Norfolk Broads Forum Administrator

This article is the Norfolk Broads Forum administrator doing a live broadcast on the Sailing High Seas Youtube channel.

Right, well good evening YouTube subscribers from the Norfolk Broads. It is 11th November 2017 and it is a Saturday evening, so I have been reliably informed.

I thought I’d come on Youtube live to see whether anybody has got any questions.

At the moment it doesn’t look like anybody’s online, oh no, we have got three people now.

I just wanted to come online to do a live broadcast because although I have a lot of video footage to put online, it’s more or less doing the same old stuff that I’ve already done. I don’t really want to put stuff online which has already being covered but I will do if people want me to?

I’d rather just come online and answer a few questions for people and take it from there.

You see, the thing is the Norfolk Broads is very remote. There’s not a lot of places that the Wi-Fi actually works on he cellular network. I’m in a place now on the north of the Norfolk Broads and it’s a very good signal, so I thought I’d take advantage of the situation and take it from there.

I am using my smart phone at the moment, so a lot can go wrong.

I probably should have kept my laptop to be fair because the resources I have on this phone are very limited, however, I can see that its charging and that there are people online.

I was wondering if somebody might be able to type something? so I know that feature is available because if it’s not then nobody is really going to be able to ask any questions.

Hi Dot Brown and thank you very much for doing that. Anyway just let you know…..

Looks cozy…

Woodburner

Ye,s it is very cozy. I’ve just closed the hatch now and it’s gone up to 18.9 degrees celsius and I’m actually too hot now. About half an hour ago it was 11 degress celsius so the woodburner definitely works. My good friend Paul who I actually got chatting to through from YouTube, he actually made that wooodburner for me. He only charged me for some of the bits and pieces so it worked out about £120. I’m indebted to that chap because this has been a lifesaver.

I did the liveaboard lifestyle for two years without heating which I didn’t mind at the time. I kind of embraced it but I wouldn’t want to do it now. I like having the heat too much.

Just recently over the bridge behind me they have just replaced the mooring heading and there was a load of wood left over. So a friend of mine and myself offered to clear it all up and we’ve now got shitloads of wood. This boat is full of wood and my cockpits full of wood. It’s great.

Hello from Derbyshire…

Good to see you too. So I take it the microphones working nice and good and everything is working okay in that respect?

Seems to be.

So yes, we’ve got plenty of wood. I’ll go through it pretty quick but it’s an absolute blessing.

Very Clear…

That’s good and thank you Doc Brown.

It’s a blessing having the wood because in the mornings it’s bloody freezing now. It hasn’t literally frozen the rivers yet but it won’t be too far off. It’s just nice to take the edge away you’ve got to have a heat source on a boat.

If I was running a diesel heater all the time, I think I’d probably go through about 20 liters a week.

 Norfolk Broads Forum administrator - Diesel Heater

Now, there was a chap who contacted me on YouTube today who said he can’t make it to the live broadcast. I assume it’s a chap as I didn’t look at the name. He did ask me a couple of questions and I wanted to answer them for him.

One of them that he asked was,

How much is it to be on the boat?

He didn’t mean food, drink and stuff like that. I will run through this quickly because a lot of other people actually want to know this too.

There’s three main expenses.

  1. You’ve got the boat insurance. The insurance of my boat which is a 27 foot yacht is £80 pounds a year. That’s just third party and I think fully comprehensive is only about £150/200 hundred so that’s not a problem at all..
  2. The annual Norfolk Broads tolls which is like a tax to cruise these inland waterways that is about £280 and will most likely be £290 next year, if I am here.
  3. The other one is you’ve got to have a boat safety certificate for inland waterways which is like an MOT basically just to make sure everything’s safe on your boat. Gas, electric, fuel etc and this lastss for four years. I think it’s about £140.

So that the total expense of being on a boat on the Norfolk Broads. It’s about £400 a year.

Now, if I was on a mooring which I don’t want to be, as it would be like living in a trailer park, then you could stick between £1000 and £3000 on top of all those expenses.

 Norfolk Broads Forum administrator - Continuous Cruiser

I don’t need a mooring because I am what you call a continuous cruiser, although I have got a habit of staying in a place for a long time if it’s nice just like where I am now.

So if you have a mooring, you’re probably going to be looking at about two thousand pounds a year. One thousand to three thousand realistically. Probably about three to four hundred pounds for the boat. However, what I must say is my boat is 27 feet long and there are boats here a lot bigger. If you had something like a 45 foot boat then you could be looking about £600  just in the Broads tolls alone. However I believe the Norfolk Broads tolls are probably one of the cheapest on inland waterways in Britain. I think the canals could be quite a bit more.

The other question he asked was,

How do you keep warm?

Well, The woodburner I mentioned earler is how I keep warm. There was another question but right now I can’t think what it was. Iit’ll come to me in a moment, so if anybody does have any questions? please fire away and I will do my best to answer them as long as its not too embarrassing.

I think probably a lot of people wonder what I do for a living. I don’t mind telling people that at all because it is very much part of part and parcel of doing this. It is very difficult to make a living when you’re doing this boating liveaboards thing and it is particularly difficult for me due to the Norfolk Broads being so very remote. If I was in London, or maybe in Brighton on the marine there, or something similar then it would be a lot easier. However due to it being such a remote location and because Norfolk is such a quiet County then it’s difficult.

Now, the way I go about it is quite simple, I do it online. That’s one of the reasons why I spend so much time where I am now, which is Wroxham because I can use the computers at the library. I am not jusst a  I am a Norfolk Broads Forum administrator and I mange many websites.

