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Malanka Tales

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Hey Grendel


Did you as a child ever say "ARE WE THERE YET". Something tells me you did, quite often......lol

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No Martin, it was more like...

… "Where are you taking me? Why the blindfold?"

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Well, here we are for another Easter Tale. One big difference with this one is that there are to be no doggies, well when I say that I mean no real doggies, however the “felties” will be accompanying us.

These little Airedale recreations go with us when we can’t take the doggies, they have been to many places including first class to New York, they have sat on the control column in the cockpit of a BA 747 and been hugged by cabin crew at 35,000 feet and many, many adventures with us. The reason for no doggies is simply Brexit, without a clear indication of in or out and third country not third country rabies or no rabies, we didn’t take the risk of bringing them to the UK only to be trapped by silly bureaucrat prats. So while the doggies headed to the Hunde Pension, we and the felties headed to blighty.

Boris Monty and Boots heading for their week in the spa..


The  doggies love their holidays, being dogs, meeting four legged new friends and woofing until they can’t woof anymore. The evidence for this is seen as soon as we stop at the Hunde Hotel and they all “leg it” out of the car at 100 miles an hour heading straight for the entrance door which they jump up and woof and scratch at until we are let inside where they jump all over the Hotel ladies kissing and licking all over the place. When we see this we know they will have a great time.

The felties are somewhat calmer by comparison even in the face of strange doggies.

 Here they are both Monty and Boris (Bomon) meeting with Murphy at Southgates in Horning.


One rather pleasant consequence of not trusting politicians enough to risk our doggies on their whims was that Fiona and I could chose to come to the UK in Millie the loud lady from Coventry.


This is Millie outside the pre-journey car wash, I know it doesn't make much sense as she is about to decimate huge swathes of insects but I can't abide setting off in a dirty car. The name Millie arises from mickey taking during the car selection process and is supposed to represent my "Mid Life Crisis car" hence Millie. She is a lease vehicle which shortly will be returned to JLR but we had fun together for two years. Only one speeding ticket in all that time 52 kph in 50….Oh well. I once was stopped by the French motorcycle cops outside Calais, however, they just wanted to harass me, which they proceeded to do. I wasn’t speeding, I knew it and so did they, but you don’t argue if you value your license.

Back to the tale:

We would be taking Malanka out for her first trip since all the surgery, planking, near sinking and all that jazz, so we would be returning with towels, bedding and clothes for two weeks for me and one week for Fiona. Millie’s luggage area in no way can be referred to as a boot, as at 195ltr it doesn’t even approach adequate,  so cavernous is definitely out. The luggage area in the F type roadster is a strange shape so the ability to stuff little things into even smaller holes and unseen spaces is required.. No bother then !

Flexible bags packed, and yes I did note that Fiona’s bag for 7 days was heavier by a huge margin than my identical bag for 14 days, despite my additional underwear “OCD moment” being taken into account. Fiona says it is because I can and do, wear T shirt and shorts in any weather and she likes to be warm with an adequate supply of jumpers and other girlie stuff. This may be because when I was at my first school (primary school up to age 10) I was not permitted nor was anyone else under the heel of Mr Trippier our headmaster to wear long trousers under any circumstances or adverse weather conditions. The girls had to wear school skirts too or those silly gingham print dress things, no exceptions. So hell, high water, or in our case harsh Pennine winds driving rain and 3 feet snow falls, shorts, knee socks, cap and gabardine mac it was. We were not permitted inside school at lunch or break times either so out in the playground or rain shelters it was. For some inexplicable reason, to the current generation, going home soaked, cold but with a healthy glow was perfectly normal for the sixties child.  Many times my mum walked us to school being pulled along on a sledge my father made, helped by a throwback huge Labrador called Simon who wouldn’t hurt a fly. In those days the school run was a school walk.

So I rolled, folded, stuffed, wiggled, pressed and otherwise persuaded everything we would need into the 195ltr space provided. We intended to go via the Hoek Van Holland ferry and so an overnight backpack was also cajoled into adopting an unnatural shape to fit within the confines of Millies rear.

