Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Busy Week

It is turning into a busy week so far as we rush around to get things ready for going away.

Last night we were busy in the front garden, cutting hedges and cutting the grass. Tonight we will be doing the same again in the back garden.

Yesterday Liam took delivery of our new battery charger. It isn't the Sterling that we had set out to buy, instead the chap at our suppliers recommended the Waeco Perfect Charge MCA1225, 25 amp charger as better suited to what we need. So we took him on his word and now have a new charger awaiting installation. We think we will probably head up to the boat on Thursday evening after work and see if we can get the charger installed and working. That was we will set off on Friday evening with full batteries.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Eagerly Waiting

So we have left Naughty-Cal eagerly awaiting our up coming trip to the Fens.

She is pretty much ready to go. I just need to pop up on Friday morning and put on the fresh bedding, refill the water tank and take of the canopies and then come back and pick Liam up from work before heading back to the marina and setting off down river towards Boston.

Unfortunately the battery charger is still not working properly so despite refitting it, it will have to come off again and be replaced with a new one. Liam is sourcing a new one today so we should have it in time but it depends if we can install it on the boat in time to go. It isn't the end of the world if not, we will manage without it.

Sunday, 28 June 2015


And once again Naughty-Cal is ready to set off on her next adventure. 

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Sunny Days

Well the Sierra got us here and it looks set to be a glorious sunny day.

Job one for the weekend has been ticked off, the new channel waypoints for the King's Lynn channel are in the plotter.

We are now in Lincoln to do a spot of shopping before heading somewhere for a bbq later.

Friday, 26 June 2015

On the Road - Take 2

After yesterdays slight false start hitting the road, Liam managed to get the Sierra fixed again, remind me again what Ford stands for!

So last night we took it for a quick blast out in Derbyshire to check that all was functioning as it should be. We had a run out to the Strines Inn on Strines Moor and I'm pleased to say that tit behaved itself this time. 

To be fair we had expected one or two teething problems as she has been sat in the garage for three years unloved and neglected, which is our own fault but we were just struggling to find the time to sort her out.

Now this may be a slightly foolish decision but we have decided to take the Sierra to Lincoln tonight, the theory being a good run will do it some good. Breakdown cover at the ready!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

On the Road

So the XR4i is back on the road, well sort of, well it was temporarily.

Ok, I admit it. It has broken down already!

We had a quick run out last night to take the battery charger for repair, which has been fixed free of charge by the way which is a bit of a bonus. Anyway the car behaved impeccably for the few mile drive out of town and back, before springing a coolant leak on the way back.

This morning we have driven it back to the garage where Liam works with a bit of a coolant leak so that he can hopefully fix it again at lunchtime. 

Of course the trouble with older cars is that locating spares can be a bit of a nightmare, as we found with the radiator hose earlier in the year. Of course you can't easily buy this hose either so it's time to get our thinking caps on!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Day of Reckoning

After a few weeks in the bodyshop, today is the day of reckoning for the Sierra. After three years of hibernation in the garage at home will she finally pass her first MOT in three years?

Liam has been busy during his evenings after work doing some welding to the floor and jacking points, which to be fair we knew needed doing some years ago, but knowing it would be a difficult job we put off. Well it could't be put off any longer if the car was to hit the road. So for three weeks now Liam has been busy after work welding and fabricating the floor, replacing bushes which were perished and sorting out a multitude of issues with the coolant system. But all of his work has paid dividends, as yesterday he borrowed the trade plates to take the car for some fresh fuel and he says it drove and ran like a dream, better then any time since we have owned it. Perhaps we have finally cracked it?

So watch this space later today to see if she finally hits the road.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Getting Closer

The date of our upcoming holiday is edging ever closer, we now have just over a week to get ourselves and the boat ready to go.

We are now booked into the lock at Boston and booked onto the moorings at Kings Lynn for a few days, so next on the list is confirming with the lock keeper at Denver Sluice that I have my timings right for our trip up the 100ft drain and onto the Fens. We won't be using the sluice on our inbound leg of the trip but I want the reassurance from local knowledge that I have calculated my tide timings right on these unfamiliar waters.

