Logs and Shanties


Editorial - the impossible dream

harriers c 1996
A year has passed since twelve months ago. M'colleage Andy and myself, are older and wiser, but more significantly, urged on by a still greater sense of Ambition. Last year, we sought to bring about the Impossible Dream, a publication unlimited by the bounds of mere paper, seeking to stretch out a fragile human hand and grasp ... a truth, a small jewel of the cosmos, and perhaps even discover New Civilisations beyond our solar system. We didn't manage that, of course, but we did end up with a rather fabulous little booklet which was terribly handy for reading on the tube or on the loo.

This year, we've gone still further, if that was possible. Andy has spent an immense amount of time making cups of tea, whilst I have been drinking them. Sugary with milk. We've also tried to attract a wider audience to Circus, by getting an exclusive interview with Diana, Princess of Wales. Unfortunately, that plan fell through as well, as she was away in Washington DC, but she sends her best wishes.

It was in pondering deep into the fine grains of sugar crystals that remained in the bottom of Alex's mug that we were able to give true reflection on the vastness of our spiritual predicament. The grains glistened under the power of the 100W bulb, showering its myriad of photons, which as well as setting up the delicate flecks and shafts of speckled light, was starting the inexorable process of decay and rot in the tea. We considered deeply. Our spiritual nature was taken up in the endless possibility of rot and decay which ultimately ends in death, but at the same time gives life and sustenance to the microbacteria permeating our everyday life. In all this, our fingers moved upon the keyboard and the hands of word creation marched hexometrically towards the completion of a draft.

And so a radical plan emerged. That turned out to be a wash-out, so we made another. And it wasn't that bad either. Circus 1996 is proud to bring you the new HANDY CUT-OUT SECTION and also a chance to win a brand new, silver-grey Vauxhall Astra 4-door hatchback GTi with alloy wheels and driver and passenger airbags. If your special Circus number matches the winning number on the back cover, you're walking away from Hunter's Yard with the keys to your NEW CAR ! Enjoy your read, and good luck !


------If you would like to edit circus,----------
Complete this cut-out form, and return it to us at:
6 Hartland close
Winchmore Hill

(under 41,568 words please)

(please show your working)

(you may use reverse side if you wish)
  • Plato and Socrates would revel in the social sphere created by the rows of tins in a supermarket. Discuss.
  • My uncle Hermit, and his fetishes.
  • The demographic situation in my uncle Hermit's house has reached an impasse. Discuss the possible solutions and their associated problems.
  • The check-in procedures of gate 33 of Heathrow Terminal 4. (Mention uncle Hermit, if possible)


harriers c 1996
The day should have been straightforward. Four of us and a competent, trustworthy skipper (or so we thought). Robin was late, but we'll forgive him. After all, with a massive 15 miles to cover, who wouldn't have hit a few delays ? Dropping a pound coin was a feeble excuse.

Nevertheless, we cast off successfully after having determined that head to wind was in fact in any direction... Carol, our faithful skipper quickly created the first problem- that the jaws had become twisted when we tried to haul up the mainsail [That's what comes of hoisting with your teeth -Ed]. Calling the boatyard man to the rescue, he expertly bashed the jaws with a quant-pole, lowered them back down and straightened them out again.

We got the full 'raise-the-jib-first' lecture, directed of course at the woman in charge, while the rest of us looked on in amusement. Our second encounter with the man at the yard was when we had to call him out about the gas ring on Avens which would not light. Never once did we question the ability of our faithful skipper Carol. A full ten minutes was spent attempting to cajole the hob into lighting. Eventually we abandoned the struggle and moved our food to Lustre. After a peaceful five minutes, Carol discovered that there was in fact nothing wrong with the gas- she'd just forgotten to push the knob in first before turning it... Much hilarity, before a cover-up was put into operation, CIA style. We all kept quiet and moved the food back to our boat. Only we'd forgotten that Brian had phoned the emergency number so who do you think turned up halfway through washing up...? Yes, it was the man from the yard, complete with van and little blue flame, only to discover that we had in fact "solved the problem" as we delicately put it. Oh well, that's the beauty of gas. Thanks for a brilliant afternoon, skipper, can we be on someone else's boat tomorrow ?


harriers c 1996
"Let's take the awning off, cried Dave, returning from his fifteen minutes of unknown 'stuff to do'. "Buoyancy aids must also be put on", he lectured, and then stopped abruptly noticing the awning was actually off, and everyone was indeed wearing buoyancy aids other than himself. He stared into the humoured faces for a moment, giggled, and instructed us to take the sail-ties off. It took us two minutes to undo the incredibly tight and complicated knots. Just as we were finishing the satisfying job, Dave decisively told us to "Hang on and put the sail ties back on". On they went, the last knot being tied when, "Actually, let's take them down again!". We sighed, it was going to be a long day- but at least there was ginger cake on board to keep us sane. We decided it would be better to turn around, then push off and start rowing. After a small mishap, where we nearly had man overboard- Dave had slipped and landed on his behind -we left, the boys practising their imitations of the Olympic team rowers and we shot off down the dyke.

The morning passed with conversations on the topic of types of underwear, trying to tie our fabulous bowsprit on, intimidating other Broads users to see if our bowsprit was 'bouncy' and mine and Hils' favounte part: EATING THE GLORIOUS GINGER CAKE and stuffing choccy biccies into ourselves. We did, however, practice self-control and left the others one to share !!

