Friday, October 4, 2002

Convoy to the Broads

We have booked the boat for 14:30, from Richardson's boat yard in Stalham. 

I set my GPS for the yard. The waypoint is set to OSGB reference TG376244. We won't get lost.

Jennifer provides breakfast. We leave Cambridge at 10:15.

We take three cars. In the lead we have Rick, Bernie and Gav, followed by Nick, Jon Jack and Jennifer, trailed by Andy and Maky. 

Jenny will be joining us tonight.

The Route

We take the A14, A11, Norwich, A1151. Norwich is a pain to drive through. Other than that, the journey is uneventful.

The Boatyard

Jack's cap gunWe arrive at Richardson's at 12:45, in good time for us to collect the boat. 

A "Greasy Spoon" restaurant on the site provides a good sausage egg and chips.

Some idiot buys Jack a toy cap gun. We suffer for it.

San Tropez IIBernie checks in. Jon, Jack and I collect life jackets. We are directed to the quay where the San Tropez II is moored.

We transfer our baggage and are ready.

Trial Run

An ol' boy shows us the ropes. Literally. We're shown how to secure the boat when mooring using the clove hitch

The ol' boy also shows us where to isolate the batteries and gas. Water and diesel fuel fillers are shown. The "pump out" is not an issue - we are only have the boat for a couple of days. 

Bernie is given instruction in manoeuvring the boat. This includes a three point turn and reversing into a stern mooring position. The rest of the Nutters take note. 

Rule of the road: drive on the right. 

Our instructor also recommended that everyone gets a life jacket from their stores. We now have 10 jackets.

Bernie is deemed proficient, so we are allowed to take the boat early. Off we go!


Bernie takes the boat out of the boatyard. He does a good job of it. 

After a few minutes I pester him for a go. I take the helm. Gavin has the map. He is my navigator. He is also armed with a GPS. This is total overkill, but then we are Nutters!

The response when turn the steering wheel is sluggish. I test by "plotting" a step function. Hard left lock, I see what the boat does. After a few minutes I stop playing. I have become used to the feel. 

The GPS helps us stick to the 4 MPH speed limit. 

I "drive" for 2 miles down the Barton River, through to Barton Broad where I relinquish the helm to Gavin.


We decide on Neatishead to moor up for the night. The map The Broads OL40, shows a pub, and it's not far from Hoveton and Wroxham railway station that Jenny will use to reach us this evening. She has been sailing in Ipswich today. Getting here by train should take a couple of hours.

Feeding the swansWe moor up. 

Two tame swans demand food. Bernie is brave, or foolhardy, to feed them by hand. 

His digestive biscuits are popular.
It's a short 5 minute walk to the White Horse pub. We enjoy a pint (Abbot IPA) and a coke for the lad. A table is booked for the evening meal. 


Jack is keen to swim.

"I'm bored! I want to swim!" utters the boy.

Jennifer says he shouldn't, and is not to, and he mustn't. She reminds him that there are signs saying that bathing is forbidden. 

I return to the boat with Jack. He knows I'm a soft touch when it comes to discipline.

Jack in the waterHe is soon in his bathing shorts. He dangles a foot in the water.
"It's too cold. But I want to swim!"
"Then dive in - It's not really cold!" I encourage.
He dives in, gasps and pleads to be helped out. He sits on the boat thinking. 
"It can't be that cold. I'm going in again!"
"Get me out!" he wails.

After this second iteration he gives up, and takes a shower. He is requited with the DVD player and a copy of the film Battlefield Earth.

Jenny phones. She'll be at the local train station by 21:15.

The DVD can be charged - Bernie has thoughtfully brought his 12V to mains inverter.


Rick loosing at poolWhen the film is over we decide to return to the pub. Jack and and I walk up, only to find the others returning back to the boat.  
Jack undergoing abuseAppearancesMaky decides to stay with Jack and I. The three of us play pool. I enjoy the beer and good natter with Maky. We loose several games of pool to Jack. Not deliberately: he plays well.


Jenny arrivesJenny finally arrives at 22:00 and we all retire for our first night on the boat.

Andy has brought some Scottish whisky.

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