Jump to content

Grande Girl 1 2016 - Our Week


Recommended Posts

Saturday 24th September

 We had booked our 2016 Broads break as we finished our holiday on Grande Girl 1 in October last year and had all become more excited as the days counted down.  I have worked permanent nights since 2002, but due to some personnel changes at work a couple of months ago, was asked to transfer to days on a permanent basis.  I had hoped to finish early on Friday, but working in logistics for a very demanding customer, I was late leaving the office and as a result, wasn't as well prepared as I like to be, prior to going on holiday.

Our son, his fiancée and their baby, our first grandchild born in April, had spent Friday night at our house, so we could get away on time on Saturday morning and I had intended to leave at 09:00.  The best laid plans and all that . . . . . so we eventually left at 09:20 – not too bad, I suppose, all things considered.  The weather wasn’t too bad, especially considering the time of year, a little overcast but with some spells that were bright enough to make me break out the sunglasses.

Our route was the A45 from Northampton, turning onto the A14 at Thrapston, continuing onto the A11 near Newmarket to Norwich, then the A47 towards Great Yarmouth where we turned left just before the roundabout near Brundall, through the villages to Wroxham and crossing the bridge into Hoveton.  The roads were surprisingly clear and we made the journey in just under two and a half hours.

We found parking spaces behind Roys and headed for the supermarket, where we bought enough groceries to last for a couple of days, always mindful of the size of the fridge on Grande Girl 1.  The wife had taken some other food (and alcohol) with us, to save time spent in Roys and the amount we had to carry.

Shopping done, we headed for the seating area between the bridge and hotel Wroxham, where the wife and Rachel found an unoccupied bench and looked after the dogs, shopping and baby, whilst the son (Iain) and I headed to Kens for fish and chips.

We sat at a bench watching the activities on the river whilst eating, but although the river was quite busy, nothing of note occurred before we had finished the food.  Chip wrappers disposed off, we collected bags, dogs and the pushchair (with baby) and headed back to the cars, loading everything in before making the short trip to Summercraft’s yard.

Sue greeted us as I climbed out of the car and pointed us in the direction of Grande Girl.  She was moored in the main basin, but one of the staff moved her, stern on, under the canopy, making it far easier to unload the cars, transferring everything onto the boat.

Grande Girl 2 was also moored under the canopy and the party must have been first time hirers, as they were being given very full and thorough instructions on all aspects of the boat.  I had to laugh (to myself, obviously) as one of the female member was clutching her handbag the whole time, even whilst wobbling round the decks to see where the water filler was.

We were told to park one car under the canopy and one on the car park, so Iain moved his and we reported to reception to complete the paperwork.  Sue asked Dave (Brister) to go through the usual instructions and fit us all, including the baby (Harry) with life jackets.  Having been on Grande Girl the previous year, the instructions were kept to a minimum, sufficient to satisfy the H & S requirements and we were deemed not to require a demo run, so around 15:00 we chugged slowly out of Summercraft’s yard and onto the Bure.  Aside from re-upholstered settees in the stateroom, everything was familiar, immaculately clean as usual and with the welcoming tray of cup cakes, sachets of tea, coffee and sugar - all little touches that make hiring a boat from Summercraft especially pleasurable.

We followed one of Faircraft’s fleet slowly through Wroxham and I noticed Royall Commander was following us a few yards aft.  I thought about our holiday on her the year before last and that next year would be Royall’s last as a hire fleet.  What a shame – one of the finest maintained hire fleets on the Broads.  I will miss seeing that distinctive livery in a couple of years! 

The river opened up as we passed Wroxham Broad, so I opened Grande Girl up to 5mph and we headed for Horning, passing the Faircraft boat that we had been following.  The helm had been handed to another crewmember and it began to weave about, probably finding the control a little difficult at such a low speed.

The sun was out as we passed through Horning.  As usual, all of the moorings were taken.  I cannot remember when we moored there last, it was so long ago.

The river was busy as we passed the Ferry and on towards St Benets.  My intention for our first night was to try to moor at Womack Dyke, with Thurne Dyke as an alternative, so cruised past the moorings at St Benets Abbey, turning left at the junction of the Thurne and Bure. 

I checked to see what space was available as we passed the mouth of Thurne Dyke and it looked relatively empty, but chugged on to Womack Dyke, where we had wild moored on our first night last year.  All of the wild moorings were now overgrown with reeds and the BA moorings were unsurprisingly full, so I turned Grande Girl round and headed back to Thurne Dyke and moored on the opposite side to the pub moorings.

Iain and the wife (Debbie) took the dogs for a walk and I went to take some photos, anxious to try my newly acquired camera.  It was quite windy as the sun set and the reeds were blowing about, but I took a few shots and returned to the boat.   The others returned with the dogs and we decided to eat out that night.

Later, we all headed for The Lion, for dinner.  Iain and his fiancée (Rachel) had steaks, the wife had a gourmet burger and I settled for steak and mushroom pudding.  Very nice it all was, too.  I know that it is not everyone’s favourite pub, but we have eaten there during our last three Broads holidays, each time enjoying some good grub. 

We returned to the boat, sated and tired. I had promised a full English breakfast for us all the following day, when I planned to cross Breydon, so a reasonably early start was needed.  Hot drinks all round before an early night for us all.  How happy was I to be back on the Broads.

More to follow . . . . . .




  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great Start, same day as us.

I'm sure our paths must have crossed at some point.

We commented a number of times how well looked after the Royall boats looked, such a shame they are stopping hiring after next year.

looking forward to the rest of your tale.

nice photos by the way

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sunday 25th September




I woke on Sunday at about 06:15 and lay for a few minutes collecting my thoughts, eventually clambering out of bed about 15 minutes later.  With the kettle on for my customary morning cuppa, I peered out of the curtains and it looked like a lovely start to the day. 



The wife had also got up and was dressed ready to take the dogs out and Iain poked his head out of the cabin at the sharp end, heading for the forward heads.  He dressed hurriedly and accompanied Debbie and the two dogs, Simba and Harley for their morning walk.



