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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.
Sat. 29th April On board me, my hubby Graham, cousins Sandra and Chris, Chris’ wife Barbara and our (very lively and excitable) 8 month old Collie, Seren (her name means ‘star’ in Welsh). We set off nice and early from MK despite Barbara’s warnings that it’s impossible to get Chris up early, i.e. before 8am. It was Sandra and Chris’ first time on the Broads, Barbara’s second visit after a long gap. Graham and I had hired Turquoise Emblem last year, but it’s the first time we’ve hired anything this long (42’). We stopped off at Costa’s at Caxton Gibbet for breakfast (or, for some of our hobbit-like crew, second breakfast) before going on to arrive at Wroxham at 10.50. We should have got there around 10:30 but I misdirected Chris on the outskirts of Norwich, so we ended up going through Salhouse instead of the direct route. Once in Wroxham we took Seren for a walk along the River near the St John’s moorings, then walked across to have a look at the railway stations (Chris being train-mad). We then went to find some lunch. Had a look at the menu of the River Kitchen Café first. Although the menu looked good it wasn’t very inviting as we needed to sit outside with the dog and all the tables had puddles of water on them, so we plumped instead for the Hotel Wroxham. Had a very nice lunch there, apart from Graham’s weird tartar sauce, which came with a whole gherkin hidden in its depths. His fish was pretty bony too. I had a lovely salmon and crab fishcake starter, Sandra had prawn and crayfish cocktail with chips shared between us. Chris and Barbara shared a halloumi burger. After lunch we popped into Roy’s for bread, milk and wine then went on our way to Hoveton, arriving at Ferry Marina about 1.20pm. Once we had loaded our stuff a youngish lad came over to do the handover. Although we didn’t need a trial run it took a while as we asked a lot of questions, some of which he didn’t know the answer to and had to go and check, also he took much longer than expected to bring the sailing dinghy that we’d hired around to the boat. We suspect that he forgot as he was chatting in the office some of the time whilst we were waiting. Before we left I bought some cards for the electric posts. I was relieved to find that they had them in stock, having read various comments on the forum that some places had run out of the new cards. Graham had first turn on the helm, then Chris and I had took turns. This is the first time we’ve hired a centre-cockpit style cruiser and we found the extra height gave us a good view of the surrounding landscape and for reversing. We were making our way down to Acle or Stokesby, intending to cross Breydon Water early tomorrow. We got to Acle by around 5.30pm so decided to continue down river despite there being plenty of moorings available. Sandra had her first go at the helm just before Stokesby then I took the helm to moor. Unfortunately there wasn’t any room at the Stokesby moorings apart from a stretch of key heading that looked all rusty and rotten. Once I realised this I aborted the mooring (not terribly well, getting my bow thrusters mixed up, but at least I didn’t hit anything) and continued down to Stracey Arms. I messed up the mooring there too. My excuse is that I thought the oncoming wind was stronger than the outgoing tide, but the tide swung my stern around. Oh well…at least there weren’t any other boats near us and no harm done. Once moored up we all went along the path to the shop to give Seren a walk and pay our £5 mooring fee. The donkeys and goats are still there, though I’ve heard that the shop has changed hands. We noticed one chap looking very startled as he entered the windmill – there was a donkey standing inside facing the door! Sandra made our dinner (warm quiche and new potatoes with salad), then watched a beautiful sunset before settling down to play ‘Race Night’ – a DVD game where you consider the ‘form’ of the horses in each race and bet on them before watching the race on the DVD. I’ve never bet on anything in my life, apart from a few raffles, but I did get a bit carried away cheering my first horse on to win. If I turn into a gambler it’s Chris and Barbara’s fault for bringing the game with them! After a short constitutional for Seren we all turned in for the night.
