Winter Cruise

 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. :)



Almost winter again, where did the time go? Well, I know where it went, we had our busiest season ever at the boatyard. More here if you are interested.

Misterton is slowly getting work done on her, Mary did a great job of updating the wheelhouse interior this summer, I've painted the outside of it. Just need to upgrade the wooden window frames now.

Last week we took her out for a few days, with little Ollie, Nate's new kitten (young cat now) on board to see how he'd acclimatise to boat life. He doesn't like it when the engine is running, but liked exploring new moorings.

In order to get back to Beccles we needed to leave early, Mary took this video from the bow.

Misty morning at Somerleyton from Simon Sparrow on Vimeo.


Still winter

We went out on Misterton last week for a brief half-term trip. Our destination was the Wherry Hotel in Oulton Broad and we got there without too much trouble. It was a nice place to go for a quick stop, with a park and cafe close by. And of course, mooring outside a pub means an early evening drink had to be done. The next day we were planning on leaving at 0830 to catch the tide back to Beccles, but I was suprised to see a large part of the Broad frozen over.

Our friends from the Golden Mean were there too, so we decided to hang out on both boats until the sun thawed the ice. I made this video early in the morning, I had not been drinking.

WP_20160219_009 from Simon Sparrow on Vimeo.

We ended up pushing the tide all the way home, and discovered that we can't get very far into our yard at low water, so have to wait until the morning to move Misterton back to her normal mooring.




New Year, new crew

Happy New Year to anyone reading! As usual, things have been busy at the boatyard and with work/school, so not much news to report on Misterton.  Nate had been promised a kitten for christmas, but in the end we picked one up a few weeks later. Despite the fact that we have a black and white cat (that came with the boatyard) called Ollie, Nate was adamant that he wanted a black and white kitten called, you guessed it, Ollie. One less name for me to yell I guess.

'Big' Ollie is actually far less relaxed about the whole thing than this picture suggests, but I hope he'll adapt in time.






For half term we took Misterton out on a litte trip. This was our first 'proper' trip on the Broads, and its a little different than the Thames as we had tides and a couple of swing bridges to deal with. The first bridge was at Somerleyton, and Mary was able to phone the operator to find out when it would open. We needed to hang around in the river for about 20 minutes as the waiting pontoon was fairly full of smaller boats.

When the bridge opened we let the other boats go through first to make sure we had enough room.

Slightly strange to be able to look down a railway line from the river...

 After a night at Somerleyton, we headed towards Reedham down the new cut. This is fairly canal-like and connects the Rivers Yare and Waveney. Its narrow and not too deep so we needed to go slowly in order to keep in the middle.

 Eventually Reedham bridge came into view and we were able to go straight through.

 Soon we were moored up at the quay and met up with our friends from the 'Golden Mean' who had arrived earlier in the day. We took the children for a long walk to wear them out, went to the pub and then saw a lovely sunset.

On the way home we stopped at Somerleyton again before heading back to Beccles. Nate has become fairly obsessed with steering the boat, but does a good job of responding to 'port' or 'starboard'.

So thats it for now, back to work/school for us!