Jump to content
  • Announcements

    Welcome! New around here? Take a look at the New Members' Guide for some pointers.

    Not a member yet? Sign up here and you can soon be chatting away with friends old and new..

    Check out our Handy Information section if you're after something quickly!

  • If you would like to support the forum, please consider visiting the forum shop, where you can purchase such items as NBN Burgees, Window Stickers, or even a custom Limited Edition Wooden Throttle Control Knob

    Forum Shop

Recommended Posts

Day One:

Watch day one of the Captain's Blog:

As many readers of this will be aware on 8h March I sadly lost my Dad after his long battle with Cancer.  Just a week prior to this I had been talking to him about my trip to the Broads I had planned on board the all new Brinks Serenade boat – I showed him the photos and he was very interested – indeed at that stage doctors were making arrangements for his discharge from Hospital and he was muting that if he felt up to it he would love to come.

Now a week after his passing I was travelling up to the Broads with very mixed emotions – I had talked to friends and family prior to coming as was it the right thing to be doing? They all asked what did I want to do and I should do this and not worry about what others may think about me doing it.  I am so pleased I took that advice.

You see I would never have known about the Broads had it not been for my Dad, it began as a baby being taken away in a static caravan ‘Mr Turner’s’ at Hickling, and this may well be the Mr Turner who worked at Herbert Woods in his past and is mentioned in the book that I’ve read about the history of Herbert Woods. Be that as it may, he also owed a lovely wooden day boat and I remember to this day as I grew to be a small boy its blue vinyl seats and the bubbling water from the stern as we would use it to head to Potter Heigham for shopping and days out over Hickling Broad.

Now, I was alone and arrived at Barnes Brinkcraft – they really have more boats than boatyard having recently taken over Royalls – engineers and cleaners alike all ramping up for the main season, and there gleaming on the river front moorings was Serenade.

Most holiday makers when they take over a boat are eager to get away and begin their holiday, however an hour after Phil their chief engineer came on the boat to show me around we are still talking about boats generally, hirers, and systems and to me this sort of learning and understanding is great.  Phil decided he better actually pop off and do some actual work and left me with their new boat.  I popped off to Roys to get some supplies for the week.

Once back on the boat it was time to depart – I headed towards the bridge, did a turn then cruised back past the boatyard and began my adventure.  I had no idea where to head to for the evening, it was now late in the afternoon but as I cruised along thought turned to my Dad, the sudden and sad events and the many many things that I would have to be dealing with in the next several days, but with a phone and a laptop it proved possible to liaise with funeral directors, the church and so on but at the same time be away and in a quiet and calm environment. 

I reflected on the past – how it all began as I began filming the Captain’s Blog that would cover my travels. You see over the years I have been doing this there is a sense of community with the loyal followers who enjoy the content I make and kindly comment on it or come and see me when I am on the rivers so to speak to these people through the portal of a camera helped my mind deal with the turbulent emotions I had. I never plan my trips – what I might film or how, these are after all simply a diary in video form of what I have done and where I have gone but the story behind it that you are reading now adds the depth and what the camera does not capture.

So deep talking out the way, my mind turned to the boat – she was quiet – very quiet underway, response too and I liked the powerful bow thruster, the comfortable raised double helm seat and the fact this was not a new design but a classic that had been brought right up to date with bonded windows all of which had a lovely deep tint to them (and many of which also opened) the duel canopies now slide open at the push of a button, and the stern now re-moulded and lowered to make getting on and off at stern moorings a real breeze.  A comfortable and inviting space to live.

Before long I was approaching the Swan Pub and thoughts turned to Christmas when Shiela and I ate here when we were on Broad Ambition, and as I came around the turn there was a space at the Staithe – a rare opportunity and one that I was not going to pass up time to moor 30ft of boat alone – something I have not done for a good while now as I usually have Shiela aka ‘Bow Lady’ to assist.  But despite coming in with the ebb tide the ample power from Serenade’s engine and bow thruster had me along side in a jiffy and I was tied up and in the peaceful surroundings of Horning.

