Wednesday the 13th of July 2022
I am well-travelled and sometimes I get a bit boring talking about the places I’ve been and the things I’ve done. But a visit to Wroxham and the Norfolk Broads was a first for me. Why did I leave it so long? Wroxham and the surrounding area are beautiful.
Of course, as per usual, the day didn’t start as it should have. The battery on my recently acquired cedar canoe was flat. And there wasn’t much point of me dragging her all the way to Norfolk. Sadly, I left her behind, but as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining and I, along with my wife Sue, travelled on other people’s boats, which in many ways, is better.
Short note to everybody who can’t get to the next meeting with a boat, please remember there’s always going to be space on other people’s boats and they too like talking about volts, amps, state of charge, charging points, lack of access and what are you going to have for lunch?
The day started at Landamores, a fabulous boatyard in Wroxham itself. Next year they’ll be celebrating their centenary, and they’ll still be in the same families’ hands. So they must be good. Anthony Landamore met us, and his daughter Jenny showed us around the yard and the boats that they have in production. It was a fascinating insight on how to do things well.
At 11 o’clock we set off from the Landamore wharf, a small flotilla of three, Mayfly 16, Olive and a very well known Wagtail. Sue and myself joined Anthony Landamore on Mayfly for the journey up to The Swan Inn. Anthony, very much a local, zig-zagged his way through the Broads, pointing out boats and places of interest, which included the traditional sailing wherry’s.
You know when people are experienced boaters. It’s the path that they take from place to place, how they steer the boat, how they use the throttle and when they decide to bring the beer out. Anthony, a well-prepared man, endeared himself to my wife with, as the Australians would say, a roadie, (a beer on the go).
New members Nigel Featherstone and his brother Gary joined us on Olive. They are new owners of this boat, a Frolic 21, beautifully refitted by Landamores. Maybe there is a little bit too much inbreeding in Norfolk? One of the additions to the boat that Nigel had made was an attractive canopy.
As for many boaters, just being able to jump on your boat and go is a desirable feature but is always tempered by the laborious action and nail splitting, finger pulling, canopy mounting and unmounting. With four zips on Olive, she was ready to go.
Lunch was excellent at The Swan Inn, we sat at our prebooked table on the terrace. Hire boaters in the action of mooring and schadenfreude – need I say more? The conversation was good, and we talked all manner of things EBA at the business end but its also a great opportunity to get to know other boaters better. There’s something about Electric Boaters that makes them mellow and good company.
Anthony Landamore this, Anthony Landamore that. But what makes him a nice chap is the fact that he was always ready to jump off his seat in the middle of the meal to help other boaters tie up. What a nice chap and an example to us all.
My journey back was with John Puddefoot on Wagtail. This boat, previously owned by Paul Wagstaffe MBE, is a marathon runner. She started the day two hours upriver to join us at Landamores, joined us for our tour, and then was the journey back to her moorings later that day. John and my wife hit it off, he being a retired headteacher, and Sue, my wife, currently still a headteacher. Sue had many questions on what it’s like to retire, as she looked at me with accusing eyes, seemingly saying, when are you going to retire Tim?
What I learn from these events is that each of these boats have their own foibles and their owners, their quibbles. In an age when everything is supposed to be perfect, these boats are an example that nothing is perfect. A boat can only be good at one thing, look at that pro and forget the con and you’ll be a happy boater. Failing that, better instrumentation will help you understand the boats systems and will enable you to manage them better.
Have a great summer, I plan to have a meeting up in the Lake District just after the schools have gone back, details will be forthcoming. After that, I hope one more meeting on the Thames before we wrap it up for the year.
Please remember if you don’t have a boat and you are a member, no problem we will find you a spot.
Tim, your secretary.