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Our Sail On Lullaby: July 2017


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Saturday 1st July

The day after Mam’s funeral, held in Holyhead.  Not such a sad event; more a celebration of a long and mostly happy life, and very well attended as my Mam had such an extensive network of friends.  We had travelled back home to Milton Keynes late afternoon/evening of Friday.  Fortunately, we had packed most of our stuff for Norfolk before travelling up to Anglesey.


We had intended to start off by 7am, but were a bit slow in getting up and packing the car, despite getting up at 6.  We had our usual brekkie stop at Caxton Gibbet Costa’s and arrived at Hoveton just before 11.  Harry and I went off to Roy’s and the butchers to buy ‘fresh’ provisions whilst Graham took Seren for a walk along the river.  We then went on our way to Ludham and had lunch at Alfresco Tea Rooms (Coronation Chicken Sandwiches for Graham and I, Norfolk Pie and Salad for Harry, all washed down with Norfolk blend Tea).


We got to Hunter’s Yard shortly after 1pm and checked in with Vikki.  We have messed the Yard about this year, and they have been very good and understanding about it.  We had originally booked four-berth Luna for this week, but changed the booking to the three-berth Wood Violet for the previous week when my Mam’s residential respite booking got changed to nursing respite care.  A few weeks ago I phoned Vikki to warn her that we might have to cancel altogether, but subsequently changed the booking back to this week once we had confirmation of the funeral arrangements.  We also switched from Luna to Lullaby on Harry’s request.  He had watched the DVD of ‘The Coot Club’ and knew that Lullaby had taken the part of Mrs Barrable’s yacht ‘Teasel’ in that series. 


We were also slow getting our stuff packed onto Lullaby, so slow that Phil came along in a dinghy and started to varnish the starboard side and stern of Lullaby.  The first thing that Harry did once we had unpacked was to hoist our Ddraig Goch (Welsh flag).  Just before we started quanting to the area at the entrance of the dyke reserved for raising sails a fellow sailor gave Harry the hint that it would be best to just quant from the stern rather than along the side due to the direction of the wind, so that made things easier for us.  Graham walked along the bank whilst I took the tiller.  Seren was a bit of a pain though.  She was in the well with me but started barking like mad at the dinghy.  She was even worse when she saw a lad going past in a canoe.  Once we moored at the entrance to the dyke I left Graham and Harry to sort out the sails (one reef) and walked along the dyke with Seren to try to distract her.  She first took a dislike to dinghies when we were on the Broads in May, and has disliked swans since one hissed at her when she was quite small.  Not sure why she barks at canoes though – perhaps she thinks they are large swans. 


We got on our way around 3.30pm with a fair wind and made for Potter Heigham.  We managed without tacking though shedsville, though our progress was slower along that stretch as the wind was a bit fluky, as it usually is there.  Before coming in to moor at the de-masting area we tied one of Seren’s leads to the ladder amidships, so that she had enough slack to lie down in either cabin, but couldn’t get into the well to get under our feet or tangled up with the main sheet.  We did this quite frequently during the week so that we wouldn’t have to worry about keeping an eye on her when we were trying to tack or if there was any risk of a gybe (were the boom swings across from one side to another suddenly).  She whined a bit to start but soon settled down.  Got through the bridge around 5.15pm, which was just in the nick of time as we only had about 1cm clearance (low tide had been around 1.30pm). 


Since the wind appeared to be dropping we decided to moor overnight along the stretch just beyond the bridge (the Martham Bank moorings).  Not ideal due to the traffic noise, but we all felt very tired.  Graham got the BBQ going (we had brought our portable BBQ with us) and we had large and juicy angus steak-burgers (bought from the Hoveton butcher).  Harry also had a chicken drumstick, but Graham and I were too full of burger to eat ours.  Apart from the road noise we had a quietish evening sitting in the well in the evening sunshine, Graham was listening to a podcast of The Archers whilst I was reading.  Very pleasant. 



