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Everything posted by Mouldy

  1. That's a blow. We aren't starting our holiday until 29th September. I'll have to look through last year's to see what I can find!!
  2. Been there, done that!!! I think Nanny might say that's her prerogative.
  3. Thanks folks! It will seem strange I'm sure to leave Wroxham at the end of our holiday on 6th October, that we will no longer be hiring (or for the foreseeable future at least) and the next time we spend time on the Broads, will be on a boat that we own a share of.
  4. No it's not . . . . . . . . . . It's mine!! I realised that my lifelong ambition to own a boat of my own is never going to be fulfilled, so buying into syndicated ownership was the only way. My plan was to wait a couple of months until we return from our holiday on Gainsborough Girl at the end of September and have a serious look then and had been in touch with SueH and arranged to meet her at Brundall on the way to Summercraft to view Moonlight Shadow. However my wife, who is usually very cautious about spending money, found too many reasons not to wait, so a flurry of phone calls and emails between BCBM and me took place and yesterday morning saw us make the trip from Northampton to Brundall to see her. It seemed too good an offer to turn down, so the deposit has been paid, I am in receipt of relevant paperwork from BCBM for signing and the share should be ours by the end of the month. I would like to thank SueH for her offer of showing us over the boat and sincerely hope that now this apparent bargain share has been sold, she has success in finding purchasers for hers. The wife and I are now looking forward to completing the deal and to our first time aboard.
  5. There are several tracks from the programme listed on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/tv-season/so-sharp/id1257269336 Not sure if any are the correct one though.
  6. Poor grammar and I know mine is far from perfect but 'should of' is not the correct abbreviation of should have (should've), your used instead of you're etc. You get the general idea?
  7. Exactly what I said - no investment. The original Triumph Motorcycle Company went into receivership in 1983 and John Bloor bought the rights to the name and restarted the company, initially building new versions of the old bikes, but eventually developing new models using Japanese manufacturing techniques. Incidentally, I used to own a Triumph 955i Daytona which proved to be the most unreliable and expensive machine to maintain that I ever owned in 35 years of motorcycling. As far as British cars were concerned, I used to work opposite the Pressed Steel Fisher works at Cowley where many of the British Leyland bodies were produced and used to see Austin Princess bodies with rust on the rear three quarter panels before they were even finished. Little wonder that they were covered in vinyl on the finished car. The difference between our industry and others from Europe and the Far East is that we were content to rely on past 'glory' whilst others were intent on improving, by investing in new techniques. As Grendel said, there is no base to train new people into now, the industries that have been lost, will remain lost. We are no longer a force in manufacturing in this country, too many are employed in service industries or in the financial sector. In my humble opinion, there is too little focus in our education system in encouraging youngsters into apprenticeships, when they can go to university to earn a debt and a degree, usually in a subject that has little to do with the field in which they are eventually employed.
  8. Let's not forget that buying British is not always a guarantee of quality. The demise of our car and motorcycle industry could probably traced back to the atrocious build quality of British Leyland, Vauxhall and the other mainstream manufacturers back in the 70s and 80s. As the result, we started buying European and particularly models from the rapidly improving Japanese, who offers so many of the extras as standard in their range. Most of the faults lay with the lack of investment. Why were Triumph still producing motorcycles in the 70s that were introduced in the fifties when it was plain to see that the likes of Honda were stealing sales with their multi cylinder bikes and why were Leyland (laterly Rover) still producing car engines in the 90s that were introduced in the 50s. It's easy to blame the consumer for a lack of loyalty or for not being patriotic towards home built products, but the lack of current choice can frequently be traced back to out own fault many years ago.
  9. I thought this might be of interest, but may have posted in the wrong Forum (apologies if I have). Since dad passed away earlier this year, my mum has been slowly going through cupboards of stuff that dad accumulated through the years (he never did like throwing anything away) and came across this, still sealed in its protective wrapper. The expiry date for the film contained within is 1991, so I can only assume that dad was sent it when he booked a 42ft Connoisseur from Porter & Haylett in Wroxham for a holiday in 1988. I can't remember Hoseasons offering free gifts, but perhaps they did. I trust that whoever was responsible for the horrendous grammatical error on the front was severely reprimanded!!
