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Mouldy

Norfolk Lady Tales

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Wonderful photos. What a treat it must have been to have a weekend afloat. :default_icon_wave:

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Thanks once again Malcolm. Some real candidates among those photos for any possible calender. I especially like the "portrait" one with the fence. Lovely composition and colour.

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Back on Norfolk Lady again for the weekend.  We’ve been coming up regularly over the past couple of months, but the weather has prevented much time actually out on the rivers.  Thanks Ciara, Dennis, Jorge etc.  
It’s fine and sunny in Brundall now and for a change, the boat ain’t rockin’.  Hoping to go for a cruise later today, but we will be looking for moorings overnight with electric.  Aside from the heating, there are a couple of jobs I need to do on board that require electric for my tools.

In the meantime, some photos of the dawn breaking over a cold, frosty, quiet and peaceful Brundall.

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2 hours ago, Mouldy said:

Back on Norfolk Lady again for the weekend.  We’ve been coming up regularly over the past couple of months, but the weather has prevented much time actually out on the rivers.  Thanks Ciara, Dennis, Jorge etc.  
It’s fine and sunny in Brundall now and for a change, the boat ain’t rockin’.  Hoping to go for a cruise later today, but we will be looking for moorings overnight with electric.  Aside from the heating, there are a couple of jobs I need to do on board that require electric for my tools.

In the meantime, some photos of the dawn breaking over a cold, frosty, quiet and peaceful Brundall.

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Have a wonderful weekend break

We refueled, pumped out and topped up with water Moonlight Shadow on the visitor mooring near to Norfolk Lady right where you took the last picture.

It was a bit breezy which had me a little worried mooring there, but with Paul's assistance it was fine

Lovely spot and enjoyed the cruise down the dyke to the moorings looking at the stunning craft and properties

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Great photos. I see the forecast for the week ahead is a little mixed!! Hope you get a good cruise in today. :)

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I haven’t posted this earlier due to the timing of our last visit to Norfolk Lady, however I might as well tell our tale now.  There will be pictures to follow when I’ve typed up the accounts of the other days.

Thursday 19th March

I left work a little before 17:00 and hurried home.  It is a twenty-one mile drive each way to my place of employment, but I made good time and was home by 17:40.  It had been a difficult week at work, having been called to a meeting the previous Monday to be informed that one of my colleagues and I were at risk of redundancy due to a restructure of our team.

I’d also attended a hospital appointment on Tuesday to be told that I need surgery for a minor condition that I am currently suffering with (which is currently on hold because of Covid-19).  With the worsening Corona virus situation too and the impact it could potentially have on my mum (who is 87 and has been quite ill for some time), our long weekend had been planned sometime earlier and I really needed to get away to get my thoughts in order.

The car was packed in record time and we left home at about 18:20. Cutting across country from Northampton to pick up the A421 near Bedford to miss the M1, we were soon heading past St Neots and Cambridge before picking up the A11.  It was noticeable that the traffic was lighter than usual and we made good progress to its junction with the A47, where we turned right for Brundall. 

Unfortunately, we arrived just too late for either the Blofield or Brundall chippy and I haven’t been able to face a Chinese meal since the wife and I both had food poisoning on New Year’s Eve following our last one.  McDonalds it was, then.  We pulled onto the car park and I walked to the door, only to find it was closed, although the Drive Thru was open.  We were soon on our way to the yard and Norfolk Lady, where we quickly ate our food on board, before unloading the car. 

We watched tv for a while and caught up with an episode of Picard, before heading for bed, weary, but pleased to be back in Norfolk for a long weekend. 

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Friday 20th March

I was up early and watched tv whilst the immersion heater was doing its job, so I could shower.  The news was almost exclusively regarding Covid-19 and extremely worrying.  I had a cup of tea and some toast before getting ready.  It was cold and grey when I left the boat to head for the village.

Panic buying had been rampant in the shops and I wasn’t hopeful of getting much in the way of supplies from the Co-Op.  I wasn’t proved wrong, either.  The place looked as if it had been ransacked, with almost no fruit and veg.  No meat, eggs, toilet rolls, rice or pasta were in evidence either.  I tried the other Co-Op and did manage to get some bits and pieces.  

Feeling please with myself for successfully getting a few basic supplies, I returned to the boat and we prepared to cast off.  My intended destination for the night was to be Oulton Broad, as long as we could get under Somerleyton Bridge.  The river levels had been high for some time and I wasn’t sure if we’d be lucky.

