Friday 28 September 2012

Cleaning up

After the last few weekends of rushing around we have decided that this weekend will be a much more relaxed affair mostly dedicated to cleaning Naughty-Cal and preparing her for the winter ahead.

Tonight we are planning to cruise down to Lincoln and spend the evening at Lincoln Boat Club. Now that we have been accepted as full members of the club we need to pay our subscription fees which is as good an excuse as we need to have a good drink!!

On Saturday we will have a chilled morning in Lincoln before heading back to the marina and setting about the cleaning. As usual I will attack the cabin area whilst Liam will attack the cockpit. The cupboards and lockers are all getting ready for a thorough declutter again after a long summer of holiday cruising. A couple of hours spent getting rid of anything we don’t use or need, will hopefully shed some excess weight from Naughty-Cal. We did notice she was getting a little bit sluggish onto the plane again last weekend which usually indicates she is carrying some excess weight around.

With the cabin and cockpit cleaned it will be time to give the exterior a good scrub. It has been 18 months since Naughty-Cal was last out of the water and the exterior is beginning to look a little grubby even though we try to keep her looking clean. We will do our best to keep her clean this winter but she is now in need of a good machine polish early next year to get her back up to tip top condition.

We may venture out when the boat is cleaned or equally we might spend the rest of the weekend in the marina. We are as yet undecided; a lot will depend on the weather over the weekend I suspect. We will need to head back to the marina on Sunday as I need the slow cooker to cook dinner, slow cooked lamb with sweet potatoes, purple sprouting brocolli and asparagus. With the little inverter broken this now means we have to be plugged in. Installing a bigger inverter is yet another job for the winter months.

This weekend should be a relaxing one once the cleaning is finished. It isn’t very often that we don’t plan to cruise far and it isn’t very often that we spend most of the weekend in the marina. It should make a pleasant change and will give us the chance to catch up with happenings in the marina.

Thursday 27 September 2012

West Stockwith - Part 4

 All good things must come to an end and Naughty-Cal is left all by her self

 As Nitty Gritty and Mar Y Sol head into the lock

 Nitty Gritty leaving West Stockwith

 Mar Y Sol leaving the lock

 Before defendering

 And heading for home

Bye guys. See you soon

Wednesday 26 September 2012

West Stockwith - Part 3

 Finally moored in the basin.

All moored together.

 The view from across the basin.

With the boats moored up its time for a drink or two

 And the boats need dressing up too

Tuesday 25 September 2012

West Stockwith - Part 2

 Once onto ABP operated waters it is time to open them up

 A good run should shake them down

 The highlight of the run a fly by of Gainsborough

And onto West Stockwith

West Stockwith - Part 1

 Waiting for the tide at Torksey

 Naughty-Cal the wrong side of the lock waiting for the tide

 Away at last and a beautiful day we have

 All present and accounted for

 Foals grazing on the river bank

All ambling to Gainsborough

Friday 21 September 2012

A Weekend in West Stockwith

We plan to meet up with some friends from Goole at the weekend. They have spent this week cruising on the Trent and tomorrow are heading back down the Trent to their home moorings in Goole. On the way back down the tidal Trent they are making an overnight stop at West Stockwith which is where we will meet them for a few drinks in the basin on Saturday night.

Our tide timings are fairly nice for a change. A midday start from Torksey on Saturday followed by a 12.30pm start on Sunday from West Stockwith.  This means we won’t be rushing around and will have plenty of time to enjoy breakfast and get ready for the trip down the tidal Trent.

We don’t get to spend as much time as we would like at West Stockwith so it will be nice to enjoy a weekend here with good friends. It will also give us a chance to give Naughty-Cal a good high speed run, maybe for the last time this year depending on how the weather pans out this autumn.

This should be a great weekend if all goes to plan. 

Thursday 20 September 2012

Slow Cooker Pork Loin

As we had Monday off work we spent the time on board Naughty-Cal, which after a quick cruise out to Saxilby, gave us the chance to break the slow cooker out for the first time in a long while.

