Thursday 30 June 2011

The Final Day

Well it’s finally here, the final day of work. Tomorrow I am free for just over two weeks and I can’t wait. Not that I’m doing much tomorrow. The OH is working, I’m waiting around for the gas man to come and install a new gas meter and I am also waiting around for a delivery of the refurbished props. So it will no doubt be a frustrating day of sitting around doing nothing, when there are a hundred and one things that need my attention.

Saturday will be no better. We have a wedding reception to attend in Sheffield, but we have to go to Lincoln first to refit the props, scrub the dinghy, lift the dinghy onto the davits, stock up the boat, clean the boat, refill the diesel tank and generally make sure everything is ready for the off. Then we will head back to Sheffield, go to the party, and then I will drive us back to Lincoln so that we can have an early start on Sunday.

Sunday will be the first real day of the holiday. We will finally set off on our big adventure. On Sunday we have to make it to Boston so it will be a reasonably early start and a full days cruising, including a stop at Fiskerton for some eggs, and no doubt a call in at the Packet Inn on the way past for a lunchtime refreshment or two. It will then be a quiet night in as we have an early start on Monday morning to pick up the 7am tide for Lowestoft.

Finally on Monday we will be off into the deep blue yonder and on the way to Lowestoft and Southwold. The start of a two week long adventure and the most adventurous cruise we have undertaken this far. If this trip goes well it will be the start of new chapter in our ownership of Naughty-Cal, as it will unlock vast swathes of the UK coastline for us to explore from our base in Lincoln and open up a world of new inland cruising grounds. Who knows where she will take us if this trip goes well.

I will endeavour to post updates on our progress over the next couple of weeks, however we fully expect that internet reception will be pretty patchy so I can’t promise the updates will be on a regular basis.

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Sweet Chilli Salmon

Just time for one last quick and simple dish before we head off on our latest adventure. Sweet chilli salmon is one of our favourite summer dishes, either at home or on the boat. It is best to marinate your salmon for a few hours prior to cooking so that it sucks up some of the chilli flavour.

So for this one you will need:
· 1 salmon fillet per person
· Sweet chilli sauce
· Rice
· Rocket salad and dressing

This dish couldn’t be simpler. Pour the chilli sauce over your salmon fillets and allow to marinate in the fridge for a few hours. When ready to cook, grill the salmon until cooked through, but don’t overcook it. It should still be moist and pink in the middle. A medium sized fillet shouldn’t take more than 5 or 6 minutes to cook through.

Whilst the salmon is cooking cook your rice and prepare the salad tossing it in a nice refreshing dressing. At the moment we prefer to use microwave rice at home and the quick cook rice on the boat. The quick cook rice is stir fried for a couple of minutes so really easy and quick to cook. Always a bonus with limited facilities.

Finally serve the salmon with your rice and salad and there you have it, a tasty, quick cook meal bound to please everyone. Enjoy.....

Tuesday 28 June 2011

All or Nothing

Well it certainly seems like the weather is all or nothing at the moment. From raining and 17 degrees on Saturday, to a scorching hot and sunny 30 degrees on Sunday and Monday and now torrential rain and thunder storms. The good old British summertime weather, unreliable, unpredictable and typically wacky and weird.

Hopefully we will have a good dose of warm and dry weather whilst we are away. It always helps to raise the spirits and keep everyone happy. It doesn’t necessarily have to be quite so warm as of late, just pleasant and dry. It would be nice to be able to take off the canopies at the beginning of the holiday and leave them off until the end of the holiday.

Fingers crossed.

Monday 27 June 2011

Ugly Duckling has Fledged

After what has seemed like an eternity Naughty-Cal has come out of her ugly duckling stage and has fledged again. We have finally managed to reassemble the interior after a few weeks of ripping it out to fix various items hidden away in the bowels of the boat.

First up was refitting the interior carpets following the shower room water leak. We have finally fixed the leak, admittedly with a bit of a bodge, but it now doesn’t leak so the freshly washed and cleaned carpets are stuck back down. The interior already starts to look much better.

Next up is the macerator pump. Not the nicest of jobs but now that we are sure it is fixed we reassemble the midships berth, but not before swilling out the sump area around the pipework with a strong disinfectant mix then mopping it back out just to kill any stray nasties down there and keep the area smelling fresh.