The hot water was still relatively hot, so I headed for my morning shower.  Dressed and refreshed, the curtains came down in the stateroom and were stowed ready to be re used that evening.



The wife, son and dogs returned and told me that there had been several people standing near Thurne Mill earlier taking photos and asked if I had joined them.  An opportunity missed to exercise the new camera.  Bother!!!



Rachel had, by this time, emerged from the forward cabin with Harry (our grandson) and the wife duly obliged with her duties as nanny and gave him a cuddle while Rachel got ready.  Women and babies!!  Obviously I’m a proud granddad, but I’m looking forward to the time we can have a Scalextric or train set (or bothJ) and relive my childhood again.



I headed for the galley and started to prepare breakfast and some time later served bacon, eggs, sausages, grilled tomatoes, baked beans, black pudding, mushrooms and fried bread.  My cholesterol level suffered, but it did taste good, even if I say so myself.



We tidied up and set off, heading for Acle to top up with water before carrying on down the Bure and onto Breydon.  It was still a pleasant morning, if a little breezy. 



The others showered whilst we chugged towards Acle.  As the bridge loomed into view, I assessed the available moorings close to the water hoses and the only one where there was space to moor was at Bridgecraft.  I turned Grande Girl to face into the tide and Rachel stepped ashore with the ropes.  I jumped from the helm and we secured the boat without and dramas.



I topped up the water and the others headed across the bridge to the little shop and headed up the bank a way to give the dogs a walk before the long cruise through Yarmouth on onto our overnight moorings.



Another boat moored up behind Grand Girl and the skipper asked if I would pass the hose to him when I had finished with it, which I did.  I headed for the loo at the blunt end and had just started get on with the job in hand when I felt a jolt as someone had bumped into Grand Girl.  By the time I had made necessary adjustments to my clothing, whoever it was had cruised off, unseen by me.  I had a quick check round and couldn’t see anything untoward, but there was another example of some inconsiderate helming.  I couldn’t even have a pee in peace!!!!



I watched a couple trying to moor a small aft cockpit cruiser from Ferry Marina with interest on the far side of the entrance to Horizon’s basin.  The ‘wife’ was standing on the bank whilst the ‘husband’ was attempting to moor, stern on.  She was giving plenty of instructions but making no effort to take the ropes and as you can imagine, each time the boat was close to the bank, the breeze blew it away.  I wondered if it was they who had disturbed me earlier!!



The others returned and we cast off at about 11:15.  Slack water at Yarmouth was about 13:00 and I reckoned it would take about an hour and three quarters at a steady chug to get there.  It had clouded over a little, but it was warm enough for the canopy to be down and all was well with the world.



The landmark wind turbines and water tower grew ever larger as we neared Yarmouth and we were soon passing Marina Quays (or what was left of it).  What a shambles – surely something can be done to make it more presentable.



We carried on past the Yacht Station, under the bridges and rounded the yellow post at 12:55.  Not bad timing, I thought.  Breydon was calm and there were a few boats crossing.  A couple came past us, but I had a view to preserving some of my fuel deposit, so we carried on at a reasonable pace and the crossing was uneventful.



We forked left at the end of Breydon passing Burgh Castle and on towards St Olaves.  Only the fleeting sight of a kingfisher flitting about in the reeds on the right hand bank brought any degree of excitement as we carried on.



The remainder of the journey was relatively uneventful.  We passed under the bridges at St Olaves and Somerleyton with plenty of clearance.  As Beccles was the destination for Monday, we followed the Waveney, past the entrance to the dyke leading to Oulton Broad.



We had purchased a couple of pork loin joints from Roys on Saturday, so whilst Iain was at the helm, I wrapped them in foil, put them in a roasting tin and set them cooking for dinner.



The WRC loomed into view and I did consider mooring there for the night, but fancied somewhere quieter so carried on past, eventually finding the BA moorings at North Cove.  Aside from a day boat and a small private cruiser, no one else was there.  We moored towards the far end and shortly after, the crew of the dayboat untied and moved off, followed soon after by the cruiser.  Iain and I pulled Grande Girl to the end of the moorings and tied her up again.  The weather was fine and it looked as if there was going to be a good sunset, so the camera came out and I spent a few minutes taking some photos.



Iain and the wife took the dogs for a walk and Rachel looked after Harry.  Later, we had our roast pork, carrots, broccoli, roast potatoes (courtesy of Aunt Bessie) and gravy, washed down with something alcoholic.



We watched TV for a while before the customary hot drink followed by another early night.  There must be something in that Suffolk air.



More to follow . . . . . .





  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Mouldy

Our paths must have crossed at some point as we followed the same route. We stayed at WRC on the Sunday, heading to Beccles on Monday

we thought we'd be heavy on fuel but only used £60.00 worth.... We did open her up on Breydon

enjoying the tale & pics

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lovey read and very good photos. We moored in that exact same spot at North Cove a couple of years ago. I would count that as one of my favourite moorings ever and happily return if we get back down the Waveney at some future point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Monday 26th September



As on Sunday, I woke at around 06:15.  Bleary eyed, I stumbled into the galley and put the kettle on.  I cannot get going in the morning without a cuppa whether at home or on holiday, in this country or during the summer when we usually go to France.  I heard the wife getting ready to take the dogs out and Iain appeared from the forward cabin. 

I opened the curtains in the stateroom and rushed to get my camera.  There was a thin mist hovering just above the glassy smooth water, which combined with the red morning sky and created an impressive, if somewhat eerie scene.  Not wanting to miss out on another photographic opportunity, I pulled on socks and trainers and fashionable attired in my pyjamas,  followed Debbie, Iain and the dogs through the door into the aft well and onto the bank.  Given the time of year, I thought it was surprisingly mild, which given my mode of dress was just as well!!

I spent several minutes walking up and down the bank, taking shots from various positions and trying some of the features of my newly acquired camera.  Once finished, I headed back to the boat, put the camera away and headed for the shower.