Harry took the dinghy along the river for a short sail…




We turned in early around 9pm.  Graham, Harry and Seren went off to sleep quite quickly.  Seren slept in the fore cabin with Harry.  As a precaution, we had taken the mattress off one of the beds and left it in the Yard so that we could put Seren’s bed on that bunk.  I took longer to get to sleep, finding the road noise more intrusive as the light faded.  In the information pack that came with the boat I found a facsimile of a log from the first voyage of Lullaby, dating from May 1932, which was fascinating.  I know this sounds silly, but it brought a few tears to my eyes.  Their breakfast included ‘Post Toasties’ (one of the first brands of cornflakes in the UK) and I recall my Mam telling me that she used to have Post Toasties for breakfast.  I guess cereal was a novelty in the 1930s (Mam would have been aged six in 1932).  Once I did drop off I slept soundly.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry for the delay in posting about our second day.  I had a few abortive tries week before last which I deleted 'cos of problems in posting photos, then my cousin came to stay mid-week so no time for posting, and then I had to go back to work.(That was a shock to the system I can tell you!)  Also we had a day sail on Friday 14th which was lovely.  Bit exhausting, with the drive from MK and back either end of the day, but worth it!

Anyway...to get back to the first week of July...

Sunday 2nd July

A lovely sunny morning again.  Shortly before waking I had a dream in which Graham woke me up to announce it was after mid-day...what a waste of Norfolk time!  Phew! Calm down Helen... it's only 6am. 


Whilst taking Seren for an early morning walk Graham went to check out the opening times for Bridge Stones of Potter.  It opened at 9am, so we went there for breakfast.  Graham and Harry had the All-day Breakfast and I just had a sausage with egg, hash browns and tomato from the individual items.  Then we had a short browse in Latham’s.


After breakfast we sailed up the Thurne past Martham up toward West Somerton.  However, we noticed that there was far more weed along the straight stretch above Martham Ferry than there was last year.  In places it looked like the water lilies were almost meeting in the middle.  We also spotted a sail around the bend near the entrance to Martham Broad, so we assumed that someone was already moored on the wild-mooring that we had planned to use for our lunchtime stop, so we decided to turn around shortly before the bend in a relatively weed-free spot.  We were able to reach down as far as Candle Dyke, but it then took us ages to tack the next few hundred yards just past the entrance of Candle Dyke as the wind was very fluky. At times we were going backward not forward.  [By the way, can anyone tell me why early accounts of the Broads, including Arthur Ransom's Coot Club, refer to it as Kendal Dyke?  Was it just that visitors thought that was pronounced that way due to the Norfolk accent?]  Once we got to the bend where there's the first stretch of informal moorings we stopped to take our reef out.  We gave Seren a walk along the bank and then had a light lunch (jam butties and tea followed by Rock Buns from Roy’s).  As we were finishing off our tea Seren fell in the water whilst trying to hop back on the boat...and this is a dog who is very wary of water! Luckily she had her buoyancy aid on, which has a handle on the back of it, so it was easy to fish her out.


After lunch we tacked down the rest of Candle Dyke and across Heigham Sound.  Once in the Sound the wind was much fresher and tacking easier.  We only went as far as Deep-Go Dyke moorings as we fancied staying somewhere quiet, getting there shortly before 4pm.  There were a couple of boats on the moorings when we got there but they both left early evening.  Both had a dog with them and I took Seren along to say hello so that she wouldn’t bark at them. 


Harry went for a sail in the dinghy, so Seren barked at that instead. 


She did calm down once I distracted her.  


We had spam hash for dinner, followed by a few hands of rummy before turning into bed. We had intended to stay up to see the stars, but as usual were too tired.


I was going to add some photos, but am still having problems.




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Now that I've worked out (with a lot of help from forum team members David and Alan) what I was doing wrong in trying to upload pictures (the files were too big), I've resized another photo from the evening of our second day...


