Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Easter 2010 Photos

E Pontoon on Tour. Nether Lock on the non tidal River Trent. Boats in the lock are Naughty-Cal ahead, Wish You Were Here and Witz End.

Naughty-Cal moored up on Farndon British Waterways visitor pontoon. The better of the pubs is the white building in the background. The grass to the side of the mooring is the village common.

The pirate ship, Wish You Were Here on the non tidal River Trent between Farndon and Newark.

A busy Tidal River Trent with three narrowboats heading upstream ahead. There was around four feet of fresh (flood) water heading downstream so the narrowboats made very slow progress to Cromwell Lock.

Naughty-Cal and The Angel Hardy moored at Fiskerton Wharf. This photo is from our May bank holiday trip. At Easter we rafted alongside the Dutch Barge however we arrived before them on this occasion they moored behind.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Easter 2010

After our first adventure of the year to Hull, there wasn’t much time to plan our annual Easter break. This year was a short one with us only having four days off work due to the proximity of our earlier week off. With this in mind we had a relatively quiet break eventually settling on heading upstream on the Trent to Fiskerton.

The first evening saw us head on up to Torskey ready for an early morning start onto the tidal Trent on Saturday morning. Tide times always seem to be early mornings when we want to go anywhere. The trip was cold but uneventful and rounded off with a couple of drinks in The White Swan, Torksey.

Saturday dawned cold but beautiful blue skies made up for the lack of warmth. With the hoods of we awaited instruction from the lockie before entering the lock and dropping down smoothly on the tidal waters below. The trip up the tidal Trent to Cromwell was again uneventful, surprising after the troubles we had during 2009 with this stretch of water. Given the nice weather we continue upstream of Cromwell Lock, stopping briefly in Newark to stock up on supplies before heading further upstream through the village of Farndon with its marina and riverside pubs and onto Fiskerton wharf, home of The Bromley Arms. By now the cold was starting to set in so we refit the canopies and settle down with the heating on for a couple of afternoon drinks, before booking a table for our evening meal in the pub. The Bromley Arms, for anyone passing, serve a large selection of excellent home cooked food. The only downside is the lack of mooring length however rafting up is welcomed by many of the regular clientele. We found ourselves rafted beside a lovely Dutch barge, The Angel Hardy. The owners of which were more than happy for us to raft alongside. We have since seen them a couple of times out on the river.

On Sunday we had a quiet day, the destination being Farndon, a quick half hour journey downstream. Here we would meet up with a couple of other boats from our marina who had ventured up to Nottingham as they had an extra day off work on the Friday. We had a leisurely breakfast followed by a stroll around the village before pushing off and having a very slow jaunt down river to enable our batteries to have some charge. After a half hour Farndon loomed into sight and we squeezed Naughty Cal into a small gap on the British Waterways pontoon. Our friends arrived some time later and moored on their reserved moorings in Farndon Marina before joining us for a few drinks in the pub.

Monday saw us heading off downstream having to reach Cromwell lock by 2pm to meet our tide time. We reached Cromwell with time to spare and had a jolly time navigating the shallows of the upper tidal Trent before the always welcome sight of Torksey on the horizon beckoned. Another successful trip on the tidal Trent completed we slowly made our way back to Burton Waters as the other boat crews had to be back at work on Tuesday. We finished off the evening with a few quiet drinks aboard the pirate ship before retiring early to bed.

Luckily we had Tuesday off work so we were able to spend the day at leisure, cleaning the boat and preparing her for the following weekends habitation whilst enjoying a couple of drinks and watching the peaceful evening over a deserted marina. It is a different place mid week, quiet, peaceful and a place to relax and unwind.

Back to Normality

And all it took was a good curry, a bottle of Bud and an early evening in bed. Im getting too old for this hangover business!!

So tonight is a night for catching up on jobs we didnt manage to do yesterday including a weekends worth of clothes to wash and hang up to dry, and also for catching up with family who we rarely get to see nowadays.

