A QUIET pint with Mrs Wherryman at Coldham Hall on Saturday evening had me in a historical mood. The car park was packed but the pub was deserted. They’d all set sail several hours earlier and had yet to return. Because it was the day of the Yare Navigation Race, the one day of the year when sail really does dominate and anyone with an inboard or an outboard sticks to their moorings. Every year dozens of river cruiser class boats race from Coldham Hall to Breydon Water and back. “"And back” being the tricky bit this time around. At 6.30 only one crew had made it home – pictured above. Apparently the wind had dropped suddenly, leaving dozens of boats limping home slowly. The pub looked well prepared. Lots of staff and a big outside BBQ to complement the kitchen. They just didn’t have any guests.
And so to the historical bit. It must have been just like this in the old days. I had a vision of a gnarled old publican coming outside to sniff the wind. Would a dozen wherries come round the corner any moment or were they already getting drunk downriver at the Buckenham Ferry? Wherrymen didn’t have cars to return to, and they didn’t have mobiles either.
On Saturday we left before the rest returned. I’m sure they got there eventually and I’m sure Natalie and George somehow made sure the bangers weren’t burnt.
* There are some great pictures from the race on this Flickr set by SuPine.