  10. Nice video and well edited too. I've only made and finished one video at the end of a holiday in the Tarn region of France about five years ago. It took so long to put together and I currently don't have the time, but there are some things that come across better with moving pictures than with photos. Thanks for sharing.
  11. Saturday 30th September I awoke to the sound of the alarm on my phone that I’d set in good time to allow me to get ready and pack without rushing. Debbie followed me and got ready to take the dogs out and much to my amazement, Iain was up early too. They went out with the dogs and I went for a shower. Dressed and ready, I set about packing up all of the bits and pieces that we had taken with us. The others returned with the dogs and the wife went for a shower and to get herself ready. There was no breakfast planned that morning, time was too precious, so it would be a McDonalds, although I’m ashamed to admit it. I went out to mop the decks and pull up the mudweight. We cast off from our moorings at about 07:45 and chugged slowly (and sadly) back towards Wroxham and the boatyard. I was at the helm, Rachel showered and dressed and then got Harry ready, finally Iain went for a shower too. Bags were being packed and the beds stripped, washing up done and everything tidied away. I do not know how we had managed to take so much stuff. We only passed a couple of boats on the move between Salhouse Broad and Wroxham and all too soon we turned right off the Bure and into Summercrafts yard. It looked as if we had been beaten back by just one other boat – Gala Girl 2 was moored under the canopy and being thoroughly prepared by an army of people, cleaning outside and inside, even polishing the crockery and cutlery before carefully putting everything back in its place, ensuring that their high standards were being maintained. Small wonder that their craft, although far from new, are amongst the smartest and best presented on the Broads. I reversed, self-consciously to moor alongside Gala Girl, anxious not to mess up when it was being witnessed by so many people. Fortunately, there were no mistakes and we were soon back in almost exactly in the same position as our holiday had started a week previously. Our cars were under cover, just a few short steps from Grande Girl, so we went to collect the keys and pack them ready for the journey home. The fuel was dipped, Rachel and I set about packing the two cars, the wife was looking after Harry and Iain was making himself useful and vacuuming each cabin as they were emptied of our possessions, using our rechargeable Dyson that we’d taken with us for that purpose. Finally, with everything stowed and the cupboards and drawers finally checked to make sure nothing had been left, we stepped off the boat for the last time. Whilst we had been packing the cars, a couple more boats had also returned, one of which was Gainsborough Girl, which I was pleased to see. I had been considering hiring her for next year and my one reservation was that our dog may not be able to tackle the relatively steep steps from the outside steering position into the saloon. Before making the booking, for our peace of mind, I wanted to check that Harley could cope with them and hoped that Sue would allow us to try when the current hirers had cleared her of their belongings. Iain and I went to see Brian and Sue, where I was given a refund of £21 and a few pence against our fuel deposit of £110. I wasn’t unhappy, we’d been across Breydon, to Norwich and back and explored much of the Northern Broads too, so the fuel cost of about £89 I though was pretty good. I explained to Sue about making sure the dog could manage the steps on Gainsborough Girl and she was quite agreeable, so I wandered round to the boat with the dog. My fears proved totally unfounded, she hopped on and scampered down the steps without a problem. The wife had already taken a quick tour and it met with her approval too, so I went back to the office and booked for next year. That was settled then. We had hired Grenada Girl twice, Gardenia Girl once and Grande Girl a total of four times since 2004, so it would be a first on Gainsborough and our first time on a ‘fly-bridge’ style cruiser. Obviously, she is not new, but in outstanding condition inside and out and very striking in Summercraft’s livery. Booking made, we set off on the short drive to Roy’s car park. Rachel, Debbie, Harry and the dogs went to find a seat near the moorings behind Hoveton Visitor Centre, whilst Iain and I went to get breakfast from McDonalds. We returned to the others and sat for a few minutes eating and talking over our holiday. When finished, we went for our customary visit to Wroxham Barns where the wife bought yet another cross stitch to add to the many that she has been accumulating, in readiness for her retirement (she says). We sat at one of the café’s whilst Rachel and Iain took Harry into the farm. They took loads of pictures of him with the animals and he looked as if he had really enjoyed himself. We eventually set off for home at about 12:30 and including a forced diversion to avoid a build-up of traffic on the A45, arrived home by just after 15:00. So our Broadland adventure was over for another year, but it can only be about forty-eight weeks until we start again. I can hardly wait!! As there are no photos from our last day, I’ll post a few more taken during our holiday. Hope you like them!!
