Friday 31 January 2014

Gathering Bits

So the gathering of parts for the boat continues. Today I have ordered yet more service parts for the engine and drive and paid for the refurbishment of the propellers. This time of year always proves to be a bit harsh on the wallet as the gathering of bits continues.

Time and money spent on maintenance now though should hopefully pay off with a trouble free summer of cruising, even more important this year as we intend to cruise to the Scottish Borders on our own in July.

With the extra time ashore this year we will be able to spend more time on the finishing touches instead of the usual rush to get everything ready for Easter.  If this proves to be a successful strategy we may well pull Naughty-Cal out early in coming years as well. We have a lot of plans for Naughty-Cal so we need to keep her in tip top condition, which will only be achieved with time, money and elbow grease.

This will be weekend three of the 2014 maintenance session and we should hopefully start to get a few jobs ticked off the list. It has felt somewhat like we have been making more jobs for the last couple of weekends which can be a little disheartening, but fingers crossed for some real progress towards the end goal this weekend.

The weather forecast for the weekend looks better than expected, so although windy on Saturday it shouldn’t be wet and looks set to be a tad warmer than of late as well. This will be helpful as we have lots of outside jobs to contend with.

Fingers crossed for a productive weekend ahead.

Thursday 30 January 2014

Not much to report

Its a typical working week with not too much to report. 

We have been busy working on a plan of action for this weekends work on the boat. So far we plan to flush the drive through with fresh oil, refit the freshly retrimmed throttle panel and grease up the cable connections, do a few minor scuff repairs and then set about some polishing and of course more scraping! Oh and we need to remove the rest of the cabin carpets as well. 

Nothing too strenuous this weekend but we are reliant on the weather for most of the jobs. So here's hoping for dry weather. 

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Karting Chaos

Just a few pictures from the weekends go karting for you today. As expected it got quite competitive with plenty of crashes, dodgy driving and sideways action. But in the end there was a clean race for the final.

A really great morning was had by all despite a few bruises, aches and pains the following day. The pictures didnt turn out too great due to poor lighting, the speed of the karts and not having time to take too many!!

 Start Finish straight

Ready for the next race.

 Jostling for position

 Are you ready to race?

And the winners.

Monday 27 January 2014

And the winner was

And the winner of the E Pontoon go kart Grand Prix 2014 was.........

Mark Jessop, followed by Liam and the other Mark.

A great time was had by all 21 entrants despite a few bruises and aches and pains afterwards.

Friday 24 January 2014

On Your Marks

Tomorrow is the day of the long awaited E Pontoon, Go Karting Grand Prix. It has been three months in the planning but the day is finally upon us. 

No doubt there will be crashes and bumps along the way and many aching muscles and bruises to compare in the pub afterwards. 

Who will be the champion, well the jury is still out. Only time will tell so watch this space.

Thursday 23 January 2014

Stuffed Chicken Breast

Another tasty dish for you to try today. This one is son simple to prepare and cooks in about half an hour so is ideal for a quick but tasty week day evening meal.

Mix grated garlic, finely chopped chilli to taste (or you can leave this out if you are not a fan of spicy food), grated reduced fat mature cheddar and a knob of "lightest" butter in a bowl. 

Cut a large pocket in your chicken breast and stuff the mixture into the chicken, really pack it in tight and then try to reseal the breast around the mixture if possible. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 200 degrees. These were quite large chicken breasts so they needed the full 30 minutes. Smaller ones can have five minutes or so less time in the oven.

Served here with roast potatoes and curly kale but can equally be served with a fresh seasonal side salad if you are cutting down on the calories for the new year. 

Wednesday 22 January 2014

The carrot and the stick

With all the hard graft we are putting into the boat at the moment we need a bit of a carrot on a stick to keep us motivated and keep the work heading in the right direction.

Its so easy to get disheartened when you are faced with a mountain of jobs to plough through. Sometimes it can feel as though you are heading backwards rather than forwards, but it all comes together quickly in the final stages. These early stages of the spruce up always feel as though we are heading backwards.

So the carrot on the stick for this week, at the leas,t is the promise of a stunning two week cruise in July with Naughty-Cal gleaming in the summer sunshine as she skips along the east coast towards the Scottish borders. 

It feels a long way off at the moment but with the evenings getting longer and the nights gradually getting shorter we are heading in the right direction. Spring is on its way, you can feel it in the air and with it an urge to get the boat finished in plenty of time for our first break at Easter.

Tuesday 21 January 2014


We are both suffering the effects of a weekend of antifoul scraping. Aching muscles, in my case muscles I didn't even know existed!

