Jump to content
  • Announcements

    Welcome! New around here? Take a look at the New Members' Guide for some pointers.

    Not a member yet? Sign up here and you can soon be chatting away with friends old and new..

    Check out our Handy Information section if you're after something quickly!

  • If you would like to support the forum, please consider visiting the forum shop, where you can purchase such items as NBN Burgees, Window Stickers, or even a custom Limited Edition Wooden Throttle Control Knob

    Forum Shop

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, BroadAmbition said:

Word of advice - Do NOT feed any canine Belgium fart bombs !

Griff

???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m loving the tales, so very engaging. Please do post more- I cannot wait to read the next instalments!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, BroadAmbition said:

Belgian fart Bombs = Sprouts then!

Griff

Doh!!! :facepalm:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please accept my apologies for my extended absence from this story. There are several reasons. Firstly a severe dose of tonsilitis which kept me off my feet for a week or more with no desire to do anything but coil up in foetal posture and occupy my mind with my entire library of audio books. Secondly, and most sadly I have said farewell to one of my oldest friends, taken at no great age by modern day standards and thirdly a holiday, for once not in Norfolk. The other issue with the composition of this drivel is that whilst I know how and most importantly where it begins and ends the bits in the middle are something of a fog. I don't intend to recount a precise diary of the holidays which spanned more than a decade, rather try and deliver my favourite memories and recollections of a different age in what has become my favourite little corner of England. Putting these memories into any kind of meaningful chronology is proving somewhat challenging. Nonetheless come with me on the next leg, the final stage of our journey to Oulton Broad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Saturday usually began at or just after first light. The trusty “torpedo” camping stove came out and the first thing on was the kettle. Whilst the girls walked the dog, named Sandy who was a basenji, for those who have asked, I was despatched to tell father that the kettle was on. This was an implied instruction from mother that it was time he was packing up. Tell your mother I'll have one more cast was the invariable reply as I was press ganged into service as a donkey, carrying the little bits and pieces like his net bag whilst he catapulted the last of his ground bait into the river and packed his basket and rod bag. I noted that more often than not his nets were dry. He was good my dad, at fishing at least, but he never seemed to do much on the Old Bedford. Once the tea was made a ready prepared frying pan appeared from the boot of the car, full of part cooked sausage and bacon and it was put on the stove to finish off whilst mum sliced and buttered rolls.

The reason for our early start was Downham Market, where the A1101 crossed the A10 King's Lynn to London road in the town centre. Nowadays both roads have bypasses, the former to the south of the town, the latter to the east. Mother would be keen to get through Downham before this otherwise sleepy little town awoke to the weekly chores of shopping and such like. East of Downham we turn onto the A134 towards Thetford. With Thetford behind us the greenery of the forest gave way to the rolling greenery of the Waveney Valley as we continue east on the A1066 towards Diss.

The arrival in Diss was always met by the regurgitation of many, generations old jokes. “if this is Diss, where is Dat? And, is this Diss Mere? No it's Dat dare ….” They seemed funny at the time. Of course we loved them because, as much as the familiar landmarks which we passed by, they were waymarkers of our journey. An indication that we were getting close to our destination.

At Scole the A1066 crosses the A140 which ran north – south through the centre of the village. This was not quite so bad to cross as other roads as it was a staggered crossroads, left then right. The right turn was easy to miss, and it took dad yelling at mum on one occasion, “turn right there, by the fellow with the blue shirt”. To this day that junction is referred to as “the man with the blue shirt”. From this point onwards the road we travelled is hardly recognisable. East of Scole the 1066 joined the A143, almost completely rebuilt in more recent years along the line of a disused railway. Much of the old road is still in use now numbered the B1062 which winds it way through the village of Brockdish, more age old puns, and then through the pretty village of Harleston where petrol was obtained from a garage straight from the 1930's. The pump was inside the garage window and the delivery pipe hung from a gantry out over the road. You didn't pull in, simply parked on the road outside and would be served with your five gallons of four star. It was there that I remember vividly my mother remarking that the price had reached fifty pence per gallon. I think that would have been during the oil crisis of 1973/4. “Ten bob a gallon, where will it end” she asked? Harleston is bypassed today, as are most of the towns and villages between here and the East Coast, which whilst a blessed relief to residents I have no doubt, is still somewhat of a shame.

