Thursday 28 November 2013

Busy Month

December is always a busy month whoever you are but ours seems to get busier as the years progress.

It all starts next Saturday evening with our E Pontoon christmas dinner at the Pyewipe Inn. This is a black tie three course dinner arranged by the moorers for the moorers.

The weekend after we have another saturday evening even at the Marine Lounge in the marina this time organised by the marina.

Of course there is new years eve where we will be at Woodcocks on the marina and of course there is christmas day where we will be chilling on the boat. Boxing day this year will see us back in Sheffield so plenty of travel time as well thrown in. Oh and I forgot both my works christmas party and Liams christmas party. 

I will be glad when January comes around.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Big Trip 2014

We decided to plot all of our planned stops on a map as a bit of a visual aid to ourselves whilst planning this big trip for next summer. In doing so we have realised just how far we plan to take or little boat, on our own!

It looks much further plotted on a map like this than it feels totting up the miles between each harbour or port. 

With winter finally snapping at our heels and cruising time becoming less and less we can start to settle in and plan this trip in earnest. We can also start to plan just what work we will be doing to Naughty-Cal in the next few months as we work up towards preparing her for this epic voyage. Her usual couple of weeks on the hardstanding may be extended next spring as we have many more jobs than usual to squeeze into the avaliable time. We have to have her in tip top condition if we are to attempt this trip. There is no room for error or malfunction.

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Garlic and Herb Turkey

Another recipe for you today.  quick and easy bite to eat that takes just ten minutes or so to rustle up. Ideal for a weekday after a long day at work.

So add a chopped onion, a chopped chilli , a handful of chopped mushrooms, a diced bell pepper and some sliced courgette to a large pan and fry until just starting to brown and soften.

Next add some diced turkey thigh and cook until browned. Then add a tub of light soft cheese with garlic and herbs and stir until well mixed through. Leave to simmer for a few minutes

Finally serve with rice and garlic bread. Here we have used wholegrain basmati.

Turkey thigh is a more economical cut of meat than turkey breast. It is cheaper much cheaper to buy yet is better suited to dishes such as this as it doesn't dry out, the extra fat content helps to keep the meat moist.

Its that time of year again when turkey is on a lot of menus but we tend to eat it year round rather than veiwing it as a Christmas meat only. Perhaps that is in part due to us not tending to have turkey for Christmas dinner.

Monday 25 November 2013

Sunday Lunch

We are loving our new oven. Finally a proper Sunday lunch onboard. Last night it was roast beef, roast potatoes, stuffing and cabbage. Not a scrap was left! 

Sunday 24 November 2013

Nice Evening

It was a lovely evening for a cruise on the ditch last night. Not another boat on the move. 

Friday 22 November 2013


So back to next summers big trip and if all goes well and the weather is fair we may head further North yet to Dunbar. It isnt such a long way further north than Eyemouth but we can well and truly say we have been to Scotland if we make it here. Making it to Dunbar however as with the rest of this trip very much depends on weather and sea conditions. If it isn't right we wont be going. We may be brave but we are certainly not fool hardy.

 The entrance to the harbour doesn't look to be for the faint of heart.

 The harbour sheltered by the sea wall is still very much revolving around fishing. Visitor mooring here is against the quay wall so lines must be set to allow for the rise and fall of the tide.

 Stunning scenery along this stretch of coast with hidden coves and small bays.

 This one just beside the harbour wall.

A multitude of architectural styles in the village.

Thursday 21 November 2013

The Oven

So here is our new boaty oven, well not our exact one as I forgot to get a picture of it in situ, but one that’s the same.

It’s a Morphy Richards KWS1525X-F2UB rotisserie mini oven. I doubt we will ever use the rotisserie function, that isn’t really what we bought it for but if it ever tickles our fancy we shall let you know how we get on with it.