As previously, we made a pack up for the journey, motorway sandwiches are horrible the world over so home-made Jambon-beur baguettes it was.  Car washed, packed, all four tyres checked, fully fueled and primped and primed we were ready to go, so off up the stairs to Bedfordshire it was. We didn’t have to get up at silly o’clock as we wanted to arrive in Rotterdam at roughly 7pm so a 09:30 start would be perfectly adequate to avoid the rush and still get us through Germany on time.   With the prospect of 485km of  de-restricted autobahn to come and 575PS to play with I quickly drifted off to sleep, eager for the 1271km journey ahead.

More to come. OK so far Grendel?

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24 minutes ago, MauriceMynah said:

No Martin, it was more like...

… "Where are you taking me? Why the blindfold?"

it came very close to that one Easter in my youth, myself and sister were picked up from school early, we all got on a train and headed off, somewhat after dark we arrived at a station (having hurriedly changed stations at London), then we crossed the station platform and found ourselves boarding a boat (my father worked for British rail Ferries so we were just going onboard for a look around) somehow while we were looking around the boat managed to set sail, so we were put in a cabin and tucked up for the night. we awoke in the morning to find we were in holland, we then boarded a train for amsterdam, arriving just in time for a lovely breakfast at a little roadside cafe, spent the day touring the museums and art galleries, then back to the boat for the night crossing home again. this trip was eventful as it was blowing a gale and snowing (I slept through it) and the ships stabilisers had failed. we got home and got a train home through snowdrifts several feet thick.

so it wasnt really are we there yet - more where are we.

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As the day of our journey began, the waking up from deep sleep process was not normal, it took me a few moments of gathering woolly thoughts and ordering them into some semblance of “awake” before I realized the disconnect in my mind. It was quiet, no shuffling doggie feet, no sniffing noises and no huge dog nose bumping into my face encouraging me to “get up daddy”. Thinking to myself that taking the woofs to the Hunde Hotel the previous day was such a great idea I shut my eyes for few more Zzzzz’s. Nope that wasn’t going to fly Fiona was up and rummaging about in the bathroom, as Fiona is not a quiet rummager it was time to bite the bullet and drag my carcass out of our lovely warm and still welcoming bed and GET UP!

We decided to forego breakfast for a couple of reasons, one being we had made a pack up for the journey which we would subsequently consume somewhere in the area of Frankfurt AM, another being we planned to eat a lovely meal on the ferry.

Showered dressed and last minute checks completed it was time to go… Departure was roughly half past nine which was a set off hour calculated to include traffic, lunch stop, pee breaks, fuel replenishment (only one needed) and leg stretches. Navigation on, engine start away we go to my favorite Brian Adams track (Too Hot to Handle) which sort of fits with Millie’s personality. We Were approximately ten minutes out when the completeness of our departure checks were revealed to be sub optimal (management speak for WRONG), where were the felties? They were sitting at home on the kitchen table NOT in the car enjoying the view through the windscreen, listening to the various Norse gods practicing percussion instruments at the rear of the car for the symphony/cacophony (depending on your viewpoint)to come later. Decision made we returned to retrieve the felties and so, once more we set off, this time it was 10:10 hrs. Great start team Malanka….Great start.

The journey through Switzerland to Basel is BORING! This is not the country in which to exercise even a fraction of the horses under Millie’s long expanse of bonnet. So cruise control it was and just settle into the comfy sports seats gripping every part of one’s body and just enjoy the ride and the stunning mountain vistas one can see from the A3.

The motorway post Basel after entering Germany is de restricted almost immediately, there are controlled sections with 100, 120 and 130kph limits but most of it to Frankfurt is Ohne Geschwindigkeit Controlle. Or as we call it FUN TIME… Once across the border it’s into “dynamic mode” which stiffens the suspension, steering response and also sharpens up the already quite amusing throttle response.

Once in dynamic mode the ambient lighting turns a deep alluring red, the dials change to race mode and the deployable airfoil at the back rises to add downforce to the rear wheels, once past 200kph it retracts down again to increase speed, whilst still providing 20% more downforce to the rear wheels.  So it was in this mode that we started our trek across Germany to the Dutch border 900km away.

We had wonderful fun utilizing the supercharger and Millies horses and Torques of which she has a rather silly number, this is all accompanied by the God like percussion band in the rear popping and crackling with over runs. All this is great fun and I must admit when she goes back to JLR in a couple of months I will miss it all.

