Thursday 23 December 2010

A year of firsts

Well 2010 has certainly been a year of firsts for us. It all kicked off in February when for the first time we had Naughty-Cal chocked ashore for her first spruce up since we had purchased her. It all went suprisingly smoothly.
Then not long after she was relaunched we went down the Humber for the first time in the middle of March. The weather was brisk but the boats performed well.

June brought with it our first trip out to sea, with a coast hop from Boston to Wells next the Sea. A great trip was had by all and another trip for next year is in the planning. Lets hope the weather turns out as good as it was this year.

August brought with it the first holiday away with our good friends off Wish You Were Here with a trip to York. It was also the first time they had ventured downstream on the Trent, hence was also their first time on the Ouse.

December, and a more sombre first. This month has been the first time that we have genuinely been concerned for Naughty-Cals welfare. The cold weather is having a huge impact on many boats across the country, with damage reported from many areas. Lets just hope that Cal isnt suffering too much.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

The final countdown

Its the final countdown to christmas, only a few days left to prepare and only a couple of days further until we can relax and chill out aboard Naughty-Cal, once we have defrosted her of course!!

I will take this chance to wish you all a very merry christmas and all the very best for the new year. It will be a busy couple of weeks for us so this may be the last you hear of me for that time, you can stop cheering now please!!

So best wishes and i hope you all enjoy the festive period and lets hope for a start to the thaw in the new year. I dont know about you lot but im a little fed up of Naughty-Cal being iced in now. I want to get some winter cruising in before the warmer weather comes. After all the nights are going to start getting shorter now.

Monday 20 December 2010

Some People....

There are sometimes no words for the stupidity of our fellow human beings. And they let these people loose with cars!!

All Set

A boat free weekend, well that was a change.

The house is as ready as it will ever be for the descending family over the christmas period. Hallway carpets cleaned, oven cleaned, kitchen scrubbed, bathroom spruced up, now its the countdown to the big day.

By Boxing Day evening it will all be over and we can head to the boat and chill out (quite literally) unwind and relax safe in the knowledge that it is over and done with for another year. Just New Years to get over and done with and then a whole year of new suprises, places to visit and people to see.

Friday 17 December 2010

The Weekend

With the weather set to draw in again tomorrow, with a large dumping of the white stuff expected, we have taken the decision to not visit the boat this weekend. Its a very rare occurance that we dont at least visit the boat each weekend.

The weekly shop has been completed this lunchtime to save us the hassle of getting the car out tomorrow if the snow does arrive. It is currently sat in the car at work, I shall put it away when I get home, no doubt late due to the icy roads.

Tomorrow should then be a quiet day with just a walk to the butchers to stock up on fresh meat and eggs during the morning. The carpet cleaner finally arrived yesterday, almost three weeks later than planned, so tomorrow may well be spent trying it out on the hallway carpet. Cream carpets in the main entrance to a house are not wise, however they were new when we bought the house four years ago so we dont really want to rip them up. A good clean should see them as good as new.

The rest of the weekend we can spend cleaning the house and getting it ready for the family arriving on Christmas day. Its hard to believe that christmas is only a week away. This year has certainly flown by, well they do say that time flies by when you are having fun.

Thursday 16 December 2010

The Perfect Roast Potato

With winter set in for the long haul, the boat is put on a little bit of a back burner, and as you can probably guess by now our second love, food, is taking over.

For the next installment, how to make the perfect roast spud. No roast dinner is complete without them.

First of all you need to choose a potato variety that is light and floury when cooked. We prefer Maris Piper for roasties. With the spuds peeled you then chop them into large pieces so that they wont break up too much when cooked. Next put a large pan of boiling water on the hob and cook the spud until they are just softening and the edges breaking up ever so slightly. Drain the potatoes and gently rought the surfaces by shaking the pan. Then leave the potatoes in the pan to air dry.

Whilst the spuds are air drying, take a large baking tray and add a good glug of oil, any oil will do we tend to use Sunflower. Along with the oil place in the tray three or four crushed garlic cloves and a good handful of fresh rosemary sprigs, then chuck into a preheated oven with a temperature of at least 220 degrees. The hotter the better.

When the oil is shimmering hot and you can start to smell the garlic and rosemary add the potatoes to the oil and coat them thoroughly with the oil. Chuck them back in the oven and roast for an hour to an hour and a half turning and basting with the garlic and rosemary oil on a regular basis.

