Wednesday 31 May 2017

Witham Wandering Part 1

Burton Waters to Bardney

Ready and waiting

This will do nicely.

Into Lincoln

Through the pool

Sunny through Lincoln centre

Onto the Witham for the first time this year

Cruising into the sunset

Bardney Lock to Tattershall Bridge to Dog Dyke

Rafted up at Bardney

Sunny day on the river

Tattershall Bridge

Tattershall Castle

The castle grounds

Way up high

I got a bit wet!

Tuesday 30 May 2017

A Fresher Day

It was an altogether much fresher day yesterday with frequent heavy showers and periods of heavy rain.

That didn't stop us having a nice day with a stop in Woodhall Spa for a few beers in The Mall. Then it was onto Dunsten Fen to try out the newly opened White Horse before finally onto Bardney Village where we watched a film in the pouring rain and enjoyed a nice meal of wild sockeye salmon and stir fried vegetables.

Back to the marina today but we are in no rush to get there.

Monday 29 May 2017

Curry Night

We had a steady run into Boston yesterday doing a few odd jobs along the way.

The old CRT index numbers were removed and replaced with new and last year's Norfolk Broads visitors licences were removed to shortly make way for the Caledonian Canal visitors licences.

After arriving in Boston and squeezing onto the last visitors mooring we filled up the water tank, got showered and changed and hit the town for a few beers and a curry at the ever good Massama Zone.

An excellent day.

Today we will head up river again. The day already has a fresher feel after last night's rain.

Sunday 28 May 2017

Soaked. But not the Rain!

Yesterday we had a nice run from Bardney to Tattershall Bridge. After nine years on the river we finally made the two mile walk into the village from the moorings and had a look around the castle.

After which we joined friends for a few beers in the pub and then headed off to the Packet Inn for our evening meal. Where things got a bit soggy.

One minute I was in the rib driving.  The next I was swimming.  At least it was warm!

Saturday 27 May 2017

On The River

With a Dark and Stormy to hand we set off out onto the river last night to catch up with the others who had set off earlier in the day.

We eventually found them all at Bardney . The river is as expected very busy. All of the moorings we passed were full and we ended up having to raft up.

Not complaining though. It is nice to see the river busy for once.

Friday 26 May 2017

Ready for the Weekend

Naughty-Cal is ready and waiting for the weekend. Now all we need to do is finish work and get to her later this evening.

Thursday 25 May 2017

Evening Sunshine

As it was a nice evening yesterday we decided to take the Sierra for a run out to The Strines Inn for a couple of beers in the sunshine. Partly because we have not been out in it for a while and partly because we are taking it to the boat this weekend so we wanted to check it was still running as it should be. Thankfully it was.

This morning we have loaded everything into the boot, then unloaded some so that we can get the beer and food in the boot. No matter how large a boot you have on a car it is never big enough!

So tonight we will head to the marina to load up the boat, take off the canopies, put up the curtains and generally just relax in the evening sunshine before heading back to Sheffield in the morning to work.

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Dark and Stormy

No not the weather. That has been anything but Dark and Stormy. But our new favourite drink on the boat.

We discovered this cocktail whilst having a couple of drinks in The Electric Bar in Lincoln and it has become a firm favourite of ours the last few weeks as it is so easy to replicate.

A shot of Cracken Rum, bitters, lime and ginger beer. We use Fever Tree Naturally Light ginger beers which is just the ticket. A nice refreshing drink to enjoy on an evening cruise down river.

Tuesday 23 May 2017

A Busy Evening

Last night I set too cleaning the boat curtains and shower curtain. The latter needing a treatment with a mild bleach solution to get rid of the first signs of some mildew on the bottom edge and retaining tie back strap. Whilst the shower room does have quite a large opening window for its size, which we do leave open all of the time, it does still take the shower curtain some time to dry off which leads to mildew growth along the edges.

