Monday 31 January 2011

Running Water

At last, after what seems like an eternity (but was only six weeks in reality) we have running water onboard Naughty-Cal. It has been a bit of a novelty really to turn on the taps and find water running from them.

We replaced the damaged water pump on Saturday and with some trepidation switched on the water pump switch hoping the system would pressurize and no additional leaks would become evident. After bleeding the system through, which in itself took the best part of a tank of water, we sat back and listened for the pump. Silence. At last our luck is in and the plumbing seems sound.

The next task was finding a tap in the marina with running water. Our pontoon water supply is still switched off due to burst supply pipes. Luckily the tap on the fuelling pontoon was still switched on. Now how to get her there. The marina is once again frozen over, but after a couple of hours of sunshine it has thawed enough to let us out and across to the fuel berth. We quickly refilled the tank before rebleeding the system then refilling once again. We now have no air and a fresh supply of water in the tank.

One thing this period without running water has highlighted is just how much water we use in a day. We hope that this period of minor inconvenience may have helped us reduce our onboard water consumption.

Friday 28 January 2011

It comes around fast

It seems to have been a quick week this week with the weekend rolling around ever so sharply.

The plans for this weekend are simple. Enjoy ourselves, make merry and finally after six weeks sort out the running water issue!!

Early on in the recent cold snap our domestic water pump suffered ice damage due to a faulty engine bay heater. We wanted to fit the exact same model of pump back onto the boat, however our usual supplier of parts was out of stock. Six weeks on they are finally back in stock and ours was delivered on Wednesday of this week.

The lack of running water hasnt been such a bad problem due to water supply issues to the pontoons in the marina. The water supply pipes burst meaning no one on the pontoons had water in their tanks. So, everyone has been in the same boat, so to speak. Had we been the only boat with no running water we may have been less jolly about the situation.

So all fingers and toes crossed for a simple switching of pumps and no further plumbing problems.

Thursday 27 January 2011

Dreams of Summer

I must admit that as much as I love winter and winter boating, im getting a little bored of it now.

I want to be out on the sea, salt spray in the face, charging along, skipping over waves, not cooped up in the marina, moored to the berth in the wind and the rain.

This winter we have completed a number of jobs that needed doing, so that we can enjoy the summer months rather than spend them fixing the boat. Now the list of jobs is slowly dwindling and will culminate in Naughty-Cal being lifted from the water and chocked ashore towards the end of March for her annual spruce up, drive service, antifoul and polish. She will then be relaunched in time for our first holiday aboard of the year at Easter.

I cant wait.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Happy Birthday

Its a quick one today. Its my birthday, a whole 27 years old!! Anyway nothing special to report. Tonight we are eating at home, one of my favourites, Arctic Char with pilau rice, salad and homemade garlic bread washed down with a few bottles of Coors. Then we shall celebrate in style at the weekend with a nice meal in Lincoln and some beers with friends.
Thats all for now.....

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Jacket Potatoes

Easy to cook, no preperation time and very versatile. You can serve them with almost anything you wish. What can be simpler to cook than a humble jacket potato?

Wack them in the oven on a high heat, lightly coat them with oil for that crispy skin then dream up what combination you will use for their filling. An hour or so later (depending on your potato size) pull them out of the oven, crack them open, fluff up the insides then stuff them full of your chosen filling.

Tonight i am having my potatoes with tuna and sweetcorn. The OH is having his with chicken curry. Im really looking forward to my spuds. We dont have them very often but really enjoy them when we do.

Monday 24 January 2011

Cold but Pleasant

It was a pleasant but at times very chilly weekend. We had an unusually quiet friday evening with not another soul to be seen on the pontoons. A nice peaceful start to the weekend for a change.

Saturday was a bright but very chilly morning. We both awoke at around about 8am, having a few coffees and breakfast before getting showered, then giving Naughty-Cal a quick clean ready for her first real trip of the year. Just before mid day we set off for Torksey. We had the river to ourselves. Sheer bliss. We eventually decided to head back for the marina as the weather was a little cold and was if anything getting colder.

Yesterday was another day of relaxation with a small trip into Lincoln followed by a few beers aboard with a pan of hot stew and dumpings simmering away in the stove for a few hours. The smell was amazing and we evntually gave in and ate at 6.30pm before settling in to watch a DVD.

Neither of us wanted to get up for work this morning, it was lovely and warm in bed. None the less we had too.

Friday 21 January 2011

About time

It seems to have been a long week so far but you can bet your bottom dollar the weekend will fly by.

We have been treated to wall to wall sunshine all week here in sunny Sheffield, with reasonable daytime temperatures and slight overnight frosts.

