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Malanka Tales

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Saturday Morning.

I woke up with a dog paw on my head, and a bit further down the bed there was a rather heavy dog head on my backside. Belonging to two separate Airedales my fuzzy senses determined after a few minutes of wriggling to determine if I could move without waking up the furries.

The reason I wanted to move without waking them was I simply didn’t want to get up, and the moment the furries determine you have the slightest intention of actually getting up its tail lashing, licking and woofling sufficient to wake the dead. The dead was still asleep next to me and I didn’t want to incur the wrath of the disturbed sleep recently rudely awakened Fiona. The reason the furries had deserted their place at the top of the bed separate from us was, that as my nose was detecting, it was (insert your own swear type word) COLD, COLD and more COLD. The two woofers were curled into tiny balls with only one or two limbs sticking out, including the one on my head (from Monty) and the head on my bottom (Boris), apart from those two exceptions they were compact black and Tan fur balls.


I did make the mistake of trying to turn over but all that did was reveal my backside to the biting cold of the very crisp, very dry morning air in the cabin. There wasn’t a lot of condensation as the boat is wooden, but it was perishingly cold. OK there was no hope for it and Fiona was by now chuckling to herself at my discomfort so bullet clenched tightly between her teeth she reached for the Eber controls at the same time deftly avoiding a wildly swishing tail that almost swept her night time juice drink onto the floor as happened yesterday morning. Tick tick tick tick tick brrmmmmm whoooooooosh BBBBRrrRRRRRMMMMMM. Aah warm air was served. Even though we had warm air I still left it a good five minutes before applying cold pants to my warm delicate areas.

We both dressed and with almost the same routine as yesterday we dashed to the field for a quick run and then instead of Richos yard we simply headed back to the boat to feed the ravening beasts their breakfast. Today was going somewhere day and it required food, and some tea (me) and coffee to get us going.

I turned on the gas, delicately placed caramelised onion sausages and bacon into the pans (x 2) and made the tea with the recently boiled Kettle. For interest we have the rectangular boating/caravaning pans which we find ideal for our two ring burner hob thing.  

The aroma coming from the galley now was enough for us to go “aaahhhhh a propper boating breakfast”. Bed put away and all crew members eagerly awaiting their food it was time for Radio 2 and the world would be whole again.

I may have over estimated the quantities of food produced as the sandwhiches were somewhat on the large side, even after much cursing and compressing and looking at it from every angle, Fiona couldn’t actually eat hers. Me to the rescue I squished it down to within an inch of its life and hey presto breakfast was served.

This morning we had to take Christian back to the station in Wroxham so he could get back to Uni (he is in his final year at UEA) and finish his dissertation that had a deadline looming in a few days. He had only popped down to see us Friday and then had to go back Saturday, but none the less it was lovely to see him and be a whole family again even if only for one day.

Fiona had later identified from this mornings walk that her foot attire was not exactly performing to standard in that her feet were soaked. So after dropping Christian it was quickly into Roys for some new wellies. Needless to say we bought a pair of shoes in addition to the needed wellingtons but I’m used to that after 26 years. We also bought some roasting tins and a yorkshire pudding tin as we intended to make roast beef with yorkshire puddings, mash, onion and red wine gravy and caramelised butter carrots later that day. We also bought some additional pans and a potato masher that works, to facilitate the mashing.

So a quick shop turned into a much longer shop and then it was back to the boat to talk to Phil about the non functioning t.v.


To cut a very long and very embarassing story short, phil correctly found the on/off switch deftly located/hidden on the lower right edge of the wafer thin tv. Which I had been unable to find in my attempts to see if the tv was in fact still functioning. He said “is it turned on” oooops basic error. I had never actually turned it either on or off with a switch. Much  mirth at my expense later we were ready to depart, everyone showered and the water tanks replenished we headed out. For interest Malanka also has an immersion heater which we absolutely adore as when plugged in we wake to lashings of piping hot water which with the baby on board is very useful. One of Fiona’s innovations is also an engine cooling water sourced radiator in the bathroom, so we can dry towels and keep the bathroom warm when we are pootling along.

So the plan was to depart slowly, pootle slowly down the Ant, see what the bridge height was at Ludham, as a lot of the wet stuff had come down, then pootle some more until we arrived at Ranworth Staithe. Of course managing to get a berth at said location is something of a pot luck, takes as one finds sort of affair but we thought we could just loiter with intent if that’s what it took.

The trip down to Ludham was uneventful and a little of the asbolutely fweeezing sort, so we had the canvases closed, and the eber just turning slowly to keep everywhere nice and snuggly warm. The new burgundy canvases fit well so there is much less of a howling gale in the cockpit than one would imagine from an external view. Add to that the greenhouse effect of the canvases when that nuclear orb in the sky makes an appearance and its quite magical for early and late season cruising.  

Aproaching the first and slightly tilted height board upstream of the bridge it read 8ft3’. Now with the roof vents down but everything else up (windscreen and canopy roof) except the silly masty thing, we are just shy of eight feet out of the water. I also know that the first upstream guage one sees approaching the bridge is absolute fantasy when it comes to the bridge height. It was never that good even without being slightly out of kilter due to someone hitting it. But seeing as it was brass monkey endangering weather outside we thought naaaa let’s give it a go and see what the bridge guage reads as well. We did of course dispatch Justin to take down the masty thing as that’s up in the 12 /13 ft range and won’t even go under Acle bridge. He returned to the welcoming warmth of the cockpit having decided that a thicker jumper would have been a much better idea. I did warn him it was  tadd chilly.

Slowly approaching Ludham and Justin sent to the rear cabin top just to guage the clearance we edged forward on tickover to assess the situation, the tide was against us so the bridge height was decreasing all the time and we easily held station and waited whilst a couple of boats who were with the tide came through, I’m not sure if they knew they had priority but hey ho I gave it to them in any case. The two boats came through as as we got nearer the bridge guage (we had to get really close because some very nice sorts had “sort of moored there”, covering a large portion of the guage from river view, so we couldn’t actually see the guage from centre river. In the end it didn’t matter as we saw 8ft on the guage and we knew we could make it. Against the tide we were sitting up quite a bit so I knew we would make it but it WOULD be tight. It was…..Ahem. We cleared with an inch to spare over the top of the cabin roof vents, well done team. As we tooted our greeting to George at the boatyard one of the Diamond Emblems came into view. Fiona and I drew a few breaths as they clearly intended to go for it and I opened the canopies and advised that unless you can do less than 8ft you weren’t going to make it. The helm (top helm ?????) gave me the thumbs up and continued to the bridge. A few “OMG’s” later and a few “You have to be kiddings” we watched them edge closer and closer the helm crouching lower and lower and then it obviously dawned, we can’t make it. No sugar in your tea then Mr Sherlock Holms we collectively thought. Other words may have been used aloud in the cockpit but essentially this was the message.  We were three or four hours after low water so we expecetd the bridge to require us to lower the canopy, however the Diamon Emblem was with the tide heading for the bridge it couldn’t get under. We needn’t have worried the helm deftly brought the vessel to a stop and reversed away. Well done that man/woman. Excitement over for now we pootled down to the Ant mouth and turned right heading for our appointment with some prosecco and some Gin /Rum or whatever and a meet up with Steve Jeff, Lorna and alex.


Approaching the Staithe we were at the head of quite a little procession of boats all with the same intent in mind, we drew up in front of the Staithe, assessed the situation and then just sat and waited for a free spot to appear as there were quite a few (three) day boats stern on on the RHS of the Staithe. We assumed they were in the pub having some lunch and so would shortly be returning to leave and head back to Wroxham and NBD. (other day boats are of course available in Wroxham)

The wind was gently to our port bow and not too strong so we could sit with engine at idle and just not go anywhere, Justin signalled to the boat behind that we would go in and then help them as there was easily room for two cruisers in the space that would be left by the three day boats.


