Sunday 31 May 2015

The Final Furlong

So today we have the final leg of this trip,  the short hop from Fiskerton Fen to Burton Waters.

The rain is beating down outside but if the forecast is right should be stopping shortly.

We have a lovely shoulder of lamb to put in the slow cooker so that we have for this trip at least, one last home cooked meal on board.

Saturday 30 May 2015

Edging Closer

As we edge ever closer to home it has been nice to have a slow, relaxing plod back up river for a change instead of the usual mad dash for home.

Last night found us at Kirkstead Bridge,  although we had to be a little experimental with the mooring technique!

We enjoyed a lovely curry at the Indian in Woodhall Spa and the fridges are full with fresh local meat for this evenings bbq.

Friday 29 May 2015

Homeward Bound

After a cracking run back across the Wash we are now homeward Bound slowly meandering our way back up the Witham.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Our Last Day

Today we are sadly heading back to Boston.  The weather forecast for the rest of the week doesn't look great so while the weather is fair and we can have a pleasant run we are heading for home and will have a steady amble up river towards home.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Dinghy Tours

Yesterday we enjoyed a very pleasant day exploring the salt marshes by dinghy. These quiet backwaters are only accessible at certain states of tide and by dinghy and are really very pretty.

Making sure we got back with plenty of water left, it would have been a long walk back if not, we had a relaxing afternoon b before clambering back into the dinghy and having a bbq on the beach which appears at low water opposite the moorings.

A great day.

Monday 25 May 2015

Feels like Home

We made it to Wells next the Sea and it feels like home from home. We had a great welcome from the staff at the harbour office. It's one of the reasons we visit this lovely seaside town each year.

Saturday 23 May 2015

Steadily Away

We have a nice relaxing days cruising today on our way to Boston.  We set off fairly late for us at 10am, had a lovely breakfast in the Bardney Heritage Centre and are now plodding along on the river.

Friday 22 May 2015

On our Way

After what has seemed a long day at work we are finally on our way.

Thursday 21 May 2015

Dinghy Days

We didn't really use the dinghy very much last year hence it's somewhat weather beaten and unloved appearance through much of 2014, however this year we have vowed that we are going to use it a lot more.

The first real outing for it will be to Wells next the Sea next week. If the weather is kind we will spend a day exploring the creeks and marshes and pottering about in the harbour before using the dinghy to get to "shore" in the Wash for a BBQ and a game of cricket on Roger Sands.

We also plan to take the dinghy on our summer holiday to the Fens in July. There should be ample chance to explore on the Fens with the little boat and again if the weather is kind will give us the chance to spend yet more time at anchor in the Wash exploring with the dinghy as we wait for tides.

We plan to visit York later in the year, a plan which was thwarted by the weather last year so we will have another go this year. Again we will take the dinghy as we will be spending time anchored up at Trent End and hopefully if we get the weather we will BBQ on the beach at Nun Monkton Pool. The dinghy being our taxi to shore once more.

It is a real shame that the dinghy and outboard are a tad on the large side for Naughty-Cal otherwise I'm sure we would take them out with us much more. But for now we are happy with what we have got so we will just have to muddle through and manage.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Way Back When

Do you remember what got you into boats and boating?

For us it was a chance holiday in early 2014 on board this little vessel Brinks Breakaway 1 on the Norfolk Broads.

We had been looking around for holidays and the chance to hire this little boat came up cheap so we jumped at the chance. Liam had holidayed on the Broads as a child but for me this was my first real foray into the boating world.

It wasn't all plain sailing. The boat was a bit of a handful, access on and off was terrible and getting to the bow to handle the bow line was at best taking your life into your own hands with the steep coach roof and low bow rails. In the picture above Breakaway is sat in the mud outside the Reedham Ferry pub. Access to the cockpit was so bad moored side on that the chance to have a stern on mooring was too good to pass up even if it did mean being left high and dry as the tide went out.