  12. Friday 29th September So the morning of our last full day afloat dawned, or it would have if it hadn’t have been so cloudy. It was raining too. I was up first as usual and with a cuppa in hand I watched as the murk became just a little lighter to show that night had turned to day. The wife and Iain were both up too and I went for a shower as they went out with the dogs. While I was in the shower, some total clown raced past causing a wash so severe that I was almost knocked off my feet. I pulled back the shower curtain to try to identify the boat, but all I could see through the steamed-up windows was a white hull and blue cabin top, heading towards Ludham. He must have been in a hurry. Iain and Debbie arrived back on board before I had finished getting ready, neither Simba nor Harley were great fans of the rain apparently and had both decided when they had walked far enough. I finished getting ready and emerged from the aft cabin when finally dressed to find the others watching a very gloomy weather forecast on breakfast television. The plan for the day was, as usual, a visit to Ranworth and the church, and overnight at Salhouse, but seeing how busy the rivers had been, I was keen to get away and see if we could find a mooring at Ranworth Staithe. Rachel was in the shower as we cast off and headed back down the Ant. There was loads of clearance at Ludham Bridge and no need to wind the saloon roof down or lower the windscreen, which was a relief due to the rain. Debbie lit the grill and cooked some crumpets for breakfast, hot and dripping with butter, just as I like them! Breakfast finished, the others went, in turn, to get ready. We soon arrived at the end of Ranworth Dam and headed along it towards Malthouse Broad. I had taken a pair of binoculars with me and as soon as the staithe came into view, I peered through them to see if there was room. It looked quite busy, but I thought I could see a space, so I headed for it. As we drew nearer, there was definitely a space there and it looked narrow, but I thought we could fit, so gave it a go. It was a little more tricky with the roof up, the rearward visibility somewhat compromised, however I squeezed Grande Girl in and we moored up safely. By now, the rain had eased, so it was agreed that we would head for St Helens and treat ourselves to a coffee and slice of cake each in the café behind the church. I had already wrapped some potatoes in foil and put them in the oven to cook for lunch and with the buggy set up, Harry strapped in and a couple of umbrellas we set off and soon arrived at the church gate. The lighting for photography was flat and the sky grey and gloomy, so I set my camera to simulate black and white film and took a few photos of the outside of the church before changing back to recording in colour and going in. Debbie, Rachel and Harry stayed outside whilst Iain and I went in. He ventured up the tower and a couple of minutes later, at 11:00, the church bell rung out. I hoped that he hadn’t been too close when it had rung!! I wasn’t in the mood for clambering up the stairs that day, so went out and stood with the wife (who was keeping Harry amused) whilst Rachel went up the tower to find Iain. I went round to the café to find it closed again. I had been looking forward to a slice of their cake, someone there makes exceedingly good ones and I’m sure it isn’t Mr Kipling. We were joined by the others and we went out through the gate and followed the lane round the back and past the village hall. Rachel, Debbie, Harry and the dogs went back to the boat. Iain and I went along the boardwalk to the floating Norfolk Wildlife Trust Centre. I climbed the narrow spiral stairs, found a pair of binoculars and looked through the windows to see if I could spot anything unusual, but as usual, was disappointed. I’ve visited there several times over the years and can only ever remember seeing anything out of the ordinary on one previous occasion some twenty years or so ago, when one of the staff there guided us to look at a heron’s nest, high in a tree on the far side of Ranworth Broad. Strange to think that a bird with such long legs builds a nest so far off the ground. I rejoined Iain downstairs and we wandered back to the boat, pausing to have a quick look in the shop on the way. I left him there and ambled over the green to Grande Girl while Rachel went in the opposite direction to join Iain. To make up for the disappointment of not having cake at the church café, I had a slice of the cherry cake that the wife had made to take with us on holiday, before topping up with water for the last time. We stopped there for lunch of jacket potatoes, cheese, coleslaw and salad before casting off and heading for Salhouse and our last night on board. As we left our moorings, a boat whose crew had been mud-weighting on the broad, moved towards our vacated spot as another boat who had just entered did the same. I didn’t look round to see who won, but