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Moonlight Shadow Tales

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Saturday 2ndFebruary


Somewhat belatedly, I will try to recall some details of our first (almost) full week aboard Moonlight Shadow since buying into the syndicate last August.  Life has been somewhat hectic since due to a TUPE transfer and having to unlearn eight years worth of system knowledge, processes and procedures and learn all about the functionality of the new systems, processes and procedures.

The journey to Brundall was fairly uneventful, with the usual traffic delays on the A14, but the weather was certainly interesting.  We left home on a cold, crisp winter morning in bright sunshine.  It clouded over around Cambridge and by the time we reached Newmarket the sky was dark and threatening.  We passed through a light snow shower near Red Lodge that soon cleared, only to drive through a blizzard between Thetford and Snetterton, before the clouds rolled away and we arrived at Brundall in bright sunshine.

The wife had to call into the Co-Op for a couple of things she had forgotten to bring, I called into Brooms offices to buy some additional electric cards and we pulled up at MS’s berth at about midday.  With the car unpacked, the bed made and most of our bits and pieces stowed away, I popped round to the chippy for fish and chips, which were consumed back on board, with a cup of tea.  

We set off from the moorings at about 14:00, heading towards Reedham, but with the intention of turning through Bargate, before returning to the Yare and heading for my planned overnight stop at Brammerton Common.

The river was quiet, no real surprise for the beginning of February, but it was a pleasant, if uneventful cruise.  There were a couple of other boats moored when we arrived at our destination, so I moored near an electric post, made MS secure and connected to the electric. Bliss!

We sat quietly for a while, relaxing and enjoying being back in Norfolk and on the Broads, before the wife took the dog for a walk.  I watched TV until Debbie returned and lit the oven to prepare dinner.

We watched the TV, had our food, washed down with a bottle of fermented grape juice (well it would be rude not to), washed up and whiled away the evening until it was time for bed.

As usual, hot drinks were prepared and we retired contentedly to bed, reflecting on the day and looking forward to the cruise into Norwich on Sunday.


More to follow.

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Sunday 3rdFebruary


We were awake by about 06:00 on Sunday morning – I’m usually up at about 04:30 and the wife by about 05:00 during the week, so sleeping in is unusual for us both.  I got up, put the kettle and immersion heater on and peered out of the windows.

It was a cold, frosty morning and the sky was clear, so hopeful of a photo-worthy sunrise, I pulled some clothes on, readied my camera and waited to see what developed.  Debbie had taken Harley for a walk, leaving me to my own devices and as the sun rose above the horizon, I ventured outside, being extremely careful not to slip on the icy decks.

The river was still as I wandered about, snapping happily away, until the first of many rowers passed by. The rising sun was casting some interesting light over the trees on the far side of the river and additional digital images were committed to memory card.

The wife and the dog returned and went inside to warm up and I followed shortly after.  We had breakfast of buttered crumpets and tea, before taking it in turns to shower and dress, ready for the day.

I suppose it must have been around 09:30 when we started Moonlight Shadow’s engine and cast off, heading for Norwich.  There were plenty of others on the river as we headed up the Yare, but only kayakers and rowers.  The journey was uneventful and we cruised slowly into the ‘Fine City’, or it was until we reached the bridge at the Yacht Station.  

Unbeknown to me, there was an angling competition in progress that morning.  I moved as far too the left hand side of the river as I could, trying to avoid the branches of the weeping willows as I went and headed very slowly past them.   I hope I didn’t cause too many issues, though.  We moored at the far end, between Pulls Ferry and Bishops Bridge and readied ourselves for the walk into town.  

It was a cold, crisp winter morning and even with the sun shining down, the pavements were still slippery from the overnight frost.  Taking our usual route along the Riverside Walk and turning towards the Cathedral behind Pulls Ferry, we made our way carefully there.

I wasn’t intending to go into the cathedral on this visit, but had a quick wander around the cloisters, and entered the building near the copper font and was greeted by the sound of the magnificent organ, still being played after the morning service had ended. I had a quick mooch round before going back outside to re-join the wife, who was decidedly put out by the fact that the bench she usually waited on, by the Edith Cavell memorial had been taken away.