Okay, perhaps this is a bit soon after posting up the tale of our July 2016 holiday, but I've been working on diaries of our three Norfolk Broads jaunts for some time now. This was a much-needed break for Graham and I. Through 2015 we just had one week’s holiday away from home, thanks to my dear cousin who came to stay in our home to look after my elderly Mum whilst we took our first holiday on the Broads. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to ask my cousin again though, as my Mum’s mobility subsequently deteriorated . Thankfully, we were granted Adult Social Care support for a certain number of respite care days for 2016, so our March break was the first opportunity to take advantage of that. Saturday 19th March Just me, Graham and our dog Marvin on this trip. We’ve hired a boat from Ferry Marina, Horning. We originally booked Bronze Emblem but got upgraded to Turquoise Emblem as it was the first week of the season and not all the Marina’s boats were ready. Looks a newish boat, so hopefully it will have good heating as it’s still very cold this time of the year. We’re hoping Marvin will be okay. He was diagnosed with an oral cancer just after Christmas and is on painkillers and antibiotics. He’s still eating tinned dog food okay and is enjoying his walks but gets bouts of ‘huffing’. We started off from home early, aiming to get to Norfolk about 10am, stopping off for breakfast at Costas on the way. The weather looks okay with sunny spells. Made our way to Wroxham and visited Roys for the first time. We had brought most of our food with us, so we only picked up a few bits and pieces in Roys. Had lunch in one of the Fish and Chip shops. Very nicely cooked haddock (best I’ve had for a while, a decent amount of fish within the batter, not overcooked and very moist), a huge portion of chips, mushy peas, bread and butter and tea. After lunch we went to the Marina, getting there around 1pm. The boat was ready for us, so we unloaded our gear and got ourselves settled in. We had to wait a short time for the handover and eventually got underway around 2pm. Rather odd to be driving a motor cruiser rather than sailing, but its lovely to be on the river and good to be under cover, even though it’s not raining. I chickened out of taking the helm to leave Ferry Marina, and left that to Graham, as he’s had a lot more experience of boats than I (he used to help out in his Dad’s boatyard at Trearddur Bay as a teenager, both with sail boats and helping to man the rescue launch for races). I soon had a turn at the helm and after a couple of very slight zig-zags got the hang of it. We headed down the Bure and then turned up the Ant, the aim being to check out what the Ant is like before we attempt to sail up it later this year. Just after Ludham Bridge we tried to pass a slower moving privateer to port but they wandered across our bows. I guess I should have either fallen back or beeped them but instead tried to pass to starboard. Big mistake, as they then wandered back across our bows again, so I did beep them, only to have them shout that I was passing on the wrong side. Humph! Lesson learnt…and chill. It’s very pleasant cruising though, with very few other craft on the river. Several long stretches where we have the river to ourselves. There appeared to have been quite a lot of cutting back of trees along the upper stretches of the Ant. Whilst this seems a shame on one hand (I love trees), the sailors in us thought it might make sailing up the Ant a little easier (actually, when we sailed up the Ant later in July the gaps weren’t that evident, it seems that a lot of the cut-back trees had sprung new growth very quickly). It was late afternoon when we got as far as Barton Broad. We cruised very slowly down (the very narrow) Limekiln Dyke and moored at Limekiln Staithe. It was just us and one other boat and very quiet. We set off with Marvin to the pub and managed to get a table in the bar area where they allow dogs. Got chatting to the couple at a nearby table who were from the other boat at the staithe. They had lost their dog recently and were very sympathetic about Marv. The meal was really excellent, both of us having Confit Duck Legs with Gratin Potato, Fricassee of Bean and Pea and Redcurrant Jus. Walked back to the boat around 8pm and put the heating on for an hour or so before turning in early. The bed is quite cosy and comfortable – a bit too snug initially as the duvet was very thick. Very chilly getting up to go to the loo in the night. Marvin was coughing a bit in the night and woke us once or twice.
Hi everyone. I've been lurking around this forum for a while now and have come to appreciate its friendliness, so I've finally plucked up the courage to join. We live in North Bucks, but are originally from Anglesey (hence my forum ID). Hubby and I first discovered the Broads July 2015 when we hired a three-berth Wood class Hunter's boat with our eldest son and our dog Marvin. It's all thanks to the Open University really (yes, I know that sounds odd, but let me explain). I did a course in Children's Literature that year and discovered 'Swallows and Amazons', and then went on to read the rest of Ransom's books including 'The Coot Club'. We've really fallen for the Broads and hired twice in 2016, the two of us along with Marvin had a 4 night break in March on Turquoise Emblem from Ferry Marina (having been upgraded because the boat we'd booked wasn't ready for the new season) and we hired 2 x two-berth Hustler class Hunter's boats in July with both our sons joining us. Sadly our dog Marvin died in April, so we really missed him on the July trip. We've also booked again this year with Ferry Marina (Royale Emblem for the first week in May, as we've persuaded my cousins to join us) and a four-berth Hunter's boat for July again. We've now got a rather excitable 20 week old Collie, so things will be interesting this year! Doggie buoyancy aid a must at all times! I must admit that I've got a bit obsessive about the Broads and have withdrawal symptoms. When I was ill in bed over Christmas I managed to get through most of Robin's YouTube videos. Anyway, as you can tell we like to keep a foot in both sailie and mobo camps. I find the banter between them very amusing, having experienced things from both viewpoints, so to speak. I kept a diary of last year's trips, so will post those up on the forum when I get a chance. Helen