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Goosander? No - Gooseandhim!


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Saturday 6th October

After a pretty uneventful journey down from Leeds, I arrived in Horning around 12.15pm. I am a Leeds United fan and my team was on Sky at 12.30pm so instead of heading for the boat, I made straight for the New Inn to see if they were screening the game. The lady barmaid told me that none of the pubs in Horning screened Sky Sports so I climbed back in the driver’s seat and ten minutes later was in Roys car park – the one next to the DIY department. A remember seeing televised games in the Kings Head in the past so this was my target. Sure enough LUFC v Brentford was on the screen so I settled down with a drink to watch. At half time I ordered the steak sandwich, salad and chips from the menu which did not disappoint. I just wish they had used a baguette rather than bread slices as they tend to get soggy with the contents. By 2.20pm the match was over and as not everyone is a football fan, I will suffice to say – we were robbed!


 So after a little shopping in Roys supermarket, I returned to the car and drove on to meet Goosander, a syndicate boat, for a more intimate look than the 15 minute speed date I had with her back in June. She is moored at Boulters in Horning and as the weather was not good, squally winds and rain, I decided I would stay put for the night. So Goosander and I got to know each other over that first night. As is usual on a new boat, you cannot find anything. It did not help that I was stowing things away in cupboards and then not being able to find them again. I knew I had brought it – just could not remember where I put it! Goosander had a multitude of cupboards and drawers so as I was searching for things I had stowed, I was coming across all manner of treasures.  One such cupboard houses a stack of DVD’s for my listening pleasure, some films, books to read, a sewing kit, fly swats, fly spray and a first aid kit. Other cupboards did not disappoint but more on those later. It really did seems as though someone had thought of all these things before and had left them on the boat for all to use. I knew that the New Inn had a band on this evening so I walked down and spent a couple of hours being entertained by a folk trio. By 10pm I was heading back, in pitch black darkness at times, so the trusty torch was a necessity. On it’s home mooring, Goosander is hooked up to an electricity supply and what better way to keep warm in the squally weather than to plug in the oil filled electric radiator which I found in another cupboard just in-front of the helm. I read for a while then retired. Tomorrow was going to see mine and Goosander’s maiden voyage together.

Wroxham 1.jpg

Wroxham from the Bridge

Wroxham 2.jpg

And again

Norwich 1.jpg

This view of Pulls Ferry was taken 3 weeks earlier on the occasion of Goosanders Annual Meeting but thought I would include it here as I like it!

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Sunday 7th October

It was Sunday so a cooked breakfast was warranted. Goosander does not have a microwave which made the procedure a little more challenging  as it means everything has to be cooked on the small 4 ring hob. In practice, once you place the frying pan, you only really have one ring spare. So the egg was fried first then placed between two plates which had to be warmed first using hot water. Then the sausage, bacon and beans were cooked. Somehow it all came together and as we all know a fry-up on the water always tastes better than at home. The wind was still so I decided to get the drone out for some better images than I managed to get earlier in the summer. This was the first of four launches, the others being Acle, St Olaves and Oulton Broad. All went successfully.

 Now it was time to set sail for unknown lands and legends – alright Ludham Bridge. Not being used to electric hook-ups, I worried that I would slip the moorings, forgetting the cable was still attached and proceed down the dyke with the electric pillar floating behind me. So I made a laminated sign reminding me to stow the cable, and hung it around the throttle lever. The sight of bright orange cable right next to the mooring ropes was probably another reminder but I was not taking any chances. Anyway, the adventure began as I left the dyke and cruised on down the Bure. The wind and rain of yesterday had passed and the sun was shining. In what seemed like no time at all, I was proceeding up the River Ant wondering if I would get a mooring the other side of the bridge. October is noticeably quieter than June and I had a choice of mooring locations so chose the left bank in what was the first available space after the bridge. This first mooring was OK but could have been better. You really have to turn the wheel a great distance to register a change of direction and as such Goosander met the bank a little more forcefully than I would have liked. No harm done though.