I decided there and then that the Swan would be a good place to eat tonight – and treated myself later to a Steak – it was very well prepared, the side of seasonal veg was just cooked right.  Not the cheapest of meals but I do live the surrounds in the pub and now I was able to get 4G O2 phone reception at the table – amazing as I sent photos to a jealous Shiela who was travelling home in London. 

I wonder, where shall I go tomorrow...

 

  • Like 19

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Robin, I just watched your first blog of the trip, I was overwhelmed by my emotion, as what your Father has gone through is what I am trying to come to terms with myself, for that reason, I won't be sharing the video with my wife Roz, too close to home.

However having looked at the boat review, I was impressed with the boat, but I don't think it's for me, I like to see down the whole side of the boat when I am cruising to see what is trying to overtake me, and also to judge the distance from the boat to the bank when coming into moor.

I don't do jumping off boats, I like to step off, and to move away from the helm to see how far you are from the bank is not in keeping with great skipper control, not something I can do with haste anymore, in my opinion of course. You may be able to advise as you go along.

I think some 18" diameter mirrors might help lol.

What would concern me is coming into a windward mooring on a fair tide and being able to get on deck and secure the boat before it drifts away.

I would also like to see a stern mooring taking place at a busy Ranworth Staithe, with a reasonable cross wind.

I would be interested to know the width of the bed in the aft cabin, is it 5' wide? wider? I'd be surprised if you took a tape measure on holiday with you... but you never know lol...

I will of course continue to watch your blogs, and I hope your new equipment works well.

 

Very best regards,

Richard

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Firstly, I was not sure when filming these what I should or should not say or include - I did the real take and a 'happy take' cutting out all the truth, in the end I struck to sharing the truth and how I was feeling which I am pleased I did.  I am sorry for those who have or are suffering such things in their lives because it is a very challenging and emotional time for all.

Moving on to happier things - boats and in particular Serenade. You may not be in the most sprightly of conditions Richard, but have you seen me trying to move about from one side of a boat to another?  There is very little grace and pose going on I can tell you lol. 

This said, Serenade was surprising easy for me to handle alone - you just flicked the switch got the port side canopy open and got my head out, you can then see all the side of the boat, the tip of the bow and the stern corner which meant mooring was easy, even stern on to place the boat.  If there was a side wind it was all ok because a button push got the very loud - but powerful - bow thruster to push the front end where you wanted it to counter any drift.

So long as you can see down one side of a boat to the aft, just like when reversing a van with no back window and using mirrors, you need not see more to enable you to complete the task but Phil was keen to trial some kind of rear camera to aid mooring - the issue is go too wide angle and you distort distances too much to be of much use, don;t go wide angle enough and you don;t cover the width of the transom.

One issue was getting down from the helm - it is high and there are no steps but nor could they be and if you did not have it high you could not see out the screen but that alas is just not something Barnes can 'build out' since it is how the boat was originally designed from the mould.

I even tried a mooring on my offside at How Hill and managed that without too much hassle so in some ways I found her as easy as a transnational centre cockpit boat to handle, and far easier than a forward steer that said I do like a light weight eager sedan such as Belmore where you can really fling the boat around and get it into tight spots with real easy and complete vision.

The double bed was not a 'real double' so far as width, the good old 'pillow test' can you get two side by side and not touching was done, and no you can't but it is close - so I would say it is a generous double  for a boat and one you can get out of either side.  They nicked several inches from the saloon to make the aft cabin that much larger.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Robin for taking the time to answer my questions, I think the point you made about getting off the helmsman's seat could be an issue, as I have to use a walking stick due to the tumours on my spine and my recent replacement shoulder. Any slip could put me in hospital.

Still a very nice boat, aimed at luxury for a full crew.