02Jul_IMG_0747 - Copy.JPG

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Monday 3rd July (during which I managed to fall into the well of the boat twice - ouch! and ouch!)

I woke just after 5am this morning, not surprising after going to bed so early.  I managed to go to the loo without waking Seren and then started writing up this blog in a notebook.  The loo is positioned between the two cabins and getting into the loo isn’t that easy once the doors to the forward cabin are shut, partly because the headroom is more restricted the further forward you are.  In order to have space to open the loo door you have to wedge your bottom in the space opposite, where the ladder leading to the hatch is.  Graham continued to sleep, so when Seren started to stir I took her onto the bank to have a run around.  It’s not often that we can allow her off the lead as we have to be very careful that she is well away from roads.  Given the opportunity she would run in front of any car that she sees.  She had a fine time running up and down like a mad thing until she saw a swan with a couple of cygnets (what a sad sight, wonder what happened to its mate and other cygnets) which set her off barking.  Good thing we had the moorings to ourselves!


Once back on the boat Graham and I had porridge (the type you make in a mug), then I woke Harry and made some porridge for him.  It was after 8am before we were ready to take the awning down and set sail.  We decided to head through Meadow Dyke this morning as Harry and I fancied exploring Waxham New Cut.   We reached through the Dyke without any problems and then mud-weighted near the entrance to the cut.  Graham stayed aboard Lullaby with Seren whilst Harry and I rowed the dinghy up the Cut.  However, once we had rowed around the bend past the ‘narrow dyke’ warning sign we found just how narrow it was.  It was really difficult rowing as one or other of the oars kept snagging on weed or tree roots or branches.  We only went about 100 years or so beyond the bend before we decided to give up and row back. 


Once back on board we had a discussion whether to stay at Horsey and go to the Nelson Head or to go to Hickling and try out The Greyhound, or make it back to Potter before low tide and get though the bridge.  Eventually we decided on the latter option.  Harry quanted back though Meadow Dyke with Graham and I taking turns to give an extra boost to Harry’s quanting by using one of the dinghy oars.  Meadow Dyke always seems a lot longer when quanting back compared to sailing down it.


Once back on Heigham Sound we sailed across to the far side of the channel using only the jib and then raised our mainsail without dropping the mud-weight.  Stopped at the same informal mooring in Candle Dyke as yesterday.  This is when I had my first tumble into the well of the boat, losing my balance and falling off the stern counter when the bow kissed the key heading with slightly more of a bump than expected.  (It wasn't really a bit bump but I was being a bit inattentive at the time).  I fell forward knocking my shin on the coaming and breaking my fall with my right elbow on the seat of the well.  I did wonder for a few seconds whether I’d broken my leg, but soon realised that I could still wiggle my toes, and once I’d got over the shock I got on with making some tea, Graham and Harry having moored up whilst I was pulling myself together. 


Tea and biscuits consumed, we set sail again around noon, tacking our way down to Potter, passing an Eastwood Whelpton yacht under sail around the Martham Boats Yard.  They were obviously worried about the boats that were stern-moored along that bank as they started their engine shortly after we passed.  We enjoyed our sail.  Now that we’ve lost our reservations about tacking along stretches where the river width is restricted we find that we enjoy tacking against a head wind more than running before the wind or reaching along it.  As long as we have enough wind to keep our momentum!  We generally only get into difficulty if the wind fails or is blocked by trees or bungalows.   I must say that this week virtually all the motor boats we encountered were very considerate in following our waved instructions as to which side we would like them to pass.  I think we only got cut-up three times over the whole week, once by a private boat (whom you would expect to know better) and by a couple of day boats.


As we were mooring up again at the de-masting area north of PH bridges I had my second tumble of the day.  I was preparing to hop off the boat to moor up the stern and forgot to keep my eye on what the boom was doing.  It swung over, knocked me on the forehead (not with a lot of force fortunately) and I fell backwards into the well fetching up on the bottom but catching the edge of the seat with my right side, just underneath my ribs.  Double ouch!  My side and ribs were still sore as I was writing  up this account a week later. 


