Posted by: glenswatman | June 2, 2014

20140521-31 Adventure on the Broads, visitors and a medical blip

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WEDNESDAY 21 MAY – The first boat going past wakes us up as the splashing makes it sound like you are in a bath tub. We get up just after seven and after a leisurely breakfast and potter round we set sail just after 8am. Luckily there is one empty mooring spot in Ranworth. A short walk takes us to the boardwalk leading to floating visitor centre with info on how the broads were created and also the wildlife in the area. Chugging further along the River we pass through Horning with some amazing waterside homes, mostly with attractive thatched roofs. Wroxham area is much the same and most homes have their own mooring with a flashy boat. The bridge at Wroxham is quite low so we pull over for a pilot to hop onboard and guide us through with inches to spare. After a brief walk around Hoveton we lunch at the Kings Head waterside pub. Backtracking under the bridge I take a turn on driving until we get to Salhouse Broad. Bev & Norm do that walk that we previously did with Jean & Arf. We are not keen to stay the night as you are moored stern in meaning boats are rubbing up either side of you blocking all views and making it potentially noisy. Luckily at Horning we get a mooring opposite the Ferry Inn pub. Tonight the ducks must smell our food as we suddenly get a tapping on the window and find a cheeky specimen has boarded and is checking out our food spread. Not only that but he returns later to watch Coronation Street. Comedy half hour begins as Steve & Norm tackle how to drop the seat back rest over the lounge single bed. Hinged at the top they each take a side to try and undo the catch then fasten it back. With both men sprawled in the bed comments like “push it harder”, “I can’t get it in” and worse have Bev & I in stitches. We get a few downpours during the night but other than that a peaceful time.

THURSDAY 22 MAY – Bev takes the wheel as we head off. Once we turn into the River Ant she hands over to Captain Steve as it is much narrower, twisted and slower going. On the Broads speed limits seem to vary from 4 to 6mph. At How Hill Steve has a difficult time mooring due to the strong winds and when I try to throw the line to Norm, who has hopped ashore, I find it is tangled up. Our worst attempt so far but lessons have been learnt. During the kafuffle Bev tried to get outside quick and stumbled on a step knocking up the front of her leg which is bleeding. Norm administers a bit of first aid and they join us a bit later for a stroll. We look at Toad hall cottage museum where rooms are made up to look much as they would many years ago and boards tell stories of life in this area. Due to predicted strong winds the nature trail is closed for health and safety in case any branches come down. The River opens to a wide area where Turkey and Barton Broad join up. Above this we veer off and moor at Sutton Staithe where we enjoy a tasty light lunch at the Hotel. At Stalham we wander the town with the main street full of charity shops and eating places including 3 different Chinese side by side. The large Tesco store provides us with our pudding in the form of a pack of Magnum ice creams. Bev & Norm do “The Broads Museum” and return to tell us a few more snippets of info. As we head back down the River Ant we see lots of boats moored at the edges tied up to the trees. Haven’t seen much of this before but guess it would be difficult to moor to a reed bed or someone’s house. We pull in to Barton Turf with moorings next to the small village that takes us a short time to explore. Evening entertainment is courtesy of a couple of swans who appear to perform some kind of mating ritual by our window. They circle around each other fluffing up feathers and twisting their necks.

FRIDAY 23 MAY – Back on the River Thurne we pass a dredger that is scooping out copious amounts of black sticky mud. It’s a pleasant day and we sail along with the leeward side of the roof open. Turning on to the River Bure we head under the bridge and moor at Acle. After walking up to and around the small town we call in to The Heritage for a lovely lunch. They pride themselves on fresh seafood and the dogfish (also known as rock salmon) is delicious. After returning on a waterfront path we sail back up the River Bure. There’s a regatta starting tomorrow and yachts are all around practising their tacking. We tuck into Thurne Dyke with paid moorings. Bev & Norm explore the village making an obligatory stop at the pub on the way back. Entertainment comes in the form of people arriving with boats on trailers then a crane hoisting the boat off into the water. Later on a few “party” boats arrive, a hen party and a mixed group. Luckily they return around midnight and make very little noise as we have heard of some party boats blaring out music right through the night.

SATURDAY 24 MAY – Up early and off to return to the boatyard. On arrival both Steve and Norm have difficulty manoeuvring into a spot barely as wide as the boat so someone boards and helps out. After returning the life jackets and getting the diesel topped up we head to the office for final check out. We’ve used just over £33 of fuel so having left a £125 deposit the rest is refunded. Almost the moment we set off the heavens open up and boy does it rain. The roads are soon awash and we feel really sorry for anyone just setting out on a Broads trip. Overall opinion was that it was a great trip, a good choice of boat and those 4 days was just nice. Would we do it again? Probably if we could fine another couple or two to join us and next time we’d visit the southern broads. Back home things brighten up and we are able to sit out in the afternoon and I get all the washing done. Bev & Norm move round to our front bench and all is going well until Bev gets up and suddenly Norm disappears as the bench collapses around him. Reckon he must be carrying a few extra cruise kilos. Opt out of the evening disco as I am still in too much discomfort to dance and it’s no good going there to try and chat!

