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A Cruise around some of the Pubs of the Northern Broads


goodall_m1

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It was time for Tazman and the brood to take their annual holiday and after last year's trip on the Eden Bridge we are heading back to the Broads for another cruise.

Eden Bridge was already booked when we started looking and we needed a big boat with lots of berths on it as this time there will be eight of us plus the dog.

Yes EIGHT, as little Karl arrived in back in January, so this year we have a personal alarm clock, "Waaa I'm awake and I'm hungry", apparently goes off at about 04:30....

A bit of internet searching leads us to http://www.freedomboatingholidays.com and Fair Freedom, a 44ft Bounty bathtub with a layout that suits us. A twin/double cabin aft for the skipper, a cabin with two bunk beds and a single for the three older boys, a twin cabin for the only girl (and luggage storage) and a double and a single up the front for the parents and new offspring. One advantage of this layout is that the kids can only get to a door by passing through an adults cabin.

Right we are booked up and pay early (January) to get their 10% early payment discount!

Then in February Cricko's thread on his new RC45 starts to get into a discussion on how to bond the hull and superstructure together and Andy Banner from Freedom starts posting some comments about what he is finding on his Bounty 44 that he is repairing...

Freedom and a Bounty 44, they only have the one...

All I can say is that her two week patch up job degenerated into a four month renovation, and I'm glad that he put so much effort into it and got her back in the water and ready for service just a few weeks before our trip!

The trip is getting closer and my mind moves onto things like safety, OK so do I still have enough life jackets of the right sizes for a growing crew. (I prefer to have checked things like this before I go, rather than risk what the hire company may have available, especially when it comes down to the kids)

Oops young Karl is to small for the toddler's jacket that Ryan has just grown out of, so its back to the internet...

Success Baltic have just released the Bambi, a jacket especially designed for babies, 0 - 12 months so its find the best price and order one. (Price of the holiday has just gone up by about £50, as these won't be appearing on Ebay yet)

Here is a photo of our junior crew member showing off his latest acquisition:

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Now last year we all went up to Norfolk in Tazman's i800 people carrier, but this year we will have on more kiddy seat and all the paraphanaila that having a baby aboard will require us to take. Ok so it will be two cars this time, (price of the holiday goes up by one more parking space!)

Saturday morning and its time to load up, what's that are they really taking the kitchen sink, no its the baby bath!

Any way we are off with the C5 loaded down with lifejackets, the bath etc and the dog on the passenger seat and everybody else in the i800 people carrier (and not a lot of room in either vehicle, babies and kids seem to need a lot of clobber!)

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Right that's the Sat Nav set up for the post code of Freedom Boating and off we go!

Will we get through those lights on the A11 before Thetford without a hold-up?

Yepee we are through without any delays and then its the back road route to Wroxham via Little Plumstead and Salhouse to avoid the Norwich Ring Road.

Down to the Swan at Horning and along to the other end of the village.

Right turn into Ferry View Road, what road its un-metttled track but there is Freedom on the right!

A bit less space here than it showed on Google Earth, somebody has invested in portacabins,

no they are big caravans.

Martin's C5 is already here but he is still checking in and hasn't started unloading yet.

Oops they want £100 in cash as a deposit for the sailing dinghy so he taps me for a £20 sub as he didn't bring that much with him! (Oi! I never got that back at the end of the trip, Martin...!)

Fair Freedom is stern on to the main quay but has a jetty up along her starboard side so it will be easy to load the gear aboard.

She looks good from the outside, with her new paint job.

The interior is fresh as well, Andy has obviously been working hard on the renovation.

Start the unloaing and dump everything in the saloon for now and sort it out later!

First thing to do is get the kids into the life-jackets, but Karl can wait after all he won't be doing the loading...

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We get talking to the people at Freedom and the subject of life jackets comes up so we will have to put his on to demonstrate the latest model.

No I'm not prepared to drop him off the quay to show how well it works!

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Ok the engineer shows me where everything is on the boat.

The two weed filters are under the skipper's bunk in the aft cabin and are right above the raw water inlet stop cocks which are really easy to get two if something happens.

The engine hatch on a Bounty is massive, it gives plenty of room to get at things

but doesn't leave much deck to stand on whilst doing it.

