Of course we look at pictures of the world’s superstars upon their massive yachts in the Caribbean and wish we too could afford that same luxury or live the life of superstardom, to say we don’t is a lie, but the most amazing thing for under £700 is you too can share the same dream as the "A Listers" well ok, it’s not exactly Simon Cowell or Sir Phillip Green or Sir Elton or Mr Ambrmavich, but you will, by taking a holiday on the Norfolk broads, have a smidgen of the idea and be in command of your own little harem aboard a boat, maybe note a yacht, but imagination is everything!
We arrived to pick up the boat a little early and stopped in a new pub called “The Green Man” We eat good food and listened to Michael Buble sing his Christmas songs, it was April, but this was Norfolk! I chuckled to myself and remembered the floor manager on Loose Women who is indeed from this fine county.
We picked up our sturdy vessel in a place called “Wroxham” or as I like to call it “Roy’s Town” as Roy seems to own everything in Wroxham, I wondered as we passed over the bridge if indeed the bridge was also named after him! Roy is indeed the Donald Trump of Wroxham and all power to him!
We hired our boat from Hoeseasons who were brilliant and the boat company “Faircraft Loyne’s” proved within two minutes of meeting them what lovely people the people of Norfolk are, We parked the car right outside the back of the boat (Or “The Aft” for those not yet up with my captains references!) and came face to face with the first representative of the company and indeed Norfolk proper, a lady called Kathy whose smile and welcome was worthy of The QE2! Pat was next in line and he supplied us with life jackets and signed us in, trust me it took longer to unpack our car than it did to get signed in and ready for off!
Next up we were assigned a lovely man who was to give me a 20 minute crash course in boating, he was brilliant and with his broad Norfolk accent and two teeth he took us brilliantly through the do’s and don’ts and within an hour I was the captain of the ship!
The boat had no Wi-Fi but did have a TV, much to my daughters horror we later realised that boats with WIFI were available, (And Sky and X Box’s) but take my advice, don’t get it and here is why. We as a family found a rare peace in no distraction from the outside world, we got to be a family, play cards, laugh (Mainly at me falling over in puddles, banging my head, brushing my teeth half in and half out of the bathroom, or attempting to get in the bed) and bond a million miles away from everything, it was utter bliss! Although on docking in nightly it was a race between all three of us to get hooked up to the free Wi-Fi in the local pubs, it was like an oasis in the desert!
The broads are beautiful, that is a fact, the people friendly and the boats great, but it is, if I am honest, a little the same, if you were to go for a low in the water boat you would indeed get under all the bridges but would spend a week staring at nothing but reeds growing from the river banks and the odd loving swan, or in my case a few ducks! Go high and at least get a view! Read the tide column in the broucher given to you as well, otherwise like me, you will find yourself stranded for hours staring at a bridge you cannot get under and floating tied up to a floating pontoon opposite a 24 hour supermarket and a massive flyover minutes from the sea channel!
The great fact about this holiday is that you will have no choice to re bond with the family and that is a rare thing in this fast moving world, so for that reason alone it is a million percent must, if nothing else you will quickly realise how much fun just “Being” is and how much fun watching the captain (Me) falling over in the only muddy puddle in Norfolk can be!
Would I return to the broads on a boat? No! Not because they are bad, just because I have done it now! Would I hire a boat again? Most defiantly yes! Would I do it through Hoeseasons? Without a doubt! Would I drive my boat dreaming of Barbados and Marbella or docking into Monaco? Without question, even if my harem was the wife, the kid and the dog, hang on, that’s not a million miles away!
It matters not how big your boat is, how glamorous it may look or how impressive the place you are in, if the people on it are great, the holiday is great, so go live a mini dream and laugh at yourself pushing bow thrusters, trying to tie a sailors knot and standing on top of the seat on top deck in search of a thing called 3 or 4G, if you find it, you are a better man than I!
Holidays are not where you are or how big or glamorous they may be, they are about the people you are with, the company you keep and the ability to laugh at yourself, me driving a boat was without question proof that I am sold on the boating thing, my aim now is to do it in the Caribbean, although to be fair, it may be on a dingy at this moment in time!
It is so rare now to escape everything and just “Be” with those you love, I so get now why the huge stars of this world do it and the best bit about it, you can get to do it too! It may not be as big or as glam, but you will step off the boat relaxed, refreshed, in need of a bath, the ability to sit on the loo without pressing hundreds of buttons and remembering what it used to be like without the world knowing everything in a second.
We left Norfolk and stopped the car to let a man, with a bath on his head, cross the road, you don't get that shit happen in Monaco!