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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Royall Diamond For Sale

SOLD
Broads Cruiser Royall Diamond
Alpha 42 Built 1995




A rare opportunity to acquire this well maintained one level motor cruiser.  Would make a super liveaboard.





Size: 12.80 x 3.66m (42ft x 12ft)
Sleeps: 6-7
Berths: 3 Doubles plus 1 settee single berth

Features:
  • One level throughout
  • Bow Thruster
  • Electric mud weight winch
  • Solar Panel
  • Large spacious forward saloon with comfortable seating, plenty of storage and forward steering position.  Settee pulls out for a single berth
  • Sliding canopy sunroof with the options of either opening the left or right hand side or both
  • Two middle double cabins with shared shower/wc/washbasin
  • Large aft bedroom with ensuite wc/shower/washbasin and walk round bed and extra seating
  • 2 Shower rooms have fresh water flushing wc with wash basin.
  • Hot and cold running water in galley and shower rooms.
  • Electric windscreen wiper

  • Built in digital tv aerial & booster (tv not included)
  • Large fully fitted galley with hot and cold running water, water filter, 12v electric fridge with freezer box, full size cooker and microwave
  • Warm air heating Eberspacher 5kw heater
  • Carpeting throughout
  •  Radio/CD player
  • 240 volt inverter 1800 watt
  • Nanni 4150 diesel engine
  • Double rear doors into spacious well
  • All ropes and fenders included
  • Boat safety certified until February 2018
  • Ideal for all year cruising
  • Available for collection End of Oct 2016
  • Available to view most Saturdays (please ring first)

  
PRICE £49,995 incl vat

TELEPHONE 01603 782743

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Big news


Just a quick note to let all our friends and customers know that as of the end of the 2017 season, we will no longer be operating our hire fleet and we will be selling the boatyard.  We have decided to start a new chapter of our lives.  Nigel will be continuing to work on private boats from a different location.  We know this is a way off yet but felt we had to let you all know as some of you like to book well in advance and this will give you ample time to make alternative arrangements for 2018.   This announcement will no way affect bookings for this or next year and business will continue as usual until then.  Best regards Nigel and Sara.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

DERBYSHIRE, SPRING CLEANING AND HOW THE LORD ROBERTS ENDED UP IN A PULK HOLE IN HOVETON.

 

Last week we enjoyed very much a holiday in the Derbyshire Peak District, rather a favourite destination of ours and though everywhere was pretty muddy from recent heavy rainfall we still managed some excellent walking.
A brief resume saw us up on Kinder Scout on the Sunday walking the nine mile Downfall route.
This is quite hard going as hardly any of the paths, except for the last drop back in  to the village, are what you might call easy, being rather bouldery and muddy.

William Clough.

Having skirted Kinder reservoir and hauled ourselves up William Clough, and you know what these are like from past descriptions, we arrived at a junction with the Pennine way below another edge which however much we tried to ignore it, we knew that we would have to climb and from the top of which we could see Manchester spread out shining all silvery in the sunlight.
It seemed ages before we arrived at the Downfall only to find a bitter wind cutting across the moor top and barely a trickle of water passing over the waterfall, instead, long icicles hung from the vertical cliff face and we tried to shelter amongst the rocks with one or two other brave souls to eat our lunch.


We did not stop long however, as it was extremely cold and my fingers, being rubbed raw from sanding SOLACE's varnish tingled enough to cause a fair bit of bad language once the circulation began to creep back into them. Lower down, crossing the pastures with the sun shining it was very pleasant but we were pretty tired by now and glad enough to arrive back at the car.
Some one, "No name, no pack drill" was rather ill overnight so the next day we decided to do a fairly easy and regular walk of ours up and round the back of Chatsworth House.
The park and grounds might be absolutely heaving with people but you can climb up to the Hunting Tower and enjoy the fine views and hardly see a soul. There are two very pretty lakes which the track passes and we have seen amongst the more normal wildfowl a golden eye and a small company of harlequin ducks up here. Sometimes you can also hear the weird calling of the goosanders and once we saw a small group of four lovely creamy coloured goosander males swimming and diving on the river. The route down is via a small bracken clad edge above a farm and across the river bridge.
The following day, having lunched in the cafĂ© at Cauldwells mill, Rousley, we parked just below Curbar edge and struck out along Baslow edge, the other side of where the road passes through the cliffs. Once again it was rather blustery but the views as always were superb.

