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The Chapman's Week On The Broads


Mark42

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Saturday 4th April 2009

Hi folks, my family and I have just returned from our week on the Norfolk Broads. We thought a few of you might be interested in reading about our diary and adventure for the week. On the eve of the 4th April, my wife and 2 daughters did not get a wink of sleep due to the usual excitement of wanting to arrive at Richardson’s ASAP and see the boat (Broads Sunrise) for the first time. I was up at 4AM on Sat morning and gave up on trying to sleep. We set off at 7AM as Richardson’s has kindly informed us that the boat would be ready from 11AM which we were obviously impressed with and very grateful as this would give us an extra day.

We arrived at Tesco Stalham for 10AM to load up with the usual provisions. The locals in the store where not very friendly and the looks on their faces weren’t exactly what you would call welcoming or friendly as we raced up and down the aisles loading up with all the full English breakfast provisions, booze choc and crisps LOL. Anyway we arrive bang on 11AM at the boat yard and our first sighting was of all the new fleet moored in a line: Harmony, Sunrise, Sunset, serenade, Bolero etc. Within 10 mins of arrival we had been issued our life jackets and have been handed over the boat. I decided not to bother with a trial run as we wanted to set off ASAP for Horning and raid the deli of its yummy pork pie, olives and cheese.

Shortly after we left the boat yard, we realised that we had no hot water and the radiators where stone cold, anyway decided to moor up at Ludham Bridge and call the boat yard for some assistance. An engineer very quickly advised us to flip a switch under one of the floor panels and the boiler fired in to life. Then a few mins after that, a Richardson’s Engineer was knocking on the door of all their boats asking if we had hot water etc, seems most the boats left the yard with the Boilers switched off which will be due to everything being shutdown over the winter.

We arrived at Horning for 3.30pm hoping to moor on Horning Staithe or at the Swann as we had a table booked at the Willow ‘N’ Staithe for an evening meal which Clive recommended. As expected there were no mooring spots. We had the option of mooring at the New Inn, my favourite spot, with the intension on paying a mooring fee. Once we had got moored up we were very tired, one of the workers from the New Inn said that we could only stay the night if we ate at their pub – so that blew our plans to dine at the Willow ‘N’ Staithe. Anyway we made our way to the Deli and purchased a load of pork pie and cheeses. We had dined at the New Inn before and found it very poor - the menu and the food! We all opted for the gammon which was average. The egg was under cooked and slimy which put us off our food. Anyway, the weather was sunny and warm and we enjoyed drinking in the beer garden for the rest of the evening while the kids played on the slots.

Sunday 5th April will follow on in the next day or two with some more pictures!

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Sunday 5th April 2009

After a good night sleep at the New Inn and waking up on a very warm boat due to the radiators being very effective, we set off at 9am. Today we were heading to Reedham for the evening; low tide at Yarmouth is 1.30pm. Today gave us the chance to become more familiar with the boat and the way it handled etc. Considering it was 44ft, this must have been the easiest boat I have ever been on for driving and keeping it in a straight line down the river rather than zig zaging like most people do.

Anyway it was not long before we passed Acle with the intention of stopping off for an early lunch at Stacey Arms. We remembered that we must moor against the tide and had no problem executing the perfect mooring using the bow thrusters for the first time, which was much more effective than i expected it to be, in fact bow thrusters is a must from now on for all future boats we hire as it makes the handling, turning of the boat and mooring so easy.

We stretched our legs and visited the small shop. We also fed the donkeys and the very hungry goat. As were returning to the boat, the goat followed us and at one stage we thought he was going to step on board. Anyway it was time to eat some of our deli provisions with the roof back and the sun beating down on us. I must say every single day was very warm and dry.

It was time to race down to Braydon for low water, for some reason as always, I felt a little nervous about going round that yellow post. Once we arrived all was very calm and the passage through Yarmouth was very easy and Braydon was quite enjoyable due to the nice weather and low winds.

We arrived at Reedham at about 4pm and managed to get the very last mooring spot - this surprised us as this time last year we were the only boat moored for the evening. It’s quite obvious that the bookings this year must have been very high as the broads were nearly as busy as a July/ Aug period. Tonight we planned to eat the Ship as the Steak pie last year was probably the best we have ever eaten and again we where not disappointed. We went back to the boat to see if we could get a picture on the TV and yes it was crystal clear.

On the Monday we planned to cruise to Loddon for the first time and we will post the details later on.

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Hi Mark

I love the trip over Braydon a lot of people dont but i do makes it a little more fun if its a bit choppy or you have a nice powerfully sports cruiser gunning it past you :lol::lol::lol:

Jonny ice sliceice sliceice slice

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Monday 6th April 2009

After a quiet night at Reedham, today we were heading to Loddon for the first time and then a long run back to Acle for the evening. We set off nice and early from Reedham so that we could have at least half a day there. We had been warned on this site about how narrow the river is down to Loddon. As soon as we made the turn for Loddon my immediate thought was to turn back due to it being so narrow for a 44ft boat to navigate between the posts. What made it worse was that the two boats ahead of us were turning around as they must have felt it was too narrow for them. This meant we were virtually at a standstill to let them pass us which messed up our angle / line between the posts and we clipped one on the back end, no damage done as we where only at about 1mph. We continued on and the closer you get to Loddon the river does widen. On the riverbank there was machinery and workers widening the river which was good to see. We managed to get moored on to Loddon Staithe opposite the new flats.

