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Mouldy

Our Week on Grande Girl 1

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Saturday 3rd October

I woke with the help of the alarm at 06:00 and clambered reluctantly out of bed.  I always hate the last morning of a holiday, wherever we have been, but most of all at the end of a Broadland break.  The need to rush round and get ready within defined timescales seems at odds with the relaxed, carefree feelings experienced on holiday.  That coupled with the sadness of going home and the prospect of the drudge of returning to work compound to the overall feeling of sadness I always feel.

Debbie got up and dressed, ready to take the dogs out, I went into the kitchen and lit the gas for my morning cuppa.  We had decided to get a breakfast from McDonalds in Wroxham (okay, Hoveton) to save time.

I headed for the shower and got ready.  Iain and Rachel were up and about collecting their things together.  We had used the third cabin as storage and as some packing had been done on Friday, the bed was covered with part packed bags.  I popped outside, camera in hand, to gab a few shots as the sun rose.

I know that we shouldn’t have, but needs must and the engine was fired up at 07:00 for hot water.  Fortunately, with the engine inboard, rather than external as on the Connoisseurs etc., Grande Girl was relatively quiet externally and I am sure that we didn’t cause any undue disturbance.

Rachel fed the last of the bread to the ducks, geese and swans and scattered what was left of a bag of duck food, that we had purchased from our local pet shop before we went, along the bank at the back of the boat.  The ducks were happy, even if we weren’t!!

With hot water available, the others showered and got ready, I pulled the mudweight up and a few minutes after 08:00, we cast off for the last time, heading across the Broad and turning left onto the river.  The others were busy collecting and packing all of the bits and pieces we had taken and tidying up as they went.

Another craft from NBD followed us out, but aside from a couple of fishing boats, there was nothing else on the river that morning.  We passed Wroxham Broad and the mooring on the main river outside the Broad, mentioned by The Rascal in one of his blogs as a favoured place to moor.

Soon, the trees and shrubs lining the river gave way to the riverside properties and we chugged slowly past, admiring some of them, until I saw the stunning looking house at the end of the dyke leading to Summercraft’s yard, where I turned right.  I could see that there was room under the canopy, so manoeuvred carefully into the yard and moored, stern on, close where my car was still parked.

Dave, who saw us over Grande Girl the previous Saturday, was waiting to take the ropes from Iain and Rachel and secured the boat.  I stepped off the back and he congratulated me on the way I had handled the boat – ‘as well as any of us could have done’ he said.  I thanked him; it’s always nice when a job well done is acknowledged.

I noticed an old sign at the back of the shed that said ‘Welcome to Summercraft – one of more than 50 Hoseasons boatyards across the Broads’ and thought back to when that was true.  I know that Swancraft finish hiring at the end of this season and have heard that Alphacraft are selling up, too.  That only leaves about six yards hiring on the Southern Broads and not many more on the Northern Broads.

Iain went to get his car from the car park and we loaded up all of our possessions.  It’s funny, but there always seems more on the way back!!  We had a quick nosey over a couple of other boats, thinking about next year and went to see Sue.  Brain was in the reception and handed me a cheque for £55.00, returned from our £100 fuel deposit.  We had used 45 litres of fuel over the week and I was quite pleased with that.  Although we hadn’t cruised as far as last year, we had run the engine to heat the water more and as the mornings had been chillier, so we had used the heating a few times, too.

At our request Sue, who was sitting at the desk in the inner office, phoned to book us back on Grande Girl next September.  I had already checked the tide times, so we can cross Breydon and head for Beccles and will be aboard from 24th for seven days.

We thanked them and they wished us a safe journey home.  It’s one of the reasons that we prefer to use the smaller yards, the service is personal and they remember their customers from year to year.

We drove slowly out of the yard and into Hoveton, parked in Roys car park and headed for McDonalds.  Breakfasts purchased, we headed along Station Road, cut across the little car park by the pharmacy and sat on a bench watching the boats whilst we ate our food – not the best in cuisine, but it fills a gap!   