Over the weekend one of our nephews had his second birthday so tonight we are trooping across town to drop off his present and to say hello to the rest of the crowd as well as saying hello to the parents. Topped off with a trip to KFC on the way home. Not our normal evening meal but by the time we have gotten home we wont be wanting to cook an exciting meal. Its a hard life when you have a boat to look after!!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Too much pop

Why do we do it? We know it wont be pretty come Monday morning after a Sunday session in the Pyewipe but does it stop us? Of course not!!

Saturday saw us attempt a few of the jobs on our to do list. Of the three jobs we attempted to start, none were completed. But not through lack of trying. The new TV aerial needs an adapter to make it fit our existing fittings, the broken air heater outlet was a different type to the new replacement version and the two are not compatible and the VHF aerial connections are different to our existing ones so we need an adapter for that as well. So it wasnt for lack of trying but nothing was completed. Unless of course you count sticking the new British Waterways licence's in the window!!

Sunday saw us head to Morton Boats, chandlers for a morning browse around the shop and to strike a deal to trade our existing dinghy and outboard against a new inflatable dinghy that we can hang off the rear of the boat on snap davits. When we got back we decided to take a trip to the Pyewipe and the chaos followed swiftly before we returned to Burton Waters to finish off the session in Yots bar in the marina. We bailed out at 7pm in favour of returning the boat to her home berth and cooking the steaks we had. Before we both had showers then settled into bed at around 8.30pm.

An early night didnt however mean we escaped the hangovers and we both felt a little worse for wear with the hour and a half car journey from Lincoln to Sheffield not aiding matters. Still i am sure we will both survive and no doubt have a repeat performance next weekend!!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Hull March 2010

With the weather starting to deteriorate and the chance of adventurous trips getting slimmer it has got to the time of year where we look back at what we have achieved over the last year and look forward to what great adventures we will have in the coming year.

2010 started with the big freeze. During January and February there was little chance of getting out of our home berth never mind attempting anything of a serious trip. The end of February saw the marina thaw out, boat movements begin to increase and Naughty-Cal pulled out of the water for her annual spruce up. So the end of March was our first opportunity to take some time off work and start the year’s adventures.

And what an adventure it was. March saw us complete our first trip down the mighty River Humber. We set off in the early spring sunshine, wrapped up warm against the still cool air with an air of trepidation. We had already conquered the much feared Trent Falls the year before so the Humber was the next progression. We broke the trip with an overnight stop at Keadby and drinks in one of our favourite watering holes, The Old South Yorkshire.

The following day we set off early to catch the morning tide. We had a slow jaunt, pushing the tide down to Trent Falls to arrive there at about an hour before high water. Finally we could see the Humber. As we rounded Trent Falls the river widened as we seached out the first of the navigation markers along the route. Finally we picked them up and made our way at speed to the Humber bridge where we managed to find time for a little play to see what the boats could really do. After 45 minutes of mesing around we had little choice but to head for Hull to meet our tidal window to enter the lock at the marina entrance. Finally we lock up off the tideway and into the safety of the marina.

We had a couple of days shore break in Hull and were very suprised by the city. There was plenty to see and do along the way. We had intended to head for Spurn Head on the second day, however the weather picked up and one look at the Humber told us we were not going. The next day the weather was much better for our return trip and we made it back to Torksey Lock in 4 hours from Hull Marina. Not a bad time by anybodies books and we stuck to the speed limits the whole way.

So here are a few pics from our trip:

Overnight stop at Keadby

Commercial shipping on the Lower Trent

The Humber Bridge

Boundarys Vice on the Humber

Hull Marina visitor berths with the Spurn Lightship in the background

Thursday, 23 September 2010

A Few Pics from the Years So Far

Sunset over the A46 road bridge. Photographed whilst we were sat sipping our drinks in the Pyewipe Inn riverside terrace.

Early morning sunrise over Keadby, photographed whilst we were preparing to set out on the tidal Trent on an early morning tide.

Early morning on the tidal Trent at Keadby. Photographed whilst we were preparing for an early morning tide on the tidal Trent.

Early morning at Torksey. Photographed whilst we were preparing for an early morning tide on the tidal Trent.

Sunset over Wells Next The Sea harbour. Naughty-Cal is just in sight behind the larger rafted cruisers, rafted onto the large yacht.

