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Saturday 1st July The day after Mam’s funeral, held in Holyhead. Not such a sad event; more a celebration of a long and mostly happy life, and very well attended as my Mam had such an extensive network of friends. We had travelled back home to Milton Keynes late afternoon/evening of Friday. Fortunately, we had packed most of our stuff for Norfolk before travelling up to Anglesey. We had intended to start off by 7am, but were a bit slow in getting up and packing the car, despite getting up at 6. We had our usual brekkie stop at Caxton Gibbet Costa’s and arrived at Hoveton just before 11. Harry and I went off to Roy’s and the butchers to buy ‘fresh’ provisions whilst Graham took Seren for a walk along the river. We then went on our way to Ludham and had lunch at Alfresco Tea Rooms (Coronation Chicken Sandwiches for Graham and I, Norfolk Pie and Salad for Harry, all washed down with Norfolk blend Tea). We got to Hunter’s Yard shortly after 1pm and checked in with Vikki. We have messed the Yard about this year, and they have been very good and understanding about it. We had originally booked four-berth Luna for this week, but changed the booking to the three-berth Wood Violet for the previous week when my Mam’s residential respite booking got changed to nursing respite care. A few weeks ago I phoned Vikki to warn her that we might have to cancel altogether, but subsequently changed the booking back to this week once we had confirmation of the funeral arrangements. We also switched from Luna to Lullaby on Harry’s request. He had watched the DVD of ‘The Coot Club’ and knew that Lullaby had taken the part of Mrs Barrable’s yacht ‘Teasel’ in that series. We were also slow getting our stuff packed onto Lullaby, so slow that Phil came along in a dinghy and started to varnish the starboard side and stern of Lullaby. The first thing that Harry did once we had unpacked was to hoist our Ddraig Goch (Welsh flag). Just before we started quanting to the area at the entrance of the dyke reserved for raising sails a fellow sailor gave Harry the hint that it would be best to just quant from the stern rather than along the side due to the direction of the wind, so that made things easier for us. Graham walked along the bank whilst I took the tiller. Seren was a bit of a pain though. She was in the well with me but started barking like mad at the dinghy. She was even worse when she saw a lad going past in a canoe. Once we moored at the entrance to the dyke I left Graham and Harry to sort out the sails (one reef) and walked along the dyke with Seren to try to distract her. She first took a dislike to dinghies when we were on the Broads in May, and has disliked swans since one hissed at her when she was quite small. Not sure why she barks at canoes though – perhaps she thinks they are large swans. We got on our way around 3.30pm with a fair wind and made for Potter Heigham. We managed without tacking though shedsville, though our progress was slower along that stretch as the wind was a bit fluky, as it usually is there. Before coming in to moor at the de-masting area we tied one of Seren’s leads to the ladder amidships, so that she had enough slack to lie down in either cabin, but couldn’t get into the well to get under our feet or tangled up with the main sheet. We did this quite frequently during the week so that we wouldn’t have to worry about keeping an eye on her when we were trying to tack or if there was any risk of a gybe (were the boom swings across from one side to another suddenly). She whined a bit to start but soon settled down. Got through the bridge around 5.15pm, which was just in the nick of time as we only had about 1cm clearance (low tide had been around 1.30pm). Since the wind appeared to be dropping we decided to moor overnight along the stretch just beyond the bridge (the Martham Bank moorings). Not ideal due to the traffic noise, but we all felt very tired. Graham got the BBQ going (we had brought our portable BBQ with us) and we had large and juicy angus steak-burgers (bought from the Hoveton butcher). Harry also had a chicken drumstick, but Graham and I were too full of burger to eat ours. Apart from the road noise we had a quietish evening sitting in the well in the evening sunshine, Graham was listening to a podcast of The Archers whilst I was reading. Very pleasant. Harry took the dinghy along the river for a short sail… We turned in early around 9pm. Graham, Harry and Seren went off to sleep quite quickly. Seren slept in the fore cabin with Harry. As a precaution, we had taken the mattress off one of the beds and left it in the Yard so that we could put Seren’s bed on that bunk. I took longer to get to sleep, finding the road noise more intrusive as the light faded. In the information pack that came with the boat I found a facsimile of a log from the first voyage of Lullaby, dating from May 1932, which was fascinating. I know this sounds silly, but it brought a few tears to my eyes. Their breakfast included ‘Post Toasties’ (one of the first brands of cornflakes in the UK) and I recall my Mam telling me that she used to have Post Toasties for breakfast. I guess cereal was a novelty in the 1930s (Mam would have been aged six in 1932). Once I did drop off I slept soundly.
