Tonight we are in the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club marina at Lowestoft. Our place on the visitor mooring is costing us £22 (@ £2/metre) for the night. How the other half live! The showers are perfecty OK, but have only curtains rather than boltable doors, on the cubicles. You're not allowed in the restaurant in shorts, but that's ok, because it's closed for a private function tonight anyway. It's been another long, interesting day.
We set off from Reedham at about nine. We'd booked to go through Mutord Lock - the sea lock at Lowestoft - at one, as they can't open the road bridge there between 12 and one. But we were told that of we got there before 12, he might squeeze us through. We got there at about 11.15, and were let into the lock. As it began to fill, the lock keeper asked where we were going, and we told him. Didn't we know, he said, that we'd missed the 11.15 opening of the bascule bridge from the inner harbour to the yacht club, so we'd have to waitnuntil 2.30 anyway. Oh damn, we said, no one told us about that. At which point the lock keeper got quite snidey, telling us it was our fault and we hadn't done our homework, to which we responded (quite reasonably, I thought) that we'd consulted the Broads Authority guy at Reedham - what else were strangers to the area to do but consult the local representative of the navigation authority. Oh, we we told, he doesn't know anything (which was incidentally exactly what the Reedham guy had said about the lockies at Lowestoft). It appeared we had stumbled into some local politics. Anyway, we kept our cool (for once) and I said that while inefficiency was forgivable, his rudeness and condescending attitude (especially as we had just handed over £11 to go through his bloody lock) was inexcusable. I also said how wonderful British Waterways were in comparison. At some point his colleague joined in and the upshot of the discussion was them saying, you were booked to go through at one so we're not letting you out until one, and going off for their lunch.
Which was the best thing that could have happened really as while we were having a cup of tea, who should turn up but Brian and Diana of Harnser, who live nearby and saw that we were in the area - they would have missed us if we'd gone through sooner.
At one we went through and suddenly we were in the sea, looking at great big tugs and trawlers. At last Singapore had salt water under her bottom again. We were supposed to be meeting the Moomins at the Yacht Club, but they had arrived well before us and were watching from the bascule bridge as we looked for somewhere to wait. There were no official moorings but they found a place where they could get onto the wharf, and got permission for us to tie up. So we were joined by them while we waited, and when the bridge opened at 2.30, they came along with us into the marina.
The Yacht Club being out of bounds for the evening, I used my Good Beer Guide app to find the nearest decent pub that served food and we ended up at the Norman Warrior, which was indeed very good, and we all had dinner there, after which the Moomins set off for home and we rolled out the eight foot wide bed again for an early night ready for an early start in the morning. Graham from Walton on the Naze is coming to pilot us there, and seems very sanguine about the prospect...
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