 
 At an abandoned quarry we circled down to where some highland cows stood ruminating amongst the rank winter grass, not liking the look of their enormously long horns we diverted around the edge of the field but they paid little enough attention to us as we passed onto a very boggy meadow where there are three or four stone grave slabs marking the burial site of some plague victims from the village below, thirty four years before the plague struck Eyam and London.


Sara found the boggy path through the trees beyond the cottage and the square stone block used by the free climbers  heavy going,  and said so, but all was well once we had scrambled up onto the edge to return to the car.
We awoke the next morning to steadily falling snow so we needed somewhere to walk that was  fairly flat with a good surface. The snow was not laying as we drove toward Tissington, a village that we had never visited before and we were rather surprised to find that to get there we had to pass through the big estate gate posts and along the drive toward the hall. Having parked the car the snow seemed to us a little bit lighter as we trudged through the "chocolate box village" however once we started to cross a freshly manured field we found that it was driving horizontally into our faces and gave it up as a bad job. After lunch we returned and started out again in full wet gear though it was dry at the present time. We managed to cross two or three other fields passing above some farms before we joined the old railway track proper at a bridge and proceeded easily toward the site of an old station where there was a visitors car park and where  we turned off downhill steeply to join a lane leading into the village of Alsop. By now it had begun to snow again which soon turned to a heavy sleet, YUK! Instead of following a footpath along the high route which we thought would be terrifically muddy we followed the road and in fact even turned off this down a lane to cross the valley floor to climb back up to the railway again, I say track but in actual fact there was so much water running along it you would have thought it a stream. Having re-joined the Tissington Trail we walked back to the car arriving in a rather bedraggled condition.
As the following days forecast was for a sunny start but not to last, we bolted our breakfast down and drove directly to Castleton where the valley below Mam Tor lay brightly lit in sunshine.




The route from the village up to Hollins Cross on the lowest part of the ridge is not particularly easy but we managed that in one go and than having paused to take in the view as it is normally quite murky when we climb up here we walked up to the summit again with no stops.


As we could see that dark clouds were gathering over the far hills and that they were heading our way we decided to move on fairly sharpish down to a little seat that we regularly use for a brew stop.
Sara did not want to continue down the slightly longer route along the road so we cut off down the steep pasture but she slipped and floundered about a bit in the wet sticky mud for quite some few seconds before I could get down to her to help her up. Proceeding more cautiously we arrived at the top of the old road, abandoned due to slippage in 1979.




We used to return down to Castleton via the Winnats pass but the traffic is rather awful. In any case as we arrived back at the car, the rain, which had been promised started to fall so we escaped another wetting.
Eyam, the plague village which you may well have heard about in a play on the wireless a few weeks ago lay smothered in a carpet of white and more snow was falling steadily out of the grey sky.

Our route took us steeply up through a winter wonderland wood and along the top road above the village on which by now the snow certainly was beginning to lay. Back down through an alpaca field we basically did a huge figure of eight taking in the delights of Stoney Middleton where at the church we climbed up the aptly named Jacobs ladder, we could have gone a little higher here and returned via a rough track but as we were beginning to feel rather damp once again we decided to follow a road which like that coming down from Mam Tor has had a slippage but in this case only fairly recently, but dangerous enough to close it to road traffic. We arrived back at the car drenched!


By now the roads were getting a bit dodgy and as snow continued to fall we drove back very slowly toward our cottage   up on the tops near Cutthorpe. It was getting very slippery indeed and as we did not fancy turning out later we decided to eat another very nice meal at the Gate Inn with its roaring log fire in the grate. When we came out the snow had eased a bit but there had been a car accident lower down the  hill and the local Mountain Rescue had been called out to blockade the road though luckily this was beyond our turning and we arrived back safely enough though Claire who owns the cottage had begun to get a bit worried about us.
Just because Sara's on holiday it doesn't mean she can stop knitting! Cats eyes to be added later.
 