The weekend is here and the forecast is for more cloud cover. So we wont be treated to winter sunshine but the frosts should be held at bay.

If all goes to plan, which, if we are honest is rarely the case, we intend an overnight stay at Torksey Lock. Not a huge distance from the marina but far enough to give the boat a good run and make sure she is in fine fettle. Last weekends run out was a refreshing change, but it will be nice to get in a fair few hours cruising, rather than an hour.

Hopefully our domestic water pump should arrive next week, so hopefully this will be our last weekend with no running water. It isnt as bad as it sounds as there are nice toilets and showers in the marina, but it will be novel to have running water again. Washing the pots and brushing teeth with bottled water is getting to be a chore now. But with an end to the situation in sight im sure we can manage one more weekend. The replacing of the water pump is also sparked new interest in fitting a replaceable water filter to filter the tank water and make it suitable for drinking. Save on the space and expense we inherited by using bottled water.

Oh the joys of boat ownership.....

Wednesday 19 January 2011

No Fuss

The trusty old (well not that old) Datsun (well Nissan really) has flown straight through her annual MOT as usual.

Its nice when at least one of your vehicles is genuinely trouble free. The Datsun rarely costs us more than general wear and tear items such as brakes and tyres.

Now Naughty-Cal, are you listening? The Datsun and the XR4i can go straight through their MOT's, so, can you go straight through your BSS?

Lets hope so. We have a few months before we have to worry about the BSS yet, but it would be nice to have a full house of passes this year.

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Vegetable Tart

This is another simple dish that is easy to cook and can easily be converted to suit anybodies tastes however fussy an eater they are. For this dish you will need:

2 red onions cut into wedges, Cherry tomatoes,1 red pepper cut into chunks, 1 green pepper, cut into chunks. Olive oil for drizzling. 1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry. Tomato puree, 100g mozzarella sliced,
250g grated cheddar, 1 egg beaten.

To begin preheat the oven to 220°C, Gas Mark 7 and lightly oil a flat baking tray.

Next put the onions, cherry tomatoes and peppers on a baking tray and drizzle them lightly with olive oil and roast for 15 minutes or until just tender. Allow them to cool slightly.

Then unroll a pastry sheet and lay on a baking sheet .Score the pastry with a sharp knife about 1 to 2cm from the edge. Spread the tomato puree onto the pastry within the scored line, then sprinkle the grated cheddar onto the tomato puree. Finally top the cheddar with the roasted vegetables and mozzarella, brush the remaining pastry borders with the beaten egg and bake it for 12-15 minutes, until the borders are risen and golden brown and the cheese is bubbling.

Remove from the oven and serve warm. We usually serve this dish with a fresh salad and warm garlic bread.

We always enjoy this dish and in the summer it is equally as nice served chilled at lunchtime.

Monday 17 January 2011

At long last

Finally after six weeks of being trapped on our mooring, the ice gave way and we could leave the berth for the first time this year. It was a little blowy to say the least but even that couldnt put us off in the end.

First stop the slipway. We had to beach Naughty-Cal so that Liam could fix the broken trim tab mountings, but after a steady half hours work they were refitted and ready for the maiden voyage of 2011.

The weather and the fishermen dictated we didnt get far, but a steady run towards Saxilby followed by an bout turn and a few swift ales in the Pyewipe with friends to celebrate the first of many happy hours afloat during 2011. Lets hope for some better weather along the way though.

Friday 14 January 2011

Making a break for it.....Hopefully

Well the weather has been mild all week, with temperatures well above freezing for the whole of the period. Hopefully the marina and canal should be thawed enough for us to make a break for it.

Naughty-Cal has been berth bound for six whole weeks now. She needs to stretch her legs a little and hit the open waters once more.

I dont expect we will get too far, but it will be the first outing of the new year and wherever it may be will no dount involve a trip to the pub. We do have the small job of reattaching the trim tabs before we can venture too far, but that should only be an hours work if we can get the boat to the slipwayand beach her. I say should only be an hours work, because im sure you all know how the seemingly simple tasks often take the longest to complete.

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Hidden Gems

On our many travels aboard Naughty-Cal we have often stumbled across some interesting and often well hidden places to visit.

One such place high on our list of places to revisit is Fiskerton Fen Nature Reserve. A place we have often sailed past without giving a second thought to stopping.