As we left the shop at Ludham, we were struggling to moor up with the others, so Dave thought he'd give us a boost, by letting off wind in a most disgusting manner [scandalising the main ? -Ed]. Unfortunately, the sails were down, benefiting no-one and leaving a rather nasty smell.

Lunch was quite an exciting affair, with food fights with pious showoffy swans until we scared them off with spoken thoughts of barbecued swan and our methods of catching them. After sharing soup, tortilla chips, pringles and sarnies, we all tried to set off with smelly garlic breath. However, there was a slight problem as Magic Mist couldn't set off due to me mistaking their boom for ours and hanging onto the mainsheet- whoopsie. Finally, after much laughter and Hilary making Dave promise her a go at her new found love for rowing, we set off.


harriers c 1996
Well, I could start by saying that the sun rose dandily over the horizon (or similar platitude) but I won't, as it's been done before... So I'll start at the very beginning; my base boat as they appeared to me on cruise date: Saturday, the 1st day. The valiant crew seemed to me to be an interesting bunch... Firstly a pirate queen otherwise known as Sarah the midget fidget. She arrived with piratical bandana, pistol and eye patch. She recommends the patch in silk, not poxy polyester. Her partners in crime seem to be Geoff and Danny, both Harrier Rookies. I am very glad to have Geoff as ever since "Right, said Geoff" one instinctively feels the need for a Geoff on the cruise. Geoff comes as a package deal with Danny sort of like Wallace or Gromit, I think. Lastly, the fair Clare, who rapidly ingratiated herself with the crew as she arrived complete with rubbish bins for the Magic. I have been sadly demoted... following circa five years irre- sponsible in charge of a wondrous wood boat, Brian has allocated me to Tragic Moments. I am informed that similarities to a bath tub are all in my mind but the large oblong plastic thing feels pretty tub-like to me!

Well, talking about Tragic Moments; it may only be day three, but already we have seen a few... The first tragic moment involved a discovery that our motor works with a turbo. Geoff- of the right said fame -had seized the helm on the first afternoon. I explained the nature of zits and day-boats, and he metamorphosed into some apparently half-crazed serial killer out for a target. He rested only when he had smelt blood- or collision- for the first time, in the form of a motorised zit.

Danny -or Gromit- takes a more measured approach. His first tragic moment took the form of a more tranquil and sedentary coup. Under the guise of pretending to leam to tack, he lured the unsuspecting crew up Heigham Sound and towards a lurking area of carefully concealed shallow water. Before the skipper had really realised his game, Danny had firmly adhered Tragic Moments up on the mud. "Well, get out of that", his sardonic, sophisticated smile seemed to say to the sartorially elegant skipper (that's me, by the way). So, a LEARNING OPPORTUNITY I thought... NVQ2 in Mud Management. We tried skill building in (a) Backing the Jib (b) Running the motor (c) Rocking the shrouds (d) Shoving the quant, but surprisingly little was working. The sartorially elegant skipper cast a sardonic smile at the now smirking Danny- he was not worried... we were soon to see why. On cue, a large Caribbean motored up to us and said, "Want a tow ?" [Nah, surely he said, "Eh mon, canna helpya with a puull, or ah ya just easy brudda ? Staa cool, me maaan" -Ed] At this point the piratical princess Sarah, sprang to life and turned on Turbo- charged charm and cuteness and accepted the offer, effectively communicating to the Caribbean driver that he was a very big and impressive man. The rest of this tragic moment, as they say, is history...

And so onto the next tragic moment. This morning. Day Three. The crew had done a quite excellent job on the boat for inspection. They had not only cleaned the boat in meticulous, ridiculous detail, but they had also taught the skipper the answers to the questions (phew, no bowlines today). And we landed STINGY DAVE. He took off half a mark for a "large seagull" in the boat. We are still unclear as to whether this was the corpse of a dead mosquito, stored as protein against emergencies by the cooker, or whether this was the ornamental regiment feather that adorned our forepeak. Either way, we think you are Mingy and Stingy Dave !

To add insult to injury, the commodore then mounted a coup whereby he leapt aboard my poor Tragic Moment and hijacked not only the boat but also the crew. Only I escaped...I ran for my life and fled to the sanctuary of the ROYAL BARGE under the skippership of Mark. As Spindrift chugged gently away from her moorings, I observed the poor hapless crew of Tragic, labouring in white slavery under the fearsome command of the commodore. I retreated to the sanctuary of the main cabin of Spindrift to plot a rescue plan for my Tragic Moment. Luckily for me, I thought, I have had my Weetabix every day this week, so I am fit and strong.


The first on my list is called Pippa
Some maniac made her a skipper
Her boats run aground
And she's frequently found
On the lee holding court with a kipper.

Now Brian they call him Commodore
Does this mean he is without flaw ?
No he has a shirt
That makes eyes avert
That even his wife won't, adore.

Andy Reid is a skipper so hairy,
That even bold bilges are wary,
Gorillas can be kind
Though not always we find
And his armpits deter any fairy.

You Carol we think is our saint,
Her crew is without a complaint,
The points they do score
Every year more and more
Though her man overboard makes you faint.

Our Alexy just what can one say ?
The man who will do it 'His way'
The Stars and the Stripes
Which Kirsten just swipes
Mark his vessel as target each day.

We all recognise Dinghy Dave,
He's the one had too much of a shave,
No hairs on his head
Do they fall out in bed ?
Or are they his style for a rave ?