Tonight I will be ironing the curtains and putting their hooks back on ready to refit to the boat on Thursday evening. We have decided that as we want to get straight off on Friday evening we will pop down on Thursday evening to sort a few little jobs out to make Friday evening much smoother.

With this in mind I am going to cook a curry tonight and pop it in the freezer ready to just warm through on Thursday evening. A nice easy but tasty meal served up with some rice and a vegetable bahji after we have finished hanging curtains, hanging the shower curtain, taking the canopies off, swapping the VHF aerial for the new shorter one and finally filling up the water tank again.

With this little lot done and the food and beer put away in theory all we have to do on Friday evening is finish work, drive to the marina, park the car and turn the boat key and go.

Monday 22 May 2017

All Is Good

Yesterday we had a quiet day. We needed to get the boat cleaned up ready for next weekend's long weekend trip down the Witham and we needed to test out the Honda outboard to check that was working as it should again.

The dinghy took some bailing out with all the rain we had last week, but before too long the little Honda was sat on the back again purring away, seemingly none the different for its fuel spillage and contaminated oil. We will keep using it over the next few weeks to make sure it is going to be reliable when we go away.

With the dinghy and outboard sorted out our attentions turned to Naughty-Cal. The interior was given a full going over with fresh bedding and all of the curtains and shower curtain have come home for a good wash. The shower room had a good thorough clean and the assortment of cleaning chemicals and potions and lotions was sorted out with anything not necessary coming home or going in the bin.

Whilst I was busy inside, Liam was busy scrubbing the cockpit. Hopefully the interior should be finished this week so we should, in theory be fully ready for our trip to Boston.

Sunday 21 May 2017

Mixing It Up

Lincoln was a hive of activity yesterday with several events happening around the city.

The street food festival in Uphill Lincoln was particularly good and we bought some lovely camel burgers, crocodile fillets and kangaroo steaks for an exotic mixed grill last night.

Today we have a quiet day planned . We will head back to the marina shortly to bail out the dinghy and try out the freshly serviced outboard motor before heading to Harbour Lights for Sunday lunch later on.

Saturday 20 May 2017

A Bit More Progress

A bit more progress has been made on the cockpit retrim.  Still not finished yet!

Friday 19 May 2017

Staying Local

We were going to head out into Lincoln this evening but what with having to head out to Farndon Marina in the car to pick up the outboard in the morning we have decided it is probably best to have a night in with a film, a few drinks and a nice home cooked chilli instead.

We are starting to get a bit boring of a Friday evening!

Instead we will head into Lincoln tomorrow afternoon instead and spend the evening in a few of our favourite pubs and bars before finding a bite to eat.

We have a table booked in Harbour Lights on the marina for Sunday afternoon so we won't be late back to the marina on Sunday. Their Sunday lunch is to die for and we have not had one for a long time so we decided it is time to treat ourselves.

Thursday 18 May 2017

A Steady Start

Ordinarily at this time of year we would be getting ready for our first proper holiday of the year. The second of the bank holidays in May usually heralds our first week away on the boat more often that not meaning a week on the coast heading to Wells next the Sea. 

This coming weekend we would usually be scurrying around trying to tidy up all of the loose odds and sods of jobs that need sorting out prior to the off next Friday evening.

This year however it is to be a more sedate weekend. We have no bank holiday week away. As a bit of a bonus we have the Tuesday off to make it a four day break but we are not planning to head far. A sedate jaunt down the Witham is in order for a curry in Massama Zone in Boston on Sunday evening.

A steady start to the year by our standards but it will make a nice change to not be charging around with tight deadlines to meet. A chance to relax and unwind.

Wednesday 17 May 2017

It Lives

The little Honda lives to fight another day. We dropped it off at Farndon Marina on Saturday due to an unexplained fuel leak.

They had a good look at it on Monday and were at a loss as to what had happened. There was fuel in the oil as well as pouring out of the back of the engine cover.