"For some reason the engine is going through coolant on the fresh water side, so please remember to top it up everyday..."

Ok noted.

"The morse control on this one is a bit odd, neutral is at about 45 degrees back of vertical..."

"Engine will need a about 30 seconds of heat to start from cold but we had her going earlier so it shouldn't need so much this time."

A bit of heat setting and turn to start and the engine rumbles into life, accompanied by clouds of blue smoke, but that clears quite quickly.

Ok ready for the demonstration run.

Move the dinghy to midships and we are ready to go.

Cast off and ease her out and it rapidly become apparent that turning rapidly is not one of Fair Freedom's assets!

A bit of forwards and backwards and we are off down the dyke, "move the dinghy to the stern please".

We reach the main river and the demonstrator asks for us to turn up river and drop him off somewhere so that he can walk back to the yard. (A short demonstration that was, he must be happy with my boat handling.)

We drop him at the Ferry Inn and then have to turn Fair Freedom around as we are planning on heading downstream.

Ease of turning is definitely not one of her strong points, and it is very easy to get her moving too fast whilst trying to get her around.

Oops, I haven't got the speedo working yet so turn on the handheld GPS and locate the set-up menu to change it from knots to mph. (Note to self the time is still showing BST + 2 hours after my May trip in the Ionian).

Chug down river and poke my nose into Ranworth, rammed as usual, after all it is 4pm on a Saturday, so a quick 180 and back down the river.

Turn up the Thurne and take a look up Thurne Dyke, a couple of other boats have just turned in so we will go up and see if there are any spaces.

Nice big space on the starboard side behind Pure Freedom, so ask Tazman to get ready for a starboard side-to mooring.

In we go and its an easy parking manoeuvre.

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Locate some change and the dog lead and walk up to "The Red House" to pay our £3.50 for an overnight mooring.

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Time for the first of our Broadland pub's, the Lion at Thurne.

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Nice big garden area with amusements for kids (Luckily they don't see them!).

Main restuarant area has a "No children under 12" rule

but there is a massive "Family Room" next door with lots of toys etc to keep the little ones amused.

Decor and fittings aren't quite as nice as the restaurant area,

but then I expect they want everything wipe-downable as kids and food usually result in spillages!

This pub caters for everybody, main bar for those that can't stand kids, a restuarant without screaming toddlers and babies, and a great family room for those of us that have to bring little ones with us.

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We have our meal and then wander out into the garden before moving off back to the boat.

Better move off fairly sharpish it looks like the skipper is about to fall asleep on us!

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04:30 and its the "Waaa I'm awake and hungry"..

I'm determined to get some good sunrise shots this trip, Karl will make sure that I'm up!

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The skipper is up and taking the dog and camera for a walk.

Oops the dog doesn't want to go past the end of the dyke

so the skipper is back to drop the dog off, and off with the camera on his own...

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The rest of the kids are obviously awake and creating mayhem in the boys' cabin!

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Now to try for a panorama shot.

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Ok you photo buffs, why does the bit with the boat come out curved?

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Walking out of Thurne heading east and looking for something to "shoot"with the new camera..

It is a Fuji HS10, a semi compact with a 30 times optical zoom, so I'm hoping for some good wild-life shots.

OK so lets start with a sunrise sillouette.

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Now there is something, a gaggle of greylags in a field...

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And now to use the super-zoom...

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A bit further up the road and there is a hare in that field

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One quick snap on full zoom and then he is hareing off,

Oops I must read the manual on how to take video with this thing...

Back down to the boat and it is obvious that the kids have been having fun whilst

reducing the bread supply..

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And one more chance to use the super zoom as the Albion glides by the end of the dyke...

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Now it is time to think about moving on, and as the observant among you will worked out what the wind was doing from the photo of Albion.

She has her mainsheet well out (wind astern) and the gaff well down the mast (reefed down, expecting high winds), with the bottom part of the sail gathered up with the reefing lines,.

So what does that mean for the crew of Fair Freedom....

It means that we are on the southern side of Thurne Dyke with a strong northerly wind pushing us into the bank!

So it won't be a simple case of untie and push the bows out today!

Those of you new to the boating life will possibly not have realised that for the bow of a boat to go left the stern usually has to go right, and the right hand side of Fair Freedom is already hard up against the bank...