We did notice that The Corsican was moored next to where a lady had unfortunately slipped into the water the previous evening, this location was now out of bounds with red / white tiger tape as the wooden quay head top was at a slight angle, not more than about 10/15 degrees but sufficient to form a nice slide path into the cooling Malthouse Broad. Those lovely (not) helpful (not) useful (not) flourescent round edge markers were prominent on this piece of quay heading. To be honest gentle folks, the only three times in eight years (me twice Fiona once) we have slipped into the water, these helpul little additions have been a contributing factor, they are just too slippery to be allowed anywhere near the endge of the water. (in my opinion of course) The damn things only flouresce if you use a torch on them and then only for about a minute, then of course using the torch to illuminate them destroys what night vision you may have had. Step off and hit one and its good luck staying upright they really are that deadly. A rough edged sandy strip version would have been a much better idea, but who am I to judge. Don’t get me wrong the intention was admirable, the execution much less so. I often find this from people in my professional life who love to talk for hours about this and that and what to do about everything, usually incredibly bright people who one day will undoubtedly be the CEO, without actually thinking about how this fantastic, brilliant, truly inspired idea is to be implemented without the law of unintended consequences biting them in the bum….

Back to the tale. As we waited, gently bobbing up and down just off the edge of the staithe, Fiona asked “how long should we stay here before employing plan B”. Now in my head I’d sort of had forty minutes or so flitting here and there without actually coming out the communication appartus at the front. I do this a lot, the family call it talking to myself and in fact holding entire conversations with myself without a single sound being emitted. So I said “oh I thought I had said forty minutes or so” “err no hun you didn’t say anything” Fiona laughed. Oops, these moments regrettably are becoming more frequent or so the family says. Me I don’t remember….  


A large crowd of what looked at first glance like day boat people emerged onto the Staithe, we watched with baited breath as some boarded one then two then some were on all three of the day boats (Oh by the way they weren’t in the dinghy dyke as that was full of day boats too so no issues from me there) . One engine started, then two, and ropes were fiddled with, Oh no what about day boat three ? Please tell me they are all together. I needn’t have worried they were together and they were just doing a headcount to ensure all crew members were present and accounted for.

As they were preparing to leave I slowly backed away a little bit round the corner across the front of the Staithe (Yes Malanka steers very well in reverse) to give them enough room to get away. The first two made it easily enough the third seemed in deep conversation over her shoulder as she got nearer and nearer to us, why they needed to use that avenue to leave I didn’t know but they got really close. The reason was soon clear, they couldn’t see out of the misted up windows. Anyway, disater avoided as she looked up just in time to miss us by a few feet.

So way clear, we headed in, turned to the right a bit, some forward throttle,  bit of reverse and we slid gently up to the quayside and Justin stepped off and made us secure.


The guys behind were new to boating so we took lines and dragged them into place and made them secure too. Good job, the doggies went for a quick run about, have a wee and generally create mayhem for few moments, then it was connect the electric and head to say Hi to the Corsicans and Braveheartians. (ok I made up that last bit, Braveheart is the name of their boat)

Justin and Helena with Baby Eliza stayed with the woofers as we left them to it for the afternoon and headed for some good company, excellent conversation, and to put all the worlds ills to rights in one afternoon. Can’t ask for more….  

The movement part of our first real day was over, later we will talk about the dinner, Roast Beef, Yorkshires, Mash, onion and red wine gravy and caramelised Butter Carrots….. Eat your heart out Jamie. Thanks for the thumbs up on the river too ..


Dinner to follow soon.


Wellies from Roys.

New wellies.jpg

Boris in his Toilet Roll challenge. Told you he is tall.

Toilet roll Boris..jpg

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We witnessed you mooring at Ranworth , is a pleasure to watch her “glide” into the space , they certainly knew what they were doing when they designed hulls in those days (plus of course a most skilled skipper at the helm)

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Why CC you’re most very welcome for your gracious complement. 

It of course does help that over ten tons, big rudder, huge torque and big prop,  wind, all help, if used together in the right way. 

I’m going to describe the showing off departure the next morning a bit later . 

If you were there you saw Boris have a discussion with a pair of geese. He he he is such a dope. 



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3 hours ago, Malanka said:

To cut a very long and very embarassing story short, phil correctly found the on/off switch deftly located/hidden on the lower right edge of the wafer thin tv. Which I had been unable to find in my attempts to see if the tv was in fact still functioning. He said “is it turned on” oooops basic error. I had never actually turned it either on or off with a switch. Much  mirth at my expense

Funny you should say that, our TV on Moonlight Shadow has a hidden on/off switch like this.  Same problem as well!  Sign made now an stuck on the front so we all know where to look.

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Here we go with Dinner on Ranworth Staithe, Easter Sunday plans and Roast beef. Nom Nom 

After a very pleasant afternoon onboard the Corsican, Fiona and I trollied, sorry trundled, back to Malanka so we could get on with dinner. We decided that Roast Beef and Yorkshires was probably beyond our combined capabilities after an afternoon of totally rational and moderate drinking and so we made Spatchcock Chicken with Salt and Vinegar potato wedges with green beans instead, simples. Yes I noticed the obvious contradiction there too, I blame the Corsicans.

I made a last minute, unplanned plash and dash white wine sauce too, with some white wine, some flour and the chicken fat /juices which I just couldn’t throw away, the flavours of the seasoned chicken were all there to be used, so I used em. The chicken was so easy, remove packaging and place in pre heated oven and so on. The wedges were par boiled first (not peeled) and added to a hot roasting pan with some peanut oil then sprinkled with salt and vinegar seasoning and cooked for a further twenty minutes or so. Beans were just simple boiled French beans. The usual way we do French beans would have been with caramelised onions, garlic and bacon /panchetta was just too much fuss, and not really necessary as the chicken was to be the main event and star of the show. And in addition I really couldn’t be bothered.


Food consumed, wine sipped, after dinner Swiss liquor chocolates nibbled and washing up completed it was time to hit Bedfordshire once more. We then had a short debate concerning whose turn it was to “let the dogggies out for an ablution wander” so after I did that as well it was time for bed.

Next morning we awoke not to the sound of running engines but to ducks cavorting on the cabin tops. It was a pleasant surprise not to have heaters and engines running on Ranworth Staithe especially considering the state of the weather.   The weather was calm but chilly and a slight drizzle threatening to get heavier any minute. After the mandatory dog walk and breakfast feed, Justin and I consulted with the rest of the crew and asked if they would like to leave the Staithe and go into the middle of the broad for breakfast, they all said, “oooh that’s a good plan”, as by now many engines and heaters were changing the Staithe ambience to one of busy with diesel fume parfum, so off we went.

So here was our situation, to our starboard side was a huge 42 feet long boat, to our port side a smaller 35 feet long cruiser and immediately in front was the yacht moored opposite the LHS of the staithe. In short there was no way to get Malanka out by turning to Starboard as she does not bend in the middle and the gap beteeen the yacht and the 42 feet long boat was not 39feet so no go there. So cunning plan devised we pulled up the mudweight, cast off the lines and gently moved away from the mooring and turned to port. Easily missing all boats and gently coasting down toward to end of the mooring, slight addition of a little reverse throttle and we then stopped, lined up the boat and proceeded to reverse back up the mooring, turn right in front of the moored boats (we are going backwards remember) on the front of the staithe, and then across the front of the staithe and then turn left at the end, neatly bisecting the two mudweighted boats in the process to arrive at the other side of the broad were Justin dropped the mudweight and we killed the engine and then quietly settled down to cook some happy Norfolk pig in various forms (bacon and sausage) and prepare some eggy bread / french toast cooked in savoury bacon and sausage fat /juice.