Im sure you will enjoy these

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Christmas Dinner Menu

With just over a week to go, the all important Christmas dinner menu has finally been decided. It has taken months of experimenting but finally the three courses have been confimed and agreed upon.


Home made Smoked Haddock, Leek & Mustard Fish Cake on a bed of fresh salad

Main Course

Free range organic Norfolk Black Turkey with homemade lemon thyme stuffing served with Lincolnshire pigs in blankets, Rosemary & Garlic roast potatoes, Lemon butter new potatoes, buttered sprouts and a seasonal vegetable bundle


Homemade Christmas cake
Homemade mince pie

served with a choice of custard or cream and fresh filter coffee

Tuesday 14 December 2010


Its steak night in the Broughton/Jennings household. But not after much haggling and debating.

First off which cut of steak? The OH prefers a big T-Bone, me i prefer a nice ribeye. Well this time around i won ribeye it is.

Next debate, how to cook it? Me i prefer mine quite rare, the OH well cremated is the only way to describe his steak. This one is easily sorted, his goes into the griddle pan first and chars away.

The one thing we do agree on though is where the steak comes from. Our local butchers. Our local butcher has a small abbotoir to the side of his shop where he kills locally farmed animals ready for resale. All of his meat is top class and we rarely buy our meat from elsewhere.

The only remaining debate, what to serve the steak with. Tonight it will be chunky chips, fried egg, garlic mushrooms and grilled tomatoes.

Monday 13 December 2010

Still Frozen In

Despite a few days of above freezing temperatures Naughty-Cal is still well and truely iced in. Slowly but surely the ice around her is giving up its grip and she is now gently moving around in her own private pool of water.

We have had a lucky escape this week. Our heater in the engine bay has been turned off all week due to a faulty thermostatic switch which has led to no heat in the engine bay. Luckily all that has suffered is the domestic water pump. The engine and raw water cooling system have thankfully survived with no obvious ill effects. Needless to say the heater is now plugged in permenantly to reduce the risk of any further problems.

The Fossdyke is still frozen over with no sign of an immenant thaw, as you can see from the pictures below:

The ice in the marina is now thick enough to walk over, although this is not adviced people were gingerly testing the thickness. We decided against it, you never can tell. The far reaches of the lakes have ice in the region of 4 or 5 inches thick and with the weather forecast to take a turn for the colder again later in the week, there is no chance of a total thaw just yet.

Friday 10 December 2010

Ice Breaking

It seems that the narrowboat fraternity (narrowboatist’s) are getting their knickers into a bit of a twist. What with the ensuing thaw they are all making plans to move on, fill up water and diesel tanks, empty holding tanks, stock up on provisions etc. However the horror of what lies ahead of them fills them with dread. They will have to potentially ice break past GRP boats.

My lord, the way they speak you would think that GRP boats are made of egg shell. Narrowboatists seem to be under the impression that anything not made of steel will buckle, fold in two and sink at the mere thought of ice and should the worse happen and a piece of ice touches a GRP hull it will instantaneously sink to the bottom of the canal/river.

They appear to be imagining mythical sheets of ice that can slice a boat in two being pushed from the bows of their steel tubes, sawing boats in half right, left and centre. The reality of course is much more down to earth and little if any damage will be caused to GRP and wooden hulled boats by ice from passing boats.

The pattern in which a boat breaks the ice is dependent on the hull type. Displacement hulls push water so it stands to reason that they attempt to push through ice. This causes the ice to crack in front of the boat then as the boat pushes further through the ice it breaks the leading edges into smaller pieces that sit on the surface. Nothing that will damage a structurally sound hull of any construction.

Planing hulls climb out of the water. They behave in a similar manner in ice. Last year during our ice breaking adventure we noticed that Naughty-Cals bow rides over the ice immediately in front of the boat before crashing through the ice to break it. This process creates small pieces of ice again far too small to cause damaged hulls to moored boats.

It is also worth bearing in mind that GRP hulls have a relatively thick hull construction. Modern planning craft work on a rough basis of 1mm for every 1ft of length, thus a 25ft boat such as Naughty-Cal will have a general hull thickness of almost an inch with thicker sections where high forces are expected, for example around the transom where the thickness will be almost twice that of the hull. River boats tend to have a thinner hull construction but again the force needed to push a blunt piece of ice through a piece of GRP maybe half an inch thick is well beyond the capabilities of your average narrowboat.

