We turned off the busy 'A' road and headed into the empty countryside under wide East Anglian skies. After a few miles we took another turning, down a dusty single track lane, deeper into the remote countryside. A few minutes later, the river glinted at us through the trees and we reached our destination.
We had moved the boat up to its new mooring late last week and are being initiated into the joys of inflatable dinghies and east coast mud. Having unloaded and parked the car, it took rather a long time in the hot midday sun to pump up the dinghy, attach the outboard and load it with supplies for an overnight stay. As I gingerly stepped onto the treacherous thing, it floated away from the jetty slightly, pulled by the tide, leaving me straddled, one foot in the dinghy, the other slipping off the jetty into the thick gooey mud. Not my most dignified moment, but a baptism of fire into the reality of a river mooring, after the luxury of marinas and pontoons.
We finally managed to get ourselves onto the dinghy, started the outboard and set off a quarter of a mile upriver to our boat, sitting rather closer to the water than is entirely comfortable for a landlubber. We tied up and somehow managed to haul ourselves precariously on board. At last we got the sails up and drifted up the meandering river on a light breeze, moored up by a riverside pub, lowered ourselves into the dinghy again, rowed ashore for a well earned drink.
There are now two things I have added to my wish list that I would never have dreamed of in my other life. One is a nice firm fibreglass dinghy, the other is a boarding ladder.