Daisypath - Vacation

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Surprise Surprise!

This weekend is the weekend of visitors! Yesterday I had my good friend Alan come visit me at the boat from Scotland with Gavin. It was great to see them both. We worked out it was two years since we last met up. How time flies?!

Tomorrow, my parents arrive and I hope that the weather stays as nice as it has been - yesterday was actually really warm in the sun and we actually sat out and had lunch. I even had to take my coat off at one point.

Anyway, you may remember a few posts back that I was hinting at a "change" coming our way, and I posted one picture in particular which was very relevant a few weeks back:





We are moving and changing our mooring!! It was a bit up in the air at first and we weren't sure we were going to take it but we are and should be moving onto it tomorrow - guests in tow!

So long as it's nice we will head there with my parents on board as it'll give them a bit of a trip out on the boat too!

We love our mooring at the moment, but it is on the towpath side and we're fed up of having people walking past and looking in the windows waving, the same questions 10 times a day ("do your solar panels work?!")and people allowing their dogs to wee up our plant pots and empty their bowels all over our little patch of land next to the boat.

People never cease to amaze me put it that way! On the new mooring, we're on the other side of the towpath, meaning we will have privacy and no dogs (only our own!) (oh and no waving people through the window when I'm eating a bacon butty!) Plus it means that we can grow a few more things on the land without worrying about people taking things or letting their dogs slash up them!!

The new mooring isn't far from where we are now - only about a 5 or 10 minute cruise away but we're really exited about it. We will be moored in front of the blue boat in the picture above - give us a wave if you ever pass us!



Saturday, 30 March 2013

A Summer's Deck

Again I've had a busy morning doing a few jobs in preparation for the warmer weather. Now Rob has finished doing the bathroom and there's no more workers in here for a while, I've finally managed to get the new deck tiles down too as there's no chance of them getting damaged now.

I started yesterday but as the snow came in again yesterday afternoon, I packed up shop and it has now been completed this morning! It's actually quite warm out in the sun! Please, please, please let this be the start of spring finally!

Here's the deck before:





And here is how it's looking now:





Friday, 29 March 2013

Red Wine Chocolate Cake?!

So there hasn't been any recipes for a while, but there literally hasn't been the time! And for the last few weeks, there's been a lot of quick says food - like a piece of meat and rice and ready meals too, simply because of all the work and cleaning up that's needed taking up most of the time.

Anyway, today I've made a lasagne which is due to go into the oven at any moment and I also made a cake. This is a recipe from my good friend Mario in New York, and it is apparently an authentic New York cake recipe which they love over there. It's also "the original" "Red Velvet" cake but slightly different to what you might expect...

It's.....

Red Wine Chocolate Cake




It was the first time I made this cake today, but I love it already! It's really easy as it's all in one bowl - even easier if you have a food mixer/processor that you can use.

It's funny as usually after dinner, with a bit of red wine still, I crave for just a small piece of chocolate to go with the last of my wine. So this is perfect for me, and the wine simply gives the chocolate a further "depth" that I can't really put my finger on.

A really dark, chocolate-red colour also makes it intriguing on the eye as well as on the nose when you first smell it.

A mascarpone cream topping goes really well with this one too.
Try it yourself, I think you'll be surprised!


Ingredients:

For the cake:

*** You will need a 9" springform cake pan - greased.***

* 85g butter at room temperature
* 179g of dark brown sugar
* 50g caster sugar
* 1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
* 180ml red wine - nothing fancy!
* 140g of white flour
* 45g of cocoa powder
* A tiny pinch of bicarbonate of soda
* 1/2 tsp of baking powder
* 1/4 tsp of salt

For the Mascarpone Cream:

* 100g of mascarpone cheese
* 120g of double cream
* 1 1/2 - 2 tbsp of icing sugar
( to taste and you can use caster if no icing sugar)

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 5 and take out all your ingredients in preparation. Eggs and butter should be room temperature just to make it easier




2. In a bowl, beat the butter until smooth.




3. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy and well combined. Add the egg and yolk and beat well, then the red wine. It will look a little 'curdled' at this stage, but it will be fine! ( Don't drink it!)

4. Sift the flour, cocoa, bicarb, baking powder and salt together into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Mix until nearly combined and then continue to "fold" in the mixture.

5. That's pretty much it! Spoon into your cake tin and cook for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into it.... Yeah you get the picture!

