Wednesday 31 October 2018

In the Pot

With the onset of the much colder weather we have started to get Naughty-Cal back into winter cruising mode.

The tube heaters for the engine bay and the shower room were reinstalled a couple of weekends ago to keep the frost at bay. This weekend with time for a change to some fresh bedding it feels like the right time to bring the electric blanket back into use. We do like jumping into a warm and snuggly bed at this time of the year.

The slow cooker also made a reappearance after a summer at home, a couple of weeks ago. Sundays on the boat are now filled with the smell of slow cooked meals. A couple of Sundays ago it was a lovely guiness and steak stew with dumplings, last week it was slow cooked minted lamb shoulder and I am thinking that this weekend might see a joint of BBQ brisket in the pot.

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Forward Planning

Ordinarily at this time of the year our cruising is slowing down but this year we have found if anything it has wound up a gear with Naughty-Cal. We have more planned outings in the next few weeks then we have had pretty much all summer!

First up next week is a bonfire party at Saxilby. Now I know that this isn't much of a cruise for us being just four miles down the river but it will be nice to catch up with friends, some maybe for the last time this year.

Then the weekend after it is a trip to West Stockwith for us. Perhaps the last chance to give Naughty-Cal a good long high speed blast for this year before she is tucked up for the winter.

And then after that it is a quieter run down the Witham. Hopefully we can coincide this with meeting up with Sydney's brother again. But nothing is planned for this just yet.

Monday 29 October 2018

A Frosty Start

It was a decidedly chilly start to the day this morning with a very harsh frost. Sydney was not happy about getting his feet cold on the frozen pontoon.

Yesterday was a bit of a slow day for everyone involved. There were a few sore heads and coupled with the cold and at times downright wintry weather none of us felt the need to do anything too energetic. It seemed like a long run back down the Trent to Torksey, much longer then usual. But that could have just been wooly heads coming into play.

Sydney spent much of the day playing with his best buddy Jack on Sole Mate in the dry and warm and we spent much of the day hunkering down and battling the cold. The smells of minted lamb shoulder from the slow cooker wafting around the boat making us all hungry.

We decided to call it an early night last night. The first of the dark evenings rolling in on us made us feel more tired then we should have been for the time involved. But we have both woken up refreshed from a good sleep.

Now for a week at work.

Sunday 28 October 2018

Back to Base

The fleet are all safely back at base after a steady run back from High Marnham this morning.

We had a great time in the pub last night.

Now time to sit back and relax while the lamb shoulder does its thing in the slow cooker.

Saturday 27 October 2018


Sometimes you do have to ask yourself why you are doing something. And this morning was one of those times at 10.30am. When in the driving cold rain we were entering Torksey Lock.

However we have had a lovely afternoon at Church Laneham and have just moved onto High Marnham for the evening.

It could be worse. We are all now warm and dry.

Friday 26 October 2018

Steady Progress

We have the promise of some cold temperatures tonight and then a harsh frost in the morning. Just right then for the weekend of our late season E Pontoon outing to The Brownlow Arms at High Marnham on the tidal Trent. 

Somehow each year we manage to time this late season cruise for the first properly cold weekend of the autumn/winter. It doesn't matter which weekend we choose it is going to be cold.

High water at Torksey is at about 11am tomorrow so we have no rush to get all of the way there. Instead we have decided that we will stop off at Saxilby tonight. It means we have made some progress towards Torksey, got out of the marina for the evening, can enjoy a nice take out from Bella Pizza and can give Sydney a good run in the morning on the playing fields to tire him out and burn off some energy. And to top it all off we can have a bit of a lie in as well. A win win all round.

Then tomorrow it is out onto the Trent with probably a lunchtime stop at Dunham Bridge and a walk to the pub prior to setting off to High Marnham for the evening. 

Thursday 25 October 2018

Sea Legs

With summer giving way to autumn which will all too soon give way to winter we are starting to look forward to what we will do next year.

We already know that our Easter break is a week on a hire boat in Belgium and that our late season break is a week on a hire boat on the Norfolk Broads. So what to do next summer?

Well we have decided that it is about time that we find out if Sydney has his sea legs. And what better way to do this then a trip to Wells next the Sea. 

Our last visit to this beautiful North Norfolk town was in 2016. It really doesn't seem that long ago. And it was only a fleeting visit then on our way home from the Norfolk Broads. We love Wells and it will make a nice first run for Syndey on the sea. Not too far but far enough to test his sea legs.

We are pretty sure that he will be fine. He loves it when the boat is going fast. He sits backwards between the helm seats watching the water out of the back of the boat. He is fine with the boat healing over in the tight turns on the Trent and the noise of the engine really doesn't seem to bother him. 

Now we just need to decide when we will choose to go. We have no time restraints or weeks in mind for this trip yet. We will avoid Wells Carnival week as this gets stupidly busy and will try to avoid the school holidays in an attempt to find a quieter spell on the water.

Wednesday 24 October 2018

A Relief

We have for a few months now believed that we had a gathering problem that would need rectifying on Naughty-Cal. She seemed to have developed somewhat of a smoking habit which appeared to be getting gradually worse and was a tad embarrassing to say the least.

At low revs we were all but shrouded by a cloud of acrid smoke. We had of course feared the worse and expected some major repair bills upon the way.

With the promise of cold weather on the horizon we decided at the weekend to refill the diesel tank. It was about half full according to the gauge so we figured about 100 litres would refill it. The gauge is a little pessimistic and has more in it then it says. 90 litres later and we were brimmed again.

Within a couple of minutes of running we both noticed that the dirty acrid exhaust smell had disappeared. A few minutes later and the smoke was also starting to clear. Not completely but it was noticeably better.