What better way to start the day in Malthouse Broad.

After breakfast our tentative plan was to pootle to Wroxham shoot the bridge and head up to Coltishall, hence the fairly early start, so we set off at a steady two donkey power in the direction of the bridge. Arriving at the height marker we saw 6ft 6’ on the guage and we can do 6ft6’ at a pinch so we decided that plan B was required and we could get back in the warm and not bother attempting the bridge and so we put everything back up. We had earlier just popped into Wroxham broad to take everything down and we were getting cold and wet in the process. Just as we decide to put it all back up of course the heavens opened and that bitter, bone numbing wind kicked in and we knew Easter Sunday was not going to be a pleasant day.

We looked at the forecast and thought that a nice slow pootle to the Ferry Inn at Stokesby would be a nice alternative day, so we set off with the open heavens pouring buckets down on norfolk and watched the rainX cope admirably with the incessant downpour. A couple of years earlier we had removed the twin windscreen wipers to go for the more authentic look and we now rely entirely on rainX to do the job for us. It works like a charm and the change gave us an extra 2 inches drop in air draft. We didn’t remove the nice internal dash fittings for the power though. This is now connected to a two speed Chrome windscreen fan kindly donated by one of my American colleagues who was going to fit it to his R.V. but never got round to it before selling the R.V. and so donated the fan to us. Roger the wood guy made us a lovely varnished wooden plinth for it to sit on, so it is totally moveable within the dash /windscreen area.

We had decided to fill up our tanks with Water at Southgates in Horning rather than Ranworth for obvious reasons (clean, quick and hose not dropped in the water and so on) as the following day we planned to cross Breydon and head up to Loddon early doors. However as with all things connected to plans, this soon went out of the window. On the way to Wroxham, the space was filled with multiple pump-out customers and even more waiting, so we kept going. On the return from Wroxham, the wind was blowing an absolute hooley and whilst I know what I am doing I did notice that the pontoon had less than six inches above the water, and our fenders don’t reach down that far. With the wind in that state the sensible thing to do would have been to deploy the floating huge white sausage fenders we have in the store up front. The even more sensible thing was to not attempt the move in the first place, as with wooden boats even a gentle “kiss” to a metal framed pontoon can have unexpetedly expensive consequences. We had only had two showers and some washing up out of the tanks so far and so we were good to go for a few days more if we wished.  The weather on the journey to Stokesby was awful and so we just pootled, and enjoyed the journey listening to the gentle throb of the powerful 3.8l BMC power unit under our feet, and playing with the new fan to determine the best mist clearing location and fan speed combination.

Arriving at Stokesby we couldn’t believe our eyes, everyone was thinking the same as us and the place was chokka block with boats, the farm moorings double moored for a substantial part of their entire length. Luckily there was a single space left right outise the pub in front (up stream side) of a boat from Silverline. We have met Mr and Mrs Silverline and they are the nicest people you could wish to meet, we met them when we had an emergency (rocker cover oil cap gone walkies under the oil spill tray and into the bilges and so irretrievable), and these wonderful people enabled us to moor in their yard whilst we walked to the chandlers in Brundle to buy a new one, even though it was almost full and on a busy and very hot summers day. The Silerline boat was, as usual, immaculately turned out.

The tide was running downstream very quickly and so we passed the space, turned, added throttle and came about into the torrent that is created at the old crossing. The rest is easy, mooring into a heavy flowing river is one of my favourites as its so easy, you can just adjust the speed, turn the wheel and let the river take you sideways into the space with no effort required.

Mooring evolution completed we took stock and then Fiona and I headed into the pub. The pub was heaving from so many boats and the atmosphere was super. We met the biggest/tallest Irish Wolfhound Fiona and I had seen in many years and said hello, we then settled into a seat each at the bar to enjoy some “us time” in a pub by ourselves. We participated in the guess the number of chocolate eggs in a jar competition (didn’t win) and passed on information to the guys at the pub, from Malanka, sent via text as the weather was foul, that someone was attempting to moor and had in fact actually achieved it, stern on into the little gap on the downstream side of the Silerline boat. The guys from the pub went outside into the torrential rain to sort it out.

We spent a lovely afternoon chatting in the pub watching everyone have what looked to be a superb roast dinner, so much so that the pub ran out of Sunday Dinners. We love the Ferry Inn Stokesby and have never had anything but lovely experiences there. If you have never been try it out. It’s a lovely welcoming place inside and out, the staff are great too. Well done the Ferry Inn.

After watching all those dinners pass us by, the delicate aromas tantalising us as the plates were efficiently wafted past us destined for some hungry diners, it became too much and our thoughts turned to our own impending roast dinner abandonned from yesterday.

Fiona had purchased a superb piece of top rump from Cawdrons, and whilst not the cheapest option by far, we were anticipating eating a properly aged, well hung piece of beef cooked medium rare.

Accompanying this beautiful piece of ex very happy cow were to be yorkshire puddings (our first ever attempt on board in a camper oven). Fiona is the Yorkshire pudding Queen par excellence (remember the yorkshire pudding thread a while back),  so her reputation was on the line….He he No pressure. Mashed potato (Helena’s favourite guilty pleasure at the moment), caramelised butter carrots, (No sugar just butter and time in the pan), and caramelised onion and red wine gravy (bit self explanatory that one)

We didn’t bother peeling the carrots to go into the gravy stock and couldn’t be bothered to buy celery as well so just onions and carrots were chopped, placed in pan with some butter, slightly seasoned and left to do their thing for the next 90 minutes. It was at this point we worked out we had forgotten to bring or buy a potato peeler, so taking life and limb (fingers) in hand so to speak, I peeled them using a short sharp knife. One stab wound later we had a pan ful of cut potato sitting in fresh cold water to come to full turgor pressure (firm up). Thickly cut but not peeled carrots were in a smaller pan with minimal water (which would go into the gravy later) and slightly seasoned. These would be cooked at the end so they didn’t sit and go yucky. The potato water along with a slosh of some decent red wine were also destined to be the liquid bulk of the gravy as well.

Beef into oven at max, we lost the numbers years ago so it’s just on at “hottest”, all the way round the dial ..Seasoned and on a roasting trivet. This piece of beef had a magnificent  saddle of natural fat attached so I was looking forward to fully rendering that down, so that it bastes itself as it cooks. It’s also cooks privilege to eat it too. Nom nom. My HDL’s and LDL’s are fully aligned to deal with saturated fat so no worries there. Making a rue out of the fat and meat juices later would make magnificent gravy when added to the slowly roasted and caramelised onion and carrot components, and so it was (eventually).  

Ok enough about cooking, it didn’t really matter how long it all took, as we were moored up with springs and having a lovely afternnon of joint family time chatting, talking and laughing together. It was a great end to a bad day weather wise but a great family day together.

 Suffice it to say that the puddings took longer than anticipated but the flavour was extraordinary. Mingled with the gravy, (plus secret ingredient) carrots, mash and medium rare (pink) roast beef, the overall effect was magical. We did take pictures for Jeff but I can’t find them at the moment.  The magic secret ingredient in the gravy when at home is plumb jam my mother made when we lived in Germany from a large plum tree we had in our garden (we left in Jan 2009), which now has matured and is simply amazing when used for cooking all sorts of different things. Here it was Roys Rasberry Jam.

Almost everything went to plan, but the stand out item was the beef which was stunning, tender as you like and cooked on gas mark guess for 15 mins/lb plus 15 mins. It was melt in your mouth good and in our opinion well  worth the extra expense. We don’t eat roast beef that often but after this one we decided to go back to Cawdrons on the way home and buy 5 x 1kg joints to take back with us. That weight being the exact ammount the customs will let you import into CH with five pasport holders in the car. If we attempted to buy beef that good in Switzerland I would have to sell at least one child or a kidney at the very least.

