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Memories from the 1960's & 70's

Memories from the 1960's & 70's
2008-03-19

Hello, I can't say how pleased I was to discover your new(ish) website the other night. I hope you may be interested to see a few of my own photographs and hear a some of my own recollections of holidays spent aboard some of the Royall fleet? My family's first visit to the Broads took place in about 1960 after a good deal of nagging on my part! I was a big fan of the Arthur Ransome books and in particular the two Coot Club stories, which cemented, in me, a life long love of this region. I picked out the 'Royal Times' from a much thumbed [by me] and well worn catalogue. I suppose it must have been 'Hoseason's' but my only recollection is that it was thick and a smaller format, maybe what we would call A5 these days? What a good choice, I made? We were stunned by the quality of the presentation of the boat and the location. I have never slept in better laundered or more tightly made up beds than those in the fore-cabin of the boat, that first night! We had a good many holidays on the Broads after that, but 'Royall's' standards (no pun intended) of turnout were always the yardstick by which we judged other yards afterwards! I cannot now be quite sure what year this was? I think about 1960 but it could be a year either way? I do remember that the yard was based with Summercraft in their Brimbelow Road site. At that time (I think?) Landamore's yard was just across the basin and I do remember being impressed by the quality of their fleet too, although the boats seemed a little bit old fashioned, even then! Royall's was still run by Ernest Royall with the help of his son Alan and I think there were four or five cruisers in the fleet? Royal Times and her sister ship Royal Trail, with her bright varnished hull, plus two or three smaller, rear cockpit craft, Royal Charm, Royal Tiara? All were beautifully and traditionally built and presented. They would be very much admired by anyone who has any appreciation of wooden boats nowadays!

My first photo is from this holiday and shows me with my father and my sister. I set this picture up for my mother to take and it remains [probably] my favourite family photo, to this day. It was taken with my Kodak "Box Brownie" and we were moored alongside the Ferry Inn at Horning. That evening my father dropped his pipe in the river and after an abortive and rather pathetic attempt to recover it with the ship's bucket, he set off for Horning in the hope of buying a replacement, rather than go without a smoke! This was much to our amusement and bemusement because, as you know, its a fair walk and the shops were bound to be shut! Maybe he bought some cigarettes in the New Inn or the Swan? Anyway, at least we didn't lose the bucket! The next group of photo's were from a holiday with my wife, her brother and his girlfriend. We took Royal Command for two weeks in 1974 and the first picture is of the ladies getting in the holiday spirit at the Station Road yard. What was wrong with 70's fashion, really?? Being old hands by now though, we never used to venture out of the yard on Saturday evening! Nevertheless we were unlucky with the weather on that holiday. After the first few dull days it started to rain incessantly. Eventually we just ignored the rain and got on with whatever we wanted to do, regardless. I remember Mr Royall apologising about the weather when we returned to handover but we didn't blame him personally. I thought this was Ernest but maybe it was Alan if his dad was no longer around?

The following day we moved to Horning Staithe but had to return on the Monday morning! My ham-fisted brother-in-law had broken a rowlock mounting on one of the two sailing dinghies we also hired. This was during his first attempt at rowing, near the Swan at Horning. There is a picture of Alan Royall doing the repair. These dinghies were also the cause of much hilarity on the last day of the holiday. After two weeks of accompanied sailing my brother in law decided it was high time he took his first command and elected to sail himself for the first time (along with his girlfriend) back to our moorings at the Anchor from Coltishall Staithe. Their efforts were hilarious and culminated in them both crying with laughter when the halyard slipped and the sail dropped and trapped them both underneath itself, leaving them drifting helplessly down the river! People were so amused that they followed their progress taking pictures and sporting at least one movie camera. I didn't escape completely unscathed because in tacking back and forth to watch the fun, I managed to flick my glasses off with the boom and ended up having to strip off and go in the river after them! Lucky we were at Coltishall and you could see the bottom eh?

The last picture is of my family on Royal Jester, taken in 1977, at Womack Water. You may notice that we are moored alongside which is not normal at this location? That is because it was February and we were the only fools there! Actually, the weather was excellent for this holiday and we really enjoyed ourselves, although it was rather cold at night.

This boat had a double and a single berth in the aft cabin. My little, two year old, daughter wouldn't settle in the single bunk and when I swapped with her I realised why. Ice cold condensation was dripping off the side deck-head onto my face! All part of the fun eh?? Anyway, hope this was of some interest. I'm afraid that the slides don't all scan that well? Best of luck with the website! I will keep an eye on it often, in future. Regards, Brian (Kermode)