quite cold, so we were grateful that the heating fired up and soon warmed the inside of the boat through. I broke out the camera and took a few photos as the sun began to set. We have visited The Broads for years, but usually during late April, May, June, September or early October. The mainly bare branches of the trees and shrubs in the light of the setting sun revealed views that we had not previously experienced. The traffic problems that had blighted the early part of our journey seemed a million miles away as the sun disappeared and I went back inside Moonlight Shadow to resume watching the TV until it was time for dinner. We went to the pub shortly before 19:00 and once seated at our table, made our choices from the menu – prawn cocktail for the wife and whitebait to start for me, followed by lasagne, chips and side salad for each of us for the main course. As usual, the portions were generous and tasty, so much so that neither of us could manage a dessert. We finished our drinks and returned to the boat to watch TV a little longer before having a hot drink and going to bed, tired , happy and looking forward to the adventure continuing on Sunday.
  23. Not sure if I would say I'm comfortable with 'er indoors driving, but at least if my eyes are closed I can't see what she's doing!!😁😁😯
  24. No axe to grind with the BA and I don't want to discuss the issues of the boarding and relevant planning permissions, but as the building in question is not by the river's edge and in no way 'iconic,' why all the fuss? To my eyes (at least), the visual abomination that is Hunsett Mill is much more worthy of comment.
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