Friday 30 March 2018

On The Big Ship

After a brilliant day in Hull we have just checked onto The Pride of Rotterdam for the evening.

Thursday 29 March 2018

Getting Ready

After the extended weekend last weekend it has felt somewhat of a rushed week this week and we have only just started getting ready for this coming weekends adventures.

Yesterday we felt it was about time we picked up some Euro's and got some cash out for the weekends jaunt to Hull and then onto Amsterdam.

The exchange rates are not the best right now but that doesn't really matter for what we took out just for a few days beer tokens. It will make more difference later in the year when we head to Brittany for the week.

It seems to have been a really short week this week, well in truth it will have been, just three days at work. Tonight we can start winding down and getting ready to go tomorrow morning. We will get our bags packed ready so we just have to get up, grab a bite to eat and then hit the road.

Wednesday 28 March 2018

What a Weekend - Part 2

With Hewy Louis not fixed it is time to strap her to the back of Naughty-Cal and head for home. We can at this point still make the last advertised locking into Torksey so lets get going.

It's a pleasant day for it

Meandering up river. It is as this point that we hear the news the last lock will now be 5pm not the 6pm advertised. We won't make it back in time!

Time to ring the relevant bosses and arrange an extra day off work.

In the lock cut as the sun is setting.

The end of another day.

Day three and time to set this rig up and bit better.

Up onto the Fossdyke.

Heading for home. Nearly there now.

Naughty-Cal enjoying a well earned rest.

Hewy Louis back on her mooring.

It has been an adventure that's for sure and a trip to West Stockwith that none if us will forget for a long time to come. Now we just need to get Hewy Louis fixed and it's time to arrange the next E Pontoon outing.

Tuesday 27 March 2018

What a Weekend - Part 1

Well what a weekend that turned out to be!

It started off well.

Heading out onto the Trent.

A lovely run down river. Cob webs fully blown away.

A walk to the Haxy Gate for a dinnertime pint.

Naughty-Cal on her berth in West Stockwith

Says it all really

In the Waterside where we had a lovely curry.

A good time had by all.

Monday 26 March 2018

Day Three

So today is another unexpected surprise. Day Three of our weekend. We missed the last locking off the Trent yesterday due to the lockie clocking off early so have had to take an extra day off work.

Today we will hopefully get both boats back to the marina safely.

Sunday 25 March 2018

A Bit Unexpected!

We were not expecting to be doing this today. It will be a long run back to Burton Waters today!

Well assuming we make it back in time for the last locking at Torksey!

Saturday 24 March 2018

Friday 23 March 2018

Stocking Up

As our destinations for this weekend are Torksey tonight and West Stockwith tomorrow night, neither village having much if anything in the way of shops or places to grab breakfast we have had to set about stocking up.

So last night we paid a visit to our new favourite local shop, The Little Sausage Shop, on the way home and picked up plenty of home reared (on the farm where the shop is) dry cured bacon, some black pudding and pork sausage and some pork and leek sausage as well as some eggs also home reared on the farm and free range of course. Whist there we also grabbed a couple of spicy sausage scotch eggs which had just been freshly made which were delicious.

This morning we have finished off the stock check at the supermarket with the all important beer purchase. We can't run out of that in the middle of nowhere!

Thursday 22 March 2018

Weathering the Cold

Despite a perhaps colder then average winter, our system of keeping Naughty-Cal heated rather then winterising her "properly" seems to have done the trick again with all systems surviving the cold winter.

We are by no means out of the woods yet and it will be a few more weeks before we remove the heaters fully. But we are heading in the right direction. The days are getting longer and the day time temperatures are heading upwards. 

We will leave it until we get back from Amsterdam next week and then we will remove the cabin heaters and then a couple of weeks after that the engine bay heater can head homewards as well.

It is always nice to see the heaters head home in Spring. A sure sign that better weather is coming and we can start to look forward to all of the cruises we have in store for the year.

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Making Our Escape

This weekend will see us making our first escape off of the Fossdyke and Witham of this year with our annual Spring group trip to West Stockwith.

A chance to open the old girl up and left her stretch her legs, blow away the winter cobwebs and clear out the turbo for the first time this year.

We have a fair old mix of boats coming this year with plenty of old faces and a few new and we also have a good mix of people turning up by caravan and motor home and a couple testing out the glamping pods at the pub. A real mix of people, transport and accommodation this time around.

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Hitting the Sack

We didn't have a completely wasted weekend due to the weather. On Saturday morning while we were waiting for the wind to die down we did manage to do a few bits and bob of shopping.

The most important thing we needed were a pair of rucksacks. We had discovered that we couldn't leave our bags in the cabin on the boat next week when we visit Amsterdam as we were not certain to get the same cabin for the return sailing. So rather then carry our big boat bags around all weekend we have opted to get a couple of sturdy, lightweight ruck sacks to tide us through the trip. We don't need to take much with us for the short time we are there. 

