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fidear45
Jan-16-2014 @ 11:55 AM                           Permalink
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OK Guys it's been a long time since my last confession so here it is. Its long (for the technically minded amongst you it's over 13687 words). But it was a fun week and we really enjoyed having Rose along for the ride....

Malanka’s Hard Core Autumnal, Storm Tossed Adventure
Friday October 25th.
This trip was to be different in many ways! Helena is working hard for her International Baccalaureate (I.B.) exams early next year, and Christian is just starting the road down which Helena has been travelling for the past 12 months. They are both becoming the dedicated students we always hoped they would be. With that in mind, they both decided to stay in Belgium with Nana, (my mum) Bootsie and Scoobie our other two canine crew members for the duration of the Autumn cruise.
The party we promised we would let them have and the ability to lie in bed until mid-day were both tiny insignificant factors in their respective decisions. We know this to be true because they told us it was so!
With the students daily work schedules clasped in Fiona’s hands and Justin and Boris ensconced in the back seat cuddling like brothers we set off for Norfolk at 16:30.
We decided that  rather than be ratty unwilling participants on a holiday they didn’t want to be on, or worried, “I haven’t done enough work for my exams which start in December” students ruining the last cruise of the year for everyone else, we let them stay at home and work their little cotton socks off. Or was that party their rotten *sses off? Time would tell which would be the case.
After the obligatory delay in Lille for the Friday evening rush home we made it to Calais in time for wine buying and a quick toilet break. 6 bottles of decent wine for 15 Euro is still the offer of choice and so it was with us.
Rose, “the maid” was to accompany us this week and so the texts flew back and forth between Fiona and the frustrated Charlie aka “Rose” whilst we counted down the km to our destination. Rose was frustrated because we had already set off and she was still doing school teacher type stuff and couldn’t get away. Released from purgatory, she was then frustrated by the A12 and the deficient driving skills of her Essex based compatriots. Having lived with two lane motorways all the way across Europe for the past ten years, the inability of the Essex based Brit to simply move over to the left  never ceases to annoy the bejesus out of both me and the road raging terror of the classroom that is Charlie the teacher on a mission.
The mascara flecked rear view mirrors of numerous KA’s and Micra’s and other suitably small toys (sorry town cars) all showed cheeks, ears, or even tops of heads to the driver behind, funnily enough never the driver in the fronts eyes. How odd!!
On this trip, as we were quite late, this usual game of spot the un-used (for driving purposes)rear view mirror would not trouble us today, but Charlie the teacher on a mission was getting it in full measure.
We had arranged for Charlie to pick up the keys for Malanka from Moonfleet, and this she did accompanied by a text requesting any last minute items of shopping we required from Tesco before we arrived.
Text sent, we settled in for the drive from Kent to Stalham and hoped that Charlie would make Malanka warm and cosy when we arrived. We knew it would be warm as Charlie was cooking Butter Chicken rice to accompany the one pot beef stew (made with a whole bottle of red wine) we had half cooked yesterday evening. Little did we know that when Charlie returned to Malanka from her Tesco’s experience that she would return and discover what her mission truly was to be.
The faint whiff of mould kind of gave the game away as clomping down the quay heading in her “school marm” black winter boots Charlie approached the old lady who was to be our home for the next 8 days.
I of course was not there but I surmise that the first words out of Charlie’s mouth were something like, “OMG what a stink”. Apparently, again as I was not there, the interior of Malanka was covered in mould, bedding was green, pillows were green, the ceiling was grey, the cooker and fridge were green. In short the Irish had won the world cup and celebrated on Malanka without letting on to anyone what they had done.  
Stoical as those of you who know her know that she is, the sight was enough to bring a tear to her eye.  Not to be beaten by a small thing like a bit of mycelium and some spores, she set to with bleach wipes, the boat heater and an iron will not to be bested.
Some few hours later the smell was gone, some bedding was irretrievable, and some pillows were kaput, but enough survived to get us to our first port of call (Wroxham Hotel) on Saturday night.
When we finally arrived in Stalham, Charlie had a smile on her face, rice was fully cooked and tasted delicious, boat was warm and cosy, and she didn’t say a word about the monumental cleaning task she had just done for us.

Justin was with us for this trip although in a hugely diminished fashion from his usual boisterous and always helpful self. Unfortunately, he had been diagnosed a few weeks earlier with “Servers Disease”, which has manifested itself in the heels of both his feet.  Justin plays for our middle school football team and had been having pain in his feet for a while. He didn’t exactly say for how long or just how painful his feet had become until a crunching slide tackle from an ISB defender cut him down on the touchline. I was there and the sound was horrendous, we took him home and the next day Fiona made an appointment to see our Consultant Orthopaedic surgeon. I say ours as, with Christian and myself in the house, we are frequent visitors to his surgery. In Belgium no referral is necessary and we just made the appointment and turned up.
On viewing the X-Rays it was clear he had fractures in both heels and the right one was much worse, (remember the slide tackle the previous day) than the left, sufficient for him to have Achilles tendon damage there too. The treatment prescribed was severe and not what Justin or we had been anticipating. He was cast in both legs up to just below the knee.
Justin was therefore with us and not feeling in the best of humours as we arrived and he “clomp, clomp clomped” down the quay heading toward Malanka.
Boris burst past his nominal family in search of the Charlie person he has adopted, and he leaped straight into the arms of Charlie and gave her a sound licking, with some paw kung-fu thrown in for good measure.
There followed a mellow evening of moderate fermented fruit beverage consumption and general catching up. Anyone who has spent time on Malanka will know we only drink in moderation and only on a Friday with a R in the month.
The next day would bring a trip to the butchers in Stalham high street and a lovely cruise to Wroxham, and the start of our autumn adventure.


Life is too short

M&F

Forum Girly Swot 11.02.2011


This message was edited by fidear45 on Jan-16-14 @ 10:55 AM

fidear45
Jan-16-2014 @ 12:01 PM                           Permalink
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Saturday dawned early for the Malankans with the pitter / patter of a steady rain falling onto the roof circa 5 am. It was something of a huge joy to lie in bed listening to it knowing I didn’t have to get up for hours yet and by then the rain would probably have ceased in any case.

With the storm warnings ringing in our ears from half way through last week we were in half a mind to abandon the trip and not turn up, but seeing as we only had half a mind we decided to brazen it out with the elements and get on with it despite the weather. So listening to the rain and noticing in my half dazed sleepy state that there wasn’t a huge gusty wind blowing, I was reassured that the Moron Office (MO)was as accurate as is normal for them, and that today would be a lovely day.

A little while later after some more ZZzzz’s, we heard Charlie leave the boat with Boris. We knew this was going to happen as we had heard the exclamation of sheer joy from Charlie as Boris discovered her in the front cabin and set to with a passion to persuade her to get up and take him walkies. Boris makes this request by holding something (he doesn’t care what, it’s usually a sock or something like that) in his mouth and jumping onto the bed to show you the said item in his mouth and he grunts, wuffles and shakes both ends in a kind of shimmy dance like snake impersonation, whilst walking up the bed over the occupant until he proudly presents the sock in your face. You at this point discover what it is that Boris is using as his get out of bed wiggle dance present. I believe in this case it was a tennis ball a plentiful supply of which we keep aboard to prevent the use of other less pleasant items (usually from the bin).

With Charlie gone, Fiona and I got up, made the bed and put on the kettle. We enjoyed a lovely steaming tea and coffee fuelled start to the day as by then the rain had stopped and the sun had come out to play, at least for a while.
  The sun even at this late stage of the year makes the cockpit of Malanka very warm and cosy, although we were using the fan heater to take the chill off a bit as well. Fiona and I made plans and then when Charlie returned we all nipped off to the high street to buy pillows, bedding and breakfast.