 Norfolk Broads Forum administrator - Wroxham

I’ve got question now from Marvin Moselle,

When are you going to go to sea?

Very good question. I’m hoping to go out in spring next year which sounds like a long time away but it’s not. It’s very frustrating because I’d like to go right now but it’s all boils down to money. I’ve got basically the best part of four or five months to get my act together. If I can’t make it to my destination then I’m just going to go down the coast a bit because I don’t want to do any more time on the Norfolk Broads.

Going back to income and how I make mine . I make a small amount money from YouTube. This I must admit in the summer time fizzles out completely but in the winter time it perks up a bit. It does help. I also try to set up as many websites as I can that would generate an income stream. I’ll give you an example which is the most recent one I did just a couple of weeks ago. It is a classified website called, Norfolk Broads Classifieds.

 Norfolk Broads Forum administrator - Norfolk Broads Classifieds

I got to the way of thinking that if I can offer people a free service. Then I can generate revenue from Google Adsense adverts and that will be displayed on the websites.

Hopefully they will be beneficial. The most recent website has been running two weeks and currently there’s two adverts on the website right now. One of them is mine, so it takes a long time to get it off the ground. You have to be patient online. The classifieds website is just an example and another website I previously set up was the Norfolk Broads Forum in June of this year.

You’re welcome Kossal from Doncaster…

The other website that I set up before that was in June was the Norfolk Broads Forum. Even though there were at the time other Broads forums, it has proved to be very beneficial. At first I thought it was all about getting a lot of new members onto the forum but it’s not the case at all. I’m coming up to nearly a hundred thousand hits on that website which isn’t bad from June. I mean what’s that been within four or five months. So it does pay off to do these websites. I have to do a couple of hours online every mornng.

I have got a question here from Chris,

Does the Norfolk Broads freeze during the winter?

Well, it certainly did last year. It totally messed up the hull of my boat actually so I hope it doesn’t do it again this year. I was at a place called, ‘Sutton Broad’ and this lake completely froze. There’s another big broad near there which is a lake called, ‘Barton Broad’ which also completely froze. What I would like to say is, if it does freeze and if it’s anything more than six millimeters thick you really don’t want to go out in it. I actually moved around a little bit and it took all the antifoul off.

boat bow breaking through frozen water

The ice was breaking up like plywood. It’s wonderful to wake up to in the morning I must admit. It just means you’re going be stuck for about two weeks. There is a video on my Sailing High Seas channel about when it froze over. I did get some pretty good footage of that but it was the only one time I was aware that it did freeze over as I have been here for four seasons now. So that one time it froze will cost me a bit of money fixing the antifoul damage that happened. When it did freeze over ironically it wasn’t actually that cold. I even had people banging on the boat to see if I was alright. I had the woodburner on andthe hatch open whilst I was sitting there in shorts. aIt was above 30 degrees on occasions and I think the temperature even went up to 35.  I mean even right now it’s 21.1 and I’ve got the hatch on the companion way wide open. So I never go cold on here, I really don’t.

The only tricky thing about being on a boat in the winter as far as I’m concerned is that for me it’s difficult to move the boat around. Simply because I don’t have a cockpit and I don’t have a spray hood. I think the Americans call them dodgers don’t they? So when I move the boat around it can be very unpleasant. I have at times been a little bit hypothermic and you know when you are because when you come into moor the boat your faculties have gone. The simple act of mooring up can be so difficult. Your hands freeze up and it’s not very pleasant.

I’m going to have one big trip soon probably in a week  to ten days time. Then I’m going to rest up for the winter time. I’m going to find myself a nice spot and I’m going to stay there because it’s just too cold to move around now.

I’ve got a question here from Richard saying,

Did they catch the person who made the death threats?

Yes they did. I should explain I’ve got a Norfolk Broads Forum and I had a troll online making death threats which were quite graphic. He was in court a few days ago and he was sentenced. He was given a restraining order, community service and I think he had to pay small amount of compensation or something to that effect. So yes that was all handled. I was very pleased with the way the Police handled it. Norfolk Police and also Humberside Police.

On a bigger picture, I hope it goes some way to stopping people from harassing people online. It’s just so much of an issue online at the moment. It does not just affect me being a Norfolk Broads Forum administrator and I rarely experience it, even on Youtube. II know some Youtubers on the Norfolk broads who tak egreat offence to trolls. Personally, I dont give it a second thought now but I understand that it does affect some people very negatively, so we wont stand by and tolerate it.

Having been a liveaboard on the Norfolk Broads, I’ve become aware over the last three tand a half years that I’ve been here, that there is a lot of prejudiced against liveaboards. I’d say the vast majority of it is online and it’s because of one of those reasons that I actually set up my own forum as well. People were getting censored online. Their comments were getting deleted. Liveaboards were being treated awfully by people who at the end of the day we’re just anonymous people behind computer screens. So I hope in some way it’s gone to stop all the mudslinging and maybe make the internet a bit safer for some people. It got handled very professionally and it was handled swiftly. It wasn’t by any means a pleasant experience

Are you sailing and navigating skills good enough to go over the horizon?

It’s not my sailing and navigating skills that need to good enough, it’s my money making skills.

I have to be totally honest with you, I was ready to go about two years ago.  I’m absolutely terrible at making money whilst on the Norfolk Broads and I don’t mind telling anybody. I’m not a wealthy chap, so I probably picked the worst place to make money.  I am probably about three to five thousand pounds away from going. So I’ve got to get my finger out and it’s hard.

