Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The following email was sent to a company called Henshaw Coaches based in Nottinghamshire.  I felt strongly enough to write to the company and don't feel my comments were unfair in any way.
"We were driving west on the A47 near Norwich on Sunday 2nd November, mid afternoon, in heavy rain, travelling at 70 mph when one of your coaches struggled to overtake us.  When the coach eventually got past us, the driver immediately pulled in in front of us, causing us to brake and also covering us with water spray from the road conditions.

We then reached an upward incline in the road and his speed slowed so much that we had to overtake him to keep our speed up and get out of the water spray.  As we passed him, he made as if to pull out in front of us - appearing to be annoyed that we had overtaken him, although we gave no indication that this was the case.  I peered at the driver as we passed and he was gesticulating with his hand and mouthing words at us, for no reason that we were aware of.

We then came to another downward incline and he came up very close behind us, as if to overtake.  However by this time there was traffic passing us and ahead of us with no space for him to pull in so he stayed very close behind us which was where he was when we reached our junction and came off the A47.

This seemed to us to be inconsiderate, intimidating and aggressive driving, unnecessary in the poor weather conditions and we felt that you should be made aware of it as it reflects badly on your company name.  The coach registration was LX03 KPG."
The response I got from the company was as follows - nothing more!
I didn't think this reflected particularly well on the company but did suggest that this was hardly the point I was trying to make but they might like to check the governors on this particular coach!! 

Monday, 6 October 2014

It started with a rainbow …

Actually, it started before the rainbow, with a rain storm of enormous proportions, which followed us up the river and arrived as we moored at Thurne.

All was safely battened down and waterproof and I must congratulate the weather forecasters on a reasonably accurate forecast – they said the rain would come through at lunchtime and last for three hours – it came through around 3pm and lasted for around an hour and a half!  Pretty fair forecasting we thought.

As the weather front started to clear, with blue sky appearing, a glorious rainbow developed.  One of the occasions when I longed for a wide angle lens to snap the entire rainbow.

However, I wanted to catch as much as possible so the skipper started to open a window for me to poke the camera out but as we both moved to one side of the boat the water on the roof started to pour down the side so he rolled up a towel to catch it and enable me to keep the camera dry.  I stood in front of the navigator’s seat with the camera at the ready and he leaned over with the rolled towel.  Unfortunately, the folding back of the seat folded at that point and he fell forward enough to knock me off balance.  There was nothing I could grab and in a freaky accident I went backwards, not just on to the floor, but down the steps into the saloon of the boat!

Steps to saloon

Total shock was my first reaction, followed by concern for my camera and then pain from so many parts of my body that I didn’t know which to worry about first!  The skipper rushed down to try and get me up but I told him to leave me whilst I assessed any damage.  My initial thought was that I had cracked a back rib, followed by a dislocated shoulder and a ripped ear!  The skipper examined my ear closely and proclaimed “no blood” and my shoulder was moving in the socket so the rib was the main concern.  To cut a long story short, severe bruising was the only problem, thank goodness – I’ve discovered a few more bruises today, two days later, on legs and buttocks!

A decision was made to cut short our weekend and head for home, for a hot bath and medication, which was the right move, although we did miss a glorious day on Sunday!

I did recover enough to take a few snaps of the rainbow and, hallelujah, no damage to the camera - it landed on a seat cushion - which is where I should have landed!!

Rain cloud rolling away

Sunset after the storm

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

That time of year again

If, like me, you are an arachnophobe, and go away for a weekend, or even overnight, just make sure on your return that you check for spiders.

Places to check include:

Under sofa cushions
Behind curtains
Under toilet seat - yes, it happened to me (not at home I hasten to add!)
In dressing gown - shake before wearing
In towel - shake before using
Under quilt - strip back before getting in
All corners of bedroom

Another tip is to wear socks/slippers/shoes on the evening you return home so they don't scuttle over your bare feet.

This one was in the garage luckily but could so easily have come into the house.

Monday, 25 August 2014

August Bank Holiday Weekend

The forecast said “there will be sunshine all day on Saturday” so we decided to go sailing!