The others arrived sometime later and once I was dressed, began to tell me about how Harley (our Staffy) had seen a hare and chased it across a field.  Once Simba (Rachel and Iain’s dog – a Staff/Bull Mastiff cross) had realised, he too had chased the hare.  It seems the animal had a narrow escape as Simba, for a big dog, has quite a turn of speed and was closing rapidly on the hare when it disappeared.

By this time Rachel had joined us and Harry was receiving his daily cuddle from Nanny, who was having the time of her life.  Women and babies!

Toast and marmalade was on the menu for breakfast, so I sliced some bread, and we lit the grill.  Debbie made the toast and tea.  I ran the engine to heat the water for the others to get ready and when the breakfast things were tidied into the galley to be washed up when the water was hot enough, we cast off and chugged on, towards Beccles.

I looked for other moorings as we went, as I wanted to moor somewhere peaceful again that night and hadn’t been to Beccles for so long, I had forgotten where the other BA moorings were.  We passed one on the left side of the river, but there seemed to be road access to it as I could see someone fishing and a car just behind him, but the familiar sight of the old bridge support in the middle of the river reminded me of the moorings at Aldeby Hall, so the target for that evening had been realised.

Beccles loomed into view.  Debbie and Rachel were washed and ready, Iain was still in the shower as we turned into the yacht station.  I spotted where I wanted to moor and began to manoeuvre, but as I reversed into the gap noticed that there were no posts there, so pulled forward and moored a few yards further into the basin.  With Grande Girl secured, the dogs jumped ashore to go for a sniff on the grass. 

Rachel and Iain assembled the buggy on the bank (that we stowed in the otherwise unused single cabin) got Harry comfortably installed and we all headed into town. 

Iain was looking forward to fish and chips for lunch from the chippie in Smallgate, but was most disappointed to discover that they didn’t open until later in afternoon.  Debbie and Rachel went into the needlecraft shop a few yards further up from the chippie emerging some time later with wool, needles and a pattern for the wife to knit a jumper for our grandson. 

We then went shopping for the more important stuff and visited the butchers, greengrocers, Co-Op, Greggs, pet shop, the bank (cash supplies were diminishing) and finally the toyshop, before Rachel and I went for a look around the church.  I had visited it before, quite a long time ago, but find that it lacks some of the character that other Broadland churches have, although it does look imposing from the street as well as being unusual in that the tower is separate from the church itself.

We all headed back to the boat and had lunch, which were some 6 ounce burgers purchased from the butchers, topped with cheese and salad leaves, in baps picked up from the Co-Op.  Very tasty they were, too.

We washed up and went to top up the water tank and realised that the hose wouldn’t reach where we were moored, so we cast off and moored on the opposite side, near the Harbourmasters office and refilled with water.  Iain took the rubbish to the compound and soon we were ready to go.

Once again we cast off and headed out of the yacht station, turning right and heading for what I hoped would be our overnight moorings.  

We arrived at Aldeby Hall to find a small private cruiser moored and a couple of gents fishing.  As we drew close, one of them picked up his rods and stool to make room for us to moor.  Once secured, Deb and Iain took the dogs for an exploratory wander, I had a cup of tea and Rachel tried to get Harry to have his afternoon nap.  I lit the oven and wrapped four potatoes in foil to bake as an accompaniment for our dinner.

A short, sharp shower caused us to winch the roof up, so with the aerial set, we watched TV for a while.  I noticed that the sky was clearing and with the possibility of another sunset, set my camera up and waited to see what happened.  It was certainly not as spectacular as the sunrise that morning, but worth shooting a few shots.

I went back inside and cooked dinner – Hunters Chicken, with sweet corn, couscous and the potatoes that had been in the oven for a couple of hours.

The dogs were let out at about 21:30, whilst we prepared the customary hot drinks and shortly after 22:00, we turned in, only to be woken abut an hour later by Harry, who was crying relentlessly and seemed to be in some discomfort.

He eventually stopped and went back to sleep, but sounded wheezy and congested, so at Rachel's request we planned to return to Beccles first thing and go to Boots to get some decongestant rub suitable for an infant.

Tired, we all returned to bed and I drifted back to sleep, thinking about the plans for the following day.

 More to follow . . . . . .






  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tuesday 27th September



I woke a little earlier than usual, probably due to having a bit extra to do than I had planned, which originally was to head for Breydon and cross back to the Northern Broads.  According to my tide table, I needed to be through Yarmouth around 15:20(ish) for slack water and had contemplated a diversion through the New Cut to Reedham to kill some time.  However, the need to revisit Beccles had caused me to alter my plans.

As usual, I headed for the galley and put the kettle on.  I heard the wife clamber out of bed and get dressed as I made my tea.  Iain emerged from his and Rachel’s cabin, dressed and ready, so they took the dogs for their walk and I headed for the shower.

Refreshed and dressed, I grabbed my camera to get a few early morning shots and returned to slice some bread for toast.  Debbie and Iain were back from their walk so we started the engine and headed back to Beccles.

The wife made the toast and handed me a plate with a couple of slices, buttered and topped with marmalade.  Iain went for a shower and was ready just as we turned into the yacht station.  I noticed the Harbourmaster walking from where he was standing at the entrance and as we tied Grande Girl up, he asked if it was short or long stay.  I told him short, so he said that it would be £5.00 and added that it included water.

Iain went to receive instructions on what vapour rub to buy from Boots for Harry, so we took the dogs and headed for town, calling into pay the mooring fee en route.  I chatted briefly to the Harbourmaster, who told me that my tide table was wrong and that I needed to be through Yarmouth two hours earlier than I thought.  When I questioned him, he said that it was local knowledge.  He chatted on, mentioning in passing that he had heard Summercraft were stopping hiring and that soon, all of the small yards would be gone.

I was disappointed at the news about Summercraft and made my mind up to check with Sue at the end of our holiday.

