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Mon, 11 Apr 2016 7:20 am BST- Light Rain
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Posted By Discussion Topic: Our holiday thoughts to share

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Phileos
Oct-05-2016 @ 9:55 PM                           Permalink
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Bit of a long one tonight, it's taking me longer to type it than the holiday took.


Woke up to another beautiful sunny morning with swans and ducks looking for some breakfast. Our only plan today was a cruise up the Ant as it’s such a lovely river and then just see what happens. Lady P decided to use the facilities and have another shower while I moved the boat and filled us up with water, my first ever bit of single helming, admittedly only about 100yds in a boatyard. Does that count? The staff there warned me they were expecting a lot of boats back that morning so be on our way as soon as possible, so as soon as she returned we left.

Early morning cruising is really something special, quiet rivers and the feeling you have all day to do whatever.

Lady P was still suffering from her back twinge and it wasn’t getting much better. She thought maybe some more walking might be the answer so we decided to stop at Ludham Bridge and she could have a long walk into Ludham village while I did some fishing. Moorings were busy there but we found a space and I visited the tackle shop for some bait, then she set off with orders to bring me back a pork pie from the deli, a holiday treat.

The next couple of hours were a mixture of some quite good fishing and watching some not so good helming and I don’t feel that much of the blame for that should be aimed at the helmsman/woman and at the end I was feeling more than a bit sorry for some of them.

Now I must deviate again from our tale (sorry) but let me explain. It started with the couple facing our stern where I was fishing about a boat length away, they were trying to leave the mooring and you know what I’m going to say, bang bang scrape along the quay heading until they run out of room. They stopped before hitting us, apologised, reversed and did the same again so I went to help them. Now the next bit upset me a bit. They had picked up the boat on Saturday (it’s now Tuesday) and were going back to the yard to hand the boat back, They’d had enough. Partly, in his words, there’s nowhere to park and also because of handling the boat. They both said they had always wanted to have a boating holiday, looked forward to it but it wasn’t for them. So a couples being ruined may, just may have been avoided if the boatyards could give the most basic of instruction. I mean, if they rigged a boat so the throttle lever had to be pulled back to go forward, completely the opposite to what most people expect, would they bother to tell the hirer, of course they would. So why can’t they tell them to get away from the bank you have to steer towards it. My first time hiring I had at least 45 mins tuition, they went through side on mooring, stern on mooring, turning the boat in a narrow space and even what knots to tie but nothing about the bang bang scrape problem. We only learnt when someone saw we were having problems and told us what to do. Sorry for the little rant but it is upsetting to see people struggling when it’s so easily avoided, and while I was fishing I saw a lot of people struggling.

So back on topic, caught some quite decent fish actually and was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to get my pork pie when Lady P appeared with one from the Ludham Bridge stores, they had none at the deli.

Off we went again and while the first part of the Ant is not the prettiest it always brings back memories of our first holiday when ours girls met us at Ludham Bridge and we spent a couple of hours just cruising up and down between the bridge and How Hill.

We wanted to see how busy the wild moorings as tomorrow we wanted to stop at one for a barbecue and they were quite busy. There’s one not far past How Hill, on the right, I think it’s actually got a name, that I have never seen unoccupied. How people get on there I don’t know, either just get lucky or cruise up and down waiting for the occupier to leave. On we went, just taking in the beauty of it all and feeling at home. Crossed Barton Broad carried on to the Sutton Staithe turn off and then turned round to come back again. At this point we had no idea where we were heading for the night.

After some discussion we decided to head to Horning. It’s been a long time since we’ve been to the village, partly due to the staithe always being full and we figured it would be today but our new found love of boatyards meant we could come back and stay at Ferry Marina. Pleasant cruise down the Ant, left onto the Bure and then something unbelievable to shock us both.

