Monday, 31 March 2014

Bleeding Hell

Well that didnt go according to plan did it?

Servicing the engine was supposed to be the easy bit of the weekends jobs but thanks to a dodgy fuel filter it took far longer than expected which in turn meant that the canopies didnt get scrubbed, a job for next weekend then!

On the plus side the declutter went well with two huge bin bags of stuff taken off the boat. I could hardly lift them!

The engine was finally serviced and after about two and a half hours of trying to track down the problem with the fuel it was finally tracked back to the tank fuel filter sucking in air rather than fuel. Its all come good in the end mind with just the supercharger oil to change next weekend as I forgot to pick it up on Friday.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Sods Law

Well its sods law isnt it? 

On the weekend where we have lots of stuff to do to the boat the weather looks set to be perfect cruising weather. So we are planning the jobs around it.

Tonight we plan to head to Lincoln Boat Club. It isnt far but it will make a nice start to the weekend. First though we have to take a slight detour on the way to the boat to pick up some more Berkshire pork and some rare breed eggs. Then we can head to Naughty-Cal, get showered and head on the epic two mile run into Lincoln city centre.

Saturday is when the work starts. The quick run back to the marina should get the oil slightly warm so that it will be easier to suck out of the engine block. Liam has the lovely job of servicing the engine, giving her some fresh oil and a fresh oil filter, new crankcase filter, and two new fuel filters, one on the fuel tank and the finer one on the engine. There is also the hydraulic fluid to change in the stern drive trim ram reservoir. Although we have changed the seals in the ram and it is no longer leaking there is still water contamination in the system which will take a bit of flushing out. The plan is to change the hydraulic fluid each time we change the engine oil until the contamination has completely gone.

Whilst Liam is busy in the engine bay I am going to set about cleaning out all of the cupboards in the cabin and decluttering everything. If we dont need it or use it, then it isnt staying on the boat. We need to shed as much weight as possible before our summer trip so this will be a ruthless task with no cupboard left unturned.

With the engine serviced and the cabin cleaned and decluttered it will then be time to remove the canopies and give them a good scrub. They are still fairing up really very well with no mould to speak of and just a few willow seeds stuck to the inside of the top section. With the hoods scrubbed and back on the boat we will head out to meet up with friends in Torksey. If we get to work and dont dilly dally we should be on the move by early afternoon so not too late.

If all goes to plan we will have left ourselves an easy day on Sunday with just an hour or so to spend applying a coat or two of Fabsil to the canopies to keep them waterproof. It might sound like a lot of effort to go too but it does show in how well the hoods are standing up to the weather and use. They still look brand new despite being two years old now and having had a lot of use. A bit of hard graft once a year really does pay off.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Japan's No.1

Last night Liam brought us these home to try, he often does that at the spur of the moment. It can be anybodies guess what he will bring home. He had been out at lunchtime and spied them in one of the shops he had visited so thought he would give it a go. We will give anything a go once.

Well all I can say is Japan you can keep your number 1 beer. It really is well, just not up to scratch. We tried in vain to compare it to anything else but nothing sprung to mind it was just, well bland and unappealing.

But on the plus side the cans are quite fetching so I have plans to chop off the lids, let Liam take them to work and make the cut edge smooth, and then use the cans on the kitchen window cill to plant some small herbs which should give the rosemary and thyme in the garden a bit of a break!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Cheese and Bacon Potato Bake

We were on the hunt for something quick and easy to grab for dinner again last night as we were busy with jobs around the house. We needed something we could quickly stick in the oven for an hour whilst we tinkered around the house and in the garage.

With a quick glance in the cupboard and the fridge the potato bake was looking like favourite. We always enjoy this dish despite it not being the healthiest in the world.

Preparation is so simple its untrue. Layer sliced potatoes into the bottom of an oven proof dish. 

Then in a large bowl mix a can of cream of mushroom soup, a carton of sour cream, 100g grated cheese (I used 50% reduced fat mature cheddar but any cheese you prefer will do) and some chopped bacon. This was the last of our smoked Berkshire bacon so we must pick some more up this weekend!

Next pour half of your soup mixture over the potatoes, then add another layer of sliced potatoes and finally top with the remainder of the soup mix. Bake in the oven for an hour at 200 degrees.

The potatoes should be lovely and soft and tender to the touch. Be warned this comes out of the oven super hot and ready to burn the roof of your mouth!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Turkey Mince Casserole

This was just a little something I rustled up quickly for dinner last night. I didnt know at first what I was going to concoct with the contents of the fridge but this seemed to work quite well so I will certainly use it again.

It was a fairly simple dish to prepare and despite the name casserole it was a relatively quick dish to cook as well. I always think of casseroles as long winded dishes to cook but this took less than 20 minutes from start to finish.

So to make this one is simple, you fry an onion and some mushrooms along with your turkey mince in a large pan. Once the onions have softened and the turkey mince has browned add some gravy and mixed veg, I just used some frozen veg for this, it works just as well as fresh for dishes like this but costs a fraction of the price. 