Some chap is talking about Broad Ambition. That is a syndicate boat up here.

How did you end up living on a sailboat on the Broads?

Oh let me tell you the reason why I ended up on the Norfolk Broads. It was actually not planned at all. I had heard of the Broads but I always thought it was canals. I had no idea I would end up being a Norfolk Broads Forum administrator and living on a boat.

My father brought me up here quite reluctantly because he wanted to look at a sailing boat that was for sale. He basically dragged me up here and while I was up here I noticed this boat, High Seas for sale and it just spoke to me. I wanted it.

I was going to spend two months up here doing it up and having an extended summer holiday. It was a great summer holiday actually. It was sunny all the time, barbeques every night. HHowever, rather sell the boat, I had a couple of weeks on it and I enjoyed it. I liked it so much that I’ve been here ever since.

I know it sounds quite ridiculous because I didn’t plan on doing that at all. That’s the way it worked out. I had my dog with me at the time. The dog loved it as well.

Apart from it being very difficult to make money on the Norfolk Broads, it’s been an absolutly fantastic experience.

Now that I’ve done four summers I can honestly say that I have not woken up one day wishing I wasn’t here. It’s been a blessing to be living on a boat. The only frustrating part about it is taking it to the next level. I must admit the difficulty I face with making money up here can be quite emasculating as an experience. Obviously you want to go when you want to go. When I think about the time when I do go out of the harbour, I will be very excited.

Where’s your little dog?

Jack Russell

Sadly, my little dog died about a year and a half ago now. She nearly made it to 18 years of age.Even though I put her down I didn’t get another one because you cant start them off whilst living on a boat on the Norfolk Broads.

Do you have a toilet onboard, if so, is it through a hole?

Yes, I have an electric sea toilet with a macerator. This is quite a complicated subject because technically speaking you’re not supposed to pump out waste into the into the Norfolk Broads, althhough some boats are exempt.

I believe the hire boats used to pump their waste out and it used to be very filthy up here. A lot of hire boats up here and I think it became so contaminated that it became an issue. It was suggested that it may have even contributed to wiping out otters although this has never been conformed. The offers have now been reintroduced and have survived well. All the boats after a date in the 1990s, I don’t know what the date was of the top of my head but I do recall reading about it. Itt involved all hire boats and future vessels to have holding tanks fitted, however, you can’t fit holding tanks to every single boat. For example a sailing boat can’t have a holding tank because obviously they heel. I’m not even too sure whether you could use a cassette toilet. So there’s a lot of boats that don’t have holding tanks. In addition, there’s also lot of boats that do have holding tanks. However, the general exemption is if your boat ordinarily goes out past Great Yarmouth. This basically means you’ve got to go out through the port and out to sea on a regular basis, otherwise you can’t really use the toilet. Even then the Broads Authority suggest that boaters don’t pump out if possible.

Basically what we have with regards to toilets is sailboats cant really have holding tanks, the older vessels dont need to have them fitted, newer boats do. It is a question of common sense with toilets. I would personally insist that if vessels are going to pump out the waste, then an electric macerator is most definitely a prerequisite. The reality of the situation is that toilet pumpouts are expensive and with most people on private boats only boating for short periods of time, I suspect that a lot of waste is in some cases just thrown overboard. I have seen it on numerous occasions in the mornings, ‘Gardi loo!’. The notion of leaving a boat for months at a time unused with human waste in the holding tanks is equally unappealing so the system is flawed and difficult to regulate.

You can use a boat without using a toilet if necessary.

For example, right now where I am moored up in a place called Hoveton or Wroxham.

Hoveton Mooring

Across the river, there is just 25 meters behind this boat a public toilet there anyway. So even though the Norfolk Broads is remote, you don’t  really have to use a toilet on a boat. I think if you had to in an emergency having a toilet macerator which chops it all up is probably a better thing. It’s not really recommended up here at all the North Broads as the tidal range is about 4 to 6 inches, however, when you go to the South broads it can be 11/2 to 2 meters. It’s very tidal and it’s quite an aggressive current down there, so it’s probably better down there if you had to fllush out a toilet. Generally, the Norfolk Broads is full of boats that have a pump out toilet. Whether people do or whether they don’t use their sea toilets, I really don’t know but if you can avoid doing it then you probably should.

The Norfolk Broads is a lot cleaner now and the otters are everywhere. In fact, there’s an otter that turns up here every other day.

I’ve been trying to get the bugger on camera for ages because he’s such a cheeky monkey.  I have seen one otter grab geese and kill them to eat He’s really quite a formidable character.Otter

So if you came to the Norfolk Broads and you wanted to buy a boat you might be surprised that some have holding tanks and some don’t. The vast majority of them will specially the new ones.

It’s not a very nice process having it pumped out to be fair it is quite offensive and smelly in the summertime when someone is having a pump out you. Sometimes get a terrible terrible whiff and I think they get charged somewhere between maybe £12 to £20, so it can be quite expensive. Like I mentiioned earlier, if you only come down for maybe a weekend then it could it could be a bit of a pain in the ass excuse the pun but it’s important to abide by it.

I do wonder what people do on the canals with waste but it is probably the same with pump outs.

So to answer the question, yes I do have a sea toilet.

They can get you in trouble too because my toilet dooes not currently have an anti-siphon valve on it.

anti-siphon pipe

When I first got the boat I left the sea-cocks open and it started to siphon during the night. I woke up in the morning with the dog bowl floating around. it was all wet and I stood up to get a big surprise. Luckily I was in very shallow water. You got to be careful. The whole idea of having hole holes in your hull isn’t very nice anyway and to me it sounds a bit counterintuitive. To be fair if you sank on the Norfolk Broads you’d only go down about 6 or 7 feet anyway, so you’re not going to go far.