We decided to give it a go with a small pork loin joint, accompanied by some new potatoes, stuffing balls and asparagus. To prepare the meat we seasoned well with pepper but other than that didn’t do too much with it, letting the natural flavours of the pork do the talking. We par boiled the potatoes as the meat wouldn’t take long in the slow cooker, then stuck the pork loin fat side up in the pot surrounded by the potatoes. As the pork fat melted it surrounded the potatoes giving them a lovely flavour and texture. About an hour before the meat was ready we added the stuffing balls and the asparagus to the pot. Total cooking time for the meal was about 4 hours on a high heat.

The end result was a succulent joint of pork which was melt in the mouth served with perfectly cooked stuffing and vegetables. The pork fat had melted through the meat keeping it moist and juicy and had also coated the spuds which gave them a great flavour. This is a dish we shall certainly be making again in the near future.

Now that the winter months are drawing in we will be making more use of the slow cooker again to rustle up some more delicious dishes. So keep tuned in to find out which dishes work and which dishes don’t work so well.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Sunny Weekend on the Fossdyke

 Liam driving Naughty-Cal despite his injured shoulder

 Nitty Gritty & Mar Y Sol on the ditch

 Cruising on the ditch

Moored at Saxilby

Tuesday 18 September 2012


Last year on our way back from the Norfolk Broads we were treated to some spectacular weather and favourable sea conditions. As we were far too early to enter Wells Harbour which is only accessible for a couple of hours either side of high water, we took the opportunity to anchor off Blakeney Bay, just around the corner from Wells. Here we were treated to a great display by the local seals and a dinghy ride to the beach rewarded us with mile upon mile of unspoilt golden sands.

We have since discovered, by talking to local boat owners and reading guide books about local havens and harbours, that Blakeney Harbour is another great place to spend a night or two. As with Wells, entry to the harbour is dictated by the tides, safe entry with a boat drawing 5ft is possible two hours either side of high water on all but the smallest of neaps tides.

The entry to the harbour is by all accounts well marked and once through the snaking entry channel, boat owners are treated to the more open waters of The Pit, an area of deep water with swinging moorings available to visiting and resident boats. The Pit is also widely used for sailing smaller yachts within the shelter of the surrounding sand dunes and can make for a busy and bustling place to stay given favourable weather and tides.

Local boat owners advise against attempting to navigate all the way to Blakeney Staithe with a deeper drafted boat as the moorings dry out and the channel is shallow, instead preferring the swinging deep water moorings of The Pit. For those needing provisions Blakeney is a dinghy ride away from the swinging moorings and anchorage and will provide an afternoon of entertainment exploring the salt marshes and their many tributaries which are navigable by dinghy for around six hours per tide.

Next year we again intend to have a two week summer holiday on the Norfolk Broads. On our way back if the weather is suitable we will after a day or so spent in Wells refuelling and restocking the boat, hopefully get the chance to spend an evening or two in Blakeney Harbour either on the swinging moorings or if they are full at anchor a little further up the channel.

We thoroughly enjoy discovering and exploring new places to see and visit and the North Norfolk coastline is providing us with a whole host of little harbours and havens to satisfy our need to find new and exciting destinations. Slowly but surely we are adding to our list of places we have visited and places that we will visit once again. Blakeney promises to be another such haven of the North Norfolk coastline.

Friday 14 September 2012

Wining and Dining

It isn’t very often we get the chance to entertain guests at home but last night we had the pleasure of entertaining Liam’s mum and her husband for the first time in a long while.

As usual with these things we were rushing around at the last minute cleaning the house and preparing dinner but it all came together in the end and not a couple of minutes before they knocked on the door we had everything prepared and ready to go. Talk about cutting it fine.

We opted for the easy choice for dinner, a homemade lasagne with homemade garlic bread and a seasonal side salad with mint and mustard dressing. Most of which could be prepared in advance to cut down on preparation work during the evening. Simple food needn’t mean boring food however and as all of the latest were cleared I expect everyone enjoyed the evening’s offerings. They didn’t even notice I had use Quorn mince in the lasagne instead of the usual steak mince!

For desert a homemade apple tart made with apples from our garden and some piping hot fresh custard finished off the meal just nicely.

The evening was finished off with a couple of drinks and some lively chatter before unfortunately our guests had to leave as they had to be up early this morning for work. We have however promised that it won’t be so long before we do this again.