So come on guys, let’s get real here.

Thursday 9 December 2010

Thai Green Curry

Tried this one for the first time last night and it is really easy and super tasty.

For this one you will need:Chicken breasts, 1 per person, leek, mushrooms, a bell pepper,200g Philidelphia cheese, thai green curry paste and rice to serve with.

First of all thinly slice and fry your leeks. Whilst the leeks are frying finely chop your mushrooms and peper and set aside. Next dice the chicken into cubes. Add the chicken to the pan and cook over a medium heat until almost cooked through then add the mushrooms and peppers. When the mushrooms start to soften add to the mixture the Philidelphia and thai green curry paste. The amount of curry paste you add will depend on your preference and how hot your paste is. We added a good heaped tablespoon.

Next simmer the mixture until the cheese has melted and there is a thick sauce in the pan coating the chicken. If the sauce is too thick thin down with a splash of milk. Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes or so, then serve with fresh rice.

I promise you wont be disappointed with this one.

Wednesday 8 December 2010

For the first time.....

For the first time in a generation the River Ouse in York has frozen over. This is a sure sign that the water temperature is severly low as the flow of water on this major river usually keeps it clear of ice. The next step no doubt, when the thaw kicks in, will be the Yorkshire Ouse flooding and topping its banks!

Toad in the Hole

Last nights dinner was a toad in the hole, nothing special but a simple honest home cooked meal.

The secret of a good toad in the hole is a good quality sausage and that all important batter. Yorkshire puddings are a fickle food, sometimes they work and sometimes they flop. But a few simple steps can aid your chances of creating a pudding that rises.

Firstly fresh eggs, fresh milk and sieved plain flour. The fresher your ingredients the better your chances of success. Next your fat must be shimmering hot. The fat needs to be super hot and the oven needs to be preheated to at least 220 degrees, the hotter the better. When whisking your batter ensure you get as much air in the mix as is possible then add salt and pepper to season. If all of these steps are followed you should get the perfect yorkshire pudding. There is of course no guarantee though.

Remember whatever you do dont open the oven before your yorkshire pudding is cooked. It will flop if you do......

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Thaw Quicker

A couple of weeks ago we ran out of windscreen washer fluid in my car on the way back to work from the boat. Needless to say we were in a hurry so refusing to pay the super inflated price of washer fluid at the service station we just filled up the bottle with water.

Then guess what happened. Correct. The weather played a blinder and the big freeze started. Result, no way of washing the windscreen, a frozen washer bottle, a frozen pump and a filthy windscreen.

It is not much fun driving down the A1 not being able to see where you are going. Still there is plenty of fresh snow around to wash the screen each time we have to pull over to clean it!!

Monday 6 December 2010

Thawing Out

The thaw is certainly setting in. We have noted a marked improvement in the conditions in and around Sheffield and with this in mind we made an unexpected trip to see Naughty-Cal on Saturday.

The roads were suprisingly clear until we reached Burton Waters where the access road and carpark was a little icy.

The first problem was encountered when we decided to use the facilities after being in the car for a while. Out of order the water supply has had to be turned off as there are burst pipes on the pontoons. Never mind we will use the facility block on the other side of the marina. Same story. Lets hope the loo on Naughty-Cal isnt frozen!!

After a hairy walk/slide down the pontoon we find Cal with a decided list. The weight of the snow pushing her over. So we quickly set too brushing her clear of snow, before getting all the heaters on full power to warm her through. Suprisingly it didnt take too long this time. Then its time to settle in for the night with a few beers and a nice pan of warm stew simmering on the stove.

Yesterday we again thawed her out after another harsh frost, before finally installing her new starter battery. The difference in starting is unbelievable. She springs into life with the slightest turn of the key now. Amazing.

Friday 3 December 2010

Still Snowed In

Well the Broughton/Jennings household are still snowed in, with any thoughts of a trip to the boat this weekend out the window.

This has thrown up something of an emergency situation however. Naughty-Cal is stocked up with plenty of beer. The house, is not. We have the sum total of 3 bottles of Bud in the fridge. This is not going to last the weekend.

If all else fails, including delving into the white heap on the drive to find my car and digging it out, we will have to break out the sledge and walk the mile and a half to the supermarket. This i do not look forward to. Going wont be too bad its all downhill, but of course coming back with a fully laden sledge it will be all uphill! Lets hope we can find a more local supply of beer and soon. The local pub wont be much use, it shut down a few weeks ago, the nearest pub is now a half mile up an icy hill.

