Wednesday 31 December 2014


It's new years eve at long last and this evening we will travel to Lincoln to celebrate with our boating friends.

As usual we have all bought tickets to the Woodcock pub on the marina.  This way we don't need to worry about taxis or getting home.

This year we have a shorter than usual stumble back to the boat as Naughty-Cal is out of the water and the boat yard is closer to the pub.

However you are celebrating its hope you all have a fantastic evening and an even better 2015.

Tuesday 30 December 2014

One Big Bird

Last week we picked up a bargain goose which we had for Sunday lunch.  However we have since been finding ways to eat the leftovers.

Liam has been chomping through it in his sandwiches for work and I have been busy cooking up bits and pieces at home. 
Gladly it has now gone!

Well almost there is a portion in the freezer!

Monday 29 December 2014

Still Snowy Sheffield

It's still a wintery scene here in Sheffield.  The council have done a sterling job of keeping the main routes gritted, ploughed and clear of snow but as you can see the side streets are still treacherous.

We have managed to dig the Nissan out of the drive now though and luckily for us it is only a short drive to the end of the street and onto a main road. 

We have just driven across the city to drop Liam off at work and the roads were drivable on the whole.  Well I made it back home so they must be!

Saturday 27 December 2014

Snow Bound

Thankfully we had taken heed of the weather warnings over the last few days and we're prepared for last night's snow.

With no place to go we sang let it snow let it snow let it snow. Well not quite!

And today yet again with no place to go we will sit back in our warm house and watch the chaos ensue outside as people struggle to get where they need to go in snowy Sheffield.

Friday 26 December 2014

Boxing day left overs

It's boxing day which of course means left over turkey.

Today I rustled it into a turkey leek and bacon pie.

Very nice.

Thursday 25 December 2014

Wednesday 24 December 2014

The Christmas Fridge Crisis

It happens every year the annual Christmas fridge crisis and this year is no different.

It just isn't big enough.  Too much food not enough room for the beer.

Tuesday 23 December 2014

One Little Duck

As we were at home on Sunday for a change, I sent Liam to get a joint of meat for Sunday dinner. He needed to go out to the shop anyway on a secret gift buying mission so it made sense for him to get the meat.

He returned with one actually quite large duck but complained no end about the price of the little blighter. He was dismayed at how much his poultry had set him back. This was of course until I pointed out how many meals we would make out of the naked creature laid out in front of us.

So for Sunday dinner we had the full roast and massive portions at that of wonderful roasted duck, roast potatoes, roast parsnip, sprouts, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.

Then yesterday for dinner I made a quick and simple duck fried rice. Nice and simple to make, simply fry some shredded duck and an egg and then add a packet of precooked basmati rice and a good slog of soy sauce and stir fry for a few minutes. A quick and tasty meal.

 Duck Fried Rice.

Then last night still with loads of duck left I made a duck thai green curry. Again really simple and quick. Simply fry a chopped onion, bell pepper and the remains of the duck meat in a large wok until the duck is warmed through and the vegetables softening. Add a spoon of thai curry paste and some coconut milk and simmer for twenty minutes. Serve with wholewheat noodles.

Duck Thai Green Curry

In the end we each had three hearty meals from the one little duck, so Liam, soon changed his tune and decided that actually it wasn't a bad price to begin with!

Monday 22 December 2014

Productive Weekend

Despite us not planning to get a lot of jobs done on the boat on Saturday we had a more productive the expected day. The first job was simple enough, fitting the extra USB socket by the cockpit table. We had already run the wiring so all that was needed was to drill a hole in the GRP and connect up the wires. 

 The extra USB socket in place.

The next job in the queue was draining the oil from the leg for the second time. This still had a fair bit of water in it so we have added yet more oil to flush it through again.

Then Liam set about looking at the bathing ladder cover. We had noticed over the past couple of years that this cover has become spongy and a crack had formed along the back edge. With the cover off the problem became apparent. The plywood inner is completely waterlogged and rotten. So Liam has taken the step off which he will repair at work creating a new inner and finishing it in flow coat before repairing the cracks in the gel coat.

The ladder cover off ready for repair.

With the big jobs done for the weekend there was just a few bits of tidying up to do. The new LED lighting we fitted a few weeks ago was sealed in to provide a waterproof seal and one of the LED bulbs in the cabin which had been playing up was replaced with a new one.

And then the final job was the shower waste hose. This shower room has been the bane of our boating for a few years now with continual leaks. The waste hose is the last in a long line of parts which have been replaced, but hopefully now we should be able to keep the bilges dry for the year, or is this too much to ask?

There won't be much progress on Naughty-Cal over the Christmas period. Our next visit will be on New Years Eve but this will be a social visit rather then a work visit. But come the new year it will be all hands on deck to get Cal ready and raring to go in 2015.