just chugged back up Ranworth Dam to join the Bure. I had thought about stopping at the moorings for St Benedicts Church for a mooch round, as I hadn’t visited there for many years, but they were occupied so we carried on to Salhouse, where we moored at the far end of the quay heading past (and out of the way of) the water point. The weather was still grey and overcast. There had been occasional brighter periods, but there had also been a few sharp showers. I noticed that there were a couple of other Summercraft boats there, Gainsborough Girl and one of the Gala Girls. I guessed that like us, they were finishing the following morning and enjoying their last night in easy striking distance of boatyard. Iain and Rachel went to hire a kayak for an hour and we watched as they paddled past. Far too energetic for me, I’m afraid. I prepared a sausage casserole and put it in the oven and peeled the spuds to go with it. Debbie was keeping her grandson occupied, feeding a couple of swans and a large group of geese, from the sliding side door at the helm. The kids (we still call them that!) returned from their kayaking and Debbie and Iain took the dogs for some exercise. TV reception has never been great at Salhouse, but we managed to get one channel, so it was watchable and chilled for a while when they got back. We had dinner at about 19:00. Sausage casserole and creamed potatoes washed down with white wine for Rachel and Debbie (they said they needed to finish the bottle) and cider for Iain and me! With the washing up done, we had a final game of crib before turning in. Although some of the packing had already been done, it is difficult to do too much with little space to stow the packed bags, so it would need to be an early start the following morning to finish the packing and tidy up the boat. Although Iain and Rachel had been married in April this year, due to financial constraints they had put their honeymoon off until next year and would be away for their first anniversary. As a result, they’d be unable to join Debbie and me on the Broads next year, so I fell asleep thinking about which of Summercraft’s fleet would best suit us for our next Broadland adventure.
  13. Thursday 28th September Thursday morning dawned and I was up at about 06:00. I lit the gas under the kettle, climbed the two steps into the saloon, opened a curtain to peer into the gloom and try to see what the weather was doing. It was raining – no sunrise photos again. Debbie soon emerged from the aft cabin and rummaged in the drawer to find the dogs collars and leads and much to my amazement, Iain materialised from the fore cabin in time to help her. Waterproofs on, they soon departed and left me with my morning cuppa. I had said that I would prepare a ‘full english’ breakfast that morning, so went for a shower. By the time I emerged, showered and dressed, the others were back, Rachel and Harry were up and the saloon curtains were open, so I set about cooking breakfast. I don’t often get the chance to have a cooked breakfast, but usually manage one or two when we’re on The Broads. The galley on Grande Girl is okay, but a little cramped, so preparation was not easy but bacon, black pudding and sausages (from the butchers in Ludham), baked beans, fried eggs, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms made it all worthwhile. A veritable morning calorific feast and certainly not one that WeightWatchers would approve of, but it was very good, even if I do say so myself. We had to run the engine for a while to generate hot water for washing up, but it was well past 08:00 and there weren’t many neighbours left to disturb anyway. Washing up done, we cast off and headed up the Ant. The others went to get ready and by the time we chugged into Stalham, everyone had showered and dressed. I headed for what was Monfleet for water, only to find that it had returned to being run by Simpsons, not that it mattered to me. We moored and topped up with water, but as the public staithe was full and we wanted to go to Tescos for the last of our shopping, I checked with the boatyard and was allowed to moor there for a short while, having first moved Grande Girl from near the pump-out point. Rachel set up the Harry’s buggy and with him safely installed, we quickly headed off to the shops. It had, by now, stopped raining and we hadn’t taken waterproofs or umbrellas, a failure that we would all regret on the way back when the heavens opened for what the wife described as ‘a clearing up shower.’ All somewhat dampened, we returned to the boat, put the shopping away and readied ourselves to cast off. As it turned out, the wife’s statement proved correct, thankfully it was the last shower that day. We turned Grande Girl round and set off, with no real plan or destination in mind, but when we reached the junction where we could turn left for Barton Broad or right to head for Wayford, I turned right. In all the years I’ve been on the Broads, I can’t remember ever going as far as Wayford Bridge, never mind Dilham. We passed the once picturesque Hunsett Mill and I wondered what had got into the planners’ minds when they had granted permission to turn the cottage into the abomination it is now. We carried on up to Wayford and it is really quite a pretty stretch of river, however the clearance at Wayford was insufficient to get under and the public moorings were full, so we turned around and headed back the way we had come. We crossed Barton Broad and headed for Gays Staithe, where I planned to moor for lunch, not that I (nor any of us for that matter) was particularly hungry, still quite full from our breakfast. As it turned out, Gays Staithe was full, as was Neatishead. I wondered what was going on! Last night How Hill had been quiet, but today everywhere appeared to be relatively busy. Debbie made up some rolls for lunch, using the last of the roast pork from the previous night and rolls we’d bought in Tescos and we ate them whilst chugging back across Barton Broad. We’d been lucky enough to moor at Irstead a couple of years ago where Iain and Rachel had bought a decorated flower pot from a stand outside a house at the junction of the green at Irstead and the road (near the church). Unfortunately, they had managed to break it and were anxious to moor there again so they could get another. The moorings looked full as we approached, but there was just room to get the stern of the boat near enough to the quay to allow them to get off, buy a new pot and get back on, but as I manoeuvred Grande Girl into position, the owner of the private boat moored there said that he was just leaving, so as he started his engines and cast off, so we pulled the boat into position and moored up securely. The dogs were grateful for some freedom and scampered around on the green, Iain and Rachel selected and paid for their pot and Debbie and I chose another to go with the one we still have. By now, the weather had improved and it was quite sunny, with some broken cloud, but a welcome change from the rain from the morning. I took my camera and headed for the church – really quaint and unusual, with its thatched roof. I spent a few minutes taking pictures and another couple of minutes in silent thought, the memory not only of my dad still quite fresh in my mind, but also the effect on my mum, who at the age of 85 and bereaved after 63 years of marriage is still struggling to come to terms with her loss. Iain and Rachel joined me a few minutes later and I returned to the boat to prepare dinner. Beef casserole was on the menu, so I cubed and browned some braising steak in a cast iron casserole dish that we had taken with us, added carrots, mushrooms onions, red wine and I hate to admit it, a packet of casserole mix, before putting it in the oven on a low heat. Debbie kept Harry amused in the sunshine, until the others returned. I was tempted to stay there for the night, but wanted to go back to How Hill and see if there would be a sunset and the photographic opportunities that it would bring, so we cast off and headed back along the river. It wasn’t long before we arrived there and it was soon obvious that there were considerably more boats moored than the previous night. My preferred spot, just past the bend and opposite the mill, was already occupied, so we settled for a mooring along the straight. I feared that we might be disturbed by the usual Richardson’s Rush, but my fears were ill founded, not many other craft passed at all – it wasn’t until Friday morning that it happened, as we found out the following day. Rachel, Debbie, Harry and the dogs went to the field in front of the house, whilst Iain and I headed for the nature trail. I expected not to see wildlife there that I couldn’t see on the rivers and wasn’t disappointed, however for the first time in all of the visits I’ve made there, the secret garden was open. Although the azaleas and rhododendrons has long since flowered, it was a colourful autumnal scene with many of the shrubs turning vivid shades of red and orange. We spent a few minutes looking round and Iain was particularly impressed by the size of the leaves of the gunnera, which looks like huge rhubarb. We returned to the boat, by which time it had cooled sufficiently to warrant raising the roof and we watched tv for a while until the sun began to set. I went out with my camera and suffered disappointment for the third consecutive night when the sunset was less than spectacular again. Oh well, better luck next year!! I returned to the others and we had our casserole, with some broccoli and the odd alcoholic beverage. With the washing up done, we settled down for another couple of games of crib, until I could neither concentrate, nor keep my eyes open. Hot chocolate and bed. All too soon another week was almost at an end - Friday was to be our last full day on the Broads for another year and I fell asleep wondering where the time had gone.