Saturday 2nd July Left home shortly before 7am, stopped off for breakfast in a Costa’s before 8am, except that Alec (No. 2 son) sloped off to McDonalds’ for his breakfast (tuh!). Got to Wroxham about 9:30am and spent the morning wandering around Hoveton; first Roy’s then the Chandlery (got some new sailing gloves) and then a wander around a couple of the boatyards (Summercraft and Barnes Brinkscraft). Had lunch in the River Kitchen Café. It wasn’t that warm but we sat outside on the terrace watching boats approach Wroxham Bridge, amused by the number of people who seem oblivious to other boat users. Alec had Halloumi and Risotto. I think he’d intended the Halloumi to be a starter, but they both came together. G and I had enormous doorstop sandwiches with smoked mackerel, horseradish and watercress. Harry (No. 1 son) had scampi and chips. All very yummy. Their cakes looked nice but we were far too stuffed to try them. After lunch we went on our way to Ludham and went straight to Hunter’s Yard even though it was only about 12:30. The boats were ready though, and they were quite happy for us to start loading up. One of the chaps wandered up and asked the Skippers (G and Harry) to complete the paperwork he’d left out in the office. Very casual, and no ‘showing us the ropes’ since we’re now 'old hands'. The boys were in Hustler and G and I in Hustler 3, and we’d hired a sailing dinghy with each yacht. We were ready to set off to the landing stage to put the sails up by about 1:00pm. However, we had to get there first. The charming thing about Hunter's boats is that they have no engine, just sails and a very long pole called a quant. There was a brisk SW wind blowing into the Yard’s dyke and we couldn’t get up enough ‘way’ with one quant to steer so the wind just blew us onto other boats in the dyke (lots of fending off!). We solved that by Harry coming across to help us out with a second quant. Once we were at the landing stage with Hustler 3 we did the same with Hustler. We were fairly cautious since it was so gusty and put two reefs in our sails before setting off. There were a few dark thunder clouds in the distance, but fortunately they kept their distance (mostly) and we had a lovely sunny sail down the Thurne and then up the Bure, having agreed to meet the boys at St Benet’s moorings. The boys passed us on the way. I was thinking that they must be sailing better than G and I, but later we found out that their boat had brand new sails that season, so no wonder they were going faster! Both boats were flying Ddraig Goch’s (the Welsh flag). G and I got a lot of friendly comments…far more than last year, mainly due to Wales being the only UK team remaining in the Euro’s, due to play Portugal in the semi’s on Wednesday. A typical comment was ‘At least someone can still kick a b*y ball!’ It was about 6pm by the time we got to St Benet’s. The boys were already moored up on the end mooring post, so G and I rashly thought we could moor against them, scandalising our sails to kill our speed. Unfortunately we misjudged it, came in slightly too quickly and Harry hadn’t realised we were approaching until we were almost alongside. Fortunately Harry caught the painter despite my falling over in the process. I had a wonderful bruise underneath my arm for the rest of the week! It didn’t help that we got caught on the edge of a thunderstorm just as we were approaching. We’d seen this large thundercloud rumbling away for a while and thought we would miss it. The rain didn’t last long though. After a quick conflab we decided it was getting too late to turn up the Ant or go to Ranworth, so we hoisted our sails and went down Fleet Dyke to South Walsham Broad instead. We didn’t have that much wind going down the dyke, so G did some quanting. We mud-weighted on South Walsham Broad, and then wondered where the boys were. They appeared when G and I had almost completed putting our awning up. Just as they were mud-weighting the heavens opened and we all got soaked in a matter of seconds. G hopped onto their boat to help and it wasn’t too long before they got their awning up. The rain didn’t last that long, but we caught a wonderful double rainbow, the arc of which was actually resting on the other side of the Broad. After changing our clothes G and I had some tinned veg chilli and rice for dinner. The boys said that they’d just heat up some soup. Most of our catering for the week is based around non-perishable food, as we have no power/fridge/running water. All part of the fun! It’s very cosy in the cabin, and the duvets provided are very warm, so we slept as well as can be expected for the first night in narrow beds.
