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Carried Away By A Moonlight Shadow...


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Agreed. Great write up and so interesting to hear how you feel now you’re in the syndicate. 
Loved our holidays at Caister many years ago at the Haven holiday park. As for Hemsby, we drove past a couple of months ago and I can’t understand why the Pontins site is just sitting there derelict. Strange place. 

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I always enjoy just sitting at our mooring watching the world go by. You’re certainly not alone in behaving like a meerkat on hearing an engine Helen!! Enjoying the write-up and photos, I can’t remember ever going to Caister so we will have to take a look sometime. We usually go to Winterton for the dogs to have a run on the sands and in the dunes, Caister and Winterton sound and look quite similar. 

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Tuesday 12th

It was a beautiful dawn this morning, beckoning us onto the river.


We started off shortly before 8am and got to Loddon just after 11. We passed only one other vessel on the Yare and one on the upper Chet. Not far from Brundall we spotted some highland cows.




There were quite a lot of birds to be seen. Quite a few grebes, a few swans and various raptors, including marsh harriers on the Yare. On the Chet a few pheasants and herons flew over. We saw an egret near Hardley Flood


On the Chet there were few small water birds that I didn’t recognise. I looked at a bird book later and think that they were Little Grebes (common name Dabchick). I didn't manage to get a good photo unfortunately - this one was by best effort.


The staithe was almost empty apart from a couple of small sailing cruisers and a privateer. Lots of fishermen though.

Graham took Seren for a short walk and then popped to the Co-op to get some stuff that I’d forgotten when I went to Sainsburys. Although we’d had bright sunshine for most of our journey, clouds had started to build as we approached Loddon and by mid-day the heavens opened, washing away all but the most dedicated fishermen. I made us a frittata for lunch.

Shortly after 2pm Jean (SwanR) arrived. We had been pm’ing and texting each other over the past two days, as Jean and her husband had planned to visit their caravan just at the time when Graham and I were on MS. It was lovely to meet Jean at last. Shortly after Jean arrived Simon (Broads01) arrived at the staithe on Song of Freedom, so we were able to meet two fellow forumites for the first time. Seren made friends with Simon’s little dog Rollie.

We managed to chat away most of the afternoon with Jean. Hope we meet again sometime Jean!

Another quiet evening for us. An early dinner of duck legs in cherry and hoisin sauce with veg then we watched the first of this week’s heats of Professional Masterchef before turning in for another early night.


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Wednesday 13th

Another early ’ish start this morning. I fed a rather tame moorhen that was wandering around the staithe whilst Graham took Seren for her morning constitutional.


It was another beautiful morning. The main difficulty initially was sailing into the (still low) sun.


Graham got our de-mister out, as the windscreen started to mist up shortly after we started off.


One thing that has struck me about Moonlight Shadow is that there seems to be far less condensation on the windows in the mornings than we’d experienced on the boats that we had hired in March and October, even though the nights are becoming quite chilly.




We got to Reedham before high tide, so at least we didn’t have to plug against the tide once we were on the New Cut. First time I’ve been down the New Cut and not passed anything. Come to think of it, we didn’t see any other craft on the river this morning once we'd waved goodbye to Simon.

Two views of the New Cut, forward and to the rear:



Somerlayton Bridge was flying two flags, and the river seemed quite high, which settled our debate whether to stay at Somerlayton or to go to Beccles.


Once we’d moored up though, we found the electric posts were out of action. There was a note on them to inform us that they were off due to work on a nearby transformer and power was due to be restored late afternoon.

We went for a walk with Seren up toward the Herringfleet Mill.



From there we followed the footpath that branches inland, but were soon wondering if we had done the right thing. Graham had leapt from the wooden walkway across a muddy bit leaving me no option other than to follow.


We now couldn’t get back without wading through the deep mud. Of course, we came across other muddy bits and were soon wishing we had worn our wellies rather than walking boots.


There’s no picture of the last, and biggest, swamp, as I managed to stab one of my fingers on barbed wire. Maybe I had been a bit unwise using that to hang from whilst trying to keep my feet out of the worst of the bog.

Once we’d crossed the flat land that runs down to the river the path took us through a patch of woodland up to the road.


We walked along the road until we came to Slug Lane which leads to the Dukes Head pub, stopping halfway along for me to have a peep into the Church of St Margaret, Herringfleet. (You didn’t really think I could write up a whole holiday blog without a church visit, did you?)