Between Ant Mouth and the turn to Ranworth on a perfectly straight bit of the river a boat coming towards us on the other side of the river veered off course and without slowing down ploughed straight into the rushes and grounded itself on the mud. We couldn’t believe what we had just seen. We stopped and looked over, talking to one another about what happened. We couldn’t see anyone at the helm and thought someone must have been taken ill suddenly. The things that go through your mind at times like that. We made our way over to see if we could offer any help with whatever situation they had and as we got close a lady appeared at the stern. Thankfully there was nothing major wrong, it was just two ladies on board and she said her friend had “a little lapse in concentration” and nobody was hurt. They tried to reverse out but were stuck and asked us what they should do. We said you either call your boatyard and wait for help or we can try and tow you out. She said we’re not supposed to do that. Of course she was right but I thought back to our holiday when we broke down between Thurne Mouth and St Bennets and were saved by a tow from a hire boat. We agreed to give it a go so hooked some ropes over their stern cleats, I gave instructions to her and Lady P what to do if they floated off. A combination of their reverse and our forward and they were free, they shouted their thanks, Lady P tidied up our ropes and off we went.

BUT and it’s a big BUT, later that evening it dawned on me, had we done an incredibly stupid thing. In a moment of overwhelming desire to help someone in need we refloated their boat which could possibly have had a damaged hull. Who knows what they hit when they hit the bank. It was worrying me so much I had to check the forums and locals news to see if a boat had sunk. Is that a reasonable assumption that their hull may have been damaged?

Arrived at Horning staithe and what a surprise, it was full, not to worry, back to Ferry Marina where receive another warm welcome, they do our ropes and a short while later we head off walking to the village.

Had a quick look in the boats sales shop window, we need to keep saving! Or win the lotto. We love the deli in Horning, so much more than a deli and Lady P was tempted to buy something for the grandchildren but resisted. On the way back we stopped at The New Inn for one, which turned into two as they had Nelsons Revenge on and I do like that beer. We wasted a bit of money on their grab a cuddly toy machines. Sometime in the late 80’s we had a family holiday and I won a teddy on one of those things and ever since find it hard to walk past one of those machines without having a go, never won anything since and tonight was no different. Also tried the 2p push slidey type machines, I have no idea why.




This message was edited by Phileos on Oct-5-16 @ 9:58 PM

Dreamer
Oct-05-2016 @ 11:38 PM                           Permalink
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You are so right about the bang bang scrape scenario, we see it time and time again. It only takes a couple of minutes to show someone how to leave a mooring safely and, if the trial run included that guidance, there would be a lot more happy bunnies out there.

Phileos
Oct-06-2016 @ 9:44 PM                           Permalink
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After the events of yesterday today was always going to be a little quieter.

I almost feel guilty to say that it was another glorious sunny morning and the forecast was for it to last all day, good news as tonight we wanted to have a barbecue.

I took a stroll around the boatyard. There are so many different types and styles of boat. It’s a bit like cycles, if you go on a big charity ride type of thing it’s hard to find two bikes the same among a couple of thousand. It’s like the same with boats, you don’t get a Ford Fiesta or VW Golf equivalent, mass produced and everywhere.

Something nust be very special about Ferry Marinas water as they wanted £3 to fill up, we declined to pay that.

Now, where to go today? We wanted a wild mooring up the Ant by late afternoon so headed off that way. We thought about going down to Ranworth and have a walk up the church but decided against it, we thought it would almost certainly be full, instead carried on and turned up the Ant instead (again). Two boats turned in front of us so we slowed right down to create a gap. Straight through the bridge and I know it’s been done to death on these forums, but a boat was moored on the demasting moorings, roof down enjoying a chat, right next to the sign. Water fill up moorings were taken so that would have to wait until later. We moored a little further up, just for 10 mins or so, to take care of some essentials, namely, use shore based facilities, and get another pork pie, yesterdays was delicious.

Setting off again we decided to head for Gays Staithe, it’s such a nice place, especially when the suns out, they have water and we could visit the Barton Boardwalk, we’d not done that before. Just like yesterday, at How Hill the farmers, well I’m guessing it was farmers, were burning something in the fields causing loads of smoke to drift across some of the moorings, not pleasant for the people moored there.

