Wednesday 28 February 2018

Dodging The White Stuff

We made it to work safely this morning through the blizzard like snow but we are now heading back home having taken half a day.

It is not good around Sheffield. We have taken a break for lunch before starting the last leg home!

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Paying Out

It was an expensive boaty day yesterday despite us both being back in Sheffield at work. Time had come around to renew the insurance, renew the Canal and Rivers Trust Licence and renew our moorings agreement. All at once!

Now none of these items on their own are overly expensive, our 12 months rivers only licence is only £340 for example. But when they all come together it becomes a bit of a bitter pill to swallow!

Needless to say it will all be forgotten about the next time we get a sunny day and we are out on the river. But for now in a snowy Sheffield the wallet is sulking a little.

Monday 26 February 2018

A Nice Winter Weekend

We have enjoyed what has proven to be a great winters weekend on the water. The weather was perfect for the time of year, crisp blue skies, cold temperatures and light winds. What could be better for the time of year?

Saturday evening dinner at Huckleberries

Post dinner drinks in the newly opened Cosy Club

We loved the interior of the Cosy Club.

Portraits of people who all have links with the Cornhill Exchange

Our taxi awaits ready to take us home.

A sunny saturday on the Fossdyke.

The Sun Inn in the sunlight

We didn't see another boat moving all day.

Sunday 25 February 2018

Beautiful Day

After a  brilliant night out in Lincoln catching up with friends we are having a run to Saxilby in the sunshine for a couple of beers.

It is a beautiful day for it in the winter sunshine and for the first time this year we have the canopies partially rolled up to let the fresh air in.

Saturday 24 February 2018

We are Sailing

We finally got out on the boat after Liam had finished playing with the Mini.

Friday 23 February 2018

Land Lovers?

We are having yet another Friday night at home, but don't worry we have not turned into land lovers, we are heading to the boat tomorrow. Liam just has a few jobs to do on the Mini first thing tomorrow morning and then we will head across to Lincoln to check that Naughty-Cal is fine and dandy.

We have an evening out with friends planned in Lincoln. We don't get to see them very often anymore as they have their boat in Spain at the moment having started their trip of a lifetime in July 2016 setting off from Lincoln, heading down to Boston and then down the coast to Lowestoft before heading across to Holland, Belgium, France and now Spain. It is anybodies guess where they will end up next.

The weather seems to have scuppered our plans somewhat as we had planned to head to Lincoln by boat. But it has turned very cold overnight with a sharp frost and much the same planned for tomorrow so we expect the marina will be frozen over. But we can either walk down or catch a bus or taxi.

Thursday 22 February 2018

Time to Delve In

With spring just around the corner it is time to start thinking about servicing the big green lump of a KAD32 in the engine bay.

This year it is a major service to include all of the belts as well as the usual oil, oil filter, supercharger oil, crankcase filter, clean the K&N air filter, engine fuel filter, fuel tank fuel filter, impellor and change the coolant. We are thinking that while we have the coolant drained we may we change the two thermostats as well.

The major service can be a time consuming job. There are a lot of items to change. The belts themselves take a good hour to change as there are four of them to do in a certain order to a certain torque setting. Get them wrong and they start to slip and cause problems. Get them right and you have nothing to worry about for the next 500 hours or so.

Getting the oil out can be a long and labourious task. All 9.5 litres of the stuff can take a while to pump out, not helped by our oil extractor having an 8 litre capacity! Stopping it mid way through the extraction is annoying to say the least.

With the engine serviced and the drive serviced late last year we hope to have yet another trouble free year of cruising in waters old and new.

Wednesday 21 February 2018


Yesterday we heard the devastating news that Worsksop Manor Lodge had been subject to a huge fire overnight on Monday night into Tuesday morning. Four engines were in attendance to bring the fire under control but a large amount of the building has been lost to the fire.

We are gutted for the family who for the last nine years have put their heart and sole into the property to turn it from a fire wrecked ruin into a beautiful family home.

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Pigging Out

We had some of the lovely sausages from The Little Sausage Shop for dinner last night. They were delicious. This time we had pork and black pudding. They were so meaty it was like eating a joint of pork.

We enjoyed these ones in a giant Yorkshire pudding with leek and mushroom gravy, sweet potato mash and some broccoli and savoy cabbage.

Monday 19 February 2018

Keeping It Local

Having a weekend at home gave us a chance to visit a few places and events that we wouldn't usually get a chance to visit. 

