Thursday 3 August 2023

Our lucky day!


The Bumblebee Conservation website tells me "If you find a bumblebee nest, consider yourself very lucky! They aren’t very common, and can be difficult to find."
Well, today we are lucky! We have an area covered with stones in the garden (not made by us), which needs weeding occasionally and suddenly noticed around 5 or 6 bumblebees buzzing around us and acting anxiously. On closer investigation, there is a nest in the stones - they have made a hole in the lining to come in and out.
I managed to get a few photos although they weren't too keen on us getting close. We'll leave them alone and hope that they aren't too upset by our inadvertent disruption of their nest.


Tuesday 9 May 2023

The second Coronation

 I was born in 1939 so was old enough to be interested in the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.

I remember the build up to the Coronation was immense and there was so much excitement.

My dad built a television for the occasion, parties were planned, bunting and flags were hung and the whole country seemed to be holding its breath waiting for The Day.  The icing on The Day itself was the announcement that Edmund Hillary had conquered Everest.

I was comparing the atmosphere this time and why there didn't seem to be the same excitement, in my view. I think it was because the queen was so young, with small children and she had no expectations or grooming to be queen - it was thrust upon her by her uncle's actions.  

Also, we had not long come out of a world war, there was still some rationing and the country had been working so hard to get back on its feet after so much loss. It was almost like a release of emotions of the entire population.

I'm lucky to have experienced two coronations but this one was spent quietly on the river instead of in front of the television, although we did fly some flags!

Saturday 23 November 2019

Reflections on the Three Rivers Race 2019

Back in January this year, at Tom Moore’s 70th birthday party, I apparently mentioned that to take part in the Three Rivers Race was on my bucket list! My words were probably that I’d like to do it before I got too old! As far as I was concerned it was just a throwaway remark but one of our friends, name of Steve Burton, remembered it. I was therefore quite taken aback when, a few months’ later, he asked me if I would like to do the race on Wandering Rose (WR) with his crew! After a few minutes consideration and a quick discussion with R2 (my other half), I agreed!

I have a bit of history with Wandering Rose as in September 2011, whilst on the river at Cantley in Lady Louise, we responded to a shout from the bank and Gary (Cantley) asked us to pick up WR and tow her up to Coldham Hall to be in position for the Yare Navigation Race. We agreed, tied her alongside and safely delivered her and her crew (Hungry Dave) to Coldham Hall. The evening before the race we ate at Coldham Hall with the crew of WR and got to know Hungry Dave’s dad, Robin and his dad as well. The next day we watched the race at Cantley and I took the now famed “bacon butty” photo! 

The same year, on our way back up north after the race, we came across WR stuck in the mud on a bend on the Bure, having sailed a bit close to the bank with a falling tide, so what could we do? We had to offer a tow off the mud, which we did three times, each time WR blowing back into the putty! Eventually the suggestion was made that perhaps the jib should be backed and at the fourth attempt, it worked! I learned a bit about how to tie a towing rope that day!! #figureof8

Our next encounter with WR was in September 2012 when we headed down to the southern rivers in Lady Louise in preparation for watching the Yare Navigation Race again. We were quite late crossing Breydon and by the time we reached Cantley, the moorings appeared to be full. In the dusk, we could just see one space where two fishermen were packing up their gear. R2 said we could get in this space, although I was doubtful! However, he manoeuvred wonderfully and, with the assistance of the fishermen (who were very impressed), we got into the space! In the morning, when we inspected our mooring we realised the actual size of the space! WR’s bowsprit was marginally under the bow of LL and the bowsprit astern was almost climbing the ladder!

Shortly after, one of the crew members (David Radley) arrived and we discussed our previous night’s mooring with him! He seemed to be impressed as he invited us to sail on WR the next day in the Cecil Howard Memorial Race with the owner, Graeme Salt and other crew of Robin Sermon. We were delighted to accept and even more delighted to come second – although not sure Graeme was keen on the trophy!

Our association with WR ended there, apart from a subsequent sighting in the Three Rivers Race of 2013.

