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I Keep Hearing Symphonies Before All I Heard Was Silence

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With apologies to the Clean Bandit song, which seems appropriate under the circumstances, here is my tale of a week aboard Silver Symphony from the 22nd June 2018 

Friday 22nd June

Unlike the trip to the Broads last month where I travelled down by train, this time my journey from darkest Yorkshire is by car so all the “necessities” will be accompanying me. So non-stick frying pan packed “tick”. I set off at 7.30am and after a pretty uneventful journey including en-route stops at McDonalds and Morrisons in Norwich, I arrived in Brundall around 12.30. I had called Silverline earlier in the week so I was aware I was too early to take over Silver Symphony. So I had lunch in the Yare (The pub not the river). This is one pub Doreen and I visited every time we were in Brundall so over the years we must have been in there for a meal around 50 times since 1973. That’s possibly more regular that some regulars! I plumped for the Chicken Pieces in Batter, which was very nice.


Soon after it was time to make my way to the yard. I was their first arrival, which was pleasing as I wanted to be out on the river a.s.a.p. to head for Reedham, which I considered might be busy on a Friday evening – a boat hand back day. As I stepped aboard Symphony I couldn’t help but remember the last time I was on her was a wholly happier affair with Doreen two years ago. We had a great fortnight then and I was wondering how I would fill a week on my own. It was a windy day and memories of my trip last month on Brinks Jazz reminded me how difficult solo sailing can be in those conditions. Colin, the yard owner asked me where I intended to stop for the first night. When I said Reedham, he advised against it as the wind would be driving down the moorings. I told him I needed to be in Reedham tonight or risk not getting to Yarmouth early tomorrow. I said I would be fine (not sure I believed it though!).


So all loaded up and hand-over completed I tentatively made my way out of the yard and down the dyke to the freedom of the River Yare. Eventually, first the chain ferry, then that large pyramid shaped crane passed me by before the quayside at Reedham came into view. The moorings were quite full but there was still enough room for around 3 more boats so I settled for a space just after the Lord Nelson’s own moorings. The tide was flowing in so the manoeuvre was straight forward, approaching slowly and allowing the “stream” to push the boat to a halt alongside. I ran out of the door, gripping the rope as I went by and secured it around the forward mooring post. The current was keeping the back of the boat alongside, so there was no panic to get to it before it careered out into the river. So all tied up, I went back on-board and realised that the wind had dropped to a breeze and that’s why there had been no mooring shenanigans. I was grateful that I had hired a boat which I was familiar with.  As I had already eaten “out”, I set about making myself a sandwich for the evening before popping out to The Ship for a pint and to read my paper. I only stayed for an hour or so as I wanted to get back for a “relatively” early night. Tomorrow was going to be quite hectic and involved another daft o-clock (for a holiday) rise. More on that tomorrow.



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Thanks for all the comments and likes. It's good to know people are reading it. 

Saturday 23rd June. Sorry – this is a long one.

 The alarm clock awoke me at 6.45am (what?) Today’s list of events included launching the drone to get aerial views of Reedham, a cruise down to Yarmouth, a train journey to Wroxham via Norwich and a viewing of Goosander, a syndicate boat. Now you know why I was up at 6.45am! Bleary eyed, I put the kettle on so I could at least have a cup of tea before I launched the drone. By 7.15am, I was down The Ship end, pleased that nobody else was about. The drone was sent on its way probably oblivious to my heart being in my mouth. It did its thing then returned back to me on command. The aerial views of Reedham below have come out well so the early start was justified.

I made my way back to the boat where my thoughts turned to breakfast. There would be no time for a fry-up as I needed to get underway by 8.45am. So the compromise was a bacon sandwich, which turned out to be more than just a consolation prize. Soon it was time to leave. There was very little wind and the tide was slowly ebbing so a quick burst on the bow thruster was all that was needed to get me mid-stream. My train from Yarmouth was at 10.41 so in order to give time to get to the station and to buy a ticket, I considered an arrival at the Yacht Station anytime before 10.15am would be good. However, I did not want to arrive before 10am in the event I may be charged twice – once up to 10am and then from 10am. Probably unlikely but I was not going to take chances, so I had a 15 minute window for a comfortable arrival. So the journey down was just trying to guess the correct speed to arrive in my “comfort window”. By the time I got to Breydon, I thought I should open the throttle a little and according to the on-board gps, we were doing around 9mph. As Breydon Bridge came into sight I called the Yacht Station to check I had enough room to get under the bridges and to ask for assistance  with mooring. Symphony needs 6ft 8in clearance under the bridges and at the head of Breydon, the height gauge was reading 6ft 6in, so I thought I had better ask the question. The attendant told me there was currently over 9 feet of clearance so clearly the gauge at the start of Breydon is incorrect. I advised my position and that I expected to be at the Yacht Station in around 15 minutes – which I duly was. I was alongside, ropes professionally tied by 10.15am.