All this falling over, and I haven’t even touched a drop yet today!


The previous evening Graham had said that he really regretted not bringing some folding chairs with us, so I had suggested we stop off at Latham’s again to see if we couple buy a couple, since we had a couple of hours before low tide.  They had some really cheap ones but we decided to go for ones that looked more robust at two for £30.  Very comfortable they were too.  By the time we got back to the boat there was over 6’2” clearance under the bridge, so we decided not to make lunch and wait for low tide, but to quant through immediately, which we did beautifully. 


Sails back up we tacked back down through shedsville.  As we left the bungalows behind quite a lot of cruisers came down after us, mostly Herbert Woods boats with lot of kids aboard (school party?).  As I mentioned earlier they were really considerate and didn’t barge across our tacks. 


Tacked up Womack Dyke arriving back at the Yard just before 4pm.  I left Graham and Harry to sort out the boat and hopped in the car to get to Throwers before it shut.  Although we had lots of tinned goods with us I fancied something simple and fresh, so I bought some salad ingredients and a couple of types of Norfolk cheese.  We had these with a tin of Polish Pork Knuckle, sat on a picnic bench alongside the Hunter’s Yard Dyke.  The sun felt very much hotter than the weather forecast had predicated.  Afterwards Graham and I sat in our new picnic chairs reading, whilst Harry had another sail in the dinghy.  


I finished off the children’s book that I had brought with me ‘Bigfoot, Tobin and Me’ by American author Melissa Savage.  I had bought it several weeks ago, but not got around to reading it until now, and it was just the right book to read the week after Mam’s funeral.  The main character of the book is a 10- year-old girl whose Mum has died and she is taken from her home in San Francisco by a Social Worker to stay with her Grandad in rural California.  The book charts her coping with her grief and sense of anger and helplessness; her growing relationship with her Grandfather, who had been estranged from his daughter; and her friendship with a boy who is obsessed with finding the mythical Bigfoot creature, who she gradually learns has his own grief as his Dad has gone missing having returned from Vietnam with Combat Stress Reaction.  I think it’s a book that a bereaved child would find very helpful to read, and there's a lot of humour in it as well as sadness.   


Just after 8pm we retired to our bunks.  Rather early for turning in, but we felt really tired.  We don’t seem to have as much stamina as usual this holiday.  I guess the last few weeks have been more exhausting than we realised.  


You are spared photos with today's account.  Somehow I managed to go all day without taking a photo.  Must have been all the falling down!

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Tuesday 4th July

Caught Harry sneakily swopping the Welsh flag for an American one yesterday evening, in honour of American friends and family. 


Seren started whining just after 5am, so Graham took her for a walk and then kept her in our cabin as she was damp from the dew.  She settled down and we dozed until after 7.  As often happens on the Broads the early morning was very still.  The wind normally picks up by 8 or 9am, but this morning we had all had showers and breakfast and it was getting on for 10, and still hardly a breath of wind.  It was pretty gloomy too with unbroken grey skies, though still warm and humid.  After I had popped to the butchers to get more bacon we decided to go for a walk instead of sailing, setting off on the path along Womack Dyke and then along the bank of the Thurne up as far as Horsefen Drainage Mill where the path turned inland and joined the minor road through Fritton where we took a bridleway back to Ludham.  Can anyone tell me what bird this is that we spotted in the reeds?



We were gasping for a drink so we turned into the King’s Arms Beer Garden.  We had intended to just have a drink but ended up having lunch there.  Graham had lasagne with side salad and garlic bread, Harry had a small rump steak, chips etc. and I had their Maryland Chicken, which was chicken strips in sweetcorn batter served with coleslaw, corn on the cob and spiced wedges.  Very nice, but the portion was far too big for me.  I find large portions rather off-putting. 


