Thursday 31 December 2015

The End of the Year

So today marks the end of 2015,  and what a great year it has been.

This evening we will see the year out at The Woodcocks pub on Burton Waters.

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Thanks Boiler

Thank you to our boiler for choosing the most expensive time of year to break down!

Why oh why?

So today I am waiting in for a new PCB to new couriered down from Newcastle and hopefully get it working properly again.

Mind you at least we still have heat, we just have to keep resetting the boiler.

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Stocking Up

We have a really good traditional butchers with their own slaughter house just up the road but what with work and being on the boat we don't often get to use them.

So we have made the most of being at home and have taken the opportunity to stock up the freezer with top quality local meat.

Over the coming weeks we will probably add more until it is bursting at the seams!

Monday 28 December 2015

The Wooden Hill

We got around to doing some more work on the hallway yesterday.  It had seemed to have come to a standstill but we put in the hours yesterday and finally got the walls clad right up the stairs and a sample section of the trim to the bottom.

Not a bad days work. 

Same again today.

Sunday 27 December 2015

Boxing Day Baking

We had family round yesterday so instead of making yet another huge meal I decided it would probably be easier to do a buffet lunch instead.

I didn't bank on the marathon three and a half hour session in the kitchen to get it all prepped mind!

It was worth it though to spend Boxing day with some of the family.

Saturday 26 December 2015

Christmas Day Cruise

We had a lovely Christmas day cruise to our favourite pub the White Hart in West Stockwith yesterday.

Obviously we couldn't do this in Naughty-Cal as she is ashore,  so as the weather was so mild we dug the Sierra out of hibernation.

Thursday 24 December 2015

Breakfast Muffins

I decided to try these today to see if they would actually work before committing to making them for breakfast tomorrow.

Take a buttered slice of granary bread and cut into a circle.  Take the circle of bread and place buttered side down in a muffin tray squeezing it down as much as possible.

Next add some mature cheddar and black pudding.  Then take a slice of smoked streaky bacon and place around the edge of the bread.  Finally crack a free range eggs into the well and bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees.

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Can You Guess What it Is?

Whilst smoothing out a lump in the plaster in our hallway Liam stumbled across this in the wall. It took some chiselling out!

But can you guess what it is?

Tuesday 22 December 2015

The Familiar

Whilst we always enjoy visiting places new with Naughty-Cal there are also some familiar places we always like to visit and would miss if we didn't visit each year.

Wells next the Sea is one of those places. It was the first place we ever visited by boat on the coast and as such is a place we hold dear to our hearts. We look forward to our visit each May where we can catch up with the harbour staff and swap stories of the previous year. The whole town is so friendly and welcoming.

2016 will be no different, we will use the trip to Wells next the Sea as warm up run for our trip further down the Norfolk Coastline later in the year. It is usually a useful indicator of any problems we might have stacking up in the pipeline. 

I for one am certainly looking forward to our week in Wells in 2016. It seems a long way off just yet but time has a habit of passing us by and before we know it we will be preparing to head out to sea once more.

Monday 21 December 2015

Officially Ready

So there you have it. We are officially ready for Christmas 2015.

The presents are all bought and delivered, our gifts are all at home ready for the big day, the bird is picked up from the butchers and in the freezer, the veg is in the fridge, and this morning we have just been and finished off the booze run.

So we are ready and waiting for the big day. Now just three days at work to rattle off and we can sit back and chill out for the duration. Well I say that, I can but poor old Liam has to work between Christmas and New Year :(

Sunday 20 December 2015

Wood You Believe It

Yet more cladding today.

It's taking some doing,  in particular the stairs where every board is different.

Liam used his new work mate for the first time and is much preferring it to the old one.

Saturday 19 December 2015

Wooly Headed

It was Liams works Christmas party last night so this morning he was a little wooly Headed.

To clear his head we had a lovely walk around Rivelin Valley. It was very mild for the time of year,  we were both in t shirts!

Friday 18 December 2015

Future Predictions

Yesterday the news was awash with the prediction that 2016 is set to be the hottest year on record, warmer on average than 2015 which is set to become the warmest on record so far.

Now this winter has been unusually mild so far, we have had just a couple of minor frosts so far, we needn't have bothered putting the heaters in Naughty-Cal up until now, she would have been fine without.

Will it continue? Will we get the warmest year on record in 2016? Well let's hope so as we have a great year of cruising in the pipeline for Naughty-Cal and it would make the year of we could have another two weeks of stunning weather in July when we head to the Norfolk Broads.

Thursday 17 December 2015

Back to Business

It has been a somewhat broken week so far. We have been busy each evening after work delivering presents and running errands, but now with all of that finished we can at last get back on with finishing that hallway.

Liam's new Workmate work bench arrived yesterday, so after work this evening he is going to assemble that and try it out with the few remaining planks of cladding that we have left from last weekend's DIY efforts.