Why did we choose our house again?

Thursday 2 December 2010

Snowed In

As you can see from this photo we are still getting masses of snow here in Sheffield.

Tuesday evening saw a couple of feet fall over parts of Sheffield and with the non stop onslaught yesterday another foot or so has easily been added to that.

Our car the Nissan opposite is well and truely stuck in the drive, the photo being taken yesterday morning before a further days efforts on top.

We took the oppurtunity yesterday to catch up on some housework and also to visit our local butcher who we dont see as often as we would like anymore. It was a tough walk up the hill to the butchers in Grenoside but we made it in good time and the fridge and freezer are now well stocked which is more than can be said for the bread cupboard. All the bread, milk and eggs have been bought from our three most local shops. What do people do with it all?

Anyhow today we have made it into work thanks to one of Liams workmates who has a 4x4. He picked us up and will drop us off at home tonight, although if this snow continues to fall as it is now we will leave work early i suspect.

Its all good fun this snow but boy is it making life difficult at times.......

Tuesday 30 November 2010

A Slipping and a Sliding

Despite Sheffield City Councils best efforts the roads of Sheffield were very slippery this morning. The run into work was at times interesting, not helped by the stupidity of many drivers and their lack of forward thinking.

One incident in particular showed how little some people think about what they are doing. As we all know Sheffield is a hilly city, to drive anywhere in the city means negotiating hills. On our drive into work we have came to one particular hill that has a nice long run up before the gradient gets too steep. As we approached the hill we could see that a few cars were having problems about half way up, so we pulled over well before the hill started in earnest and let the cars sort themselves out. As we did so at least half a dozen cars passed us, came to the stricken cars, by now going nowhere, were forced to stop and then of course they were also stuck. We just sat there laughing and waiting for them to sort themselves out before calmly pulling away and scaling the hill with no fuss, passing the by now parked cars with a friendly smile.

As the snow continues to fall here in a bitterly cold Sheffield, im sure there will be more of these silly tales to tell. But for every funny story to tell there is also those tragic tales of those who have not gotten away so lightly.

Stay safe.

Monday 29 November 2010

Fair Weather Boaters

Fair weather boaters we certainly are not. We awoke yesterday morning to freezing temperatures and no liquid water aboard Naughty-Cal!!

The temperatures had been dropping all week and by yesterday morning had reached a low of minus nine degrees at 8am. The marina is completely frozen over encasing all of the boats in its icy grip.

We spent a good few hours thawing Naughty-Cal out, eventually managing to establish a liquid water source at both the bathroom sink and the cockpit shower. The galley sink it seems preferred solid water and refused to thaw despite several heat sources being out into use to thaw out the boat.

Unusually for us we left the boat yesterday due to a worsening weather forecast and judging by this mornings snow fall and the traffic reports we made the right desicion. Hopefully we will be able to get to Naughty-Cal at the weekend as it is Lincoln Christmas Market weekend and we had planned to attend again. Fingers crossed.

Friday 26 November 2010

Wintry Weekend

Well still no snow here in Sheffield, however the weekend forecast is for more wintry weather on the way.

Despite worries earlier in the week that we wouldnt be able to make it to Lincoln at the weekend, we have as usual packed the car ready for the weekend and will set off tonight with the aim of reaching the boat.

It is forecast to be cold tonight so we will land at the marina, stick on the heating, unpack our gear and head for the warmth of the pub for a lovely evening meal.

We are both looking forward to a wintry weekend afloat. Nothing quite beats sitting in the cockpit in the warmth with a beer watching the water slowly freeze and the snow fall silently outside.

Still no sign of the LED cockpit lighting so again a job we can not complete this weekend but we do need to fill up the diesel tank to help reduce condensation and thus water in the fuel tank. A job that will lighten the wallet a little. She has not been filled up since we came back from our excursion on the Wash in August!!

Happy winter boating.

Thursday 25 November 2010

Still No Snow

Despite some grim weather forecasts over the past few days, there is still no snow here in Sheffield.

For the last three evenings there have been warnings of snow forecasts and yet still nothing white has fallen from the sky.

We have been treated to some lovely crisp cold winter sunshine and some nice winter frost but no snow. Where is it?