On one of our return journeys from Boston, we along with our friends on their boat, decided to have an overnight stay on the pontoon at Fiskerton so that we could have a peaceful night away from the hustle and bustle of the towns and cities. Fiskerton Fen is just outside Lincoln and for the wildlife fans out there is a fantastic stop over. The place is teaming with wildlife, from Barn Owls, to water fowl and ta fantastic dyke full to the brim with fish, including huge Pike stalking their prey. We spent a very peaceful day, walking the reserve, watching the wildlife and enjoying the best that the Lincolnshire countryside has to offer.

There is a pub within walking distance but the walk there at night can be dangerous as it follows the route of a busy main road with no lighting or footpath to protect pedestrians. So be careful. The moorings are in good order and due to the remote nature of the spot are quite safe and rarely occupied by fellow boaters.

A real hidden gem of a spot.

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Top Five Places Visited So Far....

Due to the continued big freeze and the subsequent lack of new adventures we have been looking back over the last two years of owning Naughty-Cal and compiling a list of our favourite places she has taken us.

Number 1 - Wells next the Sea
First place is no great suprise. Wells next the sea was our first outing to sea and as such will always be a special place for us.

Number 2 - York
York is a city we have visited many times prior to owning a boat. Entering the city by water brings a whole new dimesion to the experience. A great place to visit by boat if you dare take on the mighty River Ouse. The tidal sections are some of the worst waters we have navigated, littered with debris ranging from whole trees to dead livestock.

Number 3 - Hull
A suprise entry at number 3. Our visit to Hull certainly proved to us that Hull is a city on the up. We thoroughly enjoyed our few days there in excellent surroundings and the trip under the Humber bridge isnt to be missed.
Number 4 - Newark
At number 4 a more local trip for us, but the place still draws us back time and again. Excellent summer moorings opposite the castle with safer floating moorings for winter visits outside the British Waterways local offices.

Number 5 - Ripon
We discovered Ripon almost by accident during some spare time on our first holiday to York. The place is truely stunning and the last couple of miles on the canal into Ripon are simply stunning. Sadly the lack of depth means we most probably wont visit again with Naughty-Cal but even so Ripon is worthy of making the list.

Monday 10 January 2011

Ice, Ice and More Ice

It just refuses to go away, the ice that is. Despite a weekend of gradual thaw a very sharp frost this morning has set us back to square one.

We have, however, at long last freed Naughty-Cal from her icy prison. She now has a larger pool of water to float in after a couple of hours of ice breaking with a spade and some help from the engine. It is quite pleasant to spend time on a boat that is now moving and floating as normal. We almost had to gain our sea legs again. We had forgotten just how much she moves when free to do so.

The weather forecast looks hopeful for this week though with no sub zero temperatures forecast for the short term. So with a little bit of luck and a hope and a prayer we may have enough of a thaw to enable us to cast off and get in a small run out somewhere, anywhere but our berth.

The one good thing to come out of this big freeze is the amount of small odd jobs around the boat that we have finally completed. Some of which we have put off for over two years now. This weekend has continued the trend of completing odd jobs with a few minor running repairs and cleaning tasks finished. At this rate the boat wil be ready to use come spring with no jobs to finish, which will make a change.

One larger job on the list is getting the canopy repaired and modified, but as usual the chap we use is run off his feet. We hope that the repairs will be completed before our first major trip of the year at Easter. Fingers crossed.

Friday 7 January 2011

Another frozen weekend

Well despite the promise of warmer weather it looks likely to be another frozen weekend at the marina. Im sure we can find a few odd jobs to keep us occupied whilst we are there.

The trim tab issue isnt going to be as expensive a fix as we had feared. The replacement parts costing just £9 plus VAT each. So now we await the thaw so that we can drag Naughty-Cal up the slipway and repair her whist wading in the water.

The snow has started to fall here in Sheffield as i sit and type this page. Hopefully it is a short spell as the weather man promised as we really want to escape to the boat this weekend. The first couple of days back at work are always hard, this year they seem doubly hard for some unknown reason.

So heres to a good weekend ahead.

Thursday 6 January 2011

A Whole New Year

Well happy new year to you all. Its a new year and a fresh start but still the same old ice.

We have stayed aboard Naughty-Cal for the duration of our time off work, hence the lack of new postings on the blog, and the ice has not once showed any real signs of ebbing away. Naughty-Cal did eventually break free from her icy prison but only into her own private pool of water a couple of inches larger than her hull. No real release.

The melting ice has revealed on little problem though. The ice has pulled the trim tabs from the rear of the hull. Not a big job but one which will require Naughty-Cal to be beached in the slipway again for the repairs to be carried out. The ice is taking its toll on many local boats with a few sinkages in the locallity plus some urgent repairs.

A couple of days of work and then we can go back to our ice locked boat and seek some sanctuary from our noisy land based neighbours. I cant wait.