So the mechanic at Farndon has cleaned it all out, flushed the engine oil through with clean oil and run it up to see if it did it again. And guess what. No it didn't. So he left it overnight. Fired it up again and no sign of any fuel leaks again. So he has dropped the oil again and put fresh in and carried out the rest of the ten hour service. It is now ready to pick up on Saturday when we will put it back on the dinghy and give it a few more hours running to check all is well.

The most likely scenario for the fuel leak is when the boat next to ours knocked the outboard into the tilted position a couple of weeks ago it has also spun the engine over onto the "wrong"side. Four stroke engines can only be laid down one way of course. This coupled with the motion of the dinghy in the water we believe has caused fuel to enter the oil system and oil to leak out of the system, creating the resulting mess that poured all over the boot of my car!

Still it is all cleaned up now, freshly serviced and ready to go again. Now we just need to run another litre or two of petrol through it to ensure it is going to stay reliable and then it is good to go to Scotland.

Fingers crossed we have no more set backs like this. We can do without them now!

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Time For A Change

We thought it was time for a complete change in Naughty-Cal's cockpit. We were bored of the same old plain boring white vinyl trim. The trim was starting to get tired and every other Sealine S23 has the same trim. We wanted something a bit different.

We had seen the carbon Silvertex material on a Nord West sports cruiser at the boat show several years ago and instantly fell in love with it. We knew then that this was the material for Naughty-Cal when we came around to retrim her.

We were not wrong. It suits her down to the ground. Now we just need it finishing off. The lower area back rests are due to be stuck in this week and the cushion for the shelf above the fridge should be made this week. The only thing we will be waiting for are the helm seat back rests which are still at the embroiderers. These will be a couple of weeks yet.

All being well just after the bank holiday weekend we should be finished. But the effects for far we are very happy with.

Monday 15 May 2017

A Quiet Weekend

What with one thing and another we didn't actually get anything done that we had hoped this weekend but we did have a nice relaxing time instead.

On Saturday we discovered a problem with the new Honda outboard so that scuppered any ideas of cleaning up the dinghy and taking it home as we will need it again when the engine comes back now to test run it again.

So instead of cleaning we spent Saturday lounging around in the marina before having a steady run down to Saxilby for a BBQ evening with friends.

On Sunday we had a steady jaunt back before jumping in the car and driving the 30 miles or so to Farndon Marina to drop off the engine. Upon getting back we stuck the chicken in the slow cooker and headed out to The Pyewipe for a couple of drinks. Surprisingly for a sunny Sunday afternoon the pub and moorings were pretty empty. A sudden downpour put and end to our drinks in the beer garden so we headed back to the marina for a couple of drinks on the balcony of Harbour Lights instead. Before finally retiring back to the boat to listen to some music and tuck into a slow cooked moroccan chicken with a selection of vegetables.

The few set backs this weekend do mean that we are going to be extra busy in the upcoming weekends as we try to catch up with jobs.

Sunday 14 May 2017

Unexpected Trip

Today we have an unexpected trip to Farndon Marina to take the little Honda for a warranty claim.

Yesterday it refused to start and was pouring petrol out from somewhere so it needs some investigative works.  We could probably have stripped it down ourselves but we don't want to void the warranty so it going back to a main dealer for the works to be carried out.

Hopefully it will be something quick and easy to fix as we don't have many weeks left before we go away!

Saturday 13 May 2017

Making Progress

So our cockpit upholstery isn't quite finished yet but we are well chuffed with it so far. It looks great.

The backrests still need sticking in place but these need propping in place for a few days so he is doing that next week. And the helm seat headrests are not finished yet.

But I hope you agree what a vast improvement we have already.

Friday 12 May 2017

Taking It Easy

We have decided to take it easy again this evening as we have the fairly big job of sprucing up the dinghy to tackle tomorrow. So this evening we will have another quiet Friday night in watching a film while having a few drinks and for later we have bought some wild Sockeye salmon to have for supper with some stir fried vegetables.

We expect it to take a good few hours to scrub up the dinghy and get it looking good as new. We have a barrage of proven chemicals to get it looking spick and span. Starbrite Boat Bottom Cleaner for the lower hull and Elbow Grease and Magic Sponge for the topsides. Then complete with new rope fender and new mooring lines it will be ready to take home to make the new floor.

