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Mouldy

A (sort Of) Voyage Of Discovery

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Saturday 17thNovember

 

When we bought into the Moonlight Shadow syndicate, our first allocated week, which had been drawn at the AGM in 2017, was due to be in February next year.  The wife and I felt a bit like children who had been given Christmas presents and told we couldn’t open them until June. However, at the AGM in October, we managed secured an unwanted week, but due to holiday restrictions at work, was only effectively (for us) a long weekend commencing 17th November, which gave us the opportunity of experiencing the boat for ourselves. 

I had been anxiously watching the weather forecast on the BBC to see what was in store for us weather-wise and much to my amazement, it was looking promising for Saturday and Sunday at least, so with the car packed, we left our house at about 08:40 on Saturday morning.  The weather was grey and gloomy, not the bright sunshine that had been forecast, but we were heading for The Broads and our first trip on the boat we had a share in, which made up for it. 

I was in two minds about the route – with roadworks expected to last until 2022, on the M1 from Junction 15 to 13 and works in progress on the A14 between Huntingdon and Cambridge, I had pondered which would cause the least problems.  

I chose to go A45 to Thrapston, then the A14 and was making good progress until just before the junction with the A1, when the overhead gantry signs warned of the closure of the A14 between Junctions 26 and 29.  I was not best pleased, so turned right onto the A1 to Eaton Socon, before turning onto the A428.  All was going well until we hit traffic that had been diverted off the A14 by the closure. The sat-nav came up with an alternative route, which it said would save me a lot of time, so I followed it through some unfamiliar lanes and eventually came back out on the A428 and familiar territory.  

The diversion had cost us about half an hour, but the predicted eta on the TomTom was still 11:30, so not too bad.  My mood was improving with the weather, which was becoming ever better the nearer we got to Norwich.  The rest of the journey passed without further delay or incident and we arrived at the boatyard pretty much on time and in bright sunshine, just as forecast.

Having viewed Moonlight Shadow in August, we knew where she was moored, so drove to her berth and tried our keys for the first time.  We let ourselves in and had a look round – all was clean and tidy, ready for our arrival. We were met a few minutes later by the representative from BCBM, who officially showed us round, pointed out a few bits and pieces, but realising that we had hired many times previously didn’t go into unnecessary details.  We were quickly signed off and we were left to get on with unloading the car and preparing to start our first cruise.

The wife sent me to the Co-Op to get a couple of breakfast essentials for the following morning and I called into the chippy in Brundall for some lunch, whilst she made up the bed unpacked our clothes.  I drove back to the berth, parked the car and we had our fish and chips (which were very tasty indeed), before starting the engine and casting off.

I have always been careful with every hire boat we’ve been on in the past, but was doubly cautious as I went astern, knowing that it was I was at the helm of a craft that was jointly owned by our fellow syndicate members and us.  Realising that it would be dark by about 16:00, in bright sunshine we turned towards Coldham Hall and set off for a comparatively short trip to our overnight stop at The Ferry House, Surlingham, where I had booked a mooring and a table for dinner.

We turned off the Yare and across Bargate, before re-joining the main river towards Bramerton. Despite the lateness of our visit, there were still some leaves clinging to the trees, creating some wonderful colours on either side of the river.  The river levels seemed quite low, a fact born out by something we witnessed on Sunday afternoon.

There were a few private boats about, but not many as we headed up to Bramerton Common, before turning round and finding our mooring at The Ferry House, right by an electric post. I checked, but there was no credit on it and was advised by someone on a nearby craft that the cards were available from the pub and that the BA cards didn’t work in them.  I went in and bought one, before hooking up the cables, setting up the aerial and settling down to watch some TV.  It was getting quite cold, so we were grateful that the heating fired up and soon warmed the inside of the boat through.

I broke out the camera and took a few photos as the sun began to set.  We have visited The Broads for years, but usually during late April, May, June, September or early October. The mainly bare branches of the trees and shrubs in the light of the setting sun revealed views that we had not previously experienced.  The traffic problems that had blighted the early part of our journey seemed a million miles away as the sun disappeared and I went back inside Moonlight Shadow to resume watching the TV until it was time for dinner.

We went to the pub shortly before 19:00 and once seated at our table, made our choices from the menu – prawn cocktail for the wife and whitebait to start for me, followed by lasagne, chips and side salad for each of us for the main course.  As usual, the portions were generous and tasty, so much so that neither of us could manage a dessert.

