Thursday, 28 February 2013

Going Veggie

We have found that quite inadvertently we are eating more and more vegetarian meals. First it was the sausages, we couldn’t find a decent meat based sausage that we enjoyed so tried a Mediterranean style vegetarian sausage that we have found we really like. So now any sausage based meals we have are made with the veggie version.

Then it was mince. We all know that steak mince or beef mince isn’t great for us, so on the back of the sausage success we tried vegetarian mince. Guess what? We like that too. So now we prepare most of our mince based products with veggie mince instead. We still have some steak and turkey mince in the freezer but now only use this for a treat.

The yesterday we decided to try vegetarian chicken style pieces. I prepared a fresh Thai red curry and you honestly could not tell the difference. So I guess vegetarian chicken will now be a staple ingredient of many a meal.

Are we slowly turning veggie?  Well the honest answer has to be no. We both enjoy meat but limiting the amount we eat and finding healthier substitutes can’t harm anything.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Oh Dear!

Just when we though this lift out was going well we have found something which will potentially put us back a whole week. Just one little part has ruined the plan.

Liam has brought the lower shaft casing back to Sheffield with him to change the shaft seals in the warmth and comfort of the garage at work. Today whilst tackling the job he has found a rather large crack in one of the needle bearings. A quick phone around has found that no one has one in stock so we will have to wait for one to be delivered which won’t be until early next week.

What does this mean? Well it means that Naughty-Cal will be having an extra week chocked ashore whilst the part is delivered, fitted to the shaft and then taken to the boat for refitting. Until this part arrives the boat is quite literally grounded. On the plus side this means we have an extra weekend of fettling so we can make sure that she looks extra special when she is finally refloated.

If the shaft can be fixed in the early part of next week we might take a trip over one evening and finish the job of after work. Luckily where we are parked on the hardstanding is under flood lights so we can see the task in hand. The sad thing is it is quite literally an hours work which will be holding us up. All we need to do is fit the shaft, fit the anode, fit the props then refill with oil.

At least we have found this fault now and not at a later date when the damage caused could have been very extensive, possibly trashing the whole lower gear housing. This has highlighted yet again the importance of a regular maintenance routine and regular inspection of crucial pieces of equipment.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Lift Out - Part Four

Whilst Liam was busy polishing the hull sides I had the unenviable task of scrubbing the stern drive and trim tabs. As these spend their time underwater there was understandably some marine growth on there which refused to budge even after pressure washing. So armed with a scraper, a srubbing brush and some EVM i set about removing the growth.

Hindsight is of course a wonderful thing. In the past when we have lifted her out we have not bothered to remove the crusty growth so this time it was of course extra hard work. I am in effect removing ten years worth of dried crusty marine growth. Next time we wont be so lazy that is for sure.

The drive is as yet not quite finished but the trim tabs have come up like brand new. Next weekend whilst Liam is polishing the topsides and superstructure I will set about the sterndrive again to remove some more growth. But as you can see it is a marked improvement just with a few hours scrubbing.

The leg and trim tabs before work begins.

 Close up on the leg growth.

After just a few hours the trim tabs are like brand new and the drive is looking much better. But still room for improvement.

So we have in theory left ourselves an easier weekend this coming weekend. There is just the drive shafts to refit to the sterndrive which is a few minute job along with the new propellers and anode. Then all that is left is to refill the drive with oil. This lot should take no more than an hour. With this done it is time to polish and wax the topsides. Whilst Liam is doing this I will have another go at scrubbing and scraping the drive. By the end of saturday the boat should be completely polished and waxed, leaving just the antifoul to be applied on Sunday morning. Then if the weather is nice we will take to the water in the dinghy with hopefully a well earned drink somewhere in Lincoln.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Lift Out - Part Three

With the stern drive serviced it was time to start the polishing. This weekends task was to polish the hull up to the bump strip.

As you can see it has come up well and just needs a couple of hand applied coats of wax next weekend.

Lift Out - Part Two

So Saturday was day two of this years spruce up and it was the day to service the stern drive. A vital piece of equipment for which it is very important to keep in fine fettle.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Lift Out - Part One

Well the day of reckoning has arrived. Naughty-Cal has lift off, well out anyway!

Let the hard work commence. But first a warm cup of coffee, its freezing here in Lincoln!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Counting Down

Its the countdown to Naughty-Cal's big day. Tomorrow is the day, weather depending of course, that she is lifted out for a few weeks for her spruce up and service.

I have the day off work tomorrow to watch the lift out process, so last night was spent rumaging in the garage trying to find all of the bits and bobs that we need.