We strolled briskly into town, arriving at Boots shortly after they had opened at 08:30.  I took the opportunity to return to the butchers to buy a couple of pounds of sausages and braising steak.  The greengrocers was just opposite so mushrooms, carrots and onions went in the bags, together with some crisps from the Co-Op and cakes and rolls from Greggs.  They sell London Cheesecakes and I cannot resist when I see them!!  We returned to the yacht station and filled up with water, setting off at about 10:15.

I calculated that Yarmouth was about 23 miles, so at 5mph, we should arrive close to slack water, but I hadn’t taken into consideration the effect of the tide and we made such good progress that we arrived at Somerleyton just after midday, so moored there to kill some time.

The weather had clouded over and it was quite breezy.  Iain and Debbie took Simba and Harley for a walk along the bank, bearing in mind that there would be no more opportunities to stop for several hours when we set off again.  Rachel was giving Harry some attention and I watched as a couple of swans landed on the river near the boat, so reached for the camera and took a few photos. 

We enjoyed a lunch of sausages in rolls before resuming the journey towards Breydon Water.  I knew that we were still ahead of schedule, so was really running just above tick over, at about 1000rpm.  I had downloaded a digital speedo app to my phone and was shocked to see that we were doing about 6mph, carried by the ebbing tide and so we continued through St.Olaves, passed Burgh Castle and onto Breydon.

I must confess that I was relieved to see that a few others had got their timings wrong and were crossing at the same time, but realised that punching the tide through Yarmouth was not going to do my fuel deposit any good.

We rounded the yellow post, following an uneventful return crossing and I could see that there was plenty of clearance under the bridges to pass under without lowering the roof and screen.  The taps were opened to counteract the tide and at almost double the revs, we were making a pitiful 3mph.  I thought back to what the Harbourmaster at Beccles had told me and wondered what it would have been like if I had listened to him.

We chugged past the yacht station, which was full, so even if I wanted to moor there (which I didn’t) I wouldn’t have been able to anyway.  Progress was slow, but at least it was progress and we were soon past the eyesore that is Marina Quays and heading back towards the Stracey Arms.

I headed for the galley whilst Iain took the helm, peeled and sliced some onions and softened them in butter in our enamelled, cast iron casserole dish that often accompanies us on holiday.  I cut the braising steak bought from the butchers earlier into chunks to brown, added the onions, mushrooms and peeled and sliced carrots and added water, red wine and a casserole mix (cheat!!), before putting it in the oven on a low heat.  Debbie was knitting, Harry was napping and Rachel was studying her phone – what did we do before the age of the smart phone??

A few craft passed us as we cruised on, but I wasn’t too bothered.  The effect of the tide had reduced and we were making better progress at lower revs.  My wallet was heaving a sigh of relief as the thought of the disappearing fuel deposit started to ease.

Stracey windpump loomed into view and there were a few boats already moored.  It wasn’t one of my favourite spots – too noisy near the A47, so we continued past.  I was hopeful that we might get lucky and find a spot at Stokesby.

I could see one of Pacific’s cruisers ahead of us and noted that we were catching him and soon chugged passed.  According to my speedo app, we were making 5mph, so I didn’t feel too guilty.  We slowed as we entered Stokesby and I spotted a space on the farm moorings, before the pub.  Grande Girl 2 was already there and we squeezed into a spot about three boats in front.  Once secured, the kids took the dogs to the green for some exercise, I headed to the village shop for some veg and the wife played nanny to Harry, who had woken up and was giving him a cuddle.  I returned with a bag of frozen peas (the choice was limited) and we settled down to watch some TV.

Our casserole was ready at 19:00(ish) and was served with potatoes and peas.  The steak was so tender that it hardly needed chewing.

We washed up and had a game or two of crib.  It had been a long day, so at about 21:30, we had our customary hot drinks and turned in.  The vapour rub obviously had done the trick, as Harry slept soundly and peacefully that night.


More to follow . . . . . .










  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wednesday 28th September


I was awake early on Wednesday morning and tried to go back to sleep again, to no avail.  There was no particular need to get away early, but I rolled out of bed at about 06:15 so followed my usual routine and made a brew.   I slid open a window to reveal what appeared to be a promising sky.  The were no signs of life along the line of moored craft, so I closed the window and noticed the wife was up and ready for the morning walk with the dogs. 

She woke Iain, who hurriedly got ready and they went out through the door in the aft cabin.  I went for a shower, dressed and slipped outside to take a couple of pictures.

The others returned with the dogs, the wife showered and when Rachel emerged from the forward cabin with Harry, we had breakfast.  Toast was on the menu again, with fruit smoothie and tea.  Quick, easy and filled the gap.

My plan was too head for Womack Water to moor,, walk to the village for supplies, than head further up the Thurne to Potter, have a quick look (contradiction in terms, methinks) round Lathams and head back to moor in Womack Dyke for the night.

The first part went to plan, we cruised back through Acle and turned right at Thurne Mouth.  It was bright and sunny and there were plenty of craft on the river.  Past the mill at the end of Thurne Dyke, I cast a look along the moorings, thinking back to Saturday night and how quickly the days were passing.  I remembered some words that my Nan always used to say to me when I was a child – ‘when you get to Wednesday, the week has gone.’  I always looked forward to Wednesday at school, as the rest of the week seemed to pass more quickly, but now wish that she hadn’t said it because it still seems to be true.

We soon arrived at the turning on the left for Womack Dyke and chugged slowly past the boats moored at the BA moorings.  They were either still full from the previous night or already full for the day.  I thought then that my plan might need to be changed.

There was plenty of room at the staithe, so manoeuvred into a space.  Rachel put the buggy together for Harry and once prepared, we wandered into the village.  The butchers was the first call – Rodney remembered me, or at least made a tremendous job of faking it!  We have been going there every time we’ve visited the Broads for longer than I care to remember.  What a truly nice man and a fantastic butcher, too.  I cannot ever remember buying meat from there that was less than excellent.  We had a chat, which was sadly curtailed by the arrival of more customers, but I promised to visit him again next year, God willing.