Do you need a compost toilet?

I know the the barges have compost toilets but I can’t really see myself having one on here because it’s it’s just too small to be honest.

Just bear with me I think I’m going to chuck more wood in the fire. If I don’t keep it going, it’ll go out.

I’ve only seen chemical toilets on cruisers. There are places where you can empty them out which is great but I don’t know whether you’d be able to get away with one on a sailing boat. I mean I have been sailing for ages but if you were to use one on a sailing boat whether they’d leak or not? I don’t know. It’s easier just to find a pump out place for a boat on the Norfolk Broads than it is to find diesel pumps.

What about the eels?

Some chap just asked about the Norfolk Broads eels. I don’t know about eels I’ve never actually seen one other than one hiding in a scaffolding pole that I fished out when magnet fishing.

 Norfolk Broads Forum administrator - Magnet Fishing

People do tell me that they fish for eels but I think that might be more of a historical activity many years ago. I have never actually seen anybody catch any eels and there’s plenty fishermen up here, believe me. There’s plenty of pike up here, crayfish and the pike are very big. There might be catfish to but that may be a myth. I’m not really a fisherman, I was as a kid but I don’t really fancy i these days.

Just stoking the fire as nice to keep the heat going…

This year particularly I have had about four or five people contact me or even approach me and say that they they have loved watching my videos online and all that. They actually have bought themselves a boat and gone and made the transition to being liveaboard themselves. I find it quite pleasing to hear that when someone’s going to become a liveaboard.

What do you think about the fisherman hogging all the moorings?

Well it’s it’s a tricky subject that. I would have to say that in the wintertime because there’s so few boats about, when you come into moor up ypur boat, from my own experience, it can be very difficult to get the fisherman to move. They appear to be very territorial. Now, they are obliged to move, it’s the Broads Byelaws but they don’t and they’re very lazy at pulling their fishing lines in as well when you come along. I can tell you now that within the last year I’ve taken about six or seven fishing lines and I’m getting a bit F****d off with it to be honest.

Cutlass bearing

When you get that fishing line around your propeller and then around your propshaft, it forms like a really tough plastic bracelet and it can knacker your cutlass bearing.

I know it’s not nice to generalise about people but they do get on my nerves actually. They are a nuisance, however, they have just as much right to be here as anybody else but I just don’t understand why they don’t pull their fishing lines in when a boat comes around. They know where the floats are, they know where the fishing line is, however, you can’t see it when you’re on a boat.

People Feeding Birds By Your Boat.

My biggest moan this year if anything would be people feeding the birds. They come and feed the birds next to your boat, so you have all these birds swarming around your boat, crapping on your boat. You just stare at them as if to say, ‘Well you know what they you doing’, and they just carry on doing it. I don’t know why but it happens…it happens.

Yeah the fishermen I don’t know what the story is with them. Perhaps they just hate boats, I didn’t know how it works but they don’t like to get out the way when you come into moor . That I do know and their fishing lines are a problem.  I took three fishing lines off the same boat once in Sutton Staithe last year and it was because the chap who had set up three rods on his boat had gone and sat inside.  You know, you just think, well that’s just stupid. However as we all know, they’ve got as much right to be here as anybody else and there are times when it you sort of clash.

Somebody’s always got to be in the wrong haven’t they? so if people don’t move, then obviously their fishing lines are going get taken.  It does help to have a horn on your boat, that’s for sure but it’s not to the point that it’s a problem. You know you might have one aggressive fisherman every other week. Maybe you’ll have one sitting in the middle of the river, five or six fishing rods out and you know as soon as you see them, they’re gone again so you probably not going to see them again anyway.

I was hoping there’s gonna be a few more questions actually but I’ve noticed when questions come up I’ve really got to read them quickly because they just disappear which is a bit frustrating.

I probably should have kept my laptop because I think you get more features.

Here we go…

Did you get all of your boat painted?

Very nearly. I’m very nearly done. I have just to do the deck paint around the bow at the top, I think that is what they call the forecastle.

So I’m nearly nearly done and it’s worked out quite nice actually. I’ve got quite a pleasant result. When it is done I’ve got to do the rigging. The frustrating thing about doing the rigging is a lot of it I can’t do myself and I like to do everything myself. I don’t particularly know why but maybe it’s because it’s cheaper. I have to replace some shrouds and what thye require is called swaging, it’s a little bit like crimping. It involves copper ferrels and I’ve got to pay someone to do that. apart from that I can do most of it myself.  I’m going to be looking forward to getting the mast up.

What is your favorite part of the Broads, north or south, any hidden gems?

The Norfolk Broads is full of hidden gems. Some chap just asked what’s my favorite? the north or the south broads?

To be honest the north broads is completely different to the south broads. The north broads is very peaceful, a lot of trees, four to six inches tidal range, and then when you go through to the south broads, it’s quite an aggressive transition, and it has surprisingly strong currents there. You’ve got bigger rivers, you’ve got a tidal range of maybe up to two meters in some places. However,it’s very bleak, very remote and you don’t really see much down there. You get the old pub and stuff but it really is just reeds. Its got more of an old world feel about it.

Here up at the north Broads it’s very tourist orientated. There are a lot of pubs and a lot of hire boat companies, riverside holiday rentals and what-have-you.