So no time to waste as I needed to make my way to the train station. Thankfully there was no queue for tickets and I was sat on the train ready to depart with 10 minutes to spare. The train in question is that combination of diesel loco– three carriages – diesel loco. I have seen it many times before but riding it was a first. I have pictured it below for reference but would love to know (and I am sure this has been asked before but I cannot remember the answer) why does such a short train require two massive engines? I assumed one of them would detach and have many more carriages attached at Norwich before it went somewhere more exotic but that did not happen – it just returned to Yarmouth. Surely it’s not that in the absence of a multiple unit railcar, a loco is needed at each end to avoid uncoupling and moving to the opposite end at Norwich? Surely it’s cheaper to operate a diesel multiple unit than to keep these monsters guzzling fuel all day long? Having said all that, it was a really interesting ride, plenty of acceleration where needed and comfortable coaches!

At Norwich I had a 30 minute connection for Wroxham, in which I arranged to call Dawn, the lady whose share in Goosander was for sale. She had volunteered to collect me from Wroxham Station and bring me to Goosander in Horning, as the likelihood of getting a taxi at that time of the day was pretty slim. So I called but there was no answer – it went to voicemail. No problem, I thought I would try again when about to board the train. Again no answer so I left a message saying what time I would get to Wroxham. I expected a call back at any time but it did not happen. I ended up stood on Wroxham Station forecourt hoping vainly that someone would be looking for me (perhaps with a little card with my name on like at the airport?) Anyway, no card and no reception committee! I called the number again but got the same result. I thought what should I do now? This could be awkward. Anyway, I thought I should attempt to get a taxi and make my way to Boulters in Horning, where Goosander lives. Dawn and her husband had arranged to meet some other people there between 10 and 12 midday so they should be on-site. There was a list of taxi numbers at the station so I set about calling them. The first did not reply – theme developing. The second did answer and said he could be with me in 15 minutes, which I accepted. No sooner had I finished the call, than a text flashed up from Dawn saying that she had missed my call and that when she tried to call me back I was engaged. Was this developing into a situation comedy? Where’s Rodney? I called her back and this time she answered. She had listened to my voicemail and was en-route to the station. Apparently the oft mentioned Horning data black-hole was to blame. I frantically called the taxi man back to avoid him having a wasted journey within 20 minutes I had been picked up and was now sitting comfortably on Goosander. Well, I was not going to let on so early but yes, a deal was going to be done. She is a lovely boat and has been kitted out with several features which assist the humble solo sailor. It has a reverse view video screen – you know what I mean. It has a centre cleat making it easier to secure the boat when mooring and of course in has bow-thrusters. So soon enough, I was being transported back to Wroxham where I could withdraw a £300 holding deposit with a view to paying the rest when I got home. Job done! So after a celebratory McFlurry in McDonalds, I made my way back to the station for the return journey to Norwich where my carriage (and two great thumping diesels) awaited me.

I got back to the boat around 5pm and just chilled out (warmed down in football speak) until around 6.00pm. I had planned to fly the drone at this time to take images over the Yacht Station area. Pleased to say it went without a hitch and some of the results are shown below.  Straight after, I visited the Kings Arms. I sat in the beer gardens at the back – it had been a hot day. I ordered the cottage pie which was delightful. It came with lots of gravy and various vegetables. By 8pm I was done and made my way back to the boat for the rest of the evening. What a day! 




That train





Yarmouth Yacht STation



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Well done David on another great read and aerial photography, congratulations on Goosander I'm sure Doreen would have approved of your decision, hope you have many happy adventures on her. Look forward to hearing about them.

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Super pictures again, I like this drone idea!

Somewhere recently I have read about ‘that train’ and why it has two diesels. It is something to do with the issues of push/pull locos and what they can and can’t do. Now that is all very vague I know but hopefully someone will be able to expand on that. In the meantime I will try and find the explanation again.

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I know when I went on a local (to me) narrow gauge railway they had 2 locos, and the reason was to do with the couplings, due to the type of coupling the loco could not push the train, only pull it, so a second engine was needed to reverse the train, running from a terminus like Norwich, you would need two locos in this situation.