The sunset on Friday night was good and the sunrise on Saturday morning was also good!

The plan was to cruise gently down the river in the motor boat, moor at the end of Upton Dyke, collect the sailing boat and maybe go for a sail down to Acle and back then tow the sailing boat alongside the motor boat, back to South Walsham.

When we got to Upton Dyke, the only mooring at the end was full with a large sailing boat which was intending to stay all weekend (maybe for the beer festival in the village pub) so plan B came into force.

This was to take the motor boat back to our mooring and drive to Upton to collect the sailing boat and, as the weather was looking good, to sail back to South Walsham.

All went according to plan, except we had to bale 15 buckets’ worth of water out of the sailing boat before we could sail, but we eventually took to the river together with two or three other sailing boats.

A lovely sail upriver for about half an hour when we noticed a huge black cloud behind us.  “Don’t worry” said the skipper, "it’s going the other way!When a few raindrops started to fall, we thought back to a few weeks’ previously when something similar had happened and the friend we were with decided to put on his full wet weather gear.  We were sceptical but followed suit, just before the heavens opened!

With this in mind, we donned our wet weather clothing, except I had forgotten to bring my waterproof trousers!  The skipper, who was wearing shorts, kindly said that I could wear his waterproof salopettes – rather too big for me but I went for it anyway!

A good move, as the cloud which was “going the other way” suddenly changed direction and decided to dump its contents on us.  The wind was still blowing so we gallantly carried on sailing and after about ten minutes the rain stopped, however the wind disappeared as well!  As the tide was against us, we were eventually going backwards and the other boats which had set off just after us gave up and turned round.  I felt this was a wise move but the skipper said “let’s go into the reeds and wait for the wind”.  By this time I was thinking longingly of wine rather than wind!

By this time there were black clouds all round us but we sat in a patch of sun for about 20 minutes when the reeds started stirring so we let go and began to sail again.  Unfortunately we sailed right under one of the black clouds which again kindly dumped on us and the wind got up to storm force (it felt like it!).  We were racing along and could have done with a couple of reefs – we overtook another half-decker at speed, went round the bend at Thurne Mouth to head up the Bure in a gale, hail, thunder and lightning but as quickly as the storm had started, it passed over and everything stopped, apart from the tide running out!!

Out came the paddle and, to cut a long story short, about an hour and a half later we arrived back at South Walsham, cold and with aching arms and shoulders.

I have to admit that we put the heating on in our motor boat and never was wine and chocolate so gratefully consumed as it was on Saturday evening!

NB - we had a lovely sail back to Upton on Sunday, in warm sunshine and a steady breeze, 

stopping for lunch at Thurne, so had a good memory to end the weekend.   

Although it was a long weekend, being August Bank Holiday (August? - really?) we took note of the forecast for Monday and stayed in the dry!!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Tenby Lifeboat Station

I was watching a “Grand Designs” programme on television a few weeks’ ago, an old repeat I know, but it struck a memory with me as it was the renovation and conversion of the old Tenby Lifeboat Station.

Our family spent most of my childhood holidays in South Wales at Stepaside near Saundersfoot so I knew the area quite well which accounts for my interest in the programme.  We used to meet up each year with another family from The Wirral who we came to know well.  They had three children, about the same ages as me and my brothers.

Whilst I was watching the ambitious conversion, a memory slid into my mind of one holiday when the weather wasn’t brilliant and to find something positive to do, I organised my brothers (and possibly next door’s children – I can’t remember) into collecting stuff from the beach – shells, fossils, flotsam and jetsam etc.  We then set out our bounty on the dining table, with labels, as a museum and charged anyone we could con into paying, probably a couple of pence, to come and look at it.

I seem to remember we raised about 2 shillings & sixpence which we decided to donate to the RNLI at Tenby Lifeboat Station.  My father took us to Tenby and I can remember presenting the money to someone and being shown round the Lifeboat Station. We also received a letter from the RNLI, thanking us for our efforts and donation.

I couldn’t find any photos amongst my parents collection but this website shows what the Lifeboat Station looks like now https://folio.brighton.ac.uk/view/view.php?id=8832

Breydon Regatta adventure!

