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Posted By Discussion Topic: Reflections (a look back at 2005)

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billmaxted
Sep-02-2005 @ 8:55 AM                           Permalink
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I don’t know whether this is a good idea but I wondered about a thread of slightly longer contributions. A little more of the background to Broads based activities for the benefit of members who are exiled. Happy to kick off with a review of my past year but I’m sure others will be able to do a lot better

"No I'm not clueless it just that my wife is below decks at the moment!"  Bill...

billmaxted
Sep-02-2005 @ 8:57 AM                           Permalink
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Life on the Chet

Owning a boatyard one tends to think of October as being the end and beginning of a new year. The season is drawing to a close and work starts preparing for the next. So what do I remember of 2005? Last autumn was mild and wet and I was debating whether to continue hiring and started considering what impact a revised web site might have. We had two wooden boats in the shed and a Safari part way through conversion to something more suitable as a day boat. Winter was again mild with only a brief period of snow, which meant that one could progress with painting in the shed. Having moved my own boat onto the hard standing I discovered it was too tall to go through the doors (I’m still rethinking that one!) The Kingfishers were regular visitors throughout the winter months fishing in the slipway first thing in the morning, whilst, Harry our resident heron stood sentinel on the bows of the moored boats looking slightly peeved. We had problems with International ‘Brightside’ paint that did not want to adhere to the undercoat but, otherwise, work progressed more or less to schedule. Harry appeared to do battle more often than usual with both increasing numbers of Gulls and Cormorants

Spring came early with daffodils out a couple of weeks before they normally are.  For some reason we seemed to get adopted by a little gaggle of ‘Dabchicks’ who spent a lot time fishing round the moored boats.  I’ve seen them in the winter before just occasionally but not on a regular basis like this and then in mid May they disappeared. The weather held quite fair and it was noticeable that there seemed to be rather more sailie types about. In fact throughout the year more yachtsmen seem to have been taking to the southern rivers.  Locally we had problems with overflows from Loddon Sewage pumping station, which was supposed to have been refurbished back in February. Sadly this seems to have affected the Dragon and Damson Fly population with a marked reduction in the adult population during the summer. Interestingly there seem to have been changes in the Butterfly population as well very few orange tips, commas and red admirals but hoards of little gate keepers and quite a few vivid little blue ones.

In the village the new owners of Bridge Stores made major refurbishments and greatly extended their opening hours, whilst Chet Stores merged their two shops into one larger one.  Food at the King’s head improved and the White Horse went from strength to strength.

On the river we began to see the impact of the reduction in numbers of southern river based hirecraft. Some weeks when the tides were not ‘right’ the staithes on the Chet would only have literally one or two boats on them, other weekends with favourable conditions and the Brundall privateers out and about the place would be packed even very early in the season. This I think was a nightmare for the local shops and pubs in terms of staffing and stock levels.  BESL’s ‘pro-tem’ repairs to the southern bank of the Chet progressed rather laboriously.  It seems rather odd but in places the bank height seems actually lower than it was before.

In the office with Paul Douglas’s help the new web site has taken shape and apart from one glitch it works well and will go on to take 13,000 hits during the season.

At the end of May the Wherryman’s Way is opened, although not our bit because of a collapsed bridge and delayed bank works. And so, we moved into summer, not blistering hot but unlike some areas actually quite pleasant. Plenty of swifts and swallows although fortunately they have not tried to nest in the boat shed this year. Dianna and Dodie our resident swans only produce one cygnet this year which is unusual and he appears not to have survived, all perhaps due to Mink which have been sighted. The seal has come back to Hardley Cross.  Hear a bittern booming for the first time in 25 years and spot an otter wrestling with an eel on the bank of the Chet. Knew there were some around because one was spotted running across the road by the mill.

Loddon Mill itself gets major repairs and a new coat of paint and with the ‘unsafe’ trees cut down in the car park is now more visible than hitherto. Loddon staithe gets an electric charging point, which proves useful for privateers with shore power, but I have yet to see an electric propelled boat connected to it.

Review the situation re hiring and come to the conclusion that although income is up a bit return on capital employed is virtually non-existent. The situation not being helped by the need for a replacement engine and a series of problems with unmarked eel nets fouling the steering on a number of boats. Start producing plans for the rebuilding of the 42 footer and my own 27-foot boat, which will double as a recovery craft.

Even at the height of the season wild fluctuations in the use of the Chet moorings still very noticeable. Manage to find time to pop along to the forum gathering at Pye’s mill and have various forum members drop in from time to time. Nearly set fire to ride on mower due to an earth fault, so grass gets rather long but at least this seems to halt the perennial battle with the moles!

Threatened with the complete closure of the Chet for the best part of a month just when people might want to lift their boats out of the water but manage to get that postponed. Managed to get out on the river a couple of times and went up to Rockland Broad. Much impressed by the new arrangements at the New Inn and with the new all weather footpath.  Looking forward to next year when not being ‘on duty’ all the time I hope to get out and about rather more.

So now it’s case of starting to plan the withdrawal of the hire boats refurbishing and fully servicing them ready for their new owners. Not a very eventful year but not a bad one either. I’m sure that others got up to more interesting things like buying a first boat, acquiring a cottage or whatever I certainly would enjoy hearing about it.


"No I'm not clueless it just that my wife is below decks at the moment!"  Bill...

This message was edited by billmaxted on Sep-2-05 @ 8:14 AM

trambo
Sep-02-2005 @ 10:50 AM                           Permalink
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Hi Bill. Good idea. Really enjoyed reading, would be nice to hear from other locals.

Regards
Fred

Helen
Sep-02-2005 @ 11:02 AM                           Permalink
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Great reading Bill, now lets have more tails told of years gone bye ect ect.  

Maybe you could tell the story of your refurbishment of the 42 footer when you have completed it or mayby a blow by blow account of the work being carried out.

Helen and Alan

jimgibnry
Sep-02-2005 @ 11:03 AM                           Permalink
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Hi Bill,

Very interesting reading and definitely a good idea for a thread.

Lets hope there will be more posts from other locals, can't wait to read them...

regards

Jim

Realaler
Sep-02-2005 @ 11:33 AM                           Permalink
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Nice Read Bill, although I'm a little surprised you didn't mention the erection of the great Chedgrave varnishing marquee, and the hilarious attempts to prevent it from taking off and flying over the marshes?

billmaxted
Sep-02-2005 @ 3:56 PM                           Permalink
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We try not to make a thing about our erections in Chedgrave least the 'Loddonites' get an inferiority complex Evil Grin

"No I'm not clueless it just that my wife is below decks at the moment!"  Bill...

Richard
Sep-02-2005 @ 4:46 PM                           Permalink
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Great read Bill !!

therotman
Sep-02-2005 @ 9:33 PM                           Permalink
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Hi Bill,
        Superb piece of writing and very factual, whilst Im thinking of the chet we visited loddon in june this year and one thing puzzled me I remember from many moons ago electric cables on pylons were routed over the river chet with height restrictions
could you advise me when these where removed and presumeably layed underground or rerouted.
                   Regards

Len Collins

Broads01
Sep-02-2005 @ 10:27 PM                           Permalink
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A good read Bill. I'm alittle confused as to whether you've made a final decision on continuing to hire & if so which boats?

Simon

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