Tuesday 31 January 2017


We discovered a new type of pizza dough last night. Yoghurt dough. It is easy enough to make mixing two parts self raising flour to one part of low fat natural yoghurt.

The result was a perfect crispy Base and crust.

We topped this with reduced fat mature cheddar, sweetcorn, red onion, chilli and flaked smoked salmon.

Monday 30 January 2017

Hidden Pasts

As we had a day at a loose end yesterday we decided to take a walk in the lovely Rivelin Valley just a short distance from our house. Yet a place we rarely ever visit as we are rarely ever in Sheffield at the weekend.

Rivelin was once a hive of industry along this valley with mills scattered along the rivers banks. But the industry has long since gone and the valley has once again returned to nature with just the odd tantalising glimpse of the past hidden amongst the undergrowth.

After a couple of hours walking in the valley we then set off in search of a hidden gem in a now industrial part of Sheffield. The forgotten water wheel in Neeps End. We had heard it was still in tact but had never managed to find it. With a bit of foraging we eventually tracked it down. Long since abandoned and forgotten. 

Sunday 29 January 2017

Family Occasion

We had a great evening out with the family last night.  Something which we don't do often enough.

Saturday 28 January 2017

Don't Mind If I Do

One of the benefits of staying home this weekend.

A cracking full English breakfast with turkey sausage, black pudding, mushrooms and tomato cooked in the air fryer, scrambled egg and reduced salt and sugar beans.

A great start to the day.

Don't get me wrong we do cook this on the boat when it is in the water. But with the boat ashore it makes too many pots to wash!

Friday 27 January 2017

At Home

It is a rare weekend at home for us this weekend as we spend a weekend catching up on chores at home, throwing a bit of paint around and catching up with family for an all too rare family meal together tomorrow evening. I can't remember the last time we all sat around the same table to eat.

It does also mean that we will have a chance to have a lie in in the morning, something we very rarely get the chance to do. And as an extra added bonus I might even cook us a full English breakfast in the morning before we start our chores.

Friday evening at home can only mean one thing. A takeaway curry from the local curry house the Foxhill Tandoori washed down with a few glasses of Jack Daniels and diet caffine free coke for me and gin and tonic for Liam.

Thursday 26 January 2017

It's the Little Things

It's the little things that start to add up when we have Naughty-Cal out of the water for her annual spruce up and service.

Take just a few little pins and fastenings for example. Liam is busy refitting the shaft seals which refused to seat at the weekend and is also replacing the gear selector seal. Whilst doing this he has noticed that the cotter pins and locating pins are worn. In fact the pin holding the gear cable to the selector was so worn it pretty much fell off. Had it done this at sea it would have been less then handy to say the least.

These few small parts don't cost a lot of money, a few pounds each. But when you are ordering little bits and bobs the cot of postage is usually the same as the items you have bought! Annoying to say the least, but we need to parts to be able to put the drive back together next weekend so I have had to bite the bullet and order them.

To make the pill a little less bitter to swallow I also ordered a new red bulb for the dashboard instruments. One of them has blown recently. The £2 for this bulb just took the order value over the £4 postage fee!

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Cooking With .........Air!

It has been almost a month since we bought our air fryer and I have to say that we are really enjoying using it and cooking up some great meals in it.

Last night we had some garlic, chilli and lime chicken which I left marinading in the fridge all day whilst we were at work. 25 minutes in the air fryer last night and we had what could easily have been fried chicken with a crispy golden skin and tender flesh. But not cooked with oil, cooked with air. Healthy fried chicken.

We have also gotten the hang of cooking excellent sweet potato fries which again could easily be mistaken for fried chips but are again cooked with no oil.

It is safe to say that we approve of this kitchen appliance and it has almost made the ovens obsolete!

Tuesday 24 January 2017

More Planning

With our summer holiday to Scotland taking up most of our holiday entitlement for the year, and a week booked on a hire boat in October we are going to be struggling to fit in any longer trips away on Naughty-Cal this year. So we need to plan our bank holidays to make the most of the time that we will have to play with.