Shopping completed we returned to the boat . Walking back down the quay heading we noticed a huge whack had been delivered to Malankas port side rear quarter. The mark was easy to see in the daylight as it was right on the point of the corner above the rubbing- strake and down to bare wood. The accompanying black rubber streak would be easy to remove, but the deep gouge in the paint (down to bare wood) is not so easily dealt with and the damage will require, time, money and expertise to remediate(yes it was a significant crunch).

I will return to the topic of boat damage a little later in the tale and also introduce the helpful contribution of a boat owner, who, whilst I was explaining to our next impact driver why I was upset, helpfully interjected in passing that, “you moor here you expect to get hit” as if that somehow solved everything and completely absolved the moron I was talking to (actually it was Mrs Moron not the driver) from hitting us twice and almost doing so three more times in the space of three minutes. Apparently ” that’s what insurance is for dear” means its ok for them to go around hitting everything in sight. Breathless condescension and complete incompetence from the le Boat captain and crass insensitivity from the owner aside I will return to this topic later.

We made ready, said goodbye to the guys in the yard (after requesting the availability of their quay headed mooring if the storm proved too strong for us) and set off for Wroxham.
I had rainx’d the screen outside for rain and inside for mist and we were set for a pleasant trip down the river. We immediately noticed that no-one else seemed to have the same idea as us, as the river was deserted. Between Stalham and How Hill we only saw 5 other boats . This was to be a theme repeated throughout the next 8 days and even more so when we went down south.  We had a lovely cruise down the Ant and then up the Bure. The rain held off and the rivers were very quiet, which is an ideal opportunity to otter watch, bird spot and generally relax and enjoy.

The highlight of the trip was playing with the waves in Wroxham broad as by the time we arrived there the wind was blowing an absolute hoolie, and there were two feet tall waves on the broad. Charlie loves waves and so I handed over the helm and she had a play turning side on into wind and waves and crossing our own wake in a mad display of sheer delight. However the downside of  this early start to the expected storm was that maybe the MO had been right, after all even a broken clock is right twice a day, the weather had taken a turn for the worse and we needed to plan where to ride out the expected maelstrom.

Leaving Wroxham broad we headed towards our reserved mooring at the hotel and the ladies and Justin were busy searching for the appropriate menu from amongst or significant pile of take away and restaurant menus in fevered anticipation of a feast later that evening. Approaching the hotel Charlie appeared and started what was to become her routine for this trip, determine from me which side we would moor up on then gather the ropes back to the mid position to facilitate the mooring evolution. Malanka has a very high freeboard and with the river being high it was a long way down from the deck to the quay heading.
The new trackmark is very grippy and we were glad of it later in the week on our night navigation to Salhouse spit.

We did a bit of a show off maneuver for the observers in the hotel bar and spun in the river and slipped beautifully alongside with no fuss and a gentle kiss on the quay heading and Charlie stepped ashore and we tied up. Simples…
We had chosen the hotel mooring because we wanted to use their electric hookup to use the electric fan rather than the diesel heating alone as the boat was quite damp and the soft furnishings and the damp feel needed to be dried out with some warmth. After tying up I went inside to announce we had arrived and ask about the hookup.
The guys at the hotel are always very helpful and even though the electric point local to the mooring was not working they found another protected supply we could hook up to if our electric cable was long enough. Luckily it was and so we were finally sorted and we sat back and did what we always do in these circumstances. The ladies went shopping and I listened to music and watched the world go by and listened to the wind howling up the river and under the bridge. This was Saturday and the storm wasn’t due until tomorrow, but already the gusts were very powerful and walking on deck had to be done with great care. We operate the three points of contact rule in circumstances like this. At least three points of contact at all times, and move slowly. Having been dumped unceremoniously into the river last September and felt the river’s icy grip I did not want a repeat performance in late October.

I sat glass of wine in hand watching people come and go and observing the rather strange mooring practices of some of the more well- known boatyards being demonstrated by the respective hirers.

Someone seems to believe that bisecting by impacting the desired quay heading whilst mooring a bathtub type boat (Bermuda and the single level designs like her) is a desired mooring evolution option. It can’t be that every boat from the same yard made exactly the same maneuver by accident can it?

At one point during the afternoon there were four boats alongside the pilot mooring in Wroxham and one boat was completely across the bridge opening for over ten minutes whilst they attempted to defy the wind and the tide and at the same time avoid everyone else.
There were some superb helm skills on display that Saturday and some pretty poor ones too, although in the majority the bad helms didn’t cause too much actual damage to each other but there would definitely be some repair bills.

When the ladies returned we saw one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. We were all in the wheelhouse and it was getting towards the part of the day when everyone is thinking “I must get moored up it’s getting darker by the minute”. We were all just speculating why folks were leaving it so late in October  when a le Boat Admiral came slowly up the river (of course we heard it coming five minutes before we saw it), we assumed they would be turning as the screen and canopy were both still up and the cockpit lights were on, there was space by now on the pilots mooring so we thought they may decide to stop there and leave early in the morning. On they came, no sign of the canopy going down although it was now only three quarters up, but the screen was still fully up. By now people in the hotel bar had begun to notice and the smoking posse outside were looking, all had the same look on their faces which I am sure mirrored our own, mouth open eyes wide in complete and utter amazement as the Admiral proceeded to attempt Wroxham bridge in the half dark with the canopy and screen in the up position. Inevitably there was only going to be one winner in the sweepstakes we were all holding in our minds. Bridge 1: Le Boat Admiral 0. With a sickening crunch the forward momentum of the canopy was drawn to an abrupt stop, the boat however continued under the bridge for a few more moments until the frantic engagement of reverse brought that forward momentum to a halt also.  Looks of sheer incredulity were exchanged by everyone who witnessed the incident, what the motivation or reasoning behind the decision may have been we will never know but a few moments later they had reversed out from under the bridge and left the scene. Although we looked we did not see that boat again.

As it grew darker and darker the wind was getting stronger and stronger which is not normal for a Norfolk evening, this was the presage to the coming storm all right. At the point when all boats without Navigation lights and suitable insurance should be safely tucked up in bed, three more boats arrived and managed to moor outside the café with minimum fuss.
Shaking our heads at what we had just seen we made our decision on the food for the night. Fried chicken from the fried chicken shop next to the bridge was to be our fare for the evening. Our order was phoned in and the ladies went to retrieve it whilst I prepared the table for dinner. After a few moments of reflection I thought that a carpet picnic in the wheelhouse would be fun, we could eat with our fingers and dive into the delights of the fried chicken shop sitting around on the floor. So armed with various condiments I sat waiting with wine in hand and armed with four plastic plates and a kitchen roll.  
The food was simply amazing and incredibly plentiful, the chicken was not greasy and there was so much of it we knew we had lunch and or snacks ready for tomorrow already. The sound of a successful meal is silence as everyone tucks in and enjoys their food, there were the usual requests to pass this or pass that but on the whole the dinner was lovely. We shall go there again.

After dinner and mellowing with some pink wine, the crew got down to serious decision making. Where to spend the evening of the storm, where would be safe from falling trees and floating obstructions thrown into the river by the ravages of the storm to come? Charlie suggested fleet dyke public moorings, no trees nearby and we hoped that would put us almost bow onto the wind direction. So decision made we retired to bed and listened to the wind in the flags on Malanka’s silly masty thing, until the change in the hour, and our journey from Belgium caught up with us and we fell into a deep and restful sleep (at least I did) . Tomorrow would be an adventure and as long as we were safe I knew Malanka and her crew would cope with everything the coming storm would bring.