Ok so here is a could situation for a manouvre called "springing off".

A "spring" is basically a rope from the front (bow spring) or back (stern spring) of a boat which is led to the bank somewhere closer to the middle of the boat.

If you go forward against a bow spring it will force the bow in towards the bank and the stern will swing out, and equally if you go astern against a stern spring it will force the stern in and swing the bows out. (Remember to make sure you have sufficient fenders in the bit that will be forced into the bank!)

Now providing that the spring is pretty tight to start with you can basically swing out without moving the boat forwards or backwards, useful when you are in a tight spot.

The only other thing to remember is that you need to have the spring rigged so that you can slip it once the skipper takes the pressure off it by starting to move the boat in the other direction. (Spring the stern out when you intend to leave backwards, and the bow out to leave forwards).

Notice the "Force" bit in the description above, a springing manouvre will generate a fair amount of tension in the spring and it needs to be kept tied off until the skipper starts the departure part of the manouvre and relaesed pretty sharpish when he does.

Ok that is the theory, so what actually happened when I tried it....

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The skipper rigged the spring line and gave a brief explanation of the departure plan and then I let go the bow and stern lines and get ready to slip the spring.

The boat goes astern, the bow starts to swing out but not enough to clear the boat in front..

A couple more tries of this and it still isn't working so I hop ashore and take a turn around the post and hold it that way.

Back she comes, out goes the bow and Martin is off...

OK so I'm 40 feet behind him, he is sitting on the port side steering, the engine is clattering away, the wind is blowing my voice away, and the mooring line is whipping away from me "MARTIN!!!"

I can't hold the line and have to let go! "MARTIN!!!" He can't hear me!

So now Fair freedom is too far out for me to jump back aboard so I dash up to the boat ahead and try to get on from there but she is already past it, so I go for the next boat ahead but too late again..

Back to the dyke and I can't catch up before she reaches the end of the dyke with 20ft of line trailing behind her..

"MARTIN DONT REVERSE!!!".

To late, Martin selects astern and the rope tail suddenly gets shorter!

The engine is still reving but the pnumatic drive isn't turning the prop any more....I get around to the other side of the dyke in time for Martin to throw me the bow line and one of his long spare lines from the stern and we pull her into the north bank.

Well we have turned her around but not it the way we had hoped to....

A rather sheepish looking skipper reaches for his mobile phone to break the bad news to the boatyard....

"They are bringing another boat up to tow us to somewhere where they can lift the boat out"...

After about an hour we see "Absolute Freedom" arrive at the end of the dyke and the boatyard crew inform us that they want to walk "Fair" down the dyke using the lines and will set up the tow once we get alongside "Absolute".

Between the four of us whe manage this manouvre fairly easily and with bow and stern lines and springs rigged we are off down river heading for "Le Boat" at Horning where they have a hoist.

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On the way we see the only other forum flag that we saw all trip, Bobella is going down the Bure near the abbey.

Unfortunately we still have the TV ariel up rather than the flag staff..

As we pass the abbey one of the rangers hails us from the bank "Is one of you disabled?" "Yes, we aren't doing this for fun!".

As we approach Horning we need to get ready to switch from towing alongside, to line astern, as the dykes aren't wide enough for two boats abreast. We will also need to swing right across the river to make the turn, and the downstream traffic is heavy.

The boatyard lads call for assistance to hold up the oncoming traffic and Andy comes out with the Horning Ferry and some bad news...

"The hoist in Le Boat is ok but they are worried about the state of the quay that it is sitting on and aren't actually using it themselves these days..."

"I think we better take her back to Freedom and see what we can do ourselves"

Getting two 40ft plus boats one behind the other around a turn into a tight dyke wasn't going to prove easy and eventually it was achieved by a combination of the manouvrability of the ferry and having "Fair's" mudweight dragging astern to stop her swinging around.

Slowly the procession of vessels gets back to Freedom and "Fair" is warped in stern-on to the quay she left only yesterday.

There the engineers start to make use of that large engine hatch, moving bits and pieces to get to the weed hatch. A small splash and a muttered curse indicates that he has just dropped a spanner in the bilges but the crew of "Fair" have come prepared and have even brought a magnetic retriever with them and the spanner is easily recovered!

