Friday, 3 October 2014

Swallow...and Amazon...

Swallow at Rockland St. Mary Staithe

The Mrs. and I have just returned from a well-earned short break on the Norfolk Broads aboard a delightful WOODEN cruiser called Swallow.  She shares the small craft group at Maffett Cruisers with the other wooden boat, Merlin.  So nice to have a wooden boat, rather than the oversized, endlessly ugly plastic pigs that now infest the waters of this area.  You can see some of the latter in background of the photo above.
We picked Swallow up from Loddon on the River Chet.  We felt immediately at home.  She was quiet, with her forward mounted Perkins 108 diesel and steered like a dream, unlike so many wheel steered forward helmed cruisers.  With the clever top slid back it was airy and very pleasant.  A few spots of rain didn't really matter and we fetched up at Reedham in warm sunshine late afternoon.
I went off for a wander to photograph Sanderson's wonderful shed.
There's a sign inside the open front door that says "Judge us by our service, not our shed".  Well I love their shed!

Reedham is noted for its railway swing bridge, a leftover from the days of the wherry, with its 40 foot mast and the fact that quite large coastal craft still come up the Yare.

Along the way from Reedham we saw the usual Broadland sights.

After a pleasant day with friends we made for Rockland Broad, approached by a narrow cut and necessary to keep to a channel marked with red and yellow buoys across the main broad and then down a very narrow cut to an idyllic little mooring, by a nice pub, the New Inn, where a welcome jar of Woodforde's Wherry was consumed. In my view the best beer in Britain.
This should have prepared us for the walk to the shop, but mapmakers can be a funny bunch.  This particular one by about 250%.  All uphill, (in Norfolk of all places) and more than a mile away and back, of course. It was a very warm day, so thank heavens the Post Office/shop was also a tea rooms.
We needed this
In the evening we repaired to the New Inn, simply because they claimed to make the Best Burger on the Broads.  In fact it proved to be possibly the best burger anywhere. Hand made and served with a choice of no less than 6 cheeses, it was superbly presented, with home made skinny chips in a miniature frying basket and home made salsa dressing.  A passion fruit sorbet finished that off perfectly.
Pubs are suffering everywhere these days and such excellent establishments as this deserve support.
Well recommended.

These short breaks go so quickly.  Back to the River Chet yesterday to be ready to have the boat back this morning early.  I did some sketching and general lazing about and Chris read her books.
This is the little yard where the boat came from.

And Amazon?
Well getting out of Rockland was close...


  1. Looks like you had a great time, and I love that shed, too! Nice to see that there are still places like that. Your boat for the voyage was a fine looking one and I approve of the Perkins...I had a Perkins engine in my last Land Rover!

  2. Had a lovely time, Iain. The Perkins was quiet, reliable and was immaculate in metallic blue! Apparently as long as you change the oil and filters regularly they go for ever. Lots of them in canal boats, too.