Designed & maintained by Carol Gingell
© C.Gingell 2015 -
© Broadland Memories 2015
Collected Personal Memories Of The 1960s
Gathering together the shorter personal memories about holidays and life in Broadland during the 1960s.
“An anecdote that is permanently etched in my memory. If you can bear it, here is the saga of the curtain hook:
In 1962 we arrived at South Walsham Broad, just as it was getting dusk. All the moorings had been taken, so we decided to moor in the middle of the Broad by using the mud weight. In the middle of the night the wind got stronger, and I was woken by my wife crying
"wake up, wake up, I think we are adrift"! I leaped out of bed, wiped the steam off the low windows, pressed my face against the glass and tried to peer out. It was pitch black and raining. When my eyes got accustomed to the dark, I could just make out a bank a few feet away. With that, I turned my head sharply, and one of the curtain hooks caught the division of my nostrils, and tore it through. I called to my wife to turn the light on, and when she saw my nose pouring with blood, burst into hysterical laughter!
I grabbed the nearest thing to hand (I think it was my underpants), pressed them against my nose, and dashed up on deck, I was afraid we might cause damage to other craft or property, slacked off the rope to the mud weight, and managed to get a couple of rhond anchors into the bank of mud and reeds, that had been dredged up (spoil, that I had seen through the window). However we had no trouble casting off the next morning.
I forgave my wife for laughing, (after about 20 years)!
I bet that's the biggest thing that has ever been hooked, on South Walsham Broad!”
Whilst Ron had already enjoyed several Broadland holidays, it is often the first visit which sticks in the memory most. Hugh Moxon sent us his reminiscences of his first Holiday on the Norfolk Broads:
“My first trip to the broads was with my parents at the tender age of 10 in 1963. Bizarrely (considering what profound effect it was to have on me), I cannot remember what time of the year it was although likely to have been in the summer. The journey from Kent would have commenced early in the morning (no motorways) and I know we stopped at the Blue Boar (are we nearly there yet?). My parents had a gallon earthenware container which they liked to fill with decent local ale for use in emergencies (morning between breakfast and lunchtime pub stop – afternoon between pub stops-
Our destination was Stalham, my parents were friends of the vicar one Dan Chrissop a real character (whom some may remember) he was sadly killed some years later in a road accident, knocked off his bike returning from watching ‘The Canaries’. That evening he visited us on the boat and would appear to have enjoyed a convivial time. The next morning being Sunday saw my mother confined to bed with a migraine which left my father and I to attend Morning Service, now, neither of us were what you would call heavy church goers (to be fair we never attended) and Dan was very unconventional in the way he conducted his services. My father had sat us about a quarter of the way back in what is/was a large parish church, sadly only a very few parishioners attended and all sat behind us, we spent an hour bobbing up and down and looking round to see if we should be sitting, standing, kneeling or whatever. Dan spent the service in the choir stalls with his feet up, as I said a very unconventional but lovely man. He produced a parish magazine called Penny Punch in which a regular contributor was Brian Rix of Whitehall farce fame (for those with as long a memory as mine).
I cannot recall much about the rest of the week other than how much I enjoyed myself, and that it was spent touring the Northern Rivers fishing and visiting pubs (no change there then). There was an incident one afternoon, we were moored fishing as I recall when the boat was rocked by the wash caused by a River Inspector passing at speed, the old man let out such a bellow of rage, that the inspector came back after dealing with the incident he was off to and apologised. The last night by tradition was spent at Coltishall, which allowed the right amount of time to clean and tidy the boat before arriving back at the yard. Oh how upset I was that day on leaving the boat. For years the smell of a warm diesel engine transported me back to that first trip”.
Easter 1969 and aged 12. The previous summer had seen a first experience of sailing in a small dinghy in France. Now it as off for a week on a Broads yacht as part of a fleet based scout trip. 12 yachts, all from Herbert Woods and all from Potter Heigham. To minimise the cost we hired two berth yachts, but fitted four on them. This meant the young, first timers (myself included) sleeping on the floor between the berths. We had hired all 11 of the Gay Ladies and another, gaff rigged yacht called Peggy.
The long drive up from Winchester saw us arrive, pick up the box of pre ordered stores from Latham's and prepare for departure. Lifejackets were collected from a large shed and there was a steady bustle of repairs and preparation as boats were turned round from the previous hirers. We were also told to put our watches on by an hour. There was logic to this. The explanation was that when we got up for the early tide, it wouldn’t seem so bad. What it actually meant was that we youngsters could be told at 10pm that it was time to turn in, but as it was in fact only 9, the leaders could have 2 hours in the pub. This system worked to my advantage in later years, when I was a leader.