This was also our first meeting of our now long time friends Steve and Chris with their Sealine 310 Devocean, you can just make out the green canopies of Devocean to the left of the picture. Little did we know that in many years to come we would also be fellow Sealine owners and dedicated boaters. It was many years later in 2008 that we would meet again as we were buying Naughty-Cal. It's a funny old world.

We hired boats many more times between this first holiday and our eventual purchase of our own boat, always on the Broads and always from the Barnes Brinkcraft yard but it is this little boat, which is still on hire today, that truly gave us the boating bug. Thank you Breakaway.

Tuesday 19 May 2015

All Aboard

Despite having a very busy and action packed weekend we did still manage to get Naughty-Cal ready for action next weekend.

On Saturday Liam was busy helping  a friend service his engines so I set about giving Naughty-Cal another good scrub. With Liam back we had a rather hurried breakfast before heading across the the fuel berth to get some diesel. With the tank full we set off to Saxilby to enjoy the BBQ party for the evening.

We had a leisurely start on Sunday, not getting up while 10am when we had to get up to put the chicken in the slow cooker if we were ever to eat dinner. With the chicken in we had a quick walk before heading back to the marina to finish up getting the boat ready. The only remaining job was getting the dinghy on the davits. Now we scrubbed this last weekend but the bottom was left with a rather unsightly film of limescale which refused to budge with the cleaning chemicals we had to hand. Luckily a friend had some Starbrite Boat Bottom Cleaner handy so we gave it the once over with this and it has come up almost like new. We were amazed at how quick and easy this cleaner was to use, within half an hour the dinghy we had scrubbed and scrubbed last weekend was clean again. With the dinghy on the davits and the outboard stashed safely in the cockpit we had done for the day so settled back with a beer and a good book to while away the afternoon and early evening and finally finished off with a slow cooked chicken, stuffing and green beans.

Now all we need to do is finish up this week at work and we can head off into the sunset at the start of yet another holiday on board.

Monday 18 May 2015

The 50th

As we get older we all slow down a little and mature. Have you tried telling this lot that?

On saturday evening it was Daves (yes I know is says Robbo on the banner!) 50th birthday. I think a good time was had by all!

Sunday 17 May 2015

Almost There

Yesterday we got the fuel topped up before heading to Saxilby for an E Pontoon Bbq. 

This morning we are all a little worse for wear!

Friday 15 May 2015

Enjoying a Spot of Fresh Air

Finally we have got the Sierra up and running again. We promised ourselves this year that we would get her back on the road after a three year break in the garage. We pulled her our over the Christmas break to give her a wash and a check up but discovered one or two items that needed attention before we could get her out and take her for an MOT.

Now with old cars getting parts isn't always straight forward and we have several failed attempts at getting a coolant hose before finally finding the right one in Germany. With all of the toing and froing several months have now passed but finally she is now up and running again with fresh coolant and new hoses.

So last night she enjoyed a spot of fresh air sat on the driveway whilst Liam flushed through the coolant system, which judging by the amount of rust on the driveway this morning was due a clean out, and added fresh antifreeze and water.

It's nice to see her out of the garage. Now we are ready for the next step. When we get back from Wells next the Sea, the Sierra is to be taken to the bodyshop for a few minor bits of welding and then she will be heading for a new MOT.

Thursday 14 May 2015

Advance Warning - Large Load on River Trent

Notice Alert

River Trent

Location: Staythorpe Power Station (just upstream of Newark) from Hull.

Wednesday 3 June 2015 until Saturday 6 June 2015 23:59

Type: Navigation Restriction
Reason: 3rd Party Works

Original message:

Between the 3rd and 6th June, there will be large load (270t) being moved to Staythorpe Power Station (just upstream of Newark) from Hull.

Boaters are asked to proceed with care and to allow for delays during this operation.

You can find all notices at the url below:

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Planning Again

As with any of our coastal or tidal trips there has been a certain amount of planning to do for our trip to Wells next the Sea at the end of the month.