Throwers was next.  How that has changed over the years, but it still retains the laid back charm of a village store.  The wife and I went in and selected what we needed for the rest of the holiday.  Good job it wasn’t far back to the boat, the bags weighed a ton, or so it seemed and guess who was carrying them!!

There was a small dog running loose as we walked along Horsefen Road, towards the staithe, but we were all relieved when the owner ran out of one of the houses to call the little mutt back.

Back at the boat, the shopping was stowed, the roof over the saloon wound open and Iain took the rubbish to the bins.  I had a chat with the gent on the boat next to ours, which was of the same style, but from a different yard.

Chat over and with a mug of tea and slice of cake, we started Grande Girl up and left our moorings.  The staithe by now was full and two boats rushed to get to our mooring spot.  I didn’t stay to watch who won!

We made our way along the dyke, turning left at the end and headed into Potter.  There was plenty of activity amongst the residents of the shacks and chalets lining the river.  Painting and repairing wooden chalets and fences, snipping and clipping in the gardens and a few folk  fishing, too.  I headed straight for Woods yard and moored.  The buggy had been in the aft well since we left Womack, so we were quickly across to Lathams.  Rachel and Iain went in first, with Harry.  I wandered over to the river bank near where Woods dayboat fleet were moored and observed that the clearance under the bridge was around 6 feet.  Not much passing through that day, other than swans and ducks, I thought.  I took a few pictures with my other camera, a digital compact that fits in my pocket and headed back to Lathams.

Iain came out to look after the dogs and the wife and I went in.  I needed a polo shirt and found one for the princely sum of £3.99.  Bargain - and we’ve washed it since and it hasn’t fallen apart.  We had a look round, bought a few bits and pieces, but weren’t tempted by most of the tat that is on offer.  I frequently think of Lathams as a sort of eBay, where you don’t have to wait for your purchases to drop through the letter-box!

We escaped with a relatively small bill, bought some cakes and a loaf from the bakers near the exit and returned meet Iain, who was squatting on one of the posts outside the café, with both dogs laying at his feet.

He and the wife headed back to the boat, Rachel and I went to the chippy.  I wasn’t sure whether it was a good idea, based on previous visits, but the fish looked okay, so we went for it.  Fish and chips four times came to £26.  I was slightly taken aback, but we walked back to the boat and had lunch.  It wasn’t as good as Ken’s, but it was better than expected.

We watched a couple try to moor, but the breeze had picked up and they were struggling.  Mrs Newtoboating, jumped ashore from the stern with a rope, but couldn’t hold it, so jumped back aboard, dropping the rope in the water as she did so.  Before I could shout a warning, Mr Newtoboating had slammed it into reverse.  You can guess the rest . . . . . .

I walked up to the boat when the breeze had blown it to the end of the basin, nearest to the reception and suggested that they needed to speak to someone at Woods to see whether they could help, or call their yard (Horizon), who would need to send out a diver to untangle the rope from the prop.  Mrs Newtoboating was quite distressed as she thought she was going to fall in, but her husband seemed to take it all in his stride.  There wasn’t a lot I could do, so headed back to Grande Girl and joined the rest.  We filled with water, cruised out of the yard and headed back down the Thurne.

The scene wasn’t much different to how it was when we arrived, other than the breeze that had picked up markedly.  As we neared Womack Dyke, Iain jumped up onto the roof of the forward cabin to look over the banks and assess whether there was space for us to moor, but it looked quite full and we headed straight on.  We didn’t want another night at Thurne Dyke so I suggested heading for the Ant.  The others didn’t object and so my plan was changed.

Iain took the helm, whilst I took some photos.  Debbie was knitting and Rachel was trying to get Harry to take a nap.  We turned right at Thurne Mouth and headed back onto the Bure.  I was quite surprised at the amount of traffic there was on the river, it really was as busy as I have seen it.

St Benets Abbey loomed into view and I knew it would soon be time to turn right towards Ludham Bridge.  I wondered how long it would take us to get through the traffic jam that is usually there, but when we arrived, we passed straight under, only to be nearly hit by a dayboat from Herbert Woods, who appeared across our exit as we went under.  Someone on board it must have had the spanners out and tampered with the engine – I’ve never seen a dayboat almost on the plane as it disappeared up the river.

We chugged on at a more sedate pace, passing Turf Fen Mill and How Hill.  The approach is one of my favourite views on the Broads and not just because it won me a calendar for my picture of it in last years competition!!

I wondered about mooring there, but had somewhere else in mind, so carried on past Irstead Staithe and onto Barton Broad.  The weather had changed dramatically since the morning and was quite cloudy with a stiff breeze blowing as we forked left at the other side of the broad and found a mooring at Paddy’s Lane.

The wife and Iain took the dogs for a walk and I took some more pictures.  The sky had cleared a little and was filled with puffy clouds, which looked quite dramatic.  I went back inside to find Rachel feeding a couple of swans, so took a few more pictures until the others arrived back.  The dogs barked at the swans, who hissed back, before they swam away.

We had intended to have burgers and chips for dinner that night, but were all still full of fish and chips from lunchtime, so leaving it as late as we dare, we snacked on burgers in baps with a bit of salad.  It was tasty and as much as any of us could manage.

We turned the TV on, mainly for background noise, had a couple of games of crib, before letting the dogs out for their last wee, had a hot drink and retired to bed at around 22:00.  Norfolk air had struck and I was soon soundly asleep.



More to follow . . . . . .

There should have been more pictures, but for some reason I have been unable to upload them tonight.  I'll try again another time.





  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6 October 2016 at 10:06 PM, Broads01 said:

Good to hear about the reupholstery of Grande Girl - do you have any photos of that?

Afraid not - because of the dogs, we always cover the settees with blankets, so the upholstery remained mostly hidden throughout the week.


