Two days after our date I was going away for a long weekend with my mate Ady on the Norfolk Broads, I’d booked it back when Mr Convenient and I were seeing each other and Ady was the only person daft enough to go with me. Yes it was the end of January but they don’t sell boating holidays unless the boats can go out in all weather would they?! Actually yes they would. Whilst not a date I did end up sleeping with him so what the hell, I may as well include it here. We arrived and had a short lesson on driving the boat, the yard gave us a map and marked on all the pubs and within 40 minutes we were off on our own. We turned the heating on, then up then realised it just didn’t work except out of one little blower. For anyone that doesn’t know much about boats like me, this was a broads cruiser, you drove from the front with a bedroom cabin at the back and it is designed so in the summer the front bit where you driving can be removed, it’s just held on with a few ties making it quick and easy in the summer and complete and utter toss wank at keeping the heat in, in the winter. The temperature was in the minuses and whilst enjoyable as the sun went down we realised we needed to moor and were no where near where we’d been aiming for. We found the nearest pub on the map and headed towards it, or as close as we could get, which was about a mile. We were in a lovely secluded area, surrounded by woods – we hopped off the boat with the dog, walked down a deserted country lane without a house in sight until we saw the pub and about 10 houses. We turned back with the dog assuming that the walk would be enough and we could leave her in the boat whilst we took the long walk back to the pub. By this point it was pitch black, we were in the middle of no where, there were no street lights and we were cold. We arrived back at the pub only to find it was closed until 1730. It was only 1700, so we sat and we waited, curtains twitched as people stared at us until finally the pub opened, the fire was roaring and they kindly made us a cup of tea. We sat with some locals, one particularly charming old man stood by the fire with his hands down his pants and smelling of damp came and sat with us, we’ve no idea what he was saying but we nodded, ummed and ahhed a little before finally going back to the boat. By this time all locals knew where we were, down a dark country lane all alone and we’d seen one too many horror films the result was us panicking about being abused by inbred Norfolk folk with 6 fingers and toes. Back on the boat things were no better, it was minus 6 bloody cold and the only DVDs we’d bought were bloody horror films. Thanks to the pitiful heating we had the gas stove on and sat closely with all our layers, every cup of tea treasured for its warmth but quickly followed by a trip to the toilet. As a girl I cannot stand a wee, I’m also on the short side, sadly my feet didn’t touch the floor and every time I sat on the cold toilet I was convinced there would be a black ring of frost bite on my bum. It was about 10 when we decided to call it a night, the back cabin was the only completely contained and sealed area on the boat, so despite being more like brother and sister we realised the only way to stay warm would be to both sleep in there together. Still when in Norfolk….
The next day we awoke frozen, I’ve no idea how I got to sleep, I know Ady didn’t sleep but that was more because of my snoring. We let the dog off for a wee, she had already wee’d and Poo’d on the boat but I was prepared for that and started cleaning. Sadly where I cleaned came off far cleaner than the rest of the floor so I had to rub mud back into the carpet so it wasn’t obvious.
It got worse when we realised we were iced in, it was a good 2 inches thick in places and we had no phone signal to call for help. We tried breaking the ice and that didn’t work, so we did what all inexperienced boaters do and we sailed anyway, every inch we went was full of crunching sounds and it took us half an hour and we didn’t even get out of the mooring area, we did however manage to see the lake and realise that was also frozen, by this time I’d found the Ice section in our boating manual, that said under no circumstances try and drive in the ice, remember Titanic?!
It took over 6 hours for them to rescue us and break the ice enough to get through to the main waters which were still flowing, the snow was due any minute and the boat had to be back at 9am the following day, we decided to quit, we took the boat back to the marina, got in the car, put the heating on and drove to the nearest Tesco just as the snow started.