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A Week on Royall Commander


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Saturday 27th September


Having booked our holiday for 2014 way back in July last year, my wife, son, his girlfriend and I had been excitedly counting down the days to 27th September and the start of our week away.


For my son, it was his first holiday on a boat since 2005, when he was still 16, for his girlfriend, it was to be her first experience of a holiday afloat.  My wife and I hadn’t been on the Broads for a number of reasons since 2007, although prior to that it had been an almost annual experience since the early nineties and for me, a few times since 1969.


I left work at about 04:25 and arrived home just before 05:00.  After a cup of tea and shower, I looked at the heap of luggage that I had to somehow squeeze into the car.  I do not understand how four people (and a dog) need so much stuff, but there were two females in the party.  Nuff said!!


After some jiggling and poking, I managed to get it all loaded and we set off from Northampton at about 08:40, intending to arrive in Wroxham (Hoveton to the pedants) at 11:00 (ish), in the knowledge that Royalls prepare their craft in time for and early takeover.


After an uneventful journey, we arrived at the boatyard at 11:10 and I found Nigel to let him know that we were there and asked permission to leave the car there whilst we went to get the shopping. 


We quickly popped into he Chandlers to buy a lifejacket for our Staffy and went to Roys to collect the necessary provisions for a couple of days.  I had planned the route and reckoned to be in Norwich on Tuesday, where they could be replenished.


We staggered back to the boatyard with several bags of shopping, by which time it was just before 13:00 and were able to load everything on the boat, which was spotlessly clean and considering it was towards the end of the season, looking far better that a 20+ year old boat has a right to. 


With all the bags loaded and most of the contents safely stowed, we were shown round the boat, the requirement for daily mechanical checks described, lifejackets issued and forms signed.  Satisfied that I had been on the Broads many times before, there was no trial run deemed necessary and we were almost ready to set sail. 


The fish and chips had smelt so good whist we walked through the village, my son and his girlfriend were despatched to collect four portions from Ken’s, which were consumed with relish before finally chugging out of Royalls yard and onto the Bure at about 14:45.


My proposed stopover for our first night was Thurne Dyke so we headed out of Wroham, passing Wroxham and Salhouse Broads, before passing through Horning.  There was a lot of traffic on the river and judging by the erratic progress of some of the craft, a fair few first timers, too!!


The weather was good, far better than we could realistically have expected for the end of September and the saloon of Royall Commander with the sliding roof back was exactly the environment we needed to de-stress as we chugged along the river.


Passing the mouth of the short dyke that leads to what used to be FB Wilds yard, brought back many happy memories of my first few Broads holidays with my parents back in the late sixties and early seventies, when the Caribbean was the cruiser of the day.


We eventually arrived the junction of the Bure and Thurne, where we turned left and headed the short distance to the entrance of Thurne Dyke where we spun the boat around (what a boon a bow thruster is) and moored on my favoured ‘farm’ side for the night.


It had been a long day for me, having been at work from 20:00 on Friday night until I left earlier on that Saturday morning, with the drive to Wroxham and everything else that had happened, so we decided to not cook on board, but to visit the Lion Inn for a meal.  Because of the dog, we were not able to eat in the restaurant, but found a table in the bar.


Our experience was slightly spoilt by a rowdy party who insisted on not moving away from the bar, but blocking it for everyone else who was there.  They were extremely noisy and it became a much more pleasant environment there when their food was ready and the moved into the family room at the back of the pub.  We eventually fought through to place our order and waited hungrily for it to arrive.


Our food arrived and we all tucked in.  My son had a steak, his girlfriend a gammon steak and my wife and I had a gourmet beef burger each.  It was tasty and went down well after a long day and much better than the food that we had there when we last ate there about 10 years ago, but seemed a little pricey to me.


Back on the boat, I had a hot drink and headed for my bed.  Although it was relatively early (about 21:00), I had been up since 16:00 Friday afternoon and exhaustion had set in.  Contented, sleep came quickly and I don’t recall being disturbed when my wife came to bed shortly after.


More to follow . . . . . .

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It is always good to read someone else’s experience of the Broads, Royalls boats always have been and are kept in first class order too.