We had a lovely eveing cooking, laughing and being a family together, Malanka brings us all back to earth and deposits us in a lovely location and it was great to spend the afternoon reconnecting and realising we do actually like each other too. We make each other laugh and what more can life be about.

We had an early, just after sunrise departure on Monday so it was early to Bedfordshire and it definitley was not my turn to parambulate with the woofters.


To come, Great Yarmouth, a lack of steerage, then Breydon and 11mph, full woo hoo. Later, Indian food in Loddon (Superb), highly recommended.

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Wonderfully descriptive writing, an absolute pleasure to read. We were in the area over Easter although not on a boat, and I remember only too well how the weather came and went, sunshine and showers and rather on the chilly side.

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Many thanks I had forgotten how much I like doing them. Once you start it’s like an itch that has to be scratched. 



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What a lovely blog. It has sharpened my appetite for this evening’s dinner. Shame we’re just having salad as the taste of roast beef is lingering just beyond my tastebuds after reading it. Mind you, it’s definitely salad weather today here!

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Easter Monday dawned, which is about the best and only good thing one can actually say about that morning, ok it wasn’t cats and dogs outside, it wasn’t blowing a hooley either, it was dull , dull with some extra dull thrown in for those who needed more dull. Oh and it was drizzling too. It was also 6 am. The sounds of reluctant wakers and even more reluctant dog perambulators (I just miss typed god for dog there… HHHmmm very interesting) shuffling about the place staying warm and not turning on the lights (it was still fairly dark as I didn’t want to lose my night vision) was a quiet and controlled contrast to the total silence outside, not even the ducks were quacking it was that dull.


Fiona and Justin took the woofers out for their morning mad ten minutes, even the dogs knew it was dull and didn’t bark or do silly stuff. Anyone with any Airedale experience knows how rare this is.

I turned on the wheel house red light to look for shoes and gps and stuff like that. I also turned on the boat nav lights because as I may have mentioned it was a bit dull like outside.

( just as a complete aside. The farmer who rents our spare development land as a farm here in Switzerland has been spreading natural fertiliser on the fields. My window is open as here in CH office Air con without very good reason is not permitted and as I type this in my lunch time I do so with the amazing piquant aroma of rural natural poo wafting about my nostrils)

I also removed the springs we customarily deploy in the more tidal or free flowing areas of the broads. I brought back on board the deployable white sausage fenders we use when the need arises as our fenders may be too high. They were piled onto the bow of the boat and all tied together to get a bit of a washing if we managed to get up a decent speed across Breydon later. Soggy wet canines and hoomans returned to the boat it was time to depart which isnt as easy as it sounds. We were only 3 ft or so from the stern of the Silverline boat behind and the flow was very strongly in that direction. We had bow and stern lines remaining and I wanted to make use of the current to push us out. Justin shortened the stern line, I let the bow line go and got back on board pretty sharpish, then as the bow came out pivoting on the stern line justin cast it off and I added thrust at the same time and away we were. Minimum fuss and disruption to our neighbours.

The interesting thing about this stretch of river is the speed with which it flows, even on 650 revs which is normally 3-3.5 mph we were clipping along barely straight at 6 mph, leaving not a ripple in the water and with very little steerage, in my opinion further evidence if any were needed that speed limits need to be enforced as “generated wash limits” if, as the authorities claim the limits are for bank erosion protection reasons. Speed over the ground means nothing in these circumstances other than the time to destination tables are less useful. We didn’t want to arrive too early nor too late as basically we didn’t want to drop the top and also then get caught in the flow the other side, so it’s a delicate balance, using slack passage generally results in us dropping the top. It was cold and wet and did I say DULL, so no top dropping please.


We made it all the way down to Marina Quays before we found more boats actually moving, then there were two following each other with barely enough speed to generate steerage and we were not in a position to pass them as they were both taking the short route and I didn’t fancy finding out what new delights were littering the shallow zones at either side of the river into Yarmouth. A few years ago we had the prop on Malanka balanced properly which took the guys way longer than they anticpated as someone at some point had hit something so hard as to bend and dent two blades of the 17inch brass prop we are fitted with. She was so much smoother afterwards I am reluctant to even risk hitting anything under the water so behind them we stayed swaying from side to side in the flow. Eventually I had enough of this and after name calling and other venting activities didn’t work. I simply stopped in the river engaged reverse for five minutes and let them go do their thing slowly and carefully (or so they obviously thought they were doing), I’m still not convinced they didn’t actually know they werent actually steering.

Anyway five minutes of holding station (OK I turned round to make it easier) off we went round the corner into Yarmouth with Justin deployed on the bow to scout the height guage. We should not have worried as the first guage read well over 9ft. So off we went with confidence with revs set for 4 mph to give us the steerage we needed. We waved to the rangers at the yacht station which was actually packed with boats and then looked ahead, somehow the boats we had been following and had thought we had escaped were there just going into the arrows for the first bridge, how was this possible? I will never know but it was the case. No option to turn here so I tried as best as I could to stay straight in the river and go as slowly as I possibly could. We negotiated both bridges easily but were now approaching the incredibly slow boats in front, how they were steering I have no idea. Last bit to go down to the yellow post and I could see the torrent of water that was flowing by the post and we hung back best we could whilst the two boats in front were jostled about from here to there in the quickly flowing water. Past the post and we let her have her head in the fast flow, she quickly accerated and we moved to the left to pass both boats as they had clung remorselessly to the far right side and were very close to the yellow post itself which I’m sure we all agree is never that good an idea. The two boats were still not steering all that well  and floundering a bit so we continued past before we went under the bridge. Between the huge concrete stantions, there was an absolute waterfall of water coming down from the bridge which splattered the boat like a shower gel advertisement, it was a bit cold for the scantily clad blonde but you get the idea. 

Trip across Breydon was great fun, everything one could ask for, wind, waves and a crashing bow wave cleaning the fenders. I did take a picture of the gps speed but it’s a bit of a cheat as we were with the flow.  11mph is fun…..

Soon enough the turn for Burgh Castle hove into view and we reduced speed to a steady plod and headed up the river against the tide, there were a few boats moored and a few people out and about on the top of the quayheading, the drop down to the boats was quiet significant and it looked like for a few boats the roof access was the only option. Reedham came and went with the only excitement being taking down the masty thing which I had to do whilst the crew recovered from their early start with an extended lie in. Suffice it to say that the brass monkey returned minus a few items after putting the mast down and then up again. Only a few boats at Reedham, where I am afraid to say we no longer stay. The reason being we can’t afford to have all the repairs done that staying there inevitably results in, simple as that.  Reedham Ferry came and went and that is somewhere I would like to stay soon.

We reached the turn for the chet before 9 am and headed slowly down one of the most lovely parts of the system, we saw only two other boats both leaving for at least half an hour and then I glanced back to see a woodie behind doing the same as us. Remarkably there were no swans, geese, or ducks anywhere to be see on the flood which due to the rain was really flooded. We continued up the river and passed Pyes Mill mooring and only one or two boats there too. Heading slowly into the marina and there were roughly four or five spare berths and lots of people moving about and it looked quite a bustling little early morning scene. Slipping stern on into a berth we tied up and relaxed, not knowing what dramas were to happen later but mainly discussing what we were going to do for food later that same evening. We had cooked twice and we didn’t fancy doing it again so we ummed and aahhhed about pub (with dogs) or chips (had them Thursday) or chinese (had that Friday), eventually we decided on Indian as we know the indian in Loddon is superb. Indian it was.

