As we begin to recover from another stormy weekend, I am led to think about how to make the best of a bad weather weekend away from home. Indeed, it’s a hard one for me as I tend to shy away from venturing out in unsettled weather, but there are plenty of people who are more than prepared to do so.
Bad weather whilst being holed up in a boat, caravan or motor home is something you sometimes have to get used to or simply be prepared for. Last year, I wasn’t remotely prepared for two days of rain whilst at a festival and simply spent most of my time in the motorhome rather than getting out and enjoying the music. I moped about and had a thoroughly miserable time. It was mid-summer for crying out loud!
First Boats of 2020
This weekend sees the first holiday cruisers of 2020 on hire for us at Freedom Boats. Of course, with gale-force winds, the instructions to all those on boats was to moor-up safely away from trees and wait-out the storm; if there’s a pub and other facilities nearby, all the better!
But what do you do all day?
There’s the TV of course, but in bad weather, putting a TV aerial up on the roof is inviting trouble. But also, the chances of signal interruption increases too. At home, we couldn’t watch BBC1 last night as the signal quality was awful. DVDs then. A good few films will while away the time faster than you could appreciate.
Of course, most people have phones and tablets for entertainment these days, but these tend to be more isolating rather than inclusive (though, to my mind, it’s not always so different to watching a group of people in a library just reading and interacting only when someone coughs and then only with a tut or an icy stare).
Card games are always good for inclusion and there are hundreds of options with a standard pack of cards alone. Other generic games like UNO and Dobble are favourites amongst our children; particularly our eldest who’s ability to see the contents of a Dobble card almost instantly is legendary; how she does it I have no idea but she usually clears up at least twice as fast as anybody else. If you haven’t see Dobble, they are circular cards with icons in various sizes; the idea is to match the card you are holding with the card face up on the pack; sounds easy but it seems, at least to this father, it is a game for young people or at least those who have retained all their faculties.
Jigsaws are another option, but the size of them makes it harder on a boat as there is restricted room. Perhaps one of those mats that allows you to roll the jigsaw up would help. Books are an obvious one and why not have a good read?
You could, of course, just roll into the pub and enjoy the hospitality and each-other’s company for the afternoon. Teas and coffees are on offer along with beers, wines and spirits and many pubs also have real fires to enjoy too.
A rainy day doesn’t stop you exploring either. Head out in decent wet-weather gear and go for a walk. If you’re near a bus stop or railway station, get a ticket to Norwich or Great Yarmouth and explore here too. Norwich is a great place to visit with its fabulous undercover market which has been held on the same site for over 900 years and is thought to be one of the oldest in Europe. The Norwich Lanes hide a wealth of independent shops and one of the retail operators in the country, way surpassing the likes of M&S and Sainsburys. Jarrolds, is celebrating 250 years in business in 2020. Of course, there’s also museums, cinemas, cathedrals and an incredible Norman castle sitting high on a mound looking over the city. Sadly, Norwich is often ignored by boaters; it absolutely should not be.
Great Yarmouth is the second largest seaside resort in the UK (Blackpool being the bigger). Its promenade offers the usual seaside fayre, there’s a pier, great beaches (though probably not so great in the rain), decent shopping, cinemas, a circus (I kid you not, the Hippodrome is a real jewel) and a few very good museums with the Time and Tide charting the town’s history, especially as a major fishing port and is housed in one of the few remaining herring smoke houses that used to litter the town. There’s Anna Sewell's house (the author of Black Beauty) which is currently a "Cakery", a historic museum ship in the Lydia Eva and a Theatre too. Incidentally, Black Beauty was first published by John Jarrold Printing in Norwich in 1877.
Very windy days will prevent navigation on safety grounds, but rain shouldn’t so why not just make a rainy day part of your journey and head off to another location; maybe another pub stop for the night.
Really, like any other situation, bad weather just takes a bit of preparation and planning. If you’re like me at a festival and see only the downsides of the situation, you’re probably destined to be bored, maybe even a killjoy. Watch the forecasts, pack accordingly and just go with the flow.
What ideas to you have for enjoying rainy days on a boating holiday?