The other question he said was,

Are there any hidden gems the place is full of gems?

People come back here year after year, decade after decade because it has a very remote feeling.

What’s long as she had been on the boat without human contact and do I get bored?

Oh it can’t be more than maybe three or four days I wouldn’t have thought. You always bump in somebody.

Do I get bored? no, I don’t I don’t get bored at all. For some reason being on a boat certainly clicks with me.

My biggest frustration on a boat is storage. I find storage a real pain in the ass. In addition, working on a boat whilst living on it is very difficult. It’s a little bit stressful as far as I’m concerned. When it comes to boats, bigger is better and this boat is 27 feet so if I could go up to a 50 to 60 foot boat I would do it in a heartbeat. Even then it would probably be too small.

So,no, I don’t get bored. I start to get a bit bored of maybe the slow journeys. It’s very difficult to get things together up here and maybe that gets a little bit boring.

If you want to have a peaceful time, you ca do a wild morning and you can go out for two or three days and totally get away from it all. You are in your own sort of cocoon here anyway. If you’ve got your Wi-Fi, your films, your woodburner,, your food then there’s always something to do.

It’s really quite invigorating being on a boat especially if its windy.

If you want human contact, then you just go into the nearest mooring and there’s always somebody there. In fact, in the summertime it’s near on impossible to get anything done because when you get a paintbrush out so many always come stand next to you chat for an hour. You’d be surprised how many days gett lost chatting to people and the inevitable beer.

I’m late joining but where are you now are you on board for the winter?

Yes, I’m onboard for the entire winter because it’s the only way I can get stuff done. I’m moored up at a place called, Hoveton and Wroxham which is on the north broads.

Norfolk Broads Forum Administrator

Wroxham is like the Lanzarote of the Norfolk Broads or like the capital. It’s all holiday homes, hire boat companies and stuff like that. The reason why I’m here is because of many reasons. Boat shops are few and far between on the Broads which is really quite strange. There’s boat shops here and there’s a library up the road which you can use the computers free of charge. There’s plenty of DIY centres and it also has very strong Wi-Fi so it suits me being up here. In addition, there’s a McDonald’s as well..

I tred to do a couple of hours in the library today because I’ve got to do the websites and stuff like that. I’m getting ready now to do a another trip probably within the next week to ten days.

Do you think you will ever consider getting another dog?

I would love to get another dog Neo I would have got a another dog in a heartbeat. There is an opportunity anytime to go get another dog from the local dog homes here but they always come neutered. I always thought if I ever get another dog, thatI don’t want a neutered dog. They don’t get long dogs and when they do pass on, if you’ve got the means to breed them, then at least you’ve got something left over and you can carry them on.

Also I don’t want to start a dog from scratch from within a boat because obviously it’s very messy business. They’re going to be peeing and crapping everywhere and I can’t get away with that one on a boat this size. Look if I had a 60-foot barge or something I probably could because people do.

Alright, I can honestly say for the last year and a half without a dog onboard it’s been like a ghost ship. There’s something very enjoyable about having a dog on a boat and for some strange reason they totally embrace it. I’ve never quite figured out why but they do. I can remember when I came to get my dog on the boat for the very first time, she actually stood on the moorings shaking with excitement. She had maybe a couple years on here. She would love to get off the boat and have a jimmy riddle and do what they do and then she was just as keen to get back on the boat…they love it they really do.

Every day you open the hatch, it’s a completely different place for them.It’s like going on walkies all the time. yet being on a boat they’ve got the opportunity to have a little snooze and a munch on the way.

I will also say that the hire boats allow dogs to go on the boats. You see many people on the hire boats and they’ve always got their dogs..

Most people who have boats on the Norfolk Broads have dogs as well. Who would have thought dogs would like like going on boats?

In fact, in the summertime there was a chap at Stalham Staithe, which is a historic mooring.The chap sitting there in his cockpit having a beer and he had two cats sitting there on his boat like little lap dogs. I’ve never seen that before and I thought I thought cats was scared of water but there they were sitting in the cockpit just like a dog. It was the strangest thing.

You do get some people with some strange things on boats. I know people with parrots and I met some chap who wanted to get a pygmy goat. I don’t know whether he was just a bit nuts too honest.

So yes, I do miss my dog immensely.

You’ve got to be practical with dogs as they they are a responsibility for a long long time.

Do you cook on board, and what do you eat, tinned stuff ?

That is a very good question. Yeah, any downside to where I am now is the supermarket is too expensive. I try my best to go to a place like Aldis or Lidls because it’s the sort of place you can go and buy 20 tins of corned beef, 20 tins of potatoes and stuff like that.

I have been eating a lot of takeaways recently that’s why I’ve been putting on bit of weight.

Microwave

You can cook some very nice food onboard like curries. I am using a meth stove now. I also have a microwave that doubles up as a convection oven. They’re very useful. Basically what I would have on land I suppose although storage of these devices can be a bit of an issue sometimes. It’s certainly no more expensive. However, it is nice though when you’ve been doing it for a couple of weeks to go to a pub and treat yourself to a carvery, nothing like a roast dinner on a Sunday. I must admit I do miss things like pizzas, pies and stuff like that and unless I’m on the electric then I’m pretty much stuck with basic meals. I probably eat too much bread actually. IIt’s crazy just to have bread on the boat and eat sandwiches all the time and it really doesn’t do you any good.