We stopped for lunch near Frankfurt as this coincided with a leg stretch and pee break too. For those not familiar with the Autobahn, it now costs 70 Euro cents to pee in Germany. So we stopped and sat out in the lovely sunshine enjoying our sandwiches. With no fuss and no bother we were soon approaching Bonn near where we used to live so Fiona sent a quick picture to the Kids of the motorway signs near Mechenheim where we used to go shopping.  


When on a de restricted Autobahn this is about as close as I ever get to the back of the car in front, it reduces stress and increases reaction times.

With no further stresses we reached Rotterdam in time for the check in at 7 pm and then sailing at 22:15 and then we just waited onboard to start the final leg of our Journey to the wonderful Norfolk Broads, which captivated our hearts many years ago and still to this day raises anticipation to fever pitch.

This is Millie’s recollection of the journey to Koln.


After a lovely meal onboard Fiona and I briefly visited the bar for a beautifully chilled white I can’t quite remember the name of. For future reference it’s cheaper to buy the bottle than two large glasses and they will provide an ice bucket so one can retire to ones cabin!!

Wake up time is 05:30 UK time which deserves no other epithet than bloody silly O’clock. Waking is facilitated by loud whistling played through the PA to the tune of “don’t worry, be happy”.    Very annoying it is too, that tune is now for me forever ruined.

We disembarked with zero fuss, there were no late donkeys blocking everyone else in and then we quickly cleared immigration and customs and we admit to giggling to ourselves as the black Porsche with Romanian plates in front of us was pulled aside for a thorough going over.

We joined the A12 and A 140 and duly arrived in Stalham with no trials in time for breakfast of a meat pasty from Cawdrons on the high street.. Yummms. When we arrived at the boatyard Malanka was ready for us and she was looking absolutely magnificent in the morning sunlight. Phil’s guys had washed her to remove the “accumulation of stuff” that falls onto her in her Wet shed berth, and so post wash, she was all shiny and beautiful.


As I previously mentioned the luggage area is not large in Millie and so we had to unpack prior to shopping, a major disadvantage one might think but it did get us started with zero fuss and focused on our decision making. Whilst we were traversing Germany the previous day Christian had been conversing with Fiona by text, suggesting that he could come with us for a couple of days, so we of course sent him some texts when we arrived (silly O’clock remember!) and then we waited until he was awake to get any answers. Christian lives in Norwich, so after shopping and storing all the purchased items in their prescribed locations, arrangements were made to see Christian in Salhouse Broad later that day. Plans made we discussed “stuff” with Phil and duly departed at half past two on a bimble down the Ant and then to Salhouse to pick up Christian and perhaps stay for the evening.

We had the top down as the sun was beating down and the day was simply too good to miss and we were enjoying the newly serviced and smooth running engine and the resulting 3.5 mph pootling speed.  

We dawdled quite significantly as there was no need to rush and Christian duly met up with us at 18:00 in Salhouse, where we decided to have a brief walk, enjoy the evening and a lovely dinner before mudweighting later. After dinner we abandoned the idea of mudweighting as one couldn’t see ten feet, a sticky damp mist had formed which made moving anywhere a silly idea. Decision made we settled in to catch up with Christian where we learned he now had been made permanent by his employer after being taken on in October last year prior to the Christmas rush. There were another 300 or so who had not been so fortunate. It’s amazing that the next generation can communicate to friends from across the globe on three devices at once but it took a relaxing meal and the magic of Salhouse Broad for us to learn of his good fortune.  

After dinner with the mist hanging over everything like a soggy wooly blanket we decided to put on the Eber and warm things up a bit. Fiona activated the heating controls and we waited for the usual tick tick tick vvvrrrrrrr whhooosh vroooooom of the heating only to be a tad disappointed as there were some sounds emanating from beneath the wheelhouse boards but not the usual ones associated with a working Eber. Feeling for some airflow from the saloon heating vent there was, nothing, nichts, rein, nada, NOWT. We could hear noises but felt no heat, pondering this dichotomy I went into the wheelhouse to determine if any heat was issuing from the vent into the front cabin. I opened the door into the cabin to be met with a voluminous assault of pale blue diesel fumes pumping out of the vent into the cabin. “Bother dash it”, I said, “that’s not right”. Simultaneously to the assault by diesel fumes our resident CO alarm started to ping ping ping its raucus alarm note. We immediately turned off the heating and ventilated the entire boat until the alarm stopped telling us we were being poisoned. We fitted the CO alarm after our electrical fire of a few years ago, on this occasion there were no flames to discover or the need to deploy the fire extinguisher as in the previous encounter with a smoke filled boat.