This coming weekend we have a small list of jobs to do on the boat but nothing that should take too long. The battery charger is off for repair tonight, we may have that back to fit at the weekend if all goes to plan. Other then this we need to fit a new gas pipe for the Boat Safety Test which we will be having done on our way down the Witham and cleaning the dinghy and outboard and giving the boat a good scrub. We will fill up with diesel at Geordies as we are having the safety test carried and once Naughty-Cal has a clean bill of health again we can set off on our next big adventure.

Monday, 22 June 2015

A Fine Weekend

What another great weekend we had. It's funny how the unplanned, spur of the moment outings can be some of the most fun and enjoyable.

Our fine flotilla on the visitors moorings.

 Buddy thinks he's a Scotty dog.

 Can't decide whether to have BBQ or curry? Well why not have both?

The girls, Skinny Vickers and Bonnie fishing.

Unfortunately all they could catch were eels!

Deciding who is the biggest tosser of 2015, rope tosser that is!

 Have you been at the wine Buddy?

 Camoper vans at the VW event in Brayford Pool on Sunday.

A fine but breezy day on the Fossdyke as we head for home.

Despite all of the fun we did manage to remove the battery charger to be taken for repair this week. Hopefully we might have it back for next weekend in time to refit it before we go on holiday. If not we will manage without it, but it would be nice to have it back functioning again.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Bbq Weather

After last week's failed bbq attempt we did finally manage to grab one yesterday and a fine evening it was too.

This mornings post I have just noticed should have been yesterday's but Internet reception in Torksey is very poor!

Saturday, 20 June 2015

To Torksey

After a quiet evening in the boat club today we are enjoying a quiet night in Torksey.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Booking Berths

The planning and booking for our upcoming trip continues and today it is a case of paying for the three nights we have penciled in at the visitors pontoon in Kings Lynn.

We have provisionally booked in for one night on Sunday 5th July where we will stop off on our way up the river and then again for a couple of nights on the 13th and 14th July on our way back out of the river and heading towards home.

The berthing rates at Kings Lynn are very competitive and the rate for our boat works out at a very reasonable £10.50 per night with electric and water on the pontoons, electric via a prepaid smart card and meter and water to each service bollard. Security is good with a locked gate to the berths and the berths being a good distance from the quayside. The pontoon is close to the excellent Marriotts Warehouse restaurant on the quayside and a short walk into the town centre to the pubs and shops.

We are hoping we will be allocated a berth on the outside of the pontoon this time around. For our visit at Easter, the pontoon was pretty busy and we were allocated an inside berth, now whilst there is nothing wrong with these berths, and they are easy enough to get into, they are quite tricky to get back out of.  There is not a lot if room between the pontoon and the quayside, we could just turn around in the gap, but with the tide flowing it wasn't an easy trick to pull off.

It's all starting to come together at last. Not long to go now.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Early Mornings

I started the first of the bookings yesterday for our summer trip to the Fens.

I booked us into Boston's Grand Sluice Lock for passage through on Sunday 5th July.

As is pretty usual for us it involves an early morning start. We need to be at the lock for 6.30am ready to leave as soon as there is enough water in the pool to let us out. We are getting used to these early morning starts now after many years of struggling to get up and go.

On the plus side it does mean that we will be on the visitors pontoon at Kings Lynn in plenty of time for breakfast. It usually takes us about 2 hours to complete the crossing, an hour to reach Tabs Head along the tidal River Witham and then about 40 minutes across the Wash and 20 minutes up the Great Ouse cut to the visitors moorings beside the quay. So assuming we get out of Boston in good time we will be in Kings Lynn for between 8.30 and 9.00am giving us a full day to enjoy the towm, stock up on provisions and get ready for the next day's journey into the unknown.

That's step one of the bookings completed. Now for stage two.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Final Prep Work

Preparations are now well under way for our next big trip of 2015, our trip on the Great Ouse exploring the Fens.

Of course the battery charger is now on the list of thing to sort out prior to setting off. 