Monday 19 March 2018

Hunkering Down

Yesterday was not a day for going anywhere. It was a day for hunkering down with the heating on and a good book. The wind was still bitterly cold but thankfully the extra snow that was forecast never did arrive, although the sky looked full of it all day. 

What was a surprise was that the snow that had fallen on Saturday did start to thaw. It didn't feel warm enough but there was a definite and clear start to the thaw and more so overnight.

We did eventually manage to tear ourselves away from the heating and have the very short walk across to Harbour Lights to enjoy a few drinks and a fantastic Sunday Lunch. We both had the calamari to start with Liam opting for the chicken dinner and me the beef which was cooked to perfection and served with proper Yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings.

With dinner finished we headed back to the boat and started getting ready to come home this morning with stuff loaded into the car. We had an early night expecting the drive back to Sheffield this morning to be a difficult one, but it was one of the easiest and quickest drives back we have had in a long while!

Sunday 18 March 2018

More White Stuff

We did manage to get back to our berth yesterday but it was a less then glamourous landing. Still we made it in one piece.

Last night we had a nice meal in Woodcocks as the snow continued to fall. This morning we have a decent covering.

We have just had breakfast in Woodcocks and will later have dinner in Harbour Lights.

First though it is time to hunker down in the boat and keep warm!

Saturday 17 March 2018

Far From Ideal

The weather is far from ideal boating weather which is why we find ourselves moored in Lincoln with Naughty-Cal!

We will wait for the wind to die down later before heading back to the marina.

Friday 16 March 2018

Talking Tidal

We decided that as we are now officially heading to the Thames that we really should start looking at some of the more important aspects of the trip. So yesterday with a little help from the members of the YBW Thames Forum, we started planning one of the tidal legs of our trip from Teddington to St Katherines Dock.

We expected this to be a fairly easy leg to plan but due to tidal constraints at St Katherines it isn't as easy to plan as it probably should be. Heading down in one tide would leave us very little time to spare at the other end, so we have decided that we will break the trip at Chiswick Pier. 

We have two options for this either head down to Chiswick on the early morning tide and wait for the next tide into London, or head down the evening before on the evening tide and spend the night moored at Chiswick before heading to London the following lunchtime. 

We think that we will take the latter option. The tide timings work in such a way that we can spend most of the Friday on the non tidal river before heading to Chiswick late afternoon or early evening.

We have sent an email to hopefully book and reserve a berth so fingers crossed this is another little job crossed off the list.

Thursday 15 March 2018

Foiled Again

Our plans for friends to come and visit us at the boat this weekend have been foiled again, this time by the weather. 

They were supposed to be coming on Sunday but one look at the weather forecast has put and end to that. Freezing cold temperatures and winds forecast for 50mph plus mean that Naughty-Cal will be going nowhere this Sunday.

So time to start planning again for another trip out with them. This will be the third time we have planned this now, but you know what they say third time lucky and all that.

At least by the middle of April, which is realistically when the next chance will be, the weather should be warmer and we will have longer evenings. You have to look on the bright side.

Wednesday 14 March 2018

It's Official

Naughty-Cal's visitors licence for the Thames arrived earlier this week. So I guess that's it. It's official now we are going to the Thames this summer.

One slight quirk with this licence though. The letter it came with kindly requests that you display them on both sides of the boat, but only one copy arrived by post!

And on top of that for the grand total of £58.50, all we have received is a print off on an A4 sheet of paper. No adhesive visitors plates as we usually get from other navigation authorities. We feel a bit cheated.

As we have only got one copy and it is going to be a bit cumbersome to display I have taken it to work where I will scan it in and try to make it a bit more suitably sized for sticking in the windows and can print a couple of copies off so that we can display them on both sides of the boat.

We didn't expect to be messing about like this for what it has cost!

Tuesday 13 March 2018

After the Snow

After the snow comes the floods. Not helped of course by the rain over the weekend and yesterday. 

All of the local rivers have reacted and the Fossdyke is no exception, with the water level coming up and the flood gates being put on at Burton Waters. 

With a bit of luck it should have gone down again in time for us to get out on Friday evening.

A couple of pictures of the marina this morning taken by a good friend.

And for comparison the normal water level.

It might not come up and down a lot but those flood gates do protect a lot of property!

Monday 12 March 2018

The Full Length

We unintentionally managed to cruise the entire length of the Fossdyke yesterday. We had not set off to do so but it was such a lovely day it was a shame to just head back to the marina from Saxilby.  And we now have plenty of diesel to burn off so why not?

That's better!

After an afternoon in Lincoln an evening spent in Saxilby.

A mild morning cruise to Torksey. Still snow on the flood banks.

A steady cruise down river.

