Thursday, 30 April 2015

The Hunter Gatherer

With our annual trip to Wells next the Sea just around the corner, the hunter gatherer, ie me, is hard at work hunting down and gathering together all of the necessary parts to give Naughty-Cal's engine a full service. 

It has come around again to full service time where all of the belts need replacing as well as the annual service job of the oil, oil filter, fuel filters, crankcase filter, supercharger oil and trim ram fluids. 

Now usually we just buy the genuine Volvo Penta service parts, but they do come with a hefty price tag, and as I'm sure we all know Volvo don't actually make most of the parts themselves anyway. So this year I set myself the task of matching up the part numbers and finding parts at a more reasonable price.

So far so good. I have matched up all of the belts with much cheaper vehicle derived parts from Gates. Total cost for the four belts £45 instead of the usual £130 for VP parts, quite a saving. The engine oil also has been matched and a 20 litre drum of oil which is the same spec as the VP oil bought again for £45. Now we never bought VP oil to begin with but still this is quite some saving over what we have previously paid. The oil filter Liam can order through work for £2.40 each rather then the £10 price tag for a VP part. As I'm sure you can already see the savings are starting to mount up already.

We already have 5 litre containers of the super charger oil and the trim ram fluid so these will be changed as a matter of course on a far more regular basis then Volvo specify. 

The savings we have found so far do show that it is worth a little bit of time and effort to shop around and find quality parts at a much cheaper price then manufacturers own branded items.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Humber Rescue

Today is the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Humber Rescue. Humber Rescue is an independent charity which provides a first response to incidents in the Humber estuary, one of the most dangerous navigable rivers in the world. Their area covers some 540 square miles and covers the River Ouse, River Trent, River Hull and River Humber.

Below are a selection of photographs from just a couple of the more dramatic rescues Humber Rescue have carried out over the years. The first few are of the rescue of two crew members off a cruiser which suffered electrical problems off Blacktoft Jetty resulting in the total loss of the vessel. Within minutes of the crew being rescued from the vessel it was completely engulfed in flames.

The next photos are of the rescue of the crew of coaster Scot Trader who started listing in the Upper Humber and lost all radio contact with Humber VTS. Humber Rescue were dispatched initially to find the whereabouts of the Scot Trader however their mission soon changed to the rescue of the crew of the stricken vessel.

And this final photo is of the Humber Rescue's fast response vessel, capable of reaching those in peril in these fickle waters within minutes of being launched.

Without the Humber Rescue team being on stand by there would be far more loss of life on these perilous waters. The team at Humber Rescue put their lives in danger to save those who have run into trouble and to this end we offer our praise to all the team.

Well done guys and heres to another 25 years of rescues on the Humber estuary.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Mega Mixed Grill

As the weather and the frequent heavy thundery showers decided we were not having a BBQ on Saturday evening we ended up in the Nags Head in Bardney Village for our evening meal. The pub is located at the top of the hill and is a short walk from the Bardney Village visitors moorings.

The food as always was excellent and this was Liam's mixed grill, not bad for £16 and he ate the lot. In fact we all did. All four of us had a fantastic meal.

So the Nags Head, well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Monday, 27 April 2015

A Weekend on the Witham

Setting sail down river in the sunsine.

 Storm clouds gathering.

Golden pheasant at Fiskerton Fen.

Narrowboat Penguin.

Bardney Village visitors moorings.

Heading back up river with Bardney long term moorings to the right.

Cruising upstream in glorious weather.

Fiskerton village in the background.

 Finally we get out BBQ. Only a day late.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Was it?

So was it bbq weather?

Erm, no. In the end we dodged the rain showers and walked to the pub, before heading back to the boats and moving downstream to the Bardney Village moorings.

We had a lovely meal in the Nags Head in the village.

The plan is to have a bbq lunch today on our way back up river.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Bbq Weather

So will the weather hold long enough for us to have our bbq tonight?

It's lovely right now on the river. But will it last?