I really do like the look and layout of the boat you hired after all these years they have aged well – their lines to my eye looking modern and elegant.


Looking forward to reading more as the week progresses.

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Thanks for publishing.. I needed a good read this morning...


I think you all done very well with your luggage.. If we go out we somehow fill the astra up including the back seats.. if three of us go we have liase with mum to take certain bits up a few weeks before lol... 


Keep these coming :)

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Sunday 28th September


I awoke feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep at around 06:30, so quietly made a cup of tea, not wanting to disturb the rest of the crew.  My efforts were wasted however, as the dog was anxious to get out and woke the wife.  She pulled some clothes on and took her for an early morning walk along the river bank, towards the junction with the Bure.



While they were out I was surprised to find that there was sufficient hot water still in the tank for me to have an early shower and wait for my son and his girlfriend to wake up. 


The noise of the water pump and the other pump to drain the shower tray woke them and they emerged from the cabin at the sharp end, both looking for a coffee and breakfast.


We had already decided to start Sunday with a cooked brekkie, so when the wife returned from her walk with the pooch, I started to prepare bacon, sausages, fried eggs, baked beans and grilled fresh tomatoes.  I don’t usually have a cooked breakfast at home, so it made a tasty (if somewhat unhealthy) change to cereals.


We left Thurne Dyke at about 10:00 and meandered up to Potter Heigham.  My son had described Lathams to his girlfriend and she was looking forward to seeing what bargains were on offer there.  I didn’t worry about looking for moorings along the river, as we wanted to refill with water, so headed straight for Herbert Woods yard. 



After we had moored, we all disembarked, Iain and Rachel heading for Lathams and my wife and I sat by the bridge watching a few swans and ducks pass through.  With the height gauge indicating just over 6 feet clearance that was about all the river traffic that was getting under the bridge that day!!


Tired of waiting, we wandered over to Lathams and I was sent in to see how the others were doing.  I found them and was dismayed to see how much was in their basket, thinking of how I was going to squeeze even more into the car for the journey home.


Iain’s girlfriend volunteered to go round the store again with my wife, who wanted some bits and pieces, so my son and I ambled back to the boat and topped up with water.  Whilst we were waiting for the ladies to return, a couple in an old Bermuda style boat from Richardsons had entered Woods yard were trying to moor up.  Clearly, the skipper was struggling and he was getting nearer and nearer our boat, eventually giving it a tap and almost wedged it broadside across the boatyard between the boat astern of his and ours.  I offered to help, which he gladly accepted so stepped across from ours to his and within a couple of minutes, he was safely tied up.


When the rest of the party returned, post retail therapy, we had lunch and chugged off towards Stokesby, where I had planned to moor for the night in preparation for an early start to cross Breydon on Monday morning.


The weather was warm and  with the sun making a frequent appearance and the sliding roof back it was an enjoyable cruise, retracing our journey back down the Thurne but this time turning left along the Bure towards Acle.  I was surprised at just how busy the rivers were, especially given the time of the year.


Even by mid afternoon the moorings outside the Bridge Inn at Acle were already full and I was a little concerned that there wouldn’t be space for us at Stokesby.  As we rounded the bend, I could see the BA moorings were full and there was just one space at the farm moorings further along from the pub, so I headed there and just as we were tying the boat up, one of the craft that had been moored at the BA moorings cast off, so I quickly restarted the engine and squeezed Royall Commander in to the vacant space.


We wandered round to the store and bought some ice-creams, which were consumed back on board whilst idly watching the world go by.


I cooked our meal later in the evening and afterwards my wife and I started to teach our son, Iain and his girlfriend, Rachel, how to play crib.


All was quiet until just before 22:00, when the couple returned to the boat moored in front of ours, presumably from the pub and making quite a lot of noise.  To top it off, when back on board, they started their engine, filling Royall Commander with exhaust fumes.  I wasn’t amused, so in my best Victor Meldrew style went to ask them politely to show a little respect and switch it off and reminding them that there was a notice about 10 feet away from their boat giving instructions not to run their engine between 20:00 and 08:00.  Much to my surprise, they did, however, judging from the comments made by the female member of the crew, she was not best pleased.