  14. Wednesday 27th September As ever, I was the first to wake on Wednesday morning. I quickly dressed and went to put the kettle on, so satisfy my need for a cup of tea. I pulled back the curtains in the hope that there would be a glorious sunrise – the type that casts a golden glow and makes for wonderful photos. I was greeted by the sight of quite a dense mist, but undaunted and without stopping to brew up, I grabbed my camera and went outside. Just as I started, an old Richardsons Ocean 30 chugged slowly up the dyke, disturbing the glassy smooth water’s surface and the reflections that had been created. If only I’d been up a few minutes earlier, but the mist had created a quite magical quality to the scenery around the mill and so I spent quite a time wandering around taking plenty of photos. I was still there when Iain, Debbie walked past with the dogs, heading for their morning walk and I was till there when they returned some time later. The sun had begun to rise and had formed a deep red ball in the sky, shrouded by the mist and was creating some wonderful photo opportunities. I eventually returned to Grande Girl, satisfied that I had captured a few decent shots. It was not long after that when I heard the throaty roar of a diesel engine starting and discovered that it was our near neighbours in the Barnes craft who had eventually moored near to us the previous evening. Iain told me that their engine had been running until about 22:30, which neither the wife nor I had heard due to our cabin being at the blunt end, furthest away from the source of the noise. Clearly Broadland etiquette, as well has boat handling skills were lacking too, as it was still only about 07:30. We were in no desperate rush to get away that morning, Potter being a relatively short cruise away, so I showered and got ready and we had breakfast of toast and marmalade. By then, it was late enough to start the engine and let it tick over to heat the water for the rest of the party to shower too. By just after 09:00 the mist had lifted, leaving a clear blue sky and the mill looked so different in the bright sunshine. We cast off from Thurne Dyke by about 10:30 (I think) and we chugged into Herbert Woods yard just after 11:00, by which time the cloud had rolled in again. We all wandered across to Lathams and I was designated to dog sit whilst the others went in to do the shopping. As a gesture of consideration, they had allowed me time before leaving me, to get a coffee from the Flour and Bean and I sat at a table outside, with a crossword book and two dogs, whiling away the time until they emerged. Iain and Rachel, with Harry and the dogs returned to the boat whilst I went for a mooch round with the wife and looked a sweater that Iain had dismissed as a ‘grandad’ style. I was a grandad and liked it, so bought one. There wasn’t much else that took my fancy, so bought a couple of bags of treats for the dogs and we returned to join the others. Iain had just finished topping up with water and as the time was already approaching 13:00, decided that it was lunchtime, so he and I headed for the chippie to get fish and chips. I have often heard some not so positive comments about the Potter chippie, but on this occasion the fish was a decent size and freshly cooked and the chips were just how I like them. If I’m honest, not quite as good as Kens (in Wroxham), but better than I’ve had there in the past and quite acceptable. The food was washed down with a cup of tea and was extremely enjoyable. With the washing up done, we cast off and manoeuvred slowly out of Woods yard, our overnight destination would be somewhere up the River Ant, perhaps How Hill if there was room, or further up if there wasn’t, so made our way slowly back down the Thurne. I spied a hawk of some sort hovering over the field near to Thurne Dyke and tried, unsuccessfully to get a photo of it. With the telephoto lens at full extension, trying to hold the camera sufficiently steady and maintain the subject in the frame whilst the boat was in motion was I never going to win. We carried on, turning right onto the Bure, past the other Fleet Dyke (leading to South Walsham Broads) and St Benets Abbey before turning right onto the River Ant. Iain was at the helm and the river was remarkably quiet. We even negotiated Ludham Bridge without queuing or waiting for other craft to pass through for the first time in a long time. We had a cup of tea and cakes purchased from the bakery in Lathams whilst chugging towards How Hill, where I hoped we would be mooring overnight. The last time we had been there, it had been extremely busy and hoped that it would be quieter this time. Turf Fen Mill and How Hill House loomed into view and it was immediately obvious that there were plenty of mooring spaces. I was