It won't be all work and no play this weekend though. We are planning to make the short trip down to Saxilby for a BBQ on Saturday evening. 

Thursday 11 May 2017

Pigging Out

Liam was out at an Iron Maiden concert at the Sheffield Arena last night so I had the chance to have a night in and pig out on one of my favourite dinners. Fish and chips.

Liam isn't so keen so with this in mind we never have fish and chips at home. He will occasionally have it if we are on the coast but never at home or in a pub or restaurant. Strange boy. It is one of my absolute favourite meals.

Wednesday 10 May 2017

More Work

It is time this coming weekend to fettle the dinghy ready for July's big trip. The new engine has run its allotted running in hours so is coming home for it's ten hour oil and leg oil change. It will then be cleaned up and packed away in it's bag ready to go.

The dinghy needs taking out of the water and giving a proper scrub top and bottom. The only problem with leaving it in the water at our mooring is the amount of growth it gets in a relatively short space of time.

We are also making a new floor for the dinghy. The old wooden one has suffered the effects of time and weather, well it is 13 years old now, it won't be like brand new. We are making a new plastic floor using the old boards as patterns.

Finally the last piece of getting it ready is replacing the rope fendering and also buying a couple of new mooring ropes to complete the refurbishment. With all of this lot done, hopefully on Saturday, then the dinghy will be rolled up and put in the car to take home and stick in the garage until we are ready to go to Scotland.

Not long now!

Tuesday 9 May 2017

The Small Things

It is a combination of attention to detail and changing just a few little things that we find makes our enjoyment of Naughty-Cal all the better.

Take for example the simple changing of the towel holder in the shower room. For nine years we have hated the horrible plastic original that Sealine found fit to install. It looked and felt cheap and nasty and eventually the inevitable happened when Liam managed to break it at the back end of last year.

We sourced a suitable replacement fro B&Q a couple of months ago but had not gotten around to fitting it. Liam fitted it on Saturday morning and hey presto, the room is transformed and no more nasty plastic. Instead we have a simple stainless steel ring. Looks much nicer and feels much more sturdy. Now why didn't Sealine think of that.

This weekend we have a set of new tap heads to fit in the shower room. Again these are cheap and nasty plastic items which don't last long before they are worn and no longer turn the taps to adjust the water temperature. But we have another little plan up our sleeve for the shower room to improve this further. But that will wait until our return from Scotland.

Monday 8 May 2017

Easy Sunday

After a lovely evening out in Saxilby with great friends and another great curry from Spice Mystery we were ready for something a little more chilled out and relaxing yesterday.

So we set off from Saxilby, still no signs of life from the other three boats and headed into Lincoln for a bite to eat in the Mailbox, followed by a walk up Steep Hill to the cathedral where they were holding a science and engineering exhibition. The centre piece this year being the Delorean from Back to the Future.

After an hour walking round the cathedral we headed back down the hill and enjoyed a beer by the water side in The Square Sail before heading back up the hill for a drink in The White Hart Hotel and another in Widow Cullens. This time heading back down the hill and back to the boat. It had been an enjoyable relaxed afternoon but was time to head back to the marina where we listened to some music with the heating ticking away and finally enjoyed a lean steak mince chilli with pasta and homemade garlic bread to end the day.

Sunday 7 May 2017

Minor Jobs

Liam took advantage of the trim being missing yesterday to gain access to the flag staff holder which needed tightening up as it had worked very loose. That is now as secure as new now.

He also fitted the new towel holder in the shower room that has been sat in a cupboard for weeks!

Saturday 6 May 2017

Started At Last

The long awaited cockpit retrim has started at long last. We arrived at the boat last night to find that most of the cockpit upholstery has gone.

He has left us the helm seat cushion and drivers back rest though so we can at least drive the boat in some comfort.