Thanks again,

Richard

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for another great video, your honesty was lovely. Im very sorry for your loss. I enjoyed the blog with your dad on song of freedom. I've been following you for the last few months on YouTube and now joined the forum. Thanks again for all your work it brings the broads into my living room. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have previously passed on my condolences.   very touching start to the blog looking forward to the rest. 

I did something very similar when my own father passed away and spend some time on our boat at the time cruising on the west coast of Scotland to gather my thoughts and reflect on memories .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I enjoyed watching this first day of your recent trip Robin. And may I say I thought you handled everything so well, your words were very moving and you got things spot on. No-one should judge you for being there. I expect the interlude served you well and was very fitting given how much your Dad had loved boating. Sometimes the timing just works out that way. When my Mum passed away five years ago I already had a weekend away booked which happened to be almost straight after the funeral. That worked for me ... and everyone handles loss and grief in their own way ... and that's how it should be.

Looking forward to coming along for the rest of your trip. 

And if anyone is reading this before watching the video ... have the tissues handy. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Robin. I haven't had chance to watch this yet but really looking forward to doing so (in glorious HD with my beloved Google Chrome cast as usual). I've no doubt I'll get emotional and respect to you for going for the uncut version.

I lost my Dad in 2013. Like you, I first visited the Broads with my parents as a child and my Dad shared my Broads passion. Whilst his passing was incredibly hard to bear, at least I had the comfort of remembering happy times with him, none more so than the holiday I had with him on Bright Horizon 1, coinciding with his 70th birthday and only a month before he died. My passion for the Broads, whilst its always been strong, is even stronger since his passing because I feel a sense of closeness to him when I'm there. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Robin

Great respect to you for uploading the uncut version of your video. It shows just what a caring person you are. I found it very moving.

As for should you have cancelled or not with it being so close to your dad's passing, well the only person that could have answered that question was you. And from watching your film it is obvious that it was the right thing for you to do.

I lost my dad in 2011, also to cancer and he said to us when he knew he didn't have long (we only had 4 weeks from diagnosis) was that our lives had to continue and that he didn't want us to mourn and be miserable.

this was one of the best things he could have said, especially to mum as whenever she feels down she remembers this and snaps herself out of it.

yesterday would have been their 64th wedding anniversary.

Dad loved Broads and like Simon we always feel that he is with us and we remember the great holidays we had there when we were younger.

Everyone has to deal with loss and grief in a way that is right for them

Take care & keep strong 

David

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I watched most of this before I had to dash to work this morning and left with a lump in my throat.  Great job Robin in doing what must have been one of your more difficult pieces to camera.  I commented on Youtube but would like to add, once again my condolences here.

 

Thanks for the Captains Blog, for the hard work you put into them and for all the help you provide.

Mike

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for everyone's comments - Day 2 is edited but I have not had the time to render it and upload.  I hoped to do this today leave it running and go to work, but I forgot.. Thing is I am filming in 1080p this trip and it is proving to be a headache to process and maintain the frame rates and different codecs from three different cameras which I had not thought of being an issue before.  I might revert in the future down to 720p HD.

Anyway..If this made anyone feel sad, the second day will make you laugh in part one and then in part two you won't get sad but you will likely pause and think..It is not all deep stuff but this series will be a little different to those videos that have gone before of course.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I watched Day 1 this evening and I was moved as much as I thought I would be. I remember very clearly the time between my dad's passing and his funeral and what state my head was in. What better way to deal with that than "escape" boating as you call it. 

I liked the fixed camera at the helm position giving you freedom of movement rather than you having to hold the camera at arms length. It came across as very natural. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Broads01 said:

I liked the fixed camera at the helm position giving you freedom of movement rather than you having to hold the camera at arms length. It came across as very natural. 

This because the camera is heavy to hold for any length of time :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day Two (Part 1):

And so I awoke to my second day afloat on Brinks Serenade - and found the boat to be still where I had left it the previous evening, which was handy.

