You are always at the mercy of the weather and storm Gareth put a right damper on the break but it was still relatively enjoyable but there were a few things that niggled.
My first question on arrivals was would we get under Wroxham Bridge. I was thinking about river levels but the hire company told me there were no pilots until the end of March so no we couldn't go. I had deliberately booked a low boat that would get under without rolling back a roof exposing the cabin to the weather. The lack of pilots should have been flagged at the time of booking/in the brochure. We'd not been to Coltishall for years and I was looking forward to going there.
The lack of water facilities was another issue. We found none in Ludham or Neatishead and people I spoke to said they'd found it difficult elsewhere as well. A warning that you might have to call in to boat yards at this time of year would have been handy. Water was available at Malthouse broad. The last week of the fishing season and the small tackle shop at Ludham was shut. The one at Ludham bridge was open.
We had a few problems with our boat. The TV was broken, but it was replaced. We had a small leak in the roof, but it was fixed. As the week went on we noticed that the drain near the steps was blocked so we had to walk through standing water each time we got on or off. A similar story in the front well of the boat. As this was the first week of hire of the season this should not have happened. They should have been flushed clear over the winter.
The biggest problem we had was with the heating. First I cocked up by failing to notice the warm air outlet had adjustable vents. They were closed shut so the air was not getting blown out. Previous boats we had did not have these. So our second night was spent shivering in the cold. The rear bedroom was also cold. I didn't notice that the middle room was particularly warm. The lad at the boatyard put me right on the vents and I felt a right idiot for not looking at the outlet closer. My excuse was it's all black in a dark corner of a dimly lit boat.
So when left the yard with our new TV, fixed roof and hot air blowing I thought we'd be ok to see out the windy weather coming our way. How wrong I was.
Despite keeping the heating on for hours the boat didn't warm up at the front or rear. The middle cabin did get cosy. I think that the reason for the cold in the other rooms was a lack of draft excluder on either the front or rear door. The curtain that hung over the glass on the top half of the door was billowing in the wind. The heater simply couldn't overcome it. Perhaps I should have tried calling the hire people out on Sunday evening but I didn't want to be a nuisance.
I probably wouldn't have mentioned it on here had I been given a sympathetic ear when we returned the boat. Instead of making a note of the issue all I got was you should have called us out and we would have fixed it. This boat is probably over 20 years old, we have had plenty of cold windy weather in East Anglia in the 25 years we've lived here, so I can't be the first person to complain about a boat being cold.
Apart from that sour note at the end everything else about the boat was fine. I was particularly pleased that the toilet seat was a regular size and not like trying to sit on a polo mint that we had with another boat. The Sunday carvery at the pub in Ludham was superb. We drove over to the Rising Sun at Coltishall and had a great meal there.
A couple of things to note if you are not a regular boater. Take some slippers with you. The floors get really cold overnight. If you are going to be using the mud anchor take some waterproof gloves to pull it back on board. Don't try going down narrow dykes in windy weather without bow thrusters as you can get in a bit of a pickle. Perhaps you should try and get to the boatyard early so that you can test the TV, heating, cooker etc etc before you leave the yard.
We'll be getting another boat in September.