Please readers of this Tale. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A CO ALARM PLEASE GET ONE IMMEDIATELY. It may save your life.

We cleared the boat of fumes, visible and invisible and determined that we would return to the boatyard tomorrow to see what the guys could find out. With that thought firmly in our minds we retired to Bedfordshire to reflect upon the day.

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Good Friday morning gently and calmly announced itself with a ballet of reflected sunshine dancing across the ceiling in our cabin, it was the most gentle of awakenings and a beautiful start to the day. Fiona and I had mixed feelings over the day to come, sadness that we had to say au revoir to Christian, but great pleasure in saying bonjour a little later to Charlie Dolphin who was going to join us for the Easter break. There was also some annoyance that we would be revisiting the Eber at the boatyard.

Salhouse broad was bathed in the most full glorious, not a cloud in the sky sunshine and it was time to get up and feed the browser who had announced his arrival the previous afternoon with the familiar sound of the fridge door opening and the immortal words, “what have you got in the fridge?” ringing in our ears. Such is the life of a parent methinks.

Soon the frying pan was sizzling to the sounds a major local happy pig products breakfast coming together. Oven bottom muffins prepared, bacon crisped, sausages browned to perfection and split up the middle the fully laden steaming muffin was delivered to the wheelhouse and the awaiting ravenous twenty something.

Christian wanted to be on his way back to Norwich mid-afternoon and I had agreed to take him in the car as this would be way more convenient that the train which he had used to get to Salhouse station the previous day. We had intended to drop him in Wroxham but as we had to go and revisit the heating that no longer made sense so a leisurely trip back up to Stalham it would be hopefully to meet with Charlie, this however wasn’t to go as planned.

We were receiving updates from Charlie and we soon saw that she had set off from her house which is nestled a beautiful village in Essex some 80 minutes or so up the A12. We planned to go shopping on Good Friday to pick up those essential things one forgets the first time one goes shopping for a weekend.

So fully fed, watered and content accompanied by Ken Bruce on Radio 2 we set off on our return to Stalham. The weather was breathtaking and so we had dropped the top prior to setting off and liberally applied sun screen to our exposed parts, or rather my exposed parts as both Christian and Fiona were still wrapped up like they were about to leave Captain Scotts tent for the last time.

We passed Ludham bridge in full sun and continued our bimble upriver.



After a most enjoyable bimble where I did eventually get to sit and let Christian helm, we arrived in Stalham where Phil had already contacted his boys and Roger set to investigating the heating.


We also at this point received a rather tragic update from the Dolphin by way of a picture.


Oh dear we thought, that doesn’t look good.

It turns out Charlie was having some car difficulty and had requested the assistance of a very nice AA man who was doing his best to fix it at the roadside within 30 minutes. Stuck on brake calipers freed up, she was soon on her way again. Well done the AA.

Whilst Charlie was wrestling with her rear brakes I took the opportunity to drop Christian, pick up Fiona, go shopping and return to await the arrival of the Dolphin.

We had planned to pop up to Coltishal on Good Friday evening however the late arrival of the cetacean meant we would not be in a good place for the river level and bridge height and of course the time taken to bimble all that way.  The sky was blue the sun was out and it was warm enough for shorts, what more can you want from April in Norfolk, other than to go somewhere else to enjoy the evening.

Roger quickly identified and then of course rectified what the issue with the heating which of course was water in the pipe from our near sinking experience in the shed before Christmas. He cleared it all and the heating worked perfectly.

We had a lovely trip down the Ant and down the bure and stopped eventually in Womack Water and dropped the mud weights, one over the bow and another identical one over the stern to make sure we didn’t get too friendly with the trees and adversely effect a pair of nesting Grebes close by.

Cruising down the Ant with the felties.


When we arrived in Womack there were no spaces available which had been discussed and anticipated due to the early evening arrival. In fact there were no spaces anywhere, not the dyke, the island nor the Staithe. Mudweighting seemed such a perfect solution.

Hence the mudweight.