The road continues to Bungay but before we arrive there is another stop to be made. I grew up in an age where everything had it's season and as a result we looked forward to them. One such item, perhaps the queen of seasonal produce was the Strawberry, it arrived in the shops is June and was gone by September. It was the essence of English summer and it was best enjoyed straight from the field, and that is what we did. Pick your own was not the widespread industry that it is today, it hadn't achieved it's current day status of family day out but there was a large pick your own farm near Earsham and we stopped and filled basket upon basket with large juicy fruits ready to permeate our holidays with pies, flans, scones or at their best with the lightest sprinkling of sugar and lashings of fresh cream. If you have only sampled strawberries from a supermarket then you have never tasted a real strawberry. There is a world of difference between something grown in a field, ripened by the sun and, dare I say it fertilized with horse muck and the bland, watery, pale imitations proffered by Mssrs Sainsbury et al, heavily hybridised varieties bred for yield at the cost of flavour, grown in huge poly tunnels, usually in Spain or Turkey or Egypt and increasingly in India in troughs of water suspended at the perfect height for picking and ripened to order by artificial light. They never see the sun, they never sit in soil and they never develop any flavour.

With baskets (and my tummy!) full we climbed back into the car to complete our journey. The final stretch to Oulton Broad.

I remember Bungay from my childhood as a colourful, pretty little market town. We passed through the centre of the town and onwards to Beccles. It would soon be time to start searching the horizon for the giant, four legged cranes which in those days stood on the quayside at Lowestoft and could be seen from miles away. With Beccles andWorlingham behind us we joined the A 146 bound for Oulton. Despite many recent improvements, straightening and widening this road largely still travels it's original course, past North Cove and Barnby into Carlton Colville and finally Oulton Broad. Our caravan park was at the end of Marsh Road which turns back sharply from the main road. Today, this left turn is prohibited, a complete circuit of the new roundabout on Saltwater way and a right turn being the preferred manner of entry onto Marsh Road. But in the 1970's a left turn it was, waiting for oncoming traffic to clear and then swinging wide across both lanes and then down by the railway station along the somewhat bumpy lane, past the “new” holiday chalets, Knight's Creek and finally to Camping Boats.

  • Like 13
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whew, I was getting somewhat concerned there we had enjoyed an only too brief visit from theesen.  Glad you are well and back with us

Griff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Isn't it funny how sometimes a completely random, unexpected event can awaken a memory of so many years ago? I had cause to drive up to Edinburgh today to fulfil a promise I made some years ago to attend the opening of a friends business. Today was the day it finally happened and so rather than take the easy option of flying I decided to make an early start and drive. I left early, very early. My plan was to put Newcastle behind me before the day was truly awake then stop for breakfast at a favourite haunt just of the A1 south of Berwick Upon Tweed. All went to plan and it proved to be an enjoyable day if fairly uneventful, but long. Very long. With three hundred miles between me and home I was glad when the formalities were finally complete and after a polite amount of socialising I made my excuses, and my escape. I left Edinburgh just before rush hour really got into full swing, allowing that busiest time on the roads to pass me by as I chewed up the miles on the A1. By the time I made it back as far as Newcastle rush hour would be over. I had toyed with the idea of visiting Lindisfarne on the way home. It is a special place for me and somewhere that I have not visited since my mother passed away some years ago. Sadly the crossing times for the causeway were not favourable, so as I passed the Beal turn off the A1 I made a silent promise to visit again soon.

Sadly, my favourite transport cafe on the A1 is no more. A victim of the recent road improvements which have left it severed from it's passing trade by thirty yards of grass and a fourteen foot bank. The building stands empty now, awaiting the onset of dereliction unless some other use can be found for it. From the boarded windows with the word “CLOSED” whitewashed across them you would not believe that just a few short years ago it was the place to get food on the A1. So now I am devoid of ideas on where to find food, and since that triple sausage bacon and egg full English went down at eight o'clock this morning I have eaten precisely two blinis with something on which claimed to be caviar but tasted more like tiny balls of wallpaper paste and a mushroom vol-au-vent which was close to inedible. I pulled off the A1 at Coxhoe and found a takeaway. The Pizza was about as good as the earlier canapes and the coffee was warm and brown but I doubt it had much to do with the Coffea plant but I was too hungry to turn my nose up at it and still a good three hours from home.