All of our problem we now believe has been down to a dodgy batch of fuel. What a relief!

We have had this before but it was many years ago now and we had forgotten all about it. It seems that the big green lump is a bit fussy about it's quality of fuel.

With the old stuff watered down with fresh good fuel by less than 50% it seems to be much happier. Hopefully in the next few weeks we will get the chance to burn some of this fuel off and then we will refill again and see if the smoking situation improves further. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Winding Down

We could have been forgiven for thinking that we were still in the midst of summer over the weekend with bright blue skies, warm temperatures and light winds. But alas the weather put us right again yesterday and this morning with chilly starts and dark mornings. 

Autumn is definitely here and winter is creeping up on us and waiting just around the corner.

With this in mind we will be starting to slow down with our cruising. Not that Cal has had a busy year this year anyway. But we need to start thinking about what jobs we want to do to the boat over the winter months and also start to look forward to where we might visit next year and put a plan into action. It might be a quiet few months in store for Naughty-Cal but it certainly won't be a quiet few months for us.

Monday 22 October 2018

Chilly Start

It was a cold and frosty start to the day this morning with us having to scrape the car before we could head to work this morning. Wasn't expecting that.

It looks like we installed the engine bay heaters at just the right time yesterday afternoon!

The slow cooked beef casserole we had yesterday was divine. It was just the ticket for a cold evening.

Sunday 21 October 2018

Swan Pie

We had an great day in the company of good friends yesterday. We might not all end up in the same place at the same time very often but when we do we always have a good time.

Yesterday we all found ourselves together  at Torksey where we had a lovely meal in The White Swan. The pie was as good as ever washed down with a few drinks.

We are having a steady day today. We will head back to the marina later and I have a stew and dumpling dinner to rustle up in the slow cooker.

Saturday 20 October 2018

Back with Cal

It is nice to be back on Naughty-cal this weekend. Last night we had a nice night in with friends having  few beers and z catch up.

This morning we have had a reasonably early morning as we are on our way into Lincoln to do  few bits and bobs.

Later we are heading to Torksey to catch up with more friends we have not seen for a while. On the way past the marina we will call in to fill up the diesel tank.

Friday 19 October 2018

Sydneys Holiday

As well as us being on holiday last week, Sydney had a holiday as well with our good friends Pierres and Helen. He had a whale of a time and was thoroughly exhausted by the time we picked him up on Sunday afternoon.

Here is just a sample of what he got up too while we were away.

Being driven around in a Lotus Elise.

There was a visit to Naughty-Cal

Sunday lunch

A spot of shopping

One exhausted little dog

Thursday 18 October 2018

Boating in Brittany - Part 4

Day 7
Back up the Vilaine

Some interesting vessels in Redon Harbour

Looking over the basin

A last wander around town

Time to leave Redon and head back up the Vilaine

Some local talent

Our last view of Redon

On the outskirts of town and the start of the abandoned boats

More interesting vessels on the move

Port Roche. Our mooring for the evening

More pretty buildings

On very pretty streets. But this village is a ghost village. No people to be seen.

Back to the boat just in time as the rains arrive.

Not a minute too soon as the heavens open.

Day 8
Back to base

An early morning start

The promise of another glorious day.

The sun is peeking through the clouds

A still morning

Approaching the first lock of the day

But where is the lock keeper? The first time we have had to wait for a keeper this week!

Soon on our way again

On the approach to Messac

And back to base for our final evening onboard. An early start beckons tomorrow.

Day 9
Back to the UK

After a 6am start and hour and a half drive we finally get to relax on the ferry Bretagne

Light seas as we leave the harbour at St Malo but this will not last

A bar that is open. And we have it to ourselves. Mind you that is probably because you can't let go of your drink or it will fall off the table!!

Back on UK waters. After a ride back in big seas even the 9th floor Commodore Lounge windows are salt strewn!

Day 10
Back to our boat

After a long and exteremely wet drive up the motorway we are glad to be back

And Sydney is glad to see us as well.

Exhausted from his trip to the dog sitters but more on that tomorrow.

So there you have it. The trip is over. We are glad we had the change to experience cruising in French waters and it was interesting to make comparison with how these waters are managed and maintained when compared to our own.

There were many differences, for example all of the locks are manned but are also very well maintained. There were many similarities, they also have problems with abandoned boats. But the way they dealt with these problems was far more effective than on our own waters.

Would we go back and boat in Brittany?

Yes we would. We would certainly consider Le Boat again for the trip although next time we would opt for a less budget boat. But at the same time we would also consider Loca Boat who were very helpful when we pulled into their yard with a couple of problems with our boat. Their boats looked very well presented even for the end of season and also being almost at the limit of where we reached from the Le Boat base it would give us some further waters to explore.

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Boating in Brittany - Part 3

Day 5
To Malestroit

Early morning on the river

Heading upstream

Quick lunch break

Entering Malestroit

Beautiful town moorings

Mill adjacent the moorings

Malestroit market square

With lovely side streets

As lovely as Malestroit was we decided to head back downstream so we had a shorter days cruising tomorrow.

We enjoyed a fine meal onboard with a starter of snails in garlic sauce followed by fresh calamari and scallops served with garlic bread.

Day Six
Back to Redon

We awoke to the promise of another fine day

Heading doenstream

Pretty lock cottages

All of the locks are beautifully maintained and all are manned with the lock keepers taking great pride in their floral displays

Back onto canal sections

We are making much better progress downstream.

Still sunny. We really were spoiled with the weather.

Waiting for the lock at Redon.

Back on the basin at Redon for the evening. At ten euro per night with electric and water it was a very reasonable price. But we understand that the price does vary during the summer months.