What a difference a year makes….

As 2020 rolled over into 2021 I reflected on the fact that in January 2020 I was looking forward to retirement and the prospect of foreign adventures to come. We hadn’t heard of Covid and the future awaited.

As those of you who have followed our ‘journey’ over the past year will know this has not gone to plan (somewhat of an understatement?)

We are however now at peace with the fact that our plans have changed beyond recognition of those made early 2020 and way before. We remain in Norfolk and had good news in early December when Steve, the boatyard owner, said that although we had taken the mooring on a ‘short term’, six month basis, he would be happy for us to stay for longer if we would like to. We had made some enquiries yet again of other boat yards with regard to moorings for April, but had been unsuccessful. So when Steve made this offer he was probably pleased that social distancing was in place, otherwise I would probably have run up and hugged him! It was lovely to feel more settled, I know it was not what or where we envisaged to be our future but circumstances change and so must we. It is however very quiet here, we are the only boat on this pontoon, as long term mooring. We have access to several lovely walks, we are close to the seaside, when we are allowed to visit, (there is a lovely walk from Lowestoft to Kessingland, along the beach) and most other things we need are within a few miles. The thing we are furthest from is family and friends, but I know we are not alone in this difficult position

So December dawned and we like many others put up our Christmas decorations earlier than normal, to cheer us and others up. Martin loves to ‘dress’ the boat, and we treated her to some new lights, mainly because we couldn’t find last years strings (we did, of course, find them not long after our return from the new light buying trip to the shops!). This early installation was also taken down a couple of days earlier as we were feeling a bit ‘cluttered’, we do only have limited room after all and the only people benefitting from our lights, due to lockdown and no one going out, was the electricity supplier!

We had a lovely Christmas, very quiet, just us. We had, in early December been in Tier 2 and had vaguely planned a trip to see relatives between Christmas and New Year. Unfortunately like many others this was very quickly squashed by our going from Tier 2 to Tier 5 in a matter of 10 days. We did luckily get a meal out on Christmas Eve at a local restaurant, but had our plans for Boxing Day (my 65th birthday) cancelled – an outing to Great Yarmouth Hipppodrome Christmas Circus Spectacular – we were disappointed and I did suggest that Martin dusted off the unicycle and polish his juggling balls so that he could reproduce the show on the pontoon – not sure why but he wasn’t keen – bit selfish really as it was my birthday!!!

A couple of days after Christmas Martin was not feeling well – we called 111 and after a long phone call consisting of what appeared to be irrelevant questions and mostly Covid orientated we were advised that he probably had shingles and needed to be seen by a healthcare professional within 12 hours. The nearest Walk In Center we were advised was in Norwich, so at 5pm on the Sunday after Christmas we programmed the sat nav and set out to find it. We did find it quite easily and were only second in the queue, the staff were very helpful and efficient. The Korean nurse advising that shingles was very contagious and that he need some medication to help to reduce the severity of the virus. We found the only pharmacy open in Norwich after walking across the town, waiting 30 minutes in the cold only to be told they didn’t have stock. We would need to try another local pharmacy next morning. We walked back to the car and headed for home. On getting back to the boatyard we made our way to the pontoon which is accessed by a short up and over ladder over the flood wall from the yard to the pontoon. Martin reached the top first and let out a mild expletive, I though he had left something in the car, but on joining him on the top of the wall, found that there had been a flood tide while we were out and our route along the pontoon, was now at least 4 inches under water. Wellies were of course on the boat (spare pairs for the car have since been purchased!); so it was a case of shoes and socks off and paddle – bearing in mind that it is late December and this is river water – it was b****y cold!!

Our days are now mainly filled with box sets, walking and eating, Martin is almost fully recovered and we are half way through January; the Covid vaccine programme is up and running and we are hoping to get ours by possibly Easter, there has to be light at the end of this almost year long tunnel, doesn’t there?

Floating on Air

In the previous blog I mentioned finding out more about couple of local things of interest we have come across. The first one is the hovercraft, a neighbouring village is called Somerleyton, ‘Home of the Hovercraft’, I noted this on one of the first trips through the village and on closer investigation have found out that the inventor of the hovercraft, Christopher Cockerell, lived and worked in the area. He owned a boatyard in the village and developed his groundbreaking invention in the 1950’s. It was trialed on the front lawn of Somerleyton Hall, which is an impressive country house, open to the public (in normal times) and has had recent fame due to its being used as ‘Sandringham’ in the recent The Crown series.

The invention of the hovercraft changed the way travel was undertaken, over land and water. In 2010 a memorial column was erected in the village to commemorate the inventor and his invention, it is an impressive view. The unveiling was accompanied by a fly-past of a Spitfire in honour of the work Christopher Cockerell had undertaken for Bomber Command in developing a new radar system.

So although I don’t want to stay here forever; I am finding that there are people and things of interest around whenever you go and it all adds to the greater understanding of the make up of an area and its people.

And so…

Brexit is now signed and sealed and this has had an influence on some of our potential future plans, so back to the drawing board – we are getting quite good at this and we have lots to think about – I sometimes say to Martin – that it would be simpler if we did not have choices in what we do and where we go (Brexit, Covid etc. aside).

Life carries on and so do we…. until the next time