We all had a very enjoyable evening, catching up sitting in the sunshine, listening to music, drinking some wine and deciding what to cook for dinner, we decided on steak in the end which was lovely, cooked in butter with garlic and some home-made twice cooked chips courtesy of the new cooker in the galley.  

Being April, the evening soon drew in quite chilly and we put up the top and closed the sides before all falling victim to the dreaded 9 o’clock I can’t be that tired sunny day in Norfolk impact.

Tomorrow we would head up to Coltishal.

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Great tale...more please!

Love the Felties:default_biggrin:

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Fab tale, we do need more! And loving the last pic- can see us moored on the staithe! Malanka looked amazing out on the water, and what brill weather too :27_sunglasses:

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I'll have to find the time to read through, although quickie.. Malanka is gorgeous,  I know we've seen her a couple of times and she's certainly a head turner.. I can see she's flying a Broom flag too :) Thanks for being her custodian and keeping her looking amazing.. The broads is so much more with these woodies. 

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Thank you you’re welcome. 



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Waking on Womack water in the sunshine is an heavenly experience, made even more heavenly by the canvas wheelhouse sides and the new curtains. The sun gently heats the wheelhouse and the curtains prevent the creation of a blisteringly hot greenhouse at 07:30 am. We awoke to more delightful cabin ceiling reflections and some quacking, some little tiny webbed feet padding up and down the cabin roof and some raucus quacks, followed by some more waddling. Fiona and I listened to this duck dance on the roof and both of us smiled, giggled then burst out laughing at the duck antics taking place above us.

Today was Easter Saturday and we were off to Coltishal, well off at some point as the bed was very warm and inviting and Fiona had nipped out to put the kettle on. After returning to snuggly duvet warmness Fiona remarked that we have a lovely new galley layout, a lovely new cooker with smoked glass lid and the grottiest whistling kettle possible. Charlie Dolphin had bought us this kettle (red with whistle) nearly 9 years ago when we first fitted out Malanka with plates, glasses and the usual stuff.

The poor thing had seen better days, the paint was chipped and the whistle was now more of a subdued warble than the shrill “oi water is hot dopey” one expects from a whistling kettle. With this debate held Fiona and I started a search to determine the kettle’s successor.

Whilst this debate had taken place the warble from the galley had gone unnoticed and so behind the galley curtain there were clouds of steam seeking escape via the open galley windows.

A while later tea had been made, and various happy local pig products consumed in an oven bottom muffin of course. It was time to leave.

Now leaving sounds like an easy thing and you would be correct, however we had placed a mudweight over the stern to prevent “swingage” (was the term used yesterday to justify said action). Removing the mudweight from the bow with the aid of the windlass was an easy thing. Removing the mudweight so delicately dangled from the stern the previous evening was a different prospect entirely.

Malanka’s mudweights weigh in at 25kg and when stuck fast, as the little darling over the stern most certainly was, they are immovable by hand. Engine power it was to be then.

Charlie moved to the helm position and she delicately moved the boat forwards for about 6 feet then nope not moving, definitely not moving, forget it sunshine we’re not moving.  Mud churning, mid-range revs from the 79hp bmc and still no we shall not be moved matey. Charlie angled the boat to the left and added some power and we moved a little, reversed the angle and again the same result, this time with bubbles. Success we were free. I hauled the miscreant mudweight on board in one final heave ho and deposited the disgustingly smelly muddy beast onto the deck onto a quickly deposited tea towel. Shoulders aching and hands burning I decided to deal with that smelly lump later when we arrived in Coltishal.

With such a beautiful day playing out in front of us of course it was top down and pootle to Wroxham.

So we pootled to horning, there was a little breeze but nothing to stop my shorts campaign from continuing.

Heading to Horning




The day was glorious quite warm out of the biting breeze and we made our way to Wroxham broad where we stopped the boat mid broad to permit me to dismast the boat and store the mast on the bow.

We measured the new airdraft with Phil and after the work done and all the new chines and planking she now sits 6ft 5 inches at the peak of the pulpit rail and just under 6ft 5 inches at the wheelhouse roof vents with the roof down. With the roof up she is just under 8 ft now also.

So mast removed and ducks and flowers on the floor of the wheelhouse we headed to the bridge.

The bridge was measuring just under 7ft as we were quite near the low water mark but we knew this would not be an issue, and so it proved.

