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Moonlight Shadow Tales

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1 hour ago, SwanR said:

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


Just to clarify, the heating fault the week previous to us taking Moonlight Shadow out had been identified as an issue with the burner, which had been replaced.  The new fault was a problem with the fuel feed to the heater unit and probably not related.  I understand that it has now been fixed and I have seen emails from other members of the syndicate stating that the heating is now working correctly.

Everything breaks down, some more frequently than others.  In eight years hiring from Summercraft we didn't experience anything more major than a bulb blowing in the toilet and a hair drier not working, but we have suffered much more significant issues hiring from other yards and watching some Youtube blogs, it's apparent that others have had many more problems than us.  I believe even Robin (London Rascal) had an issue with a relatively new heater on Indy, so it's not necessarily a question of maintenance, just the way it goes sometimes.

At the end of the day, we still enjoyed our time on the boat and we will not have to wait long to be back on board again.  Syndicate membership suits us very well indeed and my only regret is that it took me so long to get round to joining one.


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Hi Mouldy,

Many thanks for writing a thoroughly interesting read, along with some stunning pics. Just for future reference,  I`m sure you know where Lightning is moored, so if the water on the fuel berth is turned off again, you could always moor temporarily on the end of our mooring, or actually on it if she`s not there, and use the yellow hose halfway down. It does stretch to all berths on our mooring area.

Once again, thanks for a gret post.

You`re lucky, we could have been aboard Lightning this week, but have limited holiday from work, so won`t be on Lightning til late June, and then again in early September. We only usually use Lightning twice out of our 4 week allocation, but will (possibly next year) use her 3 times, but never 4.

Hopefully, we`ll see you afloat some time in one of your future cruises.

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1 hour ago, SwanR said:

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. 

Hi Jean,

As i said, i did`nt intend my comment to sound rude, it was`nt meant that way.  However,  even though you say i misinterpreted your comments, if i`ve done so, then so could somebody else.

I`ve often said, when you speak to someone face to face, you can use a tone of phrase and voice to make your comments easily understandable, but where writing and printed words are concerned, it`s quite easy to misinterpret something which meant in all innocence. I`ve done it myself before, as have others.

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2 hours ago, SPEEDTRIPLE said:

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.

I called Richardsons out twice last May they were with us in half an hour one call was the heater not firing up they took the unit out and replaced it with another they had brought with them sorted in about twenty mins

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3 hours ago, Mouldy said:

   Syndicate membership suits us very well indeed and my only regret is that it took me so long to get round to joining one.



I looked into syndicate ownership what must be 20 odd years back, but kept thinking it was all too good to be true, and there`s always some dark secret hidden somewhere.  However, when i eventually got around to meeting people and taking the time to talk to them and look over the boats, i came to the conclusion it was the way ahead for us. In 2014, we bought our share in Lightning, but at that time, she was`nt the boat she is now. She was run very much on the basis, "if it aint broke, don`t fix it". But these days with a change of structure in the syndicate chairmanship, Lightning is a superb boat, undergoing ongoing updates and replacements, even when they "aint broke".  In fact, our decision to sell our share when we retire (5 years time) and buy our own boat has now changed, and that we are now seriously considering buying another share in Lightning to double our 4 weeks to 8 weeks a year, and being retired, we will be able to make full use of the double allocation.

Mouldy (Malcolm is it?),  you`ve explained things very well, and have also shown syndicate ownership in a very good and posative way.

Here`s looking forward to your next adventure.

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Saturday 6th April

So the 6th April arrived at the start of another week on Moonlight Shadow.  I’d been watching the weather forecast for a few days and to be frank, it wasn’t looking too promising, but we’d be away and after a quite challenging time due to happenings at work and my mums continuing ill health, the break would be most welcome.

We’d already invited the wife’s brother and his girlfriend to join us for the weekend, but we also took the mother in law, to cheer her up a bit.  We set off from Northampton just after 09:00 and due to continuing roadworks on both of my usual routes, picked our way across some back roads to Bedford, where we joined the A421, continued on the A428, A14, A11 & A47.  We arrived in Brundall at about 11:30 after a trouble-free journey.  The weather had been grey and cheerless throughout the journey, but we were glad to be at the boatyard at the start of another relaxing week.

It was clear that Brooms season had started as preparation of some craft was underway and a couple of early arrivals were already unpacking their possessions onto their floating homes for the week, all of which looked clean ad smart after the winter maintenance.

The cars were soon unpacked, beds made and belongings stowed, before heading to the Co-op for a couple of bits and the chippy for some lunch.  Fish and chips were consumed on board, washed down with a mug of tea before we cast off and headed for Rockland Broad.  

The brother in law took the helm for a spell but handed it back to me as we turned into Short Dyke (he said it was too narrow) and across the broad before mooring at the Staithe.

The wife and I took the dog for a walk, around the broad and along Short Dyke to the junction with the Yare and back whilst the others stayed on board.  Harley (our dog) seemed to realise she was on holiday too and enjoyed chasing a couple of geese that were pecking at the grass along the riverside. I took my compact camera, but wasn’t exactly inspired by the cheerless weather – just a few shots of the geese and close ups of the plants along our route.