amazed – it is such a lovely mooring (except when the Richardson’s Rush is on), with great views, walks and the nature trail, too. By this time the sun was out again and we enjoyed the peace of the moorings with the roof wound back. Debbie and Iain took the dogs for a walk, Rachel was keeping Harry occupied and I did a couple of crosswords. A little later a Herbert Woods lowliner style boat came in to moor in front of us. Although it was one of the larger type, there appeared only to be a couple on it and their mooring style interested me – they approached the bank at right angles until the bow touched, the female crew member stepped off and held a rope slackly and waited until the stern swung in with either the breeze or current (whichever was stronger) at which point, her partner gathered the appropriate rope from the stern and tied up. They seemed quite accomplished at it and didn’t appear to be struggling, otherwise I would have offered some assistance. As the evening brought cooler air, we wound the roof back up. I waited again to photograph what I hoped would be a magnificent sunset, only to be disappointed for the second successive night. With just a few images committed to the memory card, I returned to the boat for dinner. Roast loin of pork was on the menu that night, with roast potatoes, broccoli and carrots. We had another couple of games of crib before tiredness set in and I headed for bed with my usual hot drink at about 21:30. Debbie soon followed and we left Iain and Rachel watching something on Dave.
  15. Thanks all for your kind comments. Helen - yes Harry certainly is bright as a button. I guess every grandparent likes to think that of their grandkids, but he is certainly very inquisitive. There may be a delay in the completion of my tale. The wife and I are taking my mum away this Friday, just for a long weekend, to give her a bit of a break. She has been struggling to come to terms with dad's passing which after a month short of 63 years of marriage really is no surprise. We're hoping it might cheer her up a bit, as the dark evenings and run up to Christmas draws nearer. Malcolm
  16. Tuesday 26th September I woke early, with a little assistance from the alarm on my phone. From memory, slack water at Yarmouth was due a few minutes after 09:00, so I thought that we would need to be away from Langley Dyke by about 06:30. I pulled some clothes on and went into the saloon, where I pulled back the curtains to check the weather. It was a little misty, but not dramatically so. The wife emerged from the aft cabin a few minutes later, and as there was no sign of movement from the front of the boat, we took the dogs out for their morning walk. We walked to the main river and back and both dogs had a good run round, happy to be off the lead. We wandered back to Grande Girl and I collected my camera, anxious to get a few pictures before the glassy smooth water was disturbed. I hurried along the side of the dyke and quickly took a few shots before returning to the boat. Dozens of birds were settling on the cables suspended on poles on the opposite side, which reminded me momentarily of a scene from The Birds. By the time I returned, Iain, Rachel and Harry were all up, the curtains were drawn and the windows had been wiped. We departed from our moorings at about 06:45, a little later than I had planned, but we were going with the ebbing current and once on the Yare, progress was good. I remained at the helm until after we had passed the sugar refinery and Hardley Mill, before handing the helm to Iain and heading for our cabin to get ready. Showered, dressed and refreshed, I returned to the saloon to find that we had already passed Reedham and were well on our way towards Breydon Water. We appeared to be running ahead of schedule, so adjusted the throttle to slow our progress but we still arrived at Yarmouth about twenty minutes early. There was bags of clearance under the bridges, without having to lower the saloon roof or screen, but we almost had a head on collision with a Herberts Woods flybridge cruiser whose helmsman appeared to have cast off from his moorings at the Yacht Station without starting his engine, or some other problem affecting his ability to control the boat. He was drifting broadside down the river with the ebbing current and struggling to regain control of the craft. There was nowhere for us to go to avoid him, but fortunately the current took him past with the smallest clearance you could imagine. A little too close for comfort indeed. I looked astern as he passed under the first of the bridges and it looked as if he had regained control, which I guess would have been a relief to him, as well as anyone following us. Not sure that the boat would have been up to being swept out to sea!! We chugged