The oven has quite a large capacity at 25 litres yet manages to be a compact unit at about the same size as a microwave unit. It has a clever bulge in the back which allows the oven to take a 12 inch pizza. Unfortunately this clever bulge means that the oven doesn’t fit where we wanted it too so at the moment we are thinking of a new more convenient place to house it. At the moment it sits on top of the saloon table which isn’t really ideal but it is out of the way as we tend to sit in the cockpit. We can shift it about if we decide to sit in the saloon for a change.

Despite its compact size (H28.4, W43.5, D46.4cm) the oven has some handy features including a 60 minute timer, grill, rotisserie and temperature range from 90-230 degrees. We found it to heat up really very quickly, probably helped by the small dimensions and also found that it kept the heat in very well.

The extra added bonus was that it was on offer when we got to the shop to buy it, reduced to £46.99 from almost £100. Not a bad deal at all. It really won’t take long to pay for itself even if we only use it for pizzas on a Friday night!

Wednesday 20 November 2013


Well a couple of this summers photos are going to be published in the 2014 East Coast calender. Two out of the twelve required isnt all that bad i suppose from almost 3500 entries. So here they are the chosen two which oddly are not my favourites from the bunch which we submitted. Both pictures we taken during July's trip to the Norfolk and Suffolk coast.

 Gulls at Southwold Harbour.

Cruising past Scroby Sands Windfarm off Great Yarmouth

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Seafood Pasta

This is a great dish to make if you are pushed for time. It only takes ten to fifteen minutes to make yet tastes delicious.

Fry off a chopped onion, mushrooms, bell pepper and chilli until softening then add a packet of mixed seafood. Most supermarkets sell these mixed packs cheaply. This was a Tesco mix with mussels, squid and prawns. Once the seafood is cooked through add a tub of soft cheese, I used a lightest garlic and herb version. Mix the cheese into the fish and vegetables well.

In a seperate large pan boil some water and add your pasta. I used fresh pasta to further reduce the cooking time but dried works just as well it just takes slightly longer to cook.

Add a cup of pasta water to the fish mix then drain your pasta and add to the cheesy fish sauce. Mix well ensuring that all of the pasta is well coated and the fish evenly distributed throughout. Then serve. We just had a large helping each of the pasta but you can equally serve this to more people with smaller portion sizes and some garlic bread and salad.

Monday 18 November 2013

New Appliance

I have always longed for an oven on Naughty-Cal but we always said we couldn't afford to lose the storage space beneath the hob and grill unit which would be the obvious place for it to be. So we have found ways around not having one, which has been no great shakes really. We managed quite well without.

Yesterday however we decided that as winter is only just around the corner and we probably wont be cruising so far from home for the next few months that we may as well buy a small electric oven which will probably go home during the summer months.

So we now have a proper oven but only when we are plugged in. So last night we had to try it out of course with a roast dinner. So it was a slab of Berkshire Pork Belly, with roast potatoes and cabbage and very nice it was too. 

We are already planning what fabulous meals we can cobble together over the winter months. Daft as it sounds we are really looking forward to being able to cook pizzas after we have been to the boat club on a Saturday evening. We usually pop to the takeaway just around the corner but it can become an expensive habit. Now we can rustle up pizza and chips whilst enjoying our last pint in the bar.

Looks like we had a good idea for a change.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Breakfast is Served

I do like a nice breakfast every now and then, so this morning I rustled up a nice example with some sausage from Highwoods Rare Breeds Farm. Yummy Berkshire pork sausages. 

Saturday 16 November 2013


Hmmm. Something not quite right here! 

They will get a shock when they try and tow it. Do you think they are new to this game? 

Friday 15 November 2013


Hull will most probably be the final stop over point on our big trip next summer. We have spent a fair amount of time in Hull over the years and the marina offers excellent facilities for the boater including cheap fuel. Despite some of the stick Hull seems to get from people we actually quite enjoy it there and find the place to be really friendly and full of good pubs and shops. 