Friday, 24 April 2015


Last weekend my trusty Fujifilm Bridge Camera finally gave up the ghost. It had been playing up for sometime now, becoming very slow to focus, taking random shots on its own, turning on and off at will, but finally on Sunday, just in time tfor going to see the mini's in Lincoln it bailed out completely and refused to even turn on despite having fresh batteries.

So sadly it had to go in the bin. The price of the camera has come down so much it was not worth getting it fixed. To be fair it had hardly led a pampered life and had survived many a dosing with salt water, many a fall in the boats cabin and some occasional rough handling whilst onboard, so it didn't do badly.

Now the time to find a replacement. As much as I love photography I want an easy to use camera that is small enough to carry around. I don't want to be carrying lots of expensive lenses and lights around. In effect I want a point and shoot. Which is why yet again I will be steering towards a Bridge camera, they are not the most compact unit but they have a wide ranging lens suited to a wide range of conditions.

So far the favourite is the Nikon L330 pictured above. So now it is just time to strike a deal and look around for the best offers.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Bygone Brayford

A few pictures for you today of Brayford Pool in years gone by. I always enjoy looking at old pictures of places we cruise. 

These pictures were posted on the Lincoln Boat Club's Facebook page this week and show the clubs moorings as they were. The two colour pictures are a little more modern and taken in the 1980's.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Into the Wilderness

So we continued with the boring expenditure on Friday, this time a new set of hedge trimmers which duly arrived at work on Monday afternoon.

So last night it was back out into the wilderness, well our front garden anyway to trim up the hedges in the front garden.

Whilst Liam was busy pruning away I had another go at cutting the lawn in the front garden, which considering it was only cut last week had grown beyond belief. We are hoping it is just the time of year and that it will settle down again into a more normal rate of growth in the next few weeks.

In all fairness we were probably a little bit early at cutting the privet as there really was not that much that was trimmed off. We have caught them just as they are budding but as the weather forecast looks a bit damp for next week we thought we had better jump in whilst we can and get them trimmed up before they start growing like mad.

Tonight we will man tools again and launch an attack on the back garden. Again the grass has grown stupidly long so that needs another quick cut, perhaps taking this down a cutting height from last weeks cut as well, as I did leave it quite long on the last cut. 

Thankfully the back garden doesn't take much looking after and in a little over an hour we should have it looking prim and proper again.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Well Done CRT

Canal and Rivers Trust are all too often labelled as not being interested in boats, their owners or their needs. But this time I would like to say well done CRT.

For years we and others have been complaining that Lincoln has a distinct lack of official visitor mooring capacity. The CRT visitor moorings we just a short length of mooring adjacent the university buildings with room for just three narrowboats. This clearly wasn't enough capacity as they were always full, sadly some boat owners also abused the facility leaving boats there for extended periods due to the location close to all a city has to offer.

The new extended visitors moorings have a little over twice the length available which should hopefully increase the chances of finding a mooring in this prime spot. The extended section of moorings also has mooring bollards and rise and fall posts spaced at much closer centres which makes it easier for smaller boats to moor up in a satisfactory manner. The bollards on the older section of moorings clearly had longer boats in mind as we always struggled to moor up properly with the spacings to hand.

There are still other options should the CRT visitors moorings be full. Lincoln Marina now offer visitors moorings for cruisers and narrowboats at £10 per night with electric, water and facilities included in the price. If a marina is not your cup of tea then there are moorings in the centre of town outside of the Waterside Centre, although these are busy during the day with folks going about their daily routine, they are really very quiet by night. For a quieter mooring spot there are moorings on the wall on the approach to Stamp End Lock. These are much quieter then the Waterside moorings. And lastly there is the option to anchor in the Brayford Pool and use a dinghy for shore access, not everyone's idea of fun but we have found this to be a great way to enjoy mooring in the city.

