Sunday, 29 September 2013


Having never been to Kings Lynn we didn't really know what to expect but we have been truly won over by this lovely town. 

Such wonderful architecture, on the whole and shed loads of character and such friendly people. We will certainly be back again. 

Saturday, 28 September 2013

We Have Landed

After a choppier than anticipated crossing of the Wash we are now safely tucked up on the new Kings Lynn visitor pontoon. 

Time for a quick beer then its out to explore what Kings Lynn has too offer. 

Early Start

We made it as far as Kirkstead Bridge last night so we have an early start this morning. 

The river is lovely though. 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Thursday, 26 September 2013

So Are We Ready?

So are we ready for our long weekend?

Well……sort of.

We had a bit of a manic weekend last weekend what with the boat club rally, a boat warming party and friends from afar, well Goole visiting. In between all of the festivities we managed to fill up the diesel tank. It only took another 40 litres to fill the tank which was a nice surprise; we expected it to take a fair bit more. And we remembered to fill up the water tank so we are ready to leave as soon as we make it to the marina and stick our gear on the boat on Friday evening. To be fair we managed a quick vacuum, a token gesture of a tidy up and changed the bedding as well so not a completely wasted weekend.

We have a couple of small jobs to keep us occupied during the boring run to Boston. The new LED bulbs for the cabin still need fitting. Liam can do these whilst I am cruising down river and the shower sump lid still needs fitting but again this can be done whilst underway, so nothing pressing that will stop us heading away. This is of course one of the benefits of keeping everything in full working order, you can afford the odd weekend with no tinkering.

So we are sort of ready for our long awaited long weekend away to Kings Lynn. Tomorrow will be a long evening as we need to make some good progress towards Boston if we are to make our 11.00am tide on Saturday morning. We wont be at the marina until about 7pm tomorrow evening and ready to leave at about 7.30pm but we hope to get at least as far as Kirkstead Bridge and ideally a little bit further, I quite like the idea of strolling into the Packet Inn  at Dog Dyke for last orders but this would be a long haul. Only time will tell where we end up. At the very least we want to get the two locks at Stamp End and Bardney out of the way which still leaves an early start on Saturday.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Cracked It

I finally cracked it. Crackling on the boat that is!

Whilst we love food cooked in the slow cooker we always missed the best bit of a nice pork joint, the crackling. With another visit to see the piggies at Highwood Rare Breeds farm on Friday night and a lovely pork shoulder joint cooked to perfection, succulent and juicy but with no crackling, it suddenly dawned on me. Cut the fat off and stick it under the grill.

Hey presto, Gorgeous crispy crackling.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Cheese and Bacon Potato Bake

For dinner one evening last week we decided to try a recipe we were given on a Facebook page, Homecooking Recipes for Sharing.  It sounded simple enough and when buying the ingredients proved to be very cheap.

So for this one you will need:
  • ·         1 bag frozen hash browns
  • ·         1 medium onion chopped
  • ·         1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • ·         1 carton sour cream
  • ·         Chopped streaky bacon
  • ·         200g grated cheese

Preparation is simple enough. Layer the hash browns in an oven proof dish. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl then pour the mixture over the hash browns.  Bake in the oven at 200 degrees for fifty to sixty minutes.

Beware this comes out bubbling and super-hot. Tempting as it is don’t tuck straight in as you will burn your mouth!!

We served this on its own as there was loads for the two of us but if there are more to feed it could easily be served with garlic bread and a fresh side salad to make it go further.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Party Hard

It's been a weekend of partying hard with little work on the boat. It's a good job there was nothing major to do! 

On Friday night we drank the night away at the boat club. Then on Saturday we took part in the annual Lincoln Boat Club Rally taking part in the boat handling competitions. I won the ladies with Liam pipped into second place by a half point! 

Saturday night we joined some friends at the Pyewipe for their boat warming party which went into the early hours. 

By Sunday we were knackered. We woke reasonably early as we were heading to Torksey to say our goodbyes to Martin and Gill. First we called into Burton Waters to fill up with diesel where we were then held up by a selection of newbies putting on a fine display of how not too handle boats! 

Eventually we managed to break free and caught Nitty Gritty just before they left for Goole. With our goodbyes said we set off back for the marina for a quick tidy up in readiness for our long weekend. 

It's been a busy and tiring weekend! 

Friday, 20 September 2013


We like to have a quick spy on places we are due to visit on Google Earth. But sometimes we wished we hadn't! Yesterday was one of those such days when we stumbled across the photograph above. Where has all the water gone?