Members on this site had mentioned the butchers being a must place to visit and also the fish and chip shop. Instead of eating out at Acle this evening we decided that we should cook a meal on the boat. We managed to find the butchers and were impressed at the huge selection of quality meat he had on display. We stocked up with chicken, smoked bacon, pork pies, sausage rolls and the Wherrymans bangers for our breakfast, which were a cross between a Lincolnshire and a Cumberland sausage. All the items purchased had a brilliant taste and people should try them. After our shopping we headed back to the boat and spent some time rowing on the dinghy and looking at the private boats in the local boatyard. About 32 years ago I remembered my parents hiring a wooden boat from Loddon called the Cockatoo. This yard is now for private moorings and I was fairly sure this boat was in the yard in very good condition but with no name on it.

When we got back on the boat we noticed the noise of a pump running near the back of the boat, anyway quick call to the boatyard and an engineer was with us very quickly to change a part on the bilge pump.

Because people on this site have recommended so many different eating places and shops etc we seem to have been spending the entire holiday eating so far. Anyway its 11.45 am and the kids remind me it’s lunch time and Lim’s is now open. We ordered fried haddock with chips, peas and curry sauce and all of it was being cooked fresh as we waited. Lim and his wife were very friendly and certainly like to talk, we noticed a plaque on his wall which he had been awarded from members of this site. We live close to Grimsby and haddock and chips of good quality is something we are used to on a regular basis, but we all agreed that the standard of Lim’s fish and chips were very good.

It’s now 1pm and time to set off for Acle with the tide behind us. Again another easy passage over Braydon and we arrived at Acle at 5pm. We were surprised to find a space opposite the pub. Of all the times I have visited Acle we have never eaten in the pub and it worked out the same again this evening as we were cooking on the boat. Anyway we have done a lot of motoring in the first 3 days, so we can now relax from now on and not need to rush long distances to places.

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Tuesday 7th April

Again we wake up to another dry morning with the sun shining at Acle. Time for our first fried breakfast as this morning we have no need to rush off anywhere. The small shop next to the bridge is open so we take a small walk for a look round and a newspaper. We decided to head off to Potter Heigham for the morning, again we were very lucky and managed to get the last mooring spot along the river bank. I noticed the height through the bridge at that time was 6ft. We had the usual walk round Lathams and stocked up on some bottles of Stella that they had on offer.

Next we had a short trip to Womack water where we planned to relax for a few hours and have lunch in the sunshine. As we arrived there were about 4 mooring spots available and a lot of yachts moored in the middle of the water. The shop that was next to the boat yard has now gone which was a shame as they use to stock some quality sweatshirts.

Time is now getting on and we plan to have another attempt at getting moored at Horning Staithe for the evening, so that we can finally get to try a meal at the Willow N Staithe. From a distance all the mooring spots look full again, so we decide to have a closer look before turning round. As we pass the New Inn somebody pulls away from the end of Horning Staithe, a quick blast of full throttle to grab the mooring and we are outside the restaurant for the night. Time to go and have a look inside the Swan Inn as this time last year it was closed due to a full re-fit, the staff were very friendly and the lager nice and cold, menu looked quite impressive, and the decor was very nice. Time to now give Clive’s recommendation a try and check out the steaks at the Willow N Staithe. We ordered the 8oz Sirloin which we understand is from the Horning butcher, plates arrive with an ample amount of chips, onion rings, fresh mushrooms, peas and tomato. The steaks did not have any fat on them and were so succulent, one thing to remember is that their version of a medium cooked steak is very pink.

Back to the boat to enjoy the nice still evening and set the TV up for the night.

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Looking at the second pic

the two boats in front of the wooden Martham is no other than P & S also looks like either (Grumpy) John & Bern on respite or (Li & Kev) in Reedrunner

Jonny ice sliceice sliceice sliceice slice

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Wednesday 8th April

I was up nice and early and took a walk to the newsagent at Horning for a paper, the old boy who I assume owns the place was very friendly. It was time to clean the boat down with the mop and dry the outside. This is when I noticed that the fuel cap was quite loose and this gave me two concerns; it had rained heavy in the night and maybe the rain water got in to the fuel or had somebody taken most of our fuel in the night as my wife and daughter remembered hearing noises.

We started on our way to Wroxham and had no problems with the boat. As we passed Barnes Brinkcraft I noticed that a Brinks Harmony was being lifted out of the water. We quickly got moored up outside the Hotel Wroxham and ran down to the boat yard to take some pictures, which are attached below. For some reason I always thought the bow thrusters were a jet of high pressured water and not small propellers. While we were there we visited the reception and asked for permission to look round all their boats. The lady that owns the company was helpful and offered us keys to any of the boats which we of course accepted and took plenty of photos inside and out.