The last of the bunch is called Mark,
Who tries to sail Noah's Ark
The motor he uses
When Brian enthuses
So he sneaks out to sail in the dark.


harriers c 1996
This log is written for the benefit of all Harriers. The more material we can get into logs and shanties, the later we can go to bed - so this should fill up 30 minutes (only joking) - before you don sleeping bags and assume the foetal position. Where shall I start? Let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start). On Saturday, I caught the train, filled with the excitement of meeting the Harriers. After a while, I realised that the train was heading north, not east. I got out at Sheffield and puzzled over commie's travel instructions. There was no mention of Sheffield, so I tried to retrace my steps ... by bus. There must have been a strong wind, because the bus tacked rather a lot but eventually drifted into Christchurch Fulmard. My face lit up when I saw some familiar Harriers faces. If the travel instructions were confusing, so was the crew list. What was even more bizarre, was that one of the crew was wearing a white dress, with a train big enough to conceal a sailing dinghy. Where was the commodore? After a while I realised that this Harriers gathering consisted of previous members, not current ones. Am I going senile? [The jury is expected to take around 3 seconds to reach its verdict - ed.] After the church service, which seemed to be a day early, we ate a great feast, sitting at a long table. No, this was not Harriers. After filling my stomach, I headed for home, and re-read the travel instructions. At Horsey, I was greeted by the Wise One, like the prodigal son. Here at last! Then there were familiar faces, and I knew I was in the right place.

I have been impressed by the in-flight catering this year, Hayley, Rachel, and Helen, make wonderful hostesses. But there other who gave a very misleading first impression - one person on my night boat for example. Rhoda, to be more specific.

"You're useless!", she said as I tried to fill our kettle from our empty water tank. I felt hurt and rejected, and went to the masculine com- partment on Spindrift, hoping for sympathy from Dave (the skip, aka Dingy Stingy Dave). Instead, all I got was the sound of snoring. He was sound asleep - until the commodore came to tell him off for making too much noise. Rhoda has now repented after spending a day on Spindrift (after seeing, first hand, my sailing skills).

Another interesting situation. Breakfast - commie's mug (which alas is no more) was on the table. Andy read its inscription "Commode Brian". He looked puzzled.

"What's a commode?" he asked.

I explained. Then he said, "Oh, I thought it was an article of clothing". Look out for the fashion accessory of 96 - the commode!

While were on the subject of lavatories, there are some specific deficiencies in the Safety Policy for Sailing Holidays Affiliated to the Standing Conference of Christian Sailing Cruises [for those who are unaware, this is SPSHASCCSC for short -Ed]. This document details risks associated with sailing on the broads and appropriate measures to take.


Many broads yachts provided with toilet facilities for the convenience of the crew. These devices vary from in their complexity from a simple hole in a wooden board, a few inches above the water line to ones with numerous valves and pumps.

Hazards -
  • explosion (due to incorrect operation of the pumps and valves);
  • explosion (due to naked flame, ie match being used as a source of light at night);
  • bruising (the result of being thrown around as the crew gleefully tack and gybe);
  • concussion (forgetting the lack of room to stand up);
  • falling in the water. Personal Protective Equipment -
  • non slip foot wear,
  • buoyancy aids,
  • toilet paper,
  • hard hat
Procedures -

Skipper will instruct all crew in safe ways of operating the toilet and correct use of personal protective equipment.


Lard, although not provided in the boat's catering supplies may be purchased and substituted for margarine.
  • trips,
  • falls,
  • concussion,
  • falling in water,
  • obesity,
  • clogged arteries,
  • premature death.
Personal Protective Equipment -
  • non-slip handwear,
  • non-slip footwear,
  • grease resistive clothing.
Procedure -

Skipper will instruct crew in safe ways of handling and storing lard (ie below room temperature).


Snoring skippers may be found on most cruises. This anti social behaviour be caused by severe stress which results from hyper-active crews, also those missing spouses.

Hazards -
  • insomnia,
  • gnawing off one's limbs in frustration,
  • falling in the water (that is the snoring skipper). Personal Protective Equipment -
  • earplugs
Procedure -

Crews will advise skipper on commencement of snoring. If this is to no avail, the skipper may experience the hazard of falling objects.


harriers c 1996
You didn't know ! There was one more competition this year. Fresco-Dora-Bosh publications are proud to present the prize for the log with the longest sentences and the most ands. Carol won.

