Wednesday, 19 April 2017


We have just spent a week in my favourite English county with one of my daughters and her family in a delightful house bordering the River Bure at Wroxham.
Our accommodation

Early morning with the River Bure at the bottom of our garden
The lawn ran down to the waters edge where our small day boat was moored, in which we enjoyed many cruises up and down the river with the occasional picnic thrown in for good measure.
The day boat
Since 1954, when I was 11 years old, I have been visiting the Broads, initially with my family and then at around the age of 17/18 with friends, once in a yacht, but mostly in motor cruisers.
Commander Ted aged 3 at the helm!!!
My wife and I also spent our honeymoon there in 1966, so I have a great love and affinity with the place.
A trip to the beach at Sea Palling
Cruising down the river at Belaugh.
As the years have advanced I have become increasingly nostalgic for a Norfolk Broads filled with traditional wooden cruisers and yachts, all displaying their individual character and each an example of the boatbuilders' individual style and build.....a bit like the cars of yesteryear I suppose.

A 'Windboat' from the golden age of motor cruisers crossing Barton Broad

A trip by rail to Aylsham
Anyway, the way we have done it in recent years is fine, a little boat to spend the day in and a lovely house and bed to sleep in at night, although I do not discount the chance of hiring a cruiser again in the future, God willing!
Quanting a traditional yacht from Hunter's Yard at Ludham
John Betjeman wrote a lovely poem about Norfolk that evokes special memories for me as a youth when I visited the place with my parents and subsequently.

How did the Devil come? When first attack?
These Norfolk lanes recall lost innocence,
The years fall off and find me walking back
Dragging a stick along the wooden fence
Down this same path, where, forty years ago,
My father strolled behind me, calm and slow.

I used to fill my hand with sorrel seeds
And shower him with them from the tops of stiles,
I used to butt my head into his tweeds
To make him hurry down those languerous miles
Of ash and alder-shaded lanes, till here
Our moorings and the masthead would appear.

There after supper lit by lantern light
Warm in the cabin I could lie secure
And hear against the polished sides at night
The lap lap lapping of the weedy Bure,
A whispering and watery Norfolk sound
Telling of all the moonlight reeds around.

How did the devil come? When first attack?
The church is just the same, though now I know
Fowler of Louth restored it. Time, bring back
The rapturous ignorance of long ago,
The peace, before the dreadful daylight starts,
Of unkept promises and broken hearts.


Sunset on the Bure

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