By the time we head into Hull we will hopefully have completed many miles of cruising on the east coast and this will very much feel like the last stop before home cruising familiar waterways. The river will also no doubt feel very small after our coastal holiday. 

 The last set of pier heads to aim for.

 The large lock at the entrance to Hull Marina with its radial gates.

 Hull Marina with its excellent modern facilities right in the heart of the city.

 Excellent shopping just over the road from the marina.

The Deep at the entrance to the River Hull. If time allows we may have another look at this aquarium, hopefully it will be a little quieter this time!!

Thursday 14 November 2013


So its back to 2014's big summer trip. Grimsby will be the first port of call along the way. It is a tad over 100 miles away from our home berth at Burton Waters, Lincoln and by the time the tides have been taken into account it is a full cruising day away. But it is worth the long days cruising early on in the holiday to eat up some miles and get closer to the coast. A trip to Grimsby involves a gentle cruise to Gainsborough, followed by a quick blast to Trent End before anchoring to wait for the next tide which on a hot, sunny summers day is glorious. With the tide running in it is then time to race down the Humber to Grimsby.

 The tower is a homing beacon for Grimsby. You can see it for miles around and is a useful navigation point.

 The lock gates at Fish Dock Island. Both sets of gates open for two hours either side of high water to create freeflow through the lock. At this time the lock is free to use however beyond these times there is a charge.

 Grimsby's famous fish docks. Now a shadow of their former selves. An interesting cruise through the docks mind to get to the yacht club basin.

 Excellent moorings and a friendly welcome await at the yacht club.  The moorings here are very reasonably priced and the basin is packed full of interesting boats.

Sadly much of the dockland area surrounding the moorings is in massive decline.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Slow Cooked Casserole

Winter is definately just around the corner, the temperature outside has dropped, (we had to scrape the car this morning!, ) but with it comes the temptation to hunker down with a plate of hot, warming, food.

Last night it was slow cooked beef casserole in a giant Yorkshire Pudding. Yum Yum!!

This was dead easy to make. Put a large chopped onion, some mushrooms, chopped potatoes and chopped carrot into a casserole dish. Place a chunk of beef shin on top and cover with beef stock. I also added a chilli for some extra heat but this is optional. Place in the oven and cook for three hours at 150 degrees.

I did this the night before and then left it in the fridge overnight. When we were ready to eat it, I carved the shin, put it in a large microwavable bowl with the vegetables and the stock and heated it on high for ten minutes whilst the Yorkshire Pudding was cooking. 

A great tasty meal that is so simple to cook yet so warming and filling and comforting. Who doesnt like a casserole at this time of year? The beef shin was melt in the mouth and the stock had taken on the heat of the chilli for some extra warming flavour.

If we were out on the boat we would have had this cooking in the slow cooker all day but putting it in the oven at home on a low heat for a long time works just as well. 

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Smoked Mackerel Fish Cakes

Just another really simple dish that I rustled up for you today. Nothing exciting but great for cold winter nights.

It doesn't get much simpler than this really. Boil some potatoes, we used King Edwards which are nice and fluffy, then when softened mash into a smooth mash with no lumps. Flake into the mash your smoked mackerel and mix really well.

In a large frying pan heat a little oil. Whilst the oil is warming through form the potato and fish mix into evenly sized balls. Roll well and then flatten slightly to form fish cakes. Fry in the oil over a medium heat for about five minutes on either side or until you get a lovely crispy coating to both sides.

Serve simply. Here we served with some spicy wedges and a little bit of mixed winter veg. Be warned these are quite filling.

Monday 11 November 2013

Favourite Moorings

This is one of our favourite moorings. Anchored in Brayford Pool in the centre of Lincoln. 

Friday 8 November 2013

It's That Time Again

As it has started getting colder during the evenings we have taken the decision that it is time to take the heaters back to Naughty-Cal this weekend. Better safe than sorry but it doesn't seem like two minutes ago we were bringing them home. This summer seems to have flown by, we must have enjoyed it.