On the plus side we made a determined start into ridding the hull of its coats of paint and another plus side is that there are only a couple of layers of paint to scrape away so it isn't as difficult a job as it could have been.

The goal to remove all of the remaining antifoul paint, carry out a few minor gel coat repairs and then apply a few coats of an epoxy primer which in theory will keep the hull in top condition for an extended period of time. We are still undecided as to what the final coat will be, whether it be coppercoat or our usual antifoul paint which serves us well. Coppercoat is a long term epoxy based solution claiming to give ten year performance but the preparation and application has to be spot on or it will be a load of money thrown down the pan.

So with one successful weekend down we and more work on the to do list we need to start on our plan of attack for next weekend. We know that we wont be doing anything to Naughty-Cal on Saturday as we are going go karting for my birthday with twenty or so of our friends, with a trip to the pub afterwards. So anything we do this weekend will be on Sunday in a no doubt hungover state so its easy jobs only this weekend. 

The throttle panel should be back from the trimmers by Sunday so we can reassemble the throttle lever, ensuring everything is fully greased and the vinyl panel is properly secured to cabin side. Other than that it will be a few more hours of scraping away at the hull. It is a thankless task but will be worth it for the extra protection that the epoxy coating will offer the hull. Plus we will be starting with a fresh and smooth surface again. 

Saturday 18 January 2014

Scraping Through

Quite literally! We have decided it is time to have all the anti foul off, give her a few coats of gel shield and finally a few coats of coppercoat anti foul. 

The trick is to spend time now with the prep work. It will all be worth it in the end, or that's what I'm telling myself! 

Thursday 16 January 2014

Wonders Never Cease

 Wonders really do never cease. This chap for example, whats his game?

The following article is taken from the RNLI website and is an account of what happened.

"On Tuesday 3 September at 3.30pm Humber Coastguard paged Hunstanton lifeboat crew after receiving a call on channel 16 from a vessel reporting that a 70ft narrow boat seemed to be acting in a strange manner, and appeared to be lost.

The volunteer crew of Hunstanton RNLI lifeboat, Spirit of West Norfolk, located the boat off Hunstanton, and went alongside to find onboard a lone sailor accompanied by two dogs.

The crew were concerned for the sailor's welfare when they established there were no VHF radio flares, navigation lights, charts or any navigational equipment on board.

The owner, who lives on board, had left Kings Lynn that morning and had been up and down the Wash all day. Furthermore he did not seem able to state where he was.

The crew escorted him and then took him in tow to make better speed so as to get him into the Freeman channel, and then on to Boston before the tide dropped away. The tow was transferred to the Boston Pilot Launch who took him into the River Witham to enable him to go up river beyond Boston and find a mooring.

The lifeboat was released to return to station and arrived back at 7pm."

What the bloody hell did this idiot think he was up too?

Wednesday 15 January 2014


We can always rely on the trusty Datsun (well Nissan Almera but to us she will always be the Datsun!) to be reliable. She will be nine years old on the 25th of this month and has now covered over 105,000 miles yet she flew straight through yet another MOT yesterday. She may not be a looker and she is certainly no racing car but she is more valuable to us than her monetary value would suggest.

We don t need a fancy car for either work or pleasure, the boat is our weekend play thing and my job involves mud and muddy clothing, so a big expensive car isn’t really necessary. We need reliability and economy which the Datsun gives us in buckets.

We have owned the Datsun for nearly eight years now and in that time, other than the usual brakes and tyres and servicing has needed nothing else. Reliable motoring indeed. But this was nothing more than we expected. We bought “new” Datsun on the back of the reliability of “old” Datsun, a 1991 Nissan Sunny which we owned for six happy years. “Old” Datsun was very cheap motoring, we bought her for £50 crash damaged but with nine months tax, nine months MOT and a full tank of fuel, spent two hours and no money repairing her, ran her for six years and sold her for £200. When the time came to finally sell her on and buy something else we of course turned straight to her predecessor, the Almera.

Sadly Nissan no longer make a suitable replacement for the Almera so when the time eventually comes to replace the Datsun we will be looking elsewhere, but that is potentially a long time to come yet if the reliability of the old Datsun is anything to go by!!

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Busy Weekends Ahead

With Naughty-Cal out of the water it is time to look at making a to do list of jobs which need completing whilst she is ashore. We also have an ever growing list of jobs to do when she is relaunched in time for the first cruise of the year at Easter.

We make a point of pulling her out each year (admittedly not usually this early) so that we can service her and make sure she is at her very best for the long season of cruising we have lined up for her.