It had been a great day and our enjoyment had not been spoilt by the actions of an inconsiderate crew, so a hot drink soon followed and I was asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow.


More to follow . . . . . . . .

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Monday 29th September


With the knowledge that I wanted to be in Yarmouth at 08:30(ish) to catch slack water, I woke up early on Monday morning.  I made a cup of tea and peered out of the window to see not very much at all.  Thick fog had descended overnight and visibility was not great.  My wife got up and took the dog for her morning walk and when she got back we waited to see if the fog would lift.


Iain and Rachel were still dead to the world in the forward cabin.  I hadn’t woken them as we clearly weren’t going anywhere too soon.  I waited impatiently until just after 07:00 and eventually decided to take a slow cruise towards Yarmouth, so I went round the outside of the boat, wiping the windows with a leather to get rid of most of the dampness that had settled overnight.


We started the engine and cast off immediately, not wanting to disturb our neighbours and chugged away from the moorings.  The visibility through the windscreen was poor, but I found that by opening the sliding door at the side of the sliding roof and poking my head out, I could see ahead much more clearly.  After all, there was hardly likely to be much river traffic heading the other way that early in the morning.


With the engine revs set at about 1100 rpm, it was not long before we passed the moored craft at the Stracey Arms (and yes David (deebee29), as you suggested, our paths obviously did cross).  Iain and Rachel by now, had woken up and transferred to the saloon, so my wife cooked some toast and made more tea for us all.  The fog appeared to be lifting and by the time we arrived at Yarmouth, visibility had greatly improved and we were in a convoy with about five or six other boats. 


Cruising past the Marina at the start of the passage through Yarmouth from Acle, I noticed what an eyesore it has become.  You couldn’t ever call it architecturally interesting, but in its current state of dereliction, it certainly adds nothing to the area.  It would surely be better to knock the old building down and clear the area, than to leave it in it’s present state.


I was heading past the Yacht Station when one of the Rangers shouted that Breydon was closed.  Once again, the bow thruster proved its worth, allowing me to turn Royall Commander easily in the current and to moor up about 100 yards north of the Rangers office.


The Ranger walked along and said that we should remain with the boat, because as soon as he received notification that Breydon was re-opened, he would have to get us all away as soon as possible.


My wife took our Staffie for a walk along the quay and I had a chat with a couple of people moored up near us, in particular the ‘captain’ of the Brinks cruiser that was just behind ours, who was taking advantage of shore leave and exercising his two Staffies, too.  We spent a while discussing the breed and how they seem to have attracted such a bad press of late and further chatting about our chosen hire craft and the Broads in general.


Whilst there, I also took the opportunity of topping up with water.


By 11:00, the sun had broken through the cloud and visibility had improved dramatically, however I was becoming concerned that by the time we were allowed to go, there wouldn’t be sufficient clearance under the bridges for our craft to pass under.  I had a word with one of the Rangers and he said that he was expecting a call to open Breydon soon and sure enough, just gone 11:30, we were told to go.  The bridge height gauge was showing 7ft 3ins, exactly the same as the clearance required as stated on the ‘dashboard’ of Royall Commander, but the Ranger said that as long as we lowered the roof and screen, we would have plenty of room.


Travelling against the incoming tide, I was able to chug slowly up to the bridges and assess the clearance for myself to find there was plenty of room to pass under, further encouraged by the fact that we were following Richardson’s Sovereign (another AF Pearl design craft), who had negotiated the bridges a couple of boats in front of ours.  We rounded the famous yellow post and headed across Breydon, with the roof back enjoying the sunshine, followed by at least 10 or 12 other craft.


At the end of Breydon we forked right, past the now deserted Berney Arms pub and the mill, which was also closed and headed for Reedham, where we found a mooring and stopped for lunch.  Shortly after we had moored, we noticed the Brinks cruiser pass by, crewed by the gent I was chatting to at Yarmouth.



After we had eaten, my wife and Rachel fed the ducks and I wandered along the quay.  Reedham used to be a place my son looked forward to mooring at when he was much younger, as we always took him to Pettitts for a treat.  With the Nelson now closed and what was the general stores now a café, although it still has a certain charm, it does seem quite desolate there now.