One of the engineers notices the sound of running water down in the aft cabin and lifts the invertor batteries out to discover that the stern gland is now leaking. A battle with various stiltson wrenches sorts that out whilst his mate is still working on the prop wrap.

Weed hatch open, and a sharp knife is at work on the prop wrap, whilst Andy shows off his splicing skills rigging a replacement stern line.

An hour or so later and everything is back together and we are ready to go out again, a marvelous bit of work from the Freedom team!

Now all they have to do is finish getting "Absolute" ready for her new crew who are due in about another hour...

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We are now too late for the low water at Potter Heigham so a change of plan is called for.

We head for Womack Water and Ludham Staithe (only a couple of miles from where this morning's problem occurred!).

As we approach Thurne Dyke we see one of Ricko's boats with its bows in the bank and a waterlogged dinghy just showing off the stern.. As we go to pass behind their skipper engages full stern and the dinghy goes completely under water, slowing them down enough for "Fair Freedom" to slip past. The skipper salutes us with a beer can which matches the row of empties by the helm position, and then promply reverses into the little yacht that was the next in the procession up the Thurne.

As we get close to the turn into Womack we have another little yacht puttering up ahead of us, and she turns into Womack. Throttle back to 3mph then 2 as she is still slowing down, and then it is a battle to keep control of 10 tons of cruiser in the narrow twists of Womack without any water crossing the rudder....

We pass the point where we moored last year but those moorings are closed due to engineering work going on in the fields behind them (more flood prevention measures by the look of it).

Coming up on Hunter's yard and the yacht's crew are obviously trying to work out which dyke to go up and come to a stop in the river...

A bit of hard astern stops "Fair Freedom" and then dead slow ahead and we slip past them as they go into Hunter's.

Now will there be any spaces left at Ludham?

Two spaces about 10ft wide and we are only 12ft plus fenders!

Now out in the Mediterranean a bows-to approach is always the easiest in such a situation as the pointy bit shoves the neighbour aside enough for you to get in.

Here though we have 44ft of square stern to manouver in between two boats that need to be leant on a little...

Not really too much of a problem as the neighbouring crews are usually helpful, especially private boats who want to preserve their paint work.

Just line her up and come close enough for them to take your lines and they will pull you in, rather than have you moving in fast under power!

Right so we are in and the local wild-life are coming in to gteet the new arrivals...

(Memo to self, we will need more bread tomorrow!)

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And some more super zoom wildlife shots...

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The sign on the Staithe gives the position of our second Broadland pub, the Kings Arms, but not the phone number.

Then we remember that they will probably have an advert in the "Broadcaster" magazine and we soon have the number, and book our table.

A short walk up to the village and we have a round of drinks in the bar whilst waiting for our table to be ready.

Into the restaurant, and the train buzzing around overhead keeps the kids amused for a few minutes...

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A nice meal follows and then the kids ask for ice-cream as a desert..

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Back to the boat and switch on the TV and a DVD to amuse the kids...

30 minutes later the TV switches itself off...

The Inverter batteries are flat?

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Low water at Potter Heigham is about 13:00 today so at 09:00 I ring the pilot to see if they can get us through.

"Tides are too high this week I'm afraid so you have no chance!"

Time for another change of plan...

Tazman and Barbara want to visit Latham's for some shopping so we motor up to Herbert Woods and moor up on the side quay away from all their boats that are in for change-over.

I walk around to find someone from the yard to check that they will be happy with us parking for a couple of hours and then its time to hit the shop.

Some more clothes for Karl, some discounted polo shirts for the other kids, more bread, more milk etc and then its back to the boat and cook a bit of lunch. (oh yes and a toy each for the kids)

Once that is done we turn "Fair Freedom" around and then head back down the Thurne, planning on a visit to the Bridge Inn at Acle.

When we get there there are two 30ft spaces with one boat in between them, we ask if they could move up a bit and get two fingers in reply, not the sort of folk you want for neighbours anyway!

I try to turn around in the river to go back up to Horizen Craft but a combination of the tide and wind makes it impossible so we trundle off further down the Bure aiming for the long stretch of moorings at the Stacey Arms wind-pump and shop.

A sudden wirring noise introduces us to the fact that the helicopter that Ryan picked in Latham's makes noises, (we will get used to them over the next few days)...