So there you have it a snap shot of some of the places we have visited this year. Some local to us and places we visit on a regular basis. Some not so local but still places we would love to visit again.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Changing Face of Boat Ownership

As costs in other areas continue their steady rise, so do the pressures on the purse strings of boat owners. We are meeting more and more people on our voyages who for one reason or another are downgrading their boats from larger more expensive craft to smaller more cost effective vessels. The benefits may not at first be obvious, but with a bit of thought it is easy to see how the savings will soon stack up.

First there is the licence fee. British Waterways charge a fee based on the length of your boat so a smaller boat naturally means a smaller licence fee.

Then we come onto moorings, these again are usually based on the length of the boat. So it stands to reason that a smaller boat will attract smaller mooring fees. Not only this but with growing pressure on the availability of visitor moorings at busy spots, smaller boats have the added advantage of being able to squeeze into the smallest of available gaps.

The next factor is insurance. Insurance premiums tend to be based not only on experience and age but also on the insured value of the boat and its contents. Smaller boats tend to be, but are not always, worth less than their bigger counterparts so the premiums tend to be smaller.

In these days of rising fuel costs, fuel consumption is also a major player when considering which boat to purchase. Although in theory a smaller boat would use less fuel this isn’t always the case. Naughty-Cal for example is 25ft in length so relatively small, however she has a 170hp diesel engine under the floor so is never going to be economical. Sensibly choosing the right boat and engine set up for your needs can however reduce your fuel bill dramatically.

Having a smaller boat need not mean that you have to sacrifice on your creature comforts. Many cruisers manage to very effectively squeeze in all of the mod cons expected from modern boating into very small spaces often doing so much more effectively than narrowboat designers who are blessed with masses of space.

Whatever the reasons for downsizing I’m sure that these boat owners will have the same enjoyment from their smaller more cost effective boats that they had from their bigger previous boats. Who knows what the future holds for boat ownership but it seems we are going through a time of change and it neednt be for the worse. More variety of craft afloat on the UK's waterways can only be a good thing.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Fish Pie

Having time to myself in the kitchen is having some wonderful results. This one is a simple yet extremely tasty fish pie recipe but be warned it is very rich.

For this one you will need, a packet of mixed diced fish, most supermarkets sell these now, a packet of raw king prawns, a large bag of potatoes, 200g of good cheddar, sweetcorn, a handful of mushrooms and a carrot.

First off, preheat the oven to 200 degrees, then put a large pan of water on to boil. Peel and dice your potatoes and add them to the boiling water. Whilst the spuds are boiling, take a large oven proof dish and into this grate the carrot and the cheddar then chop the mushrooms and add to the dish. To this add the fish and prawns and mix well before seasoning with salt and pepper then adding the sweetcorn to the top.

By now the potatoes should be cooked through. Remove from the heat, drain off the water then mash with milk or cream and a good knob of butter. It is best if the mash is really creamy and smooth. When mashed add the potato to the top of the dish smoothing over to fill any gaps then run over the surface with a fork to create ridges which will crisp up in the oven. Finally add the dish to the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

When golden and crisp serve with your choice of salad or seasonal vegetables. Another super simple yet super tasty meal that is simple to prepare and bound to impress guests. Enjoy.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Shouldn’t have made a plan

Despite our best efforts, we didn’t stick to our intended plan for the weekend. The weather put paid to that for us but never the less it has still been a relaxing weekend break.

On Friday evening we enjoyed a nice pub dinner with the OH having a garlic chicken sizzler and me having sea bass with new potatoes and seasonal veg followed by a few quiet drinks before retiring to the boat for a night cap and some well earned snooze.

Saturday was a slow day, we had a nice lie in before taking the boat into Lincoln to do a spot of shopping and find a quick bite to eat. We eventually decided on pasties for brunch. It is quite nice being able to slowly cruise down the river and moor the boat easily rather than battling through the Saturday traffic then attempting to find a parking space in the extortionately priced multi story car parks of Lincoln.