With the messy, smelly jobs out of the way we tackled the shower room light which had decided to pack up last week. It wasn’t obvious how the light fitting was accessed but with a little bit of patience we managed and with the new light installed we could sit back and relax. Everything on Naughty-Cal was in working order.

Yesterday we just enjoyed the sunshine. With no jobs to do and the boat clean we set off out in the dinghy. With Naughty-Cal’s props still not back from the repair shop we had little choice, but it made a pleasant change to see the river from a different perspective. The river was busy what with the warm weather but we were able to nip in and out between the bigger boats. We eventually settled on heading through Lincoln turning around at Stamp End Lock before heading for the Pyewipe for Sunday lunch. We were glad we ate at dinnertime, not something we often do, as the sun just got hotter and hotter. We ran for cover at around 2pm to get out of the scorching sun, seeking shade on the bow of Naughty-Cal where we could sit and watch the world go by with a few beers.

Now just four more days at work and then the big adventure begins....

Friday 24 June 2011

Chicken Bake

Well we have not had a recipe for a while so here is another one of our favourite meals that we cook at home. We can’t make this on the boat due a lack of an oven so we make up for that by eating it a lot at home.

So for this one you will need (quantities based on two people):
· 2 chicken legs
· 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
· 1 bell pepper
· A handful of mushrooms
· A medium sized onion
· A handful of cherry tomatoes
· Mixed herbs
· Paprika
· Garlic power/fresh garlic
· Turmeric
· Cumin

First off mix all of your herbs and spices together. You need quite a decent quantity of them to fully coat all of the vegetables and chicken. Next take some baking foil and tear off a piece large enough to wrap all of your chick and vegetables in. Place the chicken in the middle of the foil, then cut up your vegetables in 2cm chunks. Place the vegetables into the foil then coat with the herb and spice mix. Wrap up the parcel then shake vigorously.

This dish is best prepared the night before to allow the chicken and vegetables to suck up the herb and spice mix. Place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees and allow to cook for 40 minutes, periodically shaking the parcel taking care not to burn yourself. Then serve hot from the oven.


Thursday 23 June 2011

What Have we let ourselves in for?

Well the time os drawing ever closer towards our next holiday, and this time its the big one. The long awaited Norfolk Broads trip. We have wanted to do this trip since buying Naughty-Cal almost three years ago now.

So wishing away a few minutes I took a quick glance at the Wroxham webcam and instantly wished I had not bothered. What have we let oursleves and Naughty-Cal in for. Here is just a couple of the images found.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

The Props Have Gone

Well we have managed to track down a propeller refurbisher who can get us the props back in time for next weekends start to our big adventure of 2011.

It took some time to track down a repairer that could promise to have them back with us by the deadline of next friday but eventually Streamlined Prop Services came up trumps.So the props were packaged up yesterday and couriered on their way to their workshops. Hopefully we should have them back by Monday afternoon looking like new props again. The advantage now is that we will know that they are properly pitched which should help Naughty-Cal be a little quicker onto the plane. She has been decidedly sluggish of late with no apparent signs to explain this. With perfectly pitched props she may regain some of her sprightliness. Hopefully anyway.

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Not All Bad News

Despite not everything going to plan over the weekend there were one or two successes never the less.

The first major achievement was the water testing of the shower room. This proved that the modifications had worked and that the saloon carpets were now ready for refitting, so that is a job for next week’s list. We need to get some suitable glue to stick them back down again. They are now looking very clean will make the saloon look much fresher.

The other good news of the weekend was that we had not used as much diesel as we had feared coming back from Wells. We bought 40 litres on Friday night which went a significant way towards refilling the tank much to our surprise. A further 40 litres next weekend will see Naughty-Cal full and ready for her next adventure.

Despite the many challenges this last weekend threw at us we still had a cracking time as always. We enjoy our time afloat whatever the weather and whatever the challenges we are faced with. The more we have to fix or repair on Cal the more we get to know her, inside and out.

Monday 20 June 2011

Whoever said that boating was glamorous

Whoever said boating was glamorous is a liar. Take it from me.On a wet and windy Saturday for no reason other than we could and we wanted to we set off from the marina on what would be our last outing before we go away in a couple of weeks.