As we use Naughty-Cal every weekend, even during the depths of winter, we don’t bother to drain her systems down. So we rely on our shore power supply and a selection of heaters to keep the temperature around the boat above freezing whilst we are at work during the week. It is a system which works really well for us and has kept Naughty-Cal safe from frost for the last five winters.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t get out and enjoy the boat though.  Winter time is great for cruising, the rivers are quiet and you often get the visitor moorings to yourself. Whilst away from shore power the diesel heater does a grand job of keeping the boat warm and frost free and the engine, warm after its run, keeps itself and the engine bay toasty warm.

We don't have any plans for this weekend. We intend to head to Lincoln tonight to the boat club for a few beers but other than that nothing is planned. The weather looks set to be fair so we will probably be out and about somewhere rather than cooped up in the marina. May as well make the most of it whilst the weather is fit for cruising, ho knows what is around the corner weatherwise? 

Thursday 7 November 2013

Ready, Steady, Go!

And for the last in this shore series of video posts its our sprint from Gainsborough to West Stockwith. The old stone road bridge in Gainsborough marks the change in jurisdiction from Canal and Rivers Trust waterways and Associated British Ports waterways and thus the end of the eight knot downstream, six knot upstream speed limits.

So for us this is the chance to stretch Naughty-Cal's legs, open her up and let her sing as she cruises easily through the series of tight bends and corners. In a way cruising the river at speed is far more exciting than cruising on the coast. It is physically and mentally challenging as you keep to the windy channel.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

West Stockwith Lock

The next in this little series of videos. Yesterdays showed just how fast the river was flowing well todays shows Naughty-Cal entering West Stockwith Lock against that flow.

West Stockwith is an interesting lock to enter being set at not far off ninety degrees to the tidal river Trent. Unless you are lucky enough to arrive at slack high water there will usually be a flow of water in one direction or the other depending on the state of tide.

As such this is a tricky lock to enter and this time it wasnt helped by the large amount of fresh (flood) water heading downstream towards the Humber and eventually the sea. Although Im sure you will agree, Liam pulled it off just fine this time around.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Stemming the Flow

The next selection of posts will be a series of short videos taken over the weekend during our trip to West Stockwith.

The first in this short series is a video of us stemming the tide outside West Stockwith lock as we wait for the two boats in the lock to lock through into the basin. As you can see there is a fair old flow on the river due to the previous weeks heavy rain. At one point in this video Liam lets of the throttle so you can see just how fast the flow takes the boat.

Sunday 3 November 2013

Trent Cruising

Just a nice shot of Naughty-Cal cruising down the Trent for you today taken by our friends who we were cruising with on Devocean. 

A rather pretty picture I think. 

Saturday 2 November 2013

Early Start

So it was yet another early start for us this morning. I'm not quite sure how we always manage to pick days to go away with an early tide, but we were treated to a lovely sunrise for our troubles. 

We are all now safely tucked up in West Stockwith basin where the wind has really started to pick up! 

Friday 1 November 2013


By the time we pull in to Scarborough harbour we will well and truly feel like we are on the home run. The truth however will be that we are still well over 100 and closer to 150 miles from our home berth in Lincoln. We have spent many an hour over the years in Scarborough though sadly we have never made it by boat. This time though it will be a fleeting visit of just one evening as we head ever closer to home. This will be more of a refueling and restocking stop than a touristy stop. 

 The lighthouse marking the harbour wall with the inner harbour and outer harbour entrances either side. We will be berthed in the inner harbour to the left of the lighthouse.

 The outer harbour awash with yacht masts.

 Scarborough is still very much a fishing harbour with an active fishing fleet and quayside.

 Scarborough beach is always popular in the sunshine.

 Perhaps our favourite pub in the town and just a stumble across the road from where we will be moored.

Familiar scenery will make us feel on the homeward run.