Down past Stokesby and we pull in at the start of the moorings, about 200 yards upstream of the wind-pump.

The moorings here were being re-furbished when we came up with the "Spitfire" in March, and they have made a good job of them. It must now be one of the longest stretch of moorings on the Northern Broads, and they only charge £3 for an over-night stay.

The dog wants off, so I grab the lead and wander off down towards the wind-pump with her.

Coming back I get talking to a chap fishing off a hire boat who asks me "Is it tidal here?"

I replied "I would expect about 2 - 3 feet of movement at Stacey, and anything up to 7 feet in Yarmouth, so yes it is tidal!"

As I get back to our boat I am met by Tazman who needs me to examine a cut that he has sustained on the top of his head. He stood up whilst off loading the push-chair and unforutnately was right in the doorway at the time. Result one bash on the door frame. Ouch! The bleeding seems to have stopped so there isn't a lot more that I can do for him!

Back down to the wind pump, this time with the whole family in tow, and into the little shop for a few nick-knacks to take home for Granny, plus some more coffee that we forgot to get in Latham's. The kids are also taken with the range of toys on offer, and Barbara falls for a soft toy cow for Karl. That prompt's the normal "what about me" reaction and the others all get someting each. Ryan wants a plastic policeman's hat (the old style proper coppers hat), except when we get it to the till the shopkeeper points out that if you press the badge it has a siren in it...

(Yes, you've probably already guessed, we will get VERY used to that over the next few days)...

I pick up some table mats showing Albion and another showing Absolute Freedom at Thurne dyke, just about where she towed us from yesterday...

(Support the local shops or lose them!)

I then took the kids up to the top of the wind-pump (as it was open) and explained the way it would have worked to them and then its back to the boat again.

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The wind has really got up today and now I found out why Martin had really come all the way down here.

A big empty bit of mooring and a nice wide river, a couple of fifty foot lines (that he had brought with him) and we are about to "wind ship", i.e. turn her around using the ropes.

The tide on the flood and a wind wipping down against it. The river is getting choppy!

Martin works out that the tide will effect the boat more than the wind so its a case of rig a line from the port midships back to the stern and shore, undo the bow line and shove her bow off whilst pulling in on the port stern line.

Then once the bow starts to move up stream with the tide walk the stern downstream and pull in on the midships line to complete the turn.

All aboard and we set off back up river.

We reach our third Broadland Pub, The Bridge Inn at Acle (for the second time today) but this time there is about an 80ft section of mooring free so we can go straight in.

The kids liked the Bridge Inn amusements last year but this time it appears that the quad bike track is out of action with bits of the safety bumpers missing. Oh well they can still play on some of the other games.

Our table is in the "Kiln Room" the big circular thatched extension bit and we have our meal and its back to the boat again.

Another boat has squeezed into the space behind us and the lights from the pub are streaming through the fence to give her a "zebra" effect...

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The alarm baby went off at about 04:45 this morning!

So its a case of take the dog and the camera and walk off in search of photos of the sunrise over Acle (and to escape the "Waaa im hungry feed me" which will go on a bit more than usual this morning as the microwave isn't working to heat up his bottle!)

(We did about 7 hours under engine yesterday and yet the inverter batteries were still flat,

even more worrying was the fact that it wasn't putting out enough power to run the microwave even when the engine was on.

What was it Andy said in my "Fair Freedom" thread, "Inverters only working whilst the engine's on? Really? That's a new one to me." Well at the moment it doesn't work with it on of off!

I think that we will have to call in at Freedom again today!)

Ok the dog's idea of an early morning walkies seems to be no further than the nearest patch of grass, followed by over to the bin to drop off the doggy bag.

So I put the dog back aboard and toddle off on my own.

Gosh there is a lot of traffic on the Acle Bridge even at 05:00!

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So its off fairly sharpish to toddle up towards Horning, dodging the odd member of the rag and stick brigade who seem to be out in force today.

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Barbara is out the front with Karl who seems to be enjoying the wind in his face and has now learnt what a wave is...

And is attracting plenty of looks from the passing boats.

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Around the last bend before we need to swing into the narrow dyke up to Freedom and "oh s**t" it is one of the biggest of the rag and sticks, "White Moth", but at least we know that her skipper knows what he is doing.