It may sound strange but we are hoping we get some snow at the weekend whilst we are aboard Naughty-Cal, or at the very least some frozen water in the marina. I love the sound of the ice cracking as the boats move around and the sun thaws the ice, especially if i am still tucked up nice and warm in bed and the sound is at ear level.

So come on snow, come on ice. We want you in Lincoln this weekend please.

Post Edit: It seems that there has been some snow in Sheffield albeit a very light dusting.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Stuffed Squash

Well the twice simmered stew of last night was amazing. I truly believe that stew is always best served the day after it is originally made. With lashings of gravy left over in the fridge for tomorrow nights steak pie.

Following on from yesterdays winter warming stew here’s another one of our favourite wintertime meals. Great after a cold day outside. This meal can be made with any squash variety, we like butternut and also any mince variety for the filling. We are eating most of our mince based meals with Quorn mince lately as a healthier alternative to minced steak. Turkey, pork or steak mince all work equally as well though.

For this meal you will need one squash per person, an onion finely chopped, mince of your choice, mushrooms finely chopped, cherry tomatoes halved, tomato puree, grated cheese and your choice of salad to serve. We usually also eat this with garlic bread.

So to start, preheat the oven to 200 degrees, scoop out the innards of your squash leaving a 1.5cm rim, keep the innards for the filling. Brush your scooped out squash with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes or until starting to brown.

Next add a little oil to a frying pan and brown your finely chopped onion, next if cooking with meat based mince add your mince and simmer until cooked through, (if using quorn mince it can go in later) once your mince is cooked through and browned add the squash innards, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and tomato puree. You may find a little water helps to loosen the mix slightly. Simmer the mix until the squash is bake in the oven.

Once the squash has started to brown remove from the oven and add the mince mixture to the hollowed out squash. Bake for a further 10 minutes before adding the grated cheese to the top and baking for just 10 minutes further.

When the cheese is nicely bubbling and browning, remove from the oven and serve hot with your choice of salad and garlic bread.

Another warming winter dish that is easy to prepare and bound to please any hungry guests. The filling can be premade in large quantities and frozen into smaller portions. The basic filling can then be used for Spag bol, chilli, stuffed peppers and squashes, lasagne and many more easy dishes quickly and easily.

All this talk of food is making me hungry now......

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Winter Warmers

With all this talk of cold weather our weeks evening menu has gone very soothing winter warmers.

Tonights delights are a huge pan of warming winter beef stew, served with herby dumplings inside a huge yorkshire pudding.

The stew was prepared and simmered for hours last night so just needs warming through whilst the dumplings and the yorkshire pudding cook.

Stews are amongst one of the easiest meals to prepare with any veg you have around the house or boat and cheap cuts of meat or even corned beef. The veg neednt be at its freshest and the stock can be made from the bones and carcasses of previous meals. Dumplings or yorkshire puddings help to beef up the content and provide a filling and warming meal anyone will be happy to sit and eat.

Hmmm im hungry all ready.

Monday 22 November 2010

The cold weather beckons

After a relatively mild end to Autumn and start to Winter the cold weather is due to start in earnest later this week.

With this in mind we were extra careful to ensure Naughty-Cal was tucked up safely, with the heaters set and the water drained from taps with the taps left open.

We also did a quick check of friends boats and ensured they have an adequate supply of credit on their electricity bollards. Dont want them running out.

We love boating when the snow is falling and a crust of ice forms on the waters surface, but it does have its added dangers. Wooden pontoons become very slippery, GRP decks become like sheets of ice and cold fingers make hard work of the ropes. Still it is a small price to pay for quiet waterways, stunning scenery and lots of peace and quiet. If the weather forecasts are correct we will have a very seasonal weekend to come. I cant wait......

Thursday 18 November 2010

Quiet times

Its been a quiet sort of a week so far, nothing much to report, no emergencies, no last minute problems, just a gentle steady week of work and relaxation.

The one issue we are having is tracking down a suitable 12V light switch to replace the current 2 gang one in the cabin of Naughty-Cal. We are adding some blue LED lights to her cockpit but we dont want them to be on all the time the other cockpit lighting is illuinated. The plan had been to replace the exising 2 gang switch with a 3 gang switch of the same type. It turns out they dont manufacture that switch anymore. So its all hands on deck to find a suitable alternative that doesnt look out of place.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Shiny Bits

The result of this weekends efforts. A shiny new transom gate to replace the not so nice one originally fitted.