A while later, we made our way back along Fleet Dyke to the main river, turning left towards Brundall and left again across Bargate to The Ferry House at Surlingham, where I’d booked a mooring and a table for dinner.  We chatted for a while before heading to the pub at about 18:45 for our meal.  As ever the welcome was warm, the atmosphere friendly and the food excellent.

The weather had remained dull for the whole day, but everyone had enjoyed themselves and we retired to bed around 22:00, tired and happy.






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Sunday 7thApril

Sunday dawned.  As usual, I was first up, with the wife following.  She pulled some clothes on to take Harley for a walk.  I turned on the immersion heater and boiled the kettle and made a cuppa before heading for the shower.  The wife returned after almost an hour, just as had finished getting ready.  She’d found another new (to her) path, resulting in a lengthy walk for the pooch.

By then the rest of the party were up and getting ready, so we breakfasted on hot buttered crumpets before setting off towards Norwich.   

The weather reports had forecast light rain showers.  If that was a light shower, I’d hate to see torrential rain as in reality, there was an absolute deluge as we chugged along the river.  I’ve now lost count of the times I’ve cursed the windscreen wiper on Moonlight Shadow.

Fortunately, it had all but stopped by the time we moored at the yacht station.  We got ready and walked into the city, stopping for a while at the Cathedral to take some photos.  

Once done, we continued to the centre to shop for some essentials before returning to the boat for lunch.  The brother in law and his girlfriend went off to do some window shopping and get their own lunch, leaving the wife, her mum and I to walk back to the boat, where we enjoyed some sausages in rolls.

The others returned and we set of, retracing our earlier route and past The Ferry House, back to Brundall arriving back at the boatyard at about 16:15.  We had a cuppa before our weekend guests gathered their belongings and packed their car.

They left us at about 17:15, so we cast off, heading towards Reedham.  Slack water at Yarmouth the following morning was at 07:40, so the nearer we were to Breydon, the better the chance of us crossing somewhere close to the optimum time would be.  We eventually moored in an otherwise deserted Langley Dyke about an hour later.

The crows nesting in the trees to the side of the dyke were in full voice for a while.  Small wonder the collective noun for them is a murder!!  

By this time, the clouds had blown over and we were left with a beautiful evening.  We had dinner and watched TV for a while before heading for bed just before 22:00.  

It was to be an early start on Monday morning, so a good night's sleep was needed.






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Monday 8thApril

We were awake at about 05:30 on Monday.  The wife pulled on some clothes to take Harley for a walk and I hurriedly dressed to take a few photos.  The early start was necessary due to the tides and slack water at Yarmouth. 

It was quite foggy as we cast off at about 06:15.  With navigation lights on we headed along Langley Dyke and turned right onto the Yare.  The fog was quite patchy, but visibility was okay with the side door slid open and my head sticking out.  

With the engine revs set to 1500, we made good progress, helped by a strong ebbing current and were soon passing what appeared to be a silent Cantley plant.  

We passed through Reedham and headed towards Breydon and I did wonder whether the fog would prevent our passage across, but the nearer we got to the start of the crossing, the rising sun was burning off the mist and by the time we passed Berney Mill, visibility was returned to near normal.

Breydon was calm and although we passed several craft heading south, we were the only one heading in the opposite direction.  We were running a little after slack water and as we neared Yarmouth, the effect of the incoming current became more noticeable. 

We passed the yellow post at 08:20, some 40 minutes later than the ideal time, but the benefit was the help we had from the current as we headed up the Bure.

The weather improved as the morning drew on and it wasn't long before we had to wind the roof back and let the sunshine in.

We stopped at Acle for water and to let the dog off for a while and to top up with water.  I’m not sure who had used the hose before, but it had more knots in than at a scouts convention.  It took me a while to untangle it so that the water would flow through.  We  cast off again heading  towards Potter Heigham.  We needed some milk and I was keen to see if the bakery in Lathams had any London cheesecakes in. It was very noticeable how much more river traffic there was on the Northern rivers.

We kept right at the junction of the Bure and the Thurne, past Thurne Mill, looking smaty now with relatively fresh paint and the sails repaired.  It wasn't too long before we reached our destination where we got ready and walked the short distance over one of Potter’s famous landmarks to the other. 

Deb sat outside with a cup of tea whilst I was entrusted with the shopping.   Milk, cakes and a couple of other essentials purchased, it was back to the boat for lunch before we chugged back down the Thurne to Thurne Dyke for our overnight mooring.

Dinner was to be at The Lion.  It was Deb’s birthday on Tuesday, so a good excuse to celebrate the day. The meal was excellent as always and the pub must now be my favourite on the Northern Broads for food.

We returned to the boat at about 21:00 and it wasn't long before the early start caught up with us and we retired to bed, happy after a fantastic day rounded off with a wonderful meal.

















