Daisypath - Vacation

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Blustery!

It's about 530PM as I write this. Pawel is off today and we headed over to the garden centre this morning after an early start. It was a little bit blustery but this evening has seen it get a lot worse.

Our weather station has read wind speeds of over 41MPH - the highest I've ever seen on it, and it's actually getting quite scary, but entertaining, on the boat tonight.



We've moved all the plant pots off the gas locker and off the roof and are basically sitting it out. I popped out before to move a few things about in the "garden" and felt like I was about to get blown off my feet!

I think it's even worse here than if we were in a marina, as firstly, Higher Poynton is really high up (!) and in particular, our mooring is incredible exposed - there's nothing either side except for rolling hills and open fields.

This gives you an idea:
(I took that picture when we first came to this mooring in April this year)




The trip to the garden centre was nice. It was all kitted out for Christmas and it just generally was a nice trip out. We went to get a few more bags of slate chippings - as we want to extend the chippings that we put down earlier this year on the mooring. The problem is, where we keep going to the log store and to chop wood, the grass is just turning to sludgy mud and I'm fed up of muddy shoes and a trashed deck!! Not good.

We got the garden centre to deliver and they should be coming tomorrow afternoon - that's if they can find us, I did draw them a map of where we are, and I think the delivery guy knew where I was talking about! We only got 6 bags as that should be all we need really.

I also had a parcel from my brother today - it's a chunk of his Christmas cake that he made. It was beautifully packaged and looks really good. Haven't tried it yet, but can't wait!

Christmas cake in a box:









Thanks for going to the effort, D!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Gas

Big day today.... We had the gas guy coming at 8:30AM To fit the new hob and make the gas line safe. Drew didn't arrive until about 9 but got to work pretty quickly.

We left him to it while we popped out and unloaded the 2cubic meters of logs we had delivered last night, into the log store.

It's such a relief to get it done and know now that its safe and sound! Here's how the pipe work was looking before:
(note the joins and the lack of support for the pipe!)



One of the welded joints that are a no-no on the boat!:


The pipe work along the cabin length also wasn't clipped adequately enough, so Drew sorted that also - did a really good job and it looks really smart now. Here's the pipe work to the hob now:



Definitely looks a lot more professional!

We also had to have the hob replaced as that was leaking slightly. To be honest it was due out anyway, it was really looking shabby:









The aluminium surround was bad was badly scratched and it just looked quite dated too. The fact is was leaking was also a massive problem! Luckily we had the hob from Ikea originally and they had a similar two burner hob, just more updated from when we first bought ours over 2 years ago.

The new hob has a glass surround and is nearly flush with the worktop and looks really modern, smart and clean:



The only down side is that its another piece of glass to keep clean :)

Drew had finished up pretty much just after lunch, so it was a case of a clean up again. It wasn't too bad to be honest, no dust or anything, mostly just putting things back and moving the chairs in the saloon back into place.

Not a lot else happened today as that really took up most of the day . Big relief! Can relax now!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

It's Nearly Christmas!

Well, we've had a couple of days off and it couldn't have been better in terms of getting things ready and sorted for Christmas. We finally headed back to our mooring space the other day. It was good to be back, but we do love being out and about as well - even if it is just down the canal!

Yesterday morning we got up really early and it was such a gorgeous sunrise. I took the picture below out of the bedroom ("cabin") window. You can see everything where we are - no obstructions view wise and the sunrise or sunset always looks really gorgeous. It makes you feel really lucky you live on a boat.



I always love really early mornings when everything and everywhere is still quiet and you can just hear the start of the birds beginning to sing...

We headed off into town quite early as we wanted to go food shopping, DIY store and also to place an order in the butchers for meat for Christmas. For Christmas Eve when I have company, it's going to be roast beef and thanks Carol for the suggestion....However, its not going to be a traditional roast as such. It's going to be a slow roasted rare beef with a Basil Parmesan mayonaisse and breaded Parmesan green beans. So I will cook it on the day as I find the day after, its just not the same and I want it rare, rare, rare too!

We trialled the meal the other day and it was gorgeous!! So fingers crossed that it'll all come out fine on the day!

So, yes, we headed into the village on our local bus and even that has been decked out for Christmas. I think its the first ever bus that I have seen that's had its very own Christmas decorations!






We headed back around lunch time and the engine room was cleaned and sorted as it was in a real mess plus there was quite a bit of water in the bilge that had somehow overflowed from the bowl that the bilge pump is in. Luckily, we have a wet-vac so that made a quick job of it!

Next on the list was to decorate the Christmas tree! We are quite late this year putting it up so to get us in the Christmas mood, I made my first batch of mince pies, we got a bit of Michael Buble on (Christmas album) and got to work...



It took us a while to decorate the tree as we're both perfectionists(!!!) but we enjoyed it and it's done for another year now.















Dinner tonight and bed early as the gas guy is arriving tomorrow at 7:30AM to rejig all the gas line, install new hob and make it all"safe"!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Craftwork!