So well done CRT for listening to your customers and providing a service to Lincoln which was so greatly needed.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Mini's by the Pool

Yesterday after a great evening in Saxilby on Saturday evening we had a little jaunt into Lincoln to visit the annual Mini day by Brayford Pool. As usual there was a great turn out from daily drivers, to show cars to the highly modified.

And after enjoying the minis we headed up Steep Hill to the cathedral to visit the Festival of Engineering within the cathedral. Star of the show the new BMW I8 hybrid supercar.

It did seem very strange seeing a supercar within the grandeur of the cathedral.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Another great evening out

Last night we had yet another great evening out with friends.  What started out as four of us going for a curry quickly turned into eleven.

The highlight of the evening though had to be Liam doing battle with a hot, no very hot chilli. Down in one brave boy.

It had its revenge this morning though!

Saturday, 18 April 2015


Unusually for us we find ourselves on our own mooring on a Saturday afternoon. We have spent the morning cleaning and fettling ready to take some friends out for dinner this evening.

It's quite relaxing soaking up the rays with a beer.

Friday, 17 April 2015

A Bleeding Nuisance

So it was back to more boring expenditure last night, a pair of rear brake calipers for the Nissan. How very exciting.

The original ones have been playing up for a little while, they worked fine with the foot brake but were not working with the hand brake very well, sometimes one side worked, sometimes the other side worked and sometimes neither of them worked at all. The lever mechanisms that operate the hand brake were sticking on or off.

So the decision was taken to replace them as it was becoming a bit of a nuisance factor, especially in Sheffield with it's many hills and steep streets where the hand brake is a useful aid.

Fitting the calipers went relatively smoothly, as well as can be expected when removing ten year old mechanical items in fact. Even refitting the new ones went well, until that is it was time to bleed them up, which they point blank refused to do.

We got as much air out as possible last night but this morning on the way to work the brakes were really not working as they should, so the car is back in the garage again where Liam hopes to have them bled up during his lunch hour with the help of his work mates.

Fingers crossed it works this time.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Next Adventure

With our first coastal trip for this year a resplendent success we are now looking forward to our next big adventure and our first proper holiday of the year at the end of next month.

For the last week in May we plan to make our annual pilgrimage to Wells next the Sea, on the North Norfolk coast. 

We make this trip every year during the same week, yet it is a place we will never tire of. It was the location of our first ever trip at sea, way back in 2010 and every year it continues to be a place we love to visit. We have some very fond memories of Wells.

But as always before we head out there are one or two items which need some attention. This year, thanks to our mammoth session ashore we don't have too much to take care of, it is just little odds and sods of jobs. Firstly is a major engine service to include changing the oil and filter, changing the fuel filters, changing the impellor, fitting a new crank case filter, changing the supercharger oil and changing all four belts as well as replacing the trim ram fluid. We would have liked to have done this before we went to Kings Lynn earlier this month but time was not on our side. 

The other jobs we need to sort out are quite annoyingly jobs which should have been sorted as we have replaced parts with yet more faulty parts. The hot water element is faulty and needs to be replaced yet again which as I'm sure you will remember was a job easier said then done. The other annoying little job is replacing the shower hose in the shower room as this is also faulty and leaking from a supposedly sealed joint. Again this involves cutting out the sink to gain access to the faulty item. These jobs won't cost anything but are more of an annoyance factor.

Of course the one job we will have to do before we set out is refueling, again. It is a never ending round of visits to the fuel berth at this time of year, not helped by the fact that we started the year with a pretty empty tank as we had spent so long ashore with the heating on!

We shouldn't complain however our list of jobs to do is nowhere near as long as some of our friends lists. We can almost see the end in sight with our list!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Venturing Out

So last night we ventured out into the gardens for the first time properly this year and spent an hour or so having a proper tidy up, mowing the lawn, weeding and generally sprucing things up ready for the upcoming BBQ season.

I'm embarrassed to say that we neglected our lovely gardens somewhat last year due to a combination of bad weather when we were at home and a degree of laziness when the weather was set fair. But this year we are determined to keep on top of the gardens and keep them looking neat and tidy, if not show gardens they will at least be presentable and an asset to the house.