Some of the fleet in the snow. Compare with Derbyshire!
Since going back to work on Monday, Sara and I have been spring cleaning the boats, what a job, scrubbing them right through from end to end so that they will be nice and fresh for your arrival.
 Uncle Pete has also visited and laid new hard wearing lino on DIAMOND, STUART, COMMANDER and VELVET, the boats that he didn't do last year.
Uncle Pete laying lino in the DIAMOND.
New lino in the STUART.

Paul is fitting a new heater at great expense in the OAK and as well as painting the toe rails on COMMANDER Steve and "Dynamo" Dave have lifted out of the water the Brown boat REDSHANK, part of the SOLACE fleet and it is now ensconced in the big shed along with the TENDER and  ELVER which has also been pulled out in there as well for a tidy up so you can see they will not go short of a job in the near future.
All this means that the telephone is diverted to one of our mobiles which takes a bit longer than normal to connect so please do not hang up and give it plenty of time, we will answer it


Testing lifejackets, Sara reckons that this is making good use of hot air.

HOW THE LORD ROBERTS CAME TO BE SUNK IN A HOVETON PULK HOLE.

LORD ROBERTS at Irstead, April 1963. Unfortunately photographer unknown.

Perusing a fairly recent edition of the "Broads Society" news letter "Harnser"  I noticed an incorrect comment concerning the old trading wherry LORD ROBERTS by a Wherry Trust member. In his article he stated that the LORD ROBERTS had not been restored due to a lack of funds available at the time that she was raised from the murky depths of Womack water way back in June of 1983.
Does it matter, of course not, it makes no difference now to anybody and especially it makes no difference to the poor old LORD ROBERTS, she will not be going anywhere any time soon, but then and again the point is that she could have if the higher echelons of the Wherry Trust had wanted her to, shall we go back to the summer of 1983 and have a look at how this all came about.
We had been looking for a complete wherry mast to stand in the riverside garden at WILDWOOD for some time, we had seen or been offered  various mast heads, mast heels and the bits that go in between but nothing of any use. Eventually Rowan Craft at Geldeston contacted us and offered the recently broken up SUNDOG's mast which had originally been made for the WHITE MOTH when she was built during the First Great War. Having negotiated a price the mast was duly delivered but like buses another complete mast came along soon after and was offered to us when Sid Chittleburgh telephoned one night to tell us about the surviving one off the LORD ROBERTS. Needless to say I soon met up with Sid at the back of the small  boatyard that was then between Womack staithe and the Trust base and where the mast lay dumped amongst some other rubbish amidst a clump of  trees. Once ownership had been transferred I towed the mast home and we still have it in storage and as far as I know it is the last  surviving complete trading wherry mast of the period. (More on this soon)
Whilst all this was going on Sid mentioned that a local fireman called Gordon Archer was attempting to pump out the LORD ROBERTS as Hunters, in whose dyke she was, had decided quite rightly that if she was ever going to be moved it had to be now or never.


LORD ROBERTS sunk in Hunters dyke, Womack.

