Saturday, 30 April 2016

Sensible Friday Night

For the second week in a row we had a sensible Friday evening.  This time of course we know it is ahead of a hectic bank holiday weekend however.

We had a steady cruise into Saxilby between showers and settled in with a few beers and some nice food.  Last night it was smoked salmon with stir fried vegetables and wholegrain pilau rice. 

This morning we have no rush.  Our tide from Torksey isn't while about 1.30pm so we will have a lazy breakfast here in Saxilby before heading on along the Fossdyke.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Popping In

Yesterday for no particular reason I decided it was perhaps time I popped into the Canalworld Forum again and showed my face. It had been some time since I last posted anything on there after deciding at the beginning of this year that life was just too short to waste it bickering with narrow minded individuals.

Well nothing has changed. So after yesterdays's brief visit and a handful of posts I have decided that actually it really isn't worth the effort and there really are better things to be doing with my time. Perhaps in another four months I might pop in again to say hello, but, perhaps not. 

The time may well have come to now say farewell forever Canalworld Forum.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Booking the Trend

It has been a week of booking places so far this week.

Yesterday I was busy booking lock passages for the weekend. Firstly with Torksey for the Saturday afternoon tide onto the Trent and then just as a back up to this I booked us in at West Stockwith Lock as well for Saturday afternoon. The basin at West Stockwith is only small so they like to know who is coming and when so that they can plan where they will be mooring. We know that our little spot is still free on the wall over by the slipway so we plan to moor there for a couple of nights.

The next bit of booking was for August bank holiday weekend. Some way off yet, but we intend to head across the Wash to Kings Lynn for a couple of evenings and as the pontoon here gets booked up very quickly we thought we should book it and pay ASAP to avoid disappointment. The tide times work really well for this long weekend jaunt, with a Saturday lunch time tide from Boston meaning we will be in Kings Lynn for early afternoon following a steady run down the Witham on Friday evening and Saturday morning. We will then have all day Sunday and most of Monday in Kings Lynn before heading back across the Wash on the Monday evening tide, which then leaves up part of Monday evening and all day Tuesday to get back to Lincoln.

The final bit of booking, well actually less booking and more paying was for the luxury lodge we are hiring for a week in Cornwall towards the end of the year. We had already booked the lodge and are now paying off the balance well in advance of our break in October.

It has the makings of a busy summer. We still have bookings to make for our May trip to Wells next the Sea and also our two week break to the Norfolk Broads and Southwold in July. We just need to weather to buck up it's ideas now!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Freight Comes Back

Yesterday the Canal and Rivers Trust made the great announcement that commercial carrying is once again taking place on the Aire and Calder. 

See notice below:

Location: Freight passage - Goole to Rotherham

Tuesday 26 April 2016 08:00 until Wednesday 31 August 2016 08:00

Original message:

We are pleased to announce that Mainmast Shipping will be operating an oil tanker service between Goole and Rotherham.  The service will be commencing from 27 April and we are anticipating approximately one journey per week on the navigation, this may increase in the future.
Any skipper requiring information of tanker travelling times can contact Customer Services on 0303 0404040.

You can view this notice and its map online here:
You can find all notices at the url below:

Ok so at the moment it is only one run a week but one run is better than none and is a start to realising once more the commercial importance of these waterways.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Getting Ready

We had a surprisingly considering we didn't really have any plans. The only thing we knew that we had to do was finish the engine service. We had already carried out a fair amount of it in dribs and drabs so it was only finishing off the job.

Liam changed the engine oil, oil filter, the supercharger oil, the primary tank fuel filter and the fine engine fuel filter. The rest of the service including changing the four belts, replacing the raw water impellor, replacing the crankcase filter and the air filter had all been done already so it was only a partial service in truth. And after a couple of hours Naughty-Cal was ready to go again.

The first outing afterwards is always a steady one to check for any leaks or problems so it was just a short hop into Lincoln to do a spot of shopping. With all proving to be well we then headed back in the opposite direction to meet up with friends ready for our evening curry. 

We are now also happy that the latest alternator is now charging properly and holding a steady voltage when the batteries become close to fully charged. The maximum charging voltage holding steady at 14.6V which is still much more than the original Volvo Penta alternator which topped out at about 14.0V but is within the battery manufacturers recommendations so we are happy with that. It is after all a far more modern unit and technology does move on. The batteries do seem happy with this higher charging voltage and actually seem to be performing better than they were last year.

So we have left Naughty-Cal tucked up on her berth ready for the up coming bank holiday weekend. All we need to do on Friday is chuck our gear on board and then we are ready to roll.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Another Weekend

Another weekend and we were treated to another classic car show in Brayfod Pool yesterday. There was a bit of something for everyone in attendance yesterday. The weather turned out a little on the cool side which was a shame but the cars still looked good around the pool.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Curry Night

With the engine service finished yesterday we had a steady trot into Lincoln to do a spot of shopping before heading off to Saxilby for a few drinks and a good curry.