As well as getting the boat ready we have had to check tide times, book in at Wells next the Sea Harbour and also book our passage through the Grand Sluice Lock in Boston.

In common with most of the ports and harbours on this stretch of the coast access is limited by the tides. Entry into Wells is from around two and a half hours before high water to two and a half after high water, outside of these times there is insufficient water to enter the channel. The photo above shows the extent to which the entrance channel dries out.

Similarly passage through the Grand Sluice is limited to the two hours before high water and then again about two hours after high water when the water level in the tidal river matches that of the non-tidal Witham. To further confuse matters further at high water the level in the tidal river is always higher than that in the non-tidal river and at high water there is insufficient air draft beneath the bridges to facilitate navigation.

As I’m sure you have probably figured out by now, the trip from Boston to Wells and back again is a bit of a balancing act if you want to do it in one tidal window. To do the trip in two tides you make better use of the tides, to do the trip as we do in one tide you are effectively fighting nature. We have to leave on the first level, which means we are heading downstream on an incoming tide and then again at the other end we are heading upstream on an out-going tide. Thankfully this doesn’t really bother Naughty-Cal as she can just plough on through, however lesser powered vessels could well struggle against the tide.

So with just nine days to go before we set off on our first real break of 2015 we are booked in at the Grand Sluice for an 8.30-8.45am pen out on Sunday 24th during the first level tide period. This should see us arrive at Wells next the Sea between 11.00am and 11.30am shortly before high water.

Now we have the planning completed we just need the weather to improve. Try as I might I can’t plan for that!

Tuesday 12 May 2015

A Strange Situation

We are finding ourselves in one of those strange situations where everything on the boat is working. Now as many a boat owner will tell you this is a highly unusual situation and one which we are viewing with an air of suspicion. It is highly likely that this situation won’t last for very long, but whilst it does we will enjoy it while we can. It will be nice to go away for once with everything working and all jobs crossed off of the to do list.

Now I should point out that we do still have little odd jobs that we want to do, but none of these are essential to the day to day running of the boat, they are nice to haves rather then must haves, and we still have plenty to keep Liam busy between our Wells trip later this month and our trip to the Great Ouse in July. 

Monday 11 May 2015

Edging Closer

It has been a really productive weekend but without feeling over stretched or rushed around and we have finished far more jobs than we initially anticipated we would.

On Saturday we got the engine serviced and the new shower hose fitted and gave the cabin a good clean and tidy, before heading to Saxilby with friends and enjoying a few drinks before settling back on Naughty-Cal to enjoy a fine meal of BBQ Jerk salmon with garlic potatoes and veg. 

We made a reasonably early start yesterday knowing that we still had a few jobs to finish off so by 8am we were steadily cruising back to the marina getting back on our home berth by 9am and starting the next of the tasks fitting the new hot water element. I am pleased to report that we do now have hot water from the electric again. With this the main job for today finished we set about a few more tasks sealing in the shower room sink, decluttering the cabin, again, scrubbing the canopies, cleaning the cockpit upholstery and last but by no means least scrubbing the bottom of the dinghy. Even with this long list of jobs we were finished by 3pm when we at last settled down with a few beers and later on a fantastic meal of slow cooked lamb shanks in mint gravy served with root veg mash. 

With all of these jobs crossed off we have left ourselves a nice easy weekend next weekend with just the diesel to top up, the water tank to refill and the dinghy to put on the davits. Mind you it is a good job we won't have much to do as it is E Pontoon BBQ time on Saturday evening, I don't expect we will be fit for anything come Sunday!

Sunday 10 May 2015

All Done

We have finally finished all of the weekends intended jobs and a few more to boot.

A very productive day.

Saturday 9 May 2015

Engine Ready

After a brief spot of shopping in Lincoln this morning we headed back to the marina to set about servicing the engine.

No easy task as it is full service time it is a lengthy process but it is now ready to go again with fresh oils, filters and belts.

The last job for today is fitting the new shower hose.