Sunday 21 December 2014

Leak Free

At long last,  Naughty-Cal is leaking free. Liam finally managed to change the shower waste hose.  We had long suspected it had a split in it and we were right. Getting the right hose was a bit of a nightmare.  We tried four different hoses and had all but given up when our neighbour ashore produced a hose that did the trick.  We are now leak free.

Friday 19 December 2014

Boat Ahoy

Tonight we are heading off to Lincoln to check on Naughty-Cal, not that we expect her to be going anywhere from her position ashore but because we want to make sure that the heaters are doing their job and keeping her toasty warm and frost free. We won't be down much over the Christmas period so this will be our last chance to make sure she is protected from the cold weather.

Whilst we are down we will do a few small odd jobs. The LED lights we installed need sealing into place to ensure a watertight fit and we have a couple more USB sockets to install, one in the cockpit next to the table and one in the cabin where the TV sits when we have it aboard. 

If time permits I might also take a trip to Torksey caravans to buy some new waste water hose for the shower drain. This has been the root of a persistent water leak from the shower room all year, well in all fairness probably for longer but last year we blamed it on the shower sump box which also had a leak. Hopefully with this fixed Naughty-Cal will have dry bilges for the year in 2015, instead of us having to pump out the bilges every now and then.

We don't plan to stay all weekend and either Saturday evening or Sunday morning we will head home leaving Naughty-Cal safe and sound for the next week or so until our next visit on new years eve.

Thursday 18 December 2014

More Presents for the Datsun

Last night it was Christmas time again for the old faithful Datsun as Liam set about giving her the annual engine service.

The old girl really doesn't give much trouble through out the year so it was nice to give her some fresh oil, new plugs and belts and new filters as a thank you for another reliable years service.

Surprisingly it wasn't that expensive to get the genuine service parts from Nissan, in fact the price was comparible to going to the local motor factors and buying cheap non genuine parts. Whats the point when you can have the real deal for pretty much the same price? There was pence difference.

So freshly serviced the Datsun should be ready for another years service. It's MOT time shortly after Christmas. A thorough search around the car found nothing obvious that would fail the test so hopefully she should be good to go for another year. She even seems a bit more sprightly after her winter fettle up, although I'm sure this is all in the mind!

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Merry Christmas Datsun

As it's Christmas time and both the boat and the house have had some TLC it was time last night to start on my car, the ever faithful Datsun, well Nissan nowadays.

To be truthful the MOT is due shortly after the Christmas break so  we thought it about time that we sorted a few things out, mainly the handbrake which has been a bit dodgy for a while now.

So last night after work Liam set about stripping the rear brakes, the discs and pads were all still in good condition so after a quick inspection they were reassembled again and the car put back on all four wheels to try it out again. Low and behold the problem with the handbrake not working properly on one side has now switched to the other side. Oh bugger.

By now it was getting a bit late in the evening to be stripping them down again so we set about cleaning the car instead. Whilst Liam had been messing around with the brakes I had set about the interior which was now vacuumed and dusted to within an inch of its life so we just had the exterior to tackle, or so I thought,  as shortly after we had finished Liam popped the bonnet and set about the engine bay! I it really wise to drown a petrol engine with the jet wash?

Well I didn't think so but true to form after a quick mop up and wipe around she sprang into life again at the first turn of the key with the engine and bay looking sparkly clean to match the rest of the now sparkly Datsun.

So tonight we have another evening of fettling the Datsun as she is ready for her annual engine service. This time as well as the oil, filter, air filter and spark plugs, the belts will also need changing as they have never been done in the nearly ten years she has been on the road.

Blimey,  my Datsun is ten years old in January. It doesn't seem like I have had it that long but it will be nine years now! She isn't doing bad for an aging Datsun.

Tuesday 16 December 2014


Now that we have some long winters evenings to ourselves and we know what jobs need doing on Naughty-Cal we can start looking ahead to 2015 and planning our cruises for the year.

2014 was a real year of firsts and we really want to continue that theme into next year, exploring new places and hopefully finding cruising grounds we will visit again in the years to come.