The weather was changing and the sky darkening, so with the roof closed we headed along the Yare towards Norwich, our destination for Tuesday morning.  I wasn’t sure where we were going to stop for the night, but had two potential moorings in mind, either opposite the Surlingham Ferry pub at Postwick or a little further up river at Bramerton.


We passed the sugar refinery at Cantley and I looked for the entrance to Langley Dyke to try to see whether it would be a good place to stop on the way back from Norwich the following day.  It looked quiet and I made a mental note of how long it took from there to our moorings to see how much cruising time it would take on the return journey. 



The Beauchamp Arms slipped by as we cruised further up the Yare and eventually arrived at Brundall.  Not having been on the Broads for a few years, I was surprised to see the little riverside shop that used to be near Brooms yard at Brundall, had been demolished.  It was always a stop off point for us, even if only to buy an ice cream.


Soon, the Surlingham Ferry pub came into view and the moorings opposite were empty, except for a lone fisherman.  I checked with the rest of the crew and all were agreed that it would be our overnight mooring.  Having stopped there in the past, I knew that there were a couple of walks for the dog, so we slowly chugged to the quay and tied up for the night.


I cooked dinner later and when consumed with the pots and pans washed and stowed away, Rachel and Iain were keen to improve their skills at crib, so we had a couple of games before I had a hot drink and went to bed, pleased that the delay at Yarmouth had not forced me to revise my planned cruise.


More to follow . . . . . . .

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What a lovely way you write, Mouldy, it's a pleasure to read!   :clap


Did you take any pics?   :wave


Hi Both


Thanks for your kind comment, it is appreciated.


I have added a few photos in a link to my Photobucket account in  No 4 above, as I don't seem to be able to add individual pictures direct to the Forum yet.


See what you think and I'll try to add some again.



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:wave hi malcolm, lovely story, it can be abit daunting with that fog, when we came out from yarmouth it was really bad, & you could only just make out the outline of the boats coming our way, which can be abit frightening, lori  :Stinky         

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Tuesday 30th September


Warning; Before you start to read this, you may want to get a brew, as it is a bit of an epic.


I woke up to the sound of gentle tapping on the side of the boat, so got out of bed and went through to the saloon and looked out of the window to see a swan looking for breakfast.  It must have been the one that Rachel had been feeding the previous afternoon. 



As for the weather, what a difference a day had made.  Although it was just before sunrise, there was no sign of the fog that had blighted the previous morning.  It all looked very promising.

I heard the wife clamber out of bed.  She said she was going to take the dog for a walk, so pulled some clothes on and headed off along the mooring.  I had a shower and got myself ready.


Once again, the sound of the water pump must have woken Iain and Rachel, who emerged from their cabin bleary eyed.  With the wife back on board, breakfast was prepared, toast and marmalade for three of us and instant porridge for Rachel.  With the curtains now pulled open, the sun was rising and it looked as if we were heading for a very pleasant day.


I could see that there were several men fishing from further along the mooring by now and I recognised one of them who had been there the previous night.  That’s what I call dedication.


My wife, Debbie, told me that the dog hadn’t performed.  It was her (the dog’s) first holiday afloat and although she was quickly getting used to the smells and noises that a holiday afloat generates, she still wasn’t getting the hang of the fact that when she whittled at the door to go out, the garden wasn’t always outside, so I took her for another walk.



On the way past, I had a chat with the night fisherman, who told me that he had a good night, having caught more than twenty fish.  I asked jokingly if they were tiddlers, but he assured me that they were all of a reasonable size.  He made a fuss of the dog, Harley and we carried on with our walk, returning to the boat about twenty minutes later.


The time was by now about 08:45, so I started the engine and with help from my son, cast off and we slipped gently away from the mooring, taking care to keep clear of the rods and lines.  Within a few minutes we were passing the grassy banks at Bramerton and a little further up river, The Woods End Tavern, looking very different now with the addition of fancy decking, tables and chairs at the river’s edge.