There were a couple of photographers with heavy duty telephoto lenses mounted on tripods aimed at the spire, so I wandered across to have a quick chat.  It turned out that the Peregrines were out, taking in the sun.  I chided myself for not taking my long telephoto with me, but took a few shots with my zoom compact camera, which does have a long telephoto lens (without resorting to digital zoom) and had to satisfy myself with the results.  

We carried on into the town, stopping at Greggs for some cakes (and a couple of sausage rolls – well it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it) before heading for Tesco.  The city streets were busy with shoppers and several buskers, some of whom were very good, were playing in various locations.

Shopping done, we sauntered back to Moonlight Shadow, retracing our steps past the Cathedral, along Riverside Walk and back over Bishops Bridge.  I stopped to take a few pictures of the Cathedral, across the deserted school sports field, looking magnificent in the winter sun.

Debbie made some rolls for lunch, with some ham bought from Tesco and we cast off, heading for our overnight moorings at The Ferry House, Surlingham, via the boatyard for water. It was a pleasant cruise back along the Wensum and Yare, with no anglers remaining at the Yacht Station to deal with. 

We chugged back to the kiosk at Brooms for water, only to find that the hose had been turned off. A sign indicated that water was available near the boat hoist, so we carefully passed the expensive craft that were moored nearby and manoeuvred close to the hose to top up with water, before heading the short distance back to the Ferry House to moor.   

I had booked the mooring earlier and had been told that it would be okay to moor side on, where there is usually only stern on mooring allowed and connected to the electric post. There was a substantial amount of credit on it, for which we were grateful.  It was only then that I spotted a water hose at the pub, at the opposite side of the seating area and later, when we went in for our meal, I checked how much they charged to use it and was told it is free to patrons.  A point well worth remembering.

I set up the aerial and we watched TV for a while, before I went out to take a few photos of the setting sun.  Dinner was booked for 19:00 and as ever, lived up to expectations – a warm welcome in a cosy pub and great value food. 

With the meal over, we left the warmth of the bar to take Harley along the lane to the village, before returning to the boat for the night.  

We watched Vera on TV, before making a hot drink and retiring to bed at about 22:30.  













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Monday 4thFebruary

We woke on Monday morning to a pretty miserable day.  It was raining and the wind was quite strong.  The wife pulled on some clothes and took the dog for her walk and I turned on the immersion heater and kettle.  

I made a cuppa and looked out of the window.  What a difference from the sunrise the previous day.  Debbie soon returned, rather disgruntled.  She had somehow turned the wrong way just as a particularly strong gust of wind had blown up, which had inverted her favourite umbrella.  I was obviously concerned, or tried to sound it, however the thought of attempting to remove what was left of it from a sensitive part of my anatomy curtailed my chuckles!!

We had toast and marmalade for breakfast and once again, took it in turn to get showered and dressed. Before casting off, we topped up with water, using the hose at the pub.  My intended destination was Oulton Broad, so we headed back through Brundall and along the Yare.

The wind was blowing quite hard and the wiper on MS proved absolutely useless in clearing sufficient of the screen to see clearly the river ahead.  Still, it wasn’t exactly busy – I think we only saw one other boat between there and Reedham, which was deserted as we cruised through.

I turned down the New Cut. Anyone who thinks the Bure between Stracey Arms and Yarmouth is monotonous, needs to go along the New Cut which really is monotonous!  It was already lunchtime, so Debbie heated some soup, which went down well with a couple of slices of bread and butter. 

As we turned onto the Waveney from the New Cut, the weather began to improve a little.  The wind had dropped slightly and the rain had eased. We easily passed under the bridge at Somerleyton and still hadn’t seen another boat on the river since much earlier in the day.  

Debbie put down her cross- stitch, which had kept her engrossed for much of the journey and stood near the helm, watching out of the window.  She pointed to a shape swimming, ahead and to the port side, thinking it was an otter as we approached the turn into Oulton Dyke.  By the time I looked where she was pointing, it had disappeared, but it resurfaced again and I saw it was a seal.  

I slowed down and we travelled side by side along the dyke until the river turned sharp left at the entrance to the Broad and managed to snatch a few photos as it surfaced and dove back down again.  And that proved to be the only excitement of the day, really.