The rivers were quiet, although we did pass a couple of other private craft as we headed towards Reedham.  Before too long, the sun broke through and it had turned into a bright, breezy and cold day.  I suggested to the wife that it would be a good idea to stop there and allow our dog, Harley, the opportunity to get off and do whatever business she may need.  The quay was empty when we arrived, so I turned into the ebbing current and moored.  

By this time, it was lunchtime and I could smell the inviting aroma coming from the chip shop.  We had some ham rolls for lunch, but the idea of a portion of chips to accompany them seemed a good idea, so I wandered up the hill to get some.  Debbie had made the rolls when I returned, so we tucked in.

Sated, we set off again, along the New Cut (how boring is that?) to join the Waveney.  It wasn’t long before the bridge was in view. I looked anxiously for the height markers and saw that there was over 10ft 6 ins clearance, more than enough for our boat.  We passed under without incident and headed for Oulton Dyke, bearing left at its entrance.  We didn’t pass any other boats on the move as we crossed the Broad and moored at the pontoon moorings and hooked up the electric.  

I prepared dinner of sausage casserole and got it in the oven whilst the wife took Harley round the park for a walk.  Although I still had much on my mind, being away in the calming atmosphere of the Broads was just what I needed.  I wandered around the Yacht Station, taking a few photos and idled away some time until Debbie returned with Harley and we settled down for the evening.

The casserole was tasty, washed down with a glass or two of wine.  We watched tv, trying to avoid the news.  Corona virus was taking over and I really didn’t need to be made more depressed.  As ever, bed followed a hot drink at about 22:00 and I eventually fell asleep, ever more aware of the crisis that was developing across the Country.

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Hope things are settling for you. I think we will look back and be glad if we chronicled this time in any way. So I am interested to read the rest of this tale. 

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Saturday 21st March

We woke to a beautiful, sunny, clear but windy morning.  The heating and immersion heater went on and to try to avoid watching tv and becoming even more depressed about the crisis that was developing, I had a look at the Forum and Faceache as I drunk my tea and waited for the water to heat.  I was beginning to feel quite alienated in the County that means so much to me, with the comments some folk were making.  I certainly didn’t want the virus, nor did I want to pass it onto anyone else.

Debbie took Harley for a walk whilst I showered and dressed.  By that time, they were back on board, so I wandered across to the Harbourmaster’s office to pay for the mooring.  I was asked for contactless payment there, or to pay online.  The vice was beginning to grip.  I had a quick look across the Broad, took a few photos and returned to the boat to suggest to the wife that we should both have a walk round the park together (with the pooch, too).

We had a steady walk, I took some more photos and the dog mooched about, totally unaware of the developing situation enveloping the Country.  Once back on board, we had a cuppa, before casting off and heading for Beccles, where I wanted to spend Saturday night.  I’d already called the Yacht Station to check that we could get a mooring and to make sure we could get electric hook up.  

We passed a few boats as we cruised up the Waveney, but the journey was otherwise uneventful and arrived at Beccles around midday.  I moored close to an electric post and walked to the office to pay.  Unlike Oulton, paying was much more relaxed.  With the mooring and electric pre-paid, we locked the boat and wandered into the town.  

I made sure I went by the Beccles Fish Bar on the way, to check the opening times for that evening.  No cooking on Saturday night – takeaway night!  The wife made her obligatory call at the wool shop and emerged with just a new pair of knitting needles much to my amazement.  I usually feel a severe pain in the wallet when she goes there!  We went to the pet shop for dog treats, the butchers, Greggs and the Co-Op for further supplies before returning to Norfolk Lady for a light lunch.

We had a walk along the riverbank, past the Sailing Club later.  It was still windy, but bright and sunny.  On the way back, we stopped and chatted to one of the chef’s from The Ferry House who I recognised and was out for a walk with his partner due to the closure of all of the pubs.  

Back at the boat, we relaxed and whiled away the time.  I was trying not to read the internet and anything related to Coronavirus.  Some of the comments about visitors on Facebook were vile and hateful and my blood was beginning to boil.  Don’t get me wrong, but I was acutely aware of my responsibilities and didn’t need to be vilified in such a manner.  I guess people were scared of the situation, maybe not fully understanding what was happening and lashing out verbally out of frustration.