When finished, we headed back to the cars and drove the short distance to Wroxham Barns.  As predicted, the wife hit the sewing shop, with Rachel and bought another cross-stitch, as well as a tapestry set for my mum for Christmas.  I peered through the window of the nearby art shop.  It was probably best that it was closed as I spotted a picture (not sure if it was a print or an original) that I would have liked to buy, but probably couldn’t afford.

I was, however, allowed some fudge (whoopee do!!), but I suppose I must be grateful for small mercies.  We returned to the car to stow our purchases and wandered across the grass with the dogs while Rachel and Iain went to the penny slot machines.  He seems drawn by the simplicity of the amusements that were commonplace in seaside arcades back when I was a child and has to have a go on them whenever we visit Wroxham Barns.

We left there shortly after 12:00 and arrived home about two and a half hours later, after an uneventful drive.  We unpacked our car and started putting things away whilst Iain and Rachel went back to where they live in Milton Keynes to unpack theirs.  They returned a little later to spend the evening and night at our house, where we had fish and chips for tea and spoke of the things that we had done.

There had been some highlights, the most memorable of which was seeing the seals at Horsey Beach and the weather had been fantastic, far better than we could have dared hope, bearing in mind the wet weeks preceding our break.

So, there we have it – our Broadland holiday 2015 now a fading memory, but I have enjoyed recounting the details as it helps to keep them fresh in my mind.  Fifty weeks to wait, then.

 More to follow . . . . . . in 2016, God willing!!

 

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Utterly fascinating, the way you describe your feelings on that last day. I have enjoyed all of your tale but that was really an insight into a hirer's inner thoughts.   :clap    :clap    :clap

We shall make a determined effort to be afloat late next September! 

 

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Thank you so much for a superb write up and some great photos. I really enjoyed all the detail and personal touches. You had some great luck with the weather, better than what I experienced in early September I think (see my Concerto 5 write up). I was interested to read how busy the rivers were, especially as in early September they weren't particularly so. Perhaps the sunshine brought a flurry of last minute bookings?

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I think  your description of the last day summed it up exactly the way it  always feels for us as well.

thanks again for the great write up

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Do you by any chance have some photos of your 1969 trip? I've long admired the Caribbeans for their place in hireboat history.

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Thanks all for your kind comments.  As I mentioned in the blog for the final day, it helped me to relive the experiences of the holiday.  I just hope that it wasn't too long!!

Do you by any chance have some photos of your 1969 trip? I've long admired the Caribbeans for their place in hireboat history.

Tall order, Simon.  I may have some in an album somewhere, but a lot has happened in the intervening 46 years!!  I will have a look and see what I can find and if some do turn up, I will scan and upload them.  I do remember at the end of the holiday back in the summer of '69 (sounds like a good name for a song!!), that I took a picture of my Grandpa standing on the bow of a new private build white Bermuda, called Lady Min, that was being launched and prepared for trials.  The owner had originally had a white Caribbean, but had sold it back to FB Wilds to buy the smaller boat.  Wilds put the white one in the hire fleet and we hired it for the following year.  It felt quite special, having a white top it was so very different to the rest of the Caribbeans, which were all pale blue.  

 

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Do you by any chance have some photos of your 1969 trip? I've long admired the Caribbeans for their place in hireboat history.

Simon, you're in luck.  I've had a ferret about in a box in my garage and found an old photo album and scanned a few.  I don't want to add them to this holiday tale, so will post them in the Photography section.

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I really enjoyed reading this, and I particularly liked seeing the pictures of Grande Girl 1 as we have booked her at the end of May 2016. She looks lovely, your photographs are brilliant (not just the boat) and you told your story so well. I literally can't wait, it's reading these holiday tales that make the long wait tolerable.

Thanks for sharing this.

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