We were therefore pleased to learn that WR had been bought and was being restored by an excellent team. We were at her launch in April 2019 and were delighted to see her looking in such good shape.

It was therefore with delight that I prepared for my first ever Three Rivers Race (3RR)! Duplicate preparations took place as R2 was sailing, as usual, on Sabrina 2 and an element of competition started to enter our preparations! Rather than helping R2 with his prep, I was leaving him to it and if he forgot something, it was tough luck!

The day dawned well, with forecasts of very warm sunshine and light winds, perfect for me!! The crew of WR were Steve Burton (skipper), Lisa Burton, Claire Markham, Jamie Bennett, David Calder and myself. We left our mooring at Horning Sailing Club, tied up to a riverside mooring and sat in the sun waiting for our start, slapping on sun block and sipping coffee from insulated cups - too hot to drink, and anticipating the day.

As well as the occasional visits from race stewards keeping us up to date with proceedings, we were entertained by a flasher on one of the boats which sailed past, standing on the foredeck and shamelessly weeing into the river, exposing all, for those of us interested enough to look!

The starting order was different this year, with the slow river cruisers going first, mainly I think to give them a chance of finishing the race. However, when the wind died after the first couple of starts, the remaining starts were postponed which meant that WR in the penultimate start was 55 minutes late starting!

WR had a good start. Steve was on the helm, Claire on the mainsheet and Lisa and Jamie were on the jib sheets, with David as spotter in the forepeak – it was also his first 3RR! I was on the camera!! We soon passed Arundhati, with only Joy in our start in front of us. We had a lovely sail downriver, negotiating Horning with no problems and keeping pace with Joy until we swooped past her and sailed away from her. There was the odd quiet “OMG” from Claire on the main when she saw a bunch of small boats ahead of us and a louder one when the deck block came off and running repairs had to be made. We all remembered David’s look of concern (not quite panic) when he thought we were going to hit another boat whilst tacking! It must have looked awfully close from his position in the forepeak!

We were full of optimism at that stage and when we reached the turning to the Ant, a decision was made to do this leg first. We could see a few sails up the river, but no congestion. We got up to the turning point without huge difficulty, made a great turn and headed back downriver. This is when we met the carnage! We got wedged between a moored boat and a hire motor boat and were then hit up the back by another competitor and Jamie came to the rescue by unhooking us off the back of a cruiser where we had briefly got jammed! It could all have ended an awful lot worse but seemed to take ages to get clear and out of the chaos! One or two boats changed their minds and turned back as we left the Ant behind.

After that, we flew round, doing Fleet Dyke in record time. The turning point was just beyond the mooring bends so we didn’t have to negotiate the dyke with the drawback of tall trees blocking the wind. I was given the task of calling out our race number to the guard ships and soon realised that I needed to shout louder! I can do that!

We reached Thurne Mouth and decided to turn left. Had a good sail up to Potter Heigham Bridge and managed to find a space to tie up to lower the rig. This went well, with the team knowing what they were doing and the paddling through the bridges was achieved by a great effort from the crew, amid cheers, clapping and encouragement from the spectators. Friends on the riverbank knew it was my first time and made appropriate comments! I was encouraged to put my back into the paddling on more than one occasion! Claire felt guilty because she was steering which she felt was the easiest job but in my view she was the one who kept us out of trouble. All we had to do was keep the paddles working!

The rig went back up quickly and efficiently despite hearts in mouths as Jamie, who had volunteered (?) to hold a mooring rope on shore whilst de-rigging took place, launched himself from the shore on to the boat to avoid being abandoned on the shore! We knew we had to end up with the same crew we started with so when Tom Moore shouted to ask if I was alright, I had to say “yes”! Actually I was more than alright and was thoroughly enjoying myself. We had a clear run up to Hickling with very few other boats on the route. There were many friends moored along the way, shouting encouragement and it was a good sail. 

By this time David had taken over the starboard jib sheet so Jamie had been volunteered to drop the token in the basket and did so wonderfully well, although he wasn’t 100% convinced that it had gone in! We assured him that it had!

