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  1. 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.
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