Thursday 28 February 2019

Watching The Sun Go Down

We enjoyed a lovely walk around the Bole Hills in Sheffield last night after work. The start of the walk was under blue skies but as we reached the end of the walk and were making our way back to the car the sun was starting it's descent below the horizon. So we found a suitable place to watch the sun setting over Sheffield.

Wednesday 27 February 2019

Unfortunate Timing

Spring is definitely on it's way around again. The days are getting ever longer, we are leaving for work in daylight and managing to walk the dog after work in daylight, well just daylight anyway. It is usually dark by the time we are jumping back in the car to go home.

The signs of springs arrival are shooting everywhere helped by the recent unseasonally mild weather. The warm weather is set to retreat from tomorrow. It will still be mild for the time of year just not as mild as it has been recently. And unfortunately for us there is set to be a bit of moisture in the air on Saturday. Unfortunate as we have outside jobs to get sorted out on Naughty-Cal this weekend!

Tuesday 26 February 2019

Time to Get Started

This lovely early spring time weather we are being treated too has put us back into a boating mood. It is time for us to get Naughty-Cal back into the water again.

The full list of jobs we had planned to get finished at home isn't quite there but most of the jobs are jobs we can do in the evening after work.

So we are busy planning what we need to do on the boat. This weekend the plan is to survey the situation and decide what jobs we really have to do while she is out this year. Now bearing in mind that Naughty-Cal has a quiet year in store this year we are not going to go to the full extent that we had initially intended. But we will be doing all of the important jobs.

This weekend we will be draining the oil from the outdrive and removing the shafts so that we can take them back to Sheffield to replace the oil seals. And we will be fitting the new transducer to the transom, drilling the hole for the wiring to thread through into the engine bay, fitting the cable gland and positioning the sonar module in the engine bay.

We will also be making a list of all of the parts I need to order next week to get the job finished and the boat back where she belongs in the wet stuff.

Naughty-Cal has had a well earned break now. But I'm sure she will be glad to get back in the water and back on the move again.

Monday 25 February 2019

Over the Border

As Sydney had been such a good boy for us on Saturday and as the sun was shining and promising another glorious day we decided to have a trip to the coast. Now Sheffield is pretty much as far away from the coast as you can get in the UK so wherever we go it is a good two hour drive. 

So instead of the usual Scarborough or Skegness we decided to head in the opposite direction and head over the border and into Wales. Well just. We headed to Rhyl for the day and a very pleasant day it was too.

Sunday 24 February 2019

A Day Off

Yesterday we enjoyed a rare day o

ff with friends and had a day out around Kelham Island. 

The day started with the four mile walk from home to Kelham Island which Sydney loved, followed by the circuit before heading into town for one last drink and time to find a taxi home. 

We had a great day.

Friday 22 February 2019

Plugging the Gap

We have finally decided how we are going to plug the gap left behind by the drilling a large hole in the transom for the transducer cable. 

We are going to use a scan strut cable seal. Not the cheapest option by far but it will provide a water tight seal and is a product specifically designed for the job.

No point scrimping and allowing water to enter the boat on a job like this. If we are going to do the job then it wants doing right and saving a few pennies now will only more likely than not cause more work later on.

In other news it is bath night tonight for Sydney. We are going to try him with some baby shampoo tonight rather then his usual dog shampoo. We may be having guests staying over tomorrow evening, but we are not sure yet they may have to cancel at short notice. We won't find out while this evening however so we are unsure what we will be doing this weekend. No boat though until next weekend.

Thursday 21 February 2019

Plotting A Course

Since we have bought a new chart plotter it was time to also update our charts. Well we had no choice really as the old plotter used a flash card and the new plotter uses a micro SD card. The two being completely incompatible.

Our old charts were the Navionics Gold charts which have always provided us with an adequate level of information wherever we have cruised. This time however we have decided to go for the new all singing all dancing Navionics Platinum Plus charts which include many extra features including aerial views of harbours, terrain overlays, live updates amongst many other new and exciting features.

Perhaps the best feature we have though is access to a Navionics account so that we can plan our routes from the comfort of home, download them onto the memory card and then put the card into the plotter and hey presto the information is there to hand. 

Time to start playing with the new software and see just how good it really is. We will have plenty of time to do this though as we are not going anywhere with Naughty-Cal this year that will require us to plot a course!

Wednesday 20 February 2019

The Route of the Problem

With the new chart plotter has come a transom mounted transducer that works the sonar, down vision and also the water depth and water temperature. This will be mounted to the stern of the boat below the waterline.

Now the only problem with this is routing the cable from the transducer to the sonar module which will be mounted in the engine bay and then routing the cabling from the sonar module to the chart plotter which will be on the dashboard.