Some people choose not to service their boats on such a regular basis but on the flip side they tend to be the ones who have the most problems. As we intend to have a full summer of coastal cruising it is even more important that we ensure everything is in tip top condition

So far the list of jobs to complete during this lift out comprises:
  • ·         Changing the oil seals in the stern drive
  • ·         Changing the stern drive oil
  • ·         Sanding down the stern drive
  • ·         Painting the stern drive with anti foul paint
  • ·         Changing the gear cable
  • ·         Replacing the propellers
  • ·         A few minor gel coat repairs
  • ·         Polishing the hull and topsides
  • ·         Waxing the hull and topsides
  • ·         Applying new anti foul paint to the hull

As you can see we have a busy time ahead of us which won’t be helped by the cold weather. But better to spend the time servicing and prepping now during the winter months than waste valuable cruising time later in the year.

Monday 13 January 2014

That Time Again

Its that time of year again when Naughty-Cal is lifted out of the water for some TLC. 

It's come a bit early this year as we have some plastic stuck in the stern drive which needs some attention but the drive needed servicing anyway so we may as well get on with it. Hopefully pulling her our early will mean that we have plenty of time to get all of the jobs crossed off the list this year before Easter arrives heralding the start of the cruising season proper.

It's always nice to have her out of the water for a few weeks as we know that after a few weekends of hard graft she will be looking like a new boat again with her mirror finish gel coat gleaming, fresh anti foul paint and sparkly clean fenders and ropes. It will also be nice to have a fresh set of props fitted as the current set are damaged causing some bad vibrations. 

We usually have Naughty-Cal ready for relaunch after a couple of weekends but this year plan to have her out for a little longer due to a couple of Saturday birthday celebrations being thrown into the mix on the 18th and 25th. These will slow us down somewhat but it wont hurt Cal to spend an extra week or two ashore. It isn't very often she gets a chance to dry out for so long. It could be even longer depending on the weather!

Saturday 11 January 2014

Nice Start to the Day

Another day dawns over Brayford Pool in Lincoln City Centre. This will be our last visit for a few weeks as Naughty-Cal comes out of the water next week so we need to make the most of our city centre location today. 

Friday 10 January 2014

Vegetable Pasta Bake

Ok so I am feeling slightly more human again, hopefully this time it will last as the last time I said this the virus came back and downed me yet again. Yesterday was my first day back at work this week and by last night I was knackered. You don't realise how much these viruses take out of you sometimes.

Anyway I managed to rustle up some nice comfort food before crashing on the sofa for the evening. Vegetable pasta bake, this is a very versatile dish as you can use pretty much any vegetables you have in the house.

For this one I fried chopped onion, chopped garlic, chilli, bell pepper and mushrooms until softened and then added a carton of passata before leaving to simmer for a few minutes. Next add a pan of part cooked pasta, we tend to use wholemeal, and toss together so that everything is well covered. Place in a large oven proof dish and cover with grated cheese. Here we used a reduced fat mature cheddar and bake in the oven for about thirty minutes at 180 degrees.

We served this simply with garlic bread. This dish is perfect comfort food if you feel a little down. Easy to prepare, easy to cook yet very tasty.

Tuesday 7 January 2014


This cold refuses to go away. It gives you a false sense of hope in that you might be getting better and then bang! It downs  you again. 

Currently on day nine of the whole affair and day two off work. It's no good. Day time TV is rubbish and I'm just too ill to escape:(

Saturday 4 January 2014

Rain, Rain and more Rain

Well what a rubbish day this is turning out to be. Rain, rain and you guessed it more rain. 

It has not stopped yet today. But at least the wind has died down for now. The trip back up the ditch from Lincoln to the marina was miserable and wet but at least we are now safely tucked up on our berth out of harms way. 

A thought must go out to those communities currently bearing the brunt of this winters weather, but also to the emergency services, coast guard and RNLI who are risking life and limb to rescue people and their property. What is sad to sea is members of the public risking not only their life's but that of the services despite multiple public warnings about the power of the water. 

Friday 3 January 2014

Cornish Pasty

Sorry its been a bit quiet on here of late but we have both been suffering a really annoying cold. Not enough to down us or resign us to bed but enough to leave us feeling wiped out and lethargic. Sods law of course dictated that we came down with it just in time for new years eve of course.

Anyway for your viewing pleasure today we have another recipe. We had some left over beef from Sunday lunch so I made some pasties for dinner last night. Again very simple to make, a great way to use up left overs and tastes great as well. 

In a large pan fry onion, mushroom, potato, swede, carrot and diced beef. Fry until starting to soften and then add a little gravy. Season well with pepper.

Place the mixture into short crust pastry wrap up and then bake for twenty minutes.

OK i know these were not your traditional pasty shape, its surprisingly difficult to wrap them up!