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Vaughan

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Vaughan last won the day on December 25 2018

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  1. Vaughan

    Hoseasons 83 Brochure Wanted

    Yes, this was another of those boatyard "jigsaw puzzles" which I can't quite remember in detail. Rank had yards on the Thames as well as two on the Canal du Midi in France, at Port Cassafieres, near Beziers and Port Sud, near Toulouse. These were marketed under the name of Beaver Fleet, which was not the one at Somerleyton as that business had moved to St Olaves, on the yard which I think was later owned by Alphacraft. Port Cassafieres was making a lot of money (not just because I was the manager at the time!) but Rank's accountants suddenly decided to get out of boating and so they sold everything. Richardsons went back to Bobby and Port Cass was bought by Keith Gregory, who by then owned the old Beaver Fleet yard at Somerleyton, which he called Crown Cruisers. In France, Keith later bought Blue Line as well and named it Crown Blue Line. This was later bought by First Choice, who also bought Connoisseur. This is now known as Le Boat. I can't remember whether it was Rank or Keith who bought the yard at Benson, but it is still being operated by Le Boat today. Hope I have got it all in the right order!
  2. Vaughan

    Hoseasons 83 Brochure Wanted

    Fond memories, Simon. That was a boom year on the Broads and the yards just couldn't build boats fast enough. Little did we know that a big recession was only 2 or 3 years into the future! At that time Richardsons had been sold by Bobby to the Rank Organisation who also owned Butlins and whose middle management were mostly ex "Red Coats". They had grand schemes and decided to build 100 new boats in one winter, bringing Richardsons' fleet from 200 to 300 in one season. All run from the same yard in Stalham, with 60 boats going out on a Thursday and all rest on Saturday! And we think the Ant is crowded nowadays! The boats were built mainly at Stalham but also under sub-contract to many other Broads yards, such as Sutton Staithe and Easticks. At the last minute it was decided to exhibit the Ultimate Gem on Blakes Stand at the Boat Show in Earls Court and to meet the deadline for delivery, it was completely fitted out in 2 weeks! Gerry Thrower, the yard manager, drew a design on the back of a packet of 20 Players Gold Leaf and stuck it on the front of the saloon. The boatbuilders fitted out all the rest of the boat just from that plan. I then sat on the boat for 2 weeks when it was exhibited at Earls Court. That Easter Saturday, when they all went out for the first time, was something I will never forget! The last boats to be finished and ready for hire, actually went out on the Monday morning. Their hirers had been sleeping on the berths, while the boatbuilders came back on Sunday and finished the rest of the boat around them. Amazingly, only two customers demanded their money back and went home. It is hard to believe it all now, but I assure you it is true. Sure enough, Rank only lasted a few years in the hire boat business and eventually sold the business back to Bobby, for about half what they had paid him for it!
  3. Vaughan

    Countryfile 10/02/2019

    I quite agree except for the bit about "good" television. I fear that there is nowadays a genre of TV presenter which dishes out vapid "early evening" dross such as the One Show, who have never forgotten their Blue Peter origins and have thus never quite grown up. Personally, I think the Broads got away with that programme quite lightly. It could have been a lot worse!
  4. Vaughan

    Countryfile 10/02/2019

    If the navigable channel had been kept dredged deep enough in the first place, then the passage of motor boats (in open water) would not stir up any silt. A wherry is a traditional name for a workboat, normally in estuaries or rivers and can also be a passenger ferry. There have been examples in several other parts of the country. The name just seems to have "stuck" to the Norfolk sailing wherry but it is not exclusive!
  5. Vaughan

    The Rights And Wrongs Of Rights Of Way

    I think that pretty well "cans" this conversation!
  6. Vaughan

    The Rights And Wrongs Of Rights Of Way

    Effectively, both boats were altering their course at a junction, so there was no stand on vessel. How about both boats giving 2 short blasts on the horn? "I intend altering my course to port".
  7. Vaughan

    A Real Treat - Sherz And Linz 2018 Boat Trip

    Don't know about England but in French hotels you can specify a smoking or no smoking bedroom, although the law about "public places" is just the same.
  8. Vaughan

    Well Done Norwich Market

    I remember many years ago, I went to the record department of a store in Norwich and asked for a single of The Free Electric Band, by Albert Hammond. It was a catchy song which was being played all over Radio 1 at the time. "Is it in the top ten?" "I don't know" "Well if it's not in the top ten, we don't sell it." "So how does it get into the top ten, when that is based on record sales and you are not selling it?" She couldn't answer that! I am also convinced that when you go into the big chain bookshops in city centres, you will only find the books there, that they want to sell to you.
  9. Vaughan