The church was interesting. There was an info leaflet which said that the tower dates back to Saxon times. Most of the memorial stones on the walls were for the Leathes family, Lords of the Herringfleet Manor. The church has some lovely stained glass. Apparently the windows were put in during a 19thC restoration and are made up of a collection of 16th and 17th century continental glass 'rescued' from France and Flanders at the time of the French Revolution. They are certainly unusual.




The church also has a lovely organ loft.


On our way again, we got to the pub just before 12 and debated whether to go in or not. I had started wondering whether stabbing yourself on barbed wire is something that might cause tetanus, so wanted to get back to the boat to get some info via google on my mobile. Seems there is a risk, but the incubation period is usually 3-4 days, so thought we needn’t get back to Brundall immediately. Given the electric was out, we decided to get back at least part of the way to Brundall to somewhere with electric. Once we had set off Graham made us later elevenses (more like twelveses) coffee and cake. I’d found some vegan lemon cakes in Sainsbury’s, as well as Graham’s favourite Sainsbury’s Bakewell Sponge.

One of the posts at Reedham was out of action, and the other taken. We didn’t fancy stopping at Reedham anyway. We ended up at Hardley Mill again (having stayed there twice during our first week on MS in August). Okay, so it’s £5 mooring fee, but we feel the Mill is a good cause anyway, so don't mind paying the fee there.



Once moored up I made us a late lunch (sausage done in the oven, black pudding, lightly fried potatoes, beans, scrambled egg), then we had another walk with Seren. We normally walk with her along the bank toward Hardley Dyke. This time we went along the bank that runs opposite Cantley. The sugar factory was at full blast, as it usually is this time of the year. What I hadn’t noticed previously, chugging along with the roof up, is how noisy it is.



Yet another quiet evening this evening. Second heat of Masterchef on telly, and a light dinner (pasta with dairy-free pesto) to compensate for the late lunch.

There was a beautiful moon this evening.



Cantley at night.




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This is an excellent write up Helen, and some really lovely pics. We always vist Loddon when on Lightning, often twice in a week. Sometime i`m going to try and swap some weeks around on Lightning so i can get 2 weeks together, then we can have a very leisurely cruise north and south. 

We`ll be up in mid March next year, will you be around then at all?.

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'Fraid not Speedtriple. We have our next week on board in early February and then the first week in May. We won't be able to use the whole of the May week though, as we had already booked a holiday with family for the second week in May, so we'll have to skedaddle from the boat on the Thursday to travel down to Somerset on the Friday. 

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Thursday 14th

Maybe Hardley Windpump wasn’t the best mooring choice last night. This morning dawned with a squall of heavy rain lashing Moonlight Shadow and strong wind blowing directly onto our mooring.


I’m sure we could have got off okay, but the weather was so horrible we decided to just put some more credit onto the electric post (there was only about 15p left from overnight) and stay put for the morning. Graham took Seren out but was caught in another squall, so they both returned pretty wet.

Seren looked a bit fed up.


At one point Graham asked her if she was having a good read.


I made us lunch using the leftover haggis, mixed with mash and fried onion to make patties, served with beans.

By 1pm the sky started to brighten up.


The rain stopped and the wind had dropped too, so we got on our way.

The weather forecast for Friday didn’t look too good, more rain, so rather than aiming for another mooring beyond Brundall we just chugged back to our home mooring. The sun came out, and although we had another light shower it was a beautiful journey. Passing Cantley we thought that maybe Hardley Windpump wasn’t such a bad choice after all, as the river was very high (springs tomorrow) and almost overtopping the key at Cantley.






Although we had a short detour through Rockland Broad, it didn’t take that long to get ‘back home’. There were lots of pheasants on the banks of Fleet Dyke (leading to Rockland). This particular one was trying to chase the others off what he obviously thought was his territory. 


We had another quiet evening.


Dinner was an easy-to-make option: sachets of rice and tadka daal warmed in the microwave to accompany cauli roasted in the oven and hardboiled eggs. We watched this week’s Masterchef Professionals quarterfinal and had another early night.