The bridge cleared we headed up to Coltishal, aiming for the lock. After a very pleasant pootle upriver and after spotting three kingfishers we rounded the corner by the Rising Sun and headed for the lock.

We noticed that the river here was particularly low, which accounted for the current as we passed through the bridge which was quite signifcant. We were making no more than 3.0 mph and could clearly see the bottom. When we arrived at the the lock the water was so low that we made the decision that to avoid sitting on the jutting shelf that’s there overnight we would move back to the common and moor there. We returned to the common, spun in the river and approached the mooring against the flow, gently gliding into a stop. Charlie handled the bow line and I took care of the stern lines.

Sorted.. Time to relax and enjoy a glass of chilled rose.

During a lovely afternoon we met with Boaters who passed by to say hello and we had a lovely catch up with him. The felties also met a fox terrier and said hello to him too. After a lovely if somewhat warm afternoon it was soon shower time before dinner.



We were eating on tonight which was to be stuffed chicken breast with butter rice and green beans. The meal was lovely and the sunset simply amazing. The felties certainly enjoyed it.


Once again we had a beautiful day, the weather was as good as it gets in April and we were content. It was time for bed. When Fiona and I had arrived we had purchased three new DVDs fully intending to watch Bohemian Rhapsody at some point. Needless to say the weather was so unexpectedly nice we were failing to stay awake much past 9pm and so it proved again today.  

Tomorrow we would head down to Wroxham.

The day broke to more sunshine and the barometer falling off the high end of the scale, so it was going to be warm again, it would also later prove to be widy enough to trouble Doug of Brundle Navy fame but more about that later. (Sorry Doug……)

We had a lazy start to the day as we didn’t really intend to go very far and it wouldn’t take us all day to get to Salhouse where we intended to spend the evening. With that in mind we had breakfast several mugs of tea and turned on the immersion for one of the ladies to wash their hair.

The issue of the kettle came up again so we decided to replace the item with a brand new one in Wroxham later on.

We had an event free and slooooow bimble downriver, the main incident being application of spray sunscreen iin the wheelhouse, as with most things spray it went almost everywhere except on my forearms which were the intended target area. We were approaching two hours by the time we arrived in Worxham and moored up to the public moorings by the information centre. Charlie elected to stay with the boat so Fiona and I could go do our thing and go to Roys for more food and to find a new whistling kettle.

We looked in Roys but decided not to part with a kidney to purchase a new kettle and so we headed to Norfolk marine in the what we thought was a belated hope of finding something inexpensive in the kettle line that whistled.. Success as they had just the item required for the princely sum of 12 of her majesty’s pounds, it was even burgundy/red so it fitted in with the décor. A delighted spring in our steps we returned to the boat to find Charlie deep in conversation with Hele and Doug, we knew that Nipper had her bottom hanging out so it was something of a surprise to see Hele on the broads this weekend. Cutting a long story quite short, Hele wasn’t feeling 100% and so quick as a flash we said, “nothing planned this afternoon? Good let’s go for a trip on the river!”

The pair of them quickly agreed, who wouldn’t as it was a glorious day with strong sun beating down.

So doggies secured in the wheelhouse, drinkies refreshed all round we cast off and headed for the bridge.


We didn’t know it until a few hours later but a person unknown to us took a picture from the footbridge that later appeared on the BBC website celebrating the hottest day of the year so far. My brother in the US saw it and texted us a screenshot.


All very good fun as we made our way to Ranworth Island at a steady two donkey power to have a spot of lunch. A spot of lunch in an ad hoc situation like this is whatever we have in the fridge chucked on a tray with some nibbles…

Shortly after the bridge, I offered Doug the helm and he gladly accepted, where he stayed until we moored side on at Ranworth Island in a little bit of a tricky breeze.

We had a lovely chat bimbling down the river, Doug says he was impressed with Malanka’s handling which I have always liked but I don’t have much experience of other peoples woodies so I couldn’t comment. It’s smooth, easy and light to the touch, arent they all like that? Glossing over how many attempts we had to get moored up, all that matters is that eventually we did and we had a wonderful afternoon in the company of three great friends (five if you count the woofs). After lunch we returned Doug and Hele to Wroxham via a “drop and go” at the pilots station then we slowly headed back to Salhouse to drop the mudweight in a favourite spot out of the breeze and sit and watch the sun go down whilst we planned and cooked dinner.   