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One short blast (I am altering course to starboard) and he realises that we need room to make the turn and goes over a bit to let us make the turn.

Up to the Freedom basin and "oops there isn't a lot of room in here", day boats leaving very small spaces between them.

We start to back in and the Freedom crew move a couple of boats over to make room for us, and then take our lines and help us in.

We report our problem and on comes the engineer with his multi-meter. "Yes you're right it isn't charging the inverter batteries". "Hold on a minute the batteries aren't actually connected to the charging circuit, there is wire missing!" Well they did have to take the whole lot out to fix the stern gland on Sunday so we can forgive them a little oversight, which is quickly fixed. "Ok she's putting 20 amps in now!"

While this is going on we refill the water tank, off load some unwanted clobber into the cars and drop off the dinghy which I have decided is going not to get any use this trip as the weather is forecast to keep very windy and even become wet as well.

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Off we go again, down the dyke to the river for the third time this trip.

It is just about lunchtime so we are heading down to Ranworth in the hope that we can get in there as the "lunchtime stoppers" pull out.

Oh it is still rammed, so it is a case of dropping the mud-weight or going over to the Ranworth Island moorings and tying up there for a while.

The island will let us let the kids (and dog) off for a run around.

It is very windy so Martin takes her in side on and we then pull her round to stern on using the ropes again.

Ah-ha he has her positioned so that he can see the staithe from the bow and keep an eye out for any movement.

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Martin is off taking lines from some other boats who are finding the conditions a bit hairy and I can make friends with some of the local birds and a heron decides to stroll past me..

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Ah Martin is back just as I've made friends with an Egyptian...

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He reckons it is time to go!

We motor off towards the staithe and just as we approach one of the boats shouts "Leaving in a minute!"

Lucky or what!

Out she comes and in we go for our THIRD stern-to parking manouvre of the day (OK we cheated a bit over on the island!)allowing for the drift and getting the stern in close enough to pass the lines over to our neighbours.

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We are in and I can slip over to the shop/post office and pick up the fishing licence that I forgot to get before we came and then we can break out the rods and introduce the kids to the art of fishing.

Tonight we will be going to our fourth Broadland pub, The Maltsters.

Martin has been over to book the table and has brought a menu back so we can have our order ready when we go over.

What is this a choice of a 10oz rump steak for £10 or so or a 20 oz for a fiver more.

Will I...?

Oh yes lets super size it! (and make sure we have some doggy bags with us for any remainders).

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There I was sitting on the boat with a beer and a red inflatable was coming past us to go into the dinghy dyke

with two long-haired dachshunds in it (with their life jackets on)

I said to myself "I recognise those two dogs", so I jumped ashore to say hello to Gertie and Tilda,

who I had last met at the last "Birthday Bash" up at Ludham Staithe.

Ian (palmtree) and his wife were just about to tie up but didn't need any help as Simon (Plesbit) was already there to meet them.

In fact it turned out thery were about to take him out to show him whar REAL boating was all about...

(pity that he hadn't remembered his life jacket though (tut tut Simon!))

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So Simon hopped aboard and was ferried out to their boat on the other side of the Broad.

(ah you might park right over there but I now have my super zoom...)

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I spent a bit of time helping a couple of boats in, including pointing out a couple of spaces in the dyke at the side of the staithe.

(N.B. If going in to one of those I would suggest coming in backwards from the Broad, it makes turning into the space far easier,

especially if someone is ready to take your lines and pull you in.)

Close to our reservation time we went into the Maltsters which wasn't busy and grabbed two adjacent tables

(with the normal problem of "But I want to sit with Daddy") and made ourselves known at the bar.

They pointed out that they had reserved us a table for eight up at the restaurant end,

but we were quite happy where we were and hence they removed the reserved sign from that one.

(perhaps they also thought that the other diners would have a quiter meal if we stayed in the bar....)

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Unlike Howard I can never remember exactly which ales I have partaken of at each hostelry (not after two or more anyway)

but I do remember that they had a gravity keg of "Nelson's Revenge" behind the bar and three ales on tap as well.

Tazman and I had both decided to try the "super-size me" steak and it was really big when it arrived.

Meanwhile I was still trying to persuade the occupants of Table 1 that the food was all going down against their table,

and hence the bill would be deducted from their pocket money. The kids, of course, did not agree!