What are we going to practice today asked Kirsten as we set off this morning i thought for a bit Sunday aha mob day thats promising soon sort the crew out our first victim was the quantpole well you never know when you might lose a skinny 9ft bilgeboy overboard and its handy to know what you should do should the situation arise the procedure for picking him up consisted of casually remarking oh look the quantpoles fallen over will it float then a flurry of action with everyone pulling different ropes or letting them go etc knocking the skinny bildgeboy out as we sail past at frightening speed then miraculously coming to hoveto alongside the victim and dragging him back on board hmm that was all a bit too easy next attempt needed a bit more cunning up on horsey we decided to do a bucket and two fender job im not sure what shaped bilgeboy thats meant to simulate let me show you how to do it i said cunning plan nol if i make it really complicated by going round several times stopping just tantalisingly out of reach to give m o b directions and words of encouragement of course before finally sailing off and coming round hoveto well that should put them off right crew your turn bit disappointing really all managed to pick up drowning bilge without too much difficulty even when I lured them into letting go of the mainsheet three times ok cunning plan no 2 let me show you again this time i made the manoeuvre even longer and much more complicated showing what happens when you approach m o b from every possible angle so they can judge for themselves which is best ok Kirsten your turn again the plan had worked Kirsten excelled herself in sailing up and down past mob and stopping either side out of reach gybing and spinning in a most exciting fashion finally she ran him down however not wishing to stop whilst i was winning i arranged for the bucket to detach itself from the fenders as they were dragged on board and float off by itself with no handle for easy collection wood avens sailed off to take stock of the situation and saw the hapless bucket bobbing up and down and making an escape towards the shore as any sensible bilgeboy would the added urgency ie panic made this part of the exercise even more interesting all attempts at stopping the boat were abandoned and various pick up at high speed techniques were tried eventually crew handed the helm back to the skipper and with all three of them leaning over the side bucket was recovered now however the mop not wishing to be left out made a bid to leave the ship but wasnt quick enough and Kirsten foiled its plan and scooped him up just as he bobbed past the stern crew now quaking and exhausted allowed skipper to sail around the broad to her hearts content success ps the quant was so distressed by the afternoons activity that it completely lost its head coming into mooring as we were leisurely drinking our tea and munching fruit cake at Ludham Bridge having just sorted out the amazing cats cradle that formed around the mast during the mast up and down process it was remarked that we hadnt really got any log material today how would be overcome that predicament ah i know i thought put Hayley on the helm Hayley took command she politely enquired of the crew if they would like to take the bowline the sternline and the quant to which they replied no thank you having persuaded them to oblige we managed to get the boat over to the windward bank we waited for the river to fill up with cruisers and yachts in all directions before raising sail and setting off with Hayley at the helm showing her prowess at dodgems so far so good however when the traffic died down and we were left with an empty river and a good wind to tack in Hayley had to create her own excitement this she did by sailing Wood Avens good and hard up the bank and into the neighbouring field it was now that the river filled with other craft again and the occupants of which made such remarks as oh thats a bit embarrassing isnt it as they passed by Jamie not over impressed with the distance into the meadow that we already were proceeded to quant us on further Hayley finally persuaded him try pushing in the other direction Jane and Rhoda were still lounging around the deck at this point so the flustered helmsperson decided to put them to work with the traditional swinging on the shrouds routine skipper smiled and reached for her pen and paper time passed by so did many more boats with many a kind word of encouragement at last after much huffling and puffing and heaving Wood Avens was finally persuaded to leave her lodgings and once more float off down the river ok backwards but at least she had water beneath her again Hayley tacked back and forth several times to survey what we have now named Hayleys dyke in fact she really seemed quite proud of her efforts saying ive really made my mark on the broads now.

The night crew on Magic Mist

by the night crew of Magic Mist / harriers c 1996
Dear Rosalie,

We feel it necessary to inform you of the demise of three one centimetre squared portions of your fine chocolate bar.

Upon discovery of strange emanations from the ship's fridge, we decided that, in the best interests of crew safety, morale, and well being, we should volunteer Gerald to sample some of the suspicious confectionery located in the upper right area of this cooling apparatus.

It was found that, on consumption of one piece, that it was indeed a fine specimen of Cadbury's chocolate, but a group vote decided that two more pieces should be consumed, as the bar was evolving into a higher life form, and it was necessary to prevent it from developing language skills.

Because of the gravitational effects of the black hole inside the fridge, we reasoned that anyone observing us from afar would see us move so slowly that they would not realise we were eating chocolate. The chocolate had crossed the event horizon which created a paradox but provided, at the same time, a solution to the paradox of Schodinger's cat. An alternative time-line had been produced in which the cat had actually eaten the chocolate. (The origins of the cat, at this stage, are still purely hypothetical, and further tests need to be made tomorrow. Further bars of chocolate placed in the fridge will be appreciated.)

the night crew of Magic Mist
and Schodinger's cat.

PS. A palette analysis of the substance revealed that your chocolate contained chocolate, nuts, and raisins. The exact number of raisins was a point of much debate, but the chocolate had an excellent snap, a fine consistency, and was smooth to the palette.


harriers c 1996
The sun peaked suspiciously over the horizon. I awoke to Brian's cheerful morning voice accompanied by a disturbing shaking of the whole boat. I stirred, but the chatter and the shaking continued. After a further 20 seconds of earthquake, I gathered that Brian was waiting for a kind of response. I thought quickly, my mind leaping into action like a well-oiled Zimmer frame, compiling words and sentences with which to answer the Commodore. Finally, I opted for, "Oeugh -yawn- Yers" upon which the rocking stopped.

"What kind of day is it ?", inquired David sleepily from the Starboard bunk.

I peered out into the cockpit and remarked dreamily, "Blue sky in every direction." I focused in, and added, "No, hold on. It's this darn blue awning. Grey sky. In every direction."

Later in the morning, I was to be found on the bank at Horsey, patiently waiting for Andy, Helen and Rachel. Andy appeared to have taken his dentist's advice very seriously indeed, having disappeared to clean his teeth a good ten minutes ago. I waited, nevertheless, omitting to inform my day crew of the dangers of a buoyancy aid with excess buoyancy. Upon impact with the water, the unfortunate overbuoyant casualty is propelled ten metres into the air, which can cause problems if for example, you're in a shed at the time.