First stop was the farmers market at Bradfield Village Hall just a few miles from home where we stocked up on products from The Our Cow Molly dairy in Dungworth. The only Sheffield Dairy still producing it's own milk and products and less then 5 miles from home. We now had plenty of stock of fresh milk, butter and their excellent ice cream.

The next stop was a little farm shop we had discovered about half a mile from home but have never managed to catch open. The Little Sausage Shop. Here we bought some lovely sausages, burgers and dry cured bacon all free range home reared and excellent quality products. They really are very tasty and were a very reasonable price. In fact the bacon was cheaper than the cheap water filled rubbish supermarket bacon. We will certainly be going back again. In fact the owner did say that if we are passing on a Thursday and miss the opening hours that we can call in a little later to buy our goodies as Thursday evening is sausage making time so he will be around. Which is great news for us. We now have no excuse for not going.

Sunday 18 February 2018

A Great Evening

We had a great evening last night at Worksop Manor Lodge. Today we will just be chilling out at home.

Saturday 17 February 2018

Doing the Rounds

It has been a busy day so far. We have been to The Bradfield Farmers market where we bought loads of milk, butter and ice cream from the local dairy Our Cow Molly.

On the way home we called in at a new farm shop, The Little Sausage Shop and bought plenty of home reared pork products.

The weather hasn't been great so we decided to head to the newly opened Sheffield Ikea for a browse and now we are sat in the Gardeners Rest enjoying a sit down and a pint in the Riverside conservatory.

Soon we will head home and get ready for tonight's party in Worksop.

Friday 16 February 2018

Staying At Home

We are having a weekend at home this week. Well mostly at our home, we have a party to go to tomorrow evening in Worksop, so we will stay over there tomorrow evening.

But this will give us the chance to get a few things done at home tomorrow. We have a few more items to make their way into either the bin, charity shop or friends houses as part of the big declutter. This will see the bedrooms done and dusted for now. 

Then it will be time to start on the cupboard under the stairs. I'm sure we all have a bit of a dumping ground and this seems to have been ours for the last few years so it is time to get everything out of it and start afresh in there again. 

Thursday 15 February 2018

Be My Valentine

Last night we went out for a lovely meal at one of our favourite country pubs The Strines Inn. It isn't too far from our house so makes for a lovely run out into the countryside. The pub had set aside a room for the valentine bookings and had dressed it just right with the open fire roaring away, the tables dressed and little goodie bags for each of the diners. It was just right and the food as always was very good. I had a very nice pheasant casserole packed full of meat and Liam had the steak with proper chips and salad.

It is unusual for us to go out on Valentines Day. We normally stay in and I cook a steak dinner but this year we decided to let someone else do all of the hard work and the washing up.

In other news the refund from P&O arrived this morning. Very swift service from the refund department. We were expecting this to be well into next week as is usually the case with refunds. Companies tend to be quick at taking your money but not so quick at refunding it. But credit where it is due, P&O have excelled in this department and we are now looking forward too a lovely and substantially cheaper cruise at the end of next month. We still can't work out how they make any money on £184 for two people in a premium outside cabin, coach transfers too and from Amsterdam and a breakfast for two each day!

Still we won't complain about it.

Wednesday 14 February 2018

It Pays to Check

Our friends who are coming to Amsterdam with us had not yet booked their tickets and did so last night. When they rang us to tell us what price they had got their tickets for, we were gob smacked. They were considerably cheaper then we had paid.

So I logged into our P&O account online and reran our quote and low and behold it was now £119 cheaper than when we had paid several months ago. The website was not so keen on letting us had the refunded amount but a quick phone call to P&O this morning has it all sorted and a little bit extra discount for our troubles. The refund is almost enough to take a second mini cruise later in the year!

Tuesday 13 February 2018

How It All Started

We were looking back through a series of photos at home when we came across some pictures of our first boating holiday together some 16 years ago now. It is amazing looking back now that we even took to boating at all with the boat that we took our first holiday on board.

It was a little tricky to say the least and really very small. Despite being only a tad shorter then Naughty-Cal the shaft drive propulsion meant that there was a lot of space taken up by the engine, gearbox and prop shaft that is used for accomodation space on our boat.

There was no permanent double berth, the bed was the bow saloon seating. In the end we left this made up and sat out in the cockpit to lounge around and eat. Far from ideal at Easter time. The shower room was cosy to say the least and the kitchen was not all that well thought out. But by far the worst feature of this vessel was the access to the bow which was through the windscreen and down a rather steep bow feeling very exposed to the elements. It didn't feel safe at all.