Simmer the mixture for 10-15 minutes. 

Served here with new potatoes and Yorkshire puddings but would work equally well with mashed potato or root vegetables.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Slowly Does It

We are slowly working our way through the list of jobs to do before Easter. Over the weekend we ticked off a few odd jobs so we are getting there.

We replaced a bulb on the dashboard that had blown. Sounds like a two minute job until you start to dismantle the instrument panel a realise how stupid Sealine were when making the panels. There is no spare cable to pull the panel forward slightly so you need small hands to get in  and access the thing. So small job for the day out of the way we set about the next one.

The dinghy was in desperate need of a good scrub. Thankfully some friends had pumped it out for us so Liam set about bailing out the last of the water and then cleaning the floor, fuel tank and topsides. It still needs pulling out for the bottom scrubbing but that can be another days job.

Lastly we filled the fuel tank. We have been a bit lax with this over the winter and had let it run right down but 150 litres of the red stuff soon saw it brimmed again. We really must try and keep it topped up now so we dont end up with  big fuel bill all at once again!

So with the weekends list of jobs finished we set about working out a plan of attack for next weekend. So far the plan is to service the engine, clean out the engine bay (after the service of course), declutter the cabin cupboards, scrub the canopies and apply a coat or two of Fabsil to keep them well waterproofed. Should be a busy weekend but we will still have time for a quick cruise and might even break the bikes out again!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Saturday, 22 March 2014

First one down

Well that's the first bike ride in a long while done and dusted! Nothing too adventurous just over eight miles round trip from Burton Waters to Saxilby and back. Hopefully this will be the first of many. 

Friday, 21 March 2014


Its going to be a long, long day today. Up at 6am to get stuff ready to take to the boat, out of the house at 7.15am to get Liam to work on time and ensure we have enough time to stick my bike in the car and now here I am at my desk at work where I have been since 8am.

Here I will stay until 5.15pm when its time to head back out in the car, pick Liam up from work, hopefully load his bike into the car and then drive the 50 miles to Lincoln.

But it doesnt end there. The next phase of the day is loading the gear and bikes onto the boat, I will then put everything away whilst Liam gets showered and then we will head out to the boat club where we are due to start our evening shift at 8pm and will finish when the last man or woman leaves the building, usually around 1am ish. 

But thats still not the end as we will then have to clear up and by this point we will be ready for a drink and some fodder so we will head out, grab a pizza and find a club for the last couple of drinks. A long day!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Light of Day

This has not seen the light of day for a long while. When we moved house over seven years ago now, it was hung in the garage and has not been out since!

As Liams bike should be ready for Friday afternoon we decided that it was probably time that mine saw the light of day again so we could wash it down and check it over before the weekend.

After seven years hung upside down by its wheels we expected there to be one or two minor teething problems, but I am glad to say that after a quick jet wash to remove the dust, some oil to the chain and a minor tweak to the adjustment on the brakes it is ready to go. The extended period in storage appears to have done it no harm at all.

So now all we have to do is figure out how to get two bikes and all of the usual boat gear into the car tomorrow for the trip to Lincoln. Its at times like this that I need a bigger car!

We are still unsure as to where our first bike ride will take us. We were toying with the idea of taking the boat to Washingborough for the weekend and cycling along the cycleway from Washingborough to Bardney, some seven or so miles away on easy terrain. This should break us back into cycling nicely and there is a nice pub to enjoy a quick pint before cycling back again. 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

In Print

It was brought to our attention yesterday that Naughty-Cal had her picture published in the "Whats In A Name?" section of Motor Boats Monthly. Well done Cal!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Fabulous Sunrise

This was our treat for having to wake up early yesterday morning for the run back into Sheffield. A fantastic sunrise over the marina at Burton Waters. 

Monday, 17 March 2014

A Sunny Weekend in Lincoln

You dont have to travel far to have an enjoyable weekend away on the boat. This weekend we made the epic voyage for the whole two miles into Lincoln and what a great weekend it turned out to be.

The Lincoln night life is great with plenty of pubs and bars to choose from yet our mooring spot right in the heart of the city was peaceful and quiet despite being just a couple of minutes walk from all of the action. We really must spend more time in Lincoln this year, its a great city.

 Lincoln waterside.

 Naughty-Cal's mooring for the weekend.

 Sunny sunday morning

 Friendly pub.

 Lincoln markets and market square.

 Ducks enjoying the sunshine.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Sunny Days

A bit of sunshine brings everybody outside. Here we are moored in the centre of Lincoln wasting a few hours before meeting up with friends for a night on the town.  

Should be fun and we won't have far to stumble home! 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Fossdyke and Witham Weed 2014

The EA have issued a warning notice for a drain which discharges into the Fossdyke Navigation and ultimately the River Witham for an invasive weed called Floating Pennywort. It has been spotted growing in the drain and due to its invasive nature is likely to spread to the Fossdyke which will affect navigation due to the large floating mats it creates.