Lazing whilst dinner cooked itself.


Dinner was roast beef with roast potatoes, green beans and yorkshires with gravy…….



Dinner was amazing and the beef provided me with lunch for many successive days of medium rare roast beef sandwiches. We had a most wonderful day, Doug, Hele and Charlie all hopefully enjoying the trip down the river and some lovely company. Definitely something to do again sometime.

The next day we would have to say goodbye to Charlie Dolphin and drop her back in Stalham to pick up her car, so we were extra determined to have a good day before she left us.


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You didn’t tell me you had a winch for the mudweight, it felt like I had done 20 minutes in the gym by the time it was onboard.  Many thanks for the lovely trip on board it was just what Hele needed as she has been through a difficult few months lately.

No Martin not all woodies are as smooth as Malanka, try a trip on Royal Tudor sometime :default_hiding:

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Doug, she is a lot better now than she was coming from Martham, that was brute force and ignorance, since we replaced the cable she is a lot lighter to steer. but in marthams shed out of the water she was so hard to steer that I broke the cable.

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Hi Doug, you and Hele are both very welcome which I hope you know. It was a fun day.

Martin and Fiona 

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Today was the day that Charlie had to leave us and so it was with sadness that we dropped the canopy started the engine, applied sunscreen and headed back to Stalham to drop her in time for her to get home in good time for rest before school the next morning.

The trip through Horning and up the Ant was taken at a steady two donkeys as the journey wouldn’t take that long and we weren’t in a big rush. Fiona and I had decided to see what we could do with regard to a wild mooring later that night and so as we progressed up the Ant we were ticking off all our favourite wild moorings and seeing if the same boat was in there from when we came down on Friday. As usual johnny crows staithe was occupied by the same boat (again) which didn’t come as a huge surprise as this is now such a regular ocurrence. Arriving back in Salham in glorious sunshine, Fiona and I said goodbye to Charlie and then we headed off to Stalham for a spot of shopping.

Fresh supplies of coleslaw in the fridge, some more beer and wine in the storage area (secret) we were ready for the off. We said goodbye for a few more days to the guys in the yard and off we were. The plan was for Fiona and I to have a couple of days together and then for her to leave and go visit with Helena and Eliza in Stevenage. Therefore a wild mooring in the glorious afternoon sun was just what the doctor ordered and so we set off with a will to make it happen. Spring sunshine means a mooring on the downriver port side bank, even with all the tree thinning that has been done over the last few seasons.

We looked, we pootled and then we moored up in a glorious spot just upriver from Johnny Crows staithe (yes same boat was still there..)



Fiona and I sat back, read our books and had a little sipette or two of vino in the lovely afternnon and evening sun.


One negative aspect of this mooring was the speed which some boats used through this section, so a couple of times we were bobbing about like an apple in a barrel, so much so that I had to deploy floating fenders against the muddy bank to prevent us hitting it as huge white 45 feet long vessels surged past. After the third such episode, I then took to waving them down and asking them to slow down, some did, and some didn’t make eye contact and just kept going. As the afternoon turned into another fantastic Norfolk evening the frequency of passers by grew less and we could really relax into the evening.


We added some tunes to the ambience and just had the most marvellous evening together. As the sun set the temperature plunged and it was soon time to put the top up descend below, sit in the stern well seats and start dinner.

We were going to head back to Coltishal tomorrow so we retired early, said goodbye to the world and went to sleep to Silence… was amazing.

Coltishal was a good choice as Fiona would be leaving on Wednesday so it would be possible to moor up in Wroxham in the Wroxham Boat hire moorings and watch the world go by a bit later.

Our trip to Coltishal was super, the weather was again superb and we loved every minute of the trip up and back down again the following day. On returning to Wroxham we didn’t stop before the bridge we just went straight through, I dropped Fiona at the Boat hire mooring and pre-paid a mooring for later with the guys there and spent the day pootling about by myself before returning at 3pm or so to moor up. After a little bit of moving about we were settled in and relaxing watching the world go by. A special thank you to the guys at Wroxham boat hire for being so understanding and helping me with the canopy which is more than a one man job.


