Saturday 13th October
Me, hubby Graham, our eldest son Harry and collie dog Seren on this trip. When we originally booked we thought it would be just me and Graham, but Harry has managed to book the week off work and is intending sleeping on the sofa-bed.
We left MK just before 8am, and stopped off at our usual Costa’s coffee break at Caxton Gibbet – toasted teacake for me this time as I’ve decided that having a toastie messes up my appetite. Harry had a wrap of some sort and Graham a Danish and a muffin. (Now that’s just greedy!) Once on our way again we had a very good journey. Lovely weather today too, sunny and a very pleasant 21°C even before 10am.
We got to Wroxham and Hoveton around 10:30. Graham took Seren for a walk and then joined us in Roy’s for the fresh food shop. After we’d stashed away the food in the car we went to check the bridge – 7½ ‘, which sounds like plenty for the boat we’ve hired this week – Bronze Emblem, which has 7’1” air-draft with canopy and screens down (well, that’s the ‘official’ figure). I emailed them a few weeks ago to ask what the air-draft is with canopy up – they kindly measured her for me – 7’9”.
We toyed with the idea of going to the Station Smokehouse for lunch and started off in that direction. However, none of us were very hungry, so as we were passing Massingham’s butchers we changed our minds and popped in to buy a pie/pasty each and some water, which we ate sitting on one of the benches facing Hoveton St John moorings. They were very tasty…lovely pastry and good filling, but slightly salty for our taste (probably because we have been trying to cut down on salt).
By this time, it was getting on for noon, so we thought it would be worth phoning up the yard to see if we might pick up the boat early. Not only was she ready, but the receptionist said that she’d been trying to contact me earlier to say that we could pick up the boat early. (Note to self…make sure the boatyard has your latest mobile number!)
We had the usual very friendly welcome at the yard. The receptionist insisted we bring Seren in so she could make a fuss of her.
Ian (the guy who had done the handover for our first trip with Ferry Marina in 2016) gave us a quick and very efficient handover, so it wasn’t long before we were on our way.
I took the helm to leave the Marina, and handed over to Harry just after Cockshoot Dyke. Harry has sailed the Broads on several Hunter’s boats, but he’s never been on a motor cruiser before, so this was a new experience for him.
Don’t know whether it was the fresh oncoming breeze, but the steering needed a lot of input initially to keep in a (relatively) straight line.
We stopped at St Benet’s for Seren to have a run. I thought it would be more sheltered inside the old mill, but it was remarkably windy inside it. The wind was blowing directly into the doorway and then blowing around it.
When we got on our way again the wind seemed to be strengthening. Once we passed Thurne Mouth the river became much quieter (boat wise). I was surprised that there weren't many boats moored at Acle and when we got to Stokesby there was a space on the BA 24hr moorings, and 34p left on one of the electric points. We were tickled to find we were moored in front of Fair Regent 3, which is the boat we hired last Autumn.
Finished unpacking and then sat for a while watching telly/reading until almost 6pm before making our way into the Ferry Inn. Seren got a lovely welcome from the landlady (who also has a collie). Graham thought Christmas had come early – he was offered a low alcohol Ghostship (also a 0% Bitburger Drive, which he also likes).
Harry had an IPA (can’t remember which) and I had a full-fat Ghostship. The meals were enjoyed too – standard pub food, but done well. I had a lovely Pork and Apple Burger, Graham had Scampi and Chips and Harry had their Fish and Chips.
We watched the first hour or so of ‘The Fellowship of the Rings’ on ITV when we got back to the boat (how is it that every time Graham and I are on holiday one of the Lord of the Rings films seems to be on ITV2?) but my eyes started to droop and we were set for a dawn start tomorrow, so we settled for an early night shortly after 8pm.