We finished our drinks and returned to the boat to watch TV a little longer before having a hot drink and going to bed, tired , happy and looking forward to the adventure continuing on Sunday.

 

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Edited by Mouldy
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Hi M, 

Glad you've had your first taster on the best boat on the broads.

Do you know I've never actually tried the chippy in Brundall, if I'm not heading straight off (which I usually am) I normally go to the Yare pub for a quick beer and a bite to eat for the kids. I'll have to give it a try now you've mentioned it being good.

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4 minutes ago, Jayfire said:

. . . . . . . .  I normally go to the Yare pub for a quick beer and a bite to eat for the kids. I'll have to give it a try now you've mentioned it being good.

We didn't want too much to eat at lunchtime, knowing where we were heading for our evening meal.  The chippy was good (well, we thought so anyway).  Still haven't sampled the food in The Yare, but we may well do on our next trip in February.  Can't wait now!!!!!!

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1 hour ago, Mouldy said:

The chippy was good (well, we thought so anyway). 

Always good to know M thanks, especially with 2 ravenous kids in tow.

1 hour ago, Mouldy said:

Still haven't sampled the food in The Yare, but we may well do on our next trip in February.  Can't wait now!!!!!!

Enjoy my friend. :default_smile:

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From the train station go up the hill on Station Road and turn right. It's just on the right hand side :default_biggrin:

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Glad you enjoyed it Malcolm :)

 

.We have got our first allocation*, with our friend Chris and his kids, Christmas week and are really looking forward to it. We like The Yare as well, so much so that in the summer when we were bimbling about down south on Thunder we arranged mooring in Brundall  so we could visit.

 

*Apart from a couple of days next week when the BCE and I are taking MS up to Horning to get some work done but I'll start another thread about that.

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Hello Mouldy,

I am glad to hear that you are enjoying your your new found membership of one of the Broads Syndicates. No doubt after a couple of visits aboard your boat you will have wondered why not taken the plunge years ago. 

Tan & I have been members of our syndicate now for 18 years and have never regretted buying into our syndicate, we even bought another share last year.

Regards

Alan 

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If you want a better chippy (probably) try the one in the next village, Blofield - its only a mile up the road!

Up Station Road, right and left at the top and then in Blofield, straight over the lights at the Kings Head and the chip shop is down by the school - plenty of parking!

Well I think its streets ahead but who am I.......?

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24 minutes ago, marshman said:

Well I think its streets ahead but who am I.......?

Calling all members, Urgent help needed.

WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GET OUT THERE, FIND MARSHMAN AND TELL HIM WHO HE IS.

I'm sure this lapse in his memory is temporary but lets help him as soon as possible.

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Guest

The thought of a 'syndicate boat' did sort of appeal at one time, until I found out that, through luck of the draw, you could end up having to take your boating holiday in Feb/Mar or Oct/Nov. While I have hired a boat in October before, it wouldn't be my choice. I prefer May/June or perhaps September at a push. We usually wait until the weather forecast is good, for the coming week, around that time. Then simply ring up a boatyard, find out what is available, then book and pay over the phone, as easy as that. It may work out a little more expensive in the longer run, but at least we get to choose when we go and can guarantee reasonable weather too (assuming the 'Met Office' got it right, of course). You get nice long days too, for birding, walking, exploring or whatever it is, you like to do...

 

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28 minutes ago, kingfisher666 said:

for birding, walking, exploring or whatever it is, you like to do...

Birding? First time I’ve heard it called that! 

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"Birding"? As rampant teenagers that's what we did most weekends. We were hopeless at it, we would end up following a couple of "nubiles" around the many paths of Roundhay Park but then freeze in terror if the chance to actually talk to them occurred! Halcyon days indeed.

 

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25 minutes ago, vanessan said:

Birding? First time I’ve heard it called that! 

I suppose it's a lazy way of writing 'bird watching', which in itself is a lazy way of saying, looking at anything around you that catches your eye (birds, animals, insects, plants etc. etc.) while you wander around the countryside. Nothing to do with the pursuit of the opposite sex, I might add, although... :10_wink:

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2 hours ago, marshman said:

If you want a better chippy (probably) try the one in the next village, Blofield - its only a mile up the road!