It must have been about 18:15(ish) when my stomach told me it was time for dinner, so I had a brisk walk to the chippy, where social distancing had been observed and an even brisker walk back.  Back on board, we tucked into some really excellent fish and chips.  I’d asked for large cod and they weren’t kidding!  The fish was overhanging the plate by about 3 inches each side.  We were stuffed by the time we’d finished.  

As ever, we watched tv, trying to avoid any channels where the news was being broadcast.  

Bed followed a hot drink and I reflected on what had been a fantastic day, an enjoyable cruise, pleasant riverside stroll and good food, but was well aware of the potential the developing crisis would have on our lifestyle and ability to spend time on the rivers.

 

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Sunday 22nd March

It was another bright, clear, cold and windy morning which greeted us on Sunday.  Getting ready followed the usual routine, with the wife walking the dog and me showering.  I had a quick look at Faceache and regretted it, the comments becoming even more vehement and unwelcoming.

I wanted to compound and wax the roof of the wheelhouse, which had become grey and stained over the winter, so waited until after 09:00 before getting my polishing machine out and disturbing the neighbours.  

With the compounding done, I had a quick walk round the Yacht Station taking a few photos before we we untied and set off back up the Waveney.  There were a few private craft out, in the main coming in the opposite direction.  We hadn’t had breakfast and we were feeling peckish, so we moored at North Cove where I put my culinary skills to good use and cooked brunch of grilled bacon, sautéed tomatoes, scrambled eggs and mushrooms.  

Once ready, it was consumed with relish (and a dash of Worcestershire Sauce, too).  With washing up done, the wife relaxed with her knitting, putting to good use the needles bought the previous day.  I went out with my camera, anxious to record the surroundings in the beautiful early spring sunshine.

There were plenty of walkers making their way along the path, but boy, was it cold in the wind?  I wandered about taking a few shots and was enjoying the day, but in the back of my mind there was a feeling of gloom with the impending restrictions that would inevitably impact our ability to be back for the foreseeable future.  It was not a thought that I enjoyed.

I wanted to moor overnight at Somerleyton, so we waited a while, enjoying the day before casting off once again.  I had aimed to be there around low water, but wasn’t sure that the river levels would allow passage under the bridge, especially given the strength of the wind.  A few more boats passed us, again heading the other way, including a couple of hire craft, one of which was from Richardsons.  I thought that if he’d collected that from Stalham the previous day, being close to Oulton Dyke wasn’t bad going in the intervening time.

We soon arrived at the bridge and once again, there was plenty of clearance, more in fact than on Friday and we moored near the electric post furthest from the bridge.  I hooked up to it and there was some credit on it, which was a bonus, but I added an extra pound to keep it topped up anyway.

I set about the roof, with the wax and the wife took Harley for a walk along the bank.  The sun was still shining and the wind was still blowing.  Even though I say it myself, the roof did look very sparkly by the time I’d finished it!!

Deb returned with the pooch and I read for a while before heading out with the camera again as the sun went down.  There was a solitary swan sitting feasting on grass a way up the bank, looking menacing and hissing as I walked by.  I stayed out for a while, making the most of our last evening on board and the magnificent weather. 

The sun eventually disappeared below the horizon, the last rays casting a beautiful glow in the sky.  There’s nothing quite like a Norfolk (or was I in Suffolk) sunset.  I sadly returned to the boat to read a bit more before cooking dinner.

The knitting needles were twitching frantically and the wife was making good progress with my jumper.  Good job she’d bought the needles after all.

I made dinner for about 19:00 – a stir-fry with beef from the butcher in Beccles, vegetables, noodles and sauce from the Co-Op.  It was very tasty and there was a lot of it.  Good job I was hungry.  We washed up and settled down to whatever was on TV.  There was some wine to finish, too – what a hardship?

I managed to avoid watching the news.  We went to bed onboard at around 22:15 after a hot drink, for what was to be the last time for a while.  it was to be the journey home the following day and I wasn’t looking forward to it.

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Monday 23rd March

As usual, I was awake early.  I think it’s just habit as I’m up to get ready for work at about 04:30 anyway.  The heating, immersion and kettle went on and I had a cuppa whilst waiting for the water to heat for my shower.  The wife pulled some clothes on and took Harley for her walk.  The weather was much the same as the previous day, clear, windy and cold.

I had a quick look at the internet, Forum and Faceache and wished I hadn’t.  Unsurprisingly, Coronavirus had taken over the media and it was all very depressing.  I showered and dressed, wondering when the next opportunity to do that back on board would be likely to be. 