After a spot of shopping we returned to Burton Waters for an hour or so before heading to The Bridge Inn, Saxilby for a couple of afternoon drinks. We then had an excellent fish and chip dinner in Saxilby before setting off back to Burton Waters once again for drinks with the pirates. It didn’t turn out to be a late one for me as I was shattered come 9pm so I sensibly went to be leaving the OH in the hands of the pirates and crew.

Sunday was another lazy day. We had yet another lie in snoozing and listening to the pitter patter of rain on the canopies before finally getting up at around 9.30am and heading off in search of breakfast at Mick’s cafe on the A57. The weather didn’t buck up all day so we set about doing a few small tasks including installing the heaters, refitting the cockpit carpets and general cleaning duties before setting about preparing a bubbling pan of warming stew and dumplings for tea. The boat smelt lovely for the few hours it was simmering away on the stove, then it was a quick clean up and a few beers whilst watching a film before heading to bed early in preparation for work this morning.

The list of jobs is already growing for next weekend and already includes, installing a new TV aerial, painting the VHF aerial which has faded somewhat, emptying the dinghy of rain water before it sinks and washing Naughty-Cal because she is filthy again. Deep joy!!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Sausage Casserole

Following the success of the shepherd pie and purely for a form of entertainment whilst the OH has been working overtime, I have had the kitchen to myself. Bliss.

Yesterday evenings offerings where a lovely sausage casserole. Perfect, easy to make fodder, for colder winter evenings.

So for this one you will need good quality Cumberland sausages about three per person, onion, garlic, mushrooms, bell pepper, chilli’s, 2 tins of good quality chopped tomatoes, a tin of cannellini beans, a tin of pinto beans and warm crusty bread to serve with.

First off roughly chop the onions and fry in a large stock pot with a little oil, then add the finely chopped garlic and sausages. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees, then fry for 10 minutes turning the sausages to brown the sausages evenly. Next add roughly chopped bell pepper and mushrooms and a finely chopped chilli or two to your taste. Fry for a further 5 minutes then add the tinned tomatoes, cannellini beans and pinto beans. Stir well to coat all of the ingredients in tomato then simmer for a further 5 minutes before turning the mixture out into a large oven proof dish. Then add to the oven and bake for a further 45 minutes to one hour stirring periodically.

The longer you leave this dish, the more vibrant the flavours become, but be warned it smells fantastic and leaving it that bit longer is easier said than done. Finally serve with warm crusty bread, we used shop bought part baked rolls which did the trick well.

Another easy winter warmer for you to try.

Tis That Time Again

Another week almost over and done with, a few more hours of work to go, then it is the weekend, at last. It seems to have been a long week this week.

Plans are afoot for a quiet and peaceful weekend afloat, with a pub lunch in The Woodcocks, Burton Waters, this evening followed by a few quiet drinks with friends. Nothing elaborate for a Friday evening. Tomorrow we are heading for Fiskerton Fen Nature Reserve on the River Witham for a quiet afternoon of relaxation followed by a walk to the local pub The Ferry, which isn’t all that local but well worth the walk. On the way to Fiskerton we will more than likely stop off in Lincoln for breakfast and a spot of retail therapy, well stop in the markets to pick up some fresh meat and vegetables more like.

Sunday heralds the Lincoln to Boston rowing race, so we will spend the morning and early afternoon watching the boat crew’s row their way to Boston from the warmth of the cockpit before heading back to Burton Waters and maybe stopping off in Lincoln for a spot of Sunday lunch.

It has all the makings of a perfect weekend afloat. Will it end that way, who knows?

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Other Money Pit

For 18 months now the other money pit has been taking a break in the garage at home.

Previously it has been insured on a classic insurance policy, however when the other half decided to sell his day to day car for the princely sum of £30 plus a few crates of Budweiser this was no longer an option. So the second money pit was banished to the garage.

So 18 months on and the other halfs no claims will run out if he doesn’t reinsure a car so expecting hugely expensive premiums we set about getting various quotes. Suprisingly for a car with such a high insurance group the premium isn’t too bad at £195 pounds on a standard policy. Bonus.

So now we just have to dig it out of the garage, fit a new steering rack and send it for an MOT. Hopefully nothing too major will be detected and then we can tax her and enjoy some autumn drives before winter sets in proper and she is banished to the garage once more for a few months.