After lunch we found that the wind had picked up, so we set sail.  Tacking down Womack Dyke was a slow business, but once on the Thurne the wind picked up a bit and we were able to take longer tacks.  On the Bure we were able to take advantage of the SW wind which also helped us reach up Fleet Dyke as far as the first set of moorings on the bend where we stopped for the night. 


Graham got our picnic chairs out and we sat reading and watching other boats go by.  After 5pm most came back again, so we guessed the moorings further on must have filled up.  It was good to see that the trees that had been cut back last year following a storm in March were sprouting a lot of new growth.  I spent some time feeding a swan and some ducks (we had brought proper swan and duck food with us) and watching the antics of a couple of largish grebe chicks that were very demanding of their parent.

Grebe chics


We had Sainsbury’s tinned Chicken Tikka Marsala with rice for dinner, and it wasn’t at all bad for a tinned curry.  After 7.30 or so the sullen grey cloud that had sat over us all day started to clear with the cloud gradually retreating eastward, so we had a late evening of bright sunshine.  


Today I started reading ‘This Boy’, the politician Alan Johnson’s autobiography.  It’s another book which is just right for me this week as his love for his mother really shines through the book.  She had a real struggle to bring up her kids having been abandoned by her husband and living in slum housing.  Although they went through tough times, it's written in a very direct manner, not maudlin at all. Really well written.  


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Really excellent reading, thanks very much.

" We only went about 100 years or so beyond the bend before we decided to give up and row back.

Maybe this bit should be in the Time Travel thread! I thought I read somewhere that Waxham Cut had been both dredged and cut back. I used to wander down on my Norman. Had some blissfully peacefull nights down there.

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He, he. I do love it when spell checker catches me out...as long as it's not too rude!  In work ( I work for the OU) when we had job's called 'course managers' I quite often found I'd somehow ended up with 'curse manager'.  Proof reading is definitely not my strong point!

Of course I meant 100 yds. 


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Wednesday 5th July

Another beautiful sunny day to start off with.  Some clouds did bubble up, but the sun didn’t stay hidden for long and it was pretty hot in the sunshine.  


Here’s one of Graham sitting in the early morning sunshine trying to shield his eyes from the sun and ending up looking like an elderly ‘Just William’… [actually Graham is slightly younger than me, so I need to be careful using the term ‘elderly’].



We weren’t that early setting off as Harry was pretty slow getting up, and then we had (Ludham butchers) bacon butties for breakfast.  In any case, there was hardly a breath of wind yet again.  We set off around 10am, once we had enough wind to take us off the mooring.  However, once around the bend of the river we had less wind again, though we were able to sail most of Fleet Dyke (very, very slowly) and only had to quant a short section.  Once on the Bure there was a little more wind and we were able to sail very gently as far as Thurne Dyke.  I was a bit surprised that the moorings on Rick’s side were empty, but when we got to the pub we found that they couldn’t offer us food as they only had one chef that day and they thought they had taken as many orders as the chef could cope with.  We were very impressed with the range of beers and ciders on offer, and Graham even had the choice of a couple of alcohol free beers (Nanny State or Bitburger).  We had a drink and then visited Ramblers Gift Shop where I bought a book about Arthur Ransom on the Broads (I thought it interesting that he and his wife hired motor cruisers out of season as well as sailing boats in the Summer, which is something that Graham and I have done the last couple of years) and a couple of Chris Crowther detective stories based on a character working as a Broads Authority Ranger.  Graham and I also had a local ice-cream tub each.  Mine was gooseberry flavour, which was really good.


Rather than have lunch we decided to make our way back to Hunter’s Yard.  It’s lovely and quiet there in the evening, without any risk of motor boats running engines, plus the bonus of having a shower in the morning.  We got there just after 3pm.  Harry and I made our way to the butchers for some meat for another BBQ (really pleased to see that new owners have taken it on following the retirement of the previous butcher, it would have been such a shame if it had closed) and to Throwers. 