Shortly after. Wood Anemone, together with Andy and his sparkling teeth, was tacking down Meadow Dyke, Rachel at the helm, Andy quanting, Helen on the jib and myself on the shrouds. Whilst we flew between banks, the skipper frantically threw himself into the reeds to push the boat round, aided by Andy on the quant. Feeling quite pleased that we were using all members of the crew, we flew down Meadow Dyke with the ease of. ... something flying down Meadow Dyke with ease. Our only regret as we emerged into Heigham Sound was that we had insufficient crewmen to use the mudweight as well.

Such was our enthusiasm upon entering into the main river, that we sailed down to Potter. Some time later, at 12:30, shortly after the 150th tack against the tide and just before the bridge, the skipper suddenly realised that we were due in White Slea for lunch in half an hour. Whoops, never mind.

It was some time later that we were moored up finally at Hunter's Yard. Returning to the boat after my shower, I discovered my crew happily cleaning potatoes. I was just about to remark upon their efficiency when I realised that the pan was already more than full of potatoes. I remarked casually that someone must be hungry, wanting all our potatoes in one go. Sending them to get a shower, I replaced the poor vegetables back in the bag. (And the potatoes too). Whilst disinfecting my hands, I wondered idly why we don't wash in Broadswater more often. After all, it kills most things.

And on such great thoughts, I retired to my bench to write this log where I was soon joined by Dave and Andy, where we happily exchanged insults.


It was a sad morning which I passed on Wood Anemone, when I discovered the absence of my beautiful flag, previously to be observed on my starboard shroud. I looked up and down the mooring. Danny, who had notified me of its absence (rather gleefully, I wondered vaguely) was walking down the bank towards his boat. Kirsten and Gerald were rowing backwards and forwards on the river. Close by, idle Spindrift crewmen dried dishes inconspicuously. And in front of Anemone, a suspicious gap existed where a cruiser had been. The suspects were assembled, in typical AGATHA CHRISTIE fashion. With a faintly Hercule Poirot manner, I thought of the possible alternatives.


Danny, waking early left Magic Moments and hurried to the loos. There, he dressed in full sub-aqua gear, topped by normal civvie clothing. His years in the crack Royal Marines Special Ops Task Force had trained him well. He returned to the bank and, looking cautiously around, descended into the cold River Ant. He snorkelled for a while, when finally, deftly avoiding the speeding blades of the passing dinghy, he swarmed cat-like onto Anemone's shrouds. Producing his regulation Army-issue service machete, he cut the flag halyards and plunged once again into the deeps. Returning to the bank, he stuffed the flag into his shirt, threw the flippers into the reeds, just in time to inform myself of its disappearance. MOTIVE: Jealousy.


The teatowellers on Spindrift. Cunningly descending into the expansive cabin, they donned wigs, false moustaches and inflated a special, look-alike dog on a lead, brought for the occasion. Completely disguised as cruiser tourists, they wander casually down the bank, and silently board Anemone, whipping the flag from its rightful place and stuffing it quickly into the inflatable dog. Then returning to Spindrift, the throw their disguise into the cabin and recommence their drying. MOTIVE: Also, insane, uncontrollable jealousy.


Kirsten, Hilary and Gerald, rowing silently downriver, edge their boat alongside. Kirsten grapples and boards, swings herself aboard. With the aid of her impressive jaw muscles (strengthened by hours of practice with biscuits), she bites through the string and descends once again to her getaway dinghy. Gerald powers away, clocking an impressive time, which unfortunately, Hilary fails to record. I pondered, but remained silent.

Later in the day, the sudden appearance of my beloved flag upon Spindrift shattered the still peace of the day. I boarded with PIZZAZZ and the outraged feeling a skipper gets when he realises that the day crew were less than completely innocent in the matter. Lost for words, I seethed as I cradled it paternally. Romans 12:19 reminds us not to take revenge, but let the Lord take it for us. It was therefore purely coincidental that the mudweight plunged overboard as Kirsten sailed round the island. On her time trial. Also pure coincidence that I decided to conduct a MOB drill with a fender, 40 yards before the finish. After all, it always happens at the most inconvenient times, doesn't it ? And it all proves that Justice has taken its own impartial and majestic course. BE WARNED.


harriers c 1996
It was already Wednesday and I haven't written a log. I'd thought I'd better do one. It's not been hard to find the time to do this - it doesn't take many people to control a motoring yacht. To be fair, we have done some sailing but every skipper is supposed to be teaching their speci- ality and we have sailed with commie the last two days.

Well the day began early on Spindrift - again. The familiar sound of Dave in stereo surround sound and turbo powered waking us up for his morning run.

Yes, we have men on our boat - two in fact. This is a new experience for us strict followers of the segregation rule - not! Why do Rachel and Helen always arrive half an hour late every evening. Back on Magic Mist, the fun was about to begin. We decided after sitting for a while, comatosed, that it might be a good idea to put the kettle on [at this point the word bionic appears in the Rosalie 's manuscript - ed] for breakfast. We soon found that this had been a waste of our three combined brain cells -there was no gas on the boat. Consequently, Clare cooked our bacon [sic -Ed] and Hayley made our tea which minimised our washing up quite considerably - not so bad after all.

After breakfast, Gerald, Clare and I made various attempts at escaping from a fate worse than death - a morning on Spindrift, but to no avail. I tried to stow away on the half-decker and Clare spent a long time hovering near Magic Mist. Nothing of interest happened till lunchtime when the biscuit stuffing world championships were spontaneously held on Wood Avens. Kirsten officially has the biggest mouth.