LORD ROBERTS had been built of course for Joe Thain at Somerton and when he died joined "Blucher" Thain's fleet of wherries. She had been motorised during the 1930's but kept her mast till the end although it was removed during the occasional sugar beet season as it allowed her to then carry forty five tons of beet and made it easier for the cargo to be craned out at the factory.
When "Blucher" died in the the mid 1960's his wherry fleet passed onto May Gurney to join their own  wherries but as sugar beet carting by  wherry to Cantley had now ceased entirely they were disposing of their  wooden wherries but rather surprisingly kept the LORD ROBERTS at work, the last wooden wherry to trade commercially.
During the early part of 1969 LORD ROBERTS was carting freights of reed and then with Basil Thain at her helm she  carted mud dredging's from Collin's new basin and wet shed at Wroxham down river to the Salhouse broad area. Having helped in the construction of the  wet shed she was then used to load one or two freights of railway sleepers, loaded in the new basin, for the new board walk at Hoveton Great  Broad Nature trail but unfortunately the crew decided to load her during the afternoon and let her lay loaded overnight unattended, something which would never have happened in "Blucher's" day. When the crew returned next morning they found that the old girl had sunk overnight. LORD ROBERTS was pumped out and the  fitter from May Gurneys came over from the yard to drain the engine and get it running again and she then delivered her last and the last freight ever  delivered by a wooden wherry.
After returning to Thorpe various shenanigans were carried out before the old girl was given to the Wherry Trust by the Board of May Gurneys.
She then spent some time moored at the Wherry Hotel Oulton Broad until around I think it was Easter 1971when she was moved to a mooring that had been kindly offered by Hunters boatyard at Ludham.




I know I showed this photograph of LORD ROBERTS coburg last time but I wanted to show a comparison.


Having sunk pretty soon there after she was raised by our old mate Gordon during 1976 (I hope that's right, I have misplaced my newspaper cuttings of the period) to assess her condition which must have been however fairly poor by then and in any case she was allowed to quietly sink once again with just her men's cabin roof and tabernacle showing above the surface.




Gordon's method of pumping her out in June of 1983 was to wrap polythene sheeting completely around the hull and of course pump the water out from inside, the polythene sucking itself into any holes and blocking them.



However, as is well known, you can put as many pumps on as you like but at a certain point the water will just enter through any holes in the hull quicker and without any gain on the amount of water inside. I well remember a failed effort when we had quite a few smallish pumps including that I believe belonging  to Vincent Pargeter who had turned up on that occasion.
Part of the Norfolk Fire Service Museum Collection was kept at Stalham fire station and this collection included a beautiful  glossy red wartime mobile trailer pump with sparkling white canvas hoses and intake pipes with brass nozzles and strainers. Well after one or two attempts at pumping the LORD ROBERTS out with this rig out the poor old trailer pump didn't look quite so sparkly or indeed the canvas so white, in fact everything looked not unsurprisingly rather muddy. Gordon now designed a suction pump, rather difficult to explain, but a  normal fire nozzle is attached to a pipe of a much larger diameter at more or less a right angle. Not only did we  put the suction of the main pump into the wherries hold but if this attachment is angled correctly it will draw up a vast amount of extra water and mud by vacuum and it worked!
Well, one day Gordon ambled down to the wherry on his own, fired up the pump and up she popped, that's probably a bit of an exaggeration but any old how  Gordon comes to see us, understandably, all excited telling us he had had her afloat but that she had settled again because of water coming in through a small hole on the waterline in her aft end. It was settled that another attempt be made in a few days time but that we would have some tingles handy with which to nail over any holes in the hull.


Myself aboard the LORD ROBERTS.