We had plugged into the electic with 78 pence on the post and we had lashings of hot water after our Breydon adventure so I decided to have a long and very luxurious shower, not even turning the water off to use the shower gel. How decadent is that….

With steam emerging from both bathroom side windows, it must have looked like Malanka was vaping or something. Resisting the urge to sing in the shower I washed dried and emerged refreshed and eager to do nothing but read my book and watch the world go by. Unfortunately this wasn’t going to happen.


I was sitting in the wheelhouse reading and relaxing when I heard engine sounds and looked up to see a broadlander (we have the number) coming into the marina, I had no worries as this type of boat is equiped with every thruster going and is a very manouvrable boat. Justin and I went on deck to help and take a line to make things easier. Unfortunately the helm decided that thrusters were for other people and either;

  1. Didn’t know how to

  2. Want to use them


    so he didn’t, as it turns out he was also of the max revs for mooring fraternity and the little Broadlander was swinging back and forth at the stern like a peeed off windsock, rather close to our port side bow. Whoooaaa I shouted just as they were about to connect, thrust was added and they pulled away, only to return thirty seconds later (or so it seemed) at a much increased speed and slammed straight into the port side bow area with a cracking impact almost knocking Fiona and Helena who was holding Eliza - 6 months old, off their feet.  I may have said something about the son of our lord at this point but suffice it to say I was a tad miffed. The helm used the bounce off us to then head backwards and lift every fender down the side of the boat and actually get close to the quay heading., where he sprang out of the stern and grabbed lines to tie up. I was at point this calmly remarking to him that in fact he couldn’t moor there as there are no mooring posts which was why nobody else was in the hole, it wasn’t the first time I had told him this. Whilst I was telling him this he was busy attaching a rope to left hand leg of the BA sign behind the mooring. I Pointed out that would be a huge trip hazard in the dark and prevent anyone with a wheelchair or a push chair from moving down the mooring area. I also don’t think the ranger in the area would be awfully impressed either. Its not like there werent many spaces available, there were many.


    I enquired of the mooring miscreant if his boat had thrusters to which he replaied that it did. “Why didn’t you use them to prevent hitting us I asked”. His immediate response is a classic  of entitlement. “look, not everyione is experienced you know, I’m a beginner” he said. “And that prevents you from using the thrusters with which your boat is equiped precisely to avoid such situations, why exactly” I asked. Also “why does being a beginner remove your responsibility for hitting us a massive blow” I asked, “you almost knocked my wife, daughter, and baby grand daughter  off their feet” I added by way of extra detail. “Look mate I’m a beginner and I’m sorry but it was only a tap” he replied. This inability to apologise for the incident without adding and its not my fault is classic, and also then saying it doesn’t matter anyway as its only a “tap” beggars belief, or would have done if I had not encountered such individuals (insert your own favourite epithet for such people here) many times in the past. I ask you to insert your own word as my usual ones are not welcome in this place, as they have been referred to as “potentially insulting” by some. Well no sugar in your tea sherlock, insulting is sometimes required, necessary and appropriate to convey the totally vaccuous nature of this man’s responses. So choose your own my conscience is clear.

    This miscreant seemed to me to be a “not listening, obfuscating, dissonant denier” type and so any remonstration I came up with would fall on deaf ears and very probably antagonise him. He was entitled to hit my boat and cause quite significant damage because in his own words, he was an “inexperienced beginner” and so it’s OK.  


    I wonder how this would have played out in reverse in the car park of his local supermarket had I accidentally crashed into the side of his car scratching down the entire length and denting the front left panel, I’m not sure sorry I’m a beginner would work?


    The damage was through the paint and into the wood with a depresssion of about ¾ of a cm and length of about 15 cm. Hardly a tap.

    Anyway I swallowed all that and said we (justin and I ) could move him using ropes to the mooring on the opposite side of us, where there were adequate posts to secure his boat. “How are you going to do that “ he asked, “with ropes I replied”. OK I sighed but not that much…..


    So Justin and I then had him pass us his ropes and we pulled the boat out of the mooring and out in  front of Malanka, a little bit of heaving and we got him to the other side and heading for the quay heading. All good I hear you say to your collectives selves, and so we also thought.


    Suddenly with both Justin and I standing on the staboard decking of Malanka with tight mooring lines to the stern of the broadlander, it suddenly accelerated forwards, almost pulling both Justin and I into the freezing cold March water it was so sudden, we had no options other than to drop the ropes into the water.


    The miscreant then appears at the stern of the Broadlander and yells, “F this I’m F’ing P****d off here”, and then proceeds to gather up his lines and head off to Pyes mill. Well there you go….


    A little while later a blue bathtub type boat appears and skillfully moors next to us with minimal help from us just taking the proferred lines as requested by the crew. “Thank you” I said “that’s so much nicer than the previous chap who was rather rude”. “Ahh” he said “that will be my little brother he is an arrogant pr*ck and a total d*ckh**d as well”. Who was I to argue?


    Just as Justin and I were settling back to wheelhouse book reading a huge, brand new, first trip out Fair Entrepreneur slowly entered the marina and promptly stopped dead in the water. Their engine had cut out, they continued to head for the outflow that usually trickes down into the basin , but on this occasion it was a raging torrent that was quite audible in its ferocity.   We exchanged some words and I asked if they had thrusters they said yes but no engine, I replied that the trusters should still work for a while, which actually was the case. So with minimal use of thrusters  they managed to avoid everyone and just sort of sit there in Limbo.


    We attempted from the bow of Malanka to throw them two lines joined together, but the distance was too great and once wet it effectively got even further. Justin then commandered the blue bathtub’s rowing dinghy and took the two joined lines via the dinghy to the boat. OK it took longer than that and was a real effort but he did it.

    Then it was a matter of heaving and pulling and grunting to get this leviathan into a mooring space next to us. Suffice it to say we managed it. The hirer called NBD and they promised to come out early doors next day to fix the issue.


    After all this excitement it was time for our take away from the Indian on the high street and we ran over to get an updated menu. We perused, decided, ordered and picked up a delicious meal in less than 30 minutes. Try them its superb.


    After our meal, we perambulated with the woofters, enjoyed some saloon talk and then redied oursleves for bed as we were tired. An early start followed by a morning, then afternoon of stress and drama, and we come away to relax????


    Tomorrow we were heading to Rockland St mary to meet up with Alex and Lorna and eat out with the woofters in the New Inn. It’s only a short trip but todays excitement meant we needed a relaxing day doing nowt….


    More to come.

Attached is the picture of the GPS we took crossing Breydon. Was mucho fun. We didn't get much opportunity to take pictures of the other exciting events that happened in Loddon, but we did get boat number of the miscreants boat. Deciding what to do with it now.


Breydon crossing.JPG

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Sorry for the lack of updates but my gorgeous wife dragged me to the blue coast in the lady from Coventry for our 25th wedding anniversary ( which is today) 

I will update the rest of the trip before spring meet up. 

Below are some illustrative images 




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Congratulations on your wedding anniversary...............and I guess we will just have to wait ............otherwise enjoy :default_biggrin:



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25 years! lightweight.

Obviously a random younger woman you photographed in the street.

Just taken me about twenty minutes to type the above, a friend and I have just been looking in a bottle of twenty five year old ardbeg, marvellous but sadly the nearest I will get to a twenty five year old ,


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Congrats on your silver to you both. you each deserve a medal, one for putting up with, the other for finding..

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The day started slowly as the doggies decided to have a lie in, we knew it couldn’t last but we took what little solace we could and awaited the inevitable. The weather was looking good for the day and the trip to Rockland from Loddon is a short one. We weren’t concerned as we knew we could plug in if we had to and we had lashings of hot water from the immersion and yesterdays long trip. We all showered and primped and primed ourselves before we left as we wanted to head into the New Inn early mid afternoon-ish for dinner with the woofters. This was to be their first joint pub trip since Monty was a young pup of 13 weeeks or so.