At the moment we are just throwing ideas around and exploring different avenues but we have the makings of a great list of cruises for the year:

  • Easter - Black Sluice - We have yet to visit this recently opened stretch of waterway which is right on our doorstep so this year we plan to explore it early in the year before the weed becomes too much of an issue.
  • May Bank Holiday - West Stockwith - We always enjoy spending time at West Stockwith. This cruise gives us the chance to open up Naughty-Cal and give her a chance to stretch her legs and we always enjoy a hearty meal in the White Hart.
  • May Bank Holiday - Wells next the Sea - It wouldn't be right if we didn't visit Wells during this week. It is a great start to the summer coastal cruising season. In 2015 we look set to have some new boats making the trip across the Wash with us.
  • July Summer Holiday - The Great Ouse - Another first for us. We have visited the Great Ouse previously but only as far as Kings Lynn. The plan for 2015 is to head further upstream and visit Ely whilst also exploring a few of the rivers tributaries. With two weeks off work we plan to visit the Great Ouse for a week but also spend some time in the Wash, perhaps visiting Wisbech and Fosdyke on the way back to Boston.
  • August Bank Holiday - Boston - 2015 signifies time for Naughty-Cal to have her Boat Safety Test. We will head to Geordies at Langrick Bridge on the River Witham to get her tested so whilst we are in the area a trip to Boston seems in order. It has been many years since we actually made Boston a destination rather then a stop off point.
  • September/October Holiday - Sprotborough - This weeks cruise rounds off the year. At this time of year the weather can be very hit and miss but if the weather holds off in 2015 we plan a cruise to Sprotborough on the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigations. We would head in at Goole, head along the Aire and Calder and then up the New Junction before joining the SSYN and then venturing into waters new beyond before heading back to Keadby and up the Trent for home.
This series of cruises may not sound quite so demanding as previous years and in all honesty it probably isn't, but it will provide us the chance to explore new waterways and new places. Hopefully we will be as lucky with the weather as we were this year.

Monday 15 December 2014

More Deliveries

It seemed very strange waking up at home this morning, getting an extra hour in bed as we didn't have the drive back from Lincoln. It made a nice change although I wouldn't want to make a habit of it, I have missed my weekly visit to see Naughty-Cal.

It was a productive weekend at home though. All of the Christmas presents are wrapped with the exception of two which are still not delivered to me, hopefully they will arrive this week or it's a trip to Lincoln to buy some emergency gifts.

The house was also cleaned from top to bottom and for the first time since we moved in some almost eight years ago, we now have a proper spare bedroom which is not an embarrassment. It took some sorting out mind, I spent most of Saturday clearing junk, sifting through boxes we have never even unpacked since moving in and sorting through spare boat gear. But finally we revealed a pleasant spare room.

The rest of my weekend seems to have been spent cooking. We had guests for the weekend so I had to make sure they were well fed. On Saturday evening I treated them to the full Christmas dinner a couple of weeks early with a starter of blackened herb salmon served on a bed of salad followed by roast turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, garlic and herb new potatoes, roast parsnip, braised chilli sprouts, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, all rounded off with a nice cheese board for dessert. 

Of course I couldn't send them back to Scotland on an empty stomach so the next morning it was the full English breakfast. 

With our guests gone we sat back watching some rubbish Christmas TV whilst enjoying a few quiet beers before having a spot of lunch and hitting the sack early.

And here we are back at the start of another working week. Tonight after work we have another special delivery of presents, which is the second to last. For the rest of this week we can just chill out and unwind.

Sunday 14 December 2014

Christmas comes early

Christmas came early to our household yesterday as well played host to liams mum and her husband who were visiting from Scotland.

Judging by my sore head it was a great night!

Friday 12 December 2014

Delivered On Time

So last night we delivered the first of our Christmas presents. With all the talk in the news about parcels being delivered late it was nice to know that we have delivered the first of ours on time, in fact for the first time in a long time in plenty of time. No last minute rushing around this year!

I have the lovely task of wrapping yet more gifts tonight whilst Liam is out on his works Christmas party. Any excuse from him not to do the wrapping. But with the gifts wrapped we will then have a couple more to deliver tomorrow. This being organised really does pay off. By the middle of next week we will have all gifts wrapped and delivered to the relevant homes and then we can sit back and relax.

After last nights delivery in the cold, wet December rain we sat down to a bowl of homemade spiced butternut squash soup with some crusty, warm bread rolls. This is what Christmas is about, food.

Thursday 11 December 2014

It Must Be Here

Oh well, it must be here, Christmas that is. It must be here because last night we wrapped the first of our presents for this year.

Don't you just love sitting down, fumbling with flimsy wrapping paper, sticking yourself to the presents rather then the paper, losing the end of the tape, losing the tape, finding the empty roll of the tape and then heading out to the shop for more tape. No, me neither.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a complete scrooge. I do like Christmas just not all of the fuss that seems to go along with it these days. When did Christmas become complicated?

So tonight we will head out and deliver the first of our Christmas gifts. Huddled in the car in the wind and rain, battling through the city traffic to hand deliver shiny parcels to put under the various trees ready to open on Christmas day.