So I swung the car around and headed back to the A1 and set the three pointed star on the bonnet for home. And here comes that random moment (you didn't think I'd forgotten did you?) By now the sun has set and the sky is a beautiful pale orange turning to dark blue. It isn't really dark yet, it's that brief moment of evening when, even on the motorway it's a sheer delight to be out with the roof down. At that moment the digital radio station I was listening to played Xanadu, you remember? Olivia Newton John and ELO. Instantly I was carried back to the summers in Norfolk, a memory so strong I could almost taste it, almost reach out and touch it, almost but not quite. It sent a shiver down my back. I'm sure the water leaking from my eye was a consequence of the freshening breeze blowing round my spectacles.

I categorise my time in Norfolk in to two distinct eras. The first as a child, which ran roughly, I would guess until I was around eleven or twelve, then adolescence, when the focus of our attentions changed. As a child the focus of our world was Oulton Broad, the water itself, the park and one or two other locations we hung out. As we grew older that shifted more to Lowestoft and to Heathland Beach. During the last days, in fact the very last summer in Norfolk Xanadu was the big summer hit. We played it on the beach every night.

In truth there are probably three eras in play, I discount the one which pre-dates my memories though there were several visits to Camping Boats in that period. My very first memory is, in truth not my own but afforded me by that pensieve which is elder siblings. It recalls that occasion when as a tot dressed in wellington boots and duffel coat I was enjoying splashing in the puddles by the landspring drain which ran through the site until, inevitably I splashed in a puddle which was not a puddle but the creek itself. I disappeared from site momentarily and as I bobbed back to the surface my eldest sister grabbed me by the hood and dragged me to the bank where I was hauled back on to terra firma.

 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I was listening to played Xanadu, you remember? Olivia Newton John and ELO

I first thought Rush... and then was disappointed :default_icon_e_biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎09‎/‎04‎/‎2019 at 12:34, Simondo said:

I first thought Rush... and then was disappointed :default_icon_e_biggrin:

I'm not sure Rush were too good on Roller Skates …..

 

Do you find that time seems to move faster now than it did? Are there less hours in a day?

I set myself a list of tasks to complete on Friday ahead of a garden party and barbecue today. I knew yesterday would be taken up by shopping and baking so was keen to have everything in the garden ready. By 7pm I was nowhere near finished. I should explain that we are undertaking a major redesign of part of the rear garden, removing, piece by piece the paraphernalia of the builders yard that our garden once was. needless to say I was left to mow the bottom lawn and get the garden furniture out this morning, the conundrum being to do it early and annoy the neighbours or wait for a sensible hour and risk being still at work as guests arrived.

Compare that then to those days of childhood in Norfolk and especially the first time we were allowed to take my friends boat out onto the river. My friend was Billy, who lived on a boat on the broad with his sister Jennifer, Uncle Johnny and Aunt Mary. Uncle Johnny had worked around boats all his life and both Jennifer and Billy were true "water rats". I don't remember first meeting them, they simply always were, since before I could remember. The first order of business on arrival was always to go and knock on the wheelhouse door of their boat and say hello. Milkshake and cookies would quickly be produced by Aunt Mary as we caught up. Eight year olds have lots if catching up to when you haven't seen each other for fifty weeks. Billy would pass on what was new around the broad and would invariably have a plan for how we would spend the next two weeks. Imagine the excitement then when Billy broke the news that subject to my parents approval we would be allowed, for the first time, to take Billy's boat out of the Broad, along the the dyke and into the river. As long as that went well then we would be allowed to make our first "unassisted" expedition to Beccles.

As usual on that first Saturday, after tea in the caravan I was allowed to go back out to play and Billy and I headed for the park, but unlike in previous years there was no football, no cricket today, Instead we sat cross legged staring over the water towards the entrance to Oulton Dyke and slowly, deliberately, we made our plans for Beccles …..

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, ZimbiIV said:

You tease sir, pray tell more.

paul

Yes please do.

