The crews of the 3 boats were gathered on the bank in the Hunter's Yard dyke. With a total of over 50 years of Borads sailing experience between them, there was a certain confidence... but would it be misplaced? Maybe! Nearly 40 of those years were in one person: Admiral Rowlands.
Worse than that, no one knew where he was.
At that point Captain (Harry) Rowlands exclaimed: "what's all that smoke!!??"
He was right, a lot of smoke was coming from the Hunters car park.
The crews ran round the corner of the boat shed and could see a massive plume of smoke from behind the powerful dumper truck that Cabin Boy Roberts had needed to hire to transport his 'Quarry 3.0 ultra eco solid stone pizza oven and BBQ combo oven'. Well one of the trucks. It had needed 3 and the others were yet to turn up. Something about not making it over Potter bridge. More specifically there not being much of a bridge left after the first truck had gone over it. Still Roberts figured there may now be plenty more stone for Quarry 4.0 which he was rapidly designing in his head given he had now only 1/3rd of the materials he needed.
But back to the smoke. What was causing it?!
(to be continued...) (by someone else!)
Percy was the first to spot Admiral Rowlands. His face was covered in black soot, as was his t-shirt (the only t-shirt he had packed for the holiday). He was grinning from ear-to-ear though.
The source of the smoke seemed to be some kind of makeshift BBQ that looked like someone had just chopped the front engine/bonnet assembly off a car. It was the Rowlands clan who were first to recognise the blackened Mercedes badge. The engine that was now smoking and glowing red hot, with what looked like the entire meat counter from Tescos, was the one that had propelled them to Norfolk.
"Eeeeeee breakfast's up everyone! NS I've got some carrots and a bit of lettuce for you here" Admiral Rowlands shouted.
The fears of everyone that they were looking at 'Bonnet BBQ 2000' was no nightmare. And the smell of burning leather confirmed it, as the flames began to lick around the dashboard of the once pristine E class.
In an effort to make the most effective BBQ, chasing the MIGHTY heating reputation of 'The Quarry', their family car had made the ultimate sacrifice. It would be a long walk home at the end of the week.
Interrupting the discussions of whether they could travel home in one of the Roberts dumper trucks, a real chill came through the air. Was it a breeze from the Arctic? As the snow began to fall they all started to shiver. But what was it? What was causing it?!
Then they noticed Cabin Boy Sahdev trying to light what looked like a flimsy sieve. So weak was the heating power from it, it seemed to be reducing the heat from the air to the point where it was making its own weather. They noticed a defrosted veggie burger that was on the griddle was now icing up nicely and seemed to be returning to fully frozen!
Anyway after they'd all eaten a late brunch and the Admiral had rinsed off his t-shirt they had a quick briefing from the Hunters guys and started their holiday!
(to be continued)
After a hearty and warming breakfast Cabin Boy Neil surveyed the scene. He looked at the three vessels, each with sails up and ready to launch. He was so proud of himself as he only needed a little help from Able Seaman Tom when sweating the throat halyard. Now he was closer to double digits, the Able Seamen was much stronger than his father. He wrapped his arms around himself as the cool breeze from Sieve 3.0 ripped across his t-shirt when he noticed something was wrong. He did a mental tally of sailors. There is one missing… no, two missing. Where was Cabin Boy Andy and Able Seaman Luke.
Then at the same time the Wherry that lives in the next door birth hove into view through the trees and Cabin Boy Neil looked on with envy. It looked low in the water, but had full sail up, a rare sight in the narrow dyke. Then the strangest thing happened, it moored perfectly at the end of the jetty.
Looking like the Mary Celeste Neil wondered where he crew was, when he saw Able Seaman Luke at the helm but he could barely see over the cabin roof. “that’s why he was asking me earlier how long the wherry was, good judgement!” He mused to himself. Cabin Boy Andy jumped off her bow and made fast the mooring. “The Quarry 4.0 needs a mobile platform, so I did a deal with the lad next door and he loaned her for fifty quid. He said we can even spark it up en-route. Because Luke is 3rd most qualified sailor here, I’ve promoted him to Captain the Wherry.” Said the Cabin Boy.
Admiral Rowlands looked up from his fifteenth sausage and bacon bap, scraped the ketchup from his jowels, and growled in the gruffest naval tone, “I’d like to see you shoot Potter in that…” and grinned.