Up Station Road, right and left at the top and then in Blofield, straight over the lights at the Kings Head and the chip shop is down by the school - plenty of parking!

Well I think its streets ahead but who am I.......?

To be honest we prefer the Blofield chippy.

Regards

Alan

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1 hour ago, kingfisher666 said:

The thought of a 'syndicate boat' did sort of appeal at one time, until I found out that, through luck of the draw, you could end up having to take your boating holiday in Feb/Mar or Oct/Nov. While I have hired a boat in October before, it wouldn't be my choice. I prefer May/June or perhaps September at a push. We usually wait until the weather forecast is good, for the coming week, around that time. Then simply ring up a boatyard, find out what is available, then book and pay over the phone, as easy as that. It may work out a little more expensive in the longer run, but at least we get to choose when we go and can guarantee reasonable weather too (assuming the 'Met Office' got it right, of course). You get nice long days too, for birding, walking, exploring or whatever it is, you like to do...

 

Hello Kingfisher666,

Not all the syndicates operate the same. On the Southern Crusader Syndicate for example you can buy shares by week number, this means you get the same week every year (there is a slight shuffle in the dates ever 5 to 7 years to allow for calendar catch up).

Regards

Alan

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2 hours ago, marshman said:

If you want a better chippy (probably) try the one in the next village, Blofield - its only a mile up the road!

 

23 minutes ago, ranworthbreeze said:

To be honest we prefer the Blofield chippy.

Looking at reviews (as I do) it seems the Blofield chippy is backed up as the much better of the two. If I ever bothered to eat whilst away on my own, I'd give them the JF test to see which got my seal of approval.

I may have to wait until the kids are around to give my prestigious award :default_biggrin:

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Eeeee Batley Variety Club the epitome of culture in'T North of England

Soup in a basket (you had to eat quick)

Chicken chips and (god forbid) salad, about the only thing a man in Yorkshire has seen that's green is the grass on the rec.

Trifle for pudding where's me proper pudding.

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1 hour ago, ranworthbreeze said:

To be honest we prefer the Blofield chippy.

Regards

Alan

Tried the Brundall chippy about 7 years ago and was disappointed.

Since then have always used the one at Blofield (5 minute drive).

Last time we were on the boat the Blofield chippy was closed for holidays. Tried the Brundall one again - it was still a disappointment.

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For a change, the Ram deliver pizza's in Brundall, they are  very good but 1 pizza does the 2 of us.

paul

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Good the see the thread has veered slightly of course!!  All I can say is that the fish and chips we had from Brundall on Saturday were very good, easily comparable to Ken's or Greys in Wroxham (Hoveton) and much cheaper.

Back to the original subject . . . . . . . . . . . 

Sunday 18thNovember

I have to get up early during the week and the alarm on my body clock didn’t allow me the pleasure of laying in today.  I got up at about 06:30, put the kettle on and looked out of the windscreen to see a glorious morning developing.  I wouldn’t normally have left the heating on overnight, but I’d set it low and was glad I had, as it had been a cold night.  Moonlight Shadow has an immersion heater, so I switched that on to heat the water for my morning shower.  Being hooked up to shore power certainly has its advantages.

Debbie got up and dressed, ready to take Harley (the dog) for a walk and stepped carefully from the boat onto the wooden key heading, which was white with frost.  I pulled some clothes on and went out with the camera, after turning off the kettle, anxious to capture some images of the scene, bathed in that early morning golden glow.  The river was almost flat calm, creating some wonderful reflections of the trees and shrubs on the far side. 

I walked a through the gate and a few yards onto The Wherrymans Walk, to look for a different viewpoint, before wandering back to Moonlight Shadow and carefully heading for the bow and watched as a lone rower made his way along the river, towards Bramerton, interrupting the reflections as he went.  I waited a while longer, until the river calmed and took some more photos until a small cruiser with an outboard motor sped past, far too fast and creating a lot of wash and disturbing the surface of the water.

I returned to the warmth of the boat, made a cuppa and waited for the wife to return and made her a tea, too.  She had found a path to the right, off the lane leading away from the pub, which eventually met up with The Wherrymans Walk and both her and the dog had enjoyed their walk.  I went for a shower and dressed, then waited for Debbie to shower too, before toasting some crumpets for breakfast.  