As we went to leave we realised the the Palmtree group had also come to the Maltsters, complete with Gertie and Tilda,

who received their normal "oohs" and "ahs" and petting with their normal celebrity aplomb.

(after a year they must now be used to it)

After dinner it was back to the boat and everybody hit their bunks fairly sharpish, well at least the kids and I did

(three pints of real ale has that sort of effect on me).

I was up a bit late the next morning (missed the sunrise!), but no after effects of the final pint of the "Revenge",

and managed to get a shot of the empty green whilst letting the dog stretch her legs.

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Tazman looked at the result and said "ah I took a panorama from the same bench earlier!"

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Once everbody was up and about the family wandered off towards the Wildlife Centre, whilst I stayed on the boat dog sitting.

(No dogs allowed in the wildlife reserve)

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We took the kids to the Ranworth Visitors Centre last year and they loved it so much that they definitely wanted to go back again this year.

The downstairs is a shop with wildlife related items (which may keep mummy happy, as long as she is there without the kids saying "please mummy") and a feely table with various wildlife artefacts that the kids find amazing.

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But upstairs they have all sorts of things to amuse little visitors (jigsaw, drawing items, etc.)

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Someone managed to get something out of Mum, without even being able to talk yet!

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Back to the Staithe and let the kids get the rods out, or go and run about on the grass.

Some of the boys off one of the other boats have set up a cricket wicket on the green,

one problem with that here is that three of the boundaries are the edge of the staithe,

it made for some interesting techniques in recovering their tennis ball from the water.

Between the boats was easy, it was the dinghy dyke that gave them the most problems!

(I did see the Skipper get one of his long lines out and throw the end over to the otherside

so that they could drag it along the dyke to recover a ball at one stage!)

Ian (Palmtree) came in again with the two ladies (Gertie and Tilda) for a quick walk ashore (and to do the necessaries!).

Two sisters on long leads can get everbody into a tangle quite quickly, especialy when trying to catch each others tails!

( I did find it amusing to hear Ian's new "control" command of "LADIES!")

We got talking to a nice couple on "Antares of Orwell" next to us, a nice salty bottom boat that was paying a short visit to the broads.

Among other things they mentioned the problem of having a holding tank with no pump out facility, which meant heading out to sea to do a dump every so often...

(Now that could become a real problem if the tides were wrong to get through the Bure bridges at Yarmouth!)

The skipper bought the kids a football in the local shop

(a bad idea as there was water on three sides and it was a choice of putting the ball away or making the kids wear their life jackets!),

so the ball want away until we found a better spot to use it!

We left Ranworth after lunch and made our way up towards Horning again

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looking at some lovely properties as we did so...

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And we met some heavy traffic on the way!

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For the first time this trip we made it past the Freedom dyke without turning in and continued up through Horning village to Salhouse Broad.

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I had arranged to meet up with Lt Bogey here and wandered along the shoreline looking for "Prisma".

I found her tucked up right at the other end ot the moorings (we had moored near the end of the path to the car park),

and introduced my self to James and Jo.

I then rang the Bell (our fifth Broadland pub for this cruise) to book a table for Tazman, myself and the two oldest kids, and to arrange transport to the pub.

"We already have two other people to pick up at 18:45, if you don't mind sharing a car as we can take 6 at a time".

"No problem".

I went for a wander up towards the car park with the hound and found that we were obviously in the remains of Fangorn Forest.

After all this must be an "Ent"...

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It even has toes!

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On the way back I tried a couple of shots on "macro" with the new camera...

(I had a bit of trouble getting the focus right but I expect that a bit of practice will sort that out).

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18:30 and we set off for the car park and arrive there to find James and Jo already waiting (so that who the other two were!)

Up to the Bell dodging in and out of the roadworks on Lower Street and we arrive at the Bell to discover that there is a mini "Classic Car" meet going on there

(as the local car club have been out on a treasure hunt)

We have a couple of tables together and stick the two boys on their own whilst the adults discuss how things have gone on our respective cruises.

Plesbit and Jonzo appear from the other bar (having recognised Tazman when he went in to order a round) and we agree to have our own team in the quiz (NBN Port) leaving the regulars to form NBN Starboard.

Unfortunately the quiz starts before the desert is served, but we work around that....