To be continued…
Cabin boy Andy and captain Luke (newly promoted) examine their new vessel proudly. After they had made sure everything was in good condition for sailing they realised that there was one small problem: how were they going to get the quarry 3.0 onto the wherry with the sail in the way? Roberts also proudly pointed out that it would nose dive under the weight if it was put on the front, but With Captain Luke's quick thinking he had the answer. ' Oi! Cabin boy Neil, get me the sieve and wipe that look off your face.' He shouted. After Cabin boy Neil had brought the sieve to the wherry, the captain Instructed Neil to drop the seive into the water next the wherry 'are you mad?' Asked the puzzled Neil terrified that his very own BBQ would be lost to the cold depths of the broads. ' just do it!' Says Luke making the most of his new authority. Cabin boy Neil dropped it in and to his amazement the water started freezing, and not just that, it was freezing all the way to the bottom, enough to hold the quarry's weight Roberts then slid the quarry 3.0 on to the ice, the yard went silent everyone was watching the quarry and Roberts (who was struggling to push the thing). The only sound you could here was dodgy pulling up his fly, then there was a sickening crack. To be continued..... (* authors note. It turns out that Luke doesn’t have any sailing qualifications. But even so, he would still retain his 3rd most qualified position because nobody else does either. Sadly I think that cabin boy Neil is the most ‘qualified’.
Cabin boy Andy and captain Luke (newly promoted) examine their new vessel proudly. After they had made sure everything was in good condition for sailing they realised that there was one small problem: how were they going to get the quarry 3.0 onto the wherry with the sail in the way? Roberts also proudly pointed out that it would nose dive under the weight if it was put on the front, but With Captain Luke's quick thinking he had the answer. ' Oi! Cabin boy Neil, get me the sieve and wipe that look off your face.' He shouted. After Cabin boy Neil had brought the sieve to the wherry, the captain Instructed Neil to drop the seive into the water next the wherry 'are you mad?' Asked the puzzled Neil terrified that his very own BBQ would be lost to the cold depths of the broads. ' just do it!' Says Luke making the most of his new authority. Cabin boy Neil dropped it in and to his amazement the water started freezing, and not just that, it was freezing all the way to the bottom, enough to hold the quarry's weight Roberts then slid the quarry 3.0 on to the ice, the yard went silent everyone was watching the quarry and Roberts (who was struggling to push the thing). The only sound you could here was dodgy pulling up his fly, then there was a sickening crack. To be continued.....
(Re sent because it didn't send properly)
<big nod of appreciation for Harry's contribution there... I've properly been laughing at that one>
Everyone heard the crack and spun around... to see... a film crew and that famous chef bloke off the telly! It wasn't a crack it was a pop of a champagne cork! "Congratulations!!" he shouted to Roberts, adding "I am pleased to say you've won The Great British BBQ designer of the Year Award for that amazing stone BBQ and pizza oven" and pointed at The WherryQuarry 5.0
The film crew all started clapping and the sailors all joined in recognising the supreme job Roberts had done.
Roberts did a skid over to the bank, on the ice rink made by The Sieve and collected his prize. It was a cool box full of meat and quorn burgers, veggie kebabs and marshmallows. And a big winners trophy and an even bigger heavier medal that was hung around Roberts' neck by that French chef blokey off the telly.
After they finished filming the TV crew disappeared and the sailors all returned to their boats.
They'd set their sights on getting to Stracy by dinner which would mean they had to get a real move on. All was going well until Roberts noticed.... (to be continued)
... zip ... dodgy was lurking around the corner, and stepped out. his usual gentle smile gone, replaced with a hardened grimace. He shook his head at Roberts. “You tryin ter get ter Staceyy?” The words flowed smoothly but slowly, his Norfolk accent stronger than ever. “You mean the new hot Texan buffalo steak wings all you can eat drive thru place that just opened after ‘Chindian experimental’ closed down?” He shook his head whistfully. “That was an unfortunate event, toilet still blocked from that one”. The crew followed his gaze to the yard where lullaby lay in dry dock. a small blackened hole had shattered her hull next to the heads vent. “Lullaby crew had a problem after eating there. There was such a force she blew the hull out”.