Monty is somewhat of a throwback Airedale to our very first one >Barney who was a Norfolk Broads veteran. Barney used to watch me sailing in Hickling from the bow of the Silver Jubilee and even once leaped from the bow of the boat into the water to chase after me as he thought I was sailing away from him. This remarkable thing was made even more remarkable as trying to get Barney to swim was nigh on impossible unless one threw him bodily into the water. He would paddle, but as soon as his back legs started to float and he lost traction at the back end he would gently back out of the water. Nope not doin dat swimmin ting nope now-way matey….NO


Picture from my white board in my office of me and Barney at Hickling in 1995.


Monty, is a complete contrast to Boris who will jump in the dinghy on the mere prospect of a swim, Monty is like Barney, no way no swimmin ting.


Fiona and I walked the woofters about the town and I waited outside the Co-Op whilst essentail supplies for the day after Rockland were sourced in said establishment. Everyone smiles at Airedales, that is every human smiles at Airedales as we believe they look something like fluffy teddies and have a smiley face. Doggies of the small variety and some of the not so small variety somehow wish to get their retaliation in first and just bark at them and in some extreem cases just straight out jump on them. This invariably is a bad idea but they continue to do it through our 6th interation of Airedale kind.    In this regard numerous little doggies were walked past the two seated and bored looking Airedales outside the Co-Op on their hind legs front legs thrashing about and their voices somewhat strained as the collars constricted their woof ability significantly, as their owners negotiated them past our two Airedale terrors. Sometimes the two of them bark back, but not always and it is our intention to get it back to Boris levels which is not at all. He is a bit of a giant and he just doesn’t care. With little dogs Boris is great as he grew up with Louie a Bichon Frise who as far as Boris was concered was just stunted as he didn’t keep up with Boris’s growth spurts. Louie unfortunately crossed the bridge with the aid of a motor vehicle when at the dog walking service, Boris thinks every little white dog he see’s will turn out to be Louie. Its very sweet actually.


Ok, Showers completed water taken on board, electrics returned to the cupboard and away we go on the short hop to Rockland St Mary, we have texted Lorna and said we are on our way and the reply was we are here already so we knew we would have nice neighbours. The weather was lovely if a lilttle windy and cold at first but the sun started to shine half way down the chet and the canopies amplified the suns warmth into the wheelhouse and we basked like ripening tomatoes in the lovely natural heat of the sun.

Arriving at the river mouth we splurged to six mph and the clear skies strong wind and empty river made a lovely sight. We weren’t in a rush at all but just enjoyed the day as we headed to Rockland.


Lovely day lovely journey

As expected the journey did not take too long and there were very few boats about, but the wind was freshenning throughout the journey. We turned into the inlet for Rockland and the wind disappeared like a scene from a movie, it was quite remarkable but hardly an unknown phenomenon in these parts.

We pootled down to the mooring and there amongst two other boats was Braveheart, we quickly moored alongside and deployed the mudweight and a line to Bravehearts bow to keep us steady. Immediately we were secure we loosened the zips in the stern well and a black and tan flash rocketted out of the back of the boat and onto the grass. This was a feat that was to be repeated several times in this location much to Monty’s amusement and our annoyance.


So everything ship shape and younger crew members doing whatever they wanted, and the sun being over a yard arm somewhere, it was prosecco time on Braveheart so Fiona and I went over and said hi and we talked and laughed and had a completely marvellous afternoon as Alex regailed us with tales from his childhood and close encounters with very deep oil sumps. Lorna continued the excellent afternoon by recalling the bad weather the UK had experienced recently and her travails in trying to get to work through the thick of it all.

Halfway through the afternoon we were joined by Monty and Boris who had decided that Malanka was boring and Braveheart seemd a much better bet to get some treats so they both jumped out of the back of Malanka and jumped onto the back of Bravheart, begged a few treats and then laid down to sleep in the saloon.


Alex and I wandered over to the pub to say hi and reserve a table for later. Unfortunately our preferred time was after the pub had stopped serving for the afternoon, but instead of disappointing us the Chef said, “I’m only upstairs, what is it you guys would want and I’ll cook it for you”. We said we would take a menu back to the lassies and return shortly with the entire menagerie. How good and accomodating is that? I have to say it’s quite typical of the New Inn Rockland St Mary, they are always great and incredibly helpful in every way. Foods good too by the way.  


Boats zipped up and everyone prepped we headed to the pub for our first 2 doggie lunch experience for a very long time.

The pub was almost empty and the dogggies made a B line for the bar where their Aire senses rightly told them were dog treats to be snaffled. Both boys sat and received their treats in regal fashion and we settled down to have our drinks (why wouldn’t you) and await the commestible delights to come.


The meal was delicious and the conversation delightful. If anyone has not yet tried the New Inn  Rockland, please go and give it a whirl you will not be disappointed. A few doggies came in and a few woofles were exchanged but overall both Boris and Monty did really well for their first joint pub visit.

We had a super afternoon with Alex and Lorna on Braveheart, a delightful early evening in the pub, and onboard Malanka (our turn to provide the prosecco) we had another wonderful fairly late evening of chat and laughter. Soon it was time for dog perambulation and Befordshire was beconning.

Tomorrow we had decided to moor in a  new overnight location for us which was Hardley Mill Pontoon. This was why we had purchased the items required for Boaty Spag bol from the Co-Op, which is like normal spag bol but on a  boat. No culinary compromises required.

Beef tomatoes, pasata, garlic, onions, peppers, beef stock, fresh basil, Italian herbs, tomato puree to be fried in the meat as it then tastes like sun dried tomatoes without the cost, red wine (a nice one please), olive oil, butter and bread (can’t have spag bol without garlic bread)  and of course decent dried pasta.


Sleepy doggies already in Bedfordshire it's tough this boating malarky


To come shortly, dramatic boat rescue in windy river, repeat of dramatic boat rescue in widy river, (they let go of the rope mid river), superb location, windmill zoomies from Monty, howling gale and wind over tide.

See you all soon.

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Anyone guess what the starboard side Burgee is??



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40 minutes ago, Malanka said:

Anyone guess what the starboard side Burgee is??



South Carolina? (A sultry clime)

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Yep my big brother is a South Carolinian. Columbia in fact..



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Wednesday dawned peacefully as it always does in Rockland St Mary, even the presence of the main road just a few feet away doesn’t detract from the peaceful and tranquil nature of the location. The non peaceful part was whacking me in the face emenating from the back end of a very excited 7 month old Airedale puppy that we stupidy acquired in an obviously mistaken view he would grow up and learn from Boris to be calm and considerate and QUIET, and learn to love a lie in…. NOOPE, EPIC FAIL.  

So to even start to get out of bed I had to wrestle this rediculously oversized teddy bear off me, which he interpreted as a game and began jumping this way and that, his paws finding with uncanny accuracy, the delicate and private areas of both Fiona and Myself. So the whirling Tasmanian devil dog noises were accompanied by OOOOh , ouch, MONTY!!!! (imagine the Fenton labrador video and you wouldn’t be far wrong) and too numerous to list sharp intakes of breath. We usually leave the boat carrying our boaty wounds so called UBB, Unidentified Boat Bruises. With the arrival of Monty we now have, in places I don’t want to mention, many many UDB’s in addition to the pre exsiting routine UBB’s.

Imagine chasing a Whirling Dervish of manic furry cuteness running and jumping about with your fresh undies and socks in his mouth getting soggier as the minutes played on and on and on. We truly believe he actually now responds better to MONTY!!! YOU LITTLE SH** , than he does to Monty.