Debbie had returned by that time so we had toast before she went for her shower.  I took the opportunity to grab a few more photos.  It was probably around 10:00 before we cast off and headed back towards St Olaves.  The river was predictably quiet as we headed back up the Waveney, turning left along the New Cut and into Reedham, which was like a ghost town.

I don’t recall passing another boat on the river all the way back to the BA moorings at Short Dyke (Rockland), where we stopped for lunch and to pack up our things.  We were obviously conscious of the potential for some kind of lockdown by then, so had decided to clear the fridge and turn it off, instead of leaving it running with some essentials in it and take home anything that might go our of date from the cupboards.  

The wife cooked some cheese on toast for lunch before I wandered about with my camera again.  It was another beautiful, cold spring day, with just a few wispy clouds in the sky.  The view across Rockland Broad was wonderful, with the first signs of new life just beginning to be visible in the trees and shrubs.  I really didn’t want to leave, but knew that I had to so we sadly cast off and headed across the broad and up Fleet Dyke to rejoin the Yare.

It wasn’t long before we were back in Brundall and chugging slowly back up the dyke to our home yard.  The crosswind made mooring slightly problematic but it didn’t take long before Norfolk Lady was safely berthed in her home moorings.

We changed the bedding and towels, finished packing our things away, loaded the car, vacuumed the boat through, turned off the gas, fridge and water pump, set the battery charger, collected the bag of rubbish and locked her up.  Neither of us knew then how long it would be before we would be back again and we were both really sad to be leaving.

The journey home was uneventful, the roads were almost deserted and it was clear that the advise to stay at home was being observed.  We had to call into see my mum in Milton Keynes on the way and I am pleased that we did, as we haven’t been able to see her since due to her health and other restrictions.

We arrived home around 20:30, it had been a wonderful weekend away.  The weather had been clement, we had been where I had planned to go and there had been no issues with the boat. However my mind was in some kind of emotional turmoil – we obviously didn’t know when we would be allowed to return, there was a degree of worry about the potential that the virus carried and what the future would hold.  

Worrying times were to follow. . . . . . . 

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Thank you for writing Malcom, you've captured your trip beautifully in your usual well written style. Previously I've wished I'd been able to have a trip this year before lock down but the emotions you went through have made me question that. 

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9 hours ago, Broads01 said:

 . . . . . . Previously I've wished I'd been able to have a trip this year before lock down but the emotions you went through have made me question that. 

Thanks for your kind comments Simon.  To be honest, despite reading the messages on Faceache and elsewhere regarding whether any visitors anywhere should have stayed at home, did make me feel extremely unwelcome, I was pleased that I’d gone.  At least we’d had the chance to prepare the boat for an extended period of absence which did alleviate some of the potential for concerns we would otherwise have had.

It had been a great weekend, with good weather and we had some more recent memories to keep us going through the period of lockdown.

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Lovely photos and a very evocative write up. We were out 9th to 13th March so just sneaked in before everything shut down. Pubs were still open but we were already being careful with hand washing and cleaning. 

Like you I have felt the unfriendliness of people living in Suffolk and Norfolk that has been so obvious on social media. But I don’t want to start a political discussion on your holiday tale. We’ve debated enough on other threads. 

Our caravan was made ready for the coming season but we’ve only visited for one day before the lockdown came in. I’m missing our weekends there. We could self-isolate and be safe just the same as at home, like so many other boat and holiday home owners. But we will wait until allowed to come back. Officially our site is still closed. 

Here’s to whatever the new normal becomes. :default_drink_2:

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Thursday 21st May

With the relaxation of the lockdown the previous week, we had been anxious to get back to Brundall and Norfolk Lady.  However, there were a couple of outstanding jobs on the boat that had been put on hold due to the closure of many suppliers, one of which was the replacement of the glass in the port side helm window and resealing of the frame in the boat.  We had been notified by Paul at our home yard that his glass supplier was back at work and had asked him to start the necessary work.  It wasn’t yet complete, so we knew that we wouldn’t be going for a cruise, but welcomed the opportunity to start to prepare the boat for use.

We were up early and with the car packed, set off from Northampton at about 05:30 on our way to Norfolk.  The traffic on the roads was predictably light and our progress was good.  We ere amazed to see that the longstanding roadworks on the A14 through Cambridge that were still in progress when we last visited in March and not due for completion until December this year, had been finished.  It will be interesting to see what difference the improvements make to the traffic flow when things return to normal and usual traffic volumes return.