I'm sure, as in previous years, the Christmas spirit will eventually catch up with me. Just right now it isn't happening. Once all of the gifts are delivered and we can sit back and relax, that's when the true spirit of Christmas arrives in our house.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

A Bit Different

For the first time in a long time we will be doing things a bit differently this weekend. It will be the first weekend in about three years that we will not be visiting the boat. Naughty-Cal will be wondering what is going on!

Instead we will be playing host at home to Liam's mum and her husband who are making the trip down from Scotland for the weekend. It will be a welcome break for us from the work going on on board Naughty-Cal and will give us a chance to just chill out and unwind at home. Something we rarely get the chance to do.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

As well as being Blue

The weekend just gone wasn't all about fitting the new LED cockpit lighting, we did also manage to finish another couple of small jobs.

First up was changing the 12v socket on the dashboard for a new 12v USB socket. We have been fed up of using rubbish adapters for the existing 12v cigarette type sockets. Of course to swap the socket entailed dismantling the dashboard. 

Whilst we had the dashboard apart we routed some wiring for the lights but we also took the chance to route some extra cabling to the cockpit table so that we can add an extra USB socket by the cockpit table. This way we can both charge our phones at the same time instead of bickering over who will use the socket on the dashboard. We did manage to forget the hole cutter though so actually fitting the socket will have to wait until we are next at the boat, as will fitting the new socket in the cabin area.

With the socket installed and Liam busy in the bowels of the boat routing cabling, I set about clearing out the galley cupboard and the shelf in the bedroom. Quite how we manage to accumulate so much rubbish is beyond me but from these two quite small areas I managed to remove a huge black sack of rubbish which was really very heavy. There was also a big armful of manuals and books which were just taking up space and adding weight so these have gone home with the rest of the boat paperwork. 

The galley cupboard is now pretty much bare. All of the odds and sods of condiments and half used sauce bottles have been thrown away and will be replaced with new before Naughty-Cal is relaunched in March. The only food stuff in the cupboard at the moment is a couple of packets of cup soups, perfect for cold, winters days grafting on the boat, everything else has even been thrown away or taken home to use. 

Clearing out just these two small areas has set me off again now. The next time we are down at the boat I am once again going to tackle another small area of the boat and take away anything that is not necessary or needed. Shedding those few extra pounds makes all the difference on a small boat like Naughty-Cal.

Monday 8 December 2014

Feeling Blue

This weekend we were feeling a little blue. No don't worry we were not feeling down, we were installing Naughty-Cal's new blue LED cockpit lighting. It sounds like an easy enough task fitting ten small lights, but trust me it was a nightmare routing the wiring through inaccessible areas. But we got there in the end after two days of much swearing and cursing and we think the finished effect is quite fetching. There are still one or two minor tweaks to make and the lights need sealing in to make sure they are water tight but the bulk of the job is done and we have the remote control working.

Saturday 6 December 2014

It's a bit Nippy

We have woken to a glorious but nippy winter morning here in Lincoln.  Think we need to defrost the boat before we can do much work!

Friday 5 December 2014


You know sometimes when you have to buy something and its, well its a bit pricey and then it arrives and you are completely underwhelmed. Well today has been one of those days. Our new prop shaft has arrived. And here it is in all it's glory.

See, I told you so. Completely underwhelming for what it costs. Oh well. Its only money!

Thursday 4 December 2014

Haggis Rolls

We were pondering what to make for dinner last night and whilst rustling around in the freezer I found some haggis. But fed up of plain old haggis, neaps and tatties I decided to do something just a little bit different with it.

So for this simple recipe fry diced onions, swede and potato until softening, then add the haggis and a splash of Hendersons Relish and fry until warmed through and then add a small amount of gravy just enough to wet up the mixture but not make it too runny. Finally roll the mixture in extra light puff pastry and bake in the oven for half an hour at two hundred degrees.

Served here with smoked paprika wedges and a selection of winter vegetables.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Oversight on my Behalf!

An oversight on my behalf but I forgot to mention where we got Naughty-Cal's new teak cockpit table and shelf from! Oops.

Big apologies to Marine Teak who supplied the table and shelf. They fit like a glove and make the whole cockpit of the boat a more pleasing place to be.

I have added a link to their website so that you can see for yourself the huge range of teak furniture and accessories that they sell.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

E Pontoon Christmas Party 2014

It was our annual E Pontoon Christmas Party on Saturday night. It was a bit early this year but was the only weekend we could all get together so we booked the Marino's restaurant for the evening and some great entertainment.

The following are a selection of pictures from the evening from a selection of photographers, non of which are mine as I forgot my phone and camera. Oops!

Monday 1 December 2014

So Did You Guess?

So did you manage to guess what Liam was up too?

He was fitting our new teak table and shelf and what a difference they have made. We are well chuffed with them.