Amazingly, even after their year of neglect last year and a fairly late start this year the lawns were in reasonable condition. The front lawn has always been in better condition then the rear lawn but both have wintered well and now look neat and tidy with their new hair cuts. They are not knocked down to their summer height just yet, we will gradually increase the cutting height over the next few weeks to give the grass time to get used to being mowed again.

Next week we will attack the hedges. They are not quite ready for their first cut of the year just yet, they have only really started budding in the last couple of days so we will leave them another week to put on a proper spurt of growth before we trim them back.

We plan to give the front garden a real makeover this summer. With the front garden it really shouldn't take too long at all. There are many mature plants and shrubs which we intend to keep whilst thinning out the borders and remulching with some fresh bark chippings to help keep moisture in the ground. 

Watch this space for further gardening forays throughout the summer.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Boring Expenditure

You know how sometimes you are forced into spending money on things that you really don't want too?

You know boring things like the boiler? Well yesterday was one of those days.

The boiler at home had stopped making hot water (we are having a run of bad luck with hot water of late, both the house and the boat!) and was well due a service anyway so we called in the gas man.

£220 worse off for the experience we now have a freshly serviced boiler and a new zone control valve in the airing cupboard, oh and hot water coming from the taps. 

The list of boring but essential expenditure isn't going to stop there though, in the next couple of weeks we need to buy some new hedge trimmers and pluck up the enthusiasm to trim said hedges, buy two new calipers for my car, and pluck up the enthusiasm to fit them, get in a roofer to replace a slipped hip tile and some cracker roof tiles, get in a plumber to sort out a stubborn toilet, order a new front door, get in a plasterer.......

The list is seemingly endless. And it doesn't end with the house and the car, we need to spend some more on the boat as well. It is due a full service before we go away at the end of May to Wells next the Sea.

This year is looking expensive!

Monday, 13 April 2015

A Mixed Bag

This weekend has been a bit of a mixed bag, we didn't really get in much cruising with just a short trip into Lincoln on Friday night followed by the return trip on Saturday morning.

On Saturday we set about with the final repairs to the manual bilge pump which is now in full working order thanks to a new clamping ring.

And then it was time for a few drinks on a friends boat whilst watching the Grand National and then heading across to Woodcocks for farewell drinks with friends who are moving away.

Sunday was a bit of a non starter. We didn't get up while gone 11am which is unheard of for us and with wooly heads we did little other then drink coffee for the rest of the morning. With a chilli in the slow cooker we went for a brisk walk to blow away some cobwebs before chilling out on the back of the boat with a couple of beers, then eating chilli before hitting the sack early. Must have been a heavy night on Saturday!

Sunday, 12 April 2015


It's suddenly got very blowy on the moorings.  Glad we decided to go back to the marina yesterday!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Fixed It

The manual bilge pump is now fully functional with its new clamping ring.

Another job crossed off the seemingly shrinking list.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Kings Lynn Easter 2015 - Part 3

Part 4
Kings Lynn to Boston to Southrey

 Early morning start from Kings Lynn.

 Back on the tidal Witham. Unfortunately it was a bit too choppy to take pictures in the Wash on the way back.

 Under the bridges.

 Back on the non tidal Witham in time for breakfast.

 Settled for the evening on the Southrey visitor moorings. The Riverside Inn next to the moorings is well worth a visit.

Part 5
Southrey to Lincoln to Burton Waters.

 Glorious morning.

 Lovely chapel in Southrey village.

 The route of the old rail line. Platforms still evident and the station house is now a private dwelling.

 Swans nesting.

 Cruising up the Witham in the warm sunshine.

 The approach to Stamp End Lock.

 Waiting for the lock.

 Naughty-Cal in Stamp End Lock.

 Exiting the lock under the raised gate.

 Brayford Pool.

Lincoln Marina visitor moorings.

Total Miles = 164 Miles
Total Locks = 6 Locks