Distant Horizon 2 - Day five




The overnight rain had meant for a less settled sleep, the fact that the aft cabin of Distant Horizon has a lower ceiling over the double bed seems to make the noise of the rain hitting the outside deck above all the more loud – or maybe it was that special Norfolk rain.

When I woke and peered out the window the wet scene that greeted me did not make me want to rush to get ready – so I took my time and had breakie and listened to the radio – these two simple things are both things in the morning at home I usually skip – more a case of a slice of toast and out the door to work.  By now the rain had stopped and there were some breaks in the cloud, perhaps today was going to be another sunny day after all.

And so I left the mooring at and slowly headed down the river Ant – my intention being to stop for a top up of water before the bridge and dispose of my rubbish.  Just after I had filled up with water a couple walked past – they asked me about how I found the boat, and as I was talking about this I asked if they used You Tube – well that is as far as I got because they then let on they knew exactly who I was and were avid watchers of the Captain’s Blogs.  I think they were on Siesta from Richardson’s and very nice they were too.

The being recognised is rather nice because it means that despite the fact I may have hired the boat alone, along the way I bump into people – be them members of a forum, or just people who watch videos on You Tube – of followers of my Twitter account.  The only disconcerting thing is they know me – well as far as the person in front of a camera, but I have no idea who they are – and am terrible with remembering names.

After heading down river to the Bure, it was time to turn right and head towards Horning
– I had thought of stopping off here but then figured it would be better to carry on for Wroxham and stop on the way back.  Just before after passing Cockshoot Dyke I experienced my first ever telling off from a Broads Authority Ranger.  

I had been following a large Barnes Brinkcraft centre cockpit boat full of lads – one moment it would be going along slowly, the next speed right up and then almost come to a stop, drift a bit and repeat this – I wanted to get past them to stop this game of ‘guess my next action’ but seeing Cock Shoot Dyke approaching thought better of a move – and then saw the Broad Authority Launch and thought that it was a good choice to have held back.   Past the Dyke around the bend I took my opportunity to pass – and just as I had almost completed the manoeuvre (without going very fast I may add) I spied a bright high vis jacket in the reeds on the port side, following by:

“Oi! What do you think you’re doing?”  

In a split second I wanted to say “what does it look like” but he was already sticking 4 fingers up at me and reminding me this was the speed limit.  I shouted back over “very sorry” and eased back a little on the throttle only for the Barnes Brinkcraft boat to speed right up and now over take me! I shrugged my shoulders and tried to not get too annoyed.  About 5 minutes after this episode the Barnes Brinkcraft boat once more almost came to a stop and reverted back to the ‘guess my next action’ game -  I passed – once and for all this time.  

I saw the work that had gone on at Salhouse and just how much mud has been pumped into making this new bit of land – and it reminded me once again that I have never spent a night at Salhouse with on the Broad or on the Spit – I don’t know why that should be the case for it is a lovely spot.  It was not too long past the Broad I decided to call Royalls Boatyard and enquire if they would sell diesel – I got the impression to begin this was not a good time to call being a Friday afternoon – but they were very helpful and said I could pop along but could not moor for the day for they were busy with their boats.  

Now I know it perhaps is not the most ‘accepted practice’ for someone to top up with fuel but  you see I had been worried about the fuel (I worry a lot you see) and had begun to think of many possibilities – had the boat been up to Stalham for the winter, taken to Acle and slipped through not being filled up prior to me taking it out? I knew the fuel tank was smaller (located on the port side) but the slight list to starboard since returning from the southern rivers seemed noticeable outside the boat on the waterline at the transom – the only thing I could think was there was a lot less weight on the port side – and the majority of that weight would surely be fuel, less of that = me worrying if there would be enough.

I digress, so it was I was greeting at Royalls with really warm welcome – what a lovely small yard, with boats gleaming and staff who had to put themselves out to get the hose from the shore, over the roof of one of their boats and to mine.  I asked for £40.00 and it seemed but a moment and it was done – receipt issued – and then we turned the boat on the ropes.  And you know what, it made no odds to the slight list to starboard lol.