Life is too short

M&F

Forum Girly Swot 11.02.2011

fidear45
Jan-16-2014 @ 12:05 PM                           Permalink
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Sunday
As we had been connected all night to the electricity from the hotel we didn’t need a long trip to charge up the batteries or warm up the water, and the immersion provides piping hot water and really is a boon whenever we can find an electric connection.

Next morning  we had a lazy start of Tea and bacon and sausage sandwiches, more tea and then a nice dog walk to settle it all down. We had planned to fill up with water in Horning, we tend to give Salhouse a miss now for water as many folks let the pipe fall into the broad or let it sit in the mud beneath the hose, and it also is now very slow to fill our two saddle tanks so drove straight past Salhouse and after we arrived in Horning we filled up with water and whilst that was going on spent a few minutes looking at the “Navigator” in the shed there, she looks so sad with her bottom hanging out and all her planks missing. We wish her well and hope she will be restored.
  
We didn’t really have a long way to go and we had all day in which to get there, so before heading for fleet dyke we thought it may be nice to head into Ranworth a do a tour of the broad and way up the possibility to moor on the staithe and get some pub time for lunch.   We didn’t need to have a pub lunch we had left overs everywhere and so the plan was somewhat fluid. Charlie was helming quite a bit today and I thought it may be a good plan to let her have a go at the mooring thing, so she could see the difference between mooring her boat and our boat, they behave very differently in the wind,  tide and so I thought that might be fun.

Malanka weighs somewhere in the region of ten tons and BD probably a third of that or maybe 40% or so and Malanka is narrower and quite a bit longer. What surprises most people when they helm her (Malanka) is just how maneuverable she is, especially in the left hand turn (with prop kick helping). Another thing is that when you stop her, she stops and doesn’t immediately start drifting here there and everywhere, so a quick stop and a quick flick of the stern is all it takes for a lovely side on slide in so to speak.

  We didn’t see many boats out and the news from the MO was that the storm would hit Sunday night / Monday morning, the local radio was becoming apoplectic and the usual doom merchants in the media were “bigging” the storm up to epic proportions and comparing it to the storm of 1987. Looking out of the window and using my own eyes it wasn’t that bad and the wind although very strong, wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen before on the broads. However being a cautious type we still decided to avoid stopping in Ranworth and risking a windy mooring in quite a windy spot when we didn’t have to. So we circled the broad, noting in passing that the flags on the staithe were at full stretch, and headed at a fairly brisk pace towards fleet dyke. Somehow the wind strength between Ranworth and fleet dyke had multiplied several fold and the wind past St Benet’s Abbey was quite something to behold.
Although a well-known windy section used by the sheet danglers for a spot of entertainment the wind was exceptionally strong, and so it was with relief that we turned into fleet dyke and immediately the wind driven ripples on the river died down and peace descended for the several hundred metres until we turned the corner where once more the full ferocity of the wind was upon us again. There were supposed to be gusts in the wind but by the simple expedient of “sticking my head out of the window” I determined that the wind was very strong but quite steady with no great fluctuations or huge gusts.
  Once past the corner where the Otter lives we once again saw the wind was less in and about the area of the 24 hour moorings which confirmed, as if any was needed, that Charlie’s choice of storm shelter was a wise one.  Charlie was designated as the helm for the mooring evolution and I was standing by “just in case”.

Charlie’s approach was great, as we were mooring into the wind and between two previously moored boats (nothing like a challenge for your first mooring of a friends boat is there!!) her turn was just right, however the speed was just a tad quick for a ten ton beastie and the stop wasn’t what she intended, no harm done, a quick turn of the wheel and apply some thrust and we were there.
It wasn’t technique but knowledge of how to make the old girl dance that prevented Charlie’s text book mooring evolution from being perfect.  The howling gale, unusually high freeboard, canvas wheelhouse canopy and the by now heavy pouring rain were entirely innocent. Safely moored on the first two lines Charlie and I set about securing the boat for the fast approaching storm. The weather was terrible and the sky was darkening by the minute, we were definitely in for a very strong blow indeed.
I dropped the mud-weight as far off the starboard bow as I could “chuck it” and secured that. We took the starboard mooring lines and used them as port side stern and bow springs, in addition to the existing bow and stern lines, finally we used the centre cleat that Malanka has to provide a centre spring to two posts as well.

With the boat now secured and the river level high and getting higher we adjusted the fenders to provide maximum protection and dropped an extra three sausage fenders over the bankside to minimise the damage potential should any of the other fenders move or ride up.

The wind was 15 degrees or so off the starboard bow and so we were being pushed in and back by the by now quite considerably stronger and gustier conditions. As we settled into the cockpit with freshly brewed mugs of steaming hot tea hugged to our chests to warm our by now frozen fingers we noticed that the boat in front of us effectively only had one mooring line ashore and it was taking all the strain of the windy conditions. So donning my waterproof coat and fur lined wellies I set off to advise the occupants that they may wish to reconsider their mooring arrangements. The guys on the boat were very grateful and when we had finished they had four lines ashore and had deployed their mud-weight as an extra precaution.

I was by now quite excited, I am quite a fatalistic person and we were in a safe place, on a sound warm and cosy boat, with all precautionary measures taken and so I was actually quite looking forward to the dark and stormy night. The oven was on preparing a feast of steak and ale pie, onion gravy with beans and potato wedges. Fresh bread was there too for absorbing any left-over gravy. It was by now fully dark outside and the boat periodically shook as a fresh gust of wind ripped down the white capped river and smacked into us huddled against the bank. I had placed an expandable boat hook diagonally across the wheelhouse canvas directly in line with the wind to prevent the canvas stretching and possibly tearing free in the very strong wind. This solution worked remarkably well and also reduced the canopy flapping to almost nothing. One final check revealed that I had not dropped the silly masty thing and we had decided that to reduce the impact of the wind the mast and flags would have to come down, so once more I donned the waterproof coat, fur lined wellies and ventured out to lower the mast and secure it so nothing untoward would happen whatever the weather conditions.

Returning inside the wheelhouse I was surrounded by a welcoming blast of warm, delicious, aromatic air that dispelled any negative thoughts I may have had after venturing on deck into the teeth of the gale now blasting away outside.

We all settled down to await the culinary delight that was having the last finishing touches applied in the galley (little knob of butter into the onion gravy) and then it was time to tuck in and enjoy.
After dinner we listened to the radio as we had been doing periodically throughout the day to hear the latest stormy news.  After the initial quite alarming prognostications about likely storm trajectories and hurricane force winds, the actual event itself on Sunday night was quite an anti-climax. The simple reason being the latest forecast was for the very high winds of the trailing edge of the storm to cross us at between 9 and 11 am Monday morning.  The winds tonight were forecast to be in the 50-60mph bracket with severe gusts up to 75 or so, which was what we had been experiencing for the past two or three hours so I was confident we would be fine (which we were). With that in mind and a lovely full up feeling and everything being toasty warm we decided to turn in and ride out the storm in our beds.



Life is too short

M&F

Forum Girly Swot 11.02.2011

fidear45
Jan-16-2014 @ 12:08 PM                           Permalink
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Monday (the storm)
I was woken by the wind at 7 am or so and immediately noticed the intensity was much higher than when I had dropped off to sleep. I was hoping for a few more Zzzs but someone who will remain nameless (Charlie, Charlie, Charlie and Charlie) was up and fussing about in the cockpit making a god awfully bad job of not making any noise. Reluctantly deciding to get up and face the day rather than snuggling back under my duvet, I may have been a little short with the noisy one for a moment or two and of course barely mentioned all day the fact that I would have been happier to remain in bed whilst the weather did its worst rather than sit in the cockpit watching the whitecaps chase each other down fleet dyke.