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Great photos. For me, you can't beat the early morning light on the water and having the rivers to yourself. Looks like a lovely crossing of Breydon.

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Tuesday 9th April

Tuesday morning dawned and I clambered out of bed, hoping to see a beautiful sunrise, lighting the mill in glorious golden sunshine, creating another wonderful photo opportunity.   However, I was to be disappointed.   It was grey and cloudy with no significant breaks in the cloud to even let the sun peek through.

No matter, we were still on holiday and still on the Broads.  Deb got up and took the pooch for a walk and I tidied up the boat.  It was 9th April and the wife's birthday, so upon her return I cooked a breakfast of bacon, scrambled eggs,  fresh tomatoes and mushrooms.  Very tasty slightly unhealthy, but occasionally, who cares?

Breakfast eaten and with the washing up done (always a downside), we got ready and cast off, which is when the stiff breeze became apparent.  By now, the sun had made an appearance and the sky was blue.  Maybe the day would be similar to Monday – we could only hope.

We chugged back up the Thurne and turned left into Womack Dyke, heading for Womack Water and the staithe to moor, so we could walk into Ludham for supplies.  There was plenty of space at the staithe and we moored alongside a family on Grande Girl, a boat we have hired on four occasions previously, who were topping up with water.  We had a chat and filled our tanks before wandering into the village.

First stop was the butchers, then to Throwers, before wandering back to the boat, where we bought a couple of ice creams from the shop by the staithe. 

We cast off and retraced our way back along Womack Dyke, turning right onto the Thurne and right again onto the Bure, heading for Wroxham.  

We had bought a new multi-port USB charger for our phones, tablets and the wife's Fitbit, from Amazon before we came away, but it had expired with a pop in a cloud of acrid smoke when we used it for the second time and we urgently needed to get a new charger, so thought Roy's may be the place.

By now the breeze had stiffened and it had become quite chilly.  Definitely not the day for the roof to be back.  The journey was uneventful, but I do believe I saw 'The Admiral' (Russell Thompson) heading in the opposite direction as we went through Horning.

We arrived in Wroxham, so I headed for Summercrafts yard and asked Sue if we could moor there for an hour or so, whilst we went to the shops.  She agreed, so after she and I had chatted about boats, hire fleets and the coming season, the wife and I headed into the town.

We found a couple of USB chargers in Roy's Food Hall of all places, so it was back to the boat and back on our way to our overnight destination at Salhouse Broad.  Dinner was to be at The Fur and Feather, where I had booked a table.

The broad was quite busy, but we found a spot and moored, not easy with a strong crosswind, then watched several other craft attempt to moor, their skippers struggling with the difficult conditions. 

No sooner had we stopped than we were pounced on for the mooring fee, but £10 soon changed hands and we settled down for a couple of hours until it was time to walk to the pub.

Dinner was enjoyable, but I fear that it has lost out to The Lion in terms of quality and the restaurant extension has robbed the place of its atmosphere.

Were returned to Moonlight Shadow for a cheeky gin and tonic before retiring for the night.  Not many photos today due to the uninspiring weather but normal service will return tomorrow.





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Wednesday 10th April

We woke on Wednesday to a grey, cold windy day.  The breeze had not abated overnight and coupled with the chilly temperature, it wasn't a pleasant morning.  

Deb took Harley for her walk and I tidied the boat, making the bed and straightening the blankets we use to cover the seating.

When she returned, we breakfasted on toasted crumpets, thickly buttered.  Just after 08:00, we started the engine for hot water (no shore power for the immersion heater at Salhouse) and cast off around 08:30, heading for Ranworth.

Deb took the helm whilst I showered and dressed and took over when I’d finished so she could do the same.

There were a few spaces available when we arrived, so we slotted in alongside another syndicated cruiser, Blue Mist.  We had intended to walk to the church, but wanted to top up with water first, so moved to another mooring nearer a hose after discovering that the hose wouldn't reach.

We had just finished topping up when a large craft from Richardsons eventually moored alongside.   To be fair, they had manoeuvred with consideration and had made much effort not to hit the side of MS, but the operation had taken a good 15 minutes and it was clear the strong wind was seriously hampering their efforts.

The weather had not improved and we agreed that it would not be an enjoyable stroll to the church and certainly not sufficiently pleasant to sit outside the church café and enjoy a coffee and slice of cake.  Instead, we cast off, heading for the River Ant and chugged back up Ranworth Dam, turning right onto the Bure at the junction and shortly after, left onto the Ant.

I was hopeful that there would be sufficient clearance under the bridge to allow us to pass without dropping the roof and screen due to the wind and was pleased to see 8ft 3ins on the advance marker, just 3 inches more than we needed.

There was the usual confusion of craft attempting to moor on the other side, jockeying for space near the shop and water point, but we navigated through the melee without incident and carried on up the river.

We passed How Hill and through Irstead before entering Barton Broad.  Much to our surprise, after such a grey and cheerless morning, the clouds began to break, allowing the sun to peek through and by the time we reached the other side of the broad, the sun was beaming down, although the breeze continued to blow.