No we knew Kings Lynn has quite a large tidal riange but we didnt realise that the river dried to this extent. We are hoping that the photo was taken at the bottom of a large spring tide as we will be visiting on a small neaps so there will be much more water for us.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

Last night we decided to try a sweet potato and chickpea curry which we had seen on a cookery programme last week and it was surprisingly tasty and filling. It was also cheap and really easy to cobble together.

So for this one you will need:
  • ·         1 large sweet potato roughly chopped skin on per person
  • ·         1 medium chopped onion
  • ·         1 sliced bell pepper
  • ·         1 can chickpeas drained
  • ·         Curry paste
  • ·         1 carton pasatta
  • ·         1 chopped chilli

So to start add a little oil to a large pan. Over a medium heat fry the onion, bell pepper, chilli and sweet potatoes until the potato starts to soften. Add a heaped tablespoon of curry paste and the chickpeas and fry for a further few minutes before adding the passata. Now allow the curry to simmer for approximately twenty minutes and the sauce to reduce and thicken.

When ready serve with rice and enjoy.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Chilli and Garlic Lamb Burgers

Another super simple yet super tasty recipe today. It doesn’t get much easier than this.

For this recipe you will need:
  • ·         Lamb mince (mutton is better if you can get it)
  • ·         1 clove garlic grated
  • ·         1 finely chopped red or green chilli
  • ·         1 small finely chopped onion
  • ·         1 sliced eating apple

Preparation doesn’t get much simpler. Simply mix together in a large bowl the lamb mince, garlic and chilli. Split the mixture into four balls and squash slightly into burger shapes. Grill the burgers under a high heat setting until golden brown and then flip them over the do the other side. This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes either side if the grill is hot enough. Meanwhile sweat the onion in a pan with a small knob of butter.

To serve simply cut open a crusty bread bun, add a slice or two of apple and top with your lamb burger and a helping of onions. To make a meal of this burger we also served with a handful of spicy wedges and a few onion rings.

The mixture we made up easily made four burgers at slightly over a quarter pound each. As there are only two of us we cooked two and put the other two in the freezer. These burgers will then cook from frozen at a later date.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Wet and Miserable

It has been a wet, windy and miserable few days with not much in the way of boating to report. We have almost been hibernating and hiding away from the cold weather.

Sunday was spent hunkered down in the cockpit of the boat with the heating blasting out hot air and keeping us toasty warm whilst the guinea fowl cooked itself in the slow cooker and the rain lashed down outside. The only time we ventured off the boat was for a quick wander round the sales pontoon during a brief lull in the rain. There was a definite autumnal feel in the air.

With nothing done on the boat last weekend we have left ourselves a busy weekend this coming weekend as we rush to get the boat ready to head to Kings Lynn the weekend after.  Thankfully nothing too difficult other than replacing some LED bulbs in the cabin for higher output bulbs. The 10w equivalent bulbs we have used for the last three years are ok but a bit dim especially in the galley area so they are all to be replaced with 20w equivalent bulbs this weekend. We also need to give Naughty-Cal a good scrub inside and out, change the bedding (I do like a fresh bed to go away with) and refill the diesel and water tanks ready for the off.

Doesn’t sound too difficult does it now? But we need to fit this lot in between the Lincoln Boat Club Rally Weekend and our good friends with Nitty Gritty visiting from Goole. We will be out of the marina on Friday evening for the whole weekend but need to leave enough time to get back to the marina to refuel as this will be our last chance before we leave and we will need a full tank to get to Kings Lynn and back safely.

The one job which might not be finished in time is the lid for the shower sump box which is proving difficult to track down. We have been sent the wrong one twice now and are currently awaiting on a third option. We could do with this bit before we go as we currently don’t have a lid on the box so any remnants of shower water in there are being thrown around the bilges as the boat heels into sharp turns at speed. Far from an ideal situation as we will be spending a fair while on the plane to get to Kings Lynn.

It’s going to be a busy couple of days this weekend but it will all be worth it for the long weekend we can enjoy next week.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

How Not Too......

How not to tow a boat. Backwards and overhanging the stern of the tow boat. 

Luckily it was only a very short tow across Brayford Pool! 

Friday, 13 September 2013


We were stripping during the evenings this week. No not that sort! 

We were stripping doors at home. 75 years worth of various different paints need to be removed. 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Thank You Sarah

Today I would like to say a huge thank you to Sarah and Chertsey, or more specifically to her blog. Since her blog article last week and her subsequent adding of this blog to her reading list, traffic to this site has taken a leap.

So a big thank you to Sarah. Hopefully one day our paths will cross before too long and I can get that long awaited look at your big beast of a boat.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

BBQ Chicken Pizza

After Mondays roast chicken dinner we had loads of leftover chicken. Rather than waste it we stuck it in the fridge in a BBQ marinade and last night made BBQ chicken pizzas.

