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About kingfisher666

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    East Anglia
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    Natural History particularly Bird Watching, History of East Anglia, Listening to Music and Playing Guitar, Camping, Walking, Photography, Sketching, Fishing and lots of other things too numerous to mention. Jack of many things, master of none...

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  1. Sorry, for continuing this little 'thread' detour. But, I remember the woods, where I grew up (I literally did spend most of my childhood roaming the woods, no telly you see) all the squirrels (in our part of Essex) were Red Squirrels, with the occasional Grey Squirrel. Despite the local farmers lads, attempting to eradicate the Greys (with 410's). Within ten years, by the time I'd reached my mid teens (in the late sixties) the Red's were all but gone... Yet another sad tale, about introduced non-native species, it rarely ends well unfortunately...
  2. kingfisher666

    Naughty-cal Heads To The Broads Again

    Being 'hit' only three times in ten years anywhere on the water, let alone the Norfolk Broads, would probably equate to amazing good fortune, I would say... Regarding, having less pride in hired craft than those that are owned. I and ALL of the friends I know (without exception), who have hired boats on the Norfolk Broads (and that is an awful lot of hires), have always taken the utmost care of the boats we hire. We've always taken great pride, in keeping both the inside and outside clean and tidy, returning our boats, in at least as good a condition as when we took them over. Yes, I have seen hire boats that have been abused and not looked after. But equally, I've seen privately owned boats treated in the same way too. People are people, whether they own or hire, some take good care others don't. No, I have never owned a boat, I've never felt the need to. But, I can assure you, if I had owned a boat, it would be no more nor less well looked after, than the many boats I've been lucky enough to hire...
  3. I knew an old chap, when I lived at Burgh Castle, he told me, he got "five bob for 'em". He worked the marshes on 'the island' and never went short of 'beer money' thanks to the coypus and the geese or ducks, that "flew into the pylons" near Haddiscoe bridge...
  4. kingfisher666

    Naughty-cal Heads To The Broads Again

    Some people have a short or selective memory, when remembering how they acquired their boating skills. I'm always very forgiving (no, I'm not a saint) of the mistakes inexperienced crews make, I've been there, done it, got the T shirt. Long ago now, but I have a good memory and sometimes cringe at the silly mistakes we made, but no one is a born helmsman, it's a skill you learn, often by the mistakes you make along the way... Fortunately, when I learned my (limited) boating skills, it was at a time when probably 90% of the boats on the broads were hire craft. Luckily, most of my mistakes were met with a shrug and a smile, possibly some useful advice too, from more skilled hirers. It was the (mostly) friendly attitude of the other boating holiday makers, which meant I've kept coming back for more, for the last forty years.
  5. kingfisher666

    Ranworth Breeze Summer 2018

    Not that strange really, evening cruising (when all but the strange, are moored up) is wonderful, the rivers, reedbeds and grazing marshes, become calm and peaceful. As the waterways quieten the riverside wildlife becomes more active. Owls quartering the marshes & meadows, deer browsing the bankside vegetation and the otter families become active too. A slow gentle cruise in the beautiful, slowly fading light of a warm summer evening, can be absolutely magical...
  6. kingfisher666

    Barnes And Wroxham Bridge

    Yeah, just about... But, to be honest I'm not a great drinker anyway, so the pubs would never have made their fortune out of me... We usually only go out to pubs in Beccles & Norwich, where we have friends and like to have a little evening 'get together' with them. Sometimes we'll nip into the 'Nelsons Head' at Horsey, on the way back from the beach, or 'The Lion' at East Somerton, for a couple and very occasionally the 'Queens Head' at Burgh Castle, because it used to be my local, many years ago (a sentimental journey ) but that's about it, these days. Forty years ago, when we were in our twenties, well now that was a whole different story!... Apologies... I seem to have gone off on one, yet again!... Left the original 'thread' way behind... Waffling again!...
  7. kingfisher666

    Barnes And Wroxham Bridge

    I reckon it's got to be at least 10 years... I know a lot of people weren't happy at first, to be charged for something, they had been doing without a problem for many years. But, most people now just accept it, abide by the rules and pay up. I guess it's just the way things have been going, over the last few years. The one that really irks me still, is pub's that charge you to moor. I still won't drink or eat at any pub, that charges me to moor...
  8. kingfisher666

    Barnes And Wroxham Bridge

    I suppose 'Barnes Brinkcraft' can't see the point of You or them paying 'Faircraft Loynes' (who I believe run the pilot service) for something they are quite able to do themselves. Look on the bright side. You can ring 'Barnes Brinkcraft', tell them when you'll be arriving at Wroxham and would like to be piloted through the bridge. Pull over onto their quayside and hopefully someone will be there, to meet and take you through. On leaving Coltishall, ring them again to arrange your return bridge passage. I don't think 'Barnes Brinkcraft' charge, to take their own craft through, so you'll save on the pilot fee too (which I believe is £12 for the return trip).
  9. kingfisher666

    When Did The First Grp Boats Arrive?.