Lets just hope she has gotten over her drink problem in the last 18 months..................

Bootlegged Again 2

Well guys, thanks again for a fantastic evening of live entertainment at The Sun Inn, Saxilby. The music as always was fantastic. We are proud to announce the forming of the "Bootleg Appreciation Society Travelling Around Rivers Dykes And Streams" or BASTARDS for short.
So here is the band in action

And the female contingent of the Bastard's dancing the night away

And the girlys still dancing the night away

And our special guest "new stig"
Thanks again and we all cant wait until the next gig when the new bastard T shirts are due to be unvailed!!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Changing Seasons

The nights are starting to draw in, the leaves are starting to turn and the weather is starting to get decidedly more chilly and autumnal. All sure signs that Summer is drawing to a close and Autumn is quickly approaching.

Over the coming weeks our thoughts will be focused on getting Naughty-Cal ready for another Autumn and Winter afloat. Winterising any boat is important if the boat is to stand any chance of surviving the coming months intact and hopefully still afloat. The method in which you winterise your boat wholly depends on how your boat will be used, or not, during the coming months.

Naughty-Cal will be used all year, as is usual for us, even in the deepest depths of winter. This has the added benefit that we can check on her every week and make any changes necessary to the winterisation process to keep her safe and secure.

Our first process, silly as it may sound, will be to refit the cockpit carpets. We take these out during the warmer and drier summer months as we prefer the white GRP floor which is easier to mop out and keep clean. During the winter, when the towpath and moorings tend to get wetter and thus muddier, we refit the carpets to trap the mud which is then easily cleaned from the carpets. The carpets also have the added benefit of making the cockpit feel warmer as well as aiding the insulation to the engine bay below.

The next process is to reinstall the engine bay and cabin heaters. These are little more than greenhouse tube heaters which are plugged into thermostatic switches. These turn the heaters on at a pre programmed temperature and do little more than keep the ambient temperature above that all important freezing point. This is especially important with raw water cooled engines as the river/canal water used to cool the engine has no antifreeze to protect it from the cold conditions. The cabin heater helps to protect the plumbing from freezing within the galley and the bathroom.

Next, we try to ensure that the diesel tank is kept as full as possible. This, in theory, helps to combat moisture from condensation in the fuel tank. We also check the primary fuel filter water trap on a more regular basis to remove any moisture that has formed.

The Webasto warm air heating unit will have its annual check and clean. This involves little more than removing the unit from the engine bay, opening it, performing a visual inspection to ensure that all fans and blowers are free moving, then a quick vac out to remove any soot and dust. Then all accessible pipe runs are checked to ensure they are free from dirt and dust before reassembling the unit, refitting and testing. The Webasto proved itself to be invaluable last winter when we had temperatures down to -15 degrees whilst we were aboard yet we were always warm and toasty aboard.

Finally we add moisture traps in various places around the boat. Naughty-Cal is not a damp boat, however during the colder months condensation is more common. Good ventilation is the key to reducing condensation but with the best will in the world there will always be some. The moisture traps help to cut down the amount of moisture in the air.

These are the main items that we carry out to help ensure that Naughty-Cal is as best prepared as we can make her to withstand the elements each winter. There are of course other precautions that should be taken if the boat will be left unattended for longer periods. Everybody has their own winterising regime which will differ depending on the usage of the boat.

However you do yours, enjoy your winter boating but remember to stay safe.

Shepherds Pie

Apologies in advance, but this post has nothing to do with the boat or boating in the slightest, but I just had to share this simple, easy and extremely tasty recipe with you. So good we had it last night.

What could be more comforting than a steaming hot plate of Shepherd’s Pie served with fresh seasonal vegetables on a cold winters evening?

So here goes. For this recipe you will need, a large bag of potatoes, fresh mince (either lamb or beef, the choice is yours), a large onion, a handful of mushrooms (chestnut mushrooms make a great alternative to button/closed cup mushrooms), a large bell pepper, salt, pepper, oxo and Henderson’s relish (or an alternative relish). Also your choice of seasonal vegetables of salad to serve with the pie.