Sometime during the night a huge willow had fallen into the river 100m downstream of us just on the corner and was half blocking the river, but apart from that and the fact that Malanka was covered in grass, dirt and leaves there was little to show for the violence being perpetrated outside.

We listened to the local radio and awaited the trailing edge of the storm, the BA decided to close Breydon water to navigation which we thought was a prudent move, however their advice to avoid movement on the system was being ignored by at least one yard which was calling their customers and asking them to please return with their boats as expected. We received this last bit of news from the guys we helped yesterday who couldn’t quite believe they were being asked to venture out into the teeth of quite the worst weather of the past 24 hours, rather than just delay until the worst was over.  I helped them leave the mooring in the safest way I could (backwards into the wind) and helped them on their way. This was their first taste of broads boating and they were absolute beginners but they learned very quickly.

We decided to wait until the storm had passed then take a leisurely cruise up to Potter and have a wander about before heading down to Acle Bridge to moor for the night and catch the next afternoon slack water and cross Breydon and an evening in Loddon on Tuesday. So it was take the dog for a walk then prepare a slow and tasty breakfast of bacon, sausage, fried bread, French toast and fried eggs with steaming mugs of tea. Every now and then a poor hirer could be heard passing us in the river heading back to their respective yards. We were happy to stay put for a few more hours at least.

Eventually the skies cleared and we could think about moving!  Breydon was still closed and general river navigation discouraged but we were confident we could cope as by now there was just a steady very strong wind and the occasional gust, nothing as severe as yesterday or even Saturday afternoon for that matter. Considering the conditions we had experienced earlier we thought perhaps that the BA was advising today for the conditions of a few days ago. Perhaps it was worse at Thorpe Green, who knows.

The process of making ready to leave was of course a lengthy one as we were reversing the process of preparing for severe weather and many extra lines and springs had been deployed in addition to the use of the mud-weight. All this untying and heaving took over twenty minutes and in that time the clear skies were a beautiful sight to behold and walking about at Potter seemed like a very good idea from the relative safety of fleet dyke. The engine had been running the whole time as Malanka’s 3.8l Commander was purring like a cat (yes she was Simon/Jason/Griff and other Beta or Nanni fanatics). Malankas engine is her heart and the deep throbbing bark of her exhaust and the immense torque available from the engine gives one a huge feeling of available power and today we may just need them. In any event she feels great whatever the weather.
With dog walked, breakfast consumed, plans made we gingerly cast off into fleet dyke under crystal clear blue skies with a warm wheelhouse and mug of tea in hand. When we passed the fallen willow tree we could see just how big it had been and it was huge!  In fleet dyke the wind was not so strong now and as we emerged into the Bure we could see a couple of other boats had started to venture out under the clear skies and beautiful sunshine. We had decided to head up to Potter, moor in HW yard and have a wander about and see what’s what.  We had thought about spending the night there after Charlie’s report on the electric card system and the excellent shower facilities, so with that in mind as plan A we headed up the Thurne. The journey to Potter was uneventful apart from seeing the new Richos Pirate Boat occupied with a young family obviously enjoying themselves moored at the 24hr moorings by the pilot’s office. They looked to be having a ball with costumes for the kids and an obvious birthday party in full swing. We took days to decorate our dining room when Helena liked the idea of a pirate themed birthday party, this would be a much better idea.

When we arrived at Potter the wind was very strong and being the risk averse chap I am I decided it would be prudent to find an alternative place to spend the night. The yard at HW looked windswept to say the least. Maneuvering in their basin is not easy at the best of times with even a mild wind blowing. Trying it in today’s gale was a risk I didn’t want to accept and so plan B was formulated. We already had dinner all planned out and so we didn’t need the pub, but a nice drink in the bar by the log fire sounded too good to miss and so we headed to Acle Bridge and the moorings there. We thought they would be quite protected compared to the ones North of the bridge and so we headed there instead.

The journey was completely uneventful apart from one poor lady who had no idea she was being passed as she cruised serenely down the Bure towards Acle only to find us on her left hand side when she had obviously been miles away in the land of not concentrating on the job in hand. At least that’s my judgement based on the height out of her chair she achieved when she finally saw us out of the corner of her eye and leapt up in shock.   Boris was on the rear cabin roof and was completely indifferent to the smiles, stares and waves he received as we passed by several moored boats. Arriving at the bridge I dropped the silly masty thing and we prepared to moor, the river was running quite strongly out downstream and the wind was away from the quay heading so mooring was going to be quite straight forward. A quick spin in the river and hold station against the tidal flow, then just sideways counterbalanced by the wind and tide and we slid beautifully between the already moored boat and the emergency ladder right by the pub sign. Safely moored up we connected to the electricity supply and turned on the electric fan heater instead of the diesel heating and sat in the wheelhouse for a while before the call of the log fire was too great and we retired to the pub for a well-earned drink and a bag of crisps each for us, and bacon slice corn snacks for Boris. After the drink Charlie took Boris for a walk and returned with wet and muddy dog a while later.

Over the next several hours, there were quite a few arrivals and departures, some were good, some were indifferent and some were quite bad, the common theme here was that everyone was open, honest and generally pleased to be helped, the conditions were quite challenging for a beginner and would only get more so now the wind was upstream and so was the tide.  Add in a quite heavy downpour and the conditions were only going to get worse.

Enter then the man from Le Boat! The Le Boat Admiral is not an easy beast to helm, they are enormous, they wander, have indifferent handling and sluggish engine response. (IMO of course) We were in the wheelhouse facing forwards and for some reason the approaching Le Boat (hereafter referred to as the boat)was moving quite quickly (against the wind and tide) and was less than three feet away from us steaming rapidly downriver oblivious to the moored boats. As she passed I made the gesture indicating “slow down,” flat palm up and down not the other one! And after passing us which sent us bouncing violently up and down and against the metal quay heading, we heard rather than saw the engine note change as some revs were knocked off, too late for us but hopefully better for the guys further down the mooring.

Instead of continuing downstream, turning and returning for another go, the helm of the boat (hereafter referred to as Numpty) decided he knew better and was going to attempt to stop and moor up in behind us before hitting any boat moored further down the mooring. At a rough angle of approximately 30 degrees the boat crabbed down the mooring, hit the quay heading, bounced off, then turned to port accelerated and just cleared the next boat down, before escaping down the river obviously to try their luck at Stokesby. Unfortunately however the dinghy they were towing smashed full force into the boat moored there. I have no idea if they heard the impact or even felt it, the burst of acceleration to leave the scene doesn’t tell me anything.

We thought that would be the end of it as we sat back down to relax thanking our lucky stars they hadn’t tried to moor in front of us, where there was still space. After twenty or so minutes the unmistakable sound of the admiral returned, this time upstream and with the wind and the tidal flow. Heading for the same space they had abortively attempted to moor in earlier, again the 30 degree angle and huge bow wave and no speed reduction whatsoever resulted in the anticipated overshoot, instead of just easing back on the throttle and allowing the wind and the water to do its work, numpty accelerated turned to the right and it was only the intervention of Charlie who shouted at numpty to “watch his stern” which alerted him to the fact he was on collision course for us. Unfortunately she was too late and the stern of the boat impacted our rearmost side fender and she bounced off us, the dinghy hit the stern fender with full force as she had the other boat on numpties previous attempt in the opposite (correct) direction.  Numpty circled a few times as if weighing up the options and we prayed he would get bored or leave or anything but have another go. Unfortunately as you may have gathered from further up-tale, numpty decided he could do it and he would do it.