By now it was about 09:30, so we started up and cast off, making for Brundall and the boatyard to top up with water.  It really was a beautiful day to be afloat, with glorious sunshine and a clear, blue sky. We arrived at the berth and I reversed in carefully before unwinding the hose and topping up the tanks.  Once done and with the hose wound back onto the reel, we cast off again, heading in the general direction of Reedham.  

My plan was to overnight at Loddon.   We hadn’t ever been to the basin there and the last time we’d cruised the Chet was about 23 years ago, when we hired a cruiser called Tramontana from Gale Cruisers. I knew that there would be electric hook-ups and with no hire craft on the rivers, moorings should be available. We were making good time, without using excessive revs, so having negotiated a flotilla of saillies, decided that there was time to have a look at Rockland Broad and moor at the Staithe for a while.

I turned right, off the main river and down Fleet Dyke.  It’s evident that Rockland is a haven for wildlife – it was teeming with birds. Swans, grebes, cormorants and gulls were scattered across the expanse of the broad.  We turned right onto the narrow dyke, leading to the Staithe and cruised slowly to the end, before turning and mooring.  Harley was grateful to get off and mooch about on the grass, I went for a wander with the camera and the wife was concentrating on her cross stitch.  

We whiled away some time before having some lunch and set off again, across the broad and along Short Dyke to rejoin the Yare.  We saw a couple of other boats, heading back towards Brundall before passing the sugar refinery.  The chimney was belching out thick steam, which was quite a visual contrast to the clear blue sky and the smell wasn’t too pleasant either, so I was grateful to be past it.  

Aside from a water ski boat and skier passing in the opposite direction, which made Moonlight Shadow rock and sway in its wake, not much else happened on the way to the mouth of the Chet, where we turned right.  I had forgotten just how narrow and winding it is and in a stiffening breeze, there was no time to let the concentration wander as we meandered along its twisting course.  The sun continued to shine brightly as we passed the moorings at Pyes Mill. Definitely on the list of potential moorings when the weather is warmer and we don’t need shore power.

I recognised what used to be the base for Gales Cruisers and wondered what happened to the couple that ran the yard, who were so helpful and friendly.  We hired from them twice, in 1994 and 1995, both times on Tramontana.  They were our son’s first experiences of a Broads holiday, the first time when he was six.  He, like us, is smitten with The Broads and is looking forward to when he, his wife and son can come with us on Moonlight on a future visit, possibly next year.

Soon, we arrived at the basin and wondered what was going on in the far corner, nearest the road.  Two cruisers were there and it was only as I drew nearer I could see that one was pulling the other.  I moored near to the first electric post and as I turned, the skipper of the first one, an Elysian aft cockpit, called to me that he’d just pulled the other off the mud in the corner, due to the low water levels and to warn anyone else who may turn up not to moor there.  I was pleased to have chosen to moor where I had!!

I hooked up the electric, which had 49p left on it and added £1 for good measure, before setting up the TV aerial.  I wanted to try the burgers in The Kings Head, so we went for a walk and called into the pub to book a table, only to discover that they don’t serve food on Sunday evenings, then saw the sign outside The Swan saying that there was no food served after 14:00 on Sundays.  Concerned, I called The White Horse and was told that they stop serving food at 19:00 and as they were quiet, there was no need to book.  That was settled then – no need to buy dinner from the Co-Op.

I had a mooch round the church and the wife took the dog for a short walk before we returned to the boat. Darkness fell and I read and Debbie knitted, just passing time until we were ready to go for dinner.  We had a great welcome from the landlord, selected from the menu and waited for the food.  The wife had a mackerel dish to start (I can’t remember exactly what it was) and I had cod cheeks.

It must have been a huge cod – the cheeks were lovely and the presentation of the food was outstanding. We had both chosen roast sirloin of beef for mains, with roast potatoes, parsnip, carrots, Yorkshire pudding, cabbage and green beans which was very tasty and also well presented.  For once, there was room for dessert, so the wife had ice-cream and I opted for the apple crumble and custard, which did not disappoint in any way.  It would be wrong to describe the food as pub grub, it was much more civilised, but great food nevertheless and we will be back.

We sauntered back to the boat and settled down for our last night on board for this trip at least, watching the TV for a while (the wife wanted to see who was on I’m a Celebrity) before our customary hot drink and bed.  Neither of us could believe how lucky we’d been with the weather – clear blue skies for both days.

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