Here is the very last question in our Book Quiz…
Lazy Days Trailer:
You can leave your answer here on this blog, or over on Facebook.
The other day, I forget which, I promised to post an excerpt, and must have promptly forgotten to do it. I have no excuses, apart from the fact that I have a few things fighting to get my attention these days, and sometimes I lose the thread!
(Anita has been making little comments about early onset dementia, but, as I am very quick to point out, I have always been as daft as a brush!)
So without more ado, here is the excerpt from Lazy Days…
Everyone is looking forward to Yarmouth today, and as much as I love the waterways, I can’t wait to see the sea. This holiday is turning out much better than I thought it would. Everyone is happy, all the eternal arguing is down to a minimum. I should have remembered that this sense of euphoria never lasts long.
After breakfast, when the daily chores were done and the dogs had been walked, I go to start the engine and nothing happens. I double check the starting procedure and try again. Alarming wisps of smoke start to appear from somewhere deep inside the engine, so I turn it off. My stomach sinks into my shoes as I realise we probably won’t be seeing Yarmouth today after all. I remember something a friend of ours said before we left home, about there being a fire on the boat. Something we took with a pinch of salt at the time, for she had many of these premonitions. Pity, she didn’t tell us what happens next, I thought.
What were we supposed to do now? We were miles from anywhere, with no idea how to get any help. I hadn’t thought to ask this question, in the beginning, a definite oversight on my part, so much for all our careful planning.
I volunteer to go and telephone the boatyard and find one further along the bank by the windmill. They tell me to stay put, and that help is on its but how could we do otherwise? I try hard to be civil, but the joke about us staying put has ruffled my already flustered feathers.
When I return to the Sovereign, I could have sliced the silence like a loaf of bread. The kids were in their cabins and I was grateful to be spared their looks of disapproval. Even the dogs seemed to glare at me.
Anita, sitting in the Captain’s chair had a black cloud hovering over her head. I hesitate, unable to find the right words and terrified of finding the wrong ones.
‘Well?’ she said. ‘What the hell happens now?’ She turned around to glare at me and suddenly I could see through her rage to the upset behind it.
‘They are coming to tow us back to the yard… they didn’t seem to think it was serious… I think it will be all right.’
‘I hope you’re right, for there are four disappointed kids back there…’
Two hours later, help arrives, and we are towed to the boatyard at Burgh Castle. This brought the kids out from the cabins, to watch the Sovereign being hooked up to a much smaller boat. We had been expecting the boatyard owner, but a rather chubby middle-aged man with a ruddy complexion and permanent smile turned up instead. He chatted away with the kids and managed to make the short trip to the boatyard a pleasant experience.
All the way there, I sincerely hoped it would be nothing serious and we could enjoy the rest of our holiday. It had begun to feel as if we had been cursed, and I didn’t like the feeling.
Turned out the battery hadn’t been charging properly, but this didn’t explain all the smoke.
After a sandwich lunch, we take the opportunity to fill up the water tank, which must be empty after our showers last night, and when we are finally fixed, we set off again and I discover how hard it is to steer a boat with all my fingers crossed.
We think it might be a good idea to change our plans, in case we have any further trouble with the engine. We try a different route and pass Reedham, where we find the entrance to a small river and decide to explore. The river Chet is small and narrow, with horrible bends all along it. A bit touch and go, literally, for passing other boats. At the end of the river, we find an idyllic marina in a village called Loddon. It is even more peaceful here, with several huge willow trees trailing their branches in the water. Living in London, you don’t realise there are places like this. Life can be so different in other parts of the world, and you can find yourself there with a bit of effort.
We spend the rest of the day in Loddon, as I think the morning’s drama had unnerved us all a bit and probably best to relax before going any further. I turn the engine off, praying it would start again tomorrow. The weather is warm but cloudy and we hope it doesn’t rain. The good thing about these boats, you can still drive cruise with the sliding canopy closed, so any rain won’t stop us, and fingers crossed, neither will the engine!
Our food supplies are getting low, and the need to walk on solid ground is becoming urgent, so I suggest we go for a walk. Their rush of enthusiasm surprised me, it would seem we are all feeling the same way.
Walking away from the Sovereign felt good, and from the amount of cheerfulness that arrived from nowhere, I think everyone else felt relieved too. The morning’s drama with the engine, although it had turned out to be insignificant, must have damaged our new found confidence. The more I thought about it, the more I worried about the rest of the holiday. Would we be able to move on from this point, or would we have to go home? I wanted to talk to Anita to find out what she thought about it, but not with the kids within earshot.
Loddon had a lot going for it, and we decide to leave the shopping until later and explore. We visit The Holy Trinity Church first. Built in 1490, its tall tower and finely flinted walls gleaming white in the sunshine, seemed to draw us closer like a magnet. We are not particularly religious, but we like to explore some of Englands finest old buildings, usually full of history and connections with the past.