on up the Bure and had crumpets for breakfast as we went. What’s that you say? Diet? What diet???? Our grandson Harry had watched as we had used the winch to wind the roof up and down during the past few days and amused us all as he tried to fit the handle into the socket to try it for himself, albeit the wrong way around. We passed Stracey Windpump and the old pub, without any further dramas, continuing through Stokesby and on to Acle, where I intended to moor for water and moored stern on at Bridgecraft. Debbie took the dogs for a walk along the bank whilst Iain and I topped up the water tank. It was strange to look across the river to see the little shop closed. It seemed to have been there for as long as I can remember. The weather had been gradually improving and the sun was beginning to break through. With Debbie and the dogs safely back on board, we cast off once again to head for Womack Dyke, where I hoped we would be able to moor at the BA moorings and walk into Ludham village. However, all the spaces were taken, so we carried on into Womack Water itself and found a spot between two other craft, one of which was crewed by about four or five gents all dressed as pirates. With Harry’s buggy set up and him strapped safely in, we all walked the short distance into the village. The butchers was the first destination and I had a chat with Tim, the new butcher. I asked if he still saw Rodney and he said that he still went in, but as a customer. We have always made a point of going there whenever we’ve been on the Broads. The meat was always excellent and Rodney was (and probably still is) an affable chap, who always seemed to remember the wife, Iain and I and have time to exchange a few words each time we called in. I hope he enjoys a long, happy and healthy retirement. We bade Tim farewell and told him we’d see him again next year. Time will tell if his memory is as good as Rodney’s, but he did seem a decent butcher and the meat we bought was as good as ever. We wandered over to Throwers to get the other necessary supplies and returned to the boat to find a couple of the pirates on the boat moored next to Grande Girl standing on the stern of their boat playing conkers. We didn’t hang around to watch, I wanted to get moored up for the night, so we cast off and headed back to Thurne Dyke. With repairs made to the quay heading, I moored on the mill side at the end nearest the river. The sun was out and the canopy wound back. It was a most pleasant afternoon. Debbie and I took the dogs for a wander along the bank and I took my camera along too. On our return, I spent a bit of time taking a few shots of Thurne Mill, from different angles and with different lenses. With the light fading, we watched with interest as the crew of an ex Moores, now Barnes Brinkcraft boat was attempting to moor on the angle of the dyke’s entrance, where it joins the main river. The helmsman could never have been accused of having any mechanical sympathy or a gentle touch. Full throttle forwards and back several times, getting no closer to the bank. He eventually got the bow close enough for someone to take a leap of faith to the bank and pull the craft in. It was then that they realised that there were no posts or rings to tie to, so they found the rhond anchors and trod them into the bank, securing the ropes with a peculiar round turn, two half hitch, couple of reef and a granny knot for good measure. I swear that if the ropes had been longer, they would have tied more. We had decided to try the pub for our meal that night, so after I had patiently waited to take a few pictures of the sunset, which never really happened, we all trooped along to The Lion. The difference in the decoration is immediately noticeable, with friendly staff and a good choice of draught beers and cider. We were shown to a table and made our selections from the not very extensive menu, three of us having soup as a starter and the wife selecting a smoked mackerel fillet, with various dressings. We all selected the Lion Burger as a main. Whilst the food was well cooked and tasty and the service fast and friendly, the table we were at was quite poorly lit. I enjoyed it, but would like to see more choice on the menu, to be able to see what I am eating and for it to be a little more traditional with the dishes offered. I realise that it is early days for the new landlord, so will try it again next year to see how it has progressed. We returned to Grande Girl and had a game of crib, which was won by Rachel and Debbie, before a hot drink and bed. All too quickly, the week seemed to be passing, a visit to Potter Heigham was planned for Wednesday, with the inevitable visit to Lathams and the possibility of fish and chips for lunch.
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