Charlie from BA and I had been texting for a few days due to the her maintenance period so I sent him a text inviting him for Fish and Chips from kens a little later in the day. He being a true Yorkshireman agreed, turned up and then bought me my supper. What a gent.

Charlie and I chatted for what seemd like 5 minutes but eventually at 11 pm he had to leave and I went to dispose of the trash whilst he went to his van to return to the shed.

These moorings in Wroxham are super, the guys there are super and very helpful and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay which will definitely not be my only visit there this summer.


The next day I was up and away for 9 am and I simply pootled to Salhouse to drop a mudweight to have some breakfast and chill whilst deciding what to do. I would be solo so no bridges for a while.

Fiona had sent me a text with this in the content.  


I thought that would be a good thing to particpate in and so I made that my goal for my last day floating.

After breakfast I bimbled over to Womack for some more mudweighting and relaxing. The hole thing was lovely, remembering at all times of course to have life jacket on when on deck, and maintaining three points of contact at all times and not rushing, and pulling the lines to the central position to facilitate mooring and learning that when solo you do everything, so my fitbit step count went through the roof the day Fiona left, I mean literally trippled. Just goes to show what she does when there.

For the rest of the week, I visited all our favourite spots including Acle bridge, Salhouse and all points in between.




And I even met a few old friends.



On the day of the Blackhorse celebration we even managed to make the EDP….



It was soon time to go and head home and it was at that point that reality sank back in on a dreary morning in Rotterdam.


I finally made it home after a silly ten hour journey where roads were closed and I had huge queues (Stau) and Umleitungen (diversions) up the wazoo.

I made it home tired but eager for my next boating fix.. The spring meet…See you there….

Apologies for the condensed version of the last five days but I simply ran out of time as I am now packing for the spring meet..


Salhouse morning duck.jpg

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Saw you go past on the Thursday morning heading out of Wroxham.


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Lol there is a speed machine on that corner now. Works wonders slowing down dayboats..

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OK people, confessions time. I spent a couple of weeks messing about on the old lady. After arriving in the UK in early July I spent three weekends floating. 

Had some great times with Bluebell, sorted out all the worlds issues till early doors. 

Took some lovely photos. 255B10AA-F9D5-40B0-961C-6F1EC768BF29.thumb.jpeg.854b804701d290bf06e6ae91a02386b3.jpegAll of which came to a crashing halt when I sliced the top of my left index finger clean through. 832CD3C0-835F-466C-A879-26795AB35ED2.thumb.jpeg.d8e7ac5ee10feb4f984a24ef939dae36.jpeg7B5F5B1A-6232-4F69-BFE7-4128F279E921.thumb.jpeg.88d9f2c225465addc1a358ff23283e2d.jpegA8FE8E1A-0176-4D3C-8E40-6893076A1EAA.thumb.jpeg.4aac66010e62238532f4015e44cd45c7.jpegA very kind neighbor saved the tip with some vet nurse compression dressing skills. 

Last time we floated was last weekend and we took both Airedale boys. 

8B0D75D8-7338-4727-83D7-DA288BC11AB5.thumb.jpeg.cdef2589c0e0c1f7fa5e7f513c1cc451.jpeg5645425C-BFE7-4CE8-BC0A-CDD1B08D4B26.thumb.jpeg.5f4f4a5c368473677a8cf9ef3ededf5b.jpegSaturday was great Sunday was wet wet wet. 

The weekend before floating we threw ourselves into the local culture and entered an amateur dog show. 

96EB32A5-B49B-4160-A94A-CE3E005846C3.thumb.jpeg.73ba5634a4a68e24d5c287dad125377c.jpegBoris got second place in the old gits category ( senior doggies) .


we are enjoying our new life in Suffolk and being close to the old lady. 

More tales and photos to come when we’ve done our October trip. 



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Looking forward to hearing about your October trip!


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Why did you slice your finger? Didn't you realise it would hurt?

Good to see you afloat again. We keep passing, but never long enough for anything other than a wave or thumbs up! Glad you're settled back in Blighty, you might get even more floaty time next year.

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Whoops! That looks nasty, you didn’t say how you managed to do that, I am assuming in the galley? 

Great pictures!

Sorry not around at the weekend, hoping to be out and about in a week or two, subject to shore based admiral’s list of things to do ☹️

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