After lunch, our intrepid crew of three experienced sailors, otherwise known as the left overs, found themselves abandoned by the commodore and no-one wanted to skipper them. Only Brown Bess and Magic Mist were on a mud weight and we begged Mark to take charge but he jumped into the half decker and sailed away with bionic Dave. [Given comments about men on Spindrift and the random insertion of the word bionic, do you think something is playing on Rosalie 's mind - Sigmund] Our search for a skipper was interrupted by a cry from Gerald holding up Alex's American flag and waving it at the distant Wood Anemone - like a red rag to a bull. Decisive action was needed and so we bundled Gerald into a dinghy and made him into the shallows fast. However, Alex had already turned Anemone at a mind blowing speed and was returning to Spindrift at a rate of knots to reclaim his treasure which Andy was attaching to the shrouds. Amazingly, Gerald escaped unhurt, perhaps due to the fact that the real mind behind the master plan was Kirsten. We spent the afternoon doing time trials and running down small children in Toppers - well when there were no motor cruisers about.


harriers c 1996
Sunday, and things started ok. Rhoda and Jane looked up in eager anticipation - the first day's sailing. That flush of youthful enthusiasm that sees all sorts of possibilities. Who knows what will have happened by the end of the day. Having negotiated Potter Bridge, we sailed up towards Hickling - no special events so far - and so to lunch. Having moored up in a gap between numerous cruisers, Dave brought brown Bess into one of the other gaps. I suggested to Dave that he come alongside us and leave the gap for one of the bigger boats. Well everyone arrived at once and so did a cruiser which neatly slotted into the last gap. Were all our plans foiled? Well maybe not. Brian motored up and down unable to find a spot. The cruise was one day old and I was already out of favour with the commie.

We then set of for Horsey and man overboard drill. The RYA have changed the rules and while we were watching Dave Lambert perfectly execute the old method, Jamie proceeded to give a good dozen examples of the new, each investigating a nuance of the proce- dure and ensuring we failed. First we missed the bucket, then we drifted leeward of it, then it drifted towards the lee shore. Then we got close. So close that Rhoda got a hand on it. And she really wanted to reach it, so much so, she jumped in after it. Whether it was love for the bucket or love for Jamie only the darker recesses of her mind will ever know.

Monday and Jamie had agreed to do quiet time on the basis that I would all possible strength for the day that lay ahead. We finished breakfast, filled with water, and were ready. A noose swung eerily from the peak halyard giving clear indication that the skipper was in charge. Hilary and Caroline jumped on board along with Dave. Dave is a man of sterling character who has to live with these two all week and we conferred on a strategy. This was a depressing conversation as we contemplated the gravity yet hopelessness of our situation. Within an hour we had lost two packets of biscuits and I've never experienced such persistent drivelling and pleading. Hilary and Caroline are a bit like Hydrogen and Fluorine - when mixed together they spontaneously combust to leave a highly corrosive acid.

Dave lasted half a day as Danny came to take over his mantel of purgatory. Hayley stayed for the whole day, spurred on by the thoughts of the treasures in heaven she was undoubtedly earning. Danny, however, came with a new strategy which undoubtedly worked. It called up rain. And Hilary and Caroline decided that it was time to write postcards in the cabin. Danny's miracle was perfected when three cups of tea emerged from the cabin. We drifted slowly down the Thurne and contemplated that it must be living proof that mercy triumphs over judgement.

Thursday afternoon and something snapped. I looked up in the rigging which all seemed intact, I checked in the cabin and couldn't find what it was, so I concluded it was me.

So when Alex pointed out that Wood Avens was sitting quietly at mudweight and unattended and that he happened to be sailing that way, I felt compelled to accept the lift. He sped past the stem of Magic Mist and I jumped. The two feet of Malthouse Broad was paled beside the psychological Rubicon I had crossed. A train of actions was now set firmly in place. Alex now sped past the stern of Spindrift while Gerald and I leapt again and within two minutes we were sailing Wood Avens - Carol had so thoughtfully left the sail tied with quick release knots.

I consoled myself that they were two of the lesser commandments - I had coveted Wood Avens and I had stolen her. Having recovered Avens crew for the day, Andy, Rachel, and Helen, we set sail around the broad and then onto the moorings. Arriving early, we sailed past hotly pursued by Anemone with Clare at the helm. Now it is not that Clare is competitive, but she just couldn't get past. Why do I record this - simply because it will wind her up.

The Lord clearly did heal what ever it was that had snapped the day before. This was not helped by a crew of Gerald, Rosie, and Clare. We started quietly enough, sipping on tea and biscuits, as we drifted down to South Walsham, and after doing our bit of dredging of the inner broad, we went to pick up water, food, dump the rubbish, and dump. On returning, we looked up to see Kirsten, in our dinghy, untying a fender from our forrard decking. This was war. Rosie sprinted round to Anemone which was just leaving and went in hot pursuit of Brown Bess which was now hoisting our fender to the top of its sail. At this point I thought it was time to play a trump. I produced a pork pie from the bag of food we had bought and waved it in the direction of Dave. Brown Bess instantly gybed round and headed for the jetty - but then had second thoughts. Dave's loyalty to Kirsten was stronger than his desire for a pork pie ...... Is there something we should be telling Louise?

We too set sail and headed up towards the inner broad where the main action was now happening. At the entrance, it was clear that we had Brown Bess caught in a pincer movement and as we tacked up neatly Gerald leapt on board. However, Kirsten succeeded in escaping into the dinghy, leaving only a few hairs in Gerald grasping hand, as she started rowing frantically. Gerald came back on board as we completed the tack. This made things much more difficult as the dinghy was very manoeuvrable. Time to trump again.