On 11 October 2016 at 10:08 PM, deebee29 said:

Great write up

I knew our paths must have crossed at some point. :nosey:

Unless I'm mistaken this could be you at Beccles on the Monday (captured on the Go Pro as we were arriving)


Yep!! Guilty as charged!!  I seem to recall that you have been on the Broads when we have for the previous two years, too.

Changing the subject, I've just tried uploading some photos again and failed.  The website was down when I first tried to post the latest instalment of my tale, so wonder if there may be an unresolved issue with the Forum

I'm away for a few days, so won't be able to write the next part until later next week.  For those who have been following, please be patient.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lovely write up and photos.

Everyone posting recently about being afloat seems to be remarking about how busy the northern rivers remained right through September. We found ourselves mostly mooring up around lunchtime for that very reason in both June and September this year.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your holiday tale.   My goodness me you are a gem to have on board.    If I sent my other half to the town he wouldn't dream of visiting the butchers or the greengrocers.   Let alone come back and cook it all.    Well done to you.    

Wonderful holiday snaps , what camera are you using?


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes I'm still enjoying also and equally much as your tales from last year and the year before. I'm intrigued to know what Sue at Summercraft said about the closure rumour but I guess I'll just have to be patient. I really like all the detail in your postings, including all the food detail!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Hylander said:

Wonderful holiday snaps , what camera are you using?


Thanks for the positive comments.  My main camera is a newly acquired Fuji X-T2 which is used with a choice of five of Fuji's excellent lenses and my compact is a Panasonic TZ60, which is a wonderfully versatile little camera with a 30x optical zoom.

I used to be a dedicated Canon dslr user, but was converted from my full frame EOS5D mk2 last year when I bought a Fuji X-T1, which I have just replaced with my new one.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Mouldy said:

Yep!! Guilty as charged!!  I seem to recall that you have been on the Broads when we have for the previous two years, 

Yeah we've had the same week the last 3 years.

Incidently it's a good job you didn't see the boat that moored to your port side while you were away.

they came in bow first and ended up side moored in the gap (that wasn't big enough) nudging! both boats  and then used your boat to walk it round..... They then left very quickly.:naughty:

pity I'd put the gopro away 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thursday 29th September

The weather forecast for Thursday had not been great, so I was in no great hurry to get up, but the craving for a cup of tea got the better of me and I rolled out of bed at about 06:30.  With the kettle on, I pulled the curtains back to reveal a grey, grim, cheerless morning.

Iain and the wife got dressed and took the dogs for their customary morning walk and refreshed by my cuppa, I headed for the shower.  If only the shower cubicle was a little larger, I thought as I banged my elbows for the umpteenth time.  Clearly, age was having an effect on my ability to reach the extremities in a confined space!!  No matter, of all of the hire boats currently afloat, the Aquafibre Pearl is one of my favourites, it still looks stylish on the outside, and the space inside is well planned and Grande Girl very much looks the part in her distinctive livery.  Still wish there was more room in the shower, though.

Ablutions completed and dressed, I went back to the stateroom and took the curtains down.  By now, Debbie and Iain had returned with the dogs and the sound of rain was beating on the roof.  Rachel had joined us, so I set about preparing breakfast – cooked again.

Bacon, sausages, eggs, fried tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans and black pudding, but no fried bread this time, there just wasn’t room in the kitchen for all of the pots and pans.  Washed down with a mug of tea, delicious – even if I do say so myself!!

Time was marching on; I started the engine for some hot water.  With the washing up done, Debbie headed for the shower and we got underway shortly afterwards, heading for Stalham.  We needed to top up with water and a few bits from Tesco, so with the revs set at little more than a tick over, we made steady progress to the public moorings just beyond Moonfleets base. 

One of Pacific’s cruisers was already moored there, but I managed to reverse into the staithe, as far as I could as the Moonfleet tug was blocking my progress further.  We secured Grande Girl and Iain and I walked briskly round to Tesco.  Supplies bought, we left the shop only to remember that we’d forgotten a couple of things, so Iain returned to the boat and I headed back to Tesco for another go.  If only I’d made a shopping list!!

Purchases made, I walked back to join the others, and so with the kettle on, we cast off and moved a few yards to moor at Moonfleet to top up the water.  I put the requisite funds in the box and one of their staff wandered over for a chat.  He had been with the yard for many years as he reflected on their fleet when they were based at Belaugh. We spent a few minutes discussing yards closing and fleets disappearing and the total dominance of one yard in particular, before we said goodbye and set off again.

I had no real plan as to where to go other than I wanted to be at How Hill overnight.  We retraced our route from earlier, but instead of turning right to Paddy’s Lane moorings, carried straight onto Barton Broad.  We didn’t go to Neatishead Staithe last year, mooring at Gays Staithe instead for a mooch about, so I headed in that general direction.  Gays Staithe looked quite full, so turned into the narrow dyke leaking to Neatishead, admiring the ‘riverside’ properties on the way.

There were cruisers moored on both sides at the entrance and the breeze was picking up.  Not fancying the task of turning Grande Girl on the ropes in the moorings, I reversed in, carefully avoiding contact with any of the other craft already moored.  Feeling quite smug with my helmsmanship, we tied up and relaxed for a while.  Rachel and Iain walked to the village shop and Debbie and I remained on board, the wife enjoying being nanny to Harry.

We had bought a bag of oven chips to have with the burgers the previous night, but hadn’t cooked them, as we were so full of the lunchtime fish and chips, so I lit the oven and when sufficiently hot, cooked the chips.  By the time they were ready, Iain and Rachel had rejoined us and we had ham rolls with a side order of chips for lunch. 

Washing up done, we decided to head for How Hill and find the overnight mooring, so we chugged slowly out of the narrow moorings and into the dyke leading back to the expanse of Barton Broad.

The moorings at Irstead were full, not that we wanted to stop there and soon arrived at How Hill, which was surprisingly busy.  I prefer mooring near the mill, so continued past a couple of spaces, heading for a spot that looked large enough for us to squeeze into.  I noticed that one of Wood’s flybridge cruisers was trying to manoeuvre near to the mooring that we were heading for, but had passed it and seemed to be trying to avoid hitting other moored craft.  The breeze had picked up considerably by then and sympathised with his problem.