We continued up the Ant, bearing left at the Stalham turn before passing Hunsett Mill.  I was pleased to see the mill has now been restored, with sails replaced, but I cannot get used to the abomination that the once chocolate box pretty cottage has become.

We travelled a couple of hundred yards further before turning and mooring for lunch of toasted ciabatta and pate.  We stayed there for a while, the wife doing her cross stitch and me taking some photos, before casting off and retracing our route towards Barton Broad.

I saw a flash of iridescent blue flash in front of the boat, but the kingfisher had disappeared before I could grab my camera.  Another lost opportunity, but maybe one day I'll get lucky and get a photo of this shy, beautiful bird.

The moorings at Irstead were taken and Johny Crowe's staithe was also occupied, so we moored at How Hill and settled down for the evening.  The sun was still shining and there was a real prospect of a decent sunset, so dinner was delayed whilst I spent some time photographing the setting sun as it lit the horizon and Turf Fen Mill with a glorious orange glow.

I stood outside to watch the sun drop below the horizon.  Nature certainly does provide some wonderful sights and satisfied that I had committed some worthy shots to memory card, I returned to the boat.

We had dinner on board, before watching TV for a while and retiring to bed at about 22:00, happy that the day that promised so little in the morning, had delivered so much in the end.
















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Great photos as always Malcom. I'm pleased to see that mooring spot just up from Hunsett Mill is usable. Sometimes in the past it's been very overgrown on the bank there. 

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Thursday 11th April

The weather on Thursday morning was much the same as it had been the previous morning with no sign of the sun, albeit the breeze didn't seem quite as strong.

The wife took Harley for her walk and I tidied again.  When they returned, we waited until after 08:00 before starting the engine for hot water and I set about preparing another cooked breakfast.  Bacon, sausages, black pudding, fresh tomatoes, scrambled eggs and mushrooms make a very satisfying start to the day.

Once eaten, we washed up and I went for a shower and to get ready.  We cast off at about 09:30 and Deb went for her shower.  We headed back towards Ranworth, but when we arrived, the staithe was full and there were about seven or eight craft waiting for spaces.  I wasn't going to waste time there, so we returned to the Bure and moored at St Benets instead.

The weather continued to be cold and the wind strengthened again, but we had a wander round the abbey and walked to the cross.  The river was busy, with a constant stream of craft passing by and I noticed Evening. Shadow pass, too.  I took a few photos before we headed back to the boat.  

By now it was about 13:00 and lunchtime, but we were both still feeling quite full from breakfast, so elected to pass on lunch.  

We set off again and had a slow cruise along Fleet Dyke and through South Walsham Outer and Inner Broads. It had been a while since we’d been there and I’d forgotten what a lovely broad it is.  How idyllic must it be to own one of the shoreside properties and look across the broad every day.  Note to self – best start buying lottery tickets again!!

We needed to moor in a position to make the Breydon crossing the following morning.   Slack water on Friday was at 10:22, so Stokesby seemed to be as good a place as any so we retraced our route back along Fleet Dyke and turned right, back onto the Bure.

We had not topped up with water that morning - I had intended to do that at Ranworth, so stopped off at Acle.  The party of scouts must have been there again – we were moored directly alongside the water point, but I had to unwind all of the hose to get the knots out to allow the water to come through again.  Doh!!

The Broads Boating Company had been busy over since we had been there on Monday as all of the boats that had been out of the water, were back afloat in the basin.

With the water topped up, we cast off to make the short journey to Stokesby.   Unbelievably, much the same as the previous day, the cloud that had been present all day cleared and the sun came out.  It was still cold in the breeze, but the sunshine lifted the mood as it lit the surrounding countryside.

As we cruised into the village and much to my surprise, I noticed that the BA moorings at the green were empty, so we moored and set up for the evening, connecting to shore power to boost the batteries.

Once again, dinner was delayed as I rushed about taking many photos of the setting sun, which proved every bit as spectacular as the previous evening.

We ate on board - pork chops, new potatoes and cauliflower with gravy and the obligatory (for me, at least) apple sauce before watching TV for a while.

We went to bed at about 22:00.  I was reflecting on the fact that it was to be our last full day on Friday and how quickly the week had passed as I drifted to sleep.























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26 minutes ago, Broads01 said:

 . . . . . .  I'm pleased to see that mooring spot just up from Hunsett Mill is usable. Sometimes in the past it's been very overgrown on the bank there. 

Hi Simon - thanks for the kind comments regarding the photos.  The mooring above Hunsett Mill is a little overgrown, but I dare say as the season progresses, it will soon be trampled or cut back to allow all of the space to be used.  The biggest problem was goose poo, of which there was plenty!!  I was very careful where I placed my feet as I wandered along the bank with the camera!!

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Friday 12th April

And so it was Friday, our last full day.  To the front of the boat, it was cloudy and behind, there was broken cloud and some watery sunshine.  It wasn't long before the cloud won and grey skies took charge.