In the next couple of weeks we have plenty of things to be sorting out and planning. Along with getting the boat ready we also have to book in the Boat Safety Test which we will have done at Geordies on our way to Boston, book in the lock at Boston for our trip across to Kings Lynn, book the moorings in Lynn, confirm the date of our cruise up the Ouse and the 100ft Drain with the lock keeper at Denver and confirm when we will arrive at Earith to pick up our EA visitors licence.

It's going to be a busy couple of weeks coming up. As well as getting the boat sorted, Liam is also busy working on his car to get it road worthy once more and we still have house work and gardening to contend with!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015


You know how sometimes things just inexplicably break, working one minute but not the next? 

Well this weekend was one of those moments.

When we left our moorings on Friday evening the battery charger was working fine, after a weekend away from shore power, when we plug it back in again on Sunday evening, well it refuses to work!

We checked all of the obvious modes of failure, have we got shore power?, yes we have. Is the power lead plugged in properly?, yes it is. Is the cable in the charger properly?, yes it was. Have the fuses blown in the plug?, no they had not. Had the external charger fuses blown?, no they were fine. Is the electrical socket working?, yes it ran the kettle fine. 

So a bit late in the day on Sunday we resigned ourselves to the fact it wouldn't be a quick fix and we would have to remove it next weekend to dismantle it and take a look inside, unfortunately Liam didn't have the right tools he needed to remove it on Sunday. So for the first time since we have owned Naughty-Cal, when we left on Monday morning, we turned off the fridge, (actually I did this on Sunday evening so as not to waste battery power), turned off the isolator switches and unplugged the shore power cable. Naughty-Cal is fully switched off!

Thankfully the batteries were showing a healthy voltage when we left at 12.7v, so they should in theory be fine this week. We will take the boat for a good run this weekend to make sure we leave them well topped up as they will be left for another week with no charger whilst Liam takes a look at what is wrong with the Newmar. If he can't find any obvious fault we will simply buy a replacement Sterling charger and install that. 

All of this comes of course just a few weeks before our next big adventure on board, we have just two weekends to fix it or we will be heading out with no working battery charger, which in itself shouldn't really cause us much of a problem. We can easily manage without, but it is nice to have the option of fully recharging the batteries should shore power become available.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Birthday Celebrations

We had a great weekend of celebrations for Liams 40th. Here are just a few of the pictures from the weekend.

The rain on Saturday didn't stop play in the Sun Inn as we played Killer Pool and Killer Darts.

Liam decided that dressing as Eric might help his game. It didn't.

 The Motley Crew at the Dehli Diner.

 Not quite sure what was going on here.

 Liams enjoying his birthday hugs.

 Left over drinks. Oops.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Bye Saxilby

After a great weekend in Saxilby it was finally time to leave the visitors moorings and head into Lincoln to do a spot of shopping and find a pub or two for some liquid refreshment.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

What a Grey Day

What a grey and miserable start to the weekend.

The rain lashed down last night as we hunkered down on Naughty-Cal on the Saxilby village moorings,  our location for the duration of this weekend.

We now have a morning to kill before the fun begins later this afternoon.

It could get messy!

Friday, 12 June 2015

Getting Older

Yesterday it was Liam's 40th birthday, the old sod!

To celebrate, well as much as you can when your birthday is midweek and you have to go to work, we organised a family evening meal at The Yorkshire Bridge in Bamford. 

It was a chance to meet up with family including our nieces and nephews in the picture opposite and enjoy a nice family meal together, something we really don't do as often as we probably should.

The real party is planned to take place tomorrow. We had organised a BBQ party at Saxilby, however the weather looks set to ruin that idea so it does seem to be migrating towards a day in the pub followed by a curry at the Dehli Diner. We shall see!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Beer Can Chicken

I like to try new ways of cooking things and at the weekend a friend convinced us to try this interesting recipe for Beer Can Chicken.

It really is a very simple concept, take a can of your preferred tipple, drink half of the contents and then place a seasond chicken upright over the can. Cook in the oven at 170 degrees for an hour and a quarter for a medium chicken.

 So here we have the prepped chicken. This has to be one of the strangest things I have placed in the oven.