Ludham Bridge is a favourite mooring for me as I like all the comings and goings at the bridge. I noticed a hire cruiser hovering near to an adjacent space but not committing and then passing under the bridge. A few minutes later, he was back and heading at 90 degrees for the space. I stepped out and helped them alongside. Mrs helm told me they were desperate to moor at Ludham Bridge as they were meeting their sons but did not fancy the manoeuvre being fresh out of Richardsons the day before. I spent a couple of hours there before retracing me steps back under the bridge and onto the Bure once more. I wanted to be in Yarmouth tomorrow so I thought an overnight in Acle would be just the job. As I approached  I could see that there was just one space left on the left bank before the bridge. Not wanting to pay £10 for the privilege of tying up outside either Pedros or the Bridge Inn, I made a sweeping turn and came alongside the last space perfectly. That did a lot for my confidence in piloting this “new to me“  boat. I planned to eat at the Bridge Inn and remembered  the last time I was there, also on a Sunday in June, I was lucky to get a table so I called in to book for 7pm. I need not have bothered as the restaurant had just 3 tables occupied as I entered. I had the Steak and Ale pie, which was good. No room for dessert! Then it was back to the boat to watch the first episode of Killing Eve, which I had downloaded to my laptop before I came away, and then to bed.

Ludham Bridge


Goosander at Ludham Bridge


Some would say - a rose between two thorns


Next three are all drone shots of the Ferry Inn area of Horning




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Yes Jean, October was noticeably quieter - much easier to get a mooring. I think June is possibly the last month before the school holidays where you can still find space, though you do need to stop before 4pm. I like June though because of the extra long daylight hours. I have a week in July next year on Goosander (before the kids break up) so that will be an education.

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4 minutes ago, YnysMon said:

Lovely! Mind you, I would have cooked the egg last...just a personal preference.

Yes, but then you have to discard the oil in the frying pan and possibly clean it because it's dirty with the bacon and sausages,  and start again with clean oil - wait for that to get hot before placing the egg - whilst somehow having to keep the rest of the fry-up hot. No win either way!

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9 minutes ago, DAVIDH said:

Yes, but then you have to discard the oil in the frying pan and possibly clean it because it's dirty with the bacon and sausages,  and start again with clean oil - wait for that to get hot before placing the egg. No win either way!

You can have a full English without using a large frying pan. Grill the sausages, bacon, tomatoes, and mushrooms, poach or scramble the egg, and have toast instead of fried bread. Much more healthy, and good for cholestarol levels.

Lovely write up so far David, thanks for posting it.

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At home I’ve got into the habit of wiping out the pan after frying everything else and using oil to fry the eggs that I then store in a jar for next time. Not so practical on a boat though, which is why I tend  to scramble the eggs.

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Monday 8th October

The sun was shining through the curtains as the alarm went off, which was a good sign I would be able to launch the drone again. First, down to breakfast. Having had the trad breakfast thing yesterday, and as I wanted to set off for Yarmouth around 9am, I opted for Hawaiian Granola. It’s made by Mornflake  and is my favourite cereal. It tastes so good I am sure it must contain lots of sugar and other bad for me ingredients. But I have not checked the side of the packet, and if I have not checked the side of the packet, then I can live in blissful ignorance. So the best place to launch the drone was just outside the now disused shop. My heart is always in my mouth when I fly it as I have read many other stories of drone flyers where, like the Charlie Drake song about a  boomerang – they don’t always come back. So a quick circuit either side of the bridge was completed and “though I am not allowed to tell you how many aircraft took off, I counted them all out and I counted them all back again”. Sorry, that will only make sense to those who remember the Falklands war. The tide was rising and had been pretty high the previous night so it was important I set off around 9am just in case I needed to pass under the bridges at Yarmouth to turn around before mooring.