A hearty breakfast to fill us up.

An empty basin at Torksey.

The Trent was quite high even at low tide!

Ready to head back to Lincoln

Sunday 11 March 2018

Lovely Day

With a full tank of diesel we headed out yesterday first into Lincoln And then onto Saxilby.

This morning as the weather is so nice we have had a run down to Torksey for breakfast and are now heading back towards Lincoln. We have not seen another boat moving yet.

Saturday 10 March 2018

Cutting it Fine

It's a good job the fuel berth is open today as we are cutting it somewhat fine with the amount of fuel we have left!

Somehow the diesel heating is still working. Now we just need to make the short hop across the lake to the fuel berth.

Still the wind is blowing in the right direction to get us there if all else fails!

Friday 9 March 2018

Fingers Crossed

We awoke to quite a harsh frost in Sheffield this morning. The car need a thorough defrosting before we could set off to work.

On the way we have stocked up with all of the neccesaries for a few days on the water. Plenty of beer and caffeine free diet coke, hopefully I still have plenty of Jack Daniels on board to go with that. I'm pretty sure I do!

We are staying in tonight so we have a film downloaded onto the tablet to watch and I have some lovely spicy tomato and pork burgers from The Little Sausage Shop to have with some fried onions and salad later in the evening. I also raided the freezer to find some nice dry cured bacon for breakfast tomorrow and some sausages for a breakfast on Sunday morning.

The weather looks set to be much milder for the weekend so hopefully all will be well with the boat and we can set out and enjoy a weekend on the water. After we have decanted some diesel of course. It certainly wouldn't get far if anywhere with what is left, or not left as the case could well be, in the tank!

Thursday 8 March 2018

Could be Cold

The time has come to try and decide what we are going to do this weekend. We are definitely heading across to the marina as we really want to check that Naughty-Cal is all ok after the recent cold spell of weather. So Friday evening will be spent in the marina checking over the boat and all of her systems.

Also rather unhelpfully we are running very low on diesel, so low in fact that we are not sure if it might have run out using the diesel heating last weekend while we were not there! However the fuel berth at the marina, and the only one for many miles, is out of order while they fix the fire damage from last year. So we will have to lug a couple of containers of the red stuff in the boot of the car to give her a top up this weekend. 40 litres will be enough for now and then hopefully the fuel berth will reopen next weekend so we can top up for our forth coming group trip to West Stockwith. If not we will have to take a couple more containers with us next weekend.

I do hope the diesel has not run out as I don't fancy arriving to a cold boat!

Wednesday 7 March 2018

All Change

The results of the Canal and Rivers Trust licence review were published yesterday with a breakdown of the changes to licencing and it has to be said it was a bit of a disappointment and will only benefit the coffers at Canal and Rivers Trust and keep a handful of narrowboaters happy.

The changes that affect us in the main will be the price adjustment for the width of the boat. As Naughty-Cal is over 7'1" wide there will now be an extra 10% charge on the licence fee. On top of that the prompt payment discount which we always take advantage of, will be slashed from 10% to 2.5% with a further 2.5% discount if you pay online by debit or credit card. A money making scheme if ever there was one.

On top of these changes they have also decided quite ludicrously to remove the option of a one day licence completely which will scupper those with trailer boats and those who over winter in marinas where no licence is required but who want to venture out for a day or two. I suspect these boaters will just not bother with a licence now which will lose CRT money instead. 

The changes will be phased in over five years from 2019 so our next 12 month licence we purchase this time next year will still be based on the current system. But after that the only way is up, for prices anyway.

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Time and Tide

It had almost looked as though our first trip onto the tidal Trent for this year in a couple of weeks would be thwarted by lock opening hours. As is often the case during winter opening hours the lockies only work for one tide of the day, in some cases this means one lock working the early tide and another working the late tide.

It looked as though we would have to call off our West Stockwith run as while both locks were working the later tide on the Saturday, Torksey would be working the early tide on Sunday with West Stockwith working the late tide meaning we wouldn't be able to get back onto the Fossdyke and home again and we didn't fancy leaving nine boats on the lock cut pontoon all week!

A quick phone call to the lockies has however sorted this out and they have changed the opening hours for Torksey Lock for the Sunday so that we can get home again. Well done CRT.

Monday 5 March 2018

The Clean Up

As the clear up from the Beast from the East and Storm Emma continues there have been some truly heartbreaking scenes emerging from Holyhead Marina where the whole marina and the boats occupying the berths have been destroyed in the storms. A video link is posted below but it makes for harrowing viewing:

The following images are from the local Holyhead newspaper.

Meanwhile closer to home the news has emerged this morning that there are thousands of dead fish in the River Witham below Bardney and stretching all the way to Woodhall Spa. The EA are investigating the matter and I suspect further news will emerge in time as to the cause of the deaths.