Anyone spotting the weed is asked to contact one of the people listed below:

So it looks like we will have yet another year blighted by weed. When will it stop?

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Saved a job!

Whilst we were out enjoying the boat on Saturday our kind friends were saving us a job. 

The dinghy had become full, and I mean very full of rain water during the eight weeks we had been ashore. So we had been planning that this coming weekend we would bail her out and give her a good scrub ready for Easter.

However our kind friends in our absence bailed her out for us with the aid of a bilge pump and spare battery.

Saved us a job this weekend. Although it does still need to be pulled out so that the bottom can be scrubbed and cleaned in the next couple of weekends. Never a nice job, you would be amazed how much growth sticks to the bottom of a rubber boat!!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Super Weekend Continued

 Cruising back along the Fossdyke in the sunshine.

 Not many boats around even in the this weather.

 Nice house on the banks of the ditch.

 Peaceful and serene waters.

 Old mill buildings now offices.

 Heading for home

 The sun slowly setting.

What a glorious first weekend on the water.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Super Weekend

Well we couldnt have hoped for a better weekend for Naughty-Cal's first afloat since her session ashore. The sun shone for the most part and with light winds it was the perfect start to the 2014 cruising season.

 Cruising down the Fossdyke towards Torksey.

 No leaves on the trees yet despite the spring like feel of the weather.

 Naughty-Cal in the basin at Torksey.

 The well kept grounds around the lock basin.

 The layers are enjoying the sunshine.

 It would have been rude not to visit the pub.

And soon we were joined by PJ and her crew for a few drinks and some dinner in the pub.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Cruising Again

It's been nice to be out and about today even though we have not been far. 

We have landed at Torksey for tonight so a visit to the White Swan is in order to sample a famous steak pie. 

Friday, 7 March 2014

Afloat Again

After much hard work over the last eight weeks Naughty-Cal is back afloat again. 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The Countdown Commences

With Naughty-Cal due to be dropped back in the water tomorrow we had one last flurry of activity last night to get the last few things at home cleaned up and ready to take back to the boat on this evening. 

There wasn't much just ropes to wash, fenders to clean and put back on their clean ropes and the cockpit rug to scrub up. The ensign was washed and is now ready to fly, after we had to go back home as we forgot to pack it! We cant have Naughty-Cal looking clean and shiny but not flying the ensign in the sunshine now, that would never do. Luckily we didn't get too far before we remembered we had forgotten it.

I have my work cut out for me tomorrow. Whilst Liam is heading back to the work I have the unenviable task of scrubbing the boat and making her fit for use over the weekend. The cockpit has taken the brunt of the dirt as that is where we were effectively living for our stint out of the water. The once white vinyl seating is now a mixture of brown and blue! Magic sponge to the rescue I think, I hope anyway.

The cabin is in a bit of disarray but whilst I can clean it I can’t really make it look right again until the new carpets are ready to glue in. Bare floor isn’t a great look, but we can’t hurry perfection I suppose.

This weekend we plan to go out and enjoy the boat. No work is going to be done on her at all. After the last eight weeks of hard graft I think we deserve a break. But it will be a brief one as we then have the countdown the Easter and before then we need to fully service the engine, scrub the canopies and apply a good coat of Fabsil, fit the new cabin carpets, bail out and clean the dinghy and sort out the bikes. It’s all go at the minute but it will be worth it.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Nearly, But Not Quite

Whilst seemingly everyone else we know was busy tucking into pancakes last night we decided that chicken casserole would be better suited to a Yorkshire pudding or two instead! 

So nearly a pancake, but not quite. I'm fairly sure that Yorkshire pudding counts though, doesn't it? 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

More new "Things"

This year we have decided that it is high time we did a little more exercise whilst on the boat. We have a nasty habit of mooring up somewhere and then just heading for the nearest pub, which isn't great for the waistline to say the least.

So we have bought Liam a new bike and we are going to get mine out of the garage, dust it down and service it and they are going to the marina for the summer. It is ideal in Lincolnshire to break us gently back into cycling with the miles and miles of flat, easy to ride trails. The trail running along the river Witham seems the ideal place to start, as we can moor the boat up then set out on the bikes.

Unfortunately as Naughty-Cal is small the bikes will have to live on the cabin roof, so we will only be able to take them with us if we are heading out on the river. I dont think they will stay put if we start chucking the boat into corners at 30 knots!! But as a way to unwind on the river they should hopefully provide a few hours of exercise each weekend, or failing that a quicker way to get to the pub!

Sunday, 2 March 2014


We have finally finished Naughty-Cals exterior so she is fit for relaunch on Friday morning. 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

More Progress

We have made yet more progress today. 

The hull is polished and ready for waxing tomorrow. 

The drive is painted. 

Tomorrow we should get it waxed and the hull painted.