We also installed the batteries and interior LED cabin lighting.

Next weekend we are installing the exterior cockpit LED lighting and an exterior 240V socket as well as installing the invertor.

Never ending jobs, but at least if we get them all completed over the winter we can enjoy Naughty-Cal next summer.

Friday 12 November 2010

Its going to be a busy one

Already this weekend is lined up to be a busy one. We a number of jobs to complete on the boat tomorrow, including fitting the new LED lighting, installing the new batteries which involves adding another battery to the bank and installing the new transom gate (if it arrives in time, it should have been here by now!!) and setting up the Playstation which we have finally gotten around to taking to the boat. It never gets used at home, its best chance of being used is on the boat.

All of this and then we have to get to showered and changed before heading down to Saxilby for the Bootleg gig.

We dont make life easy for ourselves...

Thursday 11 November 2010

Batteries - Part 3

Well its all change on the batetry front, again. You would think buying a set of batteries would be easy wouldnt you?

Anyway, the good news is that the leisure batteries can be picked up on friday, which means we can spend saturday morning installing them and also happily means that we can have a reliable power supply for our overnighter at Saxilby on Saturday night and Sunday morning. The other bonus is that our LED bulbs have finally arrived so we can install those as well and drop our power consumption a little.

The bad news is that the starter battery we had found isnt currently in stock and we will have to wait a few weeks for it. We will just have to hope and pray that the existing starter battery holds out another few weeks.

To offset that little nuisance though we have had a chance find. Since we bought Naughty-Cal a couple of years ago we have been wanting to replace the transom gate. The newer model Sealine S25, which is the same hull and superstructure badged up different, has a stainless steel gate which is much more pleasing on the eye than our current perspex jobby. We had a quote from a Sealine parts stockist earlier this year and it was lets say a little too expensive at £675 plus VAT plus delivery. By chance yesterday I was looking through the pages of a sea boat parts website and low and behold they have genuine old stock stainless steel transom gates for £75 plus VAT. Needless to say we had to have one, so i bought one for the OH as an early christmas present. Hopefully it will arrive tomorrow. The other plus side is that we now know where we can get any Sealine parts we need. A shopping list is in order methinks.

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Batteries - Part 2

A quick update on the battery situation. We have managed to find a suitable starter battery that has not broken the bank, a respectable £70. So all being well that should be delivered by the weekend and we will then have no worries about wether we will start when morning comes. Hooray.

The leisure batteries are ordered but we can not take delivery until next friday so we have just one more weekend of duff leisure batteries and poor power supply to suffer. Trust it to be a weekend we are heading away from the marina.

Bootleg are once again playing at the Sun Inn, Saxilby on Saturday evening. So as usual we will be heading down there for an evening of fun, drink and dancing rounded off by a carvery on Sunday in the Bridge Inn. The moorings should be fairly quiet at this time of year so we should be able to leave the marina quite late on Saturday and still manage to grab a spot.

This has all the makings of another alcohol fueled weekend......

Tuesday 9 November 2010


We have known for a few months now that our batteries are on their way out. They have started to become unreliable and have increasingly have been letting us down.

Last weekend the leisure batteries let us down completely. No power come morning and boy was it cold with no heating. So we have no choice now but to buy a new set.

We only have two leisure batteries on Naughty-Cal as compared to a typical narrowboat there are few large power drains aboard. The largest consumer of power being the fridge during the summer and the heating through the winter. So we are to replace out two 85AH batteries with a pair of 105AH maintenance free Varta Leisure Batteries. We have opted for the more expensive Varta batteries as we have used their batteries on our cars for years and they are excellent and ultra reliable. That said we have been quoted a bargain price of £75 each which doesnt make them expensive as leisure batteries go.

The next problem is the starter battery. This is a little more complicated than we had bargained for. The Volvo Penta manual states that the engine needs a 140AH 1000CCA battery. This has our battery supplier confused as the only ones he can find are commercial truck batteries with different terminals that are super expensive. A little more research is needed on this one methinks but we dont have much time. The starter has "dropped" a cell and is now only holding 10.4V of charge. Luckily the engine is somehow still firing from this but with the onset of colder weather it wont do for long.

Monday 8 November 2010

You dont get many like this

November weekends that is. Its been a great weekend in great company.