There was quite a few boats at the staithe when we arrived however not so many that we couldn’t fit in. I think there was only one other hire boat, the rest were private. We closed the canopy, applied some sun cream and set off for our walk. Lady P laughed at me when I packed that.

Back from the walk, Lady P had a chill on the boat for a couple for a couple of hours in the sunshine while I did some fishing and had a chat with some of the private owners. One couple were taking advantage of the nice weather and giving their boat some TLC with a coat of varnish on some of the wood. It was really so nice there that we could have stayed all day. A few boats came and went and some arrived and were lost, wanting to go to Stalham. Eventually we had to leave, so filled up with water, tried our best to coil the water hose tidily, and went in search of our wild mooring.

We had to decide to head north or south of Barton Broad. We chose north and before long had found the perfect spot, just by the Stalham/Sutton turn off. It was a bit early for lighting the barbeque so passed the time with some more fishing and swan feeding.

One of the problems with wild mooring, as much as we love it, is that the trees will deposit a fair amount of their unwanted outer into and onto your boat. Usually for us it’s leaves as our normal time to visit is October, this time it was seeds. There were loads of them, like lentils but weighing less, fluttering down into the boat. So we had to decide, shut the roof and take away some of the magic or accept we had some cleaning to do in the morning. The roof stayed open.

Time to light the barbecue and like everything nowadays, instant light bags of charcoal have been cheapened up so much that they don’t work. Those small disposable barbeques, they used to be good but now you’d struggle to make toast on one so we moved on to the instant light bags that now don’t light. We planned for it though with some traditional fire lighters to the rescue. We had music playing, the smell of food barbequing sitting in the wild by the side of a river, glasses of wine, heaven.

Unusually for us we had managed to get this far in the holiday without one of us feeling a little bit worse for wear in the morning, this was about to change. We had a fantastic 4G connection and sat up very late, drinking Bacardi and watching all our favourite bands, artists, songs on You Tube. The lyrics from one song summed it up……

Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight?
Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself will it ever get better than tonight?




This message was edited by Phileos on Oct-6-16 @ 9:51 PM

Phileos
Oct-06-2016 @ 9:55 PM                           Permalink
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Phileos
Oct-06-2016 @ 9:56 PM                           Permalink
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Phileos
Oct-06-2016 @ 9:58 PM                           Permalink
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Phileos
Oct-07-2016 @ 8:08 PM                           Permalink
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Groggy, that’s the word to sum up this morning. We felt groggy and the weather outside was groggy, not complaining about the weather though as we’d been so lucky so far. The boat looked a mess inside like there had been a wedding reception on it with all the tree confetti lying around. The outside was worse.

Today we had just two tasks, clean the boat and end the day within striking distance of Wroxham to hand the boat back the next morning.

We packed away the barbecue and camping chairs and started cleaning, well I say we started cleaning, what I mean is Lady P did. Well there was only one dustpan and brush, what was I to do? We elected to leave the outside for now hoping that the wind across Barton might do most of it for us. (It didn’t)

Forecast for today said we were due some heavy rain around mid-morning then clearing and a nice afternoon, to be honest looking outside it looked like it could chuck it down at any time.

We set off and started chatting about where we were going to head for. Both of us said it’d be nice to eat out tonight, with it being our last night so we thought either Salhouse or Coltishall, if we could get through the bridge.

Onto Barton Broad again and I could do with some clarification here on etiquette. Reason I say this is we were going north to south towards the Ant and we passed to the left of the island. It’s what we’ve always done. Just as we reached the narrowest part a boat coming the other way seemed to gesture that we should have past to the right of the island. Should we?

As we approached How Hill I gave the bridge pilot at Wroxham a call to see if we could get through and he said if we got there within an hour it’d be OK otherwise we’d have to wait until about 4. Well we weren’t going to be there in an hour so we’d have to fill the time until 4 somehow. But what to do? As it turned out the rain helped us out. Just as we arrived at the Bure it started raining. That was perfect timing as visibility with the canopy closed is a tad limited so being on a big river makes it easier, it also made our minds up what to do. Although the rain was forecast to clear we didn’t trust it so assumed it would rain for longer. We decided to head straight to Wroxham, Lady P could shower at Barnes Brinkcraft and she could then have her big shop in Roys for local gifts to take back for the girls and grandchildren. Perfect for a rainy day. Well what do you know, by the time we reached Horning it had stopped raining, not to be seen again, but those words shower and shopping had been mentioned so no going back on our plans.