Dodgy looked at the blackening sky “breeze freshinin, swinging to the south, tide against... only the best crews would make it by nightfall.” He took his time to survey the crew, looking at every man and woman in turn. “I think you...”
(To be continied)
"....I think yur' narrt gurna be tastin texan hot wings turrrnigghht"
And with a shake of his head and a check of his fly zipper he was gone. Back to repairing the Chindian gas blow hole in the side of Lullaby.
The crew digested this information imparted by the ultra experienced 'Dodgy'. And digested was the operative word. It was clearly going to be a risk to push on and 'go for the wings'. But it felt like their only way of actually having any food that night.
Whilst the award winning QuWherry 5.0 was award winning, it wasn't winning any races. The rock filled wherry didn't fit down the dike so it was both superb and useless. 'The Bonnet' was just useless, ever since the clever German engineering had caused the immobiliser to shut down all heat in the engine bay. It was now almost as cold as the sub-zero-Sieve.
So dinner options were looking limited, or raw.
Admiral Rowlands made his choice pretty clear:
The ultra qualified Cabin Boy Neil showed the value of his experience and benefit of his huge range of sailing qualifications. He knew exactly what to do....
NS pulled out his zippo. The roar from the zippo was deafening and the heat intense. Much to the delight of the fleet NS’ zippo was the perfect temperature for halloumi burgers for everyone.
The crew were all grateful for the light snack prepared by Cabin Boy Neil but it obviously wasn't a proper meal, as it didn't have any meat in it. Everyone agreed it was tasty though! Checking the cool box it quickly became clear why, with the meat partially defrosted the juice had given the haloumi a really good marinade.
With all the BBQ drama over the last few hours the boys hadn't realised that Team Female had it all sorted out. First Mate Navigator Anne, Chief Medical Officer Steele, and Sports Rubber Roberts had been busy! They'd plotted a crafty route to Stracy utilising tides, a secret unknown Broad, the curvature of the earth and a slingshot involving the gravitation pull of the moon. They'd be zipping to the Texan Hotwings faster than Dodgys Zipper zipped down! What's more they'd prepared a proper meal to get the hungry crew there: a mini mixed grill all round. It was all pre-cooked before leaving that morning as the girls had all agreed the night before on WhatsApp how useless the fleet of home-made BBQs would be! No one really minded that as they tucked in to the delicious grub...
The super speedy route worked equally as well. Navigator Anne's astrophysical calculations and estimated timings were accurate to within 0.03 seconds. The Chief Medical Officer Steele and Sports Rubber Nicola sailed under direction from Vice Admiral Luke whilst the older lads all agreed to call a truce on the BBQ competition - and instead focused on making 'The best of' compilation of all raw materials they now had!!!! The QuarBonSieve 7.0 was born!!!!! Part rock, part red hot metal and part cooling area for drinks - it was genius.
The night ended well, after some delicious Hotwings and Quornwings and an agreement of a set of Challenges the crews would need to complete over the week. The challenges ranged from..........
...eating, to rowing, skulking, swimming, press-ups, rope pulling, eating, rooftop-press-ups, drinking, knot tying, navigation, pull-ups, quanting, punting, dinghy hauling, towing, dinghy quanting, astro-navigation, photography, night sailing, eating (puddings), drinking, rocking, sail hauling, pumping, deck swashing, tacking, gybe challenge, quant challenge... oh, and maybe some sailing.
Meanwhile, “Where are the others?” Vice admiral Luke said from his flagship Brown Bess as he looked up at the sky, still chewing the last of his fine meal, cooked by his servants.
The black clouds were heavy with rain and the full moon shone through the occasional breaks. Storm was brewing and he knew it.
Deep inside the dark damp deck of Lunar, trouble stirred. “You’ve created a monster” said a voice “We can’t go on like this. He barks orders like we are dogs on a chain, and expects perfection on every tack. It’s a nonsense and it has to be stopped”. He slammed down his tankard and the creamy white froth slurped over the rim. “I’m not going to stand for it”.
“Its mutiny” said another, deeper voice, “Don’t be a sissy” said the first “it’s more than that, this is a revolution. I’m gong to knock that kid off his perch tomorrow if it’s the last thing I do”.
Horah... shouted the others as the speakers fiery red face bristled under his fiery red hair, his cheeks puffing. “We will be victorious” and drank another gulp of milk!