Eventually all the boats were organised and we set off for Thurne Mouth. Unfortunately at that time of year it gets dark early, and with the tendency that the wind has to die away around dusk as well, the gathering gloom saw us in the vicinity of St Benets Abbey. In an effort to react the proposed mooring, almost all of the fleet resorted to towing by hand (one crew member ashore, walking along the bank and pulling the boat). Impossible nowadays, thanks to the marker posts, and difficult then as the shallows were there, but not marked. So the introduction was stumbling along in the dark with rabbit holes to trip up the unwary and brambles to land in when you fell. Eventually we moored up for the night, and as a first timer I was expected to cook the dinner, even after doing most of the towing.
Anyway, that was a memorable start to what became a highly enjoyable week. I learned to raise and lower the mast, to sail the boat single handed, to cook on the basic stove where, with the cabin roof down whilst underway, the only viable way to work at the stove was sitting on the toilet. I had my first experience of the highest test of a Broads yachtsman’s skill, the engineless passage through Great Yarmouth.
This was the first of five such trips, and from such a distance they blur, and it’s difficult to remember what happened on each one, but over those years some moments stand out:
These trips must have instilled in me a love of the traditional. Nowadays you can’t hire a yacht from Herbert Woods, but I find myself irresistibly drawn to the basic traditional yachts of the Hunter Fleet, and a couple of times a year go some way to reliving those days.
Perfect Lady was my first introduction to the Broads in the summer of 1964. I can't remember which Perfect Lady it was (10?) but it was certainly one of them. It was a school holiday and teens of boats (14?) were hired from Herbert Woods. Each boat held up to six students of all ages -
The first day was the journey down from the north-
It must have been a windy week as we managed to get as far south as Beccles and back up to Barton in the time available. There were no motors on the boats in those days so it was quanting when the wind was foul or blanketed by the trees. The advantage of six on the boat was that you could change personnel frequently and keep up a good speed. With a large group it is rather like being in a regatta every day as I remember. We were all so competitive! The skippers would meet the teacher after an early breakfast and he would decide where we were would be mooring the next night. You had to be there at night but you could get there any way you liked! As choice was limited, it was just an all day race every day.
It was a largely uneventful cruise except when the fleet was heading to the Berney Arms. We came down the Yare on the ebb in the evening but the wind was dying and by the time we came to the Yare it had all but gone. The first boat tried to turn up into the Yare but started to go backwards. They had the presence of mind to get one rope ashore onto the rather dilapidated jetty at the junction of the two rivers. The second boat had similar problems and threw a rope to the first boat etc. The outcome was a long line of boats tied to this jetty by a single rope. It was too deep to quant! There was nothing for it but to wait for the tide to turn. We all cooked our meals and ate them, cleaned the boat and waited. It was dark by the time the flood came and we used the dingys to tow the boats across to the Berney. We were all ready for that drink. We had been watching that pub for hours. So near yet so far.........
Sometime in 1969 about 8 of us decided on a broads holiday, by the time we eventually set off to Southgates Lower Yard the party was down to 3 -
So here we are, my bro Denis, best friend John and me Roy. I would imagine we had no idea about tides etc. but remember going under Potter bridge in the afternoon, the day was a Saturday. The first night we moored up I think it was Heigham Sound, I remember we used the rond anchors. I was voted head chef!! A fry up was meal we all fancied, so we had 12 eggs from Horning Dairy. I cracked open one in the frying pan it was double yolker, the next was a double yolker, in excitement I cracked open all the eggs and lo and behold everyone a double yolker. They was common in those days, don’t see many these days. Well the evening meal was 8 yolks each, bacon, sausage, beans and toast. We was 3 teenagers and could eat a horse so was devoured no problem!! After the meal we had a good rummage around the boat and found lots of horse hair blankets -
Ranger 1 from Southgates of Horning pictured in 1969 by Roy Haslam
The Following morning had breakfast and back under Potter bridge -
We had arranged to meet my ma and pa and sister at Gt Yarmouth so off we went. We met them and they took us to the holiday village they was at so we had a day on the amusements!! We stayed overnight at Yarmouth and went through Breydon, quite hair raising on Ranger 1 as it wasn’t a very powerful cruiser. It was like the open sea to us, quite frightening, but we made it and moored St Olaves. Found a pub that night but no idea of its name !! The next day saw us going back over Breydon. As we went up the Bure we was given a ticking off by some guy in a launch -
I think that’s my story i cant remember anything else not even going home any way but the seed was sown and I have been back on numerous occasions since.
See more of Ron’s photographs from the 1960s here