The wife walked the dog, as usual and as we had been connected to shore power, I had been able to switch on the immersion heater to heat the water and shower before she got back.

We had breakfast of hot, buttered crumpets, before casting off at about 09:00, hoping to arrive at Yarmouth in time for slack water at 10:22.

Deb went for her shower as we chugged down the river.  We passed a few boats heading north as we neared Yarmouth and eventually turned at the yellow post 8 minutes late (head hung in shame!).

We appeared to be the last boat heading south, but did pass a few stragglers making their way in the opposite direction as we crossed Breydon Water.

The crossing was uneventful, if not as smooth as it had been on Monday and we were soon passing the deserted Berney Arms.

We were heading for Reedham, to stop for water and to break the journey.   When we arrived, there was plenty of mooring spaces available, so I selected a spot between the Rangers hut and Sandersons boatyard, alongside the hose.   

Whilst topping up the tank, I thought I could detect the faint smell of fish and chips, which made me feel hungry.  I checked the Interweb and found that the chippy was open, so decision made - fish and chips for lunch.  It had been many years since we had moored at Reedham on the days that it opens and remembered that it used to be very good, so hoped that we would not be disappointed.

I waited until about 13:00 before walking up the hill to the chip shop and bought fish and chips for us both before returning to the boat.  I had a chat with the owner whilst waiting for it to be cooked – it turned out that he had not been there the last time I had.

I was a little concerned that the batter looked a little dark, but the fish was superb, wonderfully fresh and big flakes.  Why can we not get a chippy like that at home?

We washed up before casting off again.  Cantley was still again - there were cars in the car park, but no steam from the chimneys, I guess proction must be over until the harvest starts again.  We were thinking about Rockland St Mary for our last night, but the pull of The Ferry House at Surlingham was too strong, so we found ourselves moored there for our last night on board.

Apart from a short period when we were at Reedham when the sun appeared, it had been cloudy all day, with a couple of rain showers thrown in for good measure.  No sooner had we taken our seats in the pub, but the sun came out again as it began to set.  Just typical!!!!

We had another lovely meal in what I think is my favourite pub on the southern rivers, before returning to the boat.

It was to be an early night - we needed an early start the following morning.











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Saturday 13th April 

We were awake early on Saturday.  There always seems so much to do and so little time to do it in when you get ready to go home.  Deb pulled on some clothes and walked the dog whilst I switched on the immersion heater, made a cuppa and stripped the bed before going for a shower.

Depending on which direction you looked, the weather appeared very different.  Towards Brundall, it was sunny, but towards Bramerton, the clouds looked ominous.

I was ready not long after the wife returned with Harley, so whilst she showered, I toasted some crumpets for breakfast.

Deb had her breakfast after she had showered and dressed.  By then it was about 07:40 and time to cast off for our last short cruise back to our home yard.  

As we drew closer I could see that that the fuel quay was empty, so we headed there and waited until 08:00 for them to open.

Fuel for the week and pump outs for both toilets came in at a very reasonable £91.00, which was a lot less than I anticipated  given the distance we'd covered.

When finished, we moved to our berth and tied Moonlight Shadow up for the last time this holiday.  It only seemed like a few minutes since we had cast off for the first time the previous week.  Why do holidays always take so long to arrive, yet pass before you realise they're over?

With the car packed we left Brundall at about 09:30 and despite the road works, still arrived home before 12:30.

Roll on September,  when we will be back again for another week aboard MS.  Until then, we have our memories and photos to remind us of the wonderful week we had just had.






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Friday 20th September   

We left home at around 18:15, heading for Brundall.  I needed to see the proprietor of the yard where Norfolk Lady is moored on Saturday morning to discuss what needed  be done when she was lifted the following week and to get prices, so it made sense to go Friday evening and spend the night on our boat and be there ready the following morning.  We were making reasonable progress, but were delayed in queuing traffic where there had been an accident near the monument in Elvedon Forest and eventually arrived in Brundall just before 21:00.  

We stopped at the Chinese to collect a takeaway, before heading the short distance to the yard and boarding our boat.  We watched TV for a while before turning in at about 23:00, tired but happy to be away for an extended break.

Saturday 21st September

We woke early to a beautiful morning and got showered and dressed.  Paul, the owner of the yard, arrived on time at 10:00 and we discussed the work to be completed on Norfolk Lady and agreed the cost.  He had a boat in his shed, ready to be surveyed the following Wednesday and expected to lift ours on Thursday.

In the meantime, our son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren, who were joining us for a break on Moonlight Shadow, had arrived in Brundall.  It was around 11:00, so they all wandered round to the Co-Op, with my wife, to get a few essential supplies and I drove round to Broom to see whether Moonlight was close to being ready.  The cleaners were just finishing and I was advised that as the boat hadn’t been used the previous week, the Broom engineers were not going to attend for the handover checks to be completed.

I quickly checked the coolant and oil levels and satisfied that they were okay, began to unload the car.  The others returned from their shopping trip and with the cars unloaded, beds made and other bits and pieces stowed away, Iain (our son) and I nipped round to the Brundall Chippy to collect fish and chips for lunch for us all, before casting off just after 14:00 to start our week away.