 

Carole

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We decided that a proper plan should be made. More than that, a log should be kept. That meant a log book, and a pencil. We ran through the park and to the shop in Oulton Broad where a small notebook and an HB pencil were acquired for twelve pence. The next port of call we decided should be the harbour master's office where we could obtain details of the tides for the rest of the week. When travelling along the Waveney in an unpowered boat travelling with the tide was essential. Even an eight year old knows that! We ran along the boulevard but the harbour master was nowhere to be seen. His office was locked but there was a chalkboard on the wall with todays low water times at Oulton Broad, we could work it out from that. Couldn't we? I looked at Billy and asked "how?"

Low water is the same time at Beccles as it is here, he explained, and it  moves forward about forty five minutes every day. On top of that we know that the tide comes in for five hours, sits still for half, then goes out for six he said. I looked on amazed at this font of knowledge, but I was a bit alarmed that his calculations only added up to eleven and a half hours. by my reckoning we were missing an hour and a bit somewhere. A cloud came across Billy's face, in just a second his look turned from one of intense excitement to that of an airline pilot who had just worked out that his aeroplane was running out of fuel. We've got a problem he said. I looked at him, hardly daring to speak, what? I croaked. The tide is too early. Low water this morning was 4:45 he explained, that means tomorrow it will be 5:30, or near enough. Add five and a half hours that means high water at Beccles will be 11:00. We'll barely have time to get there and we'll have to turn back and come home. That was when it struck me that Billy was planning to go tomorrow, but we couldn't!

We can't go tomorrow I said, my mum will want to take us to the beach, we always went to the beach on the first proper day of holiday. And we still have to try out going to the river, I said. Remember your Uncle said we can only go if we get up to the river and back OK.

I'd forgotten that, Billy said. But it'll be alright. I often go up to the river, the best fishing spots are right on the corner where the dyke turns into the river, but don't tell Uncle Johnny, he doesn't know. Anyway, he said, later in the week the tides will be better. He paused for a moment, lost in concentration. If high water in Beccles is about eleven tomorrow, he said, it will be quarter to twelve on Monday, half past on Tuesday, quarter past one on Wednesday and two o'clock on Thursday. He paused again, looked at me and in the hushed tones of a spy about to reveal his greatest secret he whispered. "We go on Thursday".

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎30‎/‎01‎/‎2019 at 19:23, ranworthbreeze said:

I remember the conversion from 405 to 625 lines, a man came around to change the old TV, if memory serves me correctly you had to book an appointment because the engineers were changing loads all over in our area. BB2 started on 21st April 1964 and started the colour service on 1st July 1967.

Regards 

Alan

Not in the Outer Hebridies, from having BBC1 405 line badly. They got colour, 625 line, BBC2, ITV, and Channel 4 all at the same time... about 1981

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spare a thought for the children of today. They will never have many of the opportunities which we had. Never will they know the joy of walking into a sweet shop with a thruppenny bit and buying two ounces of "mixed" …. Sherbet Lemons and Pear Drops. Never will they experience the thrill of the rattle of those little morsels of wonder as the shopkeeper shakes the glass jar to loosen them. Never will they know the suspense of waiting to see if the balance would tip, or if that last precious candy, teetering on the lip of the jar would make it in to your brown paper bag.

Nor, I doubt would a pair of eight year olds be sent out for the day, to navigate alone along many miles of tidal river armed only with a bottle of pop, our bag of "mixed", lifejackets, three shillings, and our own common sense. Oh, don't forget the log book and pencil. The world was a safer place then, or so I am told. I am not entirely convinced of this, I just think that many of the dangers were not understood, or even imagined and so sent out on our voyage we were.

Much happened between Saturday evening and Thursday morning, which turned out to be Wednesday. We rattled back to Billy's house boat and jumped on board to a chorus from below decks of "mind where your jumping, I have the kettle on the stove", from Aunt Mary of course. We headed down the companionway from the wheelhouse to the saloon with as much calm as we could muster before making the big announcement. Our big announcement was trumped immediately by the news that Aunt Mary had already spoken to my parents, to see if they approved of our journey, which thankfully they did, but that Thursday would not be possible as that day has already been earmarked for our visit to Potter Heigham then on to see family in Mundesley. I was not too upset, taking in the thought of going to see my Great Aunt which was always a highlight of the holiday, she was a lovely lady, but Billy looked like he was standing beneath a sky that was starting to fall around his ears. "But Aunt Mary", he responded, we have to go on Thursday, the tides will be right and everything. The look which Aunt Mary returned told us immediately that the matter was not open to debate. I have spoken with your parents and they have suggested Wednesday or Friday, but Uncle Jonny says the tide will suit better on Wednesday. It's later on Friday and we don't want you out too late. Remember too that you've to show to Uncle Jonny that you can navigate the Dyke before you go, you can do that on Monday.