The run upto Lincoln doesnt go bad and the weather looks like it might brighten up so we head off to Fiskerton. Once we have decended Stamp End Lock however things start to go downhill from there.The River Witham is currently very weed infested and even 170hp isnt enough to keep you ploughing through. So every kilometer or so we needed to stop and deweed the props. No problem we will make it eventually there is no rush. Until clunk. We pick up a piece of wood between the props and smash the props in good and proper. We hadnt even seen the wood for the weed.We eventually moor up at Fiskerton to survey the damage and it isnt good. They will need sending away for refurbing and quickly.

No worries these things happen. So we moor up and settle in for the night only to now find that the bathroom light has packed up as well. This trip really aint going well but it is set to get even worse. We had emptied the holding tank prior to setting off and flushed it through with fresh water. We now needed to get rid of the fresh water. So we press the macerator button to find to our horro it aint working, just creating a dead short.

So on a miserable, wet sunday morning, in the middle of a nature reserve we set about dismantling the midships cabin to find the pump and the cause of the problem. Armed with bucket loads of disinfectant and warm water Liam, the brave soul, delves into the unknown and resurfaces with the offending item. He is quickly ejected onto the wet pontoon where he sets about dismantling the disgusting pump. It is soon apparent that the thing is clogged up with hair and the remains of a wet wipe. Moral of the story if you have guests aboard or anyone uses your loo make sure they know what can and can not go down it. The pump is eventually reassembled but not before we have to track down a new impellor for it.

It is all now working again but it is safe to say this weekend has not gone according to plan.

Friday 17 June 2011

The Weekend, At Last

It’s been a long and laborious week this last one. Thankfully the weekend is almost upon us, seven and a half hours at work and then a weekend of freedom from the shackles of employment. Somehow grafting on the boat just seems so much more enjoyable than grafting in front of a computer monitor longing to be outside, whatever the weather.

This weekend the weather doesn’t look great, but it will give us a chance to get a few jobs done and out of the way. Who said boating was relaxing? They have obviously never tried it. We need to think about dragging the dinghy out and giving the bottom a good scrub ready for its next outing on the davits. The one downside of the snap davits is that everyone sees your dinghies bum so it needs to be clean and weed free. Not always the most pleasant of jobs.

Well let’s see what this weekend holds in store for us and Naughty-Cal.

Thursday 16 June 2011

Caught Up at Last

So after a manic week or so we have finally caught up with all of our house and boat work. The blog is now back up to date, the house looks loved again after a week of looking like a junk yard and we have a clear list of jobs to do on the boat and in the garden at home. Now all we need is some good weather please.

The final planning for our next trip is well underway. The waypoints for Boston to Southwold will be added to the chart plotter over the coming weekend. The routes mapped out and stored in the plotters. Then it will be time to sit down with the charts and plan out any bolt holes we may have in case of worsening weather. Always a concern at sea.

This coming weekend doesn’t look to have fantastic weather which will give us an opportunity to sort out a few little niggles and odd jobs, but will also give us a chance to relax and unwind and enjoy some quiet time aboard. Something we seem to have been lacking of late.

It will be time for the diesel run again this weekend. It is a seemingly never ending job at the moment. We left for Wells with a full tank of diesel and refilled in Wells to ensure a full tank for the return journey. Refilling the tank took 85 litres which was more than expected as last year we used 73 litres to do the same trip plus an additional trip out “fishing”. We are now ready for about 80 litres again. Last years diesel count was 923 litres at a cost of £696. This year as we are doing more sea trips and the cost of diesel is somewhat more so we expect this figure to be considerably higher. Already we have bought 525 litres at a cost of £486 and this is before our main holiday of the year!

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Party on the Pontoon - June 2011

Every once in a while the inhabitants of E Pontoon Burton Waters decide to hold a Pontoon Party. This time we chose the weekend of the OH's birthday as the excuse for a good old knees up.

Flags and bunting are hoisted

The emergency BBQ shelter is erected

Let the party start.

