A good turnout of 10 Boats + 4 cars + 1 model boat “HMS Norfolk”
It didn’t look very hopeful on the Friday when we left Brundall late in the afternoon – it was cold, blustery and rainy. Wet, wet, wet – all the way to an overnight stop at an empty, murky Herringfleet. The weather forecast gave a slight glimmer of hope – but no more! Good job that the club had agreed on Beccles for this event – due to availability of electric supply for our additional heaters!
Then, quelle surprise?, Saturday morning was lovely – wind had dropped and rain had stopped as we made our way under Somerleyton bridge and onto Beccles. We passed “Freeway” who had overnighted at Somerleyton, which was good news as they had the gazebo on board! They followed us upriver on a falling tide, with us going ahead and recceing the Beccles road bridge height for them in case they needed to delay their approach into the yacht station. Needn’t have worried though, there was a good 14’ of clearance and all of the higher boats had made it through. A few boats had been there on Friday, but there was plenty of room as Tim (the Beccles harbour-master) had reserved a long stretch of the waterside around the top of the marina. Good man is Tim!
Graham had strapped “HMS Norfolk” onto little “Blithe" 's coachroof, which brought out plenty of interest from passing visitors, and it was his intention to carry out a few practise runs on Sunday with his “driver teams” consisting of his friend, Richard, and club members Dave L. and Dave T. (accompanied by Katie).
Chris and Pam (“JB”) had come by car (as poor Chris was suffering a “frozen shoulder”) and we joined them for a stroll in the sun up to the town for BBQ supplies. We left Chris and Pam to sample the delights of the new Weatherspoons ( good report from them after!) and strolling back we bumped into Graham and Steve and their mates up by the “Bear & Bells”, where they had become suitably lubricated. Back at the yacht station, most of the boats had now settled in and so we proceeded to off-load the gazebo from Tony’s boat and set about the fun & games of erecting it for the first time this season. Even with little wind, it was still a struggle trying to identify the pieces and getting the poles into the right places, but with Roger volunteering again as supervisor, and reader of the instructions, we managed eventually! Seemingly we had mislaid the original lighting cable – but Chris of “Lioness” gave us a superb multi-lamp set as replacement. I say “gave” – but despite our protests, Chris wanted it back. All was not lost though as, later that afternoon, Tony appeared with the original set – which Kath had secreted to the back cabin for “safekeeping”.
As a little aside, mentioning Tony and Kath of “Freeway”, they had 2 old friends on board – who turned out to be fairly well known amongst the Broads fraternity – Geoff and Sandra, who for many years had kept their classic boat “Kiwi” on the Broads. “Kiwi” is now on the French canals, near Dijon, and Geoff and Sandra spend most of the summer months out there, and then winter in their apartment at La Manga, on the Mar Menor in Spain (or “Mar Manure” as I call it – its dark,oozy mud is supposed to be therapeutical?) Seems to be a great life – but they still slum it back to dear old Norfolk for a few weeks in the Spring! And they certainly seemed to enjoy this weekend in our company, who can blame them?
A few more arrived by car – including Sylvia (“Cloud Nine” still awaiting launch after pre-season preening), with Robert and Norma ("Lisa J"); and Dave L. (also still struggling to get his boat “Sea Moon” ready for the season). This made a total of 28 members and guests for the Saturday gathering – although not all stayed for the evening entertainment.
John and Ann had arrived in “Annville” after a “long haul” over from Hippersons yard opposite, and John made good his invitation to take a few members upriver along the backs of Beccles later in the afternoon. So after the gazebo was finished, 10 or so of us, suitably loaded down with wine and beers, piled aboard “Annville” for a wonderful peaceful cruise under the old iron bridge ( @ 7’8” ) and along the Upper Waveney – unfortunately not having enough time to actually go as far as Geldeston. Still, it was a lovely couple of hours, with even lower headroom ( 7’2” ) as we squeezed back under that scary bridge on our return. Many thanks to John and Ann for their hospitality – a great afternoon, and I’ll try to get a few photos of the trip onto the website soon.
Back then for the firing up of the barbies, meals prepared and ate quickly, so as to prepare for the evening’s musical entertainment in the gazebo. It was cool by then, so Andrew put an electric fan heater into one end of the gazebo, the gas heater at the other end, and it was like toast! Didn’t need the generator as we had plugged into the mains electric, so very cosy. Kath set up her “boom-box” and sang a few songs for us, despite poor mike connections, before Jen led us screechingly into the community singing. A good laugh and lovely friendly night, all too soon over about 11 pm or so.
Sunday was another mainly-sunny day, but I was sluggish rising (with slight hangover) so by the time I peeked out of the canopy, the gazebo was down and packed away on “Freeway”; people were preparing to leave; and Graham and friends had gone off under the low bridge to play with (test) “HMS Norfolk” along the quiet stretches of the Upper Waveney. They returned after 11am, reporting all systems go – so all is in place for the next event, the big ‘un, the model boat endurance test over the weekend of 21/22 June and our club Quiz night on the 22 June. It’s all happening at the Waveney River Centre, so please come along and enjoy another fun OBMBC weekend!
Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club