By this time next week we should be sporting a fresh new look. I for one can't wait now.

Friday 5 May 2017

Quiet Night In

We have decided to have a quiet night in this evening enjoying a few beers while watching a film and later enjoying the nice turkey curry that I made earlier in the week with some rice and vegetable bahjis. 

If no one is about we will probably stay in the marina but if our neighbours are around we may well nip out onto the Woodcocks mooring so that we can turn the sound up a little bit without disturbing anyone.

We play the sound from the films through the boat speakers and whilst it does sound good the sound also comes from the cockpit speakers which might disturb others around us if we turn it up too much in close proximity to other boats. There is rarely anyone on the Woodcocks mooring on a Friday evening so we can go around there and listen too it at whatever volume we desire.

Thursday 4 May 2017

Sneaking Up

When we first started planning our long awaited trip to Scotland with Naughty-Cal, it seemed such a long way off. Now we are just nine weeks off setting out on what will be our biggest adventure to date.

With this dawning realisation that time is marching on and we still have quite a lot of jobs to do we have started to make a list of what we have left to do before we can set off.

Naughty-Cal is for our part pretty much sorted. We just have one or two tiny little jobs to do. The new shorter VHF aerial needs fitting and rewiring right back to the radio. Last years Norfolk Broads licences need scraping off the windows and our new Canal and Rivers Trust index numbers need putting in the windows. We need to scrub up the tonneau cover and check that it will be a snug enough fit to get us the long journey to Scotland and back covered up. And finally a job that we have no control over, we need the new cockpit trim fitting!

The dinghy needs a good fettle up. We need to replace the floor with a new plastic floor, replace the rope fender and the mooring ropes and finally give the whole thing a good scrub so that it is looking good as new, then it will be rolled up and taken home to wait until we go. The new outboard is coming home this week for it's ten hour service and then this will be packed away and bagged up ready to go also.

It will be a busy nine weeks. As well as this host of jobs we also have a few cruises lined up and another long bank holiday weekend to fit in. We have no choice but to get everything finished in time for the off. So we have a busy time ahead.

Wednesday 3 May 2017

A Nice Break

We had a thoroughly enjoyable few day break over the bank holiday weekend. A nice way to chill out and unwind in one of our favourite places to visit by boat.

Staying in the same place for a couple of nights with no electric hook up gave us our first chance to test out the new batteries and see if they were going to be up to the job. We needn't have worried they performed excellently, putting up with two days worth of use from the electric kettle, fridge and heating with no worries. We were pleasantly surprised, they seem to stand up to the rigours of life on board far better then the previous Varta's did even when they were brand new. So a good choice made there.

The only slight disappointment of the long weekend was that for the second time in a month we were let down by The White Hart. They said they would feed us but in the end we got fed up of waiting and left, heading to the Waterfront for a couple of drinks before going to the Yacht Club where we ordered a take out curry instead. Next time we probably won't bother with the White Hart at all which is a shame as we have always enjoyed it in there in the past.

Tuesday 2 May 2017

A Hidden Gem

Naughty-Cal is a tad too deep drafted to head down the Chesterfield Canal so we really have been missing out on this hidden gem of a waterway. On Sunday the weather was just right for a little exploration on the dinghy. Three and a half hours upstream and then turning back around again to head back to the basin.

Leaving Naughty-Cal behind.

Passing the moored boats at Stockwith.

In the lock.

Under the first of many bridges.

Out into the countryside.

The first of many refuels!

Gringley Lock with the stunning lock cottage.

Pleasant wooded sections.

Approaching the tunnel at Drakeholes.

Through the tunnel. Our first tunnel ever and it was on the dinghy!

Yet more bridges.

Sharing the locks with a pair of narrowboats on the way back downstream.

After this wonderful day out the outboard has now run its ten hours running in time. We will take it home next weekend and give it it's first 10 hour service. This requires a change of engine oil and leg oil and then it will be cleaned up and packed away ready to go to Scotland in a couple of months time.

Blimey this trip is creeping up on us now!