"That won't be a problem Aunt Mary", I sang out, "Billy says"  … ouch! The kick to my left ankle was accurate and sharp. I stared at Billy and continued my somewhat revised statement, Billy says that he's sure he knows enough to get to the top of the dyke and back alright. "He should do, the number of times he's been fishing up at Buttler's, or Painter's Mill", Aunt Mary replied. Billy went white, the brightly glossed paintwork of the cabin roof was dull by comparison to his complexion right then. Do you think that Uncle Jonny doesn't know, well he does. There's not much happens on the water hereabouts that Uncle Jonny doesn't know. It'll pay you both well to remember that, especially on Wednesday. The warning was taken, and tucked away safely as a mental note. You can stay to tea, I've agreed it with your parents. Uncle Jonny won't be back until late today so we will  eat down here.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eating below decks was quite a treat. Uncle Jonny's boat was always immaculate and a children's tea party below decks would have given him apoplexy. Let me describe the boat a little. It was, by Uncle Jonny's own proclamation, a mongrel. It had been a fishing boat, then a work boat, then finally a houseboat. During the last conversion the open foredeck had been enclosed and a superstructure added forward of the wheelhouse which contained two cabins and the head. The raised wheelhouse was accessed by a sliding doors to port and starboard, and contained not only the helm but also a map table and chart locker. Bench seating had been added and this is where we ate most of the time. Aft of the wheelhouse a companionway led down three steps to the saloon which housed a small galley, a U shaped dining table which just sat four, with a stool, a pair of rocking chairs, a small pot bellied stove and the wireless set which was the boats only entertainment. A lantern top had been added to increase the headroom along the centre of the saloon and bring in extra light to supplement that from the four small, oval shaped portholes, which had the most ornate opening mechanism I have ever seen.  No television of course. The saloon was lit at night time by a pair of oil lamps which hung, one from the forward and one from the aft bulkhead in brightly polished brass gimbals. Aft of that was the master cabin with a double berth, wardrobe and not much else. Forward from the wheel house you went through a strange companionway in that it was more of a ladder than a stairway, down a cutaway in the wheelhouse floor and through a low doorway into a five sided passageway on the starboard side. It was OK for eight year olds, but otherwise headroom was quite limited. There was a porthole window to match those of the saloon under which was built a small shelf and shoe rack. There were always fresh flowers in a small vase on that shelf, and use of the shoe rack was very high on the list of ships rules. Whenever you came on board "outside" shoes were removed and placed on that rack. Three sides of that ***** little passageway consisted of doors. One into the head, with a blakes toilet and sit down bath tub and boat standard porthole, one door straight ahead into Billy's cabin and a door between them at a 45 degree angle into Claire's slightly larger cabin. Each cabin had a bed built on an angle in to the vee of the bow and mostly tucked away under the side deck, but Claire's was slightly larger and could be extended into a double berth courtesy of some clever joinery and the cushions from a small bench seat. Claire's cabin also had a small desk and a wardrobe. Billy's was smaller, with just the bunk, and a small chest alongside.

Claire arrived back just in time for tea which consisted of cheese scones, fruit cake and a pot of tea. It was simple, and absolutely delicious. She had, I was told been horse riding, to my eyes Claire very much resembled a young foal, gangly, with arms and legs too long and spindly, but I kept that opinion to myself. She glowered at me as she came on board. I wasn't sure what I had done to deserve such a greeting, but once tea was over I was to find out.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • NBN Mobile App

    Want to use NBN when you're out and about?

    Get our mobile app for Android and iOS!

    Get it on Google Play

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

For details of our Guidelines, please take a look at the Terms of Use here.