    Broads Boating For Beginners

    Is that really all there is to it? I think I ought to give it a try sometime. . .
  10. Vaughan

    Well Done Norwich Market

    On thinking of that long row of almost identical coffee shops along Gentleman's Walk, who drinks this frightful stuff anyway? I have only ever tried it once and that was on Liverpool St Station, platform 9. (I admit perhaps not the best place for a quality test). I simply asked for a black coffee and innocently expected something in a cup and saucer. Instead I was handed a white polystyrene cylinder, about the size of a hand fire extinguisher, with a large plastic straw which had been bent over so that it was looking at me from out of a small hole in the top, a bit like the periscope of a U Boat. Lifting the lid (and scalding my fingers) revealed a quite obnoxious liquid paste which looked more like a botanist's sample from the bottom of Barton Broad. It didn't even smell like coffee! It smelled just like Barton Broad. Looking around me I could see that most of the other people on the platform were all wandering aimlessly about, carrying the same white plastic cylinders with little straws on the top. If this is what the City of London is living on these days then I fear for their futures (pun intended). Anyway, I left mine untouched and got on the Norwich train, where I found the buffet car was already open and enjoyed a glass of wine instead. I think that was a lot better for me!
  11. Vaughan

    Hoseasons 83 Brochure Wanted

    Can't help you there I am afraid. Nothing in Blakes for 1974 and nothing in Hoseasons of 1971. You may have booked through Bradbeers agency though. I seem to remember they had a yard in Loddon.
  12. Vaughan

    Hoseasons 83 Brochure Wanted

    Don't know whether I should tell this story, after all these years but the girl on the front of Hoseasons' brochure is Keith Gregory's wife Christine, who was a professional model when he married her. It caused a big laugh around the boatyards at the time, as Keith was a director of Jenners, when they were owned by the Caister Group, and were members of Blakes!
  13. Vaughan

    Well Done Norwich Market

    The car parks are grossly overpriced and often have queues all down Chapelfield Road. Have you tried the Postwick park and ride? I only suffered it once! Norwich is being killed off by all the green and pedalling policies of the City Council. They have even banned floats on lorries from parading at the annual carnival in case they cause pollution, so that will probably be the end of that. Perhaps I am biased as I have always loved Norwich. When I was a young man I used to park on Gentleman's Walk every Saturday morning and didn't even have to pay for it. It was the bustling commercial heart of the City then. Now it is just a long row of coffee shops. Nowadays I only go into Norwich if I want to buy something I can't get elsewhere. I notice even Clarks Shoes now have their main outlet on a retail estate outside the City centre. Why? Because you can get there by car without hassle and park outside the shop for free! When will the council ever wake up to this?
  14. Vaughan

    Herbert Woods

    A bit of a cynical view, if may say so. Unless you are in the business it is always hard to explain how difficult (often impossible) it is to make money out of a seasonal business which only takes money for half the year and yet needs the same number of full-time staff in the winter as well as the summer. Hardly the same thing as a ski resort! I can assure you that, ever since the 50s, we have been trying to "flatten out" the peak weeks in July and August to make a more even price over the season but I am afraid the fact always remains, that more people come boating during the school holidays. If we want to make enough average income over the season to survive the winter months, then we have to put a premium on those peak weeks. At least we have managed to get rid of a lot of the "extras" to make much more of a "one price" holiday. For instance, you don't have to hire a television any more and car parking is usually free of charge. On the French canals you can choose an all inclusive package which includes fuel. Simon's point about being upset to see a discount, when you have booked in advance, is most valid. Traditionally the business has relied heavily on regular customers and still does now. I still have all of Hearts Cruisers' booking charts from the 50's and they show that the next season would be up to 60% booked by the end of September the previous year, by the regulars booking their next year's holiday when they came back at the end of their week. Nowadays I think it is perhaps the internet which has made the difference, as bookings can be made last minute "on a whim" and it is also so much easier to publicise a last minute discount. I still don't like it though! Bad policy overall.
  15. Vaughan

    Well Done Norwich Market

    When I was there last year, I think less than half the stalls were actually open and my favourite second hand book stall was gone too. I think the problem is that you can only buy there, as much as you can carry home on your bicycle, as you are hardly allowed into Norwich by car anymore.
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