We cruised slowly into the mooring, without drama, only to look back and hear one of the crew shouting that they were trying to moor there.  I could and possibly should have moved, but with other moorings a few yards further up the river than they already were, it seemed vaguely pointless shouting after we had moored and in the breeze, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of trying to turn round and head for a different mooring, despite the fact that we were on a slight bend, leaving a gap to the bank towards the middle of the boat.

Anyway, the other crew soon moored in one of the vacant spots, but I did have a sense of guilt.  I don’t go out of my way to upset people, but perhaps shouting their intentions before we had tied up might have been a better idea.

A bit later and several of the moored craft left, so slightly concerned at the gap between the boat and the bank, I suggested to the others that we should cast off and move further along.  There was another boat moored in front of us, preventing simply untying and pulling her forward, so with the engine running, I steered into the bank and throttled forward to swing the stern out.  With the aft end away from the bank, I reversed until I thought I was far enough out and went forwards again, but before the prop bit, the breeze had blown us back into the mooring.  I tried the same process a couple more times and failed miserably to get away.

What made me even more irate was someone on another boat moored fifty yards or so along the bank, bellowing instructions at me.  Trust me, I knew what to do, but was being prevented by the strength of the breeze.

Once more, I thought and with a prolonged burst of reverse, managed to create enough room to get away from the bank and move to our new spot a few yards further on, almost opposite the mill.  The character on the other boat who had been bellowing his instructions started to tell me everything I was doing wrong.  I should have ignored him, but we had a short exchange of views.  After 30 or more Broadland visits, I know how to handle a boat, but the breeze had negated all of my knowledge and made me feel like a first timer.  Not only that, but I’d fallen out with the crews of two boats within about an hour – something that I’ve never done before.

Iain and Rachel took the dogs for a walk, Harry slept and the wife was knitting.  I set about preparing dinner – sausage casserole was on the menu, so I browned the sausages in our cast iron casserole dish, softened a couple of onions that I had peeled and sliced, added carrots, mushrooms, red wine, water and a couple of packets of an appropriate mix and put it in the oven on a low heat.

I wandered along the bank, taking a few photos.  The sky had largely cleared leaving a thin veil of wispy cloud and it was a lovely evening, if somewhat breezy.  The sun seemed to take forever to set, allowing me plenty of time to take more pictures.  When the sunset had reduced to just a faint red glow on the horizon, I headed back to the warmth of the boat. 

The wife had put some potatoes on to boil, as well as some broccoli and with the casserole ready we had dinner at about 19:30.  It went down well – another successful meal and with the washing up done, we settled down for a couple of games of crib.

Iain and I continued our winning streak and by the time we had our customary hot drinks, we were leading by five games to nil.

We went to bed shortly after 22:00.  Where had the week gone – we only had one more full day on the Broads and the thought saddened me.  The looking forward takes so long and when you're there, it comes and goes before you realise that you’ve been, if you know what I mean.


More to follow . . . . . .

I still seem to be having difficulties uploading photos, so hope that everything will settle down after tomorrow and I will have more success.






  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lovely tale ... I also had a problem getting away from How Hill on one of our visits this year. It doesn't matter how much experience you've got when nature takes the upper hand and everything you know is textbook just doesn't work!

Shame about the other people you encountered. I'm sure you wouldn't have taken that spot ahead of the other boat if it had been the only one.

Looking forward to hearing about where you go next. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Enjoying your tale and photo as usual.

we had a couple of interesting moorings with the wind that same week.

It's frustrating when you know exactly what you need to do (we've  been hiring for over 30 years) but the wind has other ideas.

Fortunately we didn't have any "Experts " on hand to inform me where I was going wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Happy days, the work on the website this morning seems to have cured the issue I was having posting pictures, so here are the missing ones from Wednesday and Thursday.

17 hours ago, SwanR said:

 . . . . I'm sure you wouldn't have taken that spot ahead of the other boat if it had been the only one.

I was happy to moor there, anyway and the stupid thing is that within about an hour of us arriving, most of the other boats that were moored there, had gone leaving plenty of empty spots.


16 hours ago, deebee29 said:


 . . . . . we had a couple of interesting moorings with the wind that same week.

It was the only problem I had all week, but it was the sarcastic audience that really wound me up!!  Oh for a bow thruster.










  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lovely photos.

And by the way ... a bow thruster is no match for the wind! There have been a number of times when hubby is directing me in and telling me to use the bow thruster to straighten the boat .... and I already am but the wind has other ideas. Ranworth and Beccles are the two places where this happens the most.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Friday 30th September



 So the last full day of our week arrived all too quickly, as usual.  They say time flies when you’re enjoying yourself and boy does it??  I was awake early as usual and the morning started much the same as the others with me heading for the kettle and the wife preparing to take the dogs out, with Iain.  They left the boat as usual, by the doors to the well at the blunt end and I looked out to see the mill lit by that magical early morning golden light so hastily pulled some trainers on and grabbed my camera to take a few pictures.  The morning was so different to the gloom of the previous day.

Pictures taken, I headed back to the boat for my shower.  Iain and Debbie returned from their walk with Harley and Simba and once dressed, I made some toast.

I wanted to be away from the moorings by about 09:00, so we could get to Ranworth about an hour later, when I reckoned there would be an opportunity to moor.  Breakfast things tidied, but with the washing up still to do, due to a shortage of hot water, we cast off and with Iain at the helm, headed slowly away from one of my favourite spots in all of Broadland.  I stood at the stern, taking a few more pictures as the view of the house and mill was lost with the turn of the river.

The river was relatively quiet and we passed under the bridge at Ludham without having to wait for other craft to pass, much to my amazement.  At the end of the Ant, we turned right onto the Bure. 