Back at the Yard we sat around reading and chilling…well, as chilled as you can get in such hot sunshine.  I started reading the book I’d bought about Arthur Ransom.  We had our BBQ quite early and had a chat with a couple who have a permanent mooring for their boat in Read Dyke, which is alongside the Yard’s dyke.  Seren had a wonderful time tearing around playing chase with their younger dog.  Went to bed early again; around 9pm. 



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3 hours ago, YnysMon said:

 . . . . . . . . . . . . Harry and I made our way to the butchers for some meat for another BBQ (really pleased to see that new owners have taken it on following the retirement of the previous butcher, it would have been such a shame if it had closed) and to Throwers. . . . . . . . . . . . . 


Sad to hear that Rodney has retired.  We've been going to the butchers in Ludham for many years (probably since the late eighties) and he always seemed to remember us and have a chat, even though our visits were once or twice a year.  It was only the year before last I was talking to him and found that he was about a year older than me and I asked him whether he planned to retire soon.

A visit to Ludham won't be the same without seeing him.  I hope that he has and enjoys a long and happy retirement. 

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I think the people of Ludham realise how much he gave to the community...spotted a giving opportunity for Rodney's retirement in the village store. I'm sure you'll continue to visit the people that have bought Rodney's. Great to have a village butcher still serving the community. We bought bacon from the Horning butchers and Ludham this year, whilst both were tasting good the bacon from Ludham was way better both in taste and the frying...none of that white stuff in the frying pan from the Ludham bacon. 

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Thursday 6th July (the damp day)

When I originally wrote the first half of today’s account up in my notebook we were mud-weighted on Malthouse Broad cowering in our cabins whilst a prolonged thunderstorm lashed torrential rain down onto Lullaby.  The roof on Graham’s side had sprung a leak and he was busy trying to prevent drips falling on his bed, first using tissue, then a towel and finally using a couple of saucepans.  I was worried that his bed was pretty damp on one side.  Harry also had a more minor leak in his cabin which he caught in another saucepan, avoiding a damp mattress.  It’s not surprising that such old boats leak somewhat, given they are wooden (as Timbo has found, a rather flexible commodity) and also (as one of the boat builders mentioned the following day) they do get knocked around quite a lot by hirers.  Anyway, it’s was our own fault as we were wishing that we had put the awning up before we had retreated into the cabins.  But at least we were under cover and in dry clothes.


The day had started off beautifully sunny.  We got up in a leisurely manner, starting off with a good breeze on our way from Womack to Ranworth.  A lovely sail.  We heard a few rumbles of thunder on our way down Ranworth Dam and the first few spits and spots of rain started to fall shortly after we had mud-weighted, furled our sails and were preparing to get into the dinghy to row ashore.  Graham first rowed Harry and Seren across and then returned for me.  The rain started to come down more heavily as we ran across to The Maltsters and continued throughout our lunch.


I tried Little Sharpie from the Humpty Dumpty brewery for the first time (lovely) and Harry enjoyed his pint of Wherry.  Graham stuck with Coke as he doesn’t drink alcohol.  Graham and I both had Lamb and Mint Suet Pudding off the specials menu which came with mash and a lovely selection of nicely cooked veggies (by which I mean not overcooked and not undercooked): cauli, carrots, courgette and green beans.  It was really enjoyable; very tasty.  Harry had the burger topped with pulled pork, served with chips, coleslaw and side salad, which he also enjoyed.  The trouble is that Graham and I were very much regretting our choice later on.  As we are getting older (edging over to our late 50s) we are finding it's more difficult to digest such heavy food.  I had a touch of indigestion late afternoon, and by 5pm Graham felt quite ill.  He’s been finding pastry difficult to digest recently, so choosing suet pud probably wasn’t sensible for either of us. 