Last weekend (9/10 August) was Breydon Regatta. 

According to Wikipedia “Breydon Water is a large stretch of sheltered estuary at Great Yarmouth in the English county of Norfolk. It is at the gateway to the The Broads river system on the eastern edge of Halvergate Marshes. It is the UK's largest protected wetland. It is 5 km long and more than 1.5 km wide in places.”

We had not attended this regatta before as it was quite a long journey by water and with tides and the Great Yarmouth bridges to contend with it hadn’t been convenient.  However, the railway runs between Norwich and Great Yarmouth and some trains stop at the Berney Arms station. The Berney Arms pub is set below sea level and has no public road to it, being approached by water or rail (a short tramp over fields from the station).

The train times fitted quite well for the regatta so we decided to make the journey on the Saturday.  A 6.00 am alarm call woke us to a breezy but sunny day and having packed a bag with essentials (waterproofs, cameras, drinks) the night before we drove to Reedham where we were to get on the 7.55 am train for the six minute journey to Berney Arms.

Rail ticket

There were two other passengers getting off at Berney Arms and, on chatting to them as we picked our way across the fields, we discovered that we knew each other from contact through the www.threeriversrace.org.uk website which I helped set up!  We had never met before – small world!  They had been invited to crew on a river cruiser.

Busy moorings

The moorings were full of boats with signs of activity as we arrived.  There were a lot of blurry-eyed people emerging from their boats and we quickly gathered that a good night had taken place in the pub and some had been disturbed by the very heavy rain during the night, as we had!

The pub was already open for breakfast and we were glad of coffee and toast.  Under new ownership, the staff were friendly and helpful and the pub was spotless. We planned to return at lunchtime to sample the menu.

A number of friends came to say hello and discuss the weather conditions which were quite windy but sunny with intermittent cloud.  The skipper was approached to see if he would like to crew on one of the river cruisers but a decision was eventually made not to sail.  He wasn’t too upset as it would have been hard work!

We were introduced to the people who were running the race (Officer of the Day and Timekeeper) and they very kindly offered us a lift on their motor boat down on to Breydon Water.

Race briefing

After the briefing, we set off from the moorings and came in to moor on the platform where the Start Line would be.  All hands were needed to secure the boat in the strong tide and wind.  We could get on to the land from there and walk back to the pub if necessary.

Race start

Safety Boat

The Safety Boat was racing around setting the buoy markers and shortly after we tied up and had coffee, the boats started coming out for the start of the race.  The majority of them had reefs in as the wind was gusting quite strongly.

The friends we had met on the train appeared after a while and told us that the crew on the river cruiser had been “double booked”.  They didn’t mind too much as having been sailing at Horning all the previous week they were quite tired. They sat down with us to spectate and take photos.

The scenery across the marshes was beautiful, with a lovely “Norfolk sky” setting it off.

The marker buoy for the bottom end of Breydon was a long way down and with the tide running out fast and the wind blowing down the estuary, the boats were taking a while to get back up to the top.


Small blue
I walked along the bank trying to get some snaps of the numerous butterflies but they kept getting blown away!

One of the spectators near us was watching the race at the far end of Breydon through binoculars and suddenly said “Raisena’s broken her mast!”  We were all horrified and watched as the safety RIB raced down to help.

Safety RIB
Raisena sailing

Raisena demasted

A sad sight as she made her way back to the moorings with her sail in bits as well (the crew apparently had to deliberately cut the sail to release the bits).  Someone commented that it looked as if she had a junk rig - in both meanings of the word!
We were delighted to be invited to lunch on the Committee Boat, with a glass of wine as well – very hospitable!

The course for the second race was shortened with the buoy being brought further up the estuary, as it was still fairly breezy and the tide was running out fast.

There were one or two other incidents, the next major one being Dragonfly breaking her mast, virtually as she eased off after crossing the finishing line. 

Dragonfly sailing

Crossing finishing line - mast cracking

Mast broken

Another boat had a ripped sail and one just managed to avoid disaster …..