Meanwhile Sid says to me, "Why don't you come out for a sail on ALBION."
That was the first time I had been on a  wherry under sail, Sid was skipper, I was crew and our cargo, if you could call it that was a load of hob nobs. I promptly dropped my quant in the water and had to go after it in the dinghy towed  behind for just such an emergency. As I stood looking at all the grass growing out of the "FRYING PANS" planksheer (ALBION was hogged so much she was known by that name by all the old boys up and down the riverbank) I see this chap peering at me, he was the one we later had all the trouble with concerning LORD ROBERTS, he says to me, "That would be nice if you could volunteer to clean all that out of there." "Well I'm bu***red", I thought. (I was under the influence of Jimmy Gorbould's  (GLEANER's owner) by then, he'd sit in his kitchen swearing like a trooper and his wife , who was religious and a dinner lady, would say  "Oh Jimmy please don't swear like that" and he'd reply "Tha's how that bloody well wos in them days.")
Anyway I thought to myself if he wants the weeding done he can do it himself.
Another day Sid says  to me, "They are making a television programme called Swallows and Amazons and have hired ALBION for a few days would you like to go as crew with me." and so I did, cor, the grub was lovely, we'd queue up at the mobile canteen and have a choice of what steak we fancied, that was alright too. Well, we done the filming during the day and moved the old FRYING PAN to the next filming location at night once they'd finished. Actually that was the best part about it really, me and Sid on our own as I can't abear a crowded wherry. During the day the film crew used the hold for various activities and of course when they were filming me  and Sid had to hide up. I got wrong a couple of times for being in shot and one day we hauled that old wherry up and down Horning quay I don't know how many times but there always seemed to something wrong, an aeroplane, a noise, a cloud, I don't know, that just weren't right. They kept saying "CUT, can you stop the wherry moving forward and take it  back into position," Sid I think got a bit fed up and says to them "You want ter try an stop thirty ton of wherry just like that." Anyhow that all come right in the end but really I can't recall that much about it. Except that for one shot they wanted to make me and Sid up like the actors to hoist and lower the sail but Sid wouldn't do it, rather a shame really. I also remember the Dimbleberry boy swimming about in the river and trying to climb up the rudder and tiller, that must of been "bloomin" cold in there.
Once again LORD ROBERTS sat proudly on top of the water instead of under it and we had put a tingle over the hole and do you know what, she never was no more bother till she sank somewhere around a year later, of course she used to fill up with rain water because her hold was open to the weather but leaks there were not.
What are we going to do with her now was the question, the Wherry Trust had studiously ignored anything to do with the LORD ROBERTS, even Sid, the only Trust member involved seemed to be doing it all of his own back so at the one and only Trust AGM I ever went to along with the others in the LORD ROBERTS gang  we shanghaied this chap I was telling you about, him what wanted his weeding done. Right through this AGM not one mention was made of the work put in by Gordon and Sid and come to that not one mention was made that the other wherry that the Trust owned was right at this very moment afloat in her dyke at Womack. Well old Grassy seemed a bit taken aback  when we went for him and wanted to know what was going to happen to the old wherry, do you know they hadn't planned ahead a single thing and it was then that we all thought why not have a go at restoring her.
Eventually Old Grassy gave us permission to move LORD ROBERTS to WILDWOOD at Hoveton if we could get insurance for the job. I don't think he wanted to but as we were going and checking her every night and offered him a spot on the checking roster he couldn't really refuse and in any case Hunters had got fed up with the delay and tried to winch her out of the dyke themselves only to pull one of her rear bulkheads out instead.
Of course no one would insure the LORD ROBERTS for her move so one morning, having taken up a day boat the night before, me, Sid, Gordon and another chap who might have been Gordon's son picked up the tow at 6am and gently pulled her down Womack dyke and out onto the Thurne for her last ever journey upon the waters which she had known for such a long time. I didn't know about shoving the tow boat up the wherries backside in those days and we towed her on a yoke from the bows, but she slid along easily enough. Can you imagine the scene in Horning a little later when LORD ROBERTS slid into a mooring on the Swan Quay, what a picture she made. We had coffee's in the pub whilst quite a crowd gathered to look at the old girl and then very reluctantly it was time for the last part of her trip to  end finally  at WILDWOOD. We had all sorts of pumps and gear on board and I am happy to report the old girl never took a drop on and slid into her mooring with ease. Several old skippers and crews came to visit their old ship and I carefully noted all their stories and tales and very fascinating they were






LORD ROERTS at the Swan Quay Horning. June 1983. Gordon in the blue shirt, Sid beyond.

Good lord, the arguments and kafuffle over her future and then this chap appeared on the scene with a Scottish sounding name, "Right," he says, "I've got the  money from the government, I want to restore the LORD ROBERTS and the only condition is  that she will have to have naughty boys working on her whilst we are doing it, when she's done I'll hand her back all complete. Who can I get to restore her?"
LORD ROBERTS under tow, Gordon on the fore deck.
 

