Thursday, April 13, 2006

Norfolk Broads 1 +

Moored on Womack Island with swans and ducks all around us, and a flashing kingfisher in the bush opposite. After a day of dull weather the sun broke through at exactly the right moment, shining through the trees along the bank. Earlier watching crested grebes in front of the boat gulping down fishes almost as big as themselves, and a Wednesday evening at the boatyard in Stalham with nobody else around as it grew dark.

At Stalham looking around The Museum of the Broads, getting the personal treatment as it had only been open two days and we were the first visitors, or almost the first. Outside moored on a little side stream a steam pleasure boat, big enough for about six people, sheeted over until the summer.

Irstead, a village so intertwined with the river that the houses had boat garages under them. The place appealed to both me and Wulf, for me it was the intimate way a classic English village seemed strangely alien as it incestuously flirted with the water, for Wulf it was the way it sounded like 'bastard'. A few steps from the water a little display stand selling hand-painted English whimsy like flowerpots and horseshoes, with an honesty box for the payments. Chavs don't hire cruising boats ...

The Ferry Inn at Horning, out of season a perfect place for a lunchtime meal, looking out over the water whilst munching through unusual Norfolk delicacies like Welsh Rarebit pasty with onion rings. The quizzie paid out well too, just about paying for our meals and drinks thanks to Hangman 2 and the new 'Millionaire'.

And walking to the hide on Cockshoot Broad as stormclouds gathered to the north, watching ducks brave the miniature waves through the slot in the side, walking back on a wooden walkway above the swamps as the wind picked up capriciously and sent a big branch crashing just a few feet from my head.

Seeing the world at 4 mph or even 6 mph on the water motorway of the Yare.

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