We chugged across the Broad and found our mooring on the outside of the pontoon that we had reserved by phone earlier in the day.  With the boat secured, I set up the aerial and we watched TV for a while.  By then, the weather had calmed down considerably and it had turned into a pleasant evening.  The sun began to set and I went for a walk with my camera whist the wife took Harley for her evening walk.  

It was soon dark, so the oven went on to prepare dinner and we enjoyed a glass or two of wine whilst we waited and another glass or two as we ate.  Such decadence!!

With the resulting washing up done, we settled down to watch TV until it was time for bed.  Granted, the weather had been inclement, but in reality we had relaxed and enjoyed the surroundings, which is what it’s all about when you’re on the Broads.


















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Nice pictures. Brave Debbie, struggling through frost, wind and rain with Harley, she deserves the ‘glass or two’ of wine. Ought to be a bottle or two! 

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Lovely photos. Especially loved the reflections at Brammerton and Norwich.

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Nice write up Mouldy,

I like the photo`s of the seal. When we were on Maffett Cruisers Swallow, must have been about 6-7 years back, i thought i saw a black bin bag being blown across the Yare at the Beauchamp Arms, but it went under water. It then came up closer to us, by which time i realised it must have been some sort of wildlife. I called Karen, but it went down again, so i told her to keep an eye out, then the blighter reappeared about 10ft to our left. It was truly amazing to see, and i never realised they could be seen that far up.

A really interesting write up, and with some excellent pictures. Looking forward to the rest of it.

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10 hours ago, VetChugger said:

Often see seals basking on the cross beams by Reedham Bridge.

Yes, Reedham bridge certainly has the approval of a seal.

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When we used to cruise the Great Ouse  during the nineties and noughties, we shared the lock  pens at Earith  and Brownshill with a seal quite often. It was  widely rumoured that local fisherman used to try to shoot them  to prevent the depletion of the fish stock though I don't know how true this was obviously.



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Tuesday 5thFebruary


We woke on Tuesday morning and it seemed quite cold.  I got up and turned the heating up before putting the kettle and immersion heater on, before pulling back the curtains to see what the weather had in store.  I was surprised to see that the broad had frozen over and that the gathered seabirds and ducks were standing on the ice.

The wife readied herself before taking Harley out and I hurriedly pulled some clothes on and went outside, armed with my cameras.  As the dawn broke, the true beauty of the scene became more apparent, with the cold, blue hue being replaced by the golden light from the rising sun, hidden at times behind the patchy clouds and forming some wonderful photo opportunities.

Debbie returned with Harley and commented on how friendly the people she had met on their walk.  I stayed outside for a while longer, anxious to make the most of the light, taking plenty of photos.  Before returning to the boat for breakfast, I went to the Harbourmasters office to pay for the moorings, had a brief chat whilst there and noticed an NBN calendar on the wall amongst the other posters and documents pinned up.

I asked where the water hoses were and was told that one on the pontoon was still on and working, but we would need to move the boat to top up first.  I returned to the boat to get showered, dressed and make breakfast.  As we were frozen in, I cooked some bacon, scrambled eggs and fresh tomatoes, which went down very well indeed.

It was about 11:00 before the ice around us had thawed sufficiently to allow us to move to get water, before setting off for Beccles.  A work barge and a yacht had already ventured across Oulton Broad, so I picked a way slowly and carefully, using the clearings they had created through the remaining ice and by the time we reached the dyke, all signs of the frozen surface were gone.  

On the way to Beccles, the sunshine was replaced by cloud, but it wasn’t raining, so it wasn’t too bad at all.  We arrived at Beccles yacht Station at about 13:00.  The side nearest the road was filled with anglers (I later discovered that there was a match in progress), so It did my best to moor without causing too much disturbance on the opposite side.

We wandered into town to get a few bits and pieces.  I wanted to check the opening hours of the fish and chip shop and the wife wanted to go to the needlework shop.  A quick glance at the sign in the window of the chippy was all the time I was allowed and then I had to cool my heels with the dog outside the needlework shop whilst Debbie decided what she wanted.  I was amazed when she emerged about a quarter of an hour later without buying anything. 