Friday 8 May 2015

A Busy Weekend Ahead

So after a weekend off the boat last weekend we are now faced with a busy, busy weekend of getting the boat ready for our trip to Wells next the Sea in just a couple of weeks time.

This year is really flying by so far.

The list of jobs we have to do this weekend if we are to be in with any chance of finishing on time is quite impressive.

First up is servicing the engine. It has come around to full service time. This service includes the usual oil and filter and fuel filters but also includes the four belts, supercharger oil, cleaning the air filter and changing the trim ram fluid and power steering fluid.

Whilst he is in the engine bay Liam will also change, again the electric element in the hot water tank. The last one we were supplied was faulty. So hopefully we should have hot water again from the electric by the end of this weekend.

Another job we are doing for a second time is replacing the shower hose in the shower room. Again we were supplied with faulty parts which has meant doing the job for a second time. This job is easier said then done as it involves cutting out the shower room sink to access the plumbing and sealing it back in again is a two stage job, so even if it is started tomorrow it won't be finished until Sunday at the earliest. 

As well as these important jobs we have the more mundane jobs such as cleaning the canopies, cleaning the boat inside and out, scrubbing the cockpit upholstery and then applying the vinyl conditioner, and finally scrubbing the bottom of the dinghy and putting fresh fuel in the dinghies tank.

Hopefully by the end of this weekend we should just be left a couple of minor jobs for next weekend, topping up the fuel tank, it should only need about 30 litres but we will ensure we set off with a full tank and remembering to refill the water tank so that we are ready to set off as soon as we arrive at the boat the following Friday evening.

It is the final count down now.

Thursday 7 May 2015

A Weekend in Scotland - Part 3

Today (Monday) sadly marked the end of our final day in Scotland, however we did still have time to head to the coast and visit the town of Irvine. It was a much brighter day but the wind was still very blustery as you can see from the pictures.

 Rough seas

 Not many braving the beach today.

 A walk along the pier.

 The harbour entrance.

After a quick, brisk walk along the harbour wall we decided to visit the Scottish Maritime Museum a little down the road but still with in Irvine.

 A selection of the many boats on display.

 The museum has many interesting vessels.

 Each boat proudly displaying it's history on information boards.

 The it was a guided tour of the harbour.

 Before heading down to the pontoons for a tour of one of the coasters on display.

 Liam found himself a new friend onboard the coaster.

 The view from the bow overlooking the public pontoon.

 Walking back through Irvine to the museum.

 A selection of anchors in the car park.

All too soon it is time for us to load up our belongings and hit the road on the way back to Sheffield. We didn't have a bad run and were soon home in time to enjoy our last Scottishness for the weekend. A lovely dinner of Oban haggis, neaps and tatties.

Glorious sunshine as we head for home.

One thing we have now decided is that we will be visiting Scotland by boat in the not too distant future. It won't be this summer as we have plans already, and it probably won't be next summer as we have promised friends that we will visit the Norfolk Broads with them. But certainly if not before we will be visiting the lochs in the summer of 2017, which gives us plenty of time to plan the trip, including the long journey for Naughty-Cal by road.

Wednesday 6 May 2015

A Weekend in Scotland - Part 2

A wild, wet and windy day today so we decide to take in the sights of Glasgow rather than travel too far. First up the transport museum.

 A row of MK1 Fiesta's outside the museum. The Crystal Green car to the front of the picture was very similar to one that we owned a few years back.

 Granada police car.

 Indian style decoration.

 Interesting displays.

 Mock up of an old cobbled street with the shops staged to show visitors how life once was.

 The detailing on this horse drawn hearse was amazing.

 Steam train on the first floor. Lord only knows how they got it up there!

 The view from the first floor gallery.

Next it was a short hop across town to visit the Kelvin Grove Museum.

 Kelvin Grove amongst the trees.

 Spectacular displays of local wildlife.

 Including the illusive haggis.

 Spitfire suspended from the ceiling.

 It only just fits!

Magnificent artwork throughout the museum.