We cruised on, under the Postwick Viaduct, past Freedom’s yard, the Commissioner’s Cut, and past the bridge leading to the moorings at Thorpe.  A couple of trains rumbled along the embankment at the side of the river and as we approached the moorings at Whitlingham Country Park, a Brinks cruiser sped past, heading in the opposite direction, crewed by the chap with whom I had been speaking at Yarmouth the previous day.


We left the Yare and headed on the Wensum into Norwich.  My wife and I were amazed at the changes that had been made at the river’s edge as we cruised slowly into Norwich, with several new residential developments taking the place of old warehouses that used to line the river and an absence of the decaying old cruisers that used to be moored there. It all looks so much more attractive now and when completed, will have transformed the area.


I stopped by the Yacht Station Office to pay the £5 mooring fee a few minutes past 10:00 and chugged slowly past Pulls Ferry to where I like to moor at the Bishops Bridge end of the yacht station moorings.  I turned Royall Commander round and with her safely tied up, Rachel, Iain, my wife, the dog and I disembarked and headed for the city centre, via the Cathedral.


We walked up to Riverside Road and turned left over the bridge and left again along Riverside Walk, stopping to take a few photos of the Cathedral that looked magnificent in the sunshine across the school playing field.  We carried on turning right onto Ferry Lane and to the Cathedral.  Although Iain had visited there many times before with us, Rachel had never been, so my wife volunteered to sit outside with Harley (the dog) whilst the rest of us went in.


The architecture and carvings in both stone and wood set Norwich Cathedral apart from every other Cathedral I have visited. Surely, to recreate this wonderful building today, even utilising all of the tools, technology and machinery that now exist, it would tax even the most skilled of craftsmen.  To have designed and crafted it when they did, with the tools and equipment that they had and the fact that it still stands so prominent in it’s surroundings, it is a fitting testament to the skill and ingenuity of all of the folk who built it. After many visits I still find the scale of it so impressive and continue to marvel at the their skill.


We probably spent about half an hour there, looking and photographing as we went.  It would have been so easy to spend even more time looking round, but the wife was waiting outside and we needed to get to the shops, so reluctantly left.  We found the wife sitting on a bench near Edith Cavell’s grave, where she had been patiently waiting with Harley, playing Angry Birds on her phone.

We retraced our steps back to Ferry Lane, turned right and right again, passing in front of the Cathedral and the new Refectory building to exit into Tombland Lane, then along Wensum Street into Elm Hill before heading for the shops and market.


After being away from the shops since Sunday and with so many to look round, Rachel found herself in need of further retail therapy, so accompanied by a warning from me that there was going to be no room left in the car for further purchases and to be back at the boat by 14:30, she and Iain headed for Castle Mall and my wife and I returned to Tesco on Gaol Hill to stock up with provisions. 

The wife waited outside with Harley and I was despatched with the shopping list to buy meals for the following two nights and other essentials.  My purchases were examined when I left and I stayed outside with the dog whilst the wife went back in to get the things I had forgotten!!!!!  Doh!!


We staggered back to the boat with bulging carrier bags, deeply regretting our decision to let the kids (Iain (age 26) and Rachel (age 25) as they have become affectionately known) go off and do their own thing.  Back on board, we wound the roof back to flood the saloon with glorious sunlight, as by now, there was hardly a cloud in the sky.  I prepared some ham rolls and with a cup of tea and a bag of crisps each, we enjoyed lunch whilst waiting for the others to arrive back.


While we were waiting, I prepared a beef casserole and put it in the oven on a low heat, so that it would be ready for us later in the evening.


The kids eventually turned up at the boat a few minutes after 14:30, but bearing a couple of boxes of sticky cakes from Greggs (along with a couple of carrier bags of other purchases) so all was forgiven, although I was beginning to wonder who would have to be left behind to accommodate the additional luggage on the way home.


We cast off  heading for Langley Dyke, where I planned to overnight, ready to cross Breydon again (weather permitting) the following morning so chugged out of Norwich.


There were several oarsmen (and women) in various types of single, double and four man craft, being coached by people following in small outboard dinghies as we passed along Thorpe Cut and the Sailing Club building.  Clearly, the legacy of the Olympics is alive and well in Norwich! This year, the Yare, 2016 – Rio.