We went to the butchers, the bakers and the Co-Op for other supplies before returning to the boat to relax.  I went to the chippy later in the evening for dinner and returned with two of the biggest pieces of cod I’ve ever seen (with chips obviously), freshly cooked, piping hot and very tasty.  

The weather report was warning of strong winds on Thursday and Friday, which gave cause for some concern, but not enough to dampen our spirits.  We watched TV for a while and went to bed just after 22:00.








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3 hours ago, Mouldy said:

We went to the butchers, the bakers and the Co-Op for other supplies before returning to the boat to relax. 

I take it the CoOp now houses the Candlestick Makers??

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9 hours ago, Mouldy said:

The side nearest the road was filled with anglers 

No doubt they all smiled and waved a friendly greeting :default_norty:

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Beautiful photos again. So lovely to see the Broads in a different season.

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We`ve had Lightning in November for 3 out of the last 4 years. The first time was very mild, for the time of year, and we were cruising in brilliant sunshine for part of the week, with wind and rain on the last day. Then the following year it was freezing with winds from the North East, and last year, mainly mild, but windy, and a bit wet at times. If you get the right weather, early spring and late Autumn can be beautiful and enjoyable. If the weather is inclement, we keep her plugged in to the 240 at Brooms, and use her as a houseboat.

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Wednesday 6thFebruary

I was up at about 06:00 as usual and followed my usual routine, kettle and immersion heater on and a quick inspection of the weather from the windows of the saloon.  It wasn’t raining and it wasn’t as cold as the previous morning and is it became lighter it became apparent that it was cloudy. Still, it was early February and we hadn’t been hit with a repeat of the atrocious weather that started 2018.

Debbie took the dog for a walk and I cooked some toast for my breakfast and ate it whilst they were out. Being the caring sort of guy that I am, I even cooked her some when she came back!!

She told me that we would have to go back into Beccles as she had decided that she needed some wool and a pattern to knit a jumper for our grandson.  Why she couldn’t have decided that when she was in the shop the previous day, I don’t know!  

Showered and dressed, I called into the harbour Master’s office to pay for the mooring before we headed back into the town, where I spent another fifteen or twenty minutes patiently waiting outside the needlework shop before Debbie emerged with a bag full of wool, needles and stuffing for the cuddly toy that accompanies the jumper she intends to knit.  It was only as short walk back to Greggs, where I managed to get a London Cheesecake – one of my favourites and a quick wander around the town before returning to the boat.

Whilst we were out, the cloud had broken and it had become sunny, not the strong sunlight, but the watery veiled light that we frequently see during the winter months.  I filled up with water and had a cuppa before starting the engine and casting off, destination Loddon.

The river was quiet as we headed back along the Waveney, although we did follow a small cruiser for a while, although whoever was at the helm had little regard for the speed limit and had soon disappeared from view.

By the time we’d reached the junction with Oulton Dyke, it had clouded over again but the sun did try to break through at odd times for the rest of the journey.  A small wooden aft cockpit cruiser pulled out of the boatyard just beyond the bridge at Somerleyton and we followed it all the way to the other side of Reedham, the crew resolutely helming with the canopy down. Just a bit too chilly for me, though.

Reedham Quay was deserted as we passed, but I did have to slow a little as we approached Reedham Ferry as it made its way across the river, wary of the chains and the potential for disaster that could be caused by passing too close.  We turned onto the Chet and soon arrived at the basin, where I moored at the end away from the road.

We both got ready and took Harley for a walk (yes, really – me as well!!), turning left out of the car park to the church, then following the lanes and road to Pyes Mill, returning to the moorings through the field to the side of the river.  I’d only taken my small camera with me, but still managed to capture some acceptable shots of a heron stalking about in the field, before arriving back to the boat.

With the aerial set up, we watched TV for a while, the wife did some knitting and I did a crossword or two, until it was time to start cooking the dinner, nice big pork chops purchased the afternoon before in Beccles.

After our meal, with the washing up done, we watched TV for a while and as ever, headed for bed at about 22:00 with a hot drink.  I was slightly concerned about the threatened strong winds and was thinking about what we might do if our concerns proved to be warranted as I drifted to sleep.



