I had not slept too well however, since I got back on the boat and ended up watching a couple of films on Amazon Video - washed down with some Guinness I think I was trying to keep my mind occupied and not dwell on things that would usually be happening when I was away on the Broads, namely having a evening call to my Dad and filling him in with what the boat was like, where I had been and hearing his news of some great bargain he bought  and rolling my eyes thinking "another fan heater..really" but now it is gone I miss it.

It was a grey morning, but thankfully mild so having got ready the first task was to remove the rather plush soft grey forward screen cover - usually vinyl Barnes had pushed the boat out with the waterproof fabric version, alas like vinyl it leaves some moisture between it and the screen this then dries to form a film of water marks so out with the window cleaner and microfiber cloth.

I was going to have a wander in the village, but decided to get underway - it was approaching 9:00am and while I had not destination in mind, I wanted to get some footage and try my new 'lapel microphone' this proved to be a right pain.  You see many viewers of my blogs tell me about the wind noise on the microphone, how it is annoying and how I can do many things to prevent it not understanding these ideas don't work on smaller compact cameras and the Sony camera I usually use is particularly compact, even the larger and newer Alpha a5000 model has a small area where the stereo mics are and naturally no external microphone socket sine that would be too much to ask for a camera that cost me close to £400.00.  I decided a great way would be separate audio recorded on a digital sound recorder with a nice stereo microphone.

As you will hear it does sound nice, but my goodness trying this several other times got in a right pickle with the different audio files on one memory card then the camera files from one memory card and secondary files from another camera on another and trying to put them into order when you copy them across because..they are all named 0001 0002 etc and despite trying to set up the right time and date I forgot that when the cone of the camera's I use batteries die and I remove it to put a freshly charged battery in the time and date resets too.  Therefore just please, put up with the wind noise it makes my life so much easier.

It was time to go from Horning, so after a call from Shiela I let go of the ropes - but had the forethought to also be on the boat as I did this - and took a slow cruise down the Bure past the Ferry Inn and then not far past came into view the works being undertaken at Cock Shoot Broad - why on earth are they allowed to use shiny galvanised steel piles? I mean they really stand out and ok so I can let that go and appreciate they will last far longer, but why then if allowed there are other areas not or can a private owner not use UPVC or preserve their wood pilings - no, the Broads Authority don't like that and have all sorts of rules about moorings and pilings.  

I calmed down, and then decided actually a lot needed sorting out with the Broads Authority generally - oh and the local councils so appointed myself as a new Broads Tsar. I came up with a complete solution to all issues and brought up my controversial mooring proposals with a 'pay as moor' toll system but at least you'd get water, rubbish bins and WiFi included for your overnight fee along with electric posts. By now I was on Malthouse Broad and decided it would be nice to moor up and go for a walk to the Nature Trail and view over Ranworth Broad so it was my first stern mooring in this boat, and it could have been smoother but at least I achieved what I set out to with no damage being done :)

In the next part follow me on a quiet walk to the broad walk and then on to the Church for some peaceful contemplation.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So who's Cheryl ? (26:42 min in)  Does Sheila know about her lol...?

Thanks for showing the clip on how to reverse into Ranworth, just what I requested.

Not really a challenge was it, free open mooring on both sides, not as if you are trying to reverse a 12' beam boat into 12'6" gap. Mind you for your  first attempt, whilst getting used to the boat, I was actually quite impressed. Well done lol. It did highlight the issue of lack of access and visibility from what is close to a central helm. 

I wonder what the hull of this boat will look like by the end of the season, I recon it will get more than it's fair share of knocks and scrapes, and associated third party claims for damages etc.

Interesting point re pay as you go moorings, not new, it's what the Environment Agency are doing on the non tidal section of the River Thames. Very controversial, as it is run by a third party. You have a phone app. you announce your arrival time, the 24 clock starts ticking.... don't overstay without paying an additional fee after this time.... Even after payment, you can only stay a couple of days.  The EA have ways of moving live aboards on. It's not every mooring, mostly those within walking distance of the locks. Now suddenly we have to start clock watching, setting the alarm on the iphone... can't overstay... come on, we need to go.... leave the dog... come on...  You can also prebook a mooring days before, but guess what ? there is no guarantee you will get one.