The sail back to Potter was good and the rig again came down efficiently. It was raised on the run and that seemed to work okay with the team working well to make sure there were no bits caught or tangled. Our timing from below Potter bridge up to Hickling and back to below Potter bridge was almost exactly 2 hours.

Another good sail down to Acle but unfortunately, as we were 55 minutes later than anticipated due to the delayed start, the tide had turned so it was a hard paddle through Acle Bridge. We were encouraged by Phillip Martin and Claire Calder here and they had been following us round the course checking on our progress. Well done to them for perseverance – I know what it’s like, guessing where the boat is, almost breaking speed limits racing round to the next vantage point, finding somewhere to park and then having to give encouragement to crew members, as well as take photos!

(Photo courtesy of Robin Myerscough)

We managed to hang on to empty moored boats to lower and then raise the rig and made slow but steady progress down towards Stokesby until we got into the village itself where the tide was running in so fast that it was one tack forwards and two back! Although there was still a slight breeze which would have been enough for WR without the tide, we were getting nowhere despite trying for well over an hour. Beth had retired and Glyn and Hilary were obviously enjoying a party! Others were in the same position and had dived for the reeds so we did the same, next to Papillon (a small production cruiser) and had supper. Sausage casserole was wonderful – thanks to Lisa for making it and Jamie for being in charge of food production. Cake/chocolate followed, then we had to decide what to do.

The tide was running even faster then and we discussed waiting until it slowed or turned, heading to the Stracey mark but would then be pushing the outgoing tide on the way back up, in the early hours when we were all tired and there was no wind at all. I think what helped make the final decision was seeing Melinda (Paul Howes) and Skylark (Chris Bunn) motoring back having retired, being unable to reach the mark at Stracey! We had three more go's at tacking downriver and then regretfully called it a day. The spectators at the pub gave us a cheer and 10 out of 10 for perseverance!

We had a lovely sail back to Acle, lowered everything and motored back up to Potter where WR was ending up ready for the following week. I then got a lift to Horning (around midnight) and waited for R2 to come back on Sabrina 2, which he did at 03:15!! He then told me he had to take S2 back to Thurne whilst I drove home at 05:00! He was dropped off at home around 08:30. Sunday was virtually written off, dozing and trying to sort out bags etc. We went to bed around 10:30 and I slept through until 07:00 Monday. Still felt a bit spaced out and checked out the minor bruises (no idea how I got them!).

When the results came out it was a bit annoying to see that Papillon did finish the race in 17:11:40 hours! A few more of the slow river cruisers than usual (including the hire ones) did finish with Grace being the fastest in 12:27:23.

I should just say what a pleasure it was to sail with this crew and how much I enjoyed it. What a wonderful way to celebrate my 80th birthday year!

Sue Hines
June 2019

Monday 6 August 2018

Better than a four-leaf clover!

Not one to promote myself, I do seem to be bringing my friends who sail a certain amount of luck these days.  Looking back over photos I think it really started back in 2014 when I “helped”  RCC Sabrina II win the Joe Delf Trophy.

A couple of years' later I went on to help RCC Sally gain a top placing in the Cecil Howard Memorial Race. 

Since then I appear to have “assisted” Sally to win the Crystal Ball Trophy (photos taken from Sally)

and Sabrina II, (first photo taken from S II)

Pixie, (photos taken from Pixie)


Mystery (me in second photo!)

and latterly Melinda (photos taken on Melinda)

to either win or be among the top three in other races. 

There will come a time when, despite my best efforts and obvious tactical skills 😜, my “lucky charm” effect won't work but I hope to make up for that with some good photos on the day and also hope that no-one is too disappointed! 

Tuesday 27 February 2018

What's on the menu?

There has been a bit of a walk down Nostalgia Lane this week.  I’ve been sorting out old photos and boxes of stuff which have been stored for 20 years and came across my mother’s recipe book which was started back in the 1930s.