It's been a busy week - so busy that there hasn't been any time for blogging. It's coming up to that time of year though isn't it where everything gets really manic! Christmas!

I have to say, I LOVE Christmas, but don't feel the excitement much these days and the last few years, I've only ever really felt Christmassy (that's such a terrible word!) on Christmas Eve, by which time, its almost all over!

This year, I have my parents coming over to the boat on Christmas Eve as they are spending Christmas in Manchester city centre this year. We won't be joining them on the big day but will make up for that on Xmas eve anyway, I'm sure! The scary thing is, I'm contemplating making a roast beef on the boat with 4 of us on board?! Have I lost it??!

Well, like everyone else, it was incredibly stormy here the other day. We nearly lost a plantpot or two (! ha! the drama!) before we managed to rescue everything off the roof just in time. We secured all the solar panels too and then literally just sat it out. The boat was moving around a hell of a lot but nothing compared to what I remember when we were once moored in Castlefield!

Eddie was on edge the whole day, his face was pretty much like this the whole time:




Anyway, going back to Christmas.... We still haven't gone back to our mooring yet as we are still out and about. It's nice to move around and just remember you ARE on a boat and it does move! ;)

Today we moved a little bit further out and are completely in the middle of nowhere with not even any other boats nearby. I love it! I can't stand having people next to me - never understood why boaters have to moor so close to each other when they're out on the cut...

Anyway, we moved the boat late morning today and then tried to get into the Christmas spirit! We decided we wanted some kind of decoration on the "bubble" this year, so decided that instead of having flowers over the Christmas period, we would make some sort of festive twig display. We went out and cut some twigs/sticks yesterday, and I got some glitter and glue from a toy shop yesterday afternoon.

I dipped each twig end in the glue, then in the glitter. I also covered some plain snowflake decorations in the glitter which we've hung on the twigs too



We arranged the twigs in the vase, and just hung dried slices of lemon and lime as well as whole ones (dried)....


I got Pav to do the threading ;)







I think it looks really good and cost next to nothing to make!








Saturday, 30 November 2013

Lack of Coal...Lack of a Secure Gas Connection!

We took the boat out today! Only down the canal just so we were near to the chandlery so we could stock up on coal from Andy. We're staying on one of our old moorings too as we have a gas guy coming on Monday.

Seeing as we were here and closer to the bus stop, I went into Poynton this afternoon to do a bit of food shopping but also picked up this little chap:






It's not the clearest picture I know, and i should have took it closer up - its the heather on the gas locker Im talking about! In one of the local florists they were selling them - only £2.95 and quite big, with really nice bright purple flowers on them. I needed something for the gas locker as all the autumn bedding plants have had their day already. Looks fab I think and adds a bit of brightness over winter.


So, on Monday we have a gas guy coming but our normal mooring - it's difficult, if not impossible, for people to access it by car if they don't already know the place. Even giving the postcode (we've got one of those!) shows up as somewhere different on most SatNavs and Google and ends up taking people to a completely different place!

Anyway, the gas guy is coming Monday, as we have known for a while that the gas connection isn't secure or safe really. There's welded joints on the gas line - and firstly, that isn't allowed by BSS and also it's a risk as a boat vibrates/shakes/moves and so the joins could split. It's all a bit scary really. At the moment, we're switching the gas bottles off when we're not cooking just to be on the safe side!

I tried phoning the guy who originally did the gas for us - he was on Gas Safe Register and was listed as being competent to do work on boats. He was quite an old boy, and when I called last week, his wife picked up ( Im guessing it was his wife!) and told me he was dead!! Trust me to put my foot in it! I apologised to her and put the phone down but then couldn't help but have a little laugh - trust me to pick a gas guy that drops down dead!

Insensitive? Maybe! But I'm pissed off he took £250 off me and didn't know what the hell he was doing and now I'm going to have to pay again!

It was a great day to go cruising that's for sure. Sunny (a bit blinding at times!), still, and with just a hint of a chill in the air. I wish we could have gone further... Lovely autumnal feel to it all.































Smile!!!







Monday, 25 November 2013

Well Oiled!

Well I finally got the worktop oiled and sorted now. It's iroko and still quite light in colour - I've seen some that turn almost mahogany coloured with age and light.

Anyway, it took six coats of oil in total.... Sanding and tacking off between coats, it was a bit of a nightmare to be honest but its definitely worth it as it really does look fantastic. I just have to keep it that way now - I guess that means Pav is banned from the kitchen ;)






Rob also made an extension that we can 'bolt on' to the 'bubble' (ha! Love that name - I mean the circle that curves out on the worktop).

Basically, it turns the worktop into a larger area and makes it square shaped, meaning we can have people for dinner or even cake and coffee if we want to - there's easily enough space for 4 people.