OK so now in the correct orientation (against wind and tide)and moving much more slowly this time as Charlie, Fiona and myself had shouted at him to slow down and take it easy he approached for attempt number three. He was way too close to us (less than three feet apart) and I knew what was going to happen, Malanka would become the “guide me in bumper board” that is much in fashion with incompetent numpty helms. My premonition proved correct and the last twenty feet of the admiral scraped its way down the side of Malanka before finally trying to rip off the last fender before slipping in behind us and giving numpty back some steerage. (Now you know why we have big fenders). To prevent any further miss-haps and without offering any advice or what may be deemed unwanted advice I offered to take the rope from Mrs Numpty who was standing on the bow looking completely lost and clueless. I had already pushed the boat out to avoid any more impact damage to the bow.

I asked to take the rope and remarked that “doing that more slowly and doing so without hitting other boats may have been a better idea”. Immediately Mrs numpty replied with a waspish “what”, I replied that “if things had been done more slowly and with less throttle and that had numpty listened to the advice that Charlie had been trying to give him had been used, none of the last ten minutes of crash bang would have happened”.  “Are you serious” she asked. “Perfectly serious” I replied. “He didn’t do it on purpose” screamed Mrs numpty, she was obviously not used to being questioned or confronted in any way shape or form. “Does that make a difference to the end result” I asked calmly. “I said he didn’t do it on purpose,” she repeated. “I heard you, and does that make any difference” I said, by now numpty was shouting from the wheel that “it’s ok I didn’t do it on purpose I’m just incompetent”. I repeated my question and mrs numpty replied, “give it a rest”, to whit I replied, “no I will not give it a rest, you just hit my boat numerous times and not a word of apology has been forthcoming, why would I do that?”.  “He said he didn’t do it on purpose” screamed mrs numpty. So I asked her, “if I crashed my shopping trolley into their lovingly restored vintage MG and scraped all down the side “by accident and not on purpose” would that be ok? Her answer to this was to say, “you really are a T*sser aren’t you”. I replied, “surely it is better to not do something in the first place, rather than say I didn’t do it on purpose after doing it”. This seemed at last to get the point I was trying to make across, a simple acknowledgement of culpability rather than hiding behind the mask of a lack of intent seemed to be getting through.

Just then a private boat owner who had been lurking on the bow of his boat after mooring up walked past and with a perfectly straight face and obviously not having heard anything I had been saying completely destroyed the moment of breakthrough with the throwaway remark that, “I have a private boat down there and you moor here you expect to get hit”.

What on earth is the world coming to when seemingly sensible individuals come out with such total and utter, missed the point glib rubbish? I was stunned for a moment. I was however broken out of my moment of incredulity by pressure being exerted on my arm by mrs numpty, accompanying this pressure were the words “that’s what insurance is for dear”, obviously being so near to understanding the point I was trying to make but being so far from actually comprehending it, she had fallen back on condescension and insult. Now anyone who knows me will appreciate that I do not permit unwanted and unwelcome physical contact in any context so my next words were entirely predictable. I simply asked her to “take your hand off me” the change in cadence and directness were sufficient and an apology was immediately forthcoming. ”It is a great pity you didn’t apologise ten minutes ago”, was my response as I walked back to Malanka.

Charlie by now had emerged from Malanka and was tying up the numpties boat, it was obvious to us both that embarrassment had expressed itself as anger and that further progress would not be made whilst emotion rather than logic was speaking.
Funnily enough the very small space I mentioned earlier, that lay in front of Malanka was at this very moment being approached by a boat from HW yard, the top steering position was in use and I could talk to the skipper, “do you want some advice to help you?” I asked. “Oh yes please, I am new to this game and will accept any advice you can give me,” he replied. Five minutes later he was moored up securely in a smaller space than the le boat, and didn’t come near to hitting anything, and he still apologised for not knowing anything. The contrast could not have been more clear.

With all the available mooring spots occupied it was obviously time to go to batten down the hatches and enjoy an evening cooking, laughing and playing silly card games.
Food tonight was to be cheese and chorizo sausage stuffed chicken breasts (x2) and some ordinary local sausage stuffed chicken breasts (x2) for those who didn’t like spicy chorizo sausage or cheese stuffed chicken breasts, all the breasts were of course wrapped in smoked streaky bacon. These were to be accompanied by spicy potato wedges and fresh green beans. All washed down with some lovely white zinfandel. (it’s actually pink).
We had a most pleasant evening, the boat was lovely and warm and the cooking and laughing just made it the perfect end to what had been a rather stressful two days. Tomorrow we were going to cross Breydon Water and head up into Loddon and a lovely meal in the pub. I was of course looking forward to the crossing as it’s a chance to “have a bit of a blow- out” for the duration of the crossing and Malanka really enjoys stretching her legs a bit after long stretches at 4 mph. I was also looking forward to watching Charlie’s face as she played in the waves we were both hoping to find waiting for us tomorrow. The crossing time was set to be 14:20 or thereabouts so we could have a leisurely morning and set off whenever we wanted.

    With thoughts of a nice day to come and the memories of a lovely evening we settled down to a well-earned and very deep, dreamless sleep.


Life is too short

M&F

Forum Girly Swot 11.02.2011

fidear45
Jan-16-2014 @ 12:11 PM                           Permalink
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Tuesday dawned to the sound of Mr Numpty running the engine (pointed in our direction of course) at the ridiculously early hour of 7am, the noise those boats make is quite something to be woken by. The ordeal was thankfully cut short as twenty minutes later they had departed and peace and quiet was restored. Quite why they felt the need to get up and make such a noise quite so early I really can’t imagine.

Today’s breakfast was intended to last until we had made it all the way to Loddon, so with both pans on the go and the oven alight to keep everything warm it was time for sausages, eggs, bacon, French toast fried bread, and pots of steaming tea..  
A steaming pile of all that good stuff was duly deposited on the table and we all set to with a will and in very short order, bellies were full and contented mumblings filled the room. Boris was walked and windows cleaned inside and out after the dirt and debris from Sunday/Monday’s stormy weather.

We decided to set off early for Yarmouth and just take it really slowly down the Bure. Malanka has more than enough power to cope with the tide we expected to find on the Yare and so at a little after 11am we departed Acle and headed downriver, just barely keeping steerage in the fast flowing stream.

Fiona helmed for quite a while as we headed downriver, which is quite strange really as she doesn’t spend  much time at the helm of the boat, but recently has taken to helming through Great Yarmouth under the bridges  and generally taking the helm at some of the more challenging moments on our travels across the Broads.  
The wind today was still quite strong and was increasing in strength as we approached the muddy bank, twisty bit just before Yarmouth. There was the odd splash of rain and as we turned a corner, then suddenly, the heavens opened and a massive and prolonged deluge descended on us, just as suddenly it stopped and the sun broke through. We tracked another deluge, or rather the sickly purple/ black cloud that contained it as it crossed in front of us but this time held off depositing its cold autumn droplets on us. After the rain it was of course time to drop the silly masty thing in anticipation of Yarmouth Yacht station and the bridges. I ventured outside and was immediately shocked to discover that the outside temperature was considerably cooler (to put it mildly) than the weather station in the wheelhouse was telling me it was. Masty thing dropped it was time for the bridges and by this time Charlie was at the helm and she steered us quite effortlessly through without any fuss.