We’d taken a few provisions with us, so there had been no need to stop at the Co-Op on the way through the village and we pulled into the yard just before 08:00.  We were soon onboard, filling the kettle and cooking some toast.  I wanted to continue to compound and wax the top of the boat, that I’d started back in March, as it was looking a little dull.  I’d been concerned that there were showers forecast but as it turned out, they held off and although patchy cloud prevailed, when the sun shone it was very warm.  I was glad of the dual action polishing machine that I’d taken.  It was hard enough with it and the prospect of doing it without was not one I cared to consider.

It was lunchtime before I’d completed compounding the roof and sides of the cabin and helm, so I took a short break for some sausages in rolls and a cuppa, before starting to wax where I’d previously been.  Fortunately, it was a lot easier than compounding and it wasn’t too long before I’d finished.  I also attacked the handrails with some Solvol Autosol for the first time since we bought the boat.  The decks and gunwales are still to be done, but that was enough for the day.  I was aching in places that I’d forgotten about, but the effort was worth it and the gel coat gleamed in the sun.

We relaxed for a while and at about 16:00 started to tidy up and pack the car.  We had replaced spare bed linen, towels and other bits that we usually keep onboard, but had been taken home for washing.  The wife had made new curtains for the helm windows and hung the one where the window remained, leaving the other one there for when the window was replaced.  

Locking up and leaving Norfolk Lady was not the sad occasion it had been at the end of our last visit.  We had learnt that the glass was ready and that the window should be replaced by the end of the coming week so had already made plans to return next Friday to complete the compounding and waxing where still necessary.

We intended to go to Hoveton for fish and chips, either from Kens or Greys for dinner.  It had been a long time since our last takeaway and we were looking forward to it.  It was still a little early so drove to Salhouse with the intention of parking and walking to the Broad with the dog, however there was a sign at the car park entrance warning that it would be closing shortly and not opening again until midday, the following day.  Not wanting to be locked in, we travelled a little further to Ranworth and parked at the staithe.

There were a few people there and a few boats too.  I noticed a couple working on their craft, an Alpha 34 and thought I recognised it as one recently purchased by a fellow Forum member, so spoke to them.  It turned out to be Jemaki and his wife, making the most of their first opportunity to have time onboard since they purchased it a few days before lockdown.  We had a brief chat, observing social distancing before getting back into the car and heading back to park at Roys.

The queue at Kens was lengthy, so I went to Greys instead.  They are both okay, so we have no real preference and enjoyed cod and chips for the first time since we’d had them at Beccles, two months previously.  We wandered back to the car and set off for home, arriving back at our house after an easy journey just after 21:00.

It had been a great day.  I was knackered, but happy, grateful that we had been able to return to our boat and that it wouldn’t be long before we could go back again.  Who knows when we may be allowed to spend more than a day at a time onboard, but as long as the window is back in, a trip up the river will be on the cards for our next visit.

I can’t wait!

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Never tire of seeing Ranworth. Glad you have managed to get back across to the boat. Must have been lovely just spending time over there. :)

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I loved all the photographs, thank you if Norfolk Dream provides that much pleasure I will be well happy. On another topic my boat needs some TLC in the window dep't, Where can you get flocked rubber window channelling. I've seen it on line but have no idea what size I need. the helm windows are worst but reckon the rest could do with a bit of love too. As ever grateful for your wisdom.

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3 hours ago, Meg said:

I loved all the photographs, thank you if Norfolk Dream provides that much pleasure I will be well happy. . . .. . . 

Thanks for your kind comments.  It’s been a long haul to get Norfolk Lady where we would like her, but if you enjoy your Broom 29 as much as we enjoy ours, you won’t be disappointed.

3 hours ago, Meg said:

. . . .  On another topic my boat needs some TLC in the window dep't, Where can you get flocked rubber window channelling. I've seen it on line but have no idea what size I need. the helm windows are worst but reckon the rest could do with a bit of love too. As ever grateful for your wisdom.

To be honest, I can’t help with that one.  Paul at Swancraft has been rebuilding our windows and has made an excellent job of them.  The port helm window is the last one that needs doing and is in progress now.  I believe that at some point in her days as a hire boat, the original glass was replaced and the sliding section wasn’t a great fit, so new glass should solve the issue we had with water ingress in heavy rain.  
I can hear the sound of my wallet sighing at the thought of the end of the expenditure as I type!!:default_biggrin:

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Great blog and nice to meet you the other day at Ranworth, its good to put a face to the name.

John & Ike.

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