Shortly after we had finished our lunch it looked like the rain was easing, so we decided to make our way back to the boat.  As Graham was rowing me across the rain started again, and it came down more heavily as he returned with Harry and Seren.  We all had waterproof jackets on and Harry had sensibly donned his waterproof trousers before going ashore, so the only clothing that got wet were Graham’s trousers and the bottom edge of my shorts, which we changed once back on the boat.


Once I had finished writing up my account of the day so far, and finished reading the book I’d bought about Arthur Ransom, I continued reading ‘This Boy’.  The rain didn’t ease until shortly after 4pm.  Seeing a hopeful amount of blue sky, we decided to get back to sailing.  We had originally thought to aim for Horning or Salhouse after lunch, but thought that Salhouse wouldn’t be do-able in the time left to us and we were unsure if we would find a mooring in Horning.  I was worried about Graham sleeping on a damp mattress, so we decided to attempt to get back to the Yard as we knew that Lullaby’s sister boat Luna was sitting there and thought we could borrow one of her mattresses and retrieve Graham’s sleeping bag from the car (we had brought our sleeping bags thinking that we would not be allowed to use the normal bedding due to having a dog with us, but had assumed wrongly).


We had a fairly good wind to take us across the Broad into Ranworth Dam where the trees messed the wind about.  About ¾ our way along the wind dropped, then picked up and blew us onto a tree (a lone alder on the western bank).  ‘Oh no!’ we thought…’not again!’ (Graham and I having got well and truly stuck in a tree up the Ant last year, having to be towed off).  However, Graham managed to push us off using the quant.  It helped that the wind wasn’t blowing us very strongly onto the bank.


Here's one of Harry at the end of the day with a bit of the tree that we carried away with us…



We got on fairly well down the Bure to start with, but around the next bend after the first stretch after the Dam the wind virtually died on us.  We started to wonder whether it was feasible to get back to the Yard.  On nearing St Benet’s the wind picked up again, and we made good, though not fast, progress back to the Yard, arriving there just after 7pm.  Harry suggested turning into the wind and scandalising the sail (by lowering the gaff to partly reduce and lower the sail) to moor at the dyke entrance.  Unfortunately, I (on the tiller) slightly misjudged things and we stopped short.  Swinging around to catch the wind again we thought to moor on the landing stage on the opposite bank, but I could see there was a risk of colliding with the bow sprit of a boat moored just ahead and made a spur-of-the-moment decision that, since we were now moving fairly slowly, it would be safer to just sail directly into the dyke where there was more room to moor up, which worked really well.  Simples!  Should have done that to start with, once we’d brought down our speed.


Graham wasn’t hungry (still feeling the after effects of his lunchtime suet pud), so I just cooked some pasta for Harry and I served with a Puttanesca stir-through sauce.  It was a lovely still evening, and I fed the lone swan that hangs around the Yard again (assuming its the same one).



Bed-time was later this evening due to our arriving at the mooring later.  As planned we swopped Graham’s mattress, so we all had a comfortable night.

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Friday 7th July

This morning I slept through Seren’s initial whining and didn’t wake until Graham returned from walking her.  We all had porridge ( in a mug) with cranberries and raisins this morning (yummy). 


Once we’d finished breakfast the wind had picked up to force 4’ish, so we put one reef in the sail before setting off for Acle.  We were mostly able to reach down (i.e. no need to tack) both the Thurne and the Bure with a NE wind. 



Moored up quite a distance from the bridge and made our way to Pedro’s where we had a lovely lunch.  I do fancy trying the Bridge Inn sometime, as it's had so many positive shout-outs from forum members, but given Graham’s indigestion the previous day we thought that an alternative to the normal pub menu would be a good idea. 


Pedro’s offers a sharing menu, a bit like Tapas but with bigger portions and a Mexican twist.  We certainly enjoyed all the dishes we ordered.  We had Pitta and Hummus topped with sundried tomato, garlic bread, jalapeno bites, calamari with garlic dip, chicken with chorizo in a mustardy white wine and cream sauce, pancetta and guacamole quesadillas, and crispy chicken mini burgers with whisky sauce (what a shame I couldn’t eat the burger as I was too stuffed by then).  Most of the dishes were served with a generous amount of salad leaves.  As well as enjoying our food Graham reported that he felt fine later – no indigestion today!