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Hi Mouldy,

Those night time shots are absolutely amazing, how do you do that?. I'm really enjoying reading this thread, and the photo's are really good to. Do you know there's an excellent butchers right at the southern end of Loddon?. Karen and I usually go in there when we stop at Loddon, he does some amazing smoked Gammon steaks. Also, we always call into Rosie Lee's for tea and cake in the afternoons, and have massive breakfast the following mornings before we cast off. Anyway, I can't wait for the next instalment,

Cheers Mouldy.

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12 hours ago, SPEEDTRIPLE said:

 . . . . Those night time shots are absolutely amazing . . . . .

Thanks - to be honest, the night time shots were taken with my phone.  It's nothing special, just a Samsung S8, but the camera isn't too bad.  There are a few daytime shots from the phone too, but in general I use a couple of cameras.

I'll give the butchers a try when we are next there.  I like the butchers in Ludham and despite the fact that Rodney has retired now, the quality is as good as ever it was.

The rest of the tale should be completed over the weekend, with a bit of luck.

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Beccles to Loddon is a cruise we have done a few times. Always lovely to turn onto the Chet after the New Cut and the Yare through Reedham. Great photos. Enjoying seeing where you went 

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Thursday 7th February

The weather forecast had warned of strong winds for Thursday and Friday and just when you don’t want them to be right, they are!!  I rolled out of bed at the usual time, around 06:00, followed my usual routine of kettle, immersion heater and weather check to see that the tops of the trees round the basin were bent over and the water, although we were relatively sheltered was far from millpond smooth.

Not only that, but the heating on MS wouldn’t fire up, despite the repairs carried out at the boatyard following problems reported by shareholders on two previous weeks, so we had taken a small electric fan heater just in-case the problem manifested itself again.  The boat soon warmed through, although the one pound credit I had topped up the electric post the previous evening with didn’t last long, but it wasn’t so bad.

The wife took Harley for her walk, retracing the route we had followed the day before and I had some toast and marmalade.  When she returned, I made her breakfast and went to get showered and dressed.  Whist the wife readied herself, I called our home boatyard to report the fault with the heating and they suggested that I call in and they would get someone to look at it, so at about 09:30 I started the engine and cast off.

The cloud cleared for a while as we chugged up the Chet, such a pretty river, but quite hard to navigate with the strong wind blowing Moonlight Shadow about,  but by the time we reached Hardley Cross and the junction with the Yare, the cloud had rolled in again.  We turned left, heading for Brundall.

The river was as choppy as I can ever remember seeing it.  White horses were forming on the waves as the formed.  It was particularly bad from Cantley, where the waves were overtopping the quay heading outside the pub.

As we approached Brundall, the small wooden aft cockpit cruiser we had followed the previous day from Somerleyton to Reedham was heading towards us, but with the canopy up this time.  We arrived at our moorings and called the yard to say we had arrived.  We were told that they would send someone straight away.

We waited for about three quarters of an hour, before having our lunch, by which time no one had arrived and about an hour and a half after we had phoned, I wandered round to their office and asked if anyone was going to attend.

A few minutes later, an engineer turned up and said that he hadn’t been given the initial message and apologised for the delay.  He tried to get the heating to fire, without success, so disappeared under the floor (having first lifted one of the panels) and emerged some time later saying that no fuel was being delivered to the heater unit.  

He wandered off for some parts and fitted them without success.  It appeared that the pipe feeding the heater was only drawing up air. Little wonder it wasn’t working then!! By this time it was about 16:30 and darkness was beginning to fall, so we said not to worry, we’d head off and spend the night at the Ferry House and return on Friday to end our week prematurely, so as to give them time to remedy the problem before the next shareholders arrived on Saturday.  To be fair, the weather forecast for Friday and Saturday, was much the same as it had been on Thursday and although we were disappointed, it wasn’t as if we were missing too much of our break.

By this time the cloud had partially cleared and the setting sun was creating some wonderful picture worthy skies, so I snapped a few shots on my phone as we cruised to the pub and moored in the same spot as we had the previous Sunday evening.  There was still plenty of credit on the electricity post, so we plugged in and set the fan heater going.  Moonlight Shadow was soon toasty warm and we relaxed for a while before going to the pub shortly before 19:00 for dinner.

