When I first mentioned the concept of a winter cruise to Mary, I'm sure she imagined herself in the mediterranean with a cocktail in hand. In fact, my original destination was Norwich, but as Network Rail couldn't open Trowse swing bridge, we went to Cantley instead. On the way we stopped off at various favorite mooring spots such as the Dutch Tea Gardens and Somerleyton. Although it was cold, Nate managed to practice his rope throwing skills right up until sunset.
We were warm and cosy inside, thanks to central heating and wood burning stove, and luckily didn't have to contend with too much ice. We did get fog on the day we went to Cantley, and this coupled with an old (and innacurate...) map that I'd found meant we weren't too sure if we would get there. For non-locals, there is a sugar beet factory at Cantley, perhaps the largest industrial installation for 30 miles, but we couldn't see it as we went up the river. The picture below shows the Reedcutters Arms, a very friendly pub. Right behind it are giant storage silos and a factory. No, I can't see them either.
You'll notice the black & white cat - that's Little Ollie, Nates cat, who came on the trip with us (Big Ollie stayed back at the yard). This trip was the longest we've been away for several years and only the second time away with Little Ollie. He did very well, always coming back to the boat and although he doesn't like the noise of the engine, he likes hunting at each new mooring.
We stopped off at Reedham on the way back, and executed one of our best moorings ever, but of course there was no one to see it. Friends Jeremy, Harriet and their daughter joined us for a trip down the new cut to Somerleyton on New Years eve.
New Years was spent at Somerleyton, where we met up with the crew of the Golden Mean, after that it was Worlingham Staithe, and then back to Beccles.
All in all, a very enjoyable trip. It wasn't long, only about 40 miles in all, but it works for the attention spans of the younger crew members (cat & boy...). Through the use of my highly accurate fuel gauge (a stick) I worked out we only used 48 litres of diesel. I think we probably drank more wine than that. :)