In June 2011 we went on a group
visit to the Museum of the Broads. A splendid
evening - here's how it felt.
Of course, if you want to, there are
lots of words to read - I read them all, as I always do.
There are stacks of technical details for those who
understand these things - how this boat was
built, why that sort of sail was better than
another, how to get under a low bridge or through
shallow water and still have both a top and a bottom.
But did you know that there was a
time when working boats were being strategically sunk at
the same time as yards were slaving away building
vessels they had never built before? Can you
imagine a lifeboat appearing out of the blue suspended
on a parachute? Yet again the truth was
brought home to us - our part of Norfolk was once no
rural idyll but was on the front line in the World War
against the Nazis.
We also learned about the extremes of
life on the Broads. You could admire the
racing and luxury yachts of the rich, but then be
brought up short as you squeezed yourself into the tiny
living cabin of a working Norfolk
wherry. Actually it was pleasant and thought
provoking to sit on one of the two beds and imagine how
snug it would have been with the coke stove alight - but
then you weren’t trying to cope with the cooking and the
umpteen children who lived with you in the same space.
There were examples of vessels
reclaimed from the water and undergoing restoration by
volunteers - perhaps the most important thing in the
museum. And then there was that trip on the
Falcon! Why, oh why, did anyone ever invent
petrol and diesel engines? Go there, take a
trip on this beautiful steam powered launch which glides
so peacefully across the water and even keeps you warm
if you sit in the right place. The distant
thunder and the first few plops of rain only added to