Hopefully in just a couple of weeks (3 weekends) we should have Naughty-Cal looking like a new boat and we should be well on the way to being ready for the start of the 2013 cruising season proper. We have some big plans for this summer so we need to make sure that Cal is fully serviced and ready for anything. It may seem like hard graft now but it should hopefully ensure that we have another relatively trouble free year.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


So, obesity, who's to blame?

Is the sad truth not that we are all to blame?

For years people have been bombarded with adverts for junk food, every other shop on the high street selling fast food, people eating convenience food as they are too "busy" to prepare proper food. What have we all done in response? Nothing!

And now we find our country getting bigger. People don't seem to see why. Do we really need foot long sandwiches for lunch? A KFC meal with more calories than an adult needs in a day? A McDonalds with more salt than the North Sea? Of course we don't, but we as a nation choose to gorge on these fatty foods then wonder why we are getting bigger.

We need to start looking at the state of this nations health. Educating the next generation before it is too late. With the current rate of decline we will be breeding a generation who don't cook at all, don't know what a kitchen is for. Is this really acceptable?

Monday, 18 February 2013

Well that was interesting!

Well that was an interesting weekend. One phone fighting for survival, some very damp and muddy clothing, one very muddy boat and a gaggle of hangovers.

Just another E pontoon weekend then!

Thankfully the next few weekends will be a little less alcohol fuelled for us. We wi be out of the water!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Drying out!

The contents of Liam's pockets that is. Wonder if his blackberry will survive!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Making the most of it

As its the last weekend before our lift out and the sun is shining we are making the most of it before the hard graft starts next week.

Friday, 15 February 2013


So here we are on the last Friday before we lift naughty cal out of the water and the fossdyke is in flood again. Unless water levels drop dramatically during the course of the day, we will miss our last evening in Lincoln boat club for a while. Which will be a great shame.

Hopefully the water level will subside through the day because we really don't fancy yet another weekend locked into the marina.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Grid lock

Last nights drive home was a joke. Well I say drive at times it was more like we were parked. Sheffield once again ground to a halt at the first sign of snow.

A journey which normally takes us 45 minutes took 90 and that was because we left the main roads and went off piste. Thankfully the through routes were quieter if not very slippery. With all of sheffield a many hills resembling g ski slopes at times.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Ok so who reckons that they can't cook? I have been shocked recently by the amount of people who claim not to have the basic skills to throw a few ingredients into a pan and rustle up a home cooked meal for themselves, their families and their children. What sort of country is this when people rely on convenience food? And look where that has led.

I was never taught to cook as such. Ok we had some home economics classes at school but that was pretty much the limit of it. But the urge to feed myself and my partner good honest food led me down the path of discovery.

Yes it was very much trial and error in the early days, probably more error than trial but by persevering we have managed between us to build up a good long list of meals which we can both cook, quickly, cheaply and more importantly healthily with a good mix of fresh meat and vegetables.

According to some it is cheaper to feed a family on ready meals. How can it be? Fresh fruit vegetables and meat are not expensive and you can get many meals from your produce. A roast chicken for example can feed a family of four their main meals for three days. A ready made lasagne ( probably compete with horse meat) can not.

Is this a case of bad education or is it purely that we are growing into a nation of lazy people? Obesity and other health related issues are on the rise. Is there any wonder given the incredibly poor diets eaten by some. Where is the education on healthy eating? And should more be done to price out convenience food and make home cooked meals the easiest option?

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


Well it's pancake day so how else could I start the day? Pancakes and cheese for breakfast, how very naughty!

Tonight we are having bangers and mash, vegetarian bangers of course, in a giant Yorkshire pudding. Ok not quite a pancake but similar I'm sure you will agree.

I might treat us to a helping of pancakes with sugar and lemon juice for desert. Well it would be rude not too!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Back to boring Monday

Oh how the weekends fly by. We are back to boring Monday already. Doesn't seem like ten minutes ago I was leaving this office, yet here I am again, nose to the grindstone for another five days.

On the plus side we had a nice weekend. The weather was nice and sunny on Saturday and we managed to finally get out of the marina for a few hours. Not far just a few miles down the river to saxilby. A nice cruise in pleasant winter sunshine never the less, followed by a few beers in the woodcocks on the way home.

The boat jumble yesterday was a bit of a let down when compared with previous years but we did manage to pick up our main item, some antifoul paint from our usual supplier. Dinner was the highlight of yesterday, whatever it was. A lovely tomatoey, lamb casserole type affair with homemade garlic bread. Just the ticket to round off a cold February day.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

A bit of a hash!

Still not quite sure what I'm going to call what we have cobbled together for dinner.

Early this morning I rustled through the food cupboard and found some tinned tomatoes, onion, mushroom, bell pepper, potato, carrot, swede, and parsnip and lobbed it all in the slow cooker along with some stock, garlic powder, rosemary and chilli powder. To top it off some lamb leg steaks.