But somehow despite all of this we fell in love with being on the water. This week away on a less then ideal craft firmly cemented the idea that we would one day have our own boat. Several years of hiring more suitable boats followed before we eventually did of course. But here is where it all began with the Barnes Brinkcraft Breakaway.

Breakaway No.1. The boat we hired.

The cost interior. Just big enough for two!

The spacious cockpit with the third sink above the fridge. That's right sink number three on such a small boat!

Monday 12 February 2018

What a Difference

What a difference a day and a few miles makes. Yesterday we were sat in the sunshine on the back of the boat watching the world go by. This morning we set off from the boat on a cold frosty morning but just 45 miles away chaos would resume with just the lightest sprinkling of snow causing havoc on the roads of Sheffield.

A trip that I do every day that usually takes no more then 5 minutes has taken 25 minutes this morning due to BMW drivers not realising the limitations of their vehicles in the snow and ice. 

Ok that may have been slightly harsh. It wasn't only BMW drivers that were stuck but of the few incidents I got stuck behind the initial problem in each was a stranded BMW. 

Hopefully by this evening it will have melted. I don't fancy the trek across the city if it is like that again tonight!

Sunday 11 February 2018

It's A Mystery

We had a very enjoyable evening first off in The Sun Inn followed by a nice meal in Spice Mystery.

Today we will dawdle back to the marina with a chicken casserole in the slow cooker.

Saturday 10 February 2018


It isn't a very inspiring day on the river. It's is cold, wet, grey and miserable.

We have done what we need too in Lincoln so it is time to head to Saxilby.

Friday 9 February 2018

Beer and Good Food

It looks set to be cold again tonight so we have decided that we will spend the evening on our home mooring with a few quiet beers and a film followed by a bit of tea later for which I have brought some salmon and some vegetables to stir fry to accompany it. A very civilized evening in the making.

Tomorrow morning we will drive into Lincoln by car for a change as we have a few things to do in town. Before we come back and head down to Saxilby by boat for a curry and beer evening with friends. It looks set to be a bit wet and breezy tomorrow and on Sunday but the wind is forecast to be blowing in the right direction to get back onto our mooring in the marina so we will be fine.

Thursday 8 February 2018

Planning For the Thames

We now know when and where we will be getting dropped into the Thames and we now know when and where we will be getting picked up on the Thames, so it is time to start planning what we will do with our time on the non tidal Thames.

We know that we are getting dropped in at Lechlade so that part is easy enough but what to do in the middle?
We are thinking that after a morning looking around Lechlade and getting stocked up that we will have a steady cruise on to Newbridge.

The following day we will head away downstream to head through Oxford and the one low bridge we will encounter at Osney. With this cleared we can relax a little bit more. We should in theory have about 1ft clearance but if river levels are up that could scupper us getting under!

Assuming we get under the bridge we will after a night in Oxford head down to Abingdon

We have a night to play with before we make out next destination of Henley. We are still undecided where to stop that extra night so any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Then it is onto Windsor.

Our time on the non tidal river will now be coming to an end. Just time for an evening in Staines.

Then our final night on the non tidal river will be spent at Teddington Lock, ready for our descent onto the tidal river the next day.

As you can see this is very much a whistle stop tour of the non tidal Thames but we will get to see plenty and we are not scared of putting in a decent days cruising each day. We will do as we usually do with early morning starts, then a break for breakfast, then another couple of hours cruising followed by a stop for lunch and a beer, then carry onto our location for the evening. This is a routine that has served us well over the years and means we get in some decent mileage whilst still enjoying our new surroundings.

Wednesday 7 February 2018

The Mini's Turn

With the Nissan now back up and running it is the Mini's turn at the mechanics. This time it should just be a minor job and should hopefully be done within the day if not tomorrow.

Since buying the car the heating has not really worked very well, well no scrap that, the heating has not worked at all until the car gets up to over 2000rpm. Which is never around town!

It has already had a new thermostat fitted and a flush through of the coolant system and heater matrix, all to no avail. The last thing to try is fitting a new water pump. We all believe that the fins on the old pump have started to break up and not pump so well. Mini's are well known for getting air locks in the system due to the layout of the pipework and the radiators. So the theory is that below 2000rpm the current pump just can't shift the air. It would also stand to reason why the radiator fan runs for so long on even a short drive. The pump is struggling to keep the coolant moving.