I guess some of the recipes were written in the book during wartime when ingredients were difficult to get hold of but one very well used page sets out in childish handwriting (mine) a recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie. This was the first thing I learned to cook and it was a Sunday treat. Pastry was made from scratch, a dish properly lined and the lemon sauce stirred until it boiled. A final note to the recipe is “1 egg will do but the white on top is not so thick.”

A recipe which caught my eye made me shudder a bit but again, I suppose needs must during wartime. The title reads “Sliced Heart with Carrots – enough for 5”.  As we were a family of 5, I probably was served with this particular delicacy – whether I ate it or not is a different matter as I was a very fussy eater!  The ingredients include 3 Sheep's Hearts and dripping, neither of which have ever featured in my kitchen. The method begins “Wash hearts, cutting away tubes.”  Once stuffed, they have to be sewn together to keep the stuffing in.  I quite liked the final touch “Parsley or watercress to garnish.”

There are a lot of other recipes, many of which feature cornflakes so maybe they came off the cereal packets. Apple Tufrets featured Stork margarine and had marzipan to decorate, however “If rations won’t stretch to it this can be left off.”

Another which caught my eye (and I’m sure it would be delicious) was Fish Mould!  I know what the recipe meant but it doesn’t exactly conjure up an appetising dish.

My problem now is, what do I do with the recipe book.

Saturday 30 December 2017

Unexpected gift

This is our third Christmas in this house in Acle and we started speculating in early December about whether we would receive a gift from one of our neighbours.

The first Christmas we were mystified by this gentleman neighbour – and I mean “gentleman” as he was wearing twill trousers, crisp white shirt, tie and waistcoat and a smart flat cap- who rang our front doorbell.  Our family and friends all know to come to the back door so we knew it would be someone new.  He presented us with a bag, containing a panettone and a Christmas card and when we expressed surprise, he said that he loved our Christmas lights and would be trying to outdo us the following year!

We thanked him and, although confused, were quite touched by what appeared to be a gesture welcoming us to the road.  When I popped over in the New Year so thank him, he appeared to be a bit embarrassed so we did wonder if he had delivered it to the wrong house!

However, the next Christmas he again appeared with a gift of a panettone, giving no reason for it and not stopping long enough to be questioned about his reasons. 

We began to speculate that maybe he had been given it as a present but didn’t like panettone and was just passing it on.  As we love panettone it was no hardship for us to help him out but we decided to avoid reciprocating as it would then become a chore.

We did hope that maybe this Christmas he might have decided that enough was enough but lo and behold he turned up on the doorstep again just before Christmas, sadly not with a panettone (luckily I had already bought one!) but with a poinsettia!
Again, it was thrust at us and he turned and made off rapidly, not staying for pleasantries, discussion or questions!

Unfortunately, I have found from experience, that poinsettias and I do not get on – I only have to look at them for the lovely red leaves to fall off.  We have put it in the correct place in the house and have watered according to the instructions in a hope of its survival but I noticed this morning that some of the leaves are shrivelling and falling.

I should say that we have made a number of attempts to talk to him but there has been no reply to my knock since the first attempt and he only ever leaves the house to walk to his car.  I don’t want to appear to be a stalker by trying to catch him on this short walk so will have to suffice with a traditional “thank you” note through the letterbox.

5 February - I feel so sad about this but I tried to do all the right things, even though I knew in my heart this would happen!

Monday 4 September 2017

Cinderella - the original pantomime!

Sorting through some old papers I found a brown envelope headed up "On His Majesty's Service" and, in my mother's handwriting, the word "Cinderella".

Memories stirred, must be over 60 years ago at 37 Watcombe Road, Southbourne a play written by me and my brothers to perform for parents and (maybe, I can't remember) close neighbours.

The play was typed on a manual typewriter with handwritten edits on paper which had obviously come home with my father from his work as the back has technical stuff printed, probably on a Gestetner duplicator and a date of 1946!

Our parents obviously treasured our work enough to keep it and reading the pantomime after all these years, it wasn't too bad!

I wonder if my brothers remember and would like a copy .....

Our lucky day!

  The Bumblebee Conservation website tells me "If you find a bumblebee nest, consider yourself very lucky! They aren’t very common, and...