I have mentioned before that I like mooring at Yarmouth. It’s a little adventurous with the tides and the large rise and fall, and the sight of the odd fishing boat makes it feel like a departure from the norm of the Broads. But this would be the first time aboard Goosander, of which I own just one twelfth (I always point it out as the bit at the front if anyone asks), so I need to take care not just for me but for others too. I called the Yacht Station on approaching the old Marina building, asking for assistance with mooring as I am single handed. They told me I would need to turn before the bridges as there was not enough clearance and asked which boat I was on. The chances of them recalling what the shape and height a private boat called Goosander was, I surmised was nil. So having thought of this problem in advance, I told them it was similar to Swan Reflection so they could look out for me. On approaching  the moorings, I could see that there was actually 8 foot of clearance – Goosander needs 7  foot. Still there was no need to pass under the bridges as the tide was ebbing at a slow rate and with ease, I turned into the current and came alongside just next to the electric post. All tied up and secure for the night, I put the kettle on for a calming cuppa. Suitably calmed, I decided to hook up to the electric post. At first the lead would not reach but with a little bit of manoeuvring assistance from one of the rangers, we were in the optimal position. The ranger chap joked that he had only performed his mooring duties five times that morning and three of those were for my boat!

Off I went for the walk into town. It was a lovely sunny day so after the regulation Yarmouth chips and a coffee  at McDonalds, I decided I would walk along the seafront as far as the Wellington Pier then cut through the streets until I collided with the riverside  as I had not visited the port area for years. It was a long walk but I did manage to get close to the river and view a few ships which were in port. By around 4pm, I was back on board, feet aching and ready for a spot of relaxation. As it was close to low tide, quite a few hire craft were passing through, which made it interesting. My evening meal was at the Kings Arms, which I had visited earlier in the year and liked. I had the cottage pie, which I can heartily recommend and stayed for around 90 minutes before returning to the boat. It was getting cooler in the evenings so the electric hook up was most welcome. I had brought a small fan heater and I discovered a free standing oil heater in one of the cupboards, both of which were employed that evening. Watched part two of Killing Eve. I was already hooked from the first episode. She (the assassin) is such a blend of opposing qualities. She is pretty, feminine and has a lovely smile but is ruthless, unfeeling and ready to put a knife in your back soon as look at you. I have parts three and four downloaded to watch on subsequent nights.

The docks at Yarmouth



Yarmouth Yacht Station


Bridgecraft from the air


Broads Boating Company premises in the background


Sure nobody needs telling this is the Bridge Inn at Acle


The view up river from at Acle



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YnysMon, currently the Hawaiian Granola is on special offer at £1 per packet in Morrisons. It's always a little cheaper than other makes of granola but when Morrisons have this offer on, which seems to be quite often, I buy lots of packets because they have a long best before date. As for Yarmouth, we (my wife and I) have always called twice - out and back - on every holiday we have been on since 1973. Always found the place fascinating and a little adventurous. 

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1 minute ago, Broads01 said:

I always enjoy your writing and photos David. The week you were aboard seems a good Autumn week to get in the draw. Was that good luck or did you swap with someone? 

No just the luck of the draw. The weather changed for the better the day after i arrived and kept up right to the start of the high winds on the following Friday. 

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Tuesday 7th October

Another early start as the tides are rising. I had envisaged a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea before setting off but a conversation with one  of the rangers saved a few extra millilitres of Cholesterol from slushing around my veins. The height board was showing 7ft 9inches so I asked him how long I would have before it rose enough to block my passage and was told to go now! So I quickly packed up, detached the shore power cable and all but two of the ropes. The ranger let the tide swing the boat around to face the bridge and then I was away. Breydon was quiet with no passing boats and at an average speed of around 8mph I soon arrived at Burgh Castle where I decided I would stop for breakfast. By this time the flow was slowing right down so as the 24 hour free moorings were closed, I came alongside at the Fishermans moorings. It seemed wild , almost on the edge of civilisation. The arrival of a famous dark blue police telephone box would not have looked out of place. It was chilly so I went back onboard to make myself another cereal breakfast as the taste for bacon had passed.