With hot water now available, the ladies did the washing up, and took it in turns to shower while we chugged towards Ranworth.  I appeared to be second in a long line of craft heading in the same direction and hoped that we were not all Ranworth bound.  I turned left into the dyke leading to Malthouse Broad and checked behind me to observe that a couple of the others were also heading in the same direction

The dyke opened onto the broad and I thought I could see a space on the moorings directly in front of me, so headed for it.  I approached the mooring with trepidation, especially after my performance the previous evening at How Hill.  However, Grande Girl was soon slotted in between two other craft and secured.

I lit the oven, wrapped some baking potatoes in foil, placed them on a baking tray and put them in the oven on a low heat.  That would be lunch taken care of, then!

With Iain now showered and ready, Rachel set up the pushchair, installed Harry and we set off for the church.  However many times I’ve holidayed on the Broads, the visit never seems quite complete without a look round St Helen’s.  It’s not the most beautiful church I’ve visited, but there is a certain charm and tranquillity that I’ve seldom experienced elsewhere. 

The others entered the churchyard, heading for the café and I waited to take a couple of photos before rejoining them.  I was disappointed to find that the café was closed, but noticed a note on the door to say it was open at 11:00, about 15 minutes later.  Rachel, Iain and I headed for the church, leaving the wife to look after Harry and the dogs. 

There were a few visitors already there including a small party who seemed to be being given a guided tour, so I took the opportunity of heading up the stairs to the top of the tower, before having to wait for them to climb the narrow staircase.  Eighty odd stairs and two ladders later I emerged from the cramped staircase onto the roof of the tower.  It certainly was a clear day – I could just make out the wind turbines near Great Yarmouth in the far distance.

I was soon joined by Iain and Rachel, who had also ventured up the stairs.  I took a few pictures of the view and they took a couple of selfies with the view in the background.  By the time a few of the guided tour party had also made joined us, it was getting a little crowded, so I headed back down to terra firma.  I’m not sure which is worse – ascending or descending the stairs.  Those of you who have climbed to the top will know what I mean.

I lingered in the church for a while.  I think I have mentioned before that I am not deeply religious, but do have some beliefs and compared to many in this World, have much to be thankful for so spent a couple of minutes in quiet reflection, before dropping some coins in the box and returning to the wife who was still sitting near the café.


Iain and Rachel rejoined us and said that they thought they had heard voices in the café, which was still closed.  I wandered round and heard them too, so tapped on the door, which was soon answered by someone who said that it would be closed that day due to no volunteers to staff it.  I was disappointed – they sell some lovely home-made cake and I had been looking forward to sampling it.

The Conservation Centre has been closed on our last visits to Ranworth, so we thought we’d see if it was open, so we headed off in the direction of entrance. Dogs, unsurprisingly, aren’t allowed so the wife took the dogs back to the boat and Rachel with Harry, Iain and I wandered along the boardwalk to the floating building at the end.  It had changed internally since my last visit, which was probably nine or ten years ago, with different displays and more merchandising than I recall, however upstairs was much the same, with binoculars and telescopes available for the public to use. 

I peered through a telescope, looking for anything interesting, but could only see a couple of ducks on Ranworth Broad itself.  In fact, the only time when I have seen anything unusual from there was probably about twenty years ago, when we saw herons nesting in a tree on the far side of the Broad.

We wandered back to the boat, to be met by the wife who had just boiled the kettle.  What luck??  Just in time for a cuppa.  There was no-one using the nearest hose, so I filled Grande Girls tank for the last time and chatted to the couple on the boat moored next to ours.  Iain and Rachel had been to the shop and returned with some ice creams that went into the freezer for later.

The potatoes were ready, so we had lunch – cheese, coleslaw, baked beans, butter and some salad were available accompaniments to the potatoes and they went down a treat.  Clambering up the stairs to the top of the tower at St Helen’s had made me hungry.

With the washing up done, we set off for our overnight destination at Salhouse.  We chugged across the Broad and turned left onto the Bure.  Iain took the helm whilst I took some pictures.  The river was quite busy and we appeared to be in a convoy of about four or five boats as we approached the moorings at Cockshoot Broad.

I heard someone furiously tooting a horn and noticed that a cruiser from Ferry Marina was coming in the opposite direction far too fast.  The crew obviously wanted to get to Yarmouth before the sun went down!!  I did something that I have never done before and phoned the boatyard to complain.  They apologised and said that they would contact the crew and ask them to slow down.  I’m obviously not sure if they did, but having a whinge made me feel better.

The rest of the journey was less eventful, Horning was busy (as usual), I can’t remember the last time I’ve moored there and Iain and I admired the riverside properties as we cruised past.  We remembered the ice-creams in the freezer that had been bought earlier in the day, so had those as we headed towards our overnight stop.

We made steady progress to the first entrance to Salhouse Broad where I took the helm to moor while Iain and Rachel stepped ashore with the ropes.  There was fortunately no repeat of the fiasco at How Hill the previous night and no need for expert verbal assistance either.

Debbie and Iain took the dogs for a walk, I went for a wander with my camera and Rachel tried to get Harry to take a nap.  I returned to the boat a little later to find her feeding the ducks and swans, Harry having succumbed to tiredness and dozed off.

The weather, which had been very pleasant all day, had changed and a couple of dark clouds produced a short sharp shower and accompanying rainbow, causing us to close the roof.  Within a few minutes, the rain stopped and the sky cleared, but it seemed a little chilly so the roof remained closed.  I went outside with the camera as the sun set, hoping for it to be as spectacular as it had been the previous night, but it wasn’t as good.

Spaghetti bolognese was on the menu that night, so we had dinner at about 19:30, followed by a couple more games of crib (which Iain and I won, much to the wife’s disgust) before we had our hot drinks and went to bed for the final time on Grande Girl. 

And so it was, our latest Broadland adventure was almost at an end.

More to follow . . . . . .









  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Sponsors

    Norfolk Broads Network is run by volunteers - You can help us run it by making a donation

  • Create New...

Important Information

For details of our Guidelines, please take a look at the Terms of Use here.