Canopy open again and approaching Wroxham we pass my favourite house on the left, not because of the house but because of the sign in the garden “Please do not throw stones at this sign” it just tickles me.

Safely in Barnes yard Lady P goes for her shower and I set about cleaning the remains of last night from the outside of the boat. She returns and prepares to go for her shop, I don’t want to shop, I want to fish and where we are in Barnes the water looks scummy so we move over to Faircrafts yard. Before she leaves we give the pilot another call just to check the situation and he says he’ll get us through now, brilliant. So through the bridge I settle down with a beer and fishing rod and Lady P shops. Fishing was really good, best of the holiday and even had to use a landing net a couple of times.

We’d never been as far as Coltishall lock before and fancied having a look. Asked the pilot about it and he reassured us all would be fine, so when Lady P returned off we went. The stretch of river up to Coltishall is really beautiful, and quiet usually. It’s been a few years since we went this way and saw some moorings that we didn’t know were there, Wroxham Village. Are they new?

Arriving at Coltishall the moorings were pretty empty, which was good because we didn’t fancy any of that double mooring malarkey. We carried on past the moorings and this is where I’m glad I spoke to the pilot because at a few points I really thought what am I doing here with this boat. It was pretty up there but we decided to turn back and moor at the common.

That night we ate out for the first time this holiday at The Recruiting Sergeant. We’d heard good things about it but never been. Walked down there past the B&B we stayed at some years ago before our first boating holiday. I have to say, of all the places we have eaten at on the broads over the years this was the best. Great service and fantastic food.

So that’s us nearly done, tomorrow we have to go home.


Phileos
Oct-08-2016 @ 5:40 PM                           Permalink
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We woke up and done what could loosely be described as packing. Really it was just chucking stuff in bags, you could have done it with a shovel. When you’re going home organisation goes out of the window. Lady P went round having another clean up, she does like to hand the boat back tidy.

The canopy was opened again for the short cruise back to Wroxham and what a lovely cruise it was. Sunny, still and nobody else around, just a few swans. The sun again made it tricky at times with the reflection off the water, then it was just guess work where the river went. We went slowly then our holiday would last longer. How ridiculous but that’s how we felt.

At Wroxham we moored outside The Kings Head and called the pilot. The boat air draft was 7ft. “We’ve got 6ft 11 at the moment”, he said, “I’ll be with you in a minute”. Naturally he took the boat under with no problem. Every time we go under that bridge I think how I’d love to have a try, so long as I didn’t have to pay up if it went wrong.

So that was it for us for another year. We sometimes visit in early spring but that won’t be possible next year, we have a wedding in the family.

This year was different, almost like two mini holidays, the south and the north. The south part, unknown, different, exciting but with some apprehension. The north more leisurely, familiar, like returning home. We visited new places, some places we didn’t get to at all. We keep returning which is unusual for us as there is so much to see in the world but boating on the broads is something different. It’s like your favourite jumper on a cold day, a visit to your local with all the old faces, or as Lady P said, putting on your PJs and cuddling up in front of the fire.

It is boring and nothing special but at the same time interesting and very special.

Hope you enjoyed reading, sorry I went on a bit at times.

Happy holidays everyone.


Phileos
Oct-08-2016 @ 5:45 PM                           Permalink
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Timjen
Oct-08-2016 @ 11:12 PM                           Permalink
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Thank you Phileos, firstly a belated welcome to the forum.
For someone who failed GCSE English 40 years ago, that was a brilliant read.
Regarding Loddon, we have never had a problem mooring there over night, but your decision to move at least gave you the chance of meeting Richard and Fiona at Pacific, two the nicest people you will ever meet.

Tim


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