"Licorice!!", I called in a loud voice and headed for Brown Bess. There was panic in the dinghy.

We cut off Brown Bess and Clare boarded. Clare against five in Brown Bess- it a fair match. But .... Kirsten was out of licorice. However, Clare was not to be defeated and two minutes later a fender came flying out across the broad from the tangled frenzy of arms and legs in the bottom of Brown Bess. We picked it up, and in the confusion, the dinghy drifted across our bows. Gerald leapt in and took control, operation Walsham Storm was now complete and Magic Mist came up to mudweight complete and correct.

That was the success. However, what followed was the bitterest disappointment. Kirsten agreed to change sides and we returned to the ultimate target - Alex's stars and stripes which flew proudly from the shroud on Wood Anemone while he was ashore. We retted it slippery hitches and attached the ends to another rope which we tied to our shroud. Alex returned. He suspected nothing. We set off without giving any hint of our dastardly plot and the slippery hitches duly slipped and the flag came following Magic Mist. But then it snagged. It didn't come free and we had to leave it. Alex we know loves his flag, but we hadn't counted on the extent to which the flag loved Alex.

Shooting Ludham Bridge with one's mother in law

harriers c 1996

Shooting Ludham Bridge with one's Mother in Law (M i L)
  • Remember the Gaff
  • Create a calm atmosphere - Ducks, Windmills, Sunset
  • Hand over tiller, and remember the gaff
  • Check wind direction and don't forget the gaff
  • Sail tie in each pocket (don't forget gaff)
  • Quietly walk (saunter?) up to foredeck as if enjoying the quiet evening (Gaff)
  • Halyard coils on deck. Tighten topping lift (Still remembering the gaff)
  • On last horseshoe, ask M-i-L to head into wind. Take down main.
  • Enquire (resist temptation to bellow) of M-i-L (before she has time to realise what's happening) if she would kindly put her helm up before she hits the bank. (Don't forget gaff)
  • Jib alone. Tie mains'l up with sail tie
  • TAKE OFF GAFF, fasten main halyard, take off hatch and clear forepeak
  • Pretend not to hear M-i-L asking what you are doing
  • Pull on forestay. Remove gate
  • 20yrds before bridge, lower jib. Run under poles.
  • In answer to helm's question as to where we should moor, resist temptation to snap, "Keep your helm straight" and in a quiet, calm, son-in-law tone say, "Just steer straight please, Deirdre" [or another suitable name]
  • Release forestay. Gently push mast. Weight of boom should help start the mast.
  • To cries of "David [or another suitable name], we're not going to shoot the bridge are we ?", reply, "No, we haven't got a gun". Ask M-i-L to steer through the bridge. Tie up shrouds.
  • Below the bridge, pull up mast and set sails in the shelter of the sheds.
Copyright D Lambert - reprinted with kind permission


harriers c 1996
The moon climbed high in the sky on the final night. The time slipped on to well past desegregation as Gerald and Andy pondered the stars which paraded their glory to the balmy summer darkness. In time, a shadowy figure, surrounded by the warm glow of new love, slipped along the bank, thoughts swimming with cuddled emotions and tender feelings, her dark hair lifting gently in the soft breeze.

"What's for breakfast?", Gerald pondered out loud.

"Tongue, isn't it?", replied Andy.

Spindrift's song

to the tune of 'Help' by the Beatles
by the crew of Spindrift / harriers c 1996
Help! I need a quant pole
Help! Not just any quant-pole
Help! YOU know we need a quant

When we went sailing, sailing, sailing on the broads,
We leamt so many skills with all the other hoards,
But once on Spindrift, with the Commodore,
"We need food" said the crew, "let's go and moor"
"Tack now if you can't we'll go aground"' (ground, ground)
"And I would appreciate you going round" (round, round)
"What's this sticky mud that you've found?" (found, found)
"Won't you please, please help me !!!"

Help! I need a quant-pole
Help! Not just any quant-pole
Help! YOU know we need a quant

Now we''re in trouble, we are stuck in the mud,
We rammed the bank and then we heard one almighty thud,
One jumped out, cried to push, he fell flat on his face
Commie sighed, let out a cry, "you are a disgrace!"
"Help us if you can, we need a tow" (tow, tow)
"We've found this boat is just too big to row" (row, row)
"I think this hopeless crew will have to go" (go, go)
"So won't you please, please help me !!!"
"Help me, help me-ee-ee-oo-oo !"

The song of Wood Avens

to the tune of 'Killing me softly' by the Fugees
by the crew of Wood Avens / harriers c 1996
We heard that she ran a tight ship,
We heard that she had a style,
So we got on our knees to pump bilges for a while
And there she was our skipper
Keeping a watchful eye...
Scrubbing the decks with our Toothbrush,
Putting a shine on the mudweight,
Folding the loo roll in straight lines,
Hiding the loo roll, which won't fold,
Swabbing the foredeck with great joy,
Swabbing the foredeck, oh Bilge boy.

We hoped to have a fine day,
Get out onto the broad,
The absence of a fair wind,
Our plan seemed to be flawed.
But skip said grab the quant pole,
Shove it in and push real hard.
Cutting my hands on its splinters
Bruising my ribs with its head
Pushing the boat gently forward
Killing me swiftly with hard work
Quanting us slowly to the broad
Quanting us slowly, ...so we thought

We heard chat there was pasta
So we rushed home for tea
and to our disappointment
we discovered it was mincy
And so we begged our skipper
to dish up something tasty
Instantly boiling the kettle
making us pots full of tea
Filling me softly with flapjack
Filling me softly with fruitcake
Stuffing my stomach with good food
Filling me right up...with good food ?