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3 minutes ago, grendel said:

I know when I went on a local (to me) narrow gauge railway they had 2 locos, and the reason was to do with the couplings, due to the type of coupling the loco could not push the train, only pull it, so a second engine was needed to reverse the train, running from a terminus like Norwich, you would need two locos in this situation.

That sounds very similar to the bit I came across recently, which I am now unable to find! This could be the answer to your question David. 

By the way, congratulations on your Goosander share purchase. 

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Thanks everyone and to Shemaha for mentioning Doreen. Regarding the train, you are probably right about the locos not being able to push but when you feel and hear the power of these engines, and the amount of fuel they must use, you would think it would be more economical for the rail company to hire the rail car trains which can obviously drive in either direction.   More tomorrow now.

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Sunday 24th June

Another 06.45am start as I wanted to fly the drone again, this time over Breydon. So after an awakening cuppa, I made my way past the train station and onto the footpath overlooking Breydon. As it was a Sunday, nobody was in the Asda car park so I had the area to myself. I sent the drone out to do its thing, noticing that the local seagulls were kicking up a right fuss. They were flying around the drone – thankfully they kept their distance. Clearly, the drone was on their patch and they sent up their big guns to escort it out of their airspace. Anyway, I got the images which I have included below. Then it was back to the boat for my first fry up breakfast of the holiday. First I needed to shave and just as I completed the task, the electric shaver started to make a fizzing sound and eventually gave up the ghost. No problem, I can always wet shave and I thought I would see what I could buy at my next overnight stop, which was going to be Potter Heigham, with a lunch break at Stokesby. Now England were playing Panama at 1pm and it was clear that everyone would be making for a mooring in time to watch the football so I thought it wise to arrive at Stokesby before midday. I could see two spaces available on the grass bank as I approached so I quickly bagged one, to be followed swiftly by a wonderful looking restored woody (pictured below). Within 15 minutes all the moorings were taken and indeed for the next hour you could see boats of all shapes and sizes fluttering around like bees returning to their hive and finding someone had blocked the entrance. As kick-off time approached, the speed of the passing craft increased in desperation to find somewhere to stop. I opted to watch the match on-board. Soon after it ended, I was on my way again towards Potter Heigham, arriving around 5pm. I made a pigs ear of the mooring though. I spied a single space on the bank opposite Herbert Woods and though the tide was flowing out, I decided to carry on to the bridge to turn as there was a fair breeze pushing me on. I thought it best to allow the breeze to act as my brake. I nosed into the space and of course the wind dropped and the current carried me around. At that moment, the occupants of the next boat offered their assistance to get Symphony alongside the bank. I thanked them then slunk back inside telling myself I had it covered anyway! (all men know this is true).  Unfortunately, Lathams had closed at 4pm so I would have to wait until the morning to purchase the shaving apparatus.

I noticed that the sun was shining in just the right direction to get some aerial images so at 6pm I went out with the drone again, and again some of the results are shown below. Then it was back to the boat until around 7.30pm, when it was time for some food at the Norada, which I had also visited five weeks ago. It was a lot busier today, as you would expect with the lovely weather. Families were sat outside and it really did make it a place you wanted to spend time at. Walking inside however, is like walking into a huge black tent. It is so dark until your eyes adjust to the light levels. I opted to sit outside with the families having ordered chicken strips (goujons if you want to be posh). It came with chips in a miniature frying basket – they couldn’t fool me – it had seen no action, and a side salad. The waiting staff were attentive and the meal was enjoyable. I stayed until around 9pm before returning to Symphony for the night.




Looking down over the two bridges


HW at Potter. Just lies the colour of the boat. Its taken from the footbridge in the yard.


Potter taken from the other footbridge


Stokesby. Sorry it's out of order


Aerial over Potter




The artistic shot


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On 02/07/2018 at 15:07, vanessan said:

That sounds very similar to the bit I came across recently, which I am now unable to find! This could be the answer to your question David. 

I think that came from me, but I can't remember what the thread was!

Both Yarmouth and Lowestoft stations have had almost all of their old track layout lifted out, so there are no longer any cross-overs to allow a loco arriving to "run round" its train, and head back the other way.

The three coaches (unlike those on the Norwich to London trains) are not fitted out for "push - pull" working, with a driver's cab at the other end, so you have to have a loco at each end to operate the train. Why both locos have to be running and pulling, at the same time, I don't know. But it is great fun to see them go past at high speed!

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