After about 30 minutes I was back on my way for a stop at St Olaves. People often talk about the barren country between Stracey Arms and Yarmouth but the stretch between Burgh Castle and St Olaves can easily rival that. Not much to see then until the sight of the crane’s jib which pierces the sky just before happening upon St Olaves. That crane always intrigues me as it was obviously just left where it stands to rot. It looks to be in an area surrounded by reeds now so is lost to any sort of recovery. Later I will fly the drone over the area to get an impression of the boatyards that used to line the river at this point. There is just one small cabin cruiser at the free 24 hour moorings so I have lots of space to moor up towards the end facing the bridge. My plan is to stay here for lunch then move on to Oulton Broad for the night. As it’s so quiet, I decided to launch the drone before any other boats arrive. The flight is good but it’s a little breezy so although I headed for the crane area, I didn’t get as close to it as I would have liked. Still, the images are pretty revealing as you will see below. I have always liked these moorings and can remember many overnight stays where the sun sets in the direction I have just come from. With the fast flowing (at times) river beneath you, it really takes you back to how it must have felt before the arrival of the hire industry. After lunch I decided to use the drone again, this time from outside the Bell Inn to view the other side of the bridge. All went well until I realised on the way back to Goosander that I had not replaced the SD card in the drone after transferring the earlier images to my laptop. STUPID BOY! So back out to do the same flight with an SD card this time. I thought I am just asking for trouble here and something will go wrong, but it passed without event.

It had been necessary to turn Goosander to moor against the tide when I arrived but by now, the tide had turned and with the aid of the front rope, I allowed the stern to swing around so I was once more heading into the stream. Then I was off towards Oulton Broad. Enroute, at Somerleyton I saw what was obviously the Lads Week flotilla moored up so having never met any of them before, I decided to moor up and present myself! I recognised Charlie so approached him first. He made me very welcome, introduced me to the crews – too many names to remember but I recognised the Wizzard from an earlier photograph, Robin who was busy playing Battleships and I spoke with Grendel whilst viewing the micro version of Broad Ambition, before inspecting it’s bigger brother. Thanks Charlie for your hospitality. All four of their boats then departed in one direction, which was my cue to depart in the other. Occupants of the only other boat on the moorings shouted to me as I left “was it something we said?”

I finally entered Oulton Broad around 3pm and was in a quandary as to whether to moor outside the Wherry with it’s better view or at the Yacht Station with it’s security. As there were no other boats outside the Wherry, I opted for the Yacht Station. I try to avoid moorings where you are packed in like sardines so as I rounded the outer pier I was pleased to see I could moor stern on close to but not on the floating jetty. That meant nobody would try to moor that side and the other side was a decent six feet from the next boat, plus I could still see out through the entrance to the Broad. All settled, I walked to the Wherry for my evening meal. It was of course the carvery for me. I even went for the two course option to include a dessert. I was properly stuffed by the time I returned. I noticed that the sun was setting over the Oulton Dyke end of the Broad and that this would be a good time to fly the drone as if I left it until the morning, the sun would be shining right at me. So I took up a position in Nicholas Everitt Park, close to the Broad and got the pictures you see below. After that I returned and stayed on the boat for the rest of the evening. Time to catch up with Killing Eve and some other programmes I had previously downloaded to my laptop.

NOTE: The Oulton Broad drone images will be in tomorrow’s installment as there are enough photos already for today.

St Olaves looking away from the bridge

St Olaves1.jpg

The bridge

St Olaves2.jpg

Still St Olaves  but from the other side of the bridge

St Olaves3.jpg

The derelict boatyard area I was talking about. The crane can just be seen in the distance. If you enlarge the image by clicking on it then clicking the plus sign on the curser, you can see many abandoned hulls and boat tops.

St Olaves4.jpg

St Olaves5.jpg

Oulton Broad


His and hers?



Seen better days


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