Cool in the tin for around 5-10 minutes and then take the cake out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.







To make the topping:

1. Simply whip the mascarpone, cream and sugar until soft peaks hold their shape. Don't whip it until its completely stiff, just soft.

Add a good serving to each slice of your cake along with a dusting of icing sugar - perfect accompaniment!








******************************



I've spent the rest of the day doing odd jobs getting ready for an array of visitors over the next few days - my friend Alan tomorrow and my mum and dad on Easter Monday.

Oh and I've also changed where photos on the blog are stored by creating a Flickr account. Whenever I previously opened up the blog pictures from the blog webpage they were really bed quality. At first I thought it was our camera, but the saved images looked really sharp on the iPad and seemed to reduce in quality once uploaded.

I think I've solved the issue - so you'll have to let me know if the pics look better when you click on them!

Test Photo Post





Thursday, 28 March 2013

A Busy Day, But Back Home


There's still some snow around but today was really sunny again and as I write this tonight, there's a lovely sunset. When the sun was out, it was actually warm, but it was the cold air which made it still quite bitter when the sun hid behind the clouds!

Believe it or not though, we also had 32 amps from the solar panels at one point which has fully charged our batteries and meant that we've not had to have the engine on all day - only to do a bit of cruising.

We decided with it being nice we should finally move the boat back to our normal mooring. We've been gone for nearly 3 weeks! Despite the fact that we only topped up with water last week, it made sense to give the tank another top up seeing as we were moving and out and about - we also saw this fella:




Heron's scare me a bit as their eyes look a bit zombie like and this one kept getting closer and closer to the bank even as we went past - he must have spotted a fish!!

Anyway, we topped up with water, emptied the cassettes and spent most of the day doing jobs - me being limited as always because of my knee. We were at it most of the day until around 3PM when Pawel had to then leave to do a full days work :(

Being outside on the boat makes you look at all the other jobs that need doing. It doesn't feel that long ago we washed and waxed the boat but it looks filthy and certain areas of paintwork need patching in too!

Not only that but I think we're going to mount our solar panels flat too as it will look a bit cleaner and provide a bit more stability for them - more on this later in the week.

Anyway, its really nice to be back "home". Being at the other end is incredibly busy and noisy and there's too many people for my liking walking around! So its good it be back and see the familiar view, although that view is likely to change in the next few days.....

I will tell you more as a surprise post in these next few days :)




Wednesday, 27 March 2013

A Solar Day

There's nothing much to report really. I got on with some of the varnishing in the bathroom as most of the woodwork has been left untreated for me to varnish up. I'm quite particular about how wood is varnished and like it when it's baby smooth!

That involves a lot of sanding, tacking off the dust/debris and then varnishing, followed by a light sanding between coats.

It's tough going especially when there's as much wood to varnish as what there is in the bathroom at the moment, but I've got two coats on today! I usually give everything that we've had done from scratch around 4-5 coats as that gives the wood a really nice sheen and I know that it's definately protected then.

It's been a nice still day today, although there has been cloud blow in with lots of snow which has then cleared again to reveal sunny skies.

I was impressed today that the solars brought in a maximum of 17 amps at one point and we're starting to notice how much less we're having to put the engine on for to charge the batteries.



We do need a top up of diesel tomorrow, but will probably only get 40 litres and we guess that will last us quite a while, maybe until the end of May now, as with the longer days and warmer weather (hopefully) making an appearance soon, the engine will need to be on less and less!




Please hurry up spring and give us some warmer weather soon!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Deck Tiles

We awoke early today to bright sunshine and wanted to get up early today as it's my birthday and we wanted a nice full day! Anyway, with the sun finally showing it just made everything feel brighter and it was the first day of "normal" weather we've had since last Weds/Thurs!

After opening cards and presents with breakfast we decided to take Eddie out for a quick walk and that's when the reality of the weather hit! It's still absolutely freezing and the wind is still quite breezy and bitterly cold! Not long after we set off the snow started coming down again - it was quite bizarre as it was snowing yet still sunny?!

Anyway, its basically been like that all day. Snowing - sunny - snowing - sunny - windy - snowing - sunny etc!! It's not settling though so we're nowhere near as bad as some parts of the UK.