Part way through the cooking process and the chicken is cooking nicely.

Now the theory behind this is that the beer steams into the chicken, which as well as flavouring the meat also aids in cooking it quicker by steaming the inside of the chicken at the same time as it is cooking on the outside. The meat was certainly very moist and very tender and it did have a very subtle sweetness from the lager we chose to use.

The finished article. Beer Can chicken with roasted sweet potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and a selection of vegetables.

We will certainly be cooking this again and will definatly experiment with different beers, stouts and lagers and also adding different herbs and spices to the mix.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Sunny Saxilby

We had a brilliant laid back weekend, just what was in order after the previous weekends arrival back from a fine week away. We spent time in sunny Saxilby with good friends on Saturday evening before heading to Lincoln on Sunday for the annual Bike Fest.

 As he approaches the grand old age of 40 this week Liam's eyes are failing him.

E Pontoon's new mascot Jack the Jackapoo.

It's a dogs life.

I'm sure this started off as a BBQ rather then a bonfire.

 Sole Mate eventually gave up on anchoring in the pool after dragging around it once or twice.

 We found a Naughty-Cal (just) sized hole on the CRT Visitor Moorings and then rafted a bigger boat alongside.

Another fine weekend and a great warm up for this weekends birthday festivities again in Saxilby, but more on that later in the week.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Busy Day

It was a busy day in Lincoln yesterday as the sun brought out the boat owners in their droves. Not a spare mooring was to be found in Brayford Pool!

We managed to squeeze Naughty-Cal onto the university moorings and raft a larger boat alongside. The owners of the Bavaria alongside were the previous owners of Naughty-Cal!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Fire Starters

What started out as a lovely bbq ended up as a bit of a bonfire evening playing chase the ace around the fire.

A great evening with great friends.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

In the Pool

This morning we find ourselves in Brayford Pool after an evening in the boat club.

This is a handy spot for doing a spot of shopping.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Back up to Date

So after a weeks worth of photographs of our trip last week that brings us smartly back up to date.

The photograph opposite was kindly taken by the crew of narrowboat Scholar Gypsy as we left Boston, passing the Boston Stump and heading out into the Wash on our way to Wells. Thank you.

So this week has been a bit of a getting back to normality week, whatever that may be. Catching up with a seemingly endless stream of washing and cleaning whilst Liam has been busy working on the Sierra during the evenings getting it ready to hit the road again later this month, but more on that next week.

As for Naughty-Cal, well she has taken a well earned break this week after an absolutely faultless performance the week previous. She never put a foot wrong during the whole week. It seems that our winter of hard work is now really starting to pay off.

This coming weekend we hope to have a quiet one, cruising locally and giving Cal a well earned scrub up and clean. We don't have much to fettle this weekend as we made sure she was left reasonably clean and tidy last weekend, but we do need to put on the fresh bedding and clean the fenders and cockpit upholstery. Other then that we can sit back and relax.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Wells next the Sea 2015 - Part 4

Day Seven
Antons Gowt to Langrick Bridge

 A short walk into Langrick Village revealed this lovely church yard.

 Langrick chapel.

 Naughty-Cal and Devocean moored at Langrick Bridge.

Day Eight
Langrick Bridge to Kirkstead Bridge.
Topped up with 120 litres of fuel at Geordies.

 Stormy skies over Woodhall Spa.

 Full visitor moorings at Kirkstead Bridge.

 Having to get creative with the moorings at Kirkstead Bridge. The four narrowboats behind head out into the Wash today!.

Day Nine
Kirkstead Bridge to Fiskerton Fen

 A spot of reed island clearing needed in Bardney Lock.

 Liam towing the islands out with the dinghy.

 Naughty-Cal in Bardney Lock.

 More reed islands waiting to descend.

 Fiskerton Fen visitors moorings.

Day Ten
Fiskerton Fen to Burton Waters

 Stormy skies over Lincoln on the way home.

 Almost home now cruising past the Lincoln long term moorings.

Slow cooked lamb shoulder, the perfect end to the perfect holiday.

Trip Totals:
180 miles
6 Locks
120 litres of diesel