Now I’m not very good at making dough so I cheated and bought readymade dough. So with the base rolled into shape it was coated in passata and herbs. Then I added a generous topping of grated cheese, reduced fat mature cheddar in this case. On top of that I spread out the BBQ chicken and added chopped mushroom, bell pepper, onion and chilli.

Stick it in the oven at 180 degrees for 15 minutes and there you have it, left over BBQ chicken pizza. Far more satisfying than a shop bought frozen affair or an expensive takeaway pizza and making use of leftover food from the previous evening. We hate throwing food away so anything we can make cheaply and easily with leftovers is a bonus.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013


As pretty as they are we won't be sad to see the back of the swallows this year. This year there seem to have been more than ever. 

In recent weeks as their numbers have swelled the front of Naughty-Cal has been bombarded with their droppings. They seem to have adopted Cals bow rails as they new perch. 

On Friday we arrived to find at least 30 of the little buggers taking advantage of the rails. 

Left too long their droppings stain the grp so it has been a weekly battle cleaning it off in time. Hopefully they will go home soon! 

Monday, 9 September 2013

So How Did You Get Into It?

So how did you get into boating?

I know some are lucky enough to be brought up around boating but for others it isn’t such an early start. For us it was a chance one week holiday on a tiny two berth cruiser on the Norfolk Broads that started our real love affair with the water. The boat was quite simply a horrid little creation, it didn’t handle well, it was a nightmare to get on and off and you took your life in your hands clambering across the front to the bow. It didn’t put us off though, we knew from that moment we were boaters.

The following year we booked a larger four berth cruiser for a two weeks holiday and by comparison to the previous year’s boat, this one was sheer luxury, spacious, warm and a dream to steer and handle. This was the life.

And so it continued for seven years, each year we booked with the same yard for a couple of weeks at a time, sometimes twice a year. It dawned on us when the yard staff knew us by name just how much time we were spending in their yard each year and how much money we were gifting to them. Something had to change.

We knew we needed our own boat. What we didn’t know was what sort we needed. We didn’t know what type of boating we would be doing. Where would we even keep a boat? We spent the next few months researching different boat types, by now we had narrowed the choice down to a cruiser; narrowboats were just not quick enough for us. We were not ready for the slow lane just yet. But even the choice of cruisers was bewildering, displacement river cruiser, displacement coastal cruiser, planing craft, semi-displacement craft, the choice was seemingly endless.

We spent another good few months visiting boat shows, visiting marinas and spending as much time as possible on as many boats as possible getting to see each boat type first hand. Eventually we decided on a small displacement river cruiser. Amazingly a brand new boat (Viking 20) built to our own specification was within budget. For the next few weeks we spent time deciding on the specification of our new boat and then made the appointment with the broker to strike the deal.

On the way to the appointment we stumbled across a newish marina development on the outskirts of Lincoln. As we were ahead of schedule we called in to have a quick look around and see what boats they had on offer. As luck would have it they were holding an open day and they had a nice two year old Shetland 4+2, the direct competition to the Viking 20, on the sales pontoons.  It was as we were looking at this boat that we had a chance meeting with someone who has become a firm friend over the years.

After a quick chat our new friend decided we didn’t need a Viking or a Shetland, we would just get bored quickly, sell it and lose money in the process. What we needed was one of these he proclaimed signalling to the shiny white sporty affair next door. Much more suitable for a young couple like us.

As they say the rest is history. The shiny white boat was in fact Naughty-Cal. We fell for her instantly and in that instant twelve months of research was thrown away, our appointment to order a new boat cancelled and our budget near as damn it doubled.

We did one sensible thing though. We went home to study the figures and ensure that this boat was in fact affordable before we jumped in with both feet. Happy that we could afford it we went back the next day to strike the deal, when the sales pontoon was quieter and we could really spend some time getting to know the boat.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Med Style Slow Cooked Casserole

Another super simple recipe for you. 

Add a chopped onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, courgette, aubergine and a couple of tins of tomatoes to the pot. Add some diced beef shin, garlic, finely chopped chilli and a handful of herbs. 

Put on low power and leave all day. Serve with hot garlic bread. 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Five Years Ago

Can you remember the day you bought your first boat?

It is almost five years to the day that we made the decision to buy Naughty-Cal. I can still remember now that fateful day. Spending time on the boat making sure she felt right, looking over the competition again to make sure we were making the right choice, nipping back onto Cal for one last look and then heading out with the broker for a test drive on the river.