Not my idea of a stress free holiday. To us the advantage of the Broads was to throw the clock away and go by "Norfolk Time".  Could this affect how we treat our leisure time on the Broads?  To me, not progress, we came to the Broads to get away from all this routine. We have yet to try overnighting on the Thames, been nearly 2 years now since we slept on our boat, due to illness of course. Can't wait...

 There are still many wild moorings on the Thames, so an opportunity I guess.

Thanks Robin for a great video, and some "interesting" points of view. 

Richard

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Viking23 said:

So who's Cheryl ? (26:42 min in)  Does Sheila know about her 

Haha I imagine she was just off camera sulking. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another entertaining and informative video. Thanks :)

I find the point about the loss of wild moorings an interesting one.

Where there is a popular spot, for a wild mooring that's been lost by reprofiling might it be an idea to encourage people to start using them again? It wouldn't take many weekends in a dedicated area to trample the reeds before the grass reappeared. The "layby" in Womack dyke that would be a an obvious place for a trial campaign. 

Do you think this would be considered irresponsible to undo Broads Authority work?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Londonlad1985 said:

... Do you think this would be considered irresponsible to undo Broads Authority work?

This is what I think... They will probably see how it goes this season, and next season they will put the river toll up by 15% for boat registration numbers with an even registration number and  17% for boats with an odd registration number. Just as "logical" as some of their earlier algorithms for increasing tolls lol. 

They will then use this increase to make new signage to be placed along every 50 metres of private river bank. On one side it will say... "strictly no mooring or landing" and in small print at the bottom, so you have to moor and go ashore to read it, "a fine of £100 will be levied for any breach of the terms of this notice". On the dyke leading to Rockland Broad a few years back, there were similar signs, that due to reed growth couldn't be read anyway without going ashore. They were also partially obscured by moored boats too. That scheme worked well too. 

On the other side of the notice, just to keep the walkers happy..."Do not throw stones at this notice"

I hope they make the signs out of non treated biodegradable timber from a renewable resource, just like their requirement for private quay heading.

Which means, if you are a continuous cruiser, with a wood burner, you can moor in a different place every 24 hours. Keeping warm as you go.

Something for everyone. 

 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Viking23 said:

 

Something for everyone. 

 

Thank goodness for that! I thought it was just going to be a post to bash the BA! :'D let's be positive this could be year they "do it right" :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course the loss of "wild" moorings has not a lot to do with the BA but more of an unforeseen impact of the work done by BESL on behalf of the EA.

But where the reprofiling has got established you are absolutely right - there is no reason why over a period new "wild" moorings cannot be recreated. In fact at the top of Fleet Dyke at least 2 are gradually being opened - all it needs is someone with shears/bruchcutter to go along and slash a bit!! Equally it is not up to the BA to post new "No Mooring" signs, as they do not own the land - thats up to the landowner but just lets hope not too many read this, or it might encourage more of those blessed signs!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just had some interesting replies over on You Tube comments as to my ideas...The fact is the Broads Authority have a very varied job on their hands and limited funds to do it all with.  They are not accountable and in my opinion not very good at spending what money they have wisely – but if you are making your money from people, who have two choices in the matter, pay or go you don’t tend to find the word ‘efficiency’ come up too often.

That said what worries me is the future – so this year I paid £514.00 for Broad Ambitions toll this year, so she is good to go for 12 months navigation around the rivers but I don’t see ‘value’ in this amount and come 2018 do they decide to increase this again, but make a big point of how this year it is only a 10% increase” – and you know what, they very well could..