The second length of cabling from the sonar module to the chart plotter we are not so concerned about but the first length of cable from the transducer to the sonar module requires quite a hefty hole to be drilled through the transom of the boat so that the connector can thread through and into the engine bay. Not something we are really looking forward too it does have to be said. We need to make that hole water tight again!

Tuesday 19 February 2019

Making More Work

Now it isn't as if we didn't have enough work to do on the boat in a short space of time but now we have just made ourselves some more.

We had no intention of upgrading Naughty-Cal's navigation equipment this year, after all she has a very quiet year in the making. But when an offer came up on a ex display Raymarine A75 well, we just couldn't pass up on the offer. It was £200. Bargain of the century.

We have had to buy a few bits to go with it. The sun cover was missing so we have got one for £20 and this model didn't have in built sonar and down vision so we have had to buy a seperate module and transducer for that. But we are still well under the RRP for the package. In fact less than half of what it would be bought as a package from a retailer.

We have also found a great deal on some Navionics Platinum Plus UK and Holland charts at a massive reduction on RRP with 18 months free updates. So all in all we have picked up a great deal but now we have to get around to fitting it all up before the boat is put back in the water!

Monday 18 February 2019

Still At It

It is another evening of decorating in the household.

Sydney is less than impressed.

Sunday 17 February 2019

Getting There

We are definitely getting there with the DIY in the hallway now. The difficult bits are done and it is only wet paint that has stopped progress with the paper today.

The paper will be finished tomorrow evening and then we have a couple of bits of touching up left to finish. 

Then we are waiting on others to do the flooring and new interior doors before we can declare the project over.

Saturday 16 February 2019

Working Up

Today has been a day of making more progress in the hallway. We had an early start and have made real progress. The pampering is working it's way up the stairs with the huge drops we were concerned about finished.

The first coat of paint is on the wood upstairs with the next coat due tomorrow. I have a bit of touching up to do on the panelling downstairs tomorrow as well.

We are getting there and the end is in sight.

No picture today I'm afraid. But we did manage to get out for an hour for a couple of drinks at Kelham Island. We are now back at home and planning to have a curry tonight. 

Friday 15 February 2019

A Change of Order

It is another weekend of DIY, although this time due to the order in which things are getting done changing we have to do a bit tonight as well. We have been trying when possible to give ourselves at least Friday night off so that we feel as though we have had a bit of a break from it all.

Tonight it is just a small bit of painting though so it won't take long. We have managed to borrow a set of stair ladders so the order in which we are papering has changed which has meant that the picture rail in the middle section of the hallway above the stairs needed painting first if we are to paper this awkward section this weekend. 

This is the  bit we had not been looking forward too as it is difficult to reach, even with the stair ladder, and it will involve the longest runs of wall paper to hang. Still with this bit finished the rest will seem like plain sailing. Or that is the theory anyway!

Thursday 14 February 2019

The Count Down Commences

The count down commences to our first holiday of the year at Easter. It is just eight weeks today that we shall set off towards Belgium and our first hire boat holiday of the year.

We have changed our cruising plans somewhat for this cruise as we had initially intended to cruise to Brugges and Ghent but due to the holiday closures of bridges and locks we have decided instead to head in the opposite direction and cruise the gentle waters of the Flanders region instead. 

A landscape once torn apart by the violence of world war with reminders all along the route of the lives lost to enable us our freedom. The highlight of the cruise for us will be the crossing of the Ganzenpoot, the Goosefoot. A meeting of five waterways which played such a major role in the slowing of the enemy advance by flooding many hundreds of acres of land. Today the sluices maintain water levels for navigation and flood prevention measures of course.

Wednesday 13 February 2019

Moving On Up

With the downstairs section of the hallway now all but finished it is time to move on up the stairs. We have decided to do the easier level section first before then working our way back down the stairs to the more difficult sections.

So last night we were busy rubbing down door frames and skirting boards once more. The plan for tonight is to get a coat of gloss on the upstairs door frames and a small section of framing adjacent the stairs.

Then tomorrow night it will be a case of getting the top coat on ready for wall papering at the weekend again. Which will then leave us with the painting of the skirting board up the stairs and the daunting task of papering the almost two storey section in the middle of the stairs!

Tuesday 12 February 2019

A Hearty Start

One thing we are enjoying while we are at home working on the house and not on the boat has been a Sunday full English breakfast. We can cook them on the boat of course and we often do but at home I can make it just that bit better with the benefit of the air fryer and the oven.

This was last Sunday's effort with air friied Lincolnshire sausage, dry cured bacon, chilli toast, scrambled egg, baked tomato and chilli and garlic baked mushroom. A hearty start to a busy day of DIY.

Of course Sydney is treated to a bit of cooked breakfast as well and he had an air fried sausage and some scrambled egg. Both of which he loves. Spoiled dog!

Monday 11 February 2019

Doing It Justice

Ok. So the picture I posted yesterday of the progress in the hallway really didn't do it justice with the light conditions. So here is a much better one which shows the colours much more true to life.