The hardest part was sitting down with the broker and striking the deal. Naughty-Cal was a stock boat so no third party to deal with, however they did have their own price in mind. After a bit of bartering we all agreed on a price that was fair to all involved. We got some off the asking price so we were happy and they got a fair price. So with the small holding deposit paid, subject to survey, we took one last look at our purchase and headed for home feeling very proud but also somewhat scared. Just what had we done?

In the coming days we were busy organising funding and surveys but also getting ready to head off on our two weeks boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads. The survey was carried out whilst we were on holiday and after a phone call to the surveyor confirming only minor faults to remedy we rang the brokers to pay the remainder of the deposit, £9.5k! We could now relax Naughty-Cal was to all intents and purposes ours. Now we could enjoy our holiday safe in the knowledge our boat would be ready and waiting for us when we got home.

Now holidays always fly by but this one felt as though it was over before it had even started. All too soon we were heading for home but this gave us the chance to call in and see how work on our new boat was progressing.  What a pleasant surprise awaited us. Naughty-Cal was externally valeted and shining like a new pin and work was well under way servicing the engine and drive. Happy that work was progressing we left Cal for just one more week.

The week flew by as we spent each evening gathering items we would need for the boat, new bedding, new pots and pans, new cushions, new crockery and cutlery, this was like furnishing a new home. Exciting but unimaginably expensive as well.

Finally pick up day arrived, but that is a tale for another day.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Beef Shin

As we experiment more and more with the slow cooker we are finding yet more cheap cuts of meat to use. The latest discovery is beef shin. A very cheap cut of beef that lends itself to the slow cooking process. As an idea just how cheap it is we recently bought a 5lb bag, which we have portioned up and stuck in the freezer, for just £5, and this is from a proper local butcher who slaughters his own meat in the abattoir adjacent the shop.

It is a cut full of sinew which means it needs a long, slow cook to make the connective tissues melt and the meat become edible. We have used beef shin as both a joint of meat and also cut up to use in stews and curries. Either way after a day in the slow cooker it melts in the mouth.

It is also a cut that is full of flavour, season well but don’t use over powering herbs and spices if cooking as a joint, it really doesn’t need them.

The slow cooker is proving its worth on the boat. For the sake of a £9 slow cooker and a £15 300 watt inverter we have really very much increased our cooking facilities on board. In my opinion every boat should have one. There is nothing finer than pulling up after a long days cruising knowing that dinner is already cooked and all you have to do is dish up and enjoy. This will be even more enjoyable with the onset of the forth coming autumn and winter cruising season when a hot meal will really be needed at the end of a cold and often wet days cruising.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


We declutter the boat on a regular basis, being a small space it is important that we don’t carry around too much junk. What we have failed to instigate though is the same no junk policy at home. So we are now launching a long overdue attack on the house.

So far this week we have cleared out the cupboard under the stairs. A job long overdue. It was amazing how much junk we actually removed from such a small space. It was crammed with useless items and boxes of paperwork we no longer needed. Not any longer though we now have a useable cupboard with spare storage space.

Next we started on the second bedroom. This had become a hoarding ground for boat gear. With the cupboard under the stairs cleared the various winter boat heaters have been rehomed in the cupboard as has the carpet cleaner and various other small bits and bobs. The spare boat cushions (infill cushions for the saloon berth and cockpit sunpad) are to be rehomed in the garage roof and as a temporary measure the clothes horses are residing in the main bedroom for a few weeks. The second bedroom is now waiting to be transformed into a temporary workshop whilst we tackle the decorating upstairs. Setting up the workshop is tonights little task.

Last night we also took the chance to sort out our wardrobes. Both were full with clothing we don’t even wear anymore so we bagged up what we didn’t want and took it to a local clothes recycling bin. Now we have much more room in the wardrobes and they will be much lighter when the time comes to move the wardrobes to decorate the bedroom.

It has been surprisingly uplifting getting rid of the clutter and unwanted items. It’s almost like we are heading towards a fresh start. Now we need to make head way with the decorating which will start in earnest in the next couple of days. First job stripping paint from pine doors, lovely.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Coca Cola Ham

Now slow cooked cola ham doesn’t sound too appealing however we tried it at the weekend and boy is it good. This is the only way to cook gammon/ham.

As you already know we visited Highwood Rare Breeds on Friday evening to pick up an order of Berkshire pork in various cuts and joints. One of which was a 1.2kg gammon joint ideal for the slow cooker.

Cooking and preparation couldn’t be simpler, season your gammon with salt and pepper, stick it in the pot, add enough coca cola to almost cover the meat and leave on low power all day.

As easy as it gets but wow. We served this with fresh steamed baby vegetables and it was quite simply amazing. The quality of the pork really shone through and the cooking process created a sweet, juicy ham which was easy to carve and went down a treat. The little bit that was left over made excellent sandwiches yesterday.