Underwear retrieved and swapped out for dry versions, shoes rescued (he went for them as we took the underwear away), leads located, and the ever essential 2 balls for Boris to carry on his walk given to the now equally manic very big lump/pony/horse  of furryness we call Boris, we quickly unzipped, (the canopy, don’t get excited you bunch of pervs) stood back and let the streaks of black and tan rocket out the back of the boat to the accompanyment of loud yips and woofs as the ducks and Geese decided “time to leave”.


The sun was shining in a perfect azure sky, the fields were alive with birds and little furry creatures going about their daily business. The Wherrymans way was lovely in the early morning.

Boris and Monty both unusually on leads as we didn’t want them disturbing the creatures but they normally don’t need leads to be under control on a walk, were trotting long ignoring each other and just enjoying the sunshine, as were both mum and dad.


We walked for about twenty minutes and then turned about as we did have somewhere to go this morning and the forecast said the weather would not stay like this for long (and it didn’t).  


We headed back to the boat to wake the younger crew, prepare breakfast (French toast, sausages, bacon and eggs) and have a leisurely mug or two of tea /coffee, early morning drink of choice. As we approached Alex and Lorna appeared said hi and went to do exactly what we were about to do. Eat a typical norfolk breakfast, full of fat, both saturated and otherwise, trans or whatever else is the health scare of the moment, salt, probably more than some loonos recommend, and enjoyed the whole thing… Such is to be on holiday consuming foods the EU tell us cause cancer, high blood pressure, premature death, and everything under the sun. Which of course causes all of the previously mentioned items. The sun that is not the EU, that just causes high blood pressure…..

Politics aside we had decided to go to Hardley Mill tonight, which would be a new overnight experience for us, we didn’t care when we got there but the weather situation was deteriorating by the minute and a rather squally wind was developing.

Our goodbye hugs and kissed completed we gently slipped out of the mooring and headed across Rockland Broad at the pre-requisite 3 mph.  We did notice that since the cottage on the RHS has been under new ownership the journey is so much easier without all those little and sometimes loose boats floating about on the bankside. The new owners are doing a fine job of improving what was, the sadly depressing vista.


Turning into the main river we were instantly made aware that the promised wind had in fact arrived with avengeance, there were white caps on the Yare and it looked like wind over tide too which meant “funtine for the helm”. Malanka started to bounce into the onrushing waves as we headed down towards Cantley, the canopies were bulging with the constant pressure of the by now very significant gale howling up the Yare. This of course meant that mooring at Hardley Mill was going to be much fun, and or rather problematical depending on which direction the wind was blowing by then, hoperfully without too many witnesses so I could claim it went perfectly.



The transit was going swimmingly with much bouncing and flouncing about in the waves causing much merriment in the wheelhouse, well at least for me, Fiona thought it was rather draughty. Oh well.

As we approached the Beauchamp Arms, we reduced the fun level and slowed down to a crawl into the wind and there on the left hand side of the river as you approach from the Norwich side was a small (I mean SMALL) outboard powered boat sitting in the reeds against the bank on the opposite side of the river to the pub. i.e there were reeds between the boat and the bank and the boat and the river, how unusual we thought. What made this more unusual was the man standing up in the steering position of the boat frantically waving his arms about above his wind towselled hair, of which he  had a lot. Wind towselled hair that is, not arms, he only had the two, just slightly more than the average number of arms (think about it).


I approached slowly and gave him the thumbs up as it was obvious he had no power and was not going anywhere without aid. I looked about to see if there were any other people, boats, or life in general about and no , we were it. He continued to frantically wave his arms which by this time must have been aching quite significantly. As we had turned the corner the wind was now directly against the bank against which he was stuck, I knew if I was not carefull, that would be exactly where we would end up too and be a help to no-one.

I despatched Justin to the stern to prepare a towing line and manouvered the boat to be near the reeds paralell to the bank but not too close to be caugzht as we turned or too far away that the line would not reach when thrown (or catch in our prop). That point achieved I then spun the wheel hard over added some revs and Malanka responded with glee and enthusiastically spun bow into the wind, stern just kissing the reeds and Justin able to throw the rope over the extended arm of the frantic young man. Justin had indicated for the man to hold his arm out perpendicular to his body to make this an easier effort.


The rope was quickly gathered in and unbeknown to us, the young man just passed it once round a rail then clung onto the rope with only his hands to hold it fast. I gently applied some throttle and the trapped boat started to move, some more power and the boat was gently removed from the reeds and was pointing in the right direction to cross the river and starting to cross to the preferred destination (obtained by Justin), for whatever Rhyme or reason neither of which I understand, the young man at this point in his rescue for some reason let go the rope. Grr I thought, bother dash it or other such phrases crossed my mind so please pick your own. The rope flopped into the river and the young man held his hands in the air and started to once more frantically wave his arms about above his head. By this point we had sort of worked out he needed rescuing so the waving was superfluous at this moment but hey maybe his arms were cold or something. By the time we had turned the boat and re-positioned safely so as not to get trapped, the little boat was back where it had started and we had the whole thing to go over again. Suffice it to say we did so, this time with the rope tied fast to the rail and not only did we get the little boat across the river, but we actually delivered them into the mooring from which this entire episode had started. Justin retrieved the rope from the water and we turned round once more and continued on to Hardley Mill for a rest, a dog walk, and Spag Bol.


More to come including Doggie Zoomies and a tricky mooring.



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Arrival at the Mill was as windy as a very windy thing and very forunately for us the wind was almost entirely parallel to the pontoon mooring. However rather unfortunately for us the “almost” due mainly to the strength of the wind, which was bottom lifting in strength, was into / against the pontoon, which meant we would have to be quick to deploy the loose white sausage fenders we keep for such times as these. Fenders deployed we approached the pontoon as slowly as we could and still be steering, we need not have fussed as the wind just glided us gently against the pontoon and held us there rather firmly. Justin and I hopped off and made fast bow and stern lines and as were were not certain of the wind direction staying constant (and it didn’t) we ran to the fuss of two springs as well. As soon as the canopies were unzipped the two black and tan flashes shot out of the door aloong the pontoon and up the walkway to the visitors centre which was closed.


Windy Mill.

The two doggies were closely followed by Justin and myself armed with the pre-requisite poo bags in case of need.  One facet of the ever changing weather we encounter on our beautiful Broads is the wind, sherlock gets no suger in his tea for figuring out why. Our dogs love it, can’t get enough of it, go mad when they find gusty bits of it, and go absolutely totally bonkers when they get a gale.  Well we had a full blown gale blowing a hooley and both woofters we running about tongues lolling, tasting and savouring the wind blown smells and tastes. Monty had his bottom tucked under in what we call the “hyena sprint” and was circling the Mill at an amazing rate, first one direction, a quick spin on the spot, a quick woof or two, the spin again, and then head back in the opposite direction.


This is what we call the Zoomies and sometimes it happens inside the house and is a bad idea for rugs and ornaments alike, when it happens outside we laugh and just stand and watch in amazement as the doggies zoom hither and thither in a seemingly mad doggie dance only they know.


The zoomies never last that long and sure enough it was soon back to sniffing and weeing in the usual doggie fashion. Monty is still doing the puppy squat so he doesn’t yet know to wee on the highest grassy bits to get his smell to as many other doggies as possible.   Boris being tall is a past master at high grass weeing and just got on with the scent marking and when satisfied he headed back to the boat to wait on the pontoon for mum to open up the canopies and let him in. Monty being young and enthusiastic looked disappointed we were heading back but just did as he was asked (a quick doggie whistle that we teach all our dogs to recognise) and he just did the returning to the boat part as fast as he could and then waited for those lazy hoomans to catch up. We also teach the doggies hand signals too, but this isn’t a dog training write up. Monty actually comes from Germany (Frankfurt) and his 6 litter mates are mostly trained to the gun and join their humans in the wilder regions of Germany doing their hunting thing. Monty is with us and he is just a pet, if a little bit loony too, he will calm down we are certain, honestly he will.