Sunday 10 February 2019


Today we have been busy hanging wall paper. It is nice to see some visual progress being made. 

We can finally see what the finished article might look like. Although the picture below doesn't really do it justice!

Saturday 9 February 2019

Upgrading Security

Since having the new front door fitted a few weeks ago we have realised just how much lock security has come on since we had the back door fitted eleven years ago. So we have decided that it is time to fit the door with a new high security anti snap lock mechanism.

 So that is the first job of the day. Which will be followed by a break for breakfast of chilli toast, scrambled eggs and bacon. Then it is time to crack on with the final coat of gloss on the woodwork on the downstairs section of the hallway.

Tomorrow we start with the wall paper.


Friday 8 February 2019

Wet Paint!

So the rain yesterday decided that it would be too wet for the concreting of the driveway to take place, and today looks just as wet so the current plan is that the gardener will come back on Sunday to finish the job. Not a problem as with the hedge gone it is now already much easier to get into the driveway.

Inside last night after work we set about doing yet more gloss painting in the hallway. We are on the home stretch with this now and the room is really looking much brighter. 

The difficult bit last night and this morning was keeping one slightly dippy dog away from wet door frames and skirting boards. Not very easy but so far we have managed to keep him paint free.

The plan for this weekend is to get the last coat of paint on the downstairs woodwork tomorrow morning before we head out somewhere with the dog and then we will start the wall papering in the downstairs section of the hallway on Sunday. It will be nice to finally see some paper on the walls.

Thursday 7 February 2019

Outside Jobs

With inside jobs on the house coming along nicely and real visual progress being made it was time to tackle one big job outside. Well we are not tackling it, the gardener is and rather him than me in this weather.

Yesterday he started the task of cutting out a section of hedge to make the driveway wider. Something that never needed doing when we had a mid sized car and a smaller car but now that we have two mid sized cars we were struggling for room to get them both on the driveway comfortably. 

With the hedge out of the way his job today is to extend the concrete slab to give the Hyundai plenty of room and mean we can open the doors of the cars without hitting each other. 

The hedge will look a bit bald on the end it has been chopped off but it will soon fill back in again. They are old mature hedges which are in good health so chopping a bit off will do it now harm. This time next year it will look good as new again.

Wednesday 6 February 2019

Making The Most Of It

On Sunday we took Sydney for a long walk in the woods just up the road from our house to make the most of the last of the snow. He loved it and was reluctant to head back to the car once he had realised we were heading back that way.

After all of the charging around and excitement though it was time to head back home and snuggle up warm on the sofa before dinner.

Tuesday 5 February 2019

Making An Entrance

The new front door and the door lights have really made the approach to our house looks very much more acceptable. Now when the weather gets just that bit better we can set about painting the precast concrete canopy and it will look different again.

The next outside job is taking place tomorrow when the gardener is going to take out some hedge for us. We have found that the new car is just that bit wider than the Nissan and it is a bit of a squeeze to get it into the driveway between the Nissan and the hedge. So the hedge is getting cut back and the driveway is getting widened just a little to make sure that we have plenty of room for both cars without the risk of damaging either of them.

The end of the hedge will look a bit odd for a little while with a bald section but it will soon grow back in again.

Meanwhile in the house we continue the seemingly never ending task of rubbing down door frames and skirting boards.

Monday 4 February 2019

Making Progress

It has been another productive weekend at home and progress is really being made on the last push to get the hallway finished.

The picture rails and banister are now painted with two coats of gloss. Next it is to be the door frames and skirting boards in the lower part of the hallway and up the stairs. We hope to get the rubbing down done in the evenings this week after work so that we can hit the painting first thing next weekend.

The new lights have also been fitted next to the front door so that looks much tidied as well.

The hardest part of the weekend was keeping Sydney entertained and out of the wet paint!

Sunday 3 February 2019

Alls Well

Sydney has I went to the marina today to check that all was well with Naughty-Cal after the recent cold weather, while Liam was doing more painting. It will be a few weeks yet before we are ready to start work on her properly.

I am glad to report that all was well and she was snug and warm and has company from her buddy Nitty Gritty. 

Saturday 2 February 2019

Hair Cut

Sydney is looking very dapper with his new hair cut.

Today he is going to watch on from his temporary bed in the kitchen while Liam and I do some glossing in the hallway.

Friday 1 February 2019

A Busy Day

I have had a day off work today but it has been anything but a day off. It has been busy, busy, busy.

By 9am I had already washed, dried and changed the bedding, done the shopping, walked the dog and cleaned the house from top to bottom. Then it was time for the dog to be groomed, birthday presents to be posted, birthday presents to delivered, a visit to the little sausage shop,  to get the car washed and back in the snowy driveway.

I have finally sat down for two minutes to myself.