We enjoyed excellent service as always in the curry house.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

A Quiet Night In

Just for a change we had a quiet night in on our own berth last night.  It made quite a refreshing change,  it isn't very often we do this.

We might have to start and do so more often. 

It was nice to cook onboard for a change rather than buying some non descript mush in a plastic container from a fast food outlet.

In fact it was all rather healthy last night with a quick and easy meal of cajun salmon,  wholegrain pilau rice and stir fried vegetables.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Banking on It

The bank holiday weekend has somewhat snook up on us this year. It is next weekend!

How did that happen?

Up until yesterday we didn't even have a plan as to where we would go. But finally we have settled on heading to West Stockwith on the Saturday before heading on to Hull on the Sunday.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Portioning Up

With the holiday season knocking on the door and the first of the summer bank holidays just next week, we have decided it is high time that we pulled our finger out and finished off the engine service on Naughty-Cal.

We have done most of it in drips and drabs over the winter and the last couple of weekends. The belts have been changed, the impellor is new, the air filter and crankcase filter are both new so all we really have left is the oil and oil filter, the supercharger oil and the two fuel filters.

Last night Liam delved into the garage and portioned out the engine oil. We buy this in bulk 20 or 25 litre containers as it works out much cheaper so come service time Liam has to measure out the required 9.5 litres. He also dug out the oil extractor and pipes and a container to put the old engine oil in. 

We also buy the supercharger oil in bulk. Buying it from Volvo works out very expensive at £30 for 0.25 litres where as we paid £35 for a 5 litre container of the same stuff from Morris Oils. We keep a small Volvo oil container on board just so that we can change the supercharger oil on a regular basis but again this is ready for a top up.

We have plenty of spare fuel filters on board already. We tend to keep at least one of each of the primary tank filter and the fines engine filter in case of problems whilst we are out and about. This time as we bought more spares last year we have at least three of each so no need to get anymore just yet!

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Scrubbing Up

We decided last night after work that it was about time the Sierra was woken up from her winter slumber. The last time she came out was on Christmas day!

Needless to say it wasn't without it's difficulties. The first problem was a slow puncture on the nearside front tyre which needed some air in it. And then to top it off the battery was then flat. So we had to jump start it from the Nissan. And then to top things off we found that the water had gone, again. We have yet another coolant leak to track down.

Finally with the engine running she dragged herself out of her quarters and into daylight for the first time this year. She was a little dusty but a quick rinse off with the hose and a scrub down with some car shampoo and she was looking loved again. Keeping her waxed up makes washing her down a quick and easy task.

We are now starting to make a little list of jobs that need doing before MOT time in a couple of months. We have a new nearside headlight coming in the next couple of days. The original one has now completely fallen apart and would fail an MOT. The offside headlight was replaced perhaps ten years ago but as the car has seen little use since still looks like brand new. So the two will match.

As well as this there are a few mechanical jobs to do. The crankcase oil seal desperately needs replacing, as do some suspension bushes on the front end and of course we need to track down this leak and sort out the cooling fans. 

A nice little list to keep us busy.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

A Mixed Bag

The weekend presented too us a real mixed bag, from snow, to sunshine, to biting winds and hail storms, but we didn't let that stop us having a great weekend on board.

 A spattering of snow when we awoke. Although by the time we got up at 9.00am it had largely melted.

 A sunny spell at Torksey.

 The river level was well up.

 By the time we had moored up, had breakfast and got ready to head out onto the Trent the river was up another couple of inches.

 Out onto the tidal Trent for the first time this year.

 A spot of sunshine.

 Stormy skies soon reappeared.

 I spy Toby Jug.

 Toby wasn't so keen on his new hat.

 Sunny Sunday on the floating Torksey cut pontoons. The Trent was higher today.

 Waiting paitently to head back onto the Fossdyke.

 The ditch was still up a little but far lower than on Saturday. Sluicing was at full flow at Stamp End, Lincoln.

 Another few hours in Lincoln and the river level was down still further but there was still quite some flow.

Rounding the weekend off with a lovely meal of morrocan lamb, sauteed new potatoes and a mixture of fresh vegetables.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Mini's in the Brayford

Yesterday was the day of the annual Mini show in Brayford Pool and as usual there was a very good turn out of cars. So we made the most of the sunshine and enjoyed a pleasant afternoon looking at the minis and having a bite to eat and a couple of pints in the Royal William.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Stretching Her Legs

We had a lovely run on the Trent yesterday and Naughty-Cal really seemed to enjoy stretching Her Legs for the first time this year.  Jumping quickly and easily onto the plane and reaching her top speed with no fuss.