I haven't got any pictures to hand tonight but I will take some tomorrow and show you show it all works. Rob came up with the idea and did an amazing job on it as usual. We only originally wanted him to make a piece for us to add on - but he went all out as usual and fitted it for us too on some slide out supports.

There's not a lot else been happening today really. Spent most of it writing really but also managed to fit in a bit of baking - a cherry and marzipan cake.

It was really nice - perfect for a cup of coffee in the afternoon....


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Peek a Boo!

I got busted trying to take a picture of Pav re-tying the ropes today!






Ha doesn't he look impressed. I think its one of is favourite past times - pottering about on the mooring and inventing jobs for himself ;)

Anyway, not a lot has been happening really. I went searching for some wallpaper today ( it's a surprise, I won't tell you where it's going yet!) but I couldn't find any that I actually liked, it w really a wasted journey! The only one I did see that we both liked was an 'online exclusive' and not available in the shop! Annoying or what?!

We found a place for the new weather station too - on top of the log store, and this means (hopefully) that it won't end up in the canal this time!




We've used way too many logs already too! Think we will have to plan for another 2 cubic meters to be delivered soon - we won't go cold though, as we always have plenty of coal too.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Authentic Tiramisu

I've had a really busy day in the kitchen today. I make bread most days ( I get up too early for my own good!) and am currently addicted to my crusty white rolls/baps/cobs/barms (however you call them, depending on which part of the country you're from ! )

The crusty rolls are a variation on my basic white boule ( which can be found on My other site - The Narrowboat Baker

It's mostly the same but uses a little bit more water and uses a folding technique rather than just kneading , however, the wet dough can be 'beaten' in a food mixer using a flat beater to achieve a similar result and is a bit quicker and less messier on the 'ole hands!

Proving done and ready for the egg glaze and oven:














The good thing about these rather than a huge loaf, is with every bite, they're really crusty and they cook in half the time too, meaning you can make them really quickly. I'll be posting the full recipe soon.

They are so good!!














Lunch time was good - what's better than a fresh, crusty roll with warm egg mayonnaise and cress?! MMmmmmmm!!

Can you guess what else I was making?







A cocktail?

Nope....

A tiramisu! It's just the two of us so I always make a half recipe and just layer it up in two martini glasses - it looks really nice, makes it feel really special and means I have to buy any other bowls that I've no room to store! Martini glasses double up for drinks and deserts!

****************
Authentic Tiramisu
Serves 2 - easily enough for 3

I love tiramisu - it's got to be one of my favourite ever deserts, but I didn't make it for years because it always seemed really daunting. It's actually not though when you break it down step by step.

I think most people are put off by having to temper the egg yolks and making a custard base - but it couldn't be easier!

I always make mine the real italian way - using egg whites instead of cream - but you can always replace the egg whites with double cream if you've got a bit of a hang up about using raw egg whites - however, it is only the same as making a mousse!

Ingredients:

* 80ml of very strong coffee, at room temperature
* 3 tbsp of either rum or brandy - use what you have!
* 1tbsp of Tia Maria (optional but enhances coffee flavour)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3 large egg yolks
* 3tbsp of sugar
* 125g mascarpone cheese
* 3 egg whites
* Around 10 Boudoir biscuits (trifle biscuits - the hard ones that need soaking)
* Cocoa powder and/or dark chocolate for grating in between layers

Method:

For the coffee syrup:

1. Using 80ml of boiling water, add a good teaspoon of instant coffee, 1tbsp of brandy/rum, Tia Maria a tbsp of sugar and vanilla. Leave to cool to room temp.








1. In a bowl, add the remaining brandy or rum, 2tbsp sugar and egg yolks. Place the bowl over a simmering pan of water - do not have the bowl touching the water though. Now, whisk continuously until the egg yolk mixture thickens - don't stop whisking at all - it'll take a few minutes to thicken up nicely.














2. Take off the heat and whisk in the mascarpone until you have a smooth, thick , hazelnut colour cream. Allow to cool














3. Whip the egg whites until stiff. Whisk a good heaped tablespoonful into the egg and mascarpone mixture and them carefully fold the remainder of the egg white into the mixture. It will deflate - that's normal and don't over stress it - it'll be fine!







4. Now, take your serving dishes or glasses and add a couple of teaspoons of the coffee mixture into the bottom of each. Then start soaking your biscuits in the remaining coffee mixture. Hold each biscuit for around 2 or 3 seconds and then line the bottom of your glass/dish.







5. Add some of your filling - judge by eye how much you will need. For my martini glasses I do 3 layers - traditionally its only two I think, but the glasses are very thin at the bottom and widen at the top. Basically, just judge how much you will need depending on your layers.














6. Add a layer of cocoa powder on top of the cream and the continue the layering process until you have finished.







7. Finally, on top of the final layer ,finely grate some dark chocolate - or, like I did today - use white chocolate.





















8. Chill for at least 6 hours in the fridge! Enjoy!

if you want to replace the egg whites with cream, use 100ml of cream , whipped until light peaks form but not quite fully whipped.