The Easter break will be our first real break of the year with four days afloat to play with. It is likely that we will head up the Trent towards Newark for this little break. We neglected this part of the river last year, with High Marnham on the tidal Trent being the furthest upstream we ventured, but this year we plan to visit Newark and beyond more often.

We will have a couple of other bank holiday weekends to play with before our summer trip for one of which we have three days break and the other four days. For the first of the two we may just potter around on the River Witham for a few days but for the second our plans will very much depend on how much fuel we have left in the tank. We need to run it down as much as possible for our trip to Scotland. So if we have loads in the tank a good run down to Hull should see it diminish. 

It will be strange for us having a fairly quiet start to the year.

Monday 23 January 2017

Heading Home

It was a bitterly cold and frosty start to the day yesterday. So with all of the jobs we wanted to do on the boat this weekend finished, well mostly but more on that shortly, we decided to head home and have a Sunday at home for a change.

As we were at home early I decided to cook a slow cooked ham shank in some Aspall's cider which was delicious. Served as you can see above with some Yorkshire pudding, a vegetable and cheese bake with leeks, cauliflower and brocolli and some savoy cabbage. It was lovely just right for a cold winters Sunday dinner.

We are not going to the boat this coming weekend due to family commitments so we have a couple of weeks now to cobble together the next list of jobs we will tackle. One of which will be replacing the oil seals again as one of them is not seating on the shaft properly. Not a major job but it did mean that we couldn't fill the drive with oil this weekend. Not the end of the world by any stretch.

Sunday 22 January 2017

Making Music

Yesterday we fitted the new cockpit speakers and they look far better than the old ones.

The cockpit refurbishment is now well on its way to being finished. We just need the upholstery doing now.

Saturday 21 January 2017

At Last

At long last week have a matching pair of sun covers on the dashboard.

It has taken long enough!

Friday 20 January 2017

Tackling the Canal

As well as planning our foray onto the West coast of Scotland we have also been busy compiling a list of places we want to see and visit on the Caledonian Canal. We will have a seven day visitors licence to play with and we are only heading one way on the canal which including the lochs is only 60 miles long. 

It will be a very sedate seven days for us with plenty of time spent ashore exploring the surroundings. Here is just a small example of what we plan to see and do on our trip.

The Muirtown flight of locks. The first lock flight we will have ever traversed with Naughty-Cal!

The Dores Inn  on the shores of Loch Ness. We have to call in for a pint or two.

Urquhart Harbour, a popular stopping place on Loch Ness. We will aim to wait until the hire boats have headed off along the canal a day or so ahead of us.

Urquahart Castle with it's own pontoon for visitors by boat.

The falls of Foyer situated a short walk from Foyer Pier.

The next flight of locks we will tackle is the stair at Fort Augustus.

The next loch is Loch Oich.

Invergarry Castle and hotel. A nice spot to have some lunch.

Laggan Avenue is another highlight of the canal.

Our final flight of locks will be the stair at Banavie, locally known as Neptunes Staircase. Eight locks back to back taking us down towards the sea.

Our final two locks will take us into Corpach Basin and finally out onto Lock Linnie and the coast beyond.

Thursday 19 January 2017

A Little List

All this week we have been busy concocting a little list of jobs for us to do on Saturday. We are only at the boat on Saturday this week and plan to come home on Sunday so it is only a small selection of jobs this weekend but all jobs that will be ticked off the list.

So far the list looks like this:

  • Fit the new cockpit speakers
  • Install the new remote control for the blue LED cockpit lighting.
  • Reinstall the bottom end of the sterndrive complete with new oil seals.
  • Remove the gearbox from the drive so that we can fit a new gear selector seal.
  • Refit the cleaned up anodes.
  • Scrape the trim tabs and refit the cleaned up anodes.
  • Lift up the floor panels in the midships berth again and vac out all of the mess we made last weekend.
  • Vacuum the engine bay again to get rid of the mess we made last weekend.
  • And finally give the bedroom a thorough clean out and fit some fresh bedding.
Nothing very taxing for this weekend at all. But all jobs that can be crossed off the list, which is now steadily shrinking. 