"That's easy," we reply, "Alec Stewart from Ovary's on salt side has just retired, he worked on all of Thain's fleet of wooden wherries, including LORD ROBERTS, several pleasure wherries  including SOLACE and a smattering of May Gurneys wherries, he knows what he's doing."
A little later this chap comes back saying it's all arranged, he's got the finance in place, he's got Alec to oversee the job and he's got a boatshed in Oulton broad in which to carry out the restoration.
But do you know what? the Trust wouldn't have it, we said to them, "Restore her to sailing condition." "No." they replied, "Restore her as a motor wherry, after all she spent most of her life like that." "No." again. "What about as a houseboat or store room or anything you like?
It was then that we received a letter from Old Grassy stating that not under any circumstances would the Wherry Trust allow the LORD ROBERTS to be restored to any condition what so ever as the wherry was deemed to be a threat to the ALBION and would be competition.
That finished it, the Government man ran out of time and because of the Trusts unhelpful  attitude  had to quickly find a replacement project on which to spend his ample money on.
As to the LORD ROBERTS herself, she too seemed to give up and although various parties had now become involved she decided that a year afloat with no end in sight was enough and during a terrible thunder storm one night she sank for the very last time but in good company this time as WILDWOOD is in fact a veritable wherry graveyard.


LORD ROBERTS at wildwood. Hope you don't mind me using your photograph Pete.
 
A while later having heard absolutely nothing from the Trust I offered Vincent LORD ROBERTS winch gear for his restoration of MAUD but they got wind of it and said that they did not want him to have one single item for MAUD and  following this I had a visit from a Trust member  asking for her winch drum which we had found in the wherries fore peak and which I had stored  safely in SOLACE's winter quarters, I should have told him to sling his hook but instead  handed it over,  do you know,  later, on a visit to Womack  I saw it dumped behind the Trusts, workshop amidst a load of other wherry gear, all trampled into the mud and beyond repair and as far as I know that was the last time the Trust  had any direct dealings with the old girl.
All these years later there is now very little to be seen of the LORD ROBERTS, her cabin and decks have caved in and rank undergrowth covers most of her hull, occasionally her tabernacle may be viewed as the vegetation dies away during the winter  period and glimpses of her once proud red and blue colour scheme may be spotted.


















 

Thursday, 25 February 2016

February photo's

Not much to write about at the moment as we are all just sort of plugging on with our individual jobs so I thought I would post some photographs of what is happening on the yard as we get ready for the new season.





AMBASSADOR, DIAMOND across the river and SOLITAIRE in the shed.
TENDER to SOLACE out in the big shed.
Obligatory wherry photographs, ORION's lower forestay block and weather vane. ORION became the "new" GLEANER when she was purchased by the Gedge's in 1922.

LORD ROBERTS coburg, this was placed over the  stub of the stove pipe chimney for the cooking range that came through the men's cabin roof and was sloped so that the main sheet blocks did not catch on it.

SOLACE's new tiller plate that will strengthen the underside of the original tiller dating to 1903. BLACK PRINCE's tiller and plate is shown for comparison.
Sherringham station a couple of weeks ago.




That was a bit chilly up on Skelding Hill near Sherringham.

Raven.
Tillie.



Thursday, 11 February 2016

Tha's windy owd weather (first line of an old east coast fisherman's song)


BOOK NOW FOR A SUPER SUMMER HOLIDAY IN 2017
Please telephone for details, 2017 holidays at 2016 prices, subject to price band alterations.
Sunrise on a frosty morning at home before the winds arrived.
 
Like every one else I expect we have only just come out of a spell of very windy weather punctuated by extremely powerful gusts. Luckily we did not suffer any major damage due to the wind but it has rather held up certain jobs, one of which was varnishing SOLACE.
Luckily we had quite a pleasant day yesterday so I got on rather well, even though the water levels came up fairly high, AGAIN.
 
Anyway, not enough to cause us to put on our waders yet.
 
 
 This photograph was taken at about mid day, the right up (cabin side) has been sanded along with the port deck, planksheer and timber heads.
 