We visited Roy’s and purchased some perfumes that were on offer for the ladies and then they decided to blow £90.00 on crocks...ouch. Wroxham Bridge was showing 7ft 1 and the river pilots were managing to get all types of boats through with a lot of height room to spare.

Well again I have to talk about food due to another recommendation on this site. We went back to Horning for the night and this time we had to moor on the island opposite Horning Staithe. It was a good job we had a rowing boat as I had to pick our supper up from the Chinese. The menu had all the basics that you would expect from a Chinese along with loads of other specials that they have added. Prices were cheap and portions were massive, the food was of a high quality as well.

By now my ankles had dried out as the rowing boat was full of water and I was fairly sure that water was coming in through the keel. Some people offered to help me drag it out of the water, which 6 adults only just managed, tipped it upside down and the ‘baby boat’, as we called it, was dry for the remainder of the holiday.

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Thursday 8th/Friday 9th/10th April

It was now Thursday morning and we had no after effects from the Chinese. We set off to Ranworth as the kids and I still liked to climb the church tower. We arrived at about 11am and had no problem mooring leaving about 5 spaces left. We headed off straight to the church, signed the book of visitors and climbed to the top of the church tower, as always amazing views. Then we went off to the nature walk to visit the shop. We were very disappointed to find it was not open until the day after - Good Friday. On the way back to the boat we could not resist a look through the windows of The Malsters, we were very sad to see this building empty and because of this we decided not to moor for the evening during our week.

For lunch we had salmon and cucumber sandwiches on the boat in the hot sun with a cold bottle of Stella, just the perfect setting for a relaxing lunch. At this stage we still had the entire afternoon free, somebody decided they needed another pair of crocs, so we go off to Wroxham again! No wonder we got through so much diesel on this holiday.

For the evening we moored at another favourite spot of ours, Thurne, which has the Lion Inn as the local pub. This place was very peaceful and the sunset was quite amazing. Next to the pub was a new kid’s playground in the field. The landlord was from London and what can you say about Londoner’s, very loud and always had an opinion but I did quite like him. The Menu is very good, you can eat in the bar, dining room or family room.

On Friday we needed to head back towards Richardson’s boat yard for our final evening. We spent most the day on the River Ant and relaxed as well as visiting Howe Hill. For April we have never seen so much boat traffic on the Ant, it was rumoured Richardson had 120 boats out that week. At about 2pm we got a nice mooring spot at Neatishead; our first time there. I wanted to stay the evening and have a nice meal in the village. The walk only took about 5 mins before we arrived at the shop, pub and restaurant. We all walked in to the pub and in our opinion it was disappointing! No way would we ever eat or drink in that place, so we had our drink in the sunshine sat on the benches at the front of the pub. I would have eaten at the restaurant next door, but the pub put the others off so much we had to leave our mooring and headed off to somewhere else. I knew in the back of my mind, with all the boats heading back to Richardson’s, no way would we find another mooring spot. We headed off to Dilham and there were only 4 mooring spots so no room for us. We risked going through the bridge 7ft 1, but all the moorings were grass and the ladies didn’t fancy walking in the dark on uneven ground. It’s was now about 5pm and I was trying my hardest to remain cool. Next we tried Sutton and of course it was full.

Our last night was in the boatyard which at first I did not want. Surprisingly there was quite a few of us there and it was nice to exchange our holiday experiences with the other families. At this stage, we had no food at all on the boat, my wife reminded me we had a car; she is a very clever woman, LOL. I took some time to have a proper look round the yard and took some photos, all the main boats were out apart from one Bolero which I had a good look round. Opposite us was a Bahama in its original colour. I wonder if it was the one I went on with my parents and grandparents 35 years ago!

Anyway we all scrubbed up and it was time to find somewhere to eat. We jumped in the car and found that the main gate was pad locked and we couldn’t get out. A taxi driver was waiting to pick a family up and he radioed his office to see if anybody knew the padlock code, but no joy. Anyway another car pulled up and they had called one of Richardson’s engineers for the code so we could now get out. We weren’t sure why nobody had the code, maybe this was a slip up by the reception staff. Within a few mins we were back at Dilham and had stumbled across the Weyford Bridge Hotel and decided to pull in. This place was very nice and the seating in the bar and lounge was very comfortable. The service was brilliant and the mixed grills where very enjoyable, the Weyford Smokey which consisted of smoked haddock & prawns in a cheese sauce went down very well too.

Saturday morning and it was sadly time to get off the boat and pay an additional fee of £50.00 for using too much fuel for the week, which was a shock as last year we used £40.00 and this year £150, so make sure if you book a boat with radiators you keep them off as often as possible.

The holiday was brilliant, the weather was like August and we fell in love with the boat.

Today we have spent most the day phoning the boat yards pricing up a 10 day option for next April.

We hope our diary gives some useful information for people who might be visiting for their first time.

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