The journey back to Langley Dyke was uneventful and the weather glorious, with Royall Commander bathed summer-like sunshine.  When we arrived,  only two private boats were moored at the BA moorings at the end of the dyke, a Brooms gin-palace and a smart looking Dawncraft Illusive.  We moored up between them and the wife took Harley for a walk back along the dyke and I headed off to take some photos. 


I thought there were hundreds of starlings flying into the trees on the other side of the dyke, but closer inspection revealed they were actually crows.  I can’t recall ever seeing so many flying together at the same time but the sight reminded me of a scene from a Hitchcock film and listening to the noise, it became obvious why the collective noun for a large group of crows is a murder.


Sometime later, we had to close the roof as the midges were becoming abundant and starting to bite.


Our meal was ready at about 19:30 and the casserole was excellent (even if I say so myself).  The beef was tender and melted in the mouth, washed down with a bottle or two of something alcoholic.  This was the life.


When the washing up had been done, we had another couple of games of crib.  The kids were beginning to get the hang of it by then and were getting competitive.


We all retired to bed at the end of a very full day, fed, watered and very, very happy.  I was just hoping for no fog the following morning to spoil the plan . . . . . . .


More to follow . . . . 

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Wednesday 1st October


I woke early on Wednesday to see what the weather was doing, concerned that there might be a repeat of Monday’s fog, but although the sky was grey, of fog, there was no sign.  What a relief!


The wife and I both got up around 06:45 and pulled some clothes on.  She took the dog for a walk along the side of the dyke and a little way along the bank of the Yare and returned about twenty minutes later.  In the meantime I’d made some tea, opened the curtains and wiped the windows down which, as usual, were wet with condensation.  By now, Rachel and Iain had emerged from their cabin


I had calculated that it would take about two and a half hours to get to Yarmouth from Langley Dyke, so with slack water at 10:00, we cast off at 07:30, cruised slowly to the end of the dyke and turned right onto the Yare.  I had already made a mental note to add it to the list of agreeable moorings on the Southern rivers.  We joined the main river between two other cruisers, one a couple of hundred yards in front and the other about the same distance to the rear.  I set the revs to around 1400rpm which, according to the notice on the dash, equated to just over 4mph.  It wasn’t long before that cruiser that had been behind us, chugged past. 



Cantley slipped by and we were soon at Reedham Ferry, which was halfway across the river as we approached.  I slowed down to ensure that it was well clear before passing behind it.  There were a couple of cruisers moored outside the pub, but it didn’t look as busy as it used to get.  I remember a time when it was so popular that getting an overnight mooring there was a bit of a lottery. 



We carried on through Reedham itself, which was full of moored craft and under the bridge, forking left towards Breydon at the junction with the New Cut.  I left Iain at the helm whilst I went for a shower.  He never used to be particularly interested in steering during previous visits, but he was keen to this time and had become quite proficient at navigating the boat.


By the time I emerged from the aft cabin, refreshed from my ablutions, we were passing the deserted Berney Arms.  I wonder if anyone will buy it.  With such restricted access, it cannot surely represent much of a business opportunity in the current economic climate.  I suppose time will tell.


We joined a growing convoy of craft progressing across the expanse of Breydon Water and it was obvious that my calculations were way out as we arrived at the yellow post about half an hour before slack water.  Although we had been cruising at around 4mph, the speed of the ebbing tide must have carried us from Langley Dyke even faster.


Fortunately, the current was not flowing too fast down the Bure and we didn’t have to increase the revs by much to maintain reasonable progress as we passed through Yarmouth.  There were no problems with clearance under the bridges today and we easily passed beneath them, even with the sliding roof closed.



I have never found the river between there and the Stracey Arms particularly interesting, but I suppose the fact that we had negotiated the stretch in the fog a couple of days earlier, made the passage more interesting.



By now, the weather had brightened up and we opened the roof.  The electric winch certainly made light work of the process, even if it was quite noisy.


There were a couple of boats moored near the Stracey wind pump and the space we had occupied at Stokesby on Sunday night was full as we cruised by.