We turned and headed in the direction of Reedham, with Langley Dyke the preferred mooring for our first night.  When we arrived, there was only one other Richo’s craft there, but we were joined later by another three boats, all private.  Iain and I fished for a while (no maggots drowned, Mr Nog, just bread to tempt the fish).  Neither of us are serious about fishing, but we both enjoyed some quiet time, caught a couple of fish each and had a couple of bottles of beer in the process.  It was a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours on a glorious, sunny afternoon at the start of our holiday.

All too soon, it started to get dark and dinner was ready, so we packed away the rods and enjoyed a Spaghetti Bolognese.

It had been an early start for all of us, so we retired early.  I planned to be away at about 07:30, so as to be at Yarmouth for slack water the following morning at around 10:15.  



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Sunday 22nd September

I usually am up at about 04:15 to get ready for work, so enjoyed a lay-in until about 05:30, before pulling some clothes on and making the essential morning cuppa.  It was a glorious morning, with a little mist laying over the fields and a clear sky.  I readied my camera in anticipation of the sunrise whilst Iain and Debbie (the wife) took the dogs for their morning walk.  I went out as the sky began to colour and probably spent about three quarters of an hour taking pictures of the rising sun, before heading back to the boat.

The others were back with the dogs, so we started the engine and cast off just before 07:30, heading for Breydon Water.  With the engine revs set to little more than tickover, we were making good progress, helped by the ebbing current and wasn’t long before we were going through Reedham.  I was slightly worried that we would arrive at Yarmouth much to early, but in the end, we turned at the yellow post at about 10:00.  The Bure was still emptying, but it wasn’t too bad and we made steady progress past the Yacht Station and the ever worsening eyesore that is Marina Quays.

There had been plenty of craft heading south, but not many heading the other way.  As we progressed towards The Stracey Arms, I spotted Russell Thompson heading in the opposite direction, solo helming aboard Royall Commander and shouted a greeting as he passed, to which he responded.  We would eventually meet up with him later in the week.

I knew that the Broads Boating Company had taken down the water hoses at the riverside at Acle, so turned into their basin and stern moored to fill our tanks.  Once done we headed back up The Bure, destination Potter Heigham.  I felt the pull from The Lion as we passed Thurne Dyke.  The promise of a glorious meal there was very tempting, but we had plans to be there later in the week, so resisted the temptation and carried on up The Thurne.

The difference in the volume of river traffic between the southern and northern rivers was very obvious, with many of the moorings already taken as we headed into Potter, but we managed to squeeze into a suitable space in the ‘quiet’ mooring closest to the bridge.  We all got off, ready for the short walk to Lathams, where we needed to get a couple of bits and pieces that had been forgotten during the visit to the Co-Op the previous day.  I headed for the bakery to get some cakes (they sell London Cheesecakes that I am very fond of) and joined the others before returning to the boat.

The weather was turning and it started to rain, so we elected to stay there for the evening.  The wife knitted and I read, whilst Iain and Rachel attended to their children.  We enjoyed a dinner of baked gammon, with white sauce, potatoes and broccoli, then played a couple of games of crib before retiring for the night.

It had been a good day and I fell asleep thinking about our plans for the following day.








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Monday 23rd September

It had rained on and off through the night and I awoke as dawn broke a grey, gloomy sky, so clambered out of bed to make my customary morning cuppa, whilst the wife and Iain readied themselves to take the dogs for their walk.

We’d had a problem with boat on Sunday and were planning to meet the engineers from Broom at Womack Staithe on Monday morning, so we left our moorings at Potter shortly after 08:00 and headed slowly down the Thurne, passing many Herbert Woods craft heading in the opposite direction, presumably heading back to base aa t the end of their holidays.

We turned into Womack Dyke and I noted that there were a few spaces at the BA moorings, but carried on to Womack Water.  There was only one space at the staithe, but it would have been tight to get into, but three other craft were getting ready to cast off, so I waited for a couple of minutes before reversing into a gap vacated by Grand Girl.  I left the engine running, to heat the water and went for a shower, before calling the syndicate’s management company to report our location, so they could call the engineers.

The others readied themselves and as Broom had not arrived, I stayed on the boat whilst the others walked round to the shops.  I filled the water tank with what must be the slowest filling hose on the Broads and was just tightening the filler cap when two engineers arrived.

Fixing the fault took about an hour and they were departing as others returned from their shopping trip, so with their purchases stowed in the fridge and cupboards, we cast off and headed away from our moorings.  The previously grey sky was clearing and it was getting warmer, so we wound back the roof to let the autumn sunshine in.  I noted the family on one of Richo’s large cruisers who took the hose from me as I went to stow it, were still filling their tanks.  We had lunch of pork pies bought from the butchers as we chugged back out onto the main river, heading back down the Thurne and turning right onto the Bure.