This weekend we will then crack on and hopefully have the rest of the lower wall clad ready for a coat of primer over the Christmas break. It is starting to take shape now although the end product does still feel a long way off.

Wednesday 16 December 2015


We have finally regained the dining table from the mountain of presents it had been under.

Yesterday the bulk of the gifts were distributed and finally this evening the very last will be delivered and then we can sit back, chill out and enjoy the festive period safe in the knowledge that we has everything sorted in record time this year. No last minute rushing around this year, we have been organised for a change.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

The Eco Kettle

Our kettle gave up the ghost last weekend so we had no choice but to buy a new one. With us spending a bit more time at home this winter it is becoming a vital piece of kitchen equipment.

Now shopping for a kettle you would think would be a simple enough process, but oh no. We must have viewed pretty much every kettle for sale in Sheffield before making our purchase. It had to look right and match the rest of the kitchen equipment you see.

In the end we opted for the Russel Hobbs 3kW Cambridge Eco Kettle. What makes a 3kW kettle and eco kettle I hear you say? Well its quite a simple gadget really. A series of plastic tabs within the kettle that tell you how many cups of water you have in there, so you only boil the water that you need for the number of cups you are making.

Enough water to make one cup of tea or coffee boils in just 45 seconds, enough for two cups about a minute. The manufacturer claims that this function could save you 70% of your electricity used to boil the kettle. Now this is a bold claim and of course only time will tell if the claimed savings ring true. But every little helps, right?

Monday 14 December 2015

The Ham

So the Coca-Cola ham turned out a resounding success last night.

 In the slow cooker mid morning.

 The garlic and cheese potato bake it was served up with.

 The assembled meal. Just the ticket after a hard days graft in the hallway.

And the huge chunk of ham that is left for sandwiches and dinner tonight. And probably tomorrow night as well.

One oh so cheap gammon joint really does go a long way. 

Sunday 13 December 2015

More DIY

It's another day of DIY at home. Thrilling.

But after a long day of cutting and hammering at least we know there will be a warm meal awaiting.

This time a slow cooked Coca-Cola ham.

Saturday 12 December 2015

The Last Presents

I went and picked up the last of the Christmas presents today and wrapped them ready for delivery tomorrow and during the evening next week.

Whilst I was busy Liam was doing yet more DIY in the hallway. He reckons he can see an end in sight,  I'm not too sure.

Friday 11 December 2015

Up The Wooden Hill

It has been a broken week DIY wise at home, on Monday evening we were working on the car, on Tuesday evening we were bust dropping of Christmas gifts, Wednesday we were shopping and wrapping more Christmas gifts but yesterday evening we did crack on and get a bit more done, some progress made at last this week.

The wood paneling has now started its ascent up the wooden hill, with as you can probably see many angles to contend with. Pretty much every board is set at a different angle and is a different length so far. The ascent up the stairs could well take some time, but we can now see some progress being made.

The walls at the bottom of the landing are now prepped and ready for some minor filling and sanding in places and then we can start painting the paneling in the downstairs areas at least, then it will be ready for some wall paper. 

I'm sure it will all come together at some point, but at the moment it is like living in  building site and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. The Christmas deadline we had initially set for the hallway to be finished looks way off target, it could well be Easter before it is finished at this rate!

Thursday 10 December 2015

It's Beginning to Feel

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in our household. The first batch of presents were wrapped last night in readiness for delivering to the relevant places on Sunday or during the evenings next week.

Whilst I was busy wrapping gifts Liam was busy cladding more walls in the hallway. He has gotten to a more difficult section now heading up the stairs which has slowed progress a little but he is plodding on regardless. Will it be finished for Christmas? Well it is looking highly unlikely but we can utilize the Christmas break to get more done. I'm sure it will all come together at once, these thing usually do.

Wednesday 9 December 2015


Now for many years we have used LED replacement bulbs for all of the lighting on the boat, the saving in power consumption just makes this a no brainer. Why would you not reduce your consumption so vastly for so little outlay.

However the prohibitive cost of LED bulbs for the home has been something of a factor in us not embracing the technology on land as well as on water.

However in recent times this has all changed. Technology has moved on and as with most things as the technology progresses the cost decreases and becomes available to more and more people. 

Modern living has somewhat changed how our homes are illuminated, and the spot light is becoming more and more fashionable in the home. But with the average 50 watt halogen spotlight consuming on average around about £20 worth of electricity per year assuming it is on for 4 hours per day on average it can become an expensive job keeping them lit. For example in our kitchen alone we have four of them and have recently installed another four in the hallway. A total of 400 watts of halogen bulbs eating away at approximately £160 worth of electricity a year if we let them.

So it was again a no brainer, now that we have installed more halogen lights we needed to change the bulbs to LED equivalent GU16 bulbs to cut that consumption down, if the figures are to be believed the new LED bulbs will use approximately a tenth of the electricity that the halogen bulbs did. Savings which should really start to stack up over the years. 