SUNDAY 25 MAY – Our morning walk is a circuit taking us down to the river by The Swan, the whole loop is 5.4 miles which is the furthest we have walked for ages and certainly the furthest since my operation. At lunchtime we christen the BBQ and Steve uses the flat plate to cook potato slices, the griddle for tuna, swordfish and whiting and the dish for the mixed veg. Timing needs a little fine tuning but overall an excellent result.

MONDAY 26 MAY – We breakfast a little later enabling us to sit outside, from about 9am we have sun on the patio. It’s about 10 miles to Wymondham (pronounced windum). Keith & Sandra told us about a lovely abbey there and by coincidence I had a message through an ancestry site asking if I knew anything about the Wells/Swatman family of Wymondham as they wanted info from parish records or a grave stone. The historical market town streets are strewn with lovely old buildings, the market cross is a fantastic octagonal building on stilts now housing the tourist information centre. Seems we will have to return on a Tuesday morning to view the registers. The abbey is a magnificent building with dozens of carved wooden angels in the ceiling and a magnificent gilded altar. Last stop is the station where there is a “Brief Encounters” themed restaurant. On the way home we detour to wander around the Woodland Burial at Colney discovering even more unusual memorial plaques. At home we sit out having a late lunch of pasta followed by tropical crumble and ice cream. There’s still enough sun between clouds to enable us to sit out in the afternoon.

TUESDAY 27 MAY – I pop into the Docs to give blood for testing then we all continue the pilgrimage centre at Little Walsingham. This time we start at the Slipper Chapel where pilgrims originally stopped to take off their shoes to walk the last mile barefoot. It’s quite impressive with a very modern church next to the original small chapel. In the town we visit the Greek Orthodox Church and the main catholic one with the Nazareth house within. At Wells-next-the Sea the weather is awful with heavy rain made worse by winds. We duck into French’s for fish and chips and brave the wind to walk the main tourist street. Heading home many country roads look more like rivers but we manage to get through without problem.

WEDNESDAY 28 MAY – I’ve had discomfort or pain ever since my operation and this was compounded yesterday by me twisting to get into the back seat of the car. I manage to get a 9am appointment with Dr Allen who examines me and say she will get in touch with the gastro Doctor at the hospital. In Norwich we wander into the centre of town then rendezvous with Fred for the Olde Norwich historical tour. He’s a real character and keeps us all well entertained. Ambling through the back streets Bev & Norm treat us to lunch at “Revolution”. Whilst there I get a call from Dr Allen to say the hospital want to do an ultra sound at 9.15am tomorrow and the emergency surgical Doctor wants to see me straight afterwards. Complete the usual tour with the cathedral and lanes before heading home. Serena comes down to cut Bev’s hair ready for them leaving tomorrow to go off on a cruise to Iceland and Norway.

THURSDAY 29 MAY – At the hospital we leave Bev & Norm at the bus stop to catch a bus into Norwich. After my ultrasound I head to another department and speak to a Registrar who listens to my story and examines me. She wants blood test doing as nothing is showing in the scan. We’ve already been hanging around for ages so Steve heads over to the Big C centre for a coffee. A nurse calls me into a room to do pre admission paperwork whilst I explain no admission has been mentioned. She says they are considering admitting me and the Doctor prefers the paperwork done ahead of time. Later I see a more senior Doctor who hears my story and asks different questions before examining me. Bottom line is they can’t find any real problem directly related to the operation but think there may be something going on in the bowel or gastro area. Blood tests are certainly showing something amiss. As I am coping with the discomfort and occasional painful spells he says that rather than admit me to get endoscopies done I can go home and they will put me on the cancer fast track to get appointments within 2 weeks (but stresses that is not to say I have cancer). So no real light on the problem other than to say that many patients take up to 1 year after my kind of surgery to fully recover and if the lumpy stitch area in the centre settle I may need further surgery later. Funny how they always find something else when they start investigating me! I fit in a good hours sleep in the afternoon and feel better for it. In the evening we are watching TV when there is an almighty bang (like a blast) that shakes the caravan. Looking outside there is no sign of anything untoward so suspect it is some sort of blasting nearby. Nigel calls down to mention he is not going to pool tonight and to check everything is OK at our end as they heard the bang and felt the vibration in the top of the park and he came to investigate. No sign of any problem at Merryhill.

FRIDAY 30 MAY – Steve helps a lot as we give the place a good clean and I get the washing up to date. Lots of people arrive for the weekend but the weather remains mixed with cloudy cooler spells interspaced with lovely sunshine. The hospital call and I accept their date for the colonoscopy and gastroscopy on Monday 9th June at 5.30pm.

SATURDAY 31 MAY – I’m up early making cheese and chive bread. I’ve just put it in the oven and am putting away the packet of flour when I realise I have used plain instead of self raising. It’s a different brand and the colour of the packaging through me. I quickly take the bread out, kneed in some baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and hope for the best. Arriving in Norwich there are lots of marquees in the market area promoting the war and commemorations for D-Day. Mom is on holiday in Great Yarmouth and Alpha are doing a day trip to Norwich so we meet her then take her for a whistle stop tour. Show her the main square, arcade and castle then drive round to the cathedral. She’s mainly here to see us and is really taken with our static caravan. The original bread tastes terrible and really salty so I knock up a fresh loaf to go with homemade mushroom soup and both go down well. Of course all food seems to taste so much nicer when you are sat outside eating. We drive Mum back for here 3.30pm coach pick up and have had a lovely time together.


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