The sun setting over Torksey as we arrive on Saturday evening. It was a little chilly but none the less we all enjoyed the evening with dinner and drinks in the Swan.
A bright and fresh November morning over Torksey lock cut. Not a ripple on the water and so peaceful.
A cold sunny November afternoon on the Fossdyke, heading back to Burton Waters. Hardly another boat on the water as we make our way back home.

Still no other boats around and the trees are giving us a great autumnal display.
One final word of thanks to those who have taken the time to follow this blog. It is appreciated. Thanks.

Friday 5 November 2010

Happy Weekend

Well the weekend is almost here again and this time brings with it the promise of drier but colder weather.

With a raft of small jobs to complete on saturday morning and the usual supermarket run, it will be at least lunchtime before we head out in search of somewhere to moor for the weekend. Chances are it will be Torksey again as the tides dont really fit for us heading out onto the Trent, but we like Torksey and the pub is lovely and serves an excellent steak pie.

So whatever you are doing and wherever you end up heres wishing you a happy and productive weekend.

Thursday 4 November 2010

Minor Modifications

When we bought Naughty-Cal over two years ago (how time flies!!) we made the decision not to make any modifications that would potentially devalue the boat or make her less attractive to potential purchasers should we wish to trade her in or sell her.

Over time of course you make minor modifications and alterations to suit how you use your boat.We have so far been very careful with how and what we have changed. Over the last two years there has been very little we have changed but the minor alterations include adding extra 240v and 12v sockets to match the existing ones in, locations we needed them, adding extra leisure batteries to increase our power capacity, alterations to the canopies and adding extra storage capacity in the cabin with a few sea grass boxes.

The time has now come to make some more minor modifications to enhance our enjoyment of Naughty-Cal. First on the list is the lighting. Currently there are six 10W halogen lights in the cabin. These are to be replaced with 24 LED equivalent bulbs to reduce our power consumption whilst away from the electric hook up in the marina. The cockpit lighting is also to receive replacement LED bulbs and extra LED strips are to be located around the cockpit to provide lighting in areas that are currently a little dim during the longer winter evenings. These strip lights will be cleverly hidden away so that during daylight hours they can’t be seen so as to avoid creating an eye sore. The combined power draw of the new cockpit lighting will be much less than the current setup which will again give us more battery power in reserve for longer stays away.

In the coming month or so we also intent to have further alterations made to the canopy to make winter boating easier. Currently access to the bow area with the canopies erected is difficult to say the least. We intend to have additional zips installed in the side canopy sections to allow these to be rolled up allowing easier access to the bow. Whilst the canopy man is making these alterations we will also get him to carry out some minor repairs.

There will, I am sure be many more alterations in the time we own Naughty-Cal but we will endeavour to make them as sympathetic as we possibly can.

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Stuffed Peppers

Another one of our favourite easy dishes which we have on a regular basis. So simple to prepare and yet so so tasty.

For this one you will need, three good sized bell peppers (assuming serving two) an onion, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, grated cheese and mince of your choice. This dish is good with whatever mince you choose. Tonight we are having it with Quorn mince for a change.

To get started, preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Then take your peppers, chop them in half and scoop out the seeds. Place them on a baking tray and pop them in the oven whilst you prepare the filling.

Next chop our onion and fry in a little oil until soft, then add your mince and fry until browned. When the mince has taken some colour, add some chopped mushrooms and halved cherry tomotoes, then simmer over a low heat for 5 or 10 minutes.

Next remove the peppers from the oven and spoon the filling into the peppers cavities. Replacd the peppers in the oven, then grate your cheese. Once the peppers and filling look (and smell) fantastic add the grated cheese and bake for 5 minutes of until golden and melted. Finally plate up and serve.

We mainly have this dish with hot garlic bread, but it is equally good with salad and a nice salad dressing.


Tuesday 2 November 2010

Shooting,Eating and New Arrivals

Its been a busy sort of few days what with one thing and another.

Friday saw us heading off to Elsham for a spot of paintballing. We arrived in plenty of time to eye up the opponents and were pleasantly surpised when it turned out to be a coach load of 13 year olds. Where else can you legally shoot them? After a four hour session we had all had enough and head off in search of liquid refreshment to ease the pain of our wounds.

Saturday heralded the arrival of our friends new boat. They have been boatless since our trip to York. Needless to say we wet the babies head before heading out for a meal in Lincoln. We can highly recommend Ginos by the castle, we were spoiled with excellent food and equally excellent service. Certainly we will be going again.