Whilst it is having a new water pump it may as well have a new auxillary belt, there is a belt tensioner that is grumbling and will be replaced and it may as well have an oil and filter change as well. We know where we are with it then. Although it does mean that next year both cars will be due servicing at the same time!

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Feeling Penned In

We have been determined this winter to put in a few more miles then previous winters on the boat. After all it is the first winter in three or four that we have stayed in the water. Usually at this time of year we are getting ready to go back in, trying to polish and antifoul in the rain, wind and usually snow.

We have managed so far this year to rack up 41 miles, which I suppose considering we have not been down to the boat every weekend is probably not a bad number. But it doesn't feel much. We want to be heading further afield.

The days are definitely getting longer and the nights shorter, but with the Trent locks still on winter opening hours which are not always based around the same tide for each lock it has made getting onto the Trent so far this year not viable. We are starting to get cabin fever penned in on the Fossdyke and Witham. 

We are raring to get off and go exploring but the weather, time and tides have other ideas. Perhaps this is one of the benefits of having the boat out ashore for the winter. When we are dropped back in at the beginning of March then we can hit the ground running so to speak.

Monday 5 February 2018

The Quiet After the Busy

We had a lovely quiet day in yesterday. A nice quiet end to what has been a busy weekend.

We had no rush to get back to the marina so we had a couple of cups of coffee before heading to Saxilby for breakfast. Here I rustled up some reduced fat sausages, black pudding, poached eggs, shitake mushrooms, hash browns and cherry tomatoes. Just the ticket for a cold wintery morning.

With the sun finally peeking out from behind the clouds we headed back to the marina to sort out the dinghy. Now that we have new neighbours it doesn't fit between the two boats so we have had to clean it out and put it in front of our boat which makes getting in and out a bit interesting. The little Honda was a bit reluctant to start at first. When we drained the carb it was easy to see why. It won't run on water!

With the dinghy looking a bit more respectable again we finished off the evening watching a bit of TV and finally settling down to a slow cooked chicken and vegetables. 

It looks set to be a cold week this week so we made sure all the heaters were working and we have plenty of electricity on the bollard to keep them running.

Sunday 4 February 2018

Seeking The Sun

We went in search of the sun yesterday but the only sun that we found was The Sun Inn at Saxilby. After a couple of drinks in there we headed off to Torksey where we met up with a friend and had a lovely meal in the White Swan.

I had the beef in red wine gravy which was delicious.

Today we will have a steady run back to the marina.  We have no rush to get back. We have the stuff in the fridge to cobble together a breakfast and a chicken to stick in the slow cooker later on.

Saturday 3 February 2018

Soggy Saturday

We had a brilliant night out last night. Town was busy as expected on the weekend after pay day but we found a great table in The Rogue Saint right in front of the stage. The band were very good which is a bonus.

This morning we have woken to a grey soggy day . We will have the morning in Lincoln before heading to Torksey where we are booked into The White Swan for dinner later.

Friday 2 February 2018

Pleasant Pheasant

Our run out in the Datsun last night highlighted one minor problem with the car. The tickover speed is a little bit erratic and ranging from 1000rpm to over 1600rpm which is a bit alarming at times. But on the whole the engine is running sweet and pulling as it should. We will drop it back in at the garage next week when we pick the mini up and get them to sort out the idling problem.

We enjoyed a lovely meal in the Strines Inn. I had the pheasant pie which was delicious and Liam opted for the steak which was cooked to perfection and served with proper homemade chips. A rarity in this day and age which is a real shame, you can't beat proper chips.

Tonight we are heading across to the boat and we plan to have a night out in Lincoln. We are not entirely sure where we will be heading for just yet and will decide on that later. One thing we have decided on though is that we will be having a quiet night on Saturday as we have booked into The White Swan at Torksey for a meal on Saturday evening.

Thursday 1 February 2018

The Fleet is Back

For almost a month now there has been a gaping hole on the driveway at home, it was temporarily filled at the weekend by our guests Mini, but still the gap was there. My beloved Datsun was missing in action!

But last night we received the phone call to say that she was ready to pick up. All was fixed and a new MOT was in place. I could have my car back!

We didn't get much chance to test her out last night as we had other plans and places we needed to be. But just driving across town I could tell that she was back to her usual self. Not more misfiring, no more flat spots and the chuntering sound from under the bonnet gone.

Tonight we will get the chance to give her a good run out into Derbyshire as we plan to head out for something to eat at The Strines Inn after work. I have no doubt that all will be well. We no have our full fleet back.