First steps is to peel the spuds and cut up into small chunks and add to a pan of boiling salted water, then preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Whilst the potatoes are boiling, chop up your onion into small pieces and add to a frying pan with a small amount of oil. Fry gently until browned then add your mince stirring to ensure an even browning. Whilst the mince is browning, chop up your mushrooms and bell pepper into small pieces. When the mince is evenly browned add the mushrooms and bell pepper and simmer gently for a few minutes before adding a couple of oxo cubes and plenty of freshly ground salt and pepper. Add a little water to the mince mixture then turn down the heat and gently simmer.

By now the potatoes should be cooked. Drain the water from the pan then add a good slug of milk, a spoonful of butter and mash the potatoes until light and fluffy and no lumps remain. If the mixture is too thick add more butter and milk until the mixture is nice and smooth.
Next add the mince mixture to an oven proof dish spreading it out so that you have an even covering, then add the mashed potato to the top of the mixture again ensuring an even covering. Smooth the top surface then make furrows in the surface with the back of a fork. Place the pie in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown on the top. Whilst the pie is in the oven prepare your seasonal veg to serve with the pie.

After 45 minutes remove the pie from the oven and serve with your fresh vegetables and a nice glass of red wine.

So simple and easy, yet pull it off successfully and no one can fail to be impressed. Not one we can cook afloat just yet, but once the galley has been upgraded we will certainly be making this onboard on those longer winters’ evenings after a day cruising in the brisk winters air.


Tuesday, 14 September 2010


Why do some people do it?

Picture the scene, it is a relatively sunny and pleasant day, the river is alive with folks enjoying the September sunshine afloat, to miss the rush for decent moorings in the next village, boats start to arrive early. Boat one, ours for avoidance of doubt, moors on the end of the stretch of moorings adjacent the footbridge, using the first bollard in the run and the next one along. An hour so later boat two, a 50ft(ish) narrowboat, arrives and moors about 25ft away, leaving a gap only suitable for the smallest of boats. WHY?

OK folks may want their privacy but why moor so far away? Sharing a bollard does not mean you have to share your life or time with the other boat. It does however, mean that other boats have the chance to moor up for the evening in what is a popular mooring spot with both local and visiting craft.

In the end the situation was sorted when a boat was looking to moor, we moved back a few feet and moored our stern onto the piling. Technically we should not have done so as the mooring is just before a bridge however a few feet did no harm other than to sit our sterndrive in the mud for the evening!! The owners of said narrowboat were a little unimpressed to find the stern of another cruiser up against their bow though. I am sure they expected to have the 25ft in front of their bow to themselves all night. As is usual with folks who have had their noses put out of joint, they left the next morning with not even a smile between them. Miserable sods.

Whilst we are on the subject of mooring, can we also try and moor boats adequately at least. 2 loosely tied pieces of string at 90 degrees to the bank will not stop your boat moving when other boats pass, even if they pass at a sensible pace. Spending an extra few minutes on your mooring lines can mean the difference between a comfortable night and one where the boat snatches at the lines every time a boat goes passed. The onus isn’t just on passing boats to be sensible but also on those moored up to do so in a sensible and adequate fashion.

For those who struggle with the concept of spring lines, if you do use a line fore and aft that are at 90 degrees to the bank, then supplement these lines with extra ropes one from the fore cleat/bollard/stud to a point midway down the boat (obviously secured on the bank) and one from a rear cleat/bollard/stud to the same midpoint. These lines then help to spread the load as the boat moves which reduces snatching on the lines but also limits the forward and backwards movement of the vessel resulting in a more comfortable mooring experience. This may seem overkill to some, especially those who limit their cruising to canals only, but given the fact that there are more boats on the system, it stands to reason that you will be passed more often and not all of these boats will pass sensibly, using extra lines limits your chances of having pins pulled and being set adrift as the load is spread more evenly.

So come on folks, let us try to be a little more considerate when mooring. Rant Over, for today anyway.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Bootlegged Again

Well what a weekend and such a shame it is over so soon.