And last long into the night

The next Burton Waters bash is already in the planning for sometime in August. So August looks to be a busy month for us what with our visit to Port Solent to test out the new Sealine F42, another Pontoon Party and our last break of the year for August Bank Holiday. Bring it on.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

The Jobs Mount Up Again

Well we are well and truly back into work mode now. A week after arriving back from Wells we are now counting down the days until our big adventure for 2011. With just two weekends left we are really up against the clock now.

During our trip to Wells we developed a major water leak from the shower room, with water finding its way out of the shower room and onto the carpet in the galley area. This culminated in the OH ripping out the carpets and investigating the source of the leak. Further investigation is still needed next weekend to find the culprit however a temporary fix has been sorted by drilling some holes in the liner beneath the shower tray to allow any water to escape into the bilge area not into the galley. Next weekend we will remove the sink to gain access to the plumbing, hopefully finding the source of this leak.

We currently have the carpets at home cleaning them with the carpet washer. Its amazing how much cleaner they now look.Whilst we have the carpet washer out we decided to take the saloon upholstery home to wash as well. This was looking grubby in places but has now come up like new. This week we have brought home the mattresses and bedding from the midships cabin to give them a good clean. The rest of the upholstery is fixed in place so we will take the Vax to the boat next weekend and give the remaining fabric a good thorough clean before bringing the curtains home for a good wash as well. We were surprised by the amount of sand we removed from the upholstery and carpets as we tried to keep it out of the cabin area.

During our trip to Wells it became apparent that Naughty-Cal was a little lacking in performance. This was an issue during our Easter break but really became a problem when travelling down the Norfolk Coast. We didn’t have the legs to keep up with the rest of the fleet. Closer inspection is needed but we suspect an issue with the supercharger which isn’t sounding as it should. We suspect an air leak from the unit. Hopefully it will be a cheap and quick fix as we need it up and running by the beginning of July.

The dinghy held well on the davits despite a choppy sea on the outward leg of our trip. It took some waves admirably and proved to be a great source of entertainment during the trip. It has already proved to be a good purchase. We look forward to some more funny exploits during our next holiday.

Well thats enough for now. Tomorrows extract will be more on our weekends pontoon party!

Monday 13 June 2011

Wells next the Sea - Part 5

Back on the River Witham still under glorious blue skies, we head back for home.

We stop at the very friendly Packet Inn for our first evening back. All enjoyed a super home cooked meal as well as our own private air show from RAF Coningsby.

Our next stop is Bardney. We take the oppurtunity to take the dingies up the Old River Witham to the pub. None of us thought about how we would moor up the dinghies though. Luckily a bottle of Bud did the trick.

That night we were treated to a cracking sunset as we drank and ate the night away. A fitting end to a great holiday.

Friday 10 June 2011

Wells next the Sea - Part 4

All too soon it was time to leave Wells behind. So at 5.30am the fleet set sail and were greated by a spectacular sunrise.

Sunrise over the island. A spectacular start to our journey back to Lincoln and home.

The seas were flat calm. A total contrast to the seas on the way into Wells. If only all sea trips were this calm.

Greeting us on our way into the Witham Cut was a large commercial ship on her way back to sea, escorted by the Boston Harbour Pilot.

Thursday 9 June 2011

Wells next the Sea 2011 - Part 3

The famous Wells crabs. Families spend hours crabbing off the quay wall, so joining in the spirit we had an hours crabbing off the back of Naughty-Cal. They are funny little creatures.

Beach Party. At low water a lovely sandy beach appears opposite the visitor mooring pontoon. We took the chance at low water to inhabit the island for a quick party.

As the tide is coming in and the islan has to be evacuated, we head out on the dinghies and head for the sea and the infamous Wells Bar.

Following our trip to sea in the dinghies we hit the main beach for a quick liquid refreshement before heading back to the motherships.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Wells next the Sea 2011 - Part 2

Wells harbour

Wells Salt Marshes

Wells quay

Wells harbour opposite the visitor mooring pontoon

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Wells next the Sea 2011 - Part 1

Tattershall Bridge, River Witham

Tidal River Witham, Boston

Boston Visitor Moorings

Wells next the Sea and the weather has finally broken

Monday 6 June 2011

We Are Back

Well we have had a fantastic week away, the weather was great for most of the week and we had really good fun.

Just a quick post today, will you inform you more tomorrow when we have everything sorted out and back to normal.