The river was running quite quickly at this point and of course we quite rattled through Yarmouth and turned right past the yellow post and headed for the bridge. Amazingly there were a couple of hire boats ahead of us and we all remarked that there would very probably be quite an abrupt and sudden halt to their forward momentum as soon as they got to Yarmouth Bridge. We hoped they knew what they were doing as we could quite easily see that the flow though there was very fierce indeed.

As we reached the bridge I reached past Charlie and added some throttle (well quite a bit actually) and Malanka leaped forward to meet the challenge of the rapidly outflowing water passing under the bridge on its quest to get to the North Sea. Malanka ploughed into the water with an huge bow wave, although we weren’t actually making that much headway, flat out she will do over 11mph and we were just making 4mph on the GPS as we past the huge concrete bridge supports, making sure not to get dragged too close and end up with a disastrous collision of our own making. The hire boats were not faring too well and were barely crawling along as we gave them a wide berth and headed across Breydon Water proper.  
Released from the artificial confines of the narrow portion of the river under the bridge Malanka picked up speed quite rapidly and soon we were flying along with a huge bow wave and spray passing the wheelhouse and splashing onto the windscreen. We were having a ball and it looked like we may get even more fun as we could see in the distance a white speck that represented fear for some but a huge opportunity to play for us. A big motor boat with outdrives! The bow wave we could see almost hiding the boat creating it, we hoped they would see our bow wave and head toward us for a bit of wake play but sadly this was not to be, after just one pass the big private craft slowed and headed back across from where she had come and the prospect of some wake fun went with her.

With the prospect of some wake play receding in front of us we slowed down and allowed Malanka to reduce her temperature back down to 85 degrees from the 90 she had been at for the few minutes of mad dashing against the current. The wind was still very strong and we knew that the river would be very fast flowing if we arrived at Reedham too early and so it was with a little sadness that we slowed right down and pootled our way across the rest of the way. Turning right into the outflow of the Yare was quite fun and we played short route up the river until we reached the New Cut. Easing back past the moored boats we could see the maelstrom through the bridge supports, we had lowered the masty thing but when we arrived we could see the bridge was open and we (well me actually) needn’t have ventured onto the foredeck to get nithered (Northern word meaning cold) in the brisk wind.

We had to throttle back up to go through the bridge as the water was really flowing and although we did search for the seal he was nowhere to be seen and so we past Reedham and the headed to the turn for the Chet and towards Loddon, our destination for the evening. Turning into the Chet, the river was quite low and still flowing out at a significant pace, when we passed the flood we could see the new locks, bridges and gates and it all looked very impressive. When we were passing Pyes Mill we noticed quite a few boats that had obviously been moored there for a considerable period of time, the evidence being the copious quantities of leaves, twigs and other detritus covering the winter covers. The open windows and raised foams inside other boats gave additional testament to the long term nature of the mooring. In fact, there were so many boats there that it would not have been possible for us to stop even had we wished to do so.

Just before arriving in Loddon the sun emerged and popped its glorious sunny head out from behind the clouds and suddenly the scenery was alive with rich autumnal colours and bright sparkling water. When we arrived there were quite a few spaces available and so an easy mooring was assured.

Once safely moored up I did manage to work out that mooring a few feet either side of where I eventually chose would have been a better option as the excess water from the hose was gathering at the back of the boat and turning the path into a muddy quagmire. Boris loved it, Fiona and I did not. We couldn’t be bothered to move and so we settled down to some southern fried chicken as a quick snack before various crew members headed off to the co-op, the pub and the butchers to gather essential supplies. Charlie and I set off to visit the pub and book a table, quite a simple task you might ask and I am sure under normal circumstances you would be correct, however, this being a Malanka tale there had to be a complication. They Blew up the kitchen….The repair man was just arriving as the landlady was explaining that there had been an incident in the kitchen.

Thoughts of customers keeling over from rampant food poisoning ran through our heads but it was in fact an explosion in the kitchen and they would be unable to provide food. The landlady made the very kind offer that if we wished to order a take away the pub would provide plates, knives and forks and everything we would need. Talk about going the extra mile.

We had set our mind on not cooking and if we were going to have a take away in any case we might as well have that on board in the our own cosy warm environment, so we only had to decide which take away this would be. Loddon has so many really good ones the choice would not be easy.
As it turned out the choice was easy as we had never tried the Indian in Loddon before and so that was the choice. I have to say the choice was an absolutely brilliant one. If you like authentic Indian cuisine, I highly recommend it.

Talking to a few of the folks in the marina and the tiger hazard tape everywhere, it was clear Loddon had not escaped the storm quite so well as we had in Fleet dyke.
Unfortunately some holidaymakers had been moored on the far right of the mooring and a very large willow tree had come crashing down onto their boat and severely damaged it. We heard that there were no injuries but still I would not have wanted to share that particular Norfolk Broads experience.
After dinner and some more silly card games we had to decide where we intended to spend Wednesday. The choice was made easy by the fact of not being able to eat in the pub tonight and that in the summer we had experienced the quality and service that is Coldham Hall on two occasions and we wanted to try for three out of three.
After such a long drive and such a lovely day we decided to retire early, so it was a quick walk to the green and back for Boris and then quickly under the covers for a well- earned sound contented sleep.


Life is too short

M&F

Forum Girly Swot 11.02.2011

fidear45
Jan-16-2014 @ 12:12 PM                           Permalink
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Wednesday dawned to bright sunshine and so we quickly did all of our chores, filled up with water, walked the dog, bought more wine to replace that which washed down the excellent Indian food, and then slowly departed Loddon heading towards Brundal. We had all day to go not that far and so we took it very easy and just enjoyed the strong wind and a gorgeous autumnal sunny day.

Cantley was of course in full swing boiling and crystalising, so we could see the factory from miles away. At this time of year I like to think it closely resembles a hissing and steaming magical Disney chocolate factory. OK, so, well it does for us…
All the way to Brundal the weather stayed dry and breezy with magnificent sunshine. When we arrived there were two boats moored outside (the pub was closed for lunch) and I decided to slip in-between the bathtub and the gin palace, just because I could. The approach was great, Charlie gathered the ropes and we glided in, unfortunately just as we were about to slip the back end in the gin palace started her big diesels and the whoooosh (imagine the sound) of water out of the back end pushed our bow right into the quay heading. Charlie did her heroic best and with some help from the very nice boys on the bathtub we squeezed in and tied up. A few minutes later the big MOBO was gone and we were alone with the bathtub and some lovely sunshine to enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Only one thing to do, crack open the wine and sun loungers and have a sun-bathe.

We managed about an hour before the sun finally, and quite slowly, dipped behind the thatched roof of the pub and the cold clammy grasp of late autumn on the river once more had us in its grip.

A quick round of hair washing and showering followed until as soon as the pub opened we would head into the pub for dinner.   Or rather we would have done if it wasn’t for the almighty downpour that had arrived whilst we were all in the shower using the hair drier / straightener, applying make-up or dancing about in the wheelhouse  to very loud sex pistols tracks like some demented seventies throwback. I will leave it up to you to decide who was doing which activity.
The rain eventually slackened or we grew too hungry to bear, it doesn’t really matter which was the pre-over-riding decision driver but we made a mad dash for the pub in any case. Squishing across the lawn and trying not to slip over was quite fun, in which of course the four legged crew member had an altogether unfair advantage.

