Posted by: glenswatman | May 21, 2014

20140511-20 Messing about on the river

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SUNDAY 11 MAY – Steve’s a little better so we head off to rendezvous with Keith & Sandra on The Broads.  Their Duke of Light is moored at Little Walsham only a 10 minute walk from the car park.  After drinks and a chat we set off heading out to the River Thurne.  We are passing through a mainly reedy area with piles of them stacked up to dry for use later as roof thatch.  Considering it is mid week and out of holiday season there are a surprising number of boats on the water.  It’s so busy that in Ranworth Broad there are no empty moorings meaning we cannot stop to explore.  The boat itself is looking old and shabby but the biggest problem is that to see forward you have to be stood up and to look out at the side you need to crane your neck.  We’ve booked a similar style boat so that we had double cabins at either end for privacy but I’m thinking that this may have to give way to a glass fronted design.  We’re unable to moor on the village side at Horning but it doesn’t matter as Sandra cooks us dinner inside.  The galley is very small and cooking then clearing up for 4 is almost more challenging than in a motorhome.  Lots has happened since we last saw Keith and Sandra so the time goes quickly as we catch up and all too soon it’s time to head back.  They get the last mooring at South Walsham and walk us back to the car.  By the moorings is a sign saying the Kings Head pub has a Thai, Chinese and traditional restaurant and they will pick you up and return you to your boat free of charge if you are dining in or they offer free delivery.  We drive back through the village and spot this pub plus another one that do fish and chips so good information.  We’ve really enjoyed the day out but Steve is pretty whacked once we get home.



MONDAY 12 MAY – This should be the last of the showery days and boy do we get some downpours.  It’s so bad that we settle for a not getting dressed day.  I go on line and change the Herbert Woods broads boat we are having from the Silverlight to the Starlight, better visibility for all the passengers but I will have to take double ear plugs as we are directly next to the cabin where Norm will no doubt be snoring.  Have asked for an extra set of single bedding so I can camp out in the saloon if it gets too bad!  The weekend paper advertised a wonderful cruise to Japan and Korea that coincided with Steve’s 60th birthday so I set about researching further first confirming that All Clear Travel can offer us insurance which they can at £803 for an annual policy worldwide ex USA, Canada and Caribbean and trips up to 45 days.  Next step will be for us both to clear with Doctors that we wouldn’t be putting ourselves at too much risk. 



TUESDAY 13 MAY – Back at the Doctors I get the results of my blood tests indicating inflammation, low iron count and haemoglobin but high platelets.  She thinks it’s related to the operation so will put me on iron and re test in 2 weeks time.  She’s not sure about the cruise but will pass on info about the ports of call to the Travel Nurse and get back to me.  Keith & Sandra have finished their Broads cruise and now moved their motorhome to a campsite about 8 miles away.  We pick them up and bring them back to Merryhill for lunch.  They both seem very impressed with things and enjoy sitting out with us in the afternoon.  At one point we get a very unusual smoky smell but can’t see anything burning.  Opt to have an evening meal at The Red Lion in Drayton where the carvery is excellent at £5.25.  The roast potatoes and Yorkshire puds are superb.  As over 50 Diamond Club holders we could add on any dessert for £2 but Sandra says she has cream cakes for us back at the van.  Once we get home we catch the evening news saying a KLM flight from Manchester to Amsterdam had to do an emergency landing at Norwich as it was on fire – think that may have been the strange smoky smell earlier. Steve’s picking up nicely so ventures out for his game of pool where he has been missed.



WEDNESDAY 14 MAY – Keith and Sandra are going off on a railway journey today so we won’t see them.  The weather is warming up so we set about painting the green woodwork, Steve works in the shade behind the van whilst I do the fence but have to leave the lower bit as I can’t bend over far enough.  In the afternoon we head to the hospital stopping in the Big C centre for a drink.  Emma (an ALL and transplant patient) is there and we chat to her and realise how relaxed and different advise from the Doctors here is compared to Leeds who are very strict.  It therefore comes as no surprise when Steve sees Matt to learn that Matt can see no problem at all in a cruise we are considering to Japan and Korea and even says that we don’t need to declare Steve’s possible GVHD as it has never been tested and he considers it just to be a skin problem.  When we get home and I get the insurance re quote without mention of GVHD the price drops from £802 to £655.  I also set about confirming details and price of the cruise but no one else can top the Travelbag deal which I can’t lock in.



THURSDAY 15 MAY – It’s a fantastic hot morning with clear blue skies.  We pick up Keith & Sandra then drop Steve and Keith at Merryhill whilst I drive Sandra and myself into Norwich.  There’s little traffic and we easily find a parking space.  Walking towards the centre we see an old Charabanc pull up advertising historical tours.  It’s £7 and we hop on and enjoy a fabulous 1 ½ with Fred telling us lots of interesting facts whist completing a 5 mile route weaving in and out of narrow lanes.   Alighting in the main square we buy a large portion of “Rons” chips to share then meander through the Victorian arcade and on to John Lewis where I have vouchers for free drink and cake.  A visit to Aviva headquarters building, the cathedral and a stroll through “The Lanes” completes our walk.  Fred told us about St Gregory’s Church which is now an antique emporium but on the wall is an enormous mural of St George and the dragon.  We pick up fish and chips from Rembrandts on the way home to round off a lovely day.  Needless to say the men have been equally happy at home doing very little.   Frustratingly I have had contact from Travelbag with flights from Birmingham but can’t get it tied up. 



