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Finally made it back to the Broads, on Saturday, after a long time hoping. I wish I could say the journey was uneventful but between google not updating changes to the road layouts up here, and the roadworks I only read about on here after we arrived, it was quite a trip. At least a trio of wrong turnings gave us a view of the countryside we were not expecting, and we still got to Richardsons half hour early.

We booked Melody 1 but that had apparently developed a fault so we ended up with Melody 2, checked around the boat, as you do, had a trial run, as you do, asked the questions the guy has probably heard a few hundred times before, as you do and the trial pilot left the boat. Two minutes later one of the bedroom doors was jammed shut. Back to the dock office, told the staff, five minutes later the pilot is back on the boat with two toolboxes and a new door lock. All fixed in about twenty minutes

The boat is OK although on the trial run I didn't realise how sloppy the steering is and it's taken two days to find the sweet spot where the rudder is straight, now marked with the wife's lipstick! Mooring is a nightmare what with the steering and the fact that my wife and son have never tried anything like it before. I don't suppose I'm blameless either!
 
This is only supposed to be a trial run for the main holiday in July, I only hope I recover by then.

Saturday night at Ludham bridge. didn't want to risk the bridge as the board indicated it was millimetres from Melody's airdraft. A very cold night and a very noisy windy one, but the only boat near us left early so we started the engine and got the heater going. That is doing a good job. Waited for the tide and got through with a few inches to spare.

Sunday night at Ranworth. I know it's technically off season but I expected more boat traffic here. Only three boats when we arrived and moored with assistance of a ranger there, cleaning the electric posts. A couple more boats arrived then everybody cleared off with the exception of us and a Woods cruiser, a Richardsons bathtub arrived and it was just the three of us all night. Another cold night but not as bad as last night, just. We woke up to what the Broads does best, the sun rising over still water, barely a ripple over a virtually empty broad - as long as you didn't look left to the marina (?).

Today, Monday we went to Wroxham looking for milk, not desperate just a top-up, only available mooring was down by the bridge. £10 fee, not paying that for a pint of milk so we turned around and made it to Potter Heigham as the sun was setting. I stayed on the boat whilst wife and son went shopping in Lathams for the milk, came back with God knows what, wants to go back in the morning. I'm going too with a padlock on my wallet.

I've taken a few pics and a couple of short videos but I need to get them off the cameras and on to my laptop, not much time during the day and too tired in the evening. We are really enjoying ourselves, every house we pass the wife wants to buy and every boat we pass my son wants too. The TV works so the wife's happy in the evening and the boat's wifi works with only one glitch so far so my son is happy too. I'm using the Aweigh and Ulysse apps and they've been a great help so far.

More to follow

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Great tale , can’t wait to hear more .

little hint , if coming in the colder times of the year an oil fired radiator works a treat to keep the boat snug , obviously dependant on having shore power available both on the boat and where you’re moored .

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Great write up :default_beerchug:

Lathams:-

whilst wife and son went shopping in Lathams for the milk, came back with God knows what, wants to go back in the morning. I'm going too with a padlock on my wallet.

You see, that is standard procedure for all newbies entering those hallowed doors of Lathams.  Once you have exited having bought all sorts of paraphernalia that you didn't know you needed - You become a lifetime member and are now allowed to call it by its membership name -  La'Tharms   Good luck with keeping the padlock on the wallet for the next visit - You will fail miserably like the rest of us have done many times

Griff

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Great write up. 

Kirsty and I travelled up yesterday, staying in cottage in Wroxham, but will be doing plenty of isolated broad walks, a day boat and visiting some marinas! Hoping the pub ban advice doesn't limit our lunch options. 

If we see Melody 2 pass us by we will give a wave. Have fun!!

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Great start to your tale. We were out last week and the wind was certainly challenging. You may well find it quiet this week as it's now closed season for fishing I believe. I'll be writing about that over on my own holiday tale a bit later.

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Some apparently famous Scot wrote about the best laid plans of mice and men.

I think I know what he had in mind.

I left this having arrived at Potter Heigham. Tuesday did indeed start with a return visit to Lathams and I have to say I got off quite lightly, in that expenditure was in double figures.

My original idea was get my wife and son to have a go at steering, and deciding direction, to give me a chance with the cameras and general relaxation. The wind and steering put paid to that so I was at the helm the entire time, a cross I just had to bear.

Tuesday was spent cruising down to Stokesby then up to Womack for the night. Stokesby was quiet apart from a young couple on a bathtub and us. Went for a walk, the map shows a tearoom and store but it's not there now. The only other sign of life was a Tesco delivery driver who looked like the entire contents of his truck were intended for one house.

We moored at the first mooring in Womack Water having explored to the end and back. I only bounced once off the small craft alongside that swung slightly on it's ropes as we drifted in to the bank. Given the difference in boat sizes I'm surprised no damage was done to the little one, thankfully.