    Did you buy them direct from 'Wilds', I know they had a factory making the mouldings, somewhere near Loddon. Did they also fit them out, or was that done by the buying yards?. I wonder how many 'bath tubs' were actually made, for a boat that most people seem to disparage these days, there certainly were lots of them made. Still plenty of them about, many years later, though mostly with private owners now. I've hired a few 'bath tubs' but never worried too much about the 'seeing over the reeds' thing, though I know many do. We've always had an 'early & late' philosophy (if you can call it that) to cruising. In that, we start early and reach a destination by mid/late morning, when most boats are leaving, or have left, their mooring. The rivers are generally quiet (most people either asleep, or still topping up with coffee) in the early morning and as you'll know, there is lots to see (reeds allowing). We spend the middle of the day, away from the boat, walking, exploring, birding, on the beach, or whatever. We arrive back at the boat early evening and move off again, for an evening cruise, when the rivers/broads are quiet and the wildlife comes out to play again, so we always have plenty to see. Mooring late isn't really a problem, despite the apparent dearth of moorings we hear about, if you have a reasonable knowledge of the area, you can always find somewhere.
  10. kingfisher666

    When Did The First Grp Boats Arrive?.

    It must have been quite a shock/surprise to see, as the 'Wilds' boats were so different to anything else afloat, at that time, I wonder what the reaction was, from both fellow boatyard owners and seasoned broads holidaymakers, when the first Wilds 'Caribbean' was spotted coming down the river... Did they think "that'll be a five minute wonder, it'll never catch on" or was it, perhaps "there goes the future of Norfolk Broads boating"?...
  11. kingfisher666

    When Did The First Grp Boats Arrive?.

    That really is something that is priceless. The history of a particular area and way of life, recounted by the people who were actually there. Unfortunately, once those people are gone, their version of events, people and places goes too, unless we take time to record their memories & pictures. That's why I love websites like 'Broadland Memories' and 'Voices of Hickling' and the many other websites, that record our history, as seen by the ordinary and extraordinary people who lived it...
  12. kingfisher666

    When Did The First Grp Boats Arrive?.

    Thank you for that pointer, Vaughan. I have the 'Broadland Memories' bookmarked on my laptop, so I'll read your article later. I don't really know much about the evolution of broads craft, from wood to fibreglass. But, saw a picture you put on the 'NBN forum' earlier, of the Bishop of Norwich on board 'Solace'. Looking along the line of all wooden boats at St. Benets, in the early 60's, got me thinking about when and how that change began...
  13. kingfisher666

    When Did The First Grp Boats Arrive?.

    We hired 'Judith 3' from the Martham boatyard for a long weekend in 2010, lovely old craft...
  14. I was wondering, (like I do) when did the first 'fibreglass' boats arrive on the Norfolk Broads and who was it, that made or hired out, the first ones?... When we first hired a boat, it was an old wood built craft 'Shining Dawn' from Herbert Woods. The next year, we hired 'Ambassador' from N.B.Y.C. at Wroxham, which I believe was a 'combination' boat, fibreglass hull and wooden built structure. Third year, a completely fibreglass built boat 'Jetstream 2' an 'Elysian' from Southgates Mainyard in Horning. So, in our first few years as hirers, we had run through the change, from wooden craft to fibreglass boats. In those first few years of the 'seventies' there were definitely still more wood built boats on the Norfolk Broads, but a good number of fibreglass boats were to be seen too. Notably the Wilds 'Bermudas and Caribbeans', a lot of boatyards had 'Elysian' centre & aft cockpit boats and of course there were the little 'Hampton Safaris' from Oulton Broad. It was obvious to the eye, that the wooden boats were made in a lot of different designs and sizes, many of which were easily 'identified' as belonging to particular boatyards. Ripplecrafts 'Broadland' fleet, the Sanderson 'Sanderlings' and some of the older 'Wing Line' craft. They weren't always beautiful, but had very distinctive designs. We hired a 'bath tub' boat, sometime in the mid seventies 'Royal Eagle' from Eastick's at Acle (next year she had become 'Ray of Light' at Herbert Woods). At that time, she was looking a little 'tired' so must have been around for some time, previously. So, when did the fibreglass' boats first appear and were they popular straight away, or did hirer's prefer the familiar wooden boats?. Did the first fibreglass boats have initial problems, that needed ironing out?. It's pretty obvious, that there are a lot more very skilled 'man hours' in building a wooden craft, also the quality timber required for boat building must have been very expensive. So, when was a halt called, to building traditional wooden cruisers and who built the last wooden hire craft?. Sorry, lots of questions, but apart from the "Boats of the Norfolk Broads" website, which is wonderful; I'm not aware of any comprehensive 'history of the Norfolk Broads hire fleets' which is available in print or online. If there is such a thing, I'd love to know about it...
  15. I remember the 'boat shaped bar' at the Maltsters, from our first visit in 1972. Those were the days of 'Norwich Bitter' and scampi & chips in a basket... I've seen the bar many times since, both at the Maltsters and at it's new home in the Museum of the Broads. Besides the 'boat bar' at the museum, I always say hello to this 'moth eaten' old specimen, because he's also a part of Broads history too. I remember the first time I came 'face to face' with one of these little chaps. I was riding my motor bike along Market Road in Burgh Castle, when the headlight caught it, sitting beside the road on the edge of the marshes. The thing that struck me, about what looked like an oversized rat, was it's bright orange incisor teeth, which seemed almost fluorescent in the light beam. I saw quite a few more Coypu, mostly on the marshes around St. Olaves, Belton and Burgh Castle in the late seventies. It's a pity they had to be killed, but the damage they did to the drainage dykes, flood banks and sugar beet crops, meant they had to go. I believe the last Coypu's were finally eradicated, from the broads area, in the late eighties...

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