Wednesday 18 January 2017

From Way Up High

It wasn't all planning and pouring over maps during Sunday lunch. We did find time to have a few minutes out and play with Martyns new toy, his drone Max. We think we have convinced him to bring it to Scotland with him. If he does we should get some cracking pictures of the boats.

Here are a small selection he took on Sunday around the marina.

The boatyard. Naughty-Cal is the boat on the front row next to the parked car.

 Another view of the hardstanding. They have wedged us in!
The entrance to the yard. In previous years we have been ashore in the yard to the side of the green shed. This year we are on the opposite side.

E Pontoon. Naughty-Cal's mooring is being used a temporary dinghy bay whilst we are ashore.

General view of the marina with the security tower bottom left next to the slipway.

Tuesday 17 January 2017

The Beginnings of a Plan - Part 2

So we sat down over a few pints during Sunday lunchtime and started to discuss the makings of a few plans with Martyn and Gill for our summer trip to Scotland. We discussed dates and deliveries, have a rough idea of where we will head on the canal and started to make some sketchy plans for the West coast. Much of which will depend on the weather gods of course.

Thus far the outline plan is:

This will be our last view of the Caledonian Canal, leaving via Corpach Lock on out on Loch Linnie.

Our first stop off, but only for lunch will be the island of Eilean Munde at Glencoe. We will drop anchor to explore the island and ruined chapel before heading off for our first overnight stop.

Our first overnight stop will be at The Holly Tree Hotel in Kentallen. This will be the first time that we have had to moor Naughty-Cal to a mooring buoy so there will no doubt be lots of shouting!

Our second overnight stop will be at The Creagan Inn on Loch Creagan. Another mooring buoy to contend with!

From Creagan it is onto Tobermory with it's famous harbour front view.

From Tobermory it will be on to the Island of Seil with the famous Bridge Over the Atlantic. We won't be taking the big boats through the bridge but we will be taking the dinghies down the sound to sample a few beers in the pub.

Naughty-Cal's final stopping point will be the town of Oban. We plan to have a couple of nights here to get some rest and get the boat ready for her road trip back home. It is also here that we will say goodbye to Nitty Gritty and her crew as they head off on the third week of their holiday.

From Oban it is a very short hop to The Puffin Dive Centre where Naughty-Cal will be getting picked back up on the trailer and taken back to Lincoln. Once back in Lincoln we will have a couple of days to clean the boat up and chill out and unwind.

Monday 16 January 2017

A Job Well Done

Saturday's job of refitting the refurbished heater unit and replacing all of the warm air ducting was anything but easy. In fact it was a pain in the proverbial to say the very least. We had to dismantle most of the bedroom to gain access to the ducting and then rerouting the new ducting which was now larger diameter due to the lagging was just down right annoying.

However with all of this said it has made such a big difference to the amount of heat that we get in the cabin that it was a job well done and certainly a job well worth doing.

The old ducting had gone very brittle and we found that it was split in several places which explains some of the loss of heat from the ducting to the bilges and engine bay which always got super hot. It was also not routed very well in places and was squashed out of shape which certainly would not have helped with the air flow to the cabin.

We have tried our best to reroute it where possible and have moved some pipes out of the way so that we can achieve nice flowing changes in direction of the ducting and also avoid squeezing it out of shape.

The combination of the serviced heater, new ducting and lagging have all resulted in a super warm and toasty boat. We left the heating on whilst we went to the pub yesterday and when we got back it was like the Sahara in the cabin!

Sunday 15 January 2017

We Have Heat

We have heat again. We refitted the diesel heater yesterday and it is working a treat.

We also replaced all of the ducting, the old stuff had gone very brittle and was split in a few places.

As well as replacing the ducting we have also lagged it which has made a huge difference to the amount of heat getting to the cabin outlet.

It wasn't an easy job but one well worth doing.

Saturday 14 January 2017

It's Cold

It was very cold when we arrived at the marina last night.  Despite their best efforts the electric heaters couldn't warm the boat through.

So we had an early night.  After a bite to eat we hit the sack and resorted to leaving the electric blanket on low all night.

This did the trick and we have been toasty warm all night. Hopefully today we will have the diesel heater back in so we can warm this boat through!