Friday was a slow start, after work we visited the other halfs mother to drop off a few items and a birthday card for his sister with just enough time to squeeze down a nice refreshing can of lager before setting off for the journey to Lincoln. We were surprised how much difference 40 minutes made to the traffic, then a quick stop at the supermarket en route to pick up some beer supplies and a quick and easy lunch of scotch eggs, samosas and sausage rolls.

Soon we were off again and before long we had reached Burton Waters. We quickly unpacked, made the bed (it is easier said than done fitting a duvet cover in the confines of the midships cabin) then settled in for a few quiet drinks. We were however quickly captured by pirates and forced into drinking aboard the pirate ship “Wish You Were Here” Quiet night it was not.

Saturday dawned, far too early for my liking, and with the sun shining we set off in search of breakfast settling on Micks A57 cafe under a mile away from the marina. An excellent hangover cure if ever there was one is the £3 all day breakfast. So we head back to the boat bellies filled to find out how the pirates have faired up and to see when we are heading off to Saxilby.

We decided to head off before the pirate ship to find a decent mooring spot for the evening. A quick 35 minute jaunt saw us moored up in a fine spot under the willow trees enjoying a few cold beers whilst awaiting the imminent arrival of Wish You Were Here. Whilst we were moored up a smallish narrowboat had landed themselves in the middle of the moorings (why do people do that?) and the crew of said boat then disappeared. So when we spotted the pirate ship approaching we pulled Cal back so that Wish You Were Here had room to moor up. This now left us sat on the bottom in the shallows near the bridge (always wondered why no one moors there!!)

Saturday evening saw us head over to The Sun Inn to watch the ever excellent Bootleg perform their excellent mix of live music. This band never fails to provide an excellent evening of entertainment for all ages to enjoy. Without much encouragement we drank and danced the night away, poor lads thought they were never going to be allowed to leave with numerous shouts of “MORE”!!

Sunday and a lie in. Rarely are we not up and around by 8am. 9.30am was the time we finally awoke and roused ourselves into action. Firstly with a walk to the shop to get eggs, bread and a paper, then with a nice unhealthy breakfast of gypsy toast and a few cups of coffee whilst reading the mornings news. Finally we got it together enough to go in search of the pirates. It was decided that we would descend on the riverside pub The Bridge Inn, also in Saxilby for a carvery lunch around 2pm. Wish You Were Here headed off for a run to check their newly fixed engine was indeed fixed so we had a lazy Sunday morning reading and generally relaxing before setting off on the 200 yard journey to the Bridge Inn.

We arrived before the pirates, as usual so ordered our drinks before finally they arrived running on one engine!! Not again. This time the fix proved to be an easy one. A dodgy wire to the fuel pump, thank goodness for that. Anyway a lovely lunch followed but surprisingly not much beer was drunk then we set off on the quick journey back to Burton Waters in convoy. The rest of the afternoon spent cleaning and generally tidying up before settling back to watch a film with a couple of drinks and preparing for the journey back to work today.

So, a great weekend had by all.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Cooking Afloat

Naughty-Cal may be blessed with many good attributes but one area she falls short is cooking facilities.

She is currently fitted with a Plastimo Neptune 2000, 2 burner gas hob and grill. We have never struggled to cook decent meals afloat, last year we managed to cook a christmas dinner for three (on boxing day!!), but there are times when an oven would be useful.

One item we have found invaluable is the square Tefal griddle pan. This gets used for pretty much every meal we make. It acts as a griddle, frying pan and wok all in one, and as it is square you get more cooking space within the pan.

Given the limited cooking facilities we still have a wide and varied selection of meals that we cook and enjoy afloat. Current favourites include, Haggis, neaps and taties, Spag Bol, Chilli wraps, chicken curry, grilled salmon, roast dinners (the meat has to be grilled though) and of course the full English breakfast, the bigger the better and always with black pudding.

Whilst we may complain that Naughty-Cal’s cooking facilities are limited, she is actually one of the few small sports cruisers that have gas cooking facilities. The US brands prefer electric cooking which means to cook meals afloat the boats either have to have the engine running or be plugged into shore power. Not a problem when on your home berth but when out cruising this can be problematic as some of our friends have found out.