The Broads is changing, but I miss the ‘old times’ when the boats were more simple and plentiful and even the premium new builds were not too fancy, just better equipment nicer materials used, soft Draylon upholstery and carpeting too.  You might get a video player and a larger fridge – these days the boats sleep less but often are built to the maximum dimensions allowed to provide as much space internally and are sold as being something to aspire to, you hired Clear Gem this year, next year save up and have Commodore ‘you know you want to’ type thing.

But is it the holiday makers demanding these larger and ever more plush boats at great cost, of the boatyards building them and with each new so the loss of an old boat occurs thus slowly but surely pushing out the budget accommodation. 

Pay to Moor would encourage land owners to allow their land to be used more – after all they might share some of the profits – but I accept if implemented it might begin at £5.00 for 24 hours and in three years have crept up to £10.00 as they see how much they can push things and profits.  It would not work unless moorings that were part of the scheme had several advantages to them over free moorings but you know it’s not all doom and gloom and need not be all about paying more.

I thought how nice it might be in the season to have resourceful thinking local publican’s and a Broads Authority with an ‘open mind’ to trial ‘pop up bars’ – just temporary – much the same as you may find at an exhibition, a theme to them, some fake grass, seats, decking, and the like the drinks be delivered to them by boat and either placed on large floating pontoons that boats could come to and moor or shore side.  

I know it may seem like people would be encouraged to drink more and may seem also like it was a free for all so far as rowdy people go, but I would hope things could be kept in order.  It would mean a wider spread of places to head to, local pubs would have a new revenue stream and while it might not appeal to all, there surely would be a number of younger people (and I mean under 50’s here) who rather like the idea of a cool, laid back open air bar under the wide skies of the Norfolk Broads. Fresh thinking I say is needed, it does not hurt to wonder..

img_2433.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there would definitely be an appetite for a seasonal pop up - I assume Norwich has had some success? (to my shame I've never been however I will remedy this on Thursday).

This concept has been very successful in London with space used innovatively. Frank's Cafe and RoofEast on car park roofs have been been great and the Croydon container "BoxPark" looks fantastic there is another to follow in Walthamstow. Which can already boast a pop up 1930s style cocktail bar that is now permanent in in old cinema. 

I could wax lyrical about pop ups without even mentioning the floating ones! Peterborough had some good examples. 

What we need is a brave person to risk some capital or convince one of the big players like Secret Cinema to come in. With Norwich student population imagine a "secret cinema" screening of Kevin Costners Water World in the middle of Wroxham broad! Now that would be a Pop Up to end them all!! 

Or am I getting carried away? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're not getting carried away - but making the mistake that we are from London and used to such innovation and 'outside the box' thinking.  Then you come to Norfolk and full of enthusiasm you talk of such ideas, to be met with a bemused look from the locals.

I believe that bringing some of these ideas - on a far smaller scale - would do wonders to the Broads, invigorate and breath life into tired areas where investment in 'Bricks and Mortar' based long term schemes would never work, but that lower cost more dynamic use of spaces would do well.

I also think there is a massive un-tapped demographic not just from London, but Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle etc who are younger professionals with some disposable income and might like something a little different - the key is what do you do past the boat once you are here.

Oh, and if anyone wonders what Box Park is have a look at how things began here:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well we can but try! I saw the job head of coms for the BA was advertised last month. I almost any for it! I wonder if the post was filled? I wonder if there is a budget for outside the box? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the other hand of course there are those of us who come to the Broads ... because it is how it is, completely different to what we have all year round living in a city. That chance to escape, slow down and relax is what makes it draw us back to return time after time, year after year. Believe it or not there are those of us who don't want to moor near a pub, who just enjoy being on the boat in the middle of nowhere ... and if it's a modern boat well fitted out for two, a bit of luxury for a few days on which we choose to spend our very hard earned money then that's fine with me. Hands off!! twoguns

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
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.

Guest
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.


  • NBN Mobile App

    Want to use NBN when you're out and about?

    Get our mobile app for Android and iOS!

    Get it on Google Play

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

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