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Norfolk Broads: Day 2 – 19.04.16…………….Messing about on the river!

I awoke at 5am hoping to capture the dawn breaking except it was far too early for dawn so I stood on the boardwalk in nightie, bed socks, boots, jacket and sheepskin hat listening to the birds waking and waited for dawn to put in an appearance. The only thing that appeared was Maice looking resplendent in her bed gear and woolly hat and we headed off to the facilities block to get warm and write yesterday's blog. I must say it's a tad cold first thing in the morning and in the evening so it’s just as well we bought our hot water bottles! When dawn finally put in an appearance, peeping through the mist and exposing the ethereal colours and calm quiet country setting the only sound to be heard were the chattering birds and the gentle snores coming from boats Lutra and Leda!

Claire and Lindsey surfaced next, so that's the girls boat up and ready. The boys, well as usual they had a debate and a committee meeting about getting up and finally an hour later the group were sat on Neily Mou's boat eating porridge with a splash of glenmorangie whisky. It calls for a strong constitution but after the first mouthful it does improve...........more whisky certainly helps!

It was a fine morning with beautiful blue skies and we headed off for our morning stroll, the girls leading as the boys were still trying to get their 'act' together.......honestly carry on like this and they'll be on Britain's got Talent! Everyone was chattering ten to the dozen until Maice revealed her mission in life was to find a cadaver (dead body!) ........each to their own I suppose. Fortunately the only cadaver we saw was a dead duck!

Returning to the boats the next dilemma was who was going on each boat. Us girlies had already decided which boat we were sailing on and after much discussion from the male contingent everyone seemed sorted. Maice, was in a dilemma as her boat was on the other side of the dyke so after another conflab it was decided she'd hitch a lift on one of the boats and make a leap of faith into her boat. Surprisingly the manoeuvre was a success and no one ended up in the water with the dead cadaver duck.

Finally all three boats set sail. There goes Lindsey, Richard, Claire and Stephen. That's the competitive boat in the lead as one would expect. And off goes Roger, Graham and Maice. That's the 'we'll see what happens boat'. Finally Timmy, Neil and I set off on the sensible boat.......well with an Admiral and a Sir on board what could possibly go wrong? For whatever reason it was that made Timmy take his eye off the steering, probably eyeing up the birds, we suddenly ended up stuck fast in the reed bushes. Luckily we had the fastest man on board with a quant pole and Neilly Mou whipped it out fast and started manoeuvring the boat out of the bushes. It took some pushing and prodding but finally we were clear. Neilly Mou's trousers fortunately survived the experience and we set off giving Timmy strict instructions to keep his eye on the river, not the birdies!

We sailed up to St Benet's Monastery where we moored and set up for lunch which was a fine affair. The usual suspects made an appearance, wine, gin, tonic, port and whisky with a bit of food thrown in for good measure. To Timmy's surprise we presented him with a gift of a wooden boat with silver sails to celebrate the 20th anniversary of him organising these trips. To say he was taken aback was an understatement, particularly on reading the inscription 'Admiral of the Fleet Sir Timmy Tim Tim - Norfolk Broads'. To stop him chocking back the tears (of sentimentality not laughter) we opened a bottle of Cava and made a toast. It took a while to finally drink the stuff as Maice introduced the ritual of clinking everyone's there's ten of us, some sitting on the boat, some sitting on the bank, it took a good ten minutes before we finally drank the toast.

After a lovely long leisurely lunch we set sail again, heading off to Gayes Staithe for the evening. What a glorious day it was. The sky was a rich blue, it was so serene and we were all listening to and identifying the bird song. But what is that unusual bird sound we can hear? No one seemed to identify that one. Could we see it.....ah yes there it is flying low on the horizon, that black dot, hey it's flying pretty fast, getting closer and louder, flying low up the river towards us and there's two of them and OMG....DUCK! Phew, that was a close shave and no, it wasn't a duck but two low flying black Chinook Helicopters just passed over us with inches to spare. Apparently they're an endangered species so we were really thrilled to see them!

After the excitement we headed off to our evening mooring at Gayes Staithe. As one would expect Richards boat arrived first and executed a text book mooring. The 'Tiller Girls', alias Roger, Maice and Graham came next, hoping to impress the others with their manoeuvring capabilities. Alas, Graham mis-read the directions given to him and crashed, full steam ahead into the already moored boat. Fortunately the quant pole wasn't required at this point as the master of the quant was on another boat. With all hands on deck to help extricate the boats, Graham finally moored up. No more 'Tillering' for Graham for a while then!

Finally, Timmy's boat arrived, mooring alongside the boys boat and all was well with the world. Lindsey announced it was cocktail hour and set about making a mean no-name cocktail with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Actually, it was a bottle of this and a bottle of that mixed together and what was produced was a rather delicious, very moorish cocktail oh, and very potent! With no cocktail shaker in sight the metal teapot came in quite useful so her cocktail has been renamed 'Lindsey's Teapot Cocktail'. Recipe on request!

It was soon supper time which meant a twenty minute stroll along the country roads, past the toilet block and to the pub with no name. Obviously it does have a name, but under the influence of 'Lindsey's Teapot' it's difficult to remember these things. Finally seated, we ate, we drank and then to celebrate the 20th Anniversary I had written a right, left and across the table story involving presents. The Teapot Cocktail' was obviously having an effect on the brain power of the crew as the understanding of right and left seemed to have gone out the window. How everyone ended up with a present is beyond me, but we got there in the end. It all became too much for Lindsey and Claire who made a quick getaway and headed off for an early night. The obligatory Perudo made an appearance with the most unlikely crew member, Graham, being crowned the winner that night. Savour the moment Graham, savour the moment.

Walking back to the staithe under the light of the almost full silvery moon we reflected on our idyllic, fun day on the broads. What excitement could we expect from tomorrow? Only a good nights sleep would tell.

Goodnight Admiral of the Fleet, good night Sir Neily Mou of the Noggins, good night Lazy Jacks Lindsey, good night Gash Fanny Graham, good night Aye Aye Ange, good night Salty Dog Stephen, good night Ready About Roger, good night Mae West Maice, good night Rolling Tackle Richard, good night Crow's Nest Claire......until tomorrow!

M&A and the above listed motley crew! X

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