As we passed under Acle Bridge, I could see that there were a couple of craft already at the water hoses at Horizon’s yard, but there was no-one moored at Bridgecraft, so I spun the boat round and we moored there to take on water.  Seeing the little shop on the other side of the river, Rachel grabbed her purse and with Iain, my wife and Harley (the dog) headed off to spend more money!!



When I had finished topping up the water, I had a look round one of Bridgecraft’s boats that was moored just in front of Royall Commander.  It was one of their AF lowliner style craft and the care and pride exercised in their presentation was clearly in evidence.


The rest of the crew returned and I was handed an ice cream, which went down well.  My plan was for us to overnight at Womack, either along the dyke or at the staithe, so we agreed to head for Womack Water and see if there was room for us to moor. 



We chugged up the Bure, turned right onto the Thurne and past Thurne Mill, where a couple of men were working on the sails and a few minutes later we were turning left into the end of Womack Dyke.



There were already several boats moored along its length, both at the wild and at the BA moorings and I was already worried that there would be no room at the staithe.  As we reached Womack Water itself, it became clear that it was indeed full, so not wanting to miss out on the opportunity of mooring along the dyke, we turned Royall Commander around and headed back, past the island on the right and the boatyards on the left and found the last available BA mooring space, where we tied up for the rest of the day and night.



We had a late lunch and all headed in to Ludham as we needed to get some provisions for our last couple of days afloat.  It was the first time that I had been unable to get a mooring at the staithe, but the extra walk along the lane from the dyke was pleasant, although we had to get out of the way of a courier van, whose driver was not paying much attention to his surroundings and far exceeding the speed limit, or so it seemed.


We soon arrived at the village and my first stop was the butchers.  Although we had religiously visited his shop every time we had been on the Broads, I had not seen Rodney since our last Broadland holiday, back in 2007, but he still remembered me (I must have one of these faces that’s hard to forget).  We had a chat whilst selecting some meat and sausages and just as I was about to pay, Rachel rushed into the shop from where she had been waiting outside and chose four used paperback books from the rack in the window.  She passed them to me, together with £2.  I finished paying for the meat and books and bade Rodney farewell saying that, God willing, we hoped to be back next year.


I hadn’t realised that he is actually a couple of years older than me would be due to retire in a few years.  He has been there as long as I can remember and Ludham wouldn’t be the same without him.  If you have never been to his shop, make sure you go.  His friendly service is second to none and the meat is always excellent quality.


We made our way to Throwers and I waited outside with Harley whilst my wife, Rachel and Iain went to buy the other groceries that we needed.  On the way back down the lane, we stopped and had a look in the shops at the head of the staithe, before heading back to the boat.


Rachel and Iain went off in the dinghy.  The breeze didn’t warrant putting up the mast, so they rowed along the dyke towards the boatyards and Womack Water, my wife settled down to do her cross stitch and I picked up my crossword book.  The kids arrived back sometime later, excited as they had seen a kingfisher flying about near Womack Island, as it had flown past several times  Rachel had tried to take a photo and was disappointed that the result was a just a bright blue blur.  Never mind – better luck next time.


I cooked dinner later and we played crib again.  They were definitely getting the hang of it by now.  We played a couple of games, had a hot drink and went to bed around 22:00 at the end of another excellent day.


More to follow . . . . . . . . . 

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You really do capture the essence of a broads holiday! These are all brilliant :) Keep these coming (I think you need to stay another week too!).. enjoy the rest of your time aboard.


I hope anyone considering their first broads holiday will read your tale and understand why we all do it.. It really is just as written here... 

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Yep, great writing, thank you. I love Langley Dyke too, such an oasis of calm and pretty too. Those notices telling you what revs to use for 4mph are always to be taken with a tiny pinch of salt, especially on the south Broads where tide is all as far as speed is concerned.

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You really do capture the essence of a broads holiday! These are all brilliant :) Keep these coming (I think you need to stay another week too!).. enjoy the rest of your time aboard.


I hope anyone considering their first broads holiday will read your tale and understand why we all do it.. It really is just as written here... 


I couldn't put it any better, Alan, so I've repeated it!  :clap

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