My plan was to head up the Ant and moor at the semi wild moorings between Hunsett Mill and Wayford, if there was space, but I was concerned at the number of craft on the river, especially as we passed St Benets, which was fairly full.  We turned right up the Ant and for once, had a relatively easy passage under the bridge.  Iain was at the helm and I was standing at the bow, camera in hand anxious to get some shots of How Hill and Turf Fen Mill in the sunshine.  There were some scattered clouds, but it had turned into a really wonderful day.  

The moorings at How Hill were quite quiet.  I spotted a Benmore moored, with the canopies slid back and as we cruised past, the person I now realise was Simon (Broads01) jumped up and shouted my name.  I responded and waved back – one day we must meet for a chat, but it was good to spot him all the same.

We rounded a couple more bends and I noticed that Johnny Crowe’s Staithe was empty, so checked with the others before turning and mooring.  It was, as far as I was concerned, an opportunity too good to miss.  A beautiful, private wild mooring on a wonderful, sunny afternoon.  What more could we ask for?With Moonlight Shadow secured, the wife and Iain took the dogs for a walk, exploring the track that leads from the mooring.  Rachel was looking after our grandchildren and I took a few photos, before mopping down the boat.

When the others returned, Iain and I drowned some more bread as we spent a couple of hours fishing and generally watching the world go by.  Idyllic.

We caught a few more fish, my biggest was a sizeable tench (I think).  It was green and slimy, so it managed to slip from my hands as I unhooked it, falling back into the river before the wife could take a photo to prove I’d landed it.  It sounds as if it was a fisherman’s tale I know, but the damned thing nearly broke the cheap rod I’d bought for the occasion and I definitely didn’t imagine it!

As the evening drew in, we gave up and went inside for a meal of pork chops (from the butchers in Ludham) with vegetables and potatoes and very good it was too.

We played crib for a while before heading for bed just after 21:30.  There is something in the Norfolk air that makes me sleepy, I’m sure and I drifted off to sleep at the end of an excellent day.










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Tuesday 24th September

Once again, I woke to an awful, wet, grey morning.  I stood looking out of the windows, with a cup of tea, observing a dreary scene.  As usual, Debbie and Iain took the dogs for a walk and I started to make preparations for breakfast.  As there was no one else to disturb, I started the engine at about 07:45, as I knew that with a cooked breakfast, there would be much washing up and copious supplies of hot water would be needed.

When the others were back, I prepared grilled bacon, scrambled eggs, sautéed tomatoes, mushrooms gently cooked in a little butter and some black pudding.  Even though I say it myself, it went down a treat, all washed down with more tea.  

With the washing up done, I headed off for my shower and once ready, we cast off.  The destination was to be Stalham, as we needed Tesco for a few bits and pieces.  There was a bit of traffic on the river as we headed up the Ant and entered Barton Broad bringing up the rear of a convoy of craft who had gathered behind a boat whose helmsman was content maintaining a steady 2mph.  

Keeping to the right of the island, we headed across the broad.  The weather had not really improved and we were being caught in brief but very heavy showers.  As usual, I cursed the clown who designed the almost useless windscreen wiper on Moonlight Shadow.  Whoever it was must still raise a smile thinking about its total ineffectiveness!

We were soon across the broad and heading up the river, turning right, towards Sutton, then left into Stalham.  We moored (in another heavy shower) at Simpsons Boatyard for water, before moving across to the public staithe (in yet another brief, but heavy downpour) so we could nip round to Tesco.  

Iain and the wife volunteered to go, while I made a coffee and Rachel fed Kayleigh, our granddaughter.

They were soon back, with necessary supplies, so we cast off as the heavens opened yet again, for another brief downpour, heading back the way we had come in.  On reaching Barton Broad, we headed for Gayes Staithe, where there were plenty of available spaces.  I reversed into the side on moorings, carefully passing a very nice private sedan cruiser as I went.

With Moonlight Shadow secured, we had lunch of pasties (not Cornish as they had been locally made).  The wife and I took our grandson (Harry) and the dogs for a walk to find the fudge lady.  I’d never been before and am partial to some decent fudge, so we headed from the staithe and turned right along the road towards Neatishead.  It must have been rush hour, as we were passed by five cars before we arrived at the famous premises.  

I selected four bags of fudge and left the money in the honesty box, before we turned and walked back to the boat.  Rush hour was clearly over as not one car passed as we returned!

A few more boats had arrived, whilst we’d been away and the moorings were filling up.  I wanted to overnight at How Hill, so we set off again and chugged back towards Barton Broad.  I spotted Simon again in Brinks Benmore.  We waved and exchanged greetings as we passed each other.

There didn’t appear to be many spaces at the How Hill moorings, so we pulled up in front of our sister boat Evening Shadow.  Iain jumped off and trotted along the bank and beckoned us to move further along, where another cruiser was just casting off.  I prefer to be nearer the bend as the river is wider and probably less chance of being hit by another boat.