Whilst we should be happy with the facilities we have aboard, the galley is one area that we are looking to update and improve. So this winters project is to update the galley to include, a small Smev oven, a 3 burner Smev gas hob with fiddle rail and refit the existing sink and drainer unit all to be fitted into a new cherry wood work surface to match the existing cherry wood cabinetry.

So another little project to keep us entertained over the coming winter months...............

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


A quick heads up for anybody who will be in the Saxilby area on Saturday.

Bootleg will be playing, as usual, an excellent live selection of music from the 60’s, 70’s 80’s and 90’s at The Sun Inn, Saxilby on Saturday the 11th September starting at 8.30pm.

For those intending to attend by boat, remember the moorings get busy in Saxilby at the best of times on a Saturday afternoon, during these gigs they get extra busy. So get there early to bag a decent mooring spot. For those intending to attend by car or taxi, remember that the pub gets busy during these gigs, so get there early to bag a decent seat.

As usual this gig promises to be an excellent evening out in the excellent surroundings of Saxilby. Not one to be missed. The attendance grows each and every time this band play so be warned, space will be limited.

So will we see you there?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010


Its that time of year again where the bills for Naughty-Cal keep dropping onto the doormat with regularity!

The beginning of October, for the last couple of years, has been a very expensive time of year what with mooring fees, British Waterways licence fees, insurance and RCR breakdown cover and this year will of course be no exception. They have started to arrive already.

Would we change it? Of course not, we have many good times aboard Naughty-Cal and have met many new friends through owning her. She is worth every penny to us even if at times it feels like she is bleeding us dry.......

Monday, 6 September 2010

A Quiet One

For a change!!

Due to a previously arranged party of a close friend we have not spent much time with the boat this weekend, coming home to Sheffield early on Sunday morning. Still we managed to get a few small jobs finished on the boat including tracking down a small water leak which made its presence known after our trip onto the Wash and replacing a broken VHF aerial which suffered on the same trip. She also needed a good scrub and rinse down to remove the salty traces aboard.

We did manage to find some time to relax with friends on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon though to break up the boredom of cleaning and maintenance and the weekly trip to the Pyewipe Inn had to be carried out.

Some good news from the weekend though, our friends Sea Ray is finally running on two engines after four months of running on just the one!! Their part finally arrived on Friday so Saturday was the grand firing up ceremony with much celebrating when it finally coughed into life.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable quiet weekend. Who knows what the next one will hold....

Thursday, 2 September 2010

We sort of did!!

Despite some doom and gloom weather forecasts we did manage to hit the salty stuff on Sunday, however our plans were changed from the initial plan.

As soon as we hit the end of the Witham and the start of the Wash estuary it became apparent we wouldnt be going to Wells again. However we decided to stay out for our alloted four hour tidal window despite some fairly nasty chop building and a weather warning for force 8 gales building further up the coast.Needless to say we got soaked from the spray hurtling over the bow and windscreen but we had good fun and it was a good confidence building exercise to see what Naughty-Cal was capable of in some quite choppy water.

As it turns out she handled the water with her ususal competence and never gave us any cause for alarm giving the impression that she was up for some more serious waves even if we were not on this occasion. The sea trip boat which had headed out just behind us quickly turned around to head for some shelter in the mouth of the river Welland after all of their guests were ill!!!

After our alloted time had lapsed we returned to Boston Grand Sluice to lock through then we headed off in search of a mooring for the evening, eventually settling on Antons Gowt due to the proximity of the pub for lunch later in the evening. The next morning we went for a small walk around the village which consists of around 10 dwellings before stumbling upon a field of deer who gave us fantastic display as they skittered off into the woods.

That day we had a steady jaunt to Fiskerton Fen Nature Reserve where we had a BBQ on the moorings before setting off in search of civilisation. About a 30 minute walk away we stumbled upon a pub serving a wide selection of beers. The break was finished off with a walk around the nature reserve on Tuesday morning, then a steady run down through Lincoln and a few beers in the Pyewipe before returning to Burton Waters and having lunch in the Woodcocks.

All in all an excellent mini break even if the destination was changed.