My biggest problem I think on a boat this size is I don’t have a shower. and it can be a bit of a pain in the arse sometimes when you’ve gotta go two or three days without a shower. I was thinking about making one in the cockpit but then that’s only good for the summer. In the wintertime your stuffed and I couldn’t really put one in hereas  it just hasn’t got the room for it.

I’m quite envious of people who have showers on their boat and I always say, I think bigger is always better with boats. These folks who’ve got boats big enough to have domestic washing machines on, I am quite envious.

The odd time when I do use someone’s flat or something and have a bath, it’s absolute luxury. It’s amazing how you take these things for granted. I have said previously that the Norfolk Broads is very barren but where I am now, there’s this launderette maybe 200 yards up the road. So one does don’t live in a subhuman state. You have got all the amenities that a marina would have in certain locations anyway.

All right, we’ve got 26 people online I wonder where you all are? there’s no way for me to tell at all. I imagine some of you are probably in the UK and what time are we now in the UK? about half past five and I hhave no idea what time it is In America?

Horning!

Hh my god, you around the corner, hello Dan in Horning.

Where does your mail go?

Ah that’s a good question. What I do, well I have I have an address anyway but what I do if I’m gonna be buying something on Amazon for example is they do local collect at your post office or Amazon Locker. eBay allows collections at Argos so there are ways around it. It’s more difficult ordering boat parts and chandlery for the boat and that can be a bit tricky. If I want to order something online and they don’t offer that local collection service, I get them to send the parcels poste restante and collect at the local post office. So even if they don’t offer local click and collect, I can still generally get it sent to the post office.

Now, I spoke to them about it and if it was okay to get a parcel sent? and they said that’s fine. It’s only if you start to take the p*** and start to order something like big solar panels.

I’ve certainly done poste restante with power tools and what-have-you. Most mail is electronic now anyway so it’s never really a problem for me. If I get something important that I get someone at my home address to scan it through, so I never really have a problem with post or deliveries.

It was a bit frustrating at first because I wasn’t aware of Poste restante. I was frustrated as if I needed something for the engine then I di dnott knw at t he time where can I get it bloody sent to.

Have you met any women on the Norfolk Broads, is there a Mrs. Miles?

You know it’s funny you ask that as I wondered if somebody would ask that. No, there’s no women on the Norfolk Broads. If you’re thinking about coming to the Broads? bring one with you. If you don’t have one? bring a rubber doll. If you don’t have rubber doll? stay at home because you won’t meet any women on the Norfolk Broads.

When I first came here, I went to a place called Brundal. There’s all these big gin palaces and flashy boats and all that. I thought, bloody hell I’m gonna have a right laugh on these Broads. However, this it’s not like that, it’s far too remote, it’s too bleak. In addition, I  very rarely meet female liveaboards. Iff there areany, then they are usually partnered off and what have you.

There’s worse things to worry about I’m sure. It’s certainly not the best place to come and meet a partner. You are better off bringing your dog I think.

Have you actually fallen into the Norfolk Broads yet?

Hello to you in Sweden. I have fall into the Broads many times.

Is there any nightlife on the Broads in the winter?

Absolutely not no. Good god no, there’s no nightlife on the Norfolk Broads in the summer, believe me. You make your own.

As I sai, I have fallen into the Broads many times. By my own admission, a couple of those times I probably had a couple of sherberts too many.

When you go down the South Broads the tide can drop as I say about one and a half to two meters, and if it’s all frozen, then it can be a bit tricky getting onboard.

I’ve never actually gone fully in. I have always gone up up to the waist or something. So yes, it’s very easy to fall off the boat and you do have to be careful.

In fact, I have more problems getting in and out of the dinghy because I am weighing about seventeen and a half stone now. When I try and climb out the dinghy I find that gravity seems to sort of be a bit of an overwhelm getting in and getting out.

I’ve had plenty of swims in the Broads and it’s not cold at all, it’s lovely.

In fact, I changed the propeller once in November and it is November again right now. It’s not that cold at all.

The water is only about seven or eight feet deep in most places so how cold can it get?

My mind has gone blank now and I can’t really think of anything else, oh there is one other thing.

What I wanted to tell you is that if anybody’s thinking about going on to live on a boat? I have not watched TV for years, I never did anyway since I was a child, it’s all a load of b******* but I find myself very dependent on mobile data on a on a boat.  I went through 103gb last month on my smartphone alone.

I love nothing more than to watch documentaries.

I have sailed and cruised the Norfolk Broads many times since my first visit in 1969. Where are you moored in Wroxham?

I am moored up right near Wroxham Bridge. There’s an old bridge here.

 Norfolk Broads Forum administrator - Wroxham mooring

I go through documentaries like you wouldn’t believe especially now as it gets dark early. Its quite normal for me to go to bed at seven or eight o’clock and I like to watch a lot of documentaries online.

Have you ever seen Keep Turning Left on the YouTube?

Yes, I have seen Keep Turning Left and I am a big fan of his actually. He did one recently about electric bikes which I thought was quite clever. He has been up here before on the Norfolk Broads.

Many may not know that Napoleon learnt to sail up here on Barton Broad.

Keep Turning Left, it’s very good.

How much money could you live on would you say?

Another good question. I can live on £50 a week. I personally can live on fifty pounds a week and out of that I could probably stick about twenty quid towards diesel in the fuel tank which I wouldn’t need to do anyway because I would not normally go through that much.