Once moored, Iain and Debbie walked the dogs and I wandered about with my camera.  The showers were less frequent and the cloud was beginning to break.  However shortly after the others returned from their walk, there was another sharp, heavy shower.  The watery sunshine that followed, combined with the patchy cloud to cast some strange light over the mill.  I kept nipping out to take more pictures as the sun set, the sky never achieving that lovely red colour that one associates with a Norfolk sunset, but still photo worthy.  As the river traffic ceased, the rivers surface became calm and reflections of the cloud became more visible.  After such a damp day, this was probably about the best we could have expected.

Dinner was ready, so we had a chicken traybake, with cherry tomatoes, red onions and baby new potatoes in a herby tomato sauce.  

As had become the norm on this trip, with the washing up done, we played crib for a while before heading for bed. 







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Lovely photos and a great write-up. Places so familiar but we never get tired of them.

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Wednesday 25th September 

After the previous mornings, I guess no one would be surprised when if I said that it was another grey, dismal morning when I woke, but at least the rain had stopped for a while at least.  The morning followed the usual pattern, with me brewing up and Iain and the wife taking the dogs for their morning walk.  I dressed and wandered up to Toad Hall Cottage and the end of the moorings where Hathor was moored to take a few photos.

I returned to the boat and we had toast and marmalade for breakfast.  I intended to go to Ranworth Broad, so we cast off at about 08:45, heading back down the Ant and under the bridge.  There was one cruiser waiting to go upstream, holding station as about four or five of us were going the other way.

The cruise to Ranworth Dam was uneventful, but I was wondering if there would be space for us to moor, as the rivers seemed quite busy.  The binoculars made an appearance as the view across the broad opened and I could see that there were several spaces available, so panic over.  I made for Cambridge Cabby’s favoured spot at the cab rank and we secured the boat.  Once again, there was a brief, heavy shower as we moored.

We needed a couple of bits from the shop, so Debbie and I wandered across to pick up what we needed.  The sight of some bacon and sausages in the fridge inspired me to think about another cooked breakfast the following morning, so the couple of bits turned into an expensive basketful.  What the hell?  We were on holiday!!

I plugged into the mains, where someone had thoughtfully left 26p credit – not much, but sufficient to allow us to get the Dyson out and vacuum the boat through, before we availed ourselves of the rubbish facilities.

Debbie and I took the dogs and our grandson for a walk to the church.  Well it would be rude not to and I hadn’t made it in April when we were last there, due to the weather.  Debbie stayed outside with the hounds, whilst I took Harry in for a look around.  I thought better of trying to tackle the stairs up the tower with a daredevil three-year-old – I’ll leave that to his parents on a future trip!

We headed back outside and went into the tea rooms, where dogs are now allowed inside.  Debbie had a pot of tea and shared a millionaire’s shortbread with Harry, whilst I had a slice of apple pie with clotted cream, washed down with a coffee.  Very nice too!!

We walked the back way to the boat and Harry collected a few conkers on the way.  It took me back to when Iain was young and used to pick them up too.  How the years have flown by!

When we arrived back at Moonlight Shadow, the kids (as we call them) decided that they wanted to go to the church, so left us baby-sitting while they went.

Unfortunately, the downside of mooring in the cab rank, is that the water hose won’t reach the boat.  Doh!!  The staithe by then, was full, so we moored alongside the boat at the end, having first sought their permission, to take on water.  It turned out that their boat is also moored where Norfolk Lady is, but I’d not had the opportunity to talk to them before, so we had a chat whilst the tanks were filled.

When done, we said our goodbyes and cast off, heading for Thurne Dyke and my long-awaited dinner at The Lion.  When we arrived, there were already a few craft moored, but I reversed in, to a space about three boat lengths in on the mill side.  

Debbie was knitting, Rachel was tending to Kayleigh and Iain was keeping Harry amused, so I went for a wander with the camera.  It was still cloudy, but a little after we arrived, the cloud began to break and the sun poked its head out.  Before long, the sky was completely clear and it turned into a lovely afternoon.

I noticed Royall Commander moored further down the dyke, so wandered along and spoke to Russell.  He admitted to having been in the pub (no real surprise there) and apologised in advance if he slurred his words.  He wanted to have a look at Moonlight Shadow so we walked back to the boat, where I made him a coffee (at his request)and introduced him to the family, where we chatted for about an hour.  He is a really nice guy and I hope we can meet up again at some point in the future.  He has a real love of the Broads and has bought into the Thunder syndicate, so his visits to the area will become even more regular.  I look forward to the vlogs!!

After Russell had taken his leave, I went out with the camera again to capture a few more shots as the sun went down, casting a glorious golden glow over the mill.  I could see clouds were rolling in again and feared that the respite in the weather would be only temporary.

We all walked down to the pub and had an exceptional meal.  I may be in the minority when I say that I used to like it as it was.  I never had a bad meal there, but the place has certainly changed for the better and it is without a doubt, my favourite eating establishment on the Northern rivers.

Sated and relieved of a good chunk of hard-earned, we returned to the boat for a hot nightcap and bed.  We were to cross Breydon on Thursday and a cooked breakfast was planned.  How quickly the week was passing.










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