Wednesday we set off cruising the Bure to Wroxham Island calling at Ranworth for water and a chat with a couple off the boat next door, quite friendly considering I narrowly avoided demolishing their fenders. On then to Wroxham Island for the night - a more structured version of wild mooring with no-one around to bother if we ran the engine keeping warm.

Thursday we had a message asking the wife to return to work a day early, I'm retired but someone has to keep the pennies rolling so we were going to have to call it a day and travel home on Friday. We decided to cruise around waiting for the tide at Ludham Bridge in the afternoon, to be able to get back up the Ant.

We went down Fleet Dyke to South Walsham and wife and son went walkabout into the village, the weather was much better but still a bit too cool for my emphysema so I forced myself to chill out with a bottle of red and watched the dredging barge up and down.

We left there and again made Ludham Bridge with a few inches to spare. We toddled off up the Ant to Barton Turf for the night and I can see why that river is a favourite. How Hill moorings were virtually empty which somehow added to the magic of the place. Irstead went by before I noticed there was no-one there.

The new moorings at Paddys Lane are very tidy and not quite finished. They were out working on the next section of posts early on Friday morning. I don't know what the finished article is supposed to be but there is a brand new boardwalk that leads to a No Entry sign so you can't actually walk off the moorings to anywhere. We found it quite sheltered and serene, summertime might be a bit different.

Friday morning we took leisurely cruise back to Richardsons, very reluctantly, £94 for diesel and a £6 refund reflected how much we had kept the engine running I suppose but so what.

Did we enjoy ourselves ? You betcha. My wife and son are converted to the idea of life afloat and that was what it was all about.

Now we have to wait and see what happens in July. We are supposed to be on Melody 4 but I am currently on the 12 week curfew as a high risk of "severe illness" and we are more concerned with eggs and toilet rolls at the moment.

I have included a few pictures, not sure I've got the settings right.

Duck001.JPG

OnTheRiver003.JPG

Ranworth003.JPG

Goose001.JPG

Stokesby008.JPG

Wroxham Island001.JPG

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Great write up. Life is changing all around us but keep that dream alive of being back when we come out the other side of today’s madness. 

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7 hours ago, MotorBoater said:

The new moorings at Paddys Lane are very tidy and not quite finished. They were out working on the next section of posts early on Friday morning. I don't know what the finished article is supposed to be but there is a brand new boardwalk that leads to a No Entry sign so you can't actually walk off the moorings to anywhere.

The moorings at Paddy’s Lane are being refurbished so I assume the boardwalk is too.  It may be that they have closed it all off while the work is being done. Where exactly was the No Entry sign MotorBoater?

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Vanessan, the moorings and the boardwalk are indeed brand new, this map shows the situation when we were there. I didn't go to the end of the boardwalk but my wife did. She tells me it was a Private Property, No Entry, We Are Watching You kind of sign. She was looking for the rubbish bins that our map said were there. When she returned with the rubbish I noted that the Free Mooring sign actually said the nearest bins were at Neatishead and I think Sutton, so we took it back to Richardsons with us.

Barton Turf.jpg

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The boardwalk is there to allow access to Barton Turf from Paddy’s Lane. A few years back I think someone wanted it closed but there was a bit of a hooha and it remained open. From memory I think there is a no entry sign at the end of the main boardwalk but this relates to the private moorings on the left. There are rubbish bins at the staithe but they have only been there a couple of years (courtesy of the local council) and the BA signs will have been there longer. The BA have been refurbishing the moorings as part of their maintenance programme. 

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Having thought about this a bit more, I think I might know what happened MotorBoater. The boardwalk takes a sharp turn to the left when it comes out of the trees (that is where the no entry sign is) but the route to Barton Turf is actually straight on across the grass. That is probably why your wife thought she couldn’t go any further. Perhaps a good reason to return and do it all again? :default_norty:

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I knew I had some more pics filed away somewhere so I have included a few here. They include one of our favourite moorings (Wroxham Island), the new moorings at Paddy's Lane and the Norfolk version of "Head In The Sand" which I will keep handy I think.

DSCI0465.JPG

DSCI0481.JPG

DSCI0489.JPG

DSCI0499.JPG

DSCI0511.JPG

DSCI0469.JPG

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Thank you for sharing these photos. We love Paddy’s Lane as well and were there on Thursday 12th March. Reading your tale back that looks as if it may have been the same time as you? 

 I didn’t even get off the boat as it was so cold and windy so I have to admit that I didn’t notice that part of the moorings had been done!! They were still working round the corner as indicated in your map. That’s the stretch we usually choose. 

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Hi, Apart from three motorboats that came up from Barton Broad and turned right for Stalham/Sutton the only boat we saw was a medium to large sail boat that looked like it was having trouble getting in at the village end, but it was mostly out of sight as there is a slight bend there. I thought there was another boat there but when I looked again it was gone - assuming it wasn't a mirage ! This was Thurs 19th.

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Aha, you were one week after us. How lucky were we to get that time in before all the restrictions. 

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