Smells nice right now but it isn't done yet! No we have at least another four hours to wait.

Currently thinking I will serve it with some home made granary garlic bread on some freshly made pancakes.

Now only four hours to go. What is one to do in that time?

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Sunny Saturdays

We are being treated to another stunningly sunny Saturday morning here in Lincolnshire.

Wouldn't wish to be anywhere else in the world right now!

Friday, 8 February 2013


It's Newark boat jumble weekend. So as had become customary we will be trudging down the A46 to Newark on Sunday morning in the hope of picking up some bargains.

We need a few things like antifoul paint which we know we will pick up here but there are also a few things on the list which if we can't pick them up at a decent price it isn't the end of the world like new mooring lines.

We always enjoy this jumble it is usually filled with interesting items and useful items. With the boat coming out if the water in the very near future it is the ideal chance to grab some of the last minute items on our work list!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Black and white

We spent the evening after work last night cleaning the boat carpets. They were looking a little grubby so as part of our winter spruce up we have brought them home for a good wash.

They had their first scrub on Tuesday and the difference was instantly noticeable, the colour of the water that came out of them was quite disturbing. Then last night they had another scrub to remove any remaining dirt. Again the water was mucky but not to the same degree as on Tuesday evening.

The difference is quite remarkable from how they were to how they look now, they could be black and white in comparison. This weekend we will put the cabin carpets back in.

We have not done the cockpit rug yet. We will do this over the coming weeks but there is not much point putting it back on the boat until it is relaunched in early march. The hard standing is filthy so the rug would only get filthy again.

Before long now we will have the cabin ready for the cruising season ahead. The cockpit won't take long and the exterior will be finished by early march along with the servicing. Then Naughty-Cal will be ready to face whatever this summer has to throw at her, hopefully!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


Yesterday can only be described as absolute chaos on the streets of Sheffield. A morning of heavy snow created gridlock. Trips which would usually take minutes were taking hours as people struggled to drive the roads.

A little bit of forward planning would have avoided most of the problems. The picture below this post is a good example of the above. The stuck bus outside our house. There was no way it would get up the hill yet it tried anyway. Result one bus stuck outside our house for hours whilst waiting for someone trained to help it reverse back onto the bus route.

This was just one example. This was repeated all across the city.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Hot hot hot

Just in time for this latest round of snow showers we fitted a new thermostat to the heating at home.

The old dial type thermostat was starting to give false readings and was becoming a little on the unreliable side. So we have replaced it with a new digital version.

Wow, what a difference even in one evening. The temperature is much more static without the peaks and troughs and we can set it much more accurately. The result last night was that we had the thermostat set at 16 degrees ( in the hallway a cooler part of the house) giving a very comfortable temperature throughout the house. The old stat was set at 22 degrees!

Hopefully this should mean we make a saving on our gas bill this year.

Monday, 4 February 2013

A productive weekend

Whilst we didn't get everything on our list completed this weekend we did get a few other odd jobs sorted out.

The dinghy was emptied out and treated to a good clean before being fired up for the first time this year and taken for a quick spin.

The hob was stripped down and cleaned to remove some stubborn soot which was effecting the flame pattern. Again now sorted.

The over mats and cockpit may have been brought home and this week will be washed a couple of times ready for the cruising season. We will probably leave them at home until the boat is relaunched in early march.

The original carpets were treated to a good wash and clean which has freshened them up somewhat and now they are drying in time for next weekend.

All in all a fairly productive weekend. Hopefully in the next few weekends we will get more odd jobs finished which should see cal ready to go on e she is relaunched in march.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Oh what a......

Oh what a beautiful morning. Chilly granted but moored here in brayford pool it is simply stunning this morning. Surrounded by sleeping swans!

Shame we have to go back and get to work really.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Busy busy

Well we have something of a busy weekend planned this week.

Tonight we may take the chance to relax with a few beers in the boat club but then tomorrow the work starts in earnest.

First job is cleaning the carpets. We had planned to replace them but after thinking about it for a long while we have decided that they are not all that bad and a quick wash will sort them out. We will take the over carpets home and the cockpit rug to wash them at home and keep the damp at bay.

Whilst washing the carpets we may as well do the upholstery as well. With the carpets and upholstery looking and smelling fresher I will take the curtains and shower curtain home for a good scrub as well.

Whilst Liam is busy with the carpet cleaner in the cabin I will set about polishing in the cockpit area. All of the grp surfaces will be polished and waxed to ensure a gleaming finish.

With spring snapping at our heels it will be a race to get naughty cal ready for the up coming summer of cruising. The list of jobs is still far from finished but we are gradually working our way down it. Next week will be another busy one with a full engine service, polishing in the cabin and the annual trip to the Newark boat jumble.