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A week or so beforehand, this year's Autumn Cruise looked
destined to go the same way as last year's road-only event, with rain and
southerly gales forecast for the weekend. However, undaunted, four boats
gathered at Reedham on the Friday evening where a group evening meal in the Lord
Nelson was much enjoyed. Egret and Vixen had arrived in time for lunch
there too, making the most of the up tide from their moorings and also wishing
to avoid the worst of the weather.
Marigold arrived ten minutes before the Nelson closed for
the afternoon, meaning a visit to the Ship became essential for some. Pre-prandials
on Egret were then deemed necessary, so that we could watch out for Flight's
arrival. By now, the rain had arrived, along with strong winds and it was
a heavily reefed vessel that was met by the soggy shore party before everyone
made a dash for the Nelson.
Overnight, the weather didn't seem to have been as bad as
forecast (45mph winds had been predicted) and there was even a half-attempt on
Flight to change to a larger jib before common sense prevailed. Once out
of the shelter of Reedham, it was windy enough to justify the fully reefed main
still. Vixen and Marigold declined to raise any sails at all and, along
with Egret, motored to the lunchtime stop at Rockland, where we all arrived in
good order and then enjoyed a beer or three sitting outside the pub in the
It was round the corner to Brundall for the evening, where
moorings had been pre-arranged for us. After an afternoon rest, we
reconvened on Egret for a quick pre-prandial before adjourning to East Hills
restaurant. Here was a warm welcome from the waiting staff, promptly
provided drinks and food and constant attention throughout the evening.
So, that was the two dogs taken care of. In between, they found time to
serve us mere humans with a delicious selection of tapas style fish dishes,
which were greatly enjoyed by all.
Sunday dawned warm, dry and almost calm. Later, the
sun came out too. In a role reversal, this prompted Vixen and Marigold to
hoist sail for a very pleasant trip downriver to Cantley. So lovely was
it, that there was even a bit of extra jollying around on Cantley Reach, while
we all took photographs of each other. Flight, this time, was motoring,
having collected the family from Coldham Hall and turned herself into a playpen.
A last lunchtime at Cantley was also taken outside in the
sunshine, with Retribution turning up midway through to join the company.
Egret and Flight then departed for home, with Marigold and Vixen stealing an
extra evening at Loddon, where many games of dominoes were played.