Not too early a start as we clambered aboard the little motor cruiser around half past eleven. Our friends had found for themselves a delightful boatyard at Stalham on the Norfolk Broads and we edged our way out into the River Ant through a flotilla of water lilies and an accompanying curious swan. Such a pretty ride on a meandering river that revealed new delights around every bend.
At five miles an hour our pace was relaxed and quiet enough not to upset the kingfishers, herons and shags we saw every so often. Along the reedy edges, dried seed-pods and rushes traced filigree patterns against blue sky as we motored between stands of alders, birch and pollarded willows.
Almost without exception, someone on every passing boat and those moored up against the banks, waved as we passed by. It was particularly nice to respond to children happily waving at us strangers, a good lesson in life to countermand fear of people unknown so regularly instilled in the young now.
We motored across the wide-open waters of Barton Broad, basking in hot sunshine and then, what a joy to rejoin the river and come upon the regal black sail of a Norfolk wherry as she majestically drew towards another one reefed up alongside the moorings. What are the chances eh? Two wonderful old craft with their distinctive little red pennants flying high.
We hovered awhile at the very low and narrow Ludham Bridge to allow a couple of craft through and then were off towards Horning. On this lovely day many folk were taking advantage of river rides and a beautiful old passing paddle steamer added to our enjoyment of the outing.
Fish and chips eaten on deck set us up well for our return journey at the sedate pace of years gone by. What a glorious day we shared in the company of good friends, with excellent food on the stunning waterways of Norfolk.