Friday, 5 December 2014

A Busy Ol' Summer.

With frosty mornings and icy winds to look forward to this seems a good time to look back over the last six months.  As far as summer's go this year has been one to remember.
It seemed to stretch endlessly into infinity,  reminiscent of my school holidays from long ago, when those precious school-free weeks ran out long before those wonderful summer days.

If I ever had a busier summer with a camera than this one I really don't remember it, and with seven projects in progress the cameras have been in constant use almost every day since early spring.  But if there is a better way to spend my time I can't imagine what it is.

Hathor's Restoration.
One of my regular weekly visits is the Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust's yard at Wroxham.  Here the pleasure wherry "Hathor" has been under-going major restoration.

"Hathor" was winched onto the slipway over twelve months ago.
On February 19th, with her hull fully restored, she was re-floated and work began immediately on her topside and interior. First stage was to repair the plankways and cabin sides.  Then her decks were lined with plywood and covered with hard wearing lino.  Work has recently begun refurbishing the cabins and saloon.

Each stage of "Hathor's" restoration has, and is being recorded.  As the summer finally faded away this grand old lady was beginning to look her best once again.
Lining "Hathors" foredeck with plywood.

Fitting the Hawk benches.
"Sam" enthusiastically watches proceedings..

The  North Walsham and Dilham Canal.
On the North Walsham and Dilham Canal the restoration continues apace.  The banks of the dry section between Spa Common and Royston Bridge are well on the way to being reconstructed.  This is due to the extended dry spell from June to August which allowed a fleet of tipper trucks  to haul in tons of high grade subsoil.  Day after day they emerged through the dust creating some wonderful shots for the camera.  On the North side of Royston Bridge the progress has been equally impressive as the reconstruction heads unerringly toward Swafield.

Tippers bring in high grade subsoil.
Trucks emerge through the dust
A section of restored banking.
In late summer, with the help of a friend using his "Phantom" drone, with a GoPro camera on board, we were able to shoot some stunning arial footage of the reconstructed banks.

A magnificent distraction on the canal was the brood of Swans that hatched near Spa Common.   They have been high on the filming agenda on my regular, weekly visits to the canal. We have a record of the day they hatched to the present when they are now almost full grown.
They were the subject of an earlier blog.  If you would like to see the brood click on the links below.

On September 26th as the summer was drawing to a close,  Doug Hamilton Cox, a retired Royal Engineer, walked the canal from Swafield to Tonnage Bridge.  We filmed the event which is intended to raise funds for the "Help For Heroes" charity.  Doug plans to walk every canal in the UK and raise £100,000.00. 
"Help for Heroes" Canal walk at Swafield lock.

Mist On The Marsh.
My labour of love continues to move toward completion, albeit very slowly.  All the documentary sequences are complete and most of the dramatised folklore is safely " in the can".   My undying appreciation for the cast, who with unswerving loyalty, have stuck with me and the project through some very trying times.  An extra special effort to complete this epic is scheduled for early 2015.
A clip from "Mist On The Marsh".

M&GN Dray.
While all this was going on, the M&GN  horse drawn dray was undergoing overhaul which I filmed whenever possible.  The film started at Banningham, where the hundred year old cart was renovated.
Dray off to Weyborne works.
This included the metal tyres being heated and fitted to the wheels.  From there the dray was taken to the sheds at Weybourne where the overhaul was completed.  Finally the dray was filmed arriving  at Holt station drawn by a magnificent shire horse.
Dray in the carpenters workshop.

Fitting the metal tyres.
The Dray arriving at Holt station.

Slipping "Albion"
On October 9th, in the dying weeks of our wonderful Indian summer "Albion" was being hauled out at Oulton Broad.  We arrived at Excelsior's yard to record the wherry being winched onto the slipway.
A brisk south-westerly rippled across Lake Lothing as "Albion" was secured to the cradle and hauled out of the water.
"Albion" almost out of the water.

Secured in the cradle.

On November 24th "Albion" was re-floated after her routine maintenance was completed.  Once again we made our way to Oulton Broad in time for "High water".  The wherry was smoothly lowered down the tracks and into the water.  With the tender standing by, the bilges were checked for leaks before we set off for the lock.  The traffic was stopped as "Albion"  slipped under the road bridge and into Mutford lock.  The summer was finally behind us on this shoot, but even at this late date the sun followed us into the yacht station to round the year off nicely.
The skipper checking tide times.
The tender standing by.

Stopping the traffic.

Inside Mutford Lock.

I hope the above demonstrates why the blogs have been few and far between in recent weeks.  We will try harder in 2015.
Merry Christmas  and a Happy New Year!



  1. Were you still onboard when she came through Gt Yarmouth. I took photos of her leaving Breydon

    1. Hi Brian and Diana.
      Albion came through Breydon five days after we came through Mutford lock, so I missed the home run.
      Did the full trip two years ago - The trust have a fifty six minute video of the trip home on sale. Regards