I left them and made the very short journey round and past Barnes Brinkcraft – full – and then spotted the moorings at the CafĂ© – in March I moored here and was charged £10.00 – this time I was charge an hourly fee and I think it cost something like £4.00 – same mooring, but paid the chap iat the day boat place.  I’m confused but pleased it was not another tenner.  I am getting ahead of myself here since you pay on return.

I had read about Ken’s Fish & Chips now being under new management, so instead of popping into Grays Fish & Chips – which is my ‘usual’ I went to Ken’s, and alas since I was last there (admittedly that was October 2011) the large choice of fish had gone – they were however doing a roaring trade – I orders Haddock and chips – both freshly fried.  I took them back to the boat and the verdict:  Well the chips were a little fluffier on the inside, perhaps also a bit more ‘random’ in length and shape compared to Grays – the fish however was very close – fresh, crisp batter which was neither too thick nor thin – perhaps the size of portion and overall cost was better so Ken’s you win by a whisker.   Once this was had back off the boat for a walk about.

I popped into Roys where I chanced upon a bargain – bottle of Shiraz reduced down to £3.99 (turned out to be very good actually) along with a few household essentials like kitchen towel, bottled water and the like – and then I saw someone with an ice cream – not just any but a huge one with both strawberry and vanilla in the same cone – I could not help myself, I needed one too and so I stood by Wroxham Bridge watching the world go by enjoying a cool ice cream in the now once again warm afternoon sunshine.  Lovely.

Back to the boat, mooring fee paid – and time to depart – I wanted to go back to somewhere quite and out of the way again, and I do love the river Ant – so despite being there only last night, headed back.  I do like the changing scenery as you leave Wroxham, and the broads and then the scene as you approach Horning and the Swan.  I did not much like the fact behind me was blue sky and sunshine and ahead of me was bleak, dark clouds and surely rain.  The further I made down the Bure the more imposing the sky seemed to get, the wind had got up the warmth was gone and it was getting chilly.  By the time I turned onto the river Ant, things were not looking good to make How Hill (my intended destination) before the heavens opened.

What surprised me were just how many boats were now heading past me down the Ant having taken over from Stalham, not just one or two but 5 or 6 in a line – I’d expected this to be the case on Saturday, but it seems many perhaps decide to take over on a Friday, or weekend breaks are increasingly popular.  

It was not too long before How Hill came into view and with the rain clearly falling ever closer behind felt I would just make it – I did only Challenger was there with a bunch of lads who had already cracked open the tins and their dancing on the roof made me question if a peaceful night would be had – I continued on – the rain now falling.  Past my previous nights mooring (now taken up by Melody) and then a few bends later – yes it was free the mooring between the two trees.  By now the rain had stopped, and once secure and engine off it was silent...

I went for a walk – there seemed a rough idea of a path and despite the midges and spiky plants that wanted to rip my waterproof, it felt like I was a kid exploring again – and then I spotted a nest – I’ve no idea of what bird – but complete with two eggs.  How lovely that just the other side of the river bank this little world was going on hidden from view.   Just a moment later and Bittern from Whispering Reeds came past – a lot more than 4 MPH despite the fact they had eased off the throttle a touch when saw me.  I felt a touch annoyed when people do this on such a narrow pretty river as the Ant.  But it got worse, walking back to the boat I spotted a complete carpet left on the bank, with the leaf fall over it clearly it had been there some time, then a black bin liner full of rubbish floating in the soak dyke rotting – oh how can people be so selfish?  I thought of how much we pump out from industry and how this in comparison was nothing – yet this was individuals, people who visit and apparently love the wildlife and so on the Broads is famous for – then deposit such waste as if would be picked up by the bin men as if were a street.

Still, I did not want to moan too much or get too upset over this – but the final straw was when I heard the noise of a boats wash approaching, some male voices and laughter – to begin I thought it was going to be a ‘stag party’ and as a laugh on camera was going to hide and film the men in ‘the wild’ and do a David Attenborough – only the idea of more bits from midges and scratches from thorns put pay to that.  Low and behold it was Bittern back – this time no easing off and full pelt down the river – while oddly a chap was cleaning the front windows as they went.  Not a lot I can say to that – I got back on board, opened a can of beer and thought of happier things.

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