Pandora 3

All in all, an exciting day but also a sad day to see the damage, despite all precautions being taken.

We had to leave before the end of the second race to catch the train back to Reedham at 17.54 so walked back to the pub for a drink before heading off across the fields to the station, which was actually just a raised platform.  There were quite a number of other people waiting for the train, having walked from either Great Yarmouth (5.5 miles) or Reedham (also 5.5 miles) and the train was packed with people, probably either returning from a day out in Great Yarmouth or going into Norwich for the evening.

We were back at our boat in South Walsham by just after 18.30, glowing from a day in the sun and wind.  A lovely, really enjoyable day meeting lots of very nice people and enjoying some exciting sailing.  We would certainly do it again next year.

Details of the Yare Sailing Club, who hosted the race are here www.yaresailingclub.org.uk/details/details.asp

…. and some more photos taken by us are here www.flickr.com/photos/ladylouise2/sets/

Thursday, 24 July 2014

A good year for butterflies

Everyone is talking about what a good year it's been for butterflies and I have been lucky enough to snap more than two this year.  

I'm quite pleased with what I've seen so far in 2014 and thought other people might like to see the variety too.

Maniola jurtina - Meadow Browns

Anthocharis cardamines - Orange Tip

Aglais io - Peacock

Papilio machaon - Swallowtail

Aglais urticae - Small Tortoiseshell

I can now add another couple to the gallery.  Not sure of their names, but they're quite pretty.

Small blue

Small blue or common blue?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

That car again!

A couple of weeks ago, the skipper said that my car was sounding a "bit fruity"!  I did suggest that perhaps he meant "throaty" but he just grinned.

I eventually found time to get it to the garage today and after it was taken away to put up on the ramp and be inspected, the lovely Diane came over and told me it was my cat.  I thought "it must be the neighbours' cat, as we haven't got one and OMG is it dead....?"  

Thankfully, before I opened my mouth, I suddenly realised she was talking about something called the catalytic converter which sounded seriously expensive to me. However, as I think I must have been helping to kill the environment for the last two or so weeks I have to bite the bullet and get it fixed!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

8 July 2014

On the 8 July 1984 my son was killed in a car accident.  He was a back seat passenger in a car which was overloaded with youngsters and went out of control.  The other youngsters all survived with minor injuries.

He was 17 years and 9 months old when he died and even though it’s now 30 years since his death, he will always be loved and remembered by his family and friends.

Monday, 7 July 2014

A walk on the outskirts of Norwich city

Although I’ve lived in Norfolk for nearly forty years I’d never turned left down a lane on the outskirts of Norwich, which had intrigued me for many years.  I think at one time it was signposted to Eaton village but then become a ‘dead end’ road with access for cycles and walkers only.

I met a friend in Norwich today, intending to go for a walk at Whitlingham Country Park but when we set off I turned in the wrong direction!  I could have easily found my way back to our original destination but then my friend said she knew of a walk by the river and to my delight she directed me down this little lane which had intrigued me for so long!

There was a small car park so we got out and it was a journey of discovery for me, with the network of footpaths through fields and marshes, alongside the river (we debated which river it was and she felt it was the Tas whilst my instincts told me it was the Yare *)

Masses of butterflies and damsel flies were on the thistles and nettles along the footpath, which meandered by the crystal clear river. 

We came to a junction and my friend suggested we have a look at Keswick Mill which was well worth the detour.  What a beautiful spot just outside Norwich although the occasional train, probably heading towards Ely, and the distant hum of the by-pass told us that civilisation was only a short distance away.  Keswick Mill

Back up the path, across the railway line and we walked past Eaton Vale scout and guide activity centre and then on to the road which quickly led to Waitrose where we stopped for a welcome cup of coffee.

Back down the road, off to the right and we were back on to the footpaths and then it was a short trek across the slightly damp and marshy fields to the car park.

What a revelation for me and I really enjoyed it.  Will certainly be going again.  
Thanks Hilary!!

  • I checked on Google Earth and it was the Yare, of which the Tas seems to be a tributary which runs south