The new props seem to help her get onto the plane quicker but there is little or no difference in the top speed.

The turbo boost pressure was rock steady at 1.6 bar so all seems good in the world of Naughty-Cal.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

A Bit Early to Tell

We fitted the new alternator to the boat last night. The batteries were full when we left the marina which would have been enough to send the voltage sky high with the old alternator.  The new one held rock steady at 14.6 volts all the way to Saxilby.

It is still early days and a little bit early to tell if all is well.  We will keep a close eye on it over the next few weeks.

Whilst in the engine bay Liam also fitted the new air filter and then we were ready to go.

It was a bit of a surprise this morning to wake up to a spattering of snow but now that the sun is out it is quickly melting away.

Mind you the flip side of that is that the level of the Fossdyke is steadily rising. Hopefully they are busy sluicing at Stamp End!

Friday, 15 April 2016

Tentatively Tidal

Despite the weather forecast being none so clever for tonight and tomorrow we are still planning to head out onto the tidal Trent tomorrow afternoon to check out Naughty-Cal's new props and also to meet up with Neil and Linda on Toby Jug as they head back for home base at West Stockwith.

All of this of course is rather dependent on the new alternator working. We have been here before so there are no guarantees it will be as straight forward as it should be. 

Fingers crossed everything works as we are really looking forward to giving Cal the first chance she has had this year to stretch her legs and blow away the winter cobwebs. We need to get a few trial runs in before the end of May when we head out to Wells next the Sea to get some confidence back that she is running as she should be after last years final sea trip of the year didn't really go to plan!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Busy Holiday Planning

I know I said yesterday that if you  make a plan then someone will always come along and spoil it, but sometimes you have no choice but to do some forward planning.

We know where our holidays are going to be for this year so there really isn't much planning to do. We have been to Wells next the Sea many times and we have been to the Norfolk Broads many times so there is little in the way of planning to do for either of these trips. 

However our epic Scottish adventure for next summer is a different kettle of fish completely. Whilst we know for certain the date we are going and the date we are coming back, it is the bits in between that are going to take some serious planning and research. We need to find great places to moor each evening and great places to visit each day. 

One place we really hope to be able to stop at is The Pierhouse Hotel at Port Appin, pictured above. It looks simply stunning and the food gets very good write ups. How serene it would be on a pleasant sunny day to sit outside the bar watching Naughty-Cal sitting at her mooring buoy on Loch Linnie. 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Never Make a Plan

We are busy making tentative plans for the coming weekend, I say tentative because something usually crops up that ruins any plans we make. We are hoping that we will be able to head out onto the Trent and check out our new props for the first time since being relaunched. The theory being we will check them now and see how they perform as we keep clobbering submerged debris in the Fossdyke so it won't be long before they are trashed. We would like to at least check them out before this happens!

So our plans very much rely on the new alternator actually working when the install it om Friday evening and the new air filter turning up in the next couple of days. What could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

A Breathe of Fresh Air

Unfortunately whilst refitting Naughty-Cal's K&N air filter after we had taken it home and washed it we noticed that it had a crack in the plastic casing surrounding the filter.

Rather then run the risk of a complete failure of the filter we have bought another one to replace it. 

We were rather surprised to see that the plastic has failed after just six years as these filters are designed to last many more years and cover many more miles then this one has covered.

The new one should arrive in the next day or so, so whilst Liam is in the engine bay on Friday evening fitting the next new alternator he can swap the air filters over as well giving Cal a new breathe of fresh air.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Glorious Sunshine

It has been a great weekend catching up with old friends and making new ones. Yesterday we topped off a great weekend by having a few pints outside the Pyewipe with friends, a true sign that the summer is on it's way.

We couldn't leave it too long to head back to the marina as Liam had to take off the alternator, again, to take it to work and swap the pulley over onto the new, new alternator ready to fit back on the boat next weekend. We were in the slightly odd situation this weekend of being forced into using power much less conservatively than we usually do to keep the charging voltage of the faulty alternator down to 14.6 volts. It worked though and we kept the voltage within sensible limits. Next weekend we will hopefully be back to normal with the power generation and usage.

Whilst Liam was in the engine bay he also fitted the new crankcase filter which had arrived in the post and stocked up the spares box with a new alternator belt, fuel filters and bulbs. In the next couple of weeks we will finish off the engine service, we have done a lot of it now in bits and pieces so it really shouldn't be a long job.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Old Friends

The nice thing about the boating world is that you make many new friends,  many who become firm friends and your paths cross as you both come and go.

Yesterday we caught up with old friends Neil and Linda with their narrowboat Toby Jug at Torksey.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

New Friends

Liam made a new friend in The Sun Inn last night.  He was a big boy!