Thursday 13 September 2012

A Midweek Visit

Last night we decided to make a midweek visit to Naughty-Cal. We didn’t leave her in an ideal condition on Monday morning so instead of leaving ourselves with lots to do on Friday evening we made the trip to Lincoln last night so that we could tidy her up a little.

Liam wasn’t of much help unfortunately. An injury to his shoulder and lower back during last weekend rendering him pretty useless, but he was there for moral support none the less. Hopefully by the weekend he will be able to ditch his sling and have a more normal degree of movement to his left arm.

Even without the help I would normally get it only took about an hour to tidy Cal up and get her looking more respectable, one of the joys of owning a small boat I suppose. After a quick tidy up we settled in with a couple of beers and a fine dinner of Cajun salmon, minted new potatoes and home made garlic mushrooms. A nice way to end the evening if ever there was one.

We noticed last night how much quicker the nights are starting to draw in.  A sure sign that Autumn is drawing ever closer with winter snapping at its heels. This made us start to think about how we will winterise Naughty-Cal this year. With a close eye on the future weather forecasts we will soon be bringing back the heaters, electric blanket and dehumidifier in a bid to keep Cal safe from the risks of frost damage for another year.

This year seems to have flown by so far. It doesn’t seem like two minutes ago that we were taking the heaters home now we are considering bringing them back again. Still we will both enjoy our winter boating and are both looking forward to some quiet winter weekends afloat. 

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Turkey and Tomato Casserole

This is a recipe we discovered quite by accident using up ingredients we had to spare in the cupboard, fridge and freezer but it has proven to be a delicious dish that we will certainly enjoy time and again.

For this dish you will need:

  • Diced Turkey (we used thigh meat)
  • Chopped large onion
  • Chopped mushrooms
  • Chopped bell pepper
  • Crushed garlic
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Mixed fresh herbs
So preparation couldn’t be simpler. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Put all of the ingredients into an oven proof casserole dish with a lid. Thoroughly mix together and stick in the oven lid on for an hour. After an hour remove the lid and stir well then cook for a further 30 minutes with the lid off the pot.

After 30 minutes the casserole should be ready and smelling delicious. We served this dish with a small portion of pasta and hot freshly baked garlic bread.

So simple yet so tasty and if you take away the pasta and garlic bread it isn’t all that bad for you either. A winner all round.

River Trent - Summary

After a very relaxing week on the River Trent we unfortunately had to come back to home, work and normality. We could quite easily have carried on with our travels and had another week or two away enjoying the relaxed pace of life. Oh for a small lottery win.

In summary we had a great week away covering some 115 miles and 20 locks in around 27.5 hours of travelling, which includes time waiting for and in locks. We used around 100 litres of fuel for this trip which included travelling time, waiting for locks and use of the diesel heater, which proved very handy for drying out clothing on some of the wetter days of the trip.

The weather proved to be very hit and miss during this trip but none the less we still enjoyed ourselves even on the days where we were soaked to the skin travelling along the Nottingham Canal with the canopies down to clear the low bridges. It was nice to have some time off work and also to have a relaxing trip with no deadlines or destinations in mind.

Naughty-Cal proved herself yet again to be reliable and trust worthy, the only real problem of the week being the fixed VHF radio which decided to break with no prior warning. This wasn’t such a problem as we have a hand held radio for such eventualities but it does mean that we now have an extra job to add to the growing list of things to do this winter.

All told this was a very rewarding holiday which we both benefited from greatly. Whilst this trip marked the end of our holiday season onboard we still have many weekends to look forward too. Over the coming weekends we have quite a lot to cram into a short space of time, but more on that later.

Friday 7 September 2012

River Trent - Part 6

 A sunny Trent for a change

 Heading downstream

 A quick pit stop at Cromwell Lock for some water.

 Back to Muskham Ferry for lunch and a few pints

 Onto the tidal Trent through Cromwell Lock

 Back to Torksey

Almost home now. Another holiday over....

River Trent - Part 5

 Back on the river and Cal is much happier in the deeper water.

 Stoke Lock moorings

 Back with the cruisers again.

 Gunthorpe Weir

 Newark Town Lock approach

Newark Town Lock

River Trent - Part 4

 Naughty-Cal on the Nottingham Canal

 In narrowboat country now

 Pretty urban canal

 Stunning architecture

Beeston Lock Visitor Moorings