Nursing hangovers we rose on Sunday to a spot of boat cleaning. Poor old Naughty-Cal was looking a little grubby but we quickly had her looking ship shape again and within an hour we were out of the marina following Bounarys Vice on her maiden voyage in the hands of her new owners. It was a quick trip into Lincoln but still memorable for our friends.

Sunday afternoon saw us head off home. The washing machine was to be delivered between 7am and 10am on Monday morning so we had to head home. It was strange spending Sunday evening at home instead of afloat, but we made the most of it with a lovely toad in the hole washed down with a few cans of Budweiser for good measure.

The starship Hotpoint is now plumbed in and is proving to be a much better machine than the one it has replaced, although it needs a Phd to work it out at the moment and we somehow managed to set the language to Italian, however we have sorted that out now.

Thursday 28 October 2010


With a little bit of bartering and a few phone calls we have managed to bring forward the delivery date of our new washing machine from next Friday to next Monday. Excellent news, this means we dont have to mess around taking our washing to the marina launderette this weekend.

It will be a little quiet here for a few days now. We have the day off tomorrow to go paint balling with the pirates, the weekend is the usual array of boating, drinking and socialising and monday I shall be awaiting a couple of deliveries. So chances are I wont be back until Tuesday at the earliest.

Be good and dont do anything I wouldnt do.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

The History of Sealine

As the days are getting shorter and boating life becoming quieter I thought it about time I started delving a little into the history of Sealine. So heres a brief look at the companies history so far.

Fibrasonic Marine Ltd, the parent of Sealine motorboats, was established in 1972 by aircraft engineer Tom Murrant mainly because he couldn't find a small family cruiser he liked.Using his experience as an engineer, he designed a boat himself, produced the moulds and then sought out a company called Midland Marine to actually create the GRP mouldings. It was meant to be a straight-up swap - he gets a set of mouldings and Midland gets a free boat design.But it didn't quite happen this way. Midland was a busy company at the time and Tom's moulds started gathering dust. That was until a young worker at the company, Frank Fish, offered, with the help of two work mates, to complete the job in the Murrants' garage.Ltd
The resulting 23ft Continental cabin cruiser so impressed everyone involved that Tom borrowed £500 (£5000 today) against his life insurance, recruited his wife Jane as secretary and set up Fibrasonic in a rented building at Halfpenny Green airfield near Bobbington in Staffordshire.
Then disaster struck. In 1973 the world oil crisis doubled resin prices, a three-day week was introduced as well as 25% VAT. The young company survived by branching into industrial moulding, and produced items for British Rail, road signs and Toby Jugs.
For almost the rest of the decade, Fibrasonic operated as a sub-contractor for other boatbuilders, producing boats for companies like Sunliner Marine and Scorpio Power Boats.In 1978, things began to change, and the company found itself in a strong enough position to refocus on boats of its own. In just six weeks, from drawing board to completion, Fibrasonic produced the 19ft Weekender, which was followed by the 22ft Sport and 22ft Cabin.nder

The boats were grouped under the new name C-Line, and were all displayed for the first time at the 1978 Southampton Boat Show. The same year, the company moved to bigger premises in Kidderminster, the site of the bankrupt boatbuilder Dawncraft.
The following year the C-Line designation was changed, along with the company name to Sealine. The yard stood out from the crowd almost from the start by offering coloured gelcoats where most other boatbuilders were churning out white or brown hulls.Sealine offered blue, yellow and orange options, with the clear intention being to offer something sexier, sportier and more saleable in an evermore-crowded marketplace.
Fibrasonic might have been late on the GRP scene, but some canny marketing and great boats meant it kept within spitting distance of its larger, more established rivals.In the 1980s, the company expanded again with its Ambassadors, Senators and Statesmen - and in the process joined the ranks of the big boys.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Quiet Times

Not much to report at the minute, quiet times all around. Have still been playing with the new phone. The above image is a panoramic view of part of the marina.

Home life is quiet as well, the christmas shopping is done and awaiting delivery, christmas cakes are being baked each evening ensuring plenty of time to mature and be soaked with brandy and we are busy planning the menu for christmas lunch.

The only slight irritation at the minute is the washing machine which decided to bail out.We ordered a new one last friday and the delivery date isnt until next friday. 14 days to deliver a washing machine. Luckily the marina has a nice launderette so we are taking our washing there for now.

So i have not forgotten you all, just having a quiet time.....