We see several signposts for something called The Wherryman’s Way, and we all want to know more about it. Turns out aWherry was a large cargo carrying barge with elegant black sails, once a common sight in this part of the Broads. The Wherryman’s Way is a long walk beside the River Yare, some 35 miles long, so not exactly our idea of an afternoons walk, so we end up walking around the village instead.
We see more signposts for something called Hardly Flood. Just under a mile away and described as a lake with masses of wildlife and the occasional otter. An area created when this part of South Norfolk first flooded back in the 1940’s. This walk sounded reasonably doable, so we pick up sandwiches and cakes from a local bakery and set off.
As we walk along in the sunshine, the dogs enjoying all the different sights and smells, I think we all began to relax and become united as a family again. Something other than engine failure had happened this morning, something which made some of us retreat into ourselves, affecting everyone else. I couldn’t have been the only one to have had visions of leaping into the water from a flaming boat.
We find a lovely spot for our picnic, and the rest of the afternoon flew by. The kids wander off to explore, so I take the opportunity to ask Anita how she is feeling.
‘Now, you mean, or about this morning?’
‘Both. I think it has unnerved us all a bit. What do you think?’
When she didn’t answer straight away, I thought the worst. I couldn’t think of anything else to say, so I waited.
‘Well… this morning could have been more serious, it’s true. This is the trouble with adventures, you walk a thin line between fun and fear. By tomorrow it will all feel better. At least, I hope it does.’
‘And if it doesn’t, does it mean going home?’ I finally asked the question that had been nagging me all day and wasn’t sure which answer I wanted to hear.
Again, a delay in answering, our attention interrupted by a group of noisy ducks having an argument, splashing around right in front of us.
‘I think it will take more than a little smoke to make us abandon ship…’
And now to todays Book Quiz Question…
We have just delivered a late breakfast at the Event over on Facebook, why not pop over and meet everyone?
See you all tomorrow?
The Tour is going very well, and I have just popped in to top up the welcome table for any quests that drop in!
This morning I have brought waffles and coffee, so pleasehelp yourself while you consider todays Book Quiz question?
This one is easy… someone must know who wrote this and what the book was called?
I have just returned from laying out the food and wine over on FaceBook where we are hosting an event, or a good old knees up, as we say where we come from!
I also posted the first question in our Book Quiz, and this got me thinking. Not everyone visits Fb, so why not have a bit of a do on here and include the quiz?
If you know who wrote this or the book it came from, leave your answer and contact details to receive your #free copy of Lazy Days…
We’ll be back later with the champagne!
The nerves are setting in and I will probably be a wreck by Monday.
I just hope I have done this amazing (and illustrated) little book justice and that I haven’t forgotten anything crucial!
Have I mentioned that we are having a party over on Facebook for the length of the tour?
There will be all the usual refreshments for our visitors, plenty of free books and a book quiz to test your memory. Finishing up with a £5 gift voucher for the best participant!
A quote every day, both on Facebookand this blog… get it right and win a digital copy of Lazy Days!
This travelogue is the true story of our family’s first proper holiday back in the Seventies. Looking back, I wonder what made us think it was a good idea, but despite all the things that could have gone wrong, we had a fantastic time. I was the Skipper most of the time, and for some reason decided to record our adventures in a small notebook. We were young and without husbands, Anita was a widow, and I was glad to be rid of mine. (and that is another story) Money was precious and scarce back then, but all the saving and sacrifice turned out to be worth every single memory we all cherish.
This notebook has been treasured and kept safe, despite numerous house moves and family disasters, as a symbol of our courage and determination. Renting a boat on the Norfolk Broads could so easily have been one of the stupidest things we had ever done, but even after 40 years, we have such good memories of that time.
Over the years, we often thought of making it into a proper book, but along with everything else in our often-complicated family life, it was something we never got around to. Until just recently, when I was looking for some old photographs, found the now fragile notebook and knew it was time.
It wasn’t as easy as we imagined it would be either, for our logbook writing skills left a lot to be desired, but there was just enough information entered on those pages to get us started.
We are getting closer to launch day for Lazy Days, and my head is swimming with ideas to make it even more interesting. It is making it a lot more complicated too, but I digress!
I am also being driven mad with worry that I have done something wrong, or worse still, forgotten to do something vitally important. We have 10 brilliant authors taking part in the tour, so I hope they will shout if they see something amiss!
I have even booked an event on Facebook, including a Book Quiz. There will be a different book quote from a famous book every day of the tour, both on Facebook and our website. Free ebooks and a £5 gift voucher are up for grabs, so be sure to pop in if you are passing!