As ever, the greeting was as warm as the pub itself and we were soon tucking into our food. Finished, we wandered up the lane with Harley to let her do what she needed to before returning to the boat and our last night onboard on this trip.

As usual, we had hot drinks before retiring for the night.  Neither of us wanted to go home – we weren’t ready, but at least it wouldn’t be long before our next visit in April.










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Shame about the problems with the heating. I guess that's all part of syndicate ownership. 

More lovely photos. :)

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12 minutes ago, SwanR said:

Shame about the problems with the heating. I guess that's all part of syndicate ownership. 

More lovely photos. :)

Without trying to sound rude, it's absolutely NOTHING to do with syndicate ownership. Many years ago, my Brothers Brother in law hired a boat from Herbert Woods in late October (school half term) and as it would be, it was cold. The heating wouldn't fire up, but the engineers wouldn't come out, as it wasn't an emergency.

It is'nt just syndicate boats that have problems and breadowns, how often have we read on this forum where people have hired boats and they've had breakdowns, sometimes more than one?.

To say it's a problem with syndicate boating is to be honest, a bit irresponsible, a it could give people a bad impression, and put them off buying a share, and enjoying an excellent system of boat ownership.

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If anything syndicates should have an advantage, firstly the boats are used pretty much all year round and secondly the owners all have a vested interest in making sure everything is OK 

To be honest we've had very little problem over the years - Swancraft were superb and Woods and Bridgecraft excellent too. Perhaps we've been lucky! 

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14 minutes ago, SPEEDTRIPLE said:

Without trying to sound rude, it's absolutely NOTHING to do with syndicate ownership ...

To say it's a problem with syndicate boating is to be honest, a bit irresponsible, a it could give people a bad impression, and put them off buying a share, and enjoying an excellent system of boat ownership.

I think you have misunderstood me. All I meant was that if you have a part share in a boat then you have a definite responsibility to do your best to get something fixed for the next owners. It's your boat after all. And on occasion, from the holiday tales I have read, that means sacrificing a day or two of your holiday if there's a problem. Mouldy did say that they would end their break prematurely on the Friday.

Yes, hirers can encounter breakdowns as well. And yes, hirers will naturally have to do their best also to get to somewhere where an engineer has land access and can come out. We've done that ourselves three times but only been inconvenienced for a couple of hours. I wouldn't expect to have to end my holiday early in order to give the yard time to investigate something for the next hirers.

Just a slight difference. 

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Friday 8th February

We were up at the usual time on Friday morning.  Debbie took Harley for her walk and I had breakfast and went to get showered.  What a godsend the immersion heater is, too.  Our little fan heater had been set to low and on all night and had certainly kept the chill off.

The pub moorings were not busy and we had moored side on, due to the weather and it certainly was windy and the sky grey and cheerless with heavy cloud cover.

Debbie had breakfast when she returned and while she was waiting for me to finish showering, she had stated to pack.  She went to get ready as I emerged from the aft cabin, feeling better for my shower.

I started to move all of our bits and pieces from where we had stowed them into the saloon, so they were all together and when Debbie was showered and dressed, we finished packing our clothes, stripped the bed and moved all of our bags into the aft cabin to make it easy to get them out of the aft doors to pack the car.  I topped up with water at the pub, as I knew from our experiences earlier in the week, that the hose at the kiosk at Brooms had been turned off.

We had really been in no particular rush and by about 11:00, we cast off for the short trip back to the yard, filled up with fuel and had the required pump-out, which all together came to about £90.  Bill paid, we moved to our berth, I packed the car and the wife vacuumed through MS. 

With everything done, we pulled out of the boatyard at about 12:15.  We weren’t in any great rush to go home, so headed for Hoveton (for the pedants) and had fish and chips from Greys before heading for home.

The return journey took about three hours, largely due to a combination of roadworks and Friday traffic and could have been worse has it not been for some local knowledge around Bedford, where I turned off the A421 and headed through some local roads home.

No scenic photos on the last day – the weather was too uninspiring, just one of MS at her home mooring.  That’s all for this trip – thanks for reading and your comments.  Just looking forward now to April and another week on Moonlight Shadow.


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