Ok, I'm stretching back a bit here, but have had such nice comments about my previous accounts that I thought you might like to read the account of our first experience of the Broads. We had hired Wood Violet, a three-berth yacht from Hunter's Yard, Ludham. On board my husband Graham, eldest son Harry, me and our dog Marvin. Saturday 4th July Left MK on a scorching hot morning shortly after seven for the journey to Ludham, stopping off at the Costa’s half way between St Neots and Cambridge for breakfast and then a stop-off at Potter Heigham to visit the legendary Lathams. Not that there was much in Lathams that appealed, though Harry spotted some very reasonably priced peaked caps with ‘Captain’, ‘Crew’ and so on embroidered on them. We got a ‘Captain’ one for his Dad and ‘Crew’ caps for us. Suitably equipped in head-gear we made our way to Ludham, parking initially by the church to have a wander around the village. Very impressed with Throwers as a village store and the butchers where we bought some bacon. Wary of buying any more meat given the hot weather and the lack of refrigeration on board Hunter’s boats. Visited the church where I was bowled over by the medieval rood screen and the font – there’s lots of stuff in Galleries and Museums that aren’t as impressive. Had a very tasty lunch in Alfresco Tea Rooms before making our way down to Hunter’s Yard. All was quiet when we got to the Yard, it was people’s lunch break after all, so we quietly had a mosey around. It’s like a living museum, lot of interesting displays about this history of the Yard. Worth popping into as a casual visitor. Once we noticed some other parties turning up also early (i.e. before 2pm) we decided to present ourselves at the office. We had a very warm welcome from Vikki, sorted out the paperwork very quickly and were taken along to Wood Violet. A very kind chap (Ian) came along with a bowl of water for our dog Marvin (by now the day was exceedingly -as Mr Kipling would say- hot), so he was relatively comfortable whilst we stowed our gear on board. My first reaction was…we’ve brought far too much gear, where will we put everything?...but it was surprising how many drawers and nooks and crannies there were on board. Once we were sorted, another very friendly chap (whose name I forget – sorry) got us to quant Wood Violet to the landing stage and then ‘showed us the ropes’. How to stow the awning and store it in the forepeak, how to set the sails and put a reef in…and then we were away! Down Womack Water on a nice steady breeze. We hadn’t really thought about where we would go (doh!), but we thought to start with that we should go with the wind, so we turned up toward Potter H and had a lovely gentle sail up to the moorings reserved for yachts to de-mast before the bridge. Looking back, I think we had beginners luck, as we hadn’t checked the tides, but we quanted through the two bridges without any difficulty, put our mast back up and continued up the Thurne with a fair wind. It was so quiet above ‘The Bridge’, and it was here that we really caught the magic of the Broads, sailing along gently with nothing but the sounds of the gentle slap of the water against the boat, the wind in the reeds, and bird song. We turned into Candle Dyke around 6pm, then on through Heigham Sound with the wind decreasing as the evening set in. By the time we got to Hickling Broad the wind was quite gentle, but enough to take us across to mud-weight not far from the sailing club. Shortly after we mud-weighted the wind died completely. It was the perfect warm and still summer’s evening. The first priority was to get Marvin to shore for a ‘comfort break’. Graham and I left Harry aboard and set out with Marv rowing the sailing dinghy to shore, finding a handy slipway in a boatyard where we could moor. Marv having been suitably relieved (and his mess meticulously disposed of), we made our way back to Wood Violet and made our dinner: tinned veg curry and rice. We left the awning back as it was such a still evening. Once it got dark we settled for our first night, Graham and Harry sharing the main cabin whilst I settled myself in the fore-cabin (sharing the space with the heads, but in a way that’s quite convenient). I quite liked the cosiness of my little cabin, though the head-room was a bit restricted as the roof slopes down from the stern to the bow.
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