FRIDAY 16 MAY – It’s another lovely morning and Steve is out before 9am painting.  I crack on chasing up the Japan trip and by lunch time it’s in the bag, the Travelbag bookings that is.  Final deal 14 nights £1500pp.  Flights, transfers, 9 night cruise on board Diamond Princess in balcony cabin, 3 nights pre cruise hotel in Tokyo,  2 day  tours with lunch including Mount Fuji, bullet train, river cruise, lake and temples, and a final nights stay at a hotel in Narita.  Now that’s what I call a decent celebration for Steve’s 60th, life is getting back on track.  I also finalise our 1 year travel insurance with All Clear at just over £650 so we are good to go. 



SATURDAY 17 MAY – It takes less than 2 hours for us to drive to Stevenage where we check in to the Holiday Inn Express.  In Hitchin we arrive at Peter & Margarets.  Margaret is already round at The British School hosting an afternoon of meeting her old school pupils and other friends.  Peter hosts at home where we meet other members of the family including Louise who regularly visits Japan on holiday and shows us her fantastic pictures whilst mentioning many highlights.  5pm everyone meets at The British School where friends of Margarets have done lots of home baking to create a fantastic tasty spread for afternoon tea.  6pm we move upstairs to the old school room and for the next 3 hours are entertained by country dancing (unfortunately I am not well enough to join in).  Between dances it’s like “Hitchin’s got talent” where family and friends get up and do turns.  We get instrumentals, songs, an amazingly long Amnesia poem from someone who obviously doesn’t have it, clog dancing, Morris dancing and more.  It is a really well organised memorable fun night.  Sadly our friends Jean & Arf couldn’t make it as Arf is not well so when I hear that Margaret & Peter have given their bedroom to visitors and intend sleeping in their small campervan on the drive I suggest they join us at the Holiday Inn as the other room was not refundable.



SUNDAY 18 MAY – We are able to spend time with Peter and Margaret over breakfast before heading home.  It’s another scorcher so lovely to be returning to our naturist resort.  Quite a few holiday makers are camped up and the outdoor swimming pool is now sparkling clean but not yet in use.



MONDAY 19 MAY – We’re just finished breakfast outside when Jill & Barry arrive.  They left home at 5.30am and are happy to accept our invitation for a drink before unloading.  Our other neighbours Dave & Denise have offered us use of their caravan as a spare bedroom for visitors so I go round and make up the bed ready for Bev & Norms arrival tonight.  The rest of the day is spent on cleaning and tidying up which in our small caravan doesn’t take long.  Bev & Norm are on the National Express bus from Birmingham to Norwich but have asked the driver to let them off when it stops in Dereham.  Steve walks round to the bus stand with signs saying “Welcome back to Swatours, where the Dickins have you been?”  On our drive back home they fill is in a little on their trip so far via Hawaii, the Caribbean, trans Atlantic cruise, Cornwall and Wales.  We have a bite to eat then settle down for a relativly early nights.



TUESDAY 20 MAY – Once the car is loads with all our luggage and food supplies we head to Potter Heigham.  The boat won’t be ready until about 1pm so we wander round the huge Lathams general store then settle for lunch in their cafe.  We check in and get a mini safety briefing and our lifesaving vests.  Boarding Starlight 2 we are shown the various features and given instructions before we set sail.  One our instructor has taken us onto the main Broad he hands over control to Steve and Norm who take us for a short distance to gain confidence.  After returning and dropping our instructor we take off with Steve at the helm.  There are numerous really quirky waterside houses and each has it’s own boat as there is no road access.  It’s a lovely sunny day so we slide back the roof and relax after exploring the different seating options on board.  Steve and Norm do a great job of mooring us at St Benet’s abbey.  We walk along a track to explore the scant remains of the abbey and complex that was in effect a whole village.  Back on board we head up to South Walsham but all the moorings are taken.  Luckily we bag another spot at St Benet’s and moor up for the night just after 5pm.  Shortly after the heavens open up and we baton down the hatches.  Keeping things simple we just have sandwiches for tea.  Suddenly we see a swans’ head appear in the window, think it must have smelt our food as it lingers until we pop out and give it some bread.  It is so greedy it almost snatches it out of Bev’s hand.  It’s very peaceful outside during the night but unfortunately our bed is not too comfortable and coupled with a bit of snoring from the next cabin I figure I will do better sleeping in the lounge. 




  1. GREAT NEWS about the trip to Japan- sounds like you are ‘back on track’- will be interested to hear about the trip- somewhere for us yet to visit!
    Keep on enjoying life in Norfolk- and maximising the time there- it sounds great!

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