When I first came up here, I did smoke and I liked a beer as well, to be honest, so if you don’t drink and you don’t smoke then fifty pounds a week is plenty. You’re gonna do what one trip to the launderette you know and maybe two or three trips to the showers and  that’s just plenty. I know it sounds ridiculous but you could quite easily live on about £200 a month. Okay, you wouldn’t be going out of carveries and what have you and you would probably have to limit yourself in some ways but you certainly wouldn’t go without and you certainly wouldn’t be living on the breadline. So yeah, so if you had £100 a week, you can live very well indeed. It’s a very cheap lifestyle. That’s not really what the attraction is for me.

How much diesel can you fit in your tank and how far would that go?

I’ve got about a 50 litre tank I think that is right, about 50to  60 litres.

I pay more Council Tax than that…

I know, that’s why I’m doing this because I’m fed up of paying Council Tax.

So, I have got about 50/60 litre tank and that shows how long its been since I’ve filled it up.

I’ve got a BMC imboard engine in here. BMC diesel it’s a 1,500cc.

I’ll give you an idea of what the fuel would cost. If I do a trip to Beccles which is in Suffolk, it’s gotta be about 50 miles away. If I keep the boat at about a thousand revs, which is about four miles an hour, I’ll probably go through about 15 litres of diesel.. However, if I went up to about one and a half thousand revs I would probably go through about 25 litres.

The speed limit is four miles an hour up here and what that is in knots? I don’t know and on the south Broads it’s about six miles an hour. You’ve got to be more aware of the currents down the south Broads. If you got to get the tides right like you would at sea. If you can get that right you’ll fly anywhere. I mean Norwich from here is about 10 or 11 hours.

How old are you and have you got any plans for how long you’re gonna live like this?

I am 46. When I was a boy I used to ask my Dad how old he was and he would answer that he  did not know. I would thin to myself, how the hell do you not know how old you are? Now I have to think. I am 46 and will be 47 next year.

Another question he asked was, how long you can live like this?

I’m gonna live like this as long as possible. I want to go down the coast and I want to go over to the French canals. and eventually come out to the Mediterranean. One I would like to do it for myself and two, I do like making videos. I would really like to do that because I think they would make fantastic videos.

I am familiar with France and to be fair it is always a bit better if you know what I mean?

So that’s what my plans and I’ve certainly no plans to pack all this in. As I say, I’ve been doing this for three and a half years now and there isn’t one day that I’ve actually woken up and thought I don’t want to be doing this anymore.

Have you sailed or are you using wind?

Yes, I have not be doing it for quite a while and I will tell you the reason why I’ve got the mast down. The reason why I’ve got the mast down is because there are so many bridges here on the Norfolk Broad.

This boat has quite a hefty mast and it really is a bit of a mission to get the mast down. This is a sea boat and it’s really as a pain in the arse to get the mast down all the time.

In addition, the rivers are very winding and it’s a little bit too big for this to tack anywhere. I can’t really get the momentum and for the sake of sailing for about 3 or 4 miles, it’s just a lot easy to bring the mast down and use it as a cruiser. That’s what I’ve done actually for about the last two years.

So I am looking forward to getting the mast back up again and doing some sailing because it’s very exhilarating. However it is much better on the South Broads because you can get about a twenty to thirty mile stretch down there.

The traditional Broads sailboats are a lot more suited to this with the bridges because basically they have a wooden mast which is counterweighted at the bottom. They can literally just drop the masts quicker than crack whore could drop her knickers and then poke them back up again pnce they are through the bridges.

This is why I got this boat cheap. If you ever come across something like a Westerly Centaur or something similar up here, people can’t really sell them easily because most people don’t want to mess around with the masts.

Unless you’ve got a very unique setup and if you’ve got a big heavy mast you wontt really want to be doing it three or four times a week.

Another thing is when I when I have the mast on the tabernacle and I’ve dropped it down it hangs over the boat by about 15 feet, so when it gets really crowded up to here in the summer I don’t really want that on one occasion I had a hire boat reverse and the mast actually went through the back windows. They were French window sliding doors and my ast went straight into their cabin. I just heard this woman scream and looked out the back and my masts was inside their boat.

How long would it take to get to France in good conditions and does the keel ever hit the bottom?

I run aground a few times. How long it would it take to get in France?… I have absolutely no idea. To be honest I don’t want to think about I just want to do it, so please click some more adverts. That way I can get there a lot quicker.

I have hit the bottom a few times. There’s a couple of locations such as going up to Dilham, I ran aground there and is a place called Loddon on the south Broads. If I get the tirde wrong on there I can come to a complete standstill. It’s not an aggressive substrate. It’s not an aggressive bottom. Its silt, its mud, and its sludge. You just come to a standstill. It’s all peat here and that’s all it is. I’ve only ever hit something hard once and whatever that was I don’t know but it gave me a bit of a fright. My draft is about 1.1 metres and I’ve got three keels on this sailboat, most of the places I go to I am good as gold. It can be a bit irritating when you do hit something. It could be a tree log or something. I think anything over about 1.1 metres and you might be getting in trouble up here because it’s not deep water. It really isn’t deep water at all. I think I think most boats are probably a lot less than that.

What do you think of the kebab shops in Yarmouth?

I don’t know, the only shop I’ve ever been to in Yarmouth is Aldis or Asda. I probably wouldn’t go to a kebab shop in Yarmouth to be honest. I don’t like going to kebab shops in most places as they all always look a bit ropey not the best looking places so I will stay clear.

Do you ever receive unwanted attention from thieves and vandals?

Well I must tell you, you do get a few nut cases on the river. I think on canals you get more gypsy types.

One chap came up to me once and asked me if I could show him how to raise amd lower his mast? I said I did, and I spent about two or three hours showing him how to do it.  A week later he was standing by my boat threatening to throw paint over it for whatever reason. So you do get some nut jobs.