Today’s sail has been hard, the vice admiral had pushed them all too far and their bodies ached and groaned from the hard work. Though nobody could deny they had made good progress. Most of the crew were at the meeting , all the kids were there, including admiral Chris, cabin boy Neil and cabin boy Andy, they needed a leader and they all cheered... tomorrow they would help able seaman Matthew remove the evil vice admiral from his perch of power. Then the thunder and lightning cracked........
The crack of thunder snapped them all back to reality. The revolution would start tomorrow, for now he (Luke) was still the boss man and they needed to obey orders. They were all agreed on one thing, at least for now they'd met Luke's every demand... they were hoping for a quiet night.
And then: "Crew, crew where are my crew! Atttttention!!!" The crew all leaped up snapping to attention! Standing up straight and tall: BANG!! They all bumped their heads on the roof. As it was all at the same time - the force caused the roof props to swing out. The crew, at this point all flat on their backs knocked out cold, were well out of the way as the roof came crashing down. BOOM!
Admiral Lukey heard what he assumed was the fleet cannon going off. He knew it was coming, the crew were bound to be preparing a mutiny and now they were storming his luxury quarters. After his meat stores no doubt. To be fair he'd managed to amass quite a bit.
He waved the white flag out of his cabin. He'd surrender command of the fleet for now, rather than come under attack from his own men. It was a long game in his mind and he'd mapped out the coming days. Based on the tides, wind, bridges and location of the restaurants he knew it was a challenging timetable. The crew would soon be asking him to resume command, based purely on his qualifications.
To be blunt, Luke wasn't impressed with the standards. For example, the previous day he'd caught Cabin Boy Neil and youngest member of the crew Percy having a lesson on Port and Starboard!! That was until Percy got frustrated and stomped off saying 'Neil just try writing them on your hands, that may help'. In return, to thank Percy, Neil had given a lesson on knots: in particular the Sahdev Slip. To demonstrate, he'd moved the dinghy and arranged to meet Percy at the stern quarter on the Port side and used a Sahdev Slip to secure it. In the few seconds it took Percy to realise he had meant the bow quarter on the Starboard side and had walked around, the Slip had slipped and the dinghy was slipping off down river never to be seen again.
Anyway back to that night, Luke surrendered and when the crew came around from their knock-out from the roof, the new Commander in Chief was back in his cabin. Matthew looked around his luxurious cabin as he relaxed to write the logbook of the day, it had been quite an adventure!
As the rest of the crew settled in to their bunks that night, there was relief all round. The day had gone well overall and they were on schedule. The boats were neatly moored bow-to-stern with awnings tightly secured and decks scrubbed. The only thing in some of their minds, as they closed their eyes, was who had tied the boats to the bank.....
... admiral Chris woke in the night...realising that when cabin boy shadev had shouted ‘they are all neatly moored’ he has actually said, ‘they are all nearly moored’.
The admiral shouted, “admiral Matthew, what are our orders?”
Relieved of no longer being in command he fell back asleep, despite the deposit being in his name, it was no longer his responsibility.... zzzzzzzzz.....zzzzzzz....zzzzzzzz....
And then an odd sound could be heard.... Powder Monkey Percy was quick to investigate. Naturally resourceful and quick thinking he grabbed torch #1, always close at hand as it was the most important of his collection, it had just the right number of lumins to correctly ascertain which torch to use... The range was vast, afterall Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail, as his Captain always advised. As the youngest, Percy would never make such a school boy error as to fall short by not following advice and rules as set by his superiors, he would certainly not fail when it came to his weapon of choice. On this occasion, he plumped for torch #12, not too big or heavy, excellent lumim capability and range to scour the boat and waters nearby. There was an odd rumbling sound to occur every few mins, followed by rippled waters, the boats began to move with increased sway. The noise appeared to be coming from all directions.... As in, the same noise, but from all three boats. With the Sardhev Slip fiasco having proved troublesome to correct as the three boats drifted gently in the millpond, these ripples were noticeable and very much in time with the each odd noise. A deep rumbling. The Powder Monkey boy could not make head nor tail of it... Until it hit him, this was not something his torch could shed light on, no... This noise was accompanied by a smell that would even awaken the olfactory nerves of a whale. What could it be? Where could it have come from? And what to do next...