After the brief mad dash out in which Fiona and Helena and Eliza were not able to participate we had another little walk half an hour later and we all trooped up the the Mill and watched the doggies do their thing as we enjoyed the gusty gale spinning the wheel at the top of the Mill like a whirling dervish. Later that evening I thought I heard and electrical alrm on the boat, but no it was just the whirling dervish wheel at the top of the mill making a squeek that was so constant it sounded like a alarm beep. Silly me.


After enjoying the sheer majesty that is a functioning windpump in a howling gale we returned to the boat and decided to chill in the saloon and chat whilst I prepared our evening meal, Spag bol a la Martin, with fresh garlic bread.


After opening a rather pleasant if a little piquant Shiraz which is of course essential for cooking, it doesn’t go in the meal it goes into the cook. I set to and started the food preparation.

I don’t know how you do it but for me it is essential to have all the ingredients chopped first before I start and get and pans on the go, I like to make sure all the onions and peppers are the right size of diced and that I have left just enough larger ones to add a bit more texture to what can be a fairly texturally bland meal.

So into our dinner went:

Two slices smoked streaky bacon chopped, 350 grms good mince (not the lean version)

Chopped beef tomatoes x 3

Chopped Large onions x 2

Sweet long red peppers (not the bell ones) x 2

Whole punnet of mushrooms sliced

Chopped fresh Basil about half of the bunches sold in the supermarket

Italian herbs (from a bottle) to taste

One oxo cube (beef) and one stock pot (beef)

Tomato puree (table spoon full) If you fry this with the meat it tastes like sun dried tomatoes without the cost and faff.

Pasata (balance against the liquid provided by the other ingredients)

Teaspoon soy sauce (dark if you have it)


That lot get fried together and then simmered and reduced in the pan for a long as you like.


At the end add a little white wine (about a large glass full)


Then reduce down to your desired consistency /taste and saesoning level ready to serve. I season with black pepper not salt as the cubes are salty enough


The garlic bread was simply left over tiger loaf from roys with home made garlic butter and a dash of italian seasoning in it spread on the bread (one sided) then put back together wrapped in foil and into the oven for twenty minutes. I don’t add water as I think it just makes it soggy and I wanted it crispy.


After all that’s ready we simply boiled some salted water added the best dried pasta we can find (yes it does make a difference) and 9-11 minutes later we sat down and scoffed the lot.


For the officianados yes we did pasta to meat not meat to pasta.


I had grated some parmesan and put that in a bowl for everyone to add their own taste.


After dinner the cook got to finish the bottle of Shiraz with some left over garlic bread whilst everyone else washed up and put stuff away. Fiona says I am a messy cook. Naaa no way I’m incredibly tidy…. Honestly.


As we enjoyed the after dinner wind down and that kind of “post pasta food coma” that comes with eating way too much pasta, we settled in to listen to some musical sounds and the wind battering against the canopies in its wild attempts to get us out of it’s way. We had enjoyed a rather odd day with two rescues and wild water and wind. Tomorrow we were crossing back to head vaguely towards Stalham as our easter adventure was almost over, we hadn’t decided where to go oop north yet but just to head up there and see what’s what. One thing we did have planned was Friday afternoon on the beach at Sea Palling with the woofers. It would be Monty’s first view and experience of the sea. It didn’t disappoint.


More to come.

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Thursday morning dawned peacefully with the wind having reversed its direction 180 degrees which was great as we could now just pull away whenever we wanted. We went to walk with the woofters around the windmill one more time and drop off the mooring fee into the honesty box outside the visitors centre. The family including the doggies really liked Hardley Mill and we will definitley re-visit in the summer when the Mill will be open.


We had planned our departure such that we didn’t need a hugely early start but early enough that it was still quite “fresh” in the still strongly blowing wind. We removed the springs started the engine and then Justin let go both remaining mooring lines and away we gently drifted heading off in the direction of Reedham in the quickly flowing river. We passed Reedham very early on and continued downriver using as little throttle as possible so as to not arrrive too early for the crossing. There were no other boats about on the river and so we arrrived at Breydon and turned left toward Great Yarmouth. We had 90 minutes to use up on the crossing to be completely within the slack passage window but to be frank wew didn’t bother we just pootled across at a steady 6mph, reached the yellow post and headed up the Bure. We didn’t have to drop the top as we had the low water thing sorted. This of course meant that we were “punching” a significant flow down the river as we went up the river. This is where being wooden, weighing 11 tons and only having a beam of 10ft 6 inches are significant advantages.

We didn’t have a plan of where we were going to end up but to just head up the Bure and watched the sky as it cleared more and more the further up the river we went.  The sky cleared into what turned out to be a beautiful sunny late morning  by the time we reached Acle, and  later the afternoon continued is the same vein when we reached Horning.


We had briefly stopped at Percy’s Island earlier in the week in the pouring rain whilst we waited for a spot to open up as Southgates to fill up with Diesel, and so as we arrived in Horning we decided that we would return later and spend the evening there and just pootle up to Salhouse so the doggies could go for their favourite walk and perhaps even have a swim.



We moored at Salhouse for a quick lunch, dog walk and a bask in the gorgeous early spring warmth. After the swimming, walking and eating we decided to head back to Horning for our last night out on the system. As we returned to Horning we were very closely followed by two large boats and a further two day boats which were very closely sniffing Malanka’s very pretty transom. We found ourselves in this position by the simple expedient of following the speed limit and pootling along at a steady 3.6mph. The following boats getting closer and closer to Malanka’s transom the nearer to the Horning turn we came. I knew this would be problematic for us and so it proved as we turned the corner with  our little convoy of boats closeley following along behind.  The distance from the turn to the mooring at Percy’s Island is not a great one and so I decided to go past the mooring turn in the river and return to Percy’s Island and moor up. This has the added advantage of bringing us into the mooring against the river flow.

We turned in the river and waited for our little convoy to pass then crossed the river and smoothly moored up and let the black and tan tazmanian devils out onto the island for their customary mad five minutes.


After mooring we settled in to watch the world go by on Horning Staithe and the comings and goings of different boats. The Staithe was very busy with many boats double moored with more constantly leaving and arriving as we sat in the sun reading our books and sipping a rather pleasant Pinot.


We had a marvellous afternoon in the sun, a very pleasant dinner and settled in to sleep as tommorow we would be heading back to Stalham and a day on the beach.

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OK folks,


It's now 2019 and too late to finish this particular tale. The next entry will be Easter 2019, much has happened since Easter 2018, both to us as a family and poor Malanka has had her tribulations too, up to and including open bottom surgery of the most invasive kind.

All the boat surgery porn is in the restoration thread the "never ending story" for anyone who doesn't know.

Things to be discussed and tales told concern:

Open house Malanka, new galley try out, under Wroxham bridge with the felties (you'll just have to wait to find out what that means), meeting new friends (Boaters), morning quackers, dinner with Timbo the nun, dog rescue, fumes for fun (yes real smoke), stuck toilet troubles, new propane bottles Grrr, interview at the bridge, Millie and the Autobahn.

Most, but not all of these sections will be accompanied by suitable pictures, some by us, some by friends, and some, just to whet the appetite, wait for it, by the BBC and the EDP too. Woo Hoo!


OK I have set the scene Tale to follow. Watch this space....

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watching - its been 5 whole minutes and i'm waiting with baited breath.

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Have to sort out all the photos which are on whatsapp, and write the Tale in word add pics and submit... hold your horses man....lol

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