Now for the cost. Well as I said earlier the cost has come down significantly over recent years and if you shop around there are some great deals to be had. I bought a box of 10 LED GU16 bulbs for the princely sum of £12.75. As I said, a no brainer and if the life span is to be believed these bulbs could last 50,000 hours, yes that's right 50,000! That is almost 25 years of use!

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Braking Nicely

Last night after work it was the turn of the trusty Datsun to have a bit of TLC.  This time it was brake pads all round and new discs for the front.

The pads were well worn on all corners so definitely ready for changing.

Monday 7 December 2015

Well Oiled Again

We were well oiled again over the weekend only this time with a different form of lubrication. It was of course our E Pontoon Christmas party and I think a good time was had by all. Here is just a small selection of the pictures taken during the evening.

 The pre dinner group shot.

A civilized start to the evening

With a couple of pre dinner games.

Amazing how little things like balloons can cause so much entertainment.

With the drinks flowing things start to get silly.

With dinner over its time to hit the dance floor.

 And the bottle!

The post dinner group shot. Not much of a difference!

Sunday 6 December 2015

Well Oiled

We also managed to get the sterndrive rebuilt and with some fresh oil in it yesterday despite the high winds.  Thankfully it stayed dry though.

Now the drive is just awaiting a quick clean,  touch up of the paint and new props in the new year prior to being relaunched.

Saturday 5 December 2015

Speeding Along

We have got the first of this weekends jobs over and done with. The speed and temperature transducer is fitted and working.

Friday 4 December 2015

More of the Sauna

So we got the next section of the Swedish sauna, AKA our hallway, clad last night. Don't worry the junction box is back on now!

Whilst Liam was busy with his wood, I got the last of the bulky bits of the wallpaper off the hallway walls on the upstairs landing. Well I say the last of the bulk, what I really mean is the last of the bulk that I can reach. We have some stair ladders but I won't go on them, that's Liam's job. But there isn't much more to get off. Another half hour should see it all stripped back to bare, if not slightly dodgy in places plaster.

We are now going to enjoy a couple of days off from the assault on the hallway and head across to Lincoln to get a few jobs done on Naughty-Cal tomorrow morning before heading to our moorers Christmas party at The Double Tree on Brayford Pool tomorrow evening. We also have to pay for our reserved tickets for New Years Eve at the Woodcocks this weekend. 

Thursday 3 December 2015

The Swedish Sauna

It was starting to feel like a Swedish Sauna in our hallway last night.  I was doing yet more wallpaper stripping up the stairs ,  how much can one hallway have?, whilst Liam set about the wood panelling in the bottom section of the hallway.

Steam and pine cladding,  very Swedish Sauna. 

Don't worry mind, the panelling is soon to be painted so the sauna look won't last for too much longer.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

New Parts

It is now time to start planning what we will do this weekend on the boat. It will be nice to have a couple of evenings away from the thankless task of decorating at home. Who would have thought one hallway could be such a pain in the bottom?

But anyway this weekend we have a nice little list of jobs to do on Saturday morning before we head into Lincoln on Saturday evening for our Christmas Party.

One new part that has turned up is the new speed transducer for the Raymarine Tridata. Remember the old one? Well here is a little reminder:

 Nothing left of this one!

Well here is what is should look like. The new speed wheel and thermometer unit.

As well as installing this we also plan to get some fresh oil in the stern drive now that the oil seals have been replaced and get the drive built back up again. However looking at the weather forecast for the weekend, this may have to be put on hold!

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Planning for 2016

As we continue the work to Naughty-Cal this winter and in the odd minute or two that we are sat down at home relaxing we are starting to plan our cruising for summer 2016. We already know that our main two week summer holiday will be too the Norfolk Broads again, we have not been for a few years and we are both missing it down there. However this time we plan to fill in some of the gaps that we have not yet been too with our own boat.

Just a few examples below:

 We have not travelled on the River Waveney at all yet with Naughty-Cal but we plan to head up to Beccles and under the town bridge.

Once through Beccles bridge we plan to head up river and visit the Gelderston Lock Inn, a pub we never even visited when we hired on the Broads.

 We also plan to cruise on the River Chet, another river we have yet to visit with Naughty-Cal.

Once up the Chet the lovely basin at Loddon will be our intended mooring spot to visit this lovely town.

Whilst on the Southern Broads we intend to visit Surlingham Ferry a favorite pub of ours but also we intend to try and visit the little back water at Thorpe St Andrew bridge height depending. This could be a close call.

 We have navigated Wroxham Bridge previously however as we have been with other boats who couldn't we have not yet made it to Coltishall with Cal. Something we plan to change next time around.

Another day and another low bridge, this time at Wayford.

 If we make it through Wayford Bridge the lovely moorings at Dilham Staithe await us.

 Sutton Staithe  Hotelwas always a favourite haunt when we hired boats but for reasons unknown we have to visit with Cal. Another pub we fully intend to visit this time around.

Now all that we need to do is plan a route that will take in all of these lovely places, towns, villages and pubs.