Friday, 17 October 2014

Happy Anniversary

Forty eight long years ago on my wedding morning, I was awakened at 6.30 am by my apologetic newsagent father who told me that I would have to get out of bed to complete a newspaper round, because one of the Deliverers hadn't turned up!

I was delighted!!!! Anyway the rest of the day went well and as my lovely wife has put up with all my many foibles throughout the whole period, I decided that this year we would go away for our Anniversary and for once she wouldn't have to do any cooking.
A very murky Windermere
We decided that we should visit an hotel that has been recommended to me regularly by an old business acquaintance, the 'Gold Rill' in Grasmere, Cumbria,, some 60 miles away from home.
The Gold Rill Hotel
View from our bedroom window
The wonderful spell of weather that we had enjoyed for most of September had changed for the worse and so it was with some surprise that a couple of days of good dry weather was forecast for our night away, which meant that we could go in the Morgan.

Grasmere Church and the Wordsworth family graves in the churchyard
We set off in glorious sunshine which we enjoyed until entering the Lake District National Park, when the sky became overcast but thankfully dry and it was top-down all the way, indeed it remained down for the whole period.
The River Rothay, Grasmere
We have been visiting the Lakes since childhood but it is always lovely to return and reaquaint ourselves with its many charms. So we spent a lovely afternoon with the large weekend crowds looking around Grasmere village, visiting the church, the Wordsworth graves in the churchyard and 'Sarah Nelson's celebrated Grasmere Gingerbread shop'

Later, having checked in to our hotel, we walked along the road skirting the western shore of the lake, meeting countless fellwalkers returning from the peaks, before returning for a swift G&T or two before dinner. Prudently, we never have our evening tipple before 6pm, but our well established policy is, that regardless of the actual time, it is always 6 o'clock somewhere!!!!
Towards our hotel with Helm Crag (Lion and the Lamb) on left in distance. This was the scene of a mighty family climbing expedition in the 70's.  
After a beautiful evening meal and wholesome breakfast, we said our farewells and drove to meet friends of ours in the village of Finsthwaite near Lakeside, Windermere, travelling via Tarn Hows, a beauty spot that we hadn't visited for years.

The Langdale Pikes in the distance

Tarn Hows
Our final assessment of the hotel is that it is a lovely place to stay, although we both commented that, even allowing for our advanced years, we felt that we were too young to be there! The staff are wonderful and the food exceptional although an uplift to the existing smart, though somewhat dated, decor would improve the place immensely.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Broadland Memories.

Broads minded!

It was in 1954 that a young chap aged 9, stood with his family and gazed across Oulton Broad to a beautiful motor cruiser moored at one of the boatyards. Its varnish gleamed in the Spring sunlight and he could scarsely believe that he was to spend a week on board that beautiful craft, cruising the Norfolk Broads.

Our boat was hired from Jim Hoseason, who had taken over this small boatyard at the southern end of the Broad, from his father Wally B. Hoseason, and was in the early stages of developing further the family firm's hire fleet and booking agency, now a household name in the field of boat and cottage rental in this country and abroad.
The first sight of 'Mary Bridget' moored at Jim Hoseasons yard at Oulton Broad
Built by Herbert Woods in Potter Heigham, the 'Mary Bridget' had been privately owned and we were the first people to hire her since her acquisition by Mr Hoseason. To this day I can remember the excitement I felt on going aboard.
1954.....9 years old
I have always had a keen interest in boats,  I guess, springing from the fact that all my family on my father's side were from Brixham in South Devon and were closely associated with the sea, either working on the Brixham sailing smacks or in the navy, and it was at that moment, in 1954, that my love of Norfolk and the Broads was kindled. And it is to the Broads that both my wife and myself have returned regularly.
A peaceful afternoon on Belaugh Staithe by the River Bure
The last occasion was a week ago when we spent a delightful week in Barn House Cottage in Belaugh (pronounced 'Beela') between Wroxham and Coltishall on the River Bure. We chose the cottage from as an alternative to our usual practice of hiring a motor cruiser and it proved to be delightful, providing a good base to visit parts of the region we had not visited before.
Coltishall Common...a short walk from our cottage
However, we did get afloat on two occasions during the week by hiring a Day Boat from Martham to cruise Horsey Mere and Hickling Broad and a second craft to cover the River Waveney from Burgh St Peter to Beccles.
Our Day Boat moored at the 'Pleasure Boat' staithe, Hickling

View of the River Ant from How Hill
We had a wonderful time and were able to view the Broads from a different perspective. It was while doing this at a well known house called How Hill overlooking the River Ant, on which we have cruised on countless occasions, that we spotted a lady painting the scene. To cut a long story short, we are buying that painting, once the paint has dried and it is framed, providing a lasting memory of that special moment in yet another wonderful return visit to my beloved Norfolk