I must say that I think that their "Current News Items" round is not that good for visitors, as we come to the Broads to get away from "news" about celebrities etc...

At the end of the evening our team came in second being beaten by one point by the regular NBN team!

(OK so we were second last not second, anyone can make the occaisional typo!)

At the end of a nice evening we are driven back to the Broad car park and I dug out torches for our party and set off to navigate us back to the boats.

I spot something moving on the path in front of us and shine my torch down to illuminate a very confused hedgehog!

We arrive back at "Fair Freedom" and dopped of Tazman and the boys and I then carry on to escort James and Jo back to "Prisma" before returning to "Fair Freedom" to be presented with a "nightcap" of rum.

(Luckily I found it still next to my bunk when I woke up the following morning!)

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Hi Martin and the crew of the good ship Fair Freedom

Great tale Martin. Am still chuckling about the spring off saga with Tazman ! Had something similar with Jo at Acle on the first day but hasten to add that I didn,t leave her ashore! When the order (sorry request !) was given to let go on the spring Jo didn,t respond immediately, the wind caught us and sent us, beam to, right across the channel with 8 ton of boat tensioned on the post.

After seeing you at Salhouse we pottered up north to Potter Heigham, no pun intended!

The wind by that stage had started to get up and the only mooring we could get was on the quiet council mooring on the right hand side as you approach the bridge. No posts or rings so had to deploy the ronds. Following morning we are being blown onto the mooring by a fresh to strong wind. Solution spring off. Spring off from what - no posts or rings! How does one recover the ronds without losing control of the boat?

Spot a telegraph pole abreast of Prisma. Breast line deployed to hold the boat, spring line deployed and ronds and lines recovered . The whole process took about 5 minutes. Just as we are ready to go the local busybody comes down the path, which I admit my lines are crossing, but anybody could have walked around the telegraph pole by diverting four paces.

She asked me what I was doing - I said I was leaving- she asked me what would happen if anybody comes down the path. I said I am leaving and will be gone in two minutes complete with my lines! I tried to explain what I was doing but -no, she wasn't having any of it! Anyway to cut a long story short left after a perfect spring off but with a feeling of frustration that my explanation to the woman was being totally ignored. The person concerned obviously has had a bad experience in the past with boats and crews and now is on a mission to berate all.

Breast lines are little used but are great for coming alogside or casting off when you need to get control whilst lines are being dealt with.

Regards

James

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Hi Martin and the crew of the good ship Fair Freedom

Great tale Martin. Am still chuckling about the spring off saga with Tazman ! Had something similar with Jo at Acle on the first day but hasten to add that I didn,t leave her ashore! When the order (sorry request !) was given to let go on the spring Jo didn,t respond immediately, the wind caught us and sent us, beam to, right across the channel with 8 ton of boat tensioned on the post.Regards

James

You had far more visibility of what was happening at the back end of "Prisma", after our debacle at Thurne we started to us our little press to talk walkie talkies to keep in touch. No need to talk, just a ring tone is enough to engage neutral, and then sort out whatever is going on.

Of course Tazman, the gadget king, wanted to rig a web-cam and a rear view screen by the helm position...

Martin

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Up early (as usual) and Martin disappears with the dog for a while.

Once the kids are up it is Bacon Butties for breakfast.

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Martin has disappeared again, someone who's little daughter rode her bike down from the car park is struggling to get her, her bike, their own bikes and their other clobber back to the car park so he seems to have ended up carrying the kid's bike for them.

"Prisma" calls in to say goodbye as they are heading off down river.

The kids have seen an old friend from last year and call him over...

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They are also decreasing the bread supply feeding a baby coot and its mother

(someone had a late brood this year)

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I took a quick shot of the inside of the cabin and what would you give as a title for this shot?

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Ok Martin has called the pilot at Wroxham and we need to go pretty sharpish.

Coming up on Wroxham bridge and there is another boat already waiting on the pilot pontoon,

so we have to moor in front of them, there is just about enough room (our bow is actually under the footbridge!)

The pilot takes that one off so we can walk the boat back on the ropes (I'm getting used to doing this sort of manouvre now)

and then its our turn.

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The pilot then does a stern-to parking at the Hoveton moorings, and we can slip up to Roy's for some essential supplies.

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