After lunch we sailed back to Womack, having taken out our reef before setting off.  We had expected to have to beat (tack) back up the Bure, but the wind had slightly changed direction and we got on fairly well.  We kept Seren tied up inside just in case though.



We noticed that the new BA moorings near Oby which had been fenced off when we were on our way down to Acle were now unfenced and open.  There was a BA ranger vessel moored up, so it looked like they had only just opened)  Just before we passed Thurne Dyke we spotted a small snake swimming across the river.  Got back to the Yard just before 5pm.


I made a tomato, onion and courgette sauce to go with some pasta for dinner.  We had a chat with several other parties returning yachts, some of whom were also staying over for the final night.  Seren got made a fuss of by several people.  She loves attention, getting it by wagging her tail so much that her whole bottom wobbles from side to side (I frequently call her wobble-bot) and then collapsing on her back in an invitation to tickle her belly.  She also had another opportunity to play with the little dog she befriended on Wednesday. 


Turned in around 9pm.

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Saturday 8th July

Very sad to be vacating Lullaby.  Managed to pack everything by the handover deadline of 9am, but mooched around the Yard a little longer buying goodies (an ‘I’d rather be sailing at Hunter’s Yard’ mug, a Hunter’s Fleet T shirt for me and a fleece jacket for Graham). 


This year we didn’t make a bee-line for the Staithe and Willow at Horning as we usually do to get breakfast.  We wanted to have lunch in The White Horse at Neatished, so having a large breakfast wouldn’t have been a good idea.  Instead we had eaten breakfast on the boat during a pause from packing (bread and jam).  On leaving the Yard we first made our way to see the Great Barn at Waxham (free entry) before travelling further north to visit the churches at Edingthorpe and Swafield, both of which have medieval rood screens that I wanted to photograph.  I was particularly impressed with the church at Edingthorpe.  It’s one of those thatched churches, is in a remote location and has a round tower ,but unusually it’s top is octagonal. 



It also has the remains of some medieval wall paintings, the most well preserved being of St Christopher with the Christ Child on his back. 



We then returned south to Neatishead and The White Horse where we had a really delicious lunch. 


Harry and I first sampled a beer each, I can’t remember what my half was called, but it was jolly good.  Harry had a pint of Aviator.  For food Harry and I both had Salmon Fillet with Pink Fir Potatoes, Samphire, baby leeks and saffron bouillabaisse.  I really enjoyed it and so did Harry, although I didn’t get that much extra flavour from the bouillabaisse.  Graham had the small version of the Neatishead Ploughman’s: (not your usual) pork pie, Lincolnshire poacher cheese, grapes, ham hock terrine, celery, heritage tomato and sour dough.  Seemed to go down well, though at one stage he managed to throw his pork pie into my lap (not intentionally).  Graham and I both had the Almond and Apricot Frangipane Tart for pud, served with Amaretto Ice Cream, Almond Fudge Sauce and half a fresh Apricot.  We both agreed it was the yummiest pud we’ve had for years.  Just to spoil ourselves Harry and I finished off the meal with a gin and tonic each.  I had Bloom London Dry Gin with Elderflower Tonic Water.  Can’t remember which gin and tonic Harry had, but I had a sip and it tasted lovely.  Preferred mine though. 


After lunch we made our way home westward, with a slight detour to Horsham St Faith so that I could capture photos of yet another rood screen (I’m lucky that Graham and Harry humour me in this rood screen obsession).  It also has painted panels on its medieval pulpit, which look (to my untutored eyes) contemporary with the rood screen and which I suspect is a pretty unusual feature. 



Having had my rood screen craving satiated, at least for the time being, we made our way back home to MK.


What a lovely time we have had.

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