This time we would eat in the pub rather than the restaurant as we would take Boris the magnificent with us. He had met the resident lady Bulldog when she was a tiny puppy in the summer, tonight he met her again, but she was considerably bigger, more vocal and the silly wimp (Boris) was not quite so sure of himself as he had been in the summer.  So wimpy was the big wussy that he spent the entire dinner under the table just in case that horrible dog came back. She is of course the cutest loveliest dog anyone has met in a while and we fussed over her for a long time. OK Harvey is cute but I’m afraid he gets second place in the cute stakes to the new queen of Coldham Hall.

Dinner was amazing, honey roast ham and eggs was superb, fillet steak was superb, and Fiona’s choice of liver and onions was superb as well. I was worried I would not be able to do justice to a pudding as the choice was excellent, in the summer I had managed lemon drizzle cake, however tonight the piece-de- resistance was the rice pudding that Charlie and I shared. Home-made jam, nutmeg and a slight drizzle of fresh cream just set the whole thing off. I must admit Charlie was hard pushed to get her spoon in the bowl as my spoon flashed in the firelight, quickly reducing the bowl to empty.
This was to be our last night on the Southern Broads this year, as tomorrow we would head back North and to Womack Dyke for the evening. Coldham Hall did us proud, it was superb.


Life is too short

M&F

Forum Girly Swot 11.02.2011

fidear45
Jan-16-2014 @ 12:13 PM                           Permalink
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Next morning Charlie took Boris for a long walk while Fiona and I readied the ship for departure and we made breakfast for the crew. Boris being taken for a walk by Charlie has become a bit of thing that Boris sort of insists on as his right and proper allocation of walkies. He has completely adopted Charlie as his surrogate pack member and celebrates this fact every morning by jumping on her bed (and her, he is huge) every morning. He has now learned how to open the door to the front cabin, so all it takes is for us to open our cabin door, let him out and he does the rest. We don’t have to say a word or request the walkies, Boris does all that himself in his snake walk, teeth snap, smiley dance routine.

Walk completed, crew replenished and all breakable things stowed away we slipped the lines and headed all of 400 metres over to Brooms to fill up with water for the journey to Womak Dyke. The very nice man from Brooms came for a chat and we passed the time of day while filling the not inconsiderable volume of the two saddle tanks, Boris jumped about a bit and got some doggie treats from the nice man from Brooms and altogether it was a lovely water stop, we didn’t fill up with diesel this time as we intended to do that in Horning as is our usual custom these days. Water tanks topped off and overflowing from both sides we put the hose back replaced the cap and set off on the long journey to Womak Dyke. We weren’t particularly concerned about the tides, the time we had meant that it didn’t matter at all. The weather was sunny and reasonably warm, and we could drop the roof if we had to and in any case it was a lovely day for going somewhere really slowly.  As we were going with the river flow, the pace we were travelling at was in fact quite a fair clip, the interesting thing was seeing us whiz along with no discernible wake, a bit like a ghost ship.
Charlie had the GPS on and we monitored how quickly we were travelling and maintaining steerage in the by now quite quickly flowing river, suffice it to say it was a very interesting experience and one which we monitored all the way down the system. As those familiar with the Autumnal flow through Reedham will know we absolutely whipped through Reedham, again with no wake and headed down the river to Breydon.  The river was decreasing in width and increasing in flow all the way down and it was quite a ride that required concentration all the way to avoid floating flotsam and other detritus floating along in the river. Turning to port onto Breydon we gave her a little bit of an urge and Malanka leaped at the chance to play in the waves as we steadied onto course across a fairly choppy Breydon.
In fact when we turned to port we slipped into position immediately in front of Spirit of Breydon who was performing her patrol duty and right behind another cruiser crossing at the same time as us.

We pootled across as the tide had got us to Breydon quite a bit earlier than we anticipated, and we didn’t want to just throw money away fighting the anticipated heavy outflow from the river Bure. Given that this was our thought pattern for the day we were somewhat surprised to be passed by a hire boat going hell for leather across the estuary, bow wave plashing, driver grinning away, they were having a lovely time. Our only concern expressed by all three of us simultaneously was “if they arrive there (the mouth of the Bure) in the next twenty minutes they are going to struggle quite a bit methinks”, anyway we left them to it.
Needless to say we chuckled to ourselves and kept the same speed for the remainder of the crossing until Spirit of Breydon tooted at us and headed back across Breydon to continue her patrol in the opposite direction. We of course knew we would be seeing the other boat a little bit later on. Just before Breydon bridge I slipped past the boat in front of us and increased the revs to maintain our momentum in the river, I didn’t want to be messing about behind another boat on the delicate bit of crossing past the yellow post in a very strong outflow that was by now quite visible as a turbulent flow surging across our intended direction of travel.  I stayed to the right as long as I dared then hit the throttle and surged diagonally across the flow, mainly to avoid going sideways onto the flow which unfortunately was the fate that befell the boat we had just passed, they didn’t increase speed at all and just lazily turned across the river and they were immediately carried back in the direction they had just come from. It took them a few seconds to sort themselves out then they had another go with more power and they slowly made it into the rapid outflow that is the Bure at GY.

We had stayed on station at the mouth of the river just in case the other boat needed some help but seeing them safely enter the mouth of the river we added some power and started the long fight up the river. Being only 10ft 6 beam has its advantages and this is of course one of them, Malanka slips through the water very efficiently indeed and we made light work of the journey upriver and never once even came close to the speed limit. The look of astonishment on the faces of the skippers we passed that day was a sight to see. Some of them rammed the throttle almost through the dashboard in an attempt to follow us, but with a narrow beam, big engine and a huge outflow of water, hydrodynamic efficiency wins every time. They really knew what they were doing in the fifties you know!
The wind by now had turned bitter although the sun was still in the sky. We could see some storm clouds approaching and one particularly purple one looked very nasty indeed. Inevitably the rain storm arrived and boy was it a rainstorm, Fiona went down to the galley to provide some drinks and hot snacks (which turned out to be left over curry and more Cajun chicken) and we settled in and watched the scenery get washed by a very heavy downpour.
Approaching Acle Bridge the rain eased off and the sun once again popped its head out from behind some lighter hued clouds and bathed the storm ravaged landscape in its feeble autumnal sunshine. We turned right up the Thurne and headed for Womak dyke our journey almost over for the day. The evening sunshine and clouds made for the most spectacular sunset I have seen in many years, altogether a very fitting end to today’s lovely cruise. Arriving at the dyke we discovered (once again) that the water levels were very high. What this means is that Malanka’s fenders didn’t fend as they were too high. Nothing to worry about, a quick delve into the Narnia cupboard that is the forward compartment and three sausage fenders were deployed from the posts into the gap between boat and quay heading. Job done!
After watching the sun set over the marshes from the warm and cosy wheelhouse and a quick near darkness walk with Boris (me this time) it was time to settle in and enjoy dinner which was Boursin (fig and walnut) stuffed chicken breasts wrapped in smoked bacon rashers, accompanied by boiled green beans and some spicy potato wedges, the latter from a packet and not Fiona’s excellent home- made versions. All washed down with a crisp chilled Chardonnay. All in all it had been a super day and tomorrow was going to be filled with adventure, we were going to night navigate from St Bennets Abbey through to Salhouse and enjoy a meet up with The Corsican, and her merry band of crewmates.