More or less the same view about four in the afternoon once everything had been hoovered off and tak ragged to remove any remaining dust and then varnished. This is the first new coat and it will sink in a bit because the first sanding of the year is normally quite course.
 
Whilst we are on about historical stuff, and wherries in particular the vane or how it should be said "wane" as the v's are exchanged with w's so that vinegar becomes "wineger" and village is said as "willage", is from the little old trading wherry JOHN and HENRY which was converted in the summer for pleasuring. Three generations of the Water's family went in her and this summer or lighter wane was given to me by one of them and it was flying at her mast head at the time the Boardman's were holidaying in her and saw for the first time, having just "shot" Ludham bridge, the site on which they were to build How Hill which is a super place to visit on your summer Broadland holidays.
 
 
Hopefully we will get a sunny year and if so we are well prepared as all our boats now have solar panels, the last two having fitted been by Paul and wired in, the one below is on one of the VELVET's.



There is not long now before the start of the new letting period and SATIN and AMBASSADOR are getting in as much rest now as possible before they start out on a gruelling new season.
 
Yes that is the SOLITAIRE behind AMBASSADOR.
 
One of the VELVET's having her decks repainted.
 
We shall welcome the Crawshaw family into the RETREAT on Saturday and Sara has been extremely busy spring cleaning and having the carpets cleaned.
 
We have been out walking recently but nowhere particularly Broadsy as the higher water levels tend to make it a bit boggy along the river banks. However on one of our walks Tillie sustained a minor injury to her leg which Sara bandaged up when we got home and that was that she thought. After a few days she took the bandage off and as everything looked fine with Tillies leg, decided not to replace it and let the air dry it out and heal it properly, she then went out to start tidying up the garden.
A little while later it was suspiciously quiet in the house and when she peeped in through the lounge window she was horrified to see that it looked like a blood bath in there and that Tillie was laying in her basket in a pool of blood having by constant licking made a minute hole in her vein out of which blood was pumping. What a nutter, Sara called me at work and I drove quickly home where we loaded Tillie into the back of the van and roared of up to the local vets. Sara had meanwhile wrapped tea cloths around Tillies leg to stop the bleeding and this we were told was the correct thing to do. The vet rebandaged Tillies leg, we paid the rather extortionate fee and took her home to recuperate and try and clean the blood off the various carpets as it seems that she must have got a bit bored and moved about a bit to get a far better coverage!
Sara has also been busy making woolly ducks that I think will be for sale in the office during the season, here they are all sitting on one of my gun punts. They look rather naughty don't you think.
 
 
Whilst we are on about punts the photograph below shows my half pound Breydon gun in a spare swivel block that would have been bolted by the iron straps onto the punts bottom.

 Where the rear iron strap bends down in a quarter curve to be fastened is a rubber buffer that just gives enough movement to dampen the recoil and stop the gun from firing hard or lifting its muzzle when it was fired. Modern punt gunners generally prefer their punt guns to be strapped down and held in place with enormously thick breeching ropes as they seem for some reason to like to keep their own teeth. On the system used above if the swivel pin snaps, which it sometimes can in very cold weather, there is nothing to stop the gun flying rearwards and bashing the puntsman's teeth all askew. Actually one of the last of the Breydon pirates had an eye poked out in this very manner. A light breeching rope passing through the punts stem and round the top of the swivel pin, especially shaped to take it would resolve this issue but "th'owd Breydon pirates couldn't be arsed wi all that"!!
 
Here are some old pattern wooden Breydon decoys that I made and some of Sara's special edition and highly sought after pallet bird boxes about to be transported to the yard.
 
 
I made mostly mallards as any surface feeding duck will come into them but couldn't resist a wigeon.
 
 Last night we had a rare evening excursion into Norwich to visit the pictures. With open minds we went to see the new Dads Army film and we don't know what other people think about who have seen it but we thought it was extremely good and entertaining. Luckily though it didn't cost us a bean as Jonathan and Teresa had treated us to cinema vouchers and the parking was free!!
And that "owd" partners is just about all our news for the present,
"Cheer oh"
Nigel and Sara.