The song of Magic Mist

to the tune of 'I will call upon the Lord'
by the crew of Magic Mist / harriers c 1996
Dave he slipped upon the lard
which was placed upon the stern
So he fell headlong into Barton Broad

The lard killeth
and blocked be the veins
and may the pumping of his heart be unhalted.
The nerd saileth
and rammeth into banks
and may the luffing of his sails be extinguished.

Andy is our skipper's name
who made such a sad mistake
he called it jam but meant to call it cake

I will disinfect my hands
which have strayed into the broad
so shall all germs never enter me

We will crawl upon the broad
After eating sausages
so shall our gut rumble away happily.

The song(s) of Wood Anemone

to the tunes of 'America', 'The A-Team', and 'Indiana Jones'
by the crew of Wood Anemone / harriers c 1996
We'd like to introduce our crew
Alex our skipper and Daniel too
Caroline and Hilary, they're such a team
some say they're loud, and Daniel's clean.

Time to get up, the Commie cries
It's six in the morning, the Harriers all sigh
But up we all get, with a spring in our step
'cos we love to sail, yeah, we love to sail.

[Indiana Jones]
The next thing on the list
Is inspection, and the crew all sweep
We are eager, it is true
we want 10, we want 10, we want 10, we want 10, we want 10...
With rumbling turns, we look in awe, through our food drawer
With utter distaste, what do we see ? but fishy paste
There's UHT, milk lumpy custard and tinned yucky spam
So we all decided for heath's sake to shop at Ludham
Then we brought fresh milk, ice cream and gin
then we all grinned.
We like to be on the Norfolk Broads
Sailing and quanting to our content
With groovy skipper, Commie and crew
Watch us, we say, as we fly by you !

The song of Magic Moments

to the tune of 'YMCA' by the Village people
by the crew of Magic Moments / harriers c 1996
Bilge boy you're on the Harriers cruise
We said Bilge boy, where there are no clean loos
Oh yes Bilge boy and you never snooze
Do you think you are on holiday
That's when Commie chatted to us
And said Harrier, try and sail with no fuss
Go to Horstead
And go see Neville K
so to pass the Horstead way

You need to do your R Y A 3
You need to do your R Y A 3
If you need to improve
inhibitions you lose
You can now skipper at any cruise

First mate with certificate new
You are hopeless in the eyes of the crew
But you know that though strong winds may blow
You've leamt how to storm stow your boat
Skipper we want to be just like you
Oh yes, skipper we want to do things you do
Because you get a cup of tea when you want
And when you are tired we quant
Bilge boy, 1 was once in your shoes
But now Bilge boy 1 am singing the blues
Cause I'm a skipper
In the Harriers cruise
And the yacht I sail isn't tatty

That's why 1 took my R Y A 3
That's why I took my R Y A 3
If you need to improve
inhibitions you lose
You can now skipper at any cruise.

A final literary word

by T.S. Alexiot / harriers c 1996
You may say that by and large it is Commie who's in charge
Of the Harriers sailing cruise.
From the skipper to the mate, to the crewmen who are late
He will supervise them all more or less.
Down the mooring he paces and examines all the faces
of the bilge-rats writing a log or a song.
He establishes control by a regular patrol
And he'd know at once if anything went wrong.
He will watch you without winking and he sees what you are thinking
And it's certain that he doesn't approve
of hilarity and riot, so the boats are very quiet
When Commie is about and on the move.
You can never be sure with the Commodore-
But he's a man who cannot be ignored;
So nothing goes wrong on the Harriers cruise
when the Commodore is abroad.

Oh it's very pleasant when you've found your wooden yacht
With its name written up on the stern,
And the berth is very neat with a newly folded sheet
and a skipper with an awful lot to leam.
There's a paraffin light- you can make it dark or bright,
There's a hook to hang your clothes on if you need.
There's a funny little basin you're supposed to wash your face in
and a first-aid kit to assist you if you bleed.
Then the mate looks in politely and will ask you very brightly
"Do you like your morning tea weak or strong ?"
But Commie's just behind him and is ready to remind him,
For Commie won't let anything go wrong.
And when you're done with yawning and the mate does up the awning,
You can go to sleep without fear-
For Commie's about and you'll see if you look out,
That he's sitting on a bench very near.
In the watches of the night he is always fresh and bright,
Every now and then he has a cup of tea,
He listens to the snorings while attending to the moorings,
Redoing those half-hitches without fee.
You were fast asleep at Barton when he began to start on
the menu plans for Harriers '97.
But you saw him at the Mere when he greeted you with cheer
in the morning when you wanted some more bacon.
When you get to Acle reaches and the mainsail's in pieces
and the crewmen are gibbering with apprehension.
Then Commie will appear and he'll saunter to the rear
and direct a rescue operation.
When you try to moor at White Slea and it doesn't go precisely
It's Commie who's on the bank to help you out.
And you saw him out on Hickling with the weather getting threatening
with a forecast you ought to know about.
He gives you a smile with that Commodore style,
And informs you of the nearest shore loos.
You'll meet at the mooring at the church at Horning,
The Commie of the Harriers cruise.