Life is too short

M&F

Forum Girly Swot 11.02.2011

fidear45
Jan-16-2014 @ 12:14 PM                           Permalink
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It is of course not very far from St Bennets to Womack dyke and thus we had the prospect of a long lie in to look forward to. With those thoughts foremost in our minds we stayed up late, played some more card games and retired to bed, happy, tired and contented.
Friday Morning dawned with light drizzle which soon abated and it was again Charlie’s choice to go for a hugely long walk with Boris the woofer. The two of them were gone for an enormous amount of time as Charlie walked Boris almost all the way to Potter Heigham, on his way back and after Charlie had been trying to keep Boris as clean as possible and he was completely exhausted he decided to enter the flood-defence dyke for a bit of a drink (he loves doing this and even prefers it to fresh bowl water). As Charlie tells it as soon as he entered the water he disturbed a goose which was having a bit of a late morning snooze, in the resulting kerfuffle the goose managed to get Boris’s interest and he leaped (something he doesn’t normally do) fully into the deeper part of the water, legs akimbo and in hot pursuit of his prey (early breakfast?), needless to say he failed miserably to get anywhere near the goose (PC version), OK he just missed grabbing its tail feathers as it scampered across the water (real version). After being told off by Charlie and giving up the pursuit of the goose Boris emerged from the water covered in sticky, black, icky mud half way up his body. Charlie was almost back to the boat by this time and as she approached she yelled that Boris was coming and he was wet and dirty and get a towel quickly. Boris had seen us and was pelting back hell for leather, ears flapping, tongue lolling, the complete package, he was also filthy dirty. I quickly threw some dog towels out of the wheelhouse just in time as both Boris and Charlie arrived at the boat both out of breath and panting. There followed the most hilarious scene you can imagine. Charlie cleaned off Boris one paw at a time, she then gave him a tummy rub with the towel to remove the worst of the mud. The sight of a huge 50Kg Airedale Dog standing there with one paw after another raised in a most un dignified pose, and then to be followed by a lifting strop style tummy rub with the only remaining clean (ish) dog towel was a sight to behold and one that will stay in my memory for a long time. What added to the humour of the situation was that Charlie is a mere 5Ft 2 and very slightly built and so she is not that much taller than Boris and is no taller at all when she is crouching down beside him holding the paw he gently offered up for cleaning. I won’t add to the embarrassment by mentioning that Boris weighs more than Charlie too.  Picture in your mind the vista and you can imagine the funny side of the whole thing.

Cleaning completed, boots removed and steaming hot tea in hand I left the ladies in the wheelhouse and went down to the Galley to prepare a huge breakfast of sausage, bacon, French toast, fried bread, fried eggs and a fresh pot of hot steaming tea. Having created breakfast and then enjoyed its consumption I then sat back and relaxed whilst the ladies washed up and put everything back in ship shape.
We planned to meet Simon and crew at St Bennets and so we pushed off (after retrieving the sausage fenders) and headed down river. Arriving at St Bennets we tied up let Boris off for a run about and settled in to wait the arrival of The Corsican. Lunch (the last of the left over curry) came and went and then as the sky started to get a little less bright The Corsican hove into view and Simon neatly moored up behind us. Lots of kisses and hugs were exchanged and Dylon and Boris ran back and forth like demented sheep dogs, cavorting as only true doggy friends can do. Simon and Sonia enjoyed a couple of glasses of the excellent Chardonnay from the previous evening and then it was time for the skippers briefing before our night journey to Salhouse would commence. We planned to use the PMR and so we loaded up new batteries and tried the system. All working fine and so comms were sorted, who would moor up first, sorted, where we would moor (2 options) sorted. All that was left to do was push off and set out for Salhouse.
We turned on the navigation lights and set off up the Bure towards Ranworth, the sky still had the last remnants of the daylight just falling beneath some dark clouds that were momentarily obscuring the very bright moon. A few minutes into the night cruise and the sky became very dark and it started to rain a very light drizzle. Simon was following us and he called us on the radio and asked us to see what we could do to tone down the stern light, eventually a solution was found and we  hung an orange dog towel over our new stern light as it was very bright and was ruining Simon’s night vision. We passed the entrance to Ranworth and headed towards the delights of an evening cruise through Horning. The navigation lights provide more than adequate illumination to determine where the river banks are and we cruised very quietly up the river towards Horning. Approaching the village the level of light obviously increased and as our two vessels slipped through the village past the moored boats, there was the usual, and completely anticipated, curtain twitching and window opening that inevitably accompanies such cruises.
Turning to port past the sailing club the inevitable blinding from the house floodlights along that stretch was alleviated by the simple expedient of closing one eye and holding my hand in front of the other to prevent night blindness from forming. Past the floodlights and it is only a few more twists in the river and Salhouse would be coming up. By now the light drizzle had stopped but it was now heavily overcast and very dark, Charlie had collected the mooring ropes to be in position near the wheelhouse so all I would have to do would be to pull alongside the quay heading and stop. As the night was so dark we had elected for the easier mooring option and instead of stern on in the broad we had decided to go side on to the spit on the river side. At the last minute Charlie had a hand torch just in case I could not locate the quay heading as under the trees it was almost impossible to see it, soon I could see the edge with the illumination of the port side navigation light and a quick squirt of power bought us to a gentle stop against the spit, engine in neutral and Charlie and I stepped off, pulled the boat the next post and made her fast. Simon was next in and using minimal bow thruster he slipped in slightly ahead of Malanka. Again we pulled him up to the best post available and made The Corsican fast.

Now it was time to congratulate each other on a great adventure and set about enjoying some good company, good food and some (not too much) good wine. I don’t recall what time it was that Simon and Sonia finally departed for their own luxurious apartments but it was well after midnight and a good time had most certainly been had by all.
The next day we planned to journey briefly into Wroxham, turn round and then cruise back to Stalham, only stopping for some diesel to top off the tanks before the winter.


Life is too short

M&F

Forum Girly Swot 11.02.2011

fidear45
Jan-16-2014 @ 12:14 PM                           Permalink
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Saturday morning dawned and toast and jam were liberally distributed amongst the hungry crews of both Malanka and The Corsican. Several mugs of tea later we decided to push off and just go with the flow back to Stalham via Wroxham, and so we said our goodbyes to Simon and set off. The cruise was such a lovely one and even more poignant as it was also the last one of the season. The river was very high and we anticipated (rightly as it turned out) that we would have to drop the top to pass under Ludham Bridge. The sun was shining and it was a glorious day to end the season, the only down side was a very bitter and penetrating wind which cut through to the bone on any exposed skin.
Approaching Ludham it was obvious that the water level was very high and so we moored up, dropped the top and then headed up the river. We tooted out our normal greeting to the denizens of the LBBY and headed under the bridge. We decided to leave the top down after the bridge and enjoy the last of the autumnal sunshine, we all had our wind proof gear on and it was such a glorious day it seemed the right thing to do.
We hardly saw another boat on the whole trip up to Stalham, it was quiet, peaceful and a lovely end to what I can honestly say was our best year of cruising to date. We approached Moonfleet (who would winterize Malanka for us after this trip) with a little sadness, but also a determination that next year would be just as good.
Simon and Sonia arrived at Moonfleet later on and we shared a most delicious take- away with them. We had always intended to stay at Moonfleet on Saturday evening as doing so would make all the usual winter preparations much easier to get finished off before we packed the car and said goodbye to Malanka for another winter break.
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The End


Life is too short

M&F

Forum Girly Swot 11.02.2011

Lynsey1983
Jan-16-2014 @ 3:48 PM                           Permalink
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Gosh this is an epic tale, loving it though, taking most of the day to catch up with you, I'm now two posts behind  Smile

Lynsey

Membership Secretary of the Cider Lovers United! Smile
Forum Girly Swot 18/12/2009
Jollymoon 21/09/12 - 05/10/12
Jollymoon Party 29/09/12

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