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Friday 15th Nov

As the forecast was for rain again today Graham suggested we go home today instead of tomorrow. He wanted to be home by lunchtime Saturday anyway, as he didn’t want to miss two weeks of Seren’s Saturday afternoon agility classes and on this trip we needed to clean the boat before we left it. We had collectively made a decision at the AGM a few weeks back to stop the weekly valet of the boat. Those who want to pay for a valet still have that option, but those of us who prefer to do the cleaning ourselves don’t need to pay for a valet.

We had thought to go somewhere by car this morning and finish packing/do the clean this afternoon, but the weather was so miserable we decided to just sort out the boat, go somewhere for lunch and then go home. First, we went to refuel and get a pump-out, which cost just over £63. I think the pump out is around £13, so guess we spent roughly £50 on fuel. Obviously, we ran the heating a lot, and although we didn’t do a lot of cruising, most of that was done against the tide. Pretty cheap holiday, especially considering this was an ‘extra’ week.

We left MS just after 1pm and drove to Loddon as we fancied having lunch at The White Horse. The staithe was virtually empty.


We both had burgers: Graham had a lentil and nut one and I had their crab and lobster burger. Both were good. The chips and onions rings were the best we’ve had for years. Lovely freshly made chunky chips and the onion inside the rings was really chunky too. Simple food, but very well done. The landlord was very welcoming too and there seemed to be quite a few parties of locals having lunch there.

The journey home went well until we hit the roadworks north of Cambridge. Graham accidentally took a turn off toward Huntingdon, into a tailback of traffic, then it took us ages to get back to the A14, only to hit another tailback. Grrr. The journey took almost twice as long as normal.

Never mind, we were so relaxed after our week and weren’t in desperate need to get home by a certain time, so it didn’t matter so much.

Roll on February, when we have our next week on MS.

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Wonderful write up Helen, and beautiful photos. It was really lovely to finally manage to be close enough to meet up, we certainly must do it again next year. I'm sure we'll find somewhere. Thank you to both yourself and Graham for making me so welcome. Not forgetting Seren who is absolutely adorable! Hope the agility class went well yesterday.  :default_icon_wave:

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Thanks for the write up and photos, Helen, very enjoyable. I'm glad I was able to meet you, Graham and Jean at Loddon.

Interested to read about the valet arrangements. It's good those that want a valet can still arrange it because that would always be my preference. I noticed how clean the exterior of MS was - who has responsibility for that? 

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1 hour ago, YnysMon said:

One of the things I learned at the AGM. Shareholders have a real pride in the boat.

I get the impression that’s the case for other syndicates too.

It certainly is.

We in the Lightning syndicate also have the same policy re cleaning. If an owner wishes to use a valeting service, they can, but we (Karen and me) have never used it, and so far, we`ve always been complimented on how clean we leave Lightning, though this September, she was very grubby around the water line, something we can`t do unless we had a dinghy, which we don`t have.  I have also noticed how clean Moonlight Shadow looks on the outside, her white and blue livery really stands out.

Many thanks for a great write up Helen, and some great pics too. I particularly like the ones of your return up the Yare where the water is like a sheet of glass. 

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13 hours ago, SPEEDTRIPLE said:

It certainly is.

We in the Lightning syndicate also have the same policy re cleaning. If an owner wishes to use a valeting service, they can, but we (Karen and me) have never used it, and so far, we`ve always been complimented on how clean we leave Lightning, though this September, she was very grubby around the water line, something we can`t do unless we had a dinghy, which we don`t have.  I have also noticed how clean Moonlight Shadow looks on the outside, her white and blue livery really stands out

Hi.  We have a soft extending brush we use on the caravan which we used to bring with us, worked a treat. 

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14 hours ago, SPEEDTRIPLE said:

so far, we`ve always been complimented on how clean we leave Lightning, though this September, she was very grubby around the water line, something we can`t do unless we had a dinghy, which we don`t have. 


51 minutes ago, SueH said:

Hi.  We have a soft extending brush we use on the caravan which we used to bring with us, worked a treat. 

Well, you know what I'm going to ask don't you.....

How do you clean the waterline marks off a caravan? Is the extending brush up to the task?

Sorry about that but I resisted temptation for 50 mins, not bad for me, nearly a record.

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1 hour ago, SueH said:

We have a soft extending brush we use on the caravan which we used to bring with us, worked a treat. 

I have supplied one on Moonlight Shadow for that very purpose since you left Sue :default_wink:

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