When I go into the city of Norwich, I must admit there is quite a lot of… well, there’s no easy way to put it, there is a lot of druggies. They seem to hang around the river, so I never spend the night in the city.

I know people who have had their boat climbed on in the night and they’ve had their dinghy stolen.

How do you make money to live this lifestyle?

I will quickly answer this again because I have answered it already. I make money with great difficulty. It is bloody hard and if it wasn’t for the Internet then I wouldn’t be able to do this. I am a Norfolk Broads Forum administrator and I also have many other websites from blogs, forum, cllassifieds sites and I alos produce videos online.

Do you have any interest in sport fishing?…

No, I was very keen on fishing when I was a kid but I see it in a different light now. I feel a bit sorry for the fish actually. Saying that, I think if I was somewhere else I would be tempted to do some big-game fishing as it just looks a bit exciting.

I think if you’re going to catch a fish and eat it then it’s a different story but I don’t understand the point in people catching fish and then throwing them back in the river. I do see them floating down the river dead, so, no I’m not a big fan of fishing but I have been in the past.

I will just go back to that question about thieves and vandalisms. Yeah, there are thefts up here, people’s outboards and stuff does go missing I think diesel theft can be an issue sometimes. I’m always with the boat so it’s never really been an inch an issue for me but it’s certainly something I consider and I wouldn’t leave the boat unattended for a long time.

I think security on a boat is something you really have got to look into.

I’ve enjoyed your live chat I’m off to get a kebab now…

I hope you don’t get some botulism with that for free.

Things like generators and expensive stuff you obviously got to put them away. I think having a dog on a boat would be a good thing.

Hello from hungry. Maybe you are already this question but I wasn’t online. When do you plan to start your trip to the South E.U?

I’m hoping to go in the spring because if I have to spend another summer here I’ll probably go a bit nuts to be honest. I am going flat out now to make the money that I require to do this trip. That’s why I’m here where I am now because I’m on the computers all day. It all boils down to money at the end of the day as I said I’m not a wealthy chap, so I’ve got to make this happen.

A lot of people have quite a lot of success with Patreon on YouTube.

Have you thought of having a folding bike onboard to extend your traveling shopping range?

Yes, I thought about a folding bike.In fact, I got offered one recently. I think I’d rather have a mountain bike actually. Folding bikes are a little bit too much well, they are a bit ladyish aren’t they? I like something a bit more rugged.

Do you need a passport when entering French waters?

Yes, you need a few things actually. You need to have a ticket but you don’t need a ticket around Britain. You do onein France you need a certificate of competence and you needt a VHF ticket .I think that one’s called, Cevni.

Security-wise it’s not too bad up here on the Norfolk Broads. There is a police force for the Norfolk Broads and they are called, the Broads Beat. They’re pretty switched on actually. Unfortunately a few things do go

Folding bikes are no good…

Well, you’re quite right there actually because I remember having one as a child and I had a few nasty incidents on that. When I go to France, I’ll definitely be taking a bike kids at the end of the day. If you’ve got a quick release bolts, then you can take the wheels off and you can just bring it inside or stick it on the bow. However, I see a lot of people now have got these electric bikes.

 Norfolk Broads Forum administrator - Segway

To be quite I think if I had a bigger boat I’d probably get something like a mobility scooter or something like those Segways because you know anything that involves physical effort probably isn’t a good thing.

My mind has gone blank now so is there any more questions at all?

My word I have been online live for online an hour. That’s bloody good going.

For anybody who didn’t hear in the beginning, the reason why I did this is because I didn’t want to make any more footage of the same-old video type on the Norfolk Broads.

By my own admission, I am horrendously delayed getting to my other locations. However, it’s got to be done and I thought maybe I would do something a little bit different this time and a bit more interactive.

I’ve enjoyed it actually. I thought there’d be probably a few more questions but there you go I hope I’ve answered a few. if anybody fancies going liveaboard? then please understand thats it’s not for everybody and I totally get that. I think you’ve got to like your own company you’ve got to like boats. It can be frustrating with the limited storage space but I don’t know it just seems to click with me. It’s great. I like it. A lot of people might say it’s a bit of a cop-out but so what?… it’s a great cop-out.

I’ve got some nice comments there. Thank you very much and I really enjoyed doing it. I look forward to doing it again actually. It does seem a bit strange talking into a phone and to a screen because all I can see is myself. However, I can see there’s been twenty to thirty people.

What did you do for a job before?

I was not a Norfolk Broads Forum administrator, I can tell you that much lol.

If money was no problem how big would your boat be?

I tell you what this sailboat is 27 feet and I would go double that straightaway in a heartbeat. Some chap said to me, what was I doing before? What I was doing before was I was involved in electronic waste which basically involved recycling of electronic products and also scrap metal. That’s what paid for this boat.

It was good to see where you are so please keep the vids coming…

Okay, well thank you very much for the current comments and I thoroughly enjoyed doing this.

I’ve got a very busy four and a half months ahead now trying to get the pennies together to make my trip so with a bit of luck I might just pull it off. Look at that I have almost made in an hour it’s a lot longer than I thought.

Best video I’ve seen of yours, love it gonna check out you other vids. Happy adventures Donnie Hudson…

You are very welcome and I would just like to say thank you for all tuning in. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and I’ll speak to you all soon.

I have got to put some more wood on the fire as it is going to go out.

I am the Norfolk Broads Forum administrator and Thank you very much folks and take care!