Finally after all the work has been done in the bathroom, we decided to have a sort out of the engine room as it's basically been a dumping ground the last few weeks. Part of that tidy up meant finally fitting the "Versatile" deck tiles that have been sat in there for ages. We bought them for the back deck but never got round to fitting them and I was sick of them taking up space in the engine room.

So despite the cold weather we got on with cutting and clicking them together as we thought it would only take around half an hour. A while ago, I painted the back deck as it had become really badly scratched, so it was painted in preparation for fitting these tiles which will now stop it getting scratched again. The "tiles" are made of plastic or rubber so they'll take the wear and tear in future!

Here's how the deck looked before fitting them:



Getting on with fitting:


Completed:


We're really impressed with them! I think on hindsight maybe a green colour would have blended a bit better, but they still match the red on the back and on the cabin sides and they brighten the back deck up, making it look a lot tidier.

Other than that, we've not really done a lot today. We did pop into Poynton and had a panini and a coffee and later tonight is just dinner and a few drinks - just the three of us. It doesn't get much better than that!

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Bathroom's Completed!

Yes, yes, yes!! The bathroom is finally complete!

It looks FAB and we are made up with it. Rob has been amaze balls and done a really good job. Not only that, but whatever we've requested and whatever we've thrown at him, he's never had a problem with and just got on with it. What more could you ask for?

So, this is only a short post with a few final piccies ( bad quality yet again, sorry!), mostly to show the new flooring Rob ran through the bathroom and kitchen today. Now, we're off and going to cook dinner and enjoy a celebratory drink!! The last "biggest" job that needs doing on this boat. Phew!!

So starting back from the kitchen, here's a bit of "before" and "after"

Before:


After:


Bathroom before:



After:


Before:


After:


Before:


After:



Before:


After:




Oh and a picture of Pawel's ship which he loves more than the bathroom itself and it was only £6!



And, here is how chuffed I am tonight:


Sunday, 24 March 2013

Bathroom Refurb - Day 8

Another stormy night last night although not as bad as the previous few nights. Not only that but the temperature had dropped significantly early evening yesterday and the snow had turned to ice meaning outside was like a death trap!

We had no Rob again yesterday due to the weather conditions but he'd promised he'd come today, which he did - arriving at 8AM sharpish. He didn't stay very long though, only until around 1030-11 as he didn't want to get stranded from home as it was still snowing around his way.

It's not his fault I know, but its really frustrating that the bathroom isn't finished now. And it means that another clean up will be required AGAIN when he comes back to finally finish up.

I feel like I'm constantly cleaning!

Anyway, he got the other bathroom door on, a shelf unit, the mirrored wall cabinet, towel rails and the shower screen! Hurrah!

It's mostly trims now that need to go up and the last window frame and then it's onto the flooring which will look fab. A bit of siliconing will need doing too. Finally seeing the flooring on the boat today was good as I was afraid it might be too light when we looked at it in the shop, but its perfect.

So here is how we're looking today....

Finally, a towel rail - check out those towels :P




Wall cupboard:









Shower screen:




Sorry if you've left comments and I've not replied, I cant log into Blogger to view them/reply and the Internet is still not full working and my phone signal is still down too.

I think it must be a phone mast or something as other people who are on Vodafone are having problems too.

It's absolutely freezing tonight so we won't be doing much else as the wind is still up a bit too. Dinner and chill out and bed early as Rob is returning at 8AM again tomorrow - unless we have 6 foot of snow overnight!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

More Stormy Weather and Isolation!

Well it's Saturday and Rob couldn't make it again today due to the snow down his way. The winds are just as bad today here with the boat being chucked about all over the place and I'm starting to feel a bit fed up now!

The bathroom is half finished, I can't get online properly as the dongle and my phone are down - so I can't do the things I need to get done nor even blog properly!  Tv reception is also a bit poor. The isolation is kind of nice though! But annoying at the same time as it means life is boring. No daily mail website. Boo!

My 3 dongle is working down in town,  but only just, so I'm writing this on Pawel's phone and hoping it posts OK!

Overall though there's not a lot to blog about anyway as everything is just on hold with the winds and snow and we're just sitting tight waiting for it all to end whereby spring might make an appearance!

Maybe I will get on with a bit of varnishing of some of the wood work in the bathroom such as the door frames and Window frames - not sure if the picture will upload on this post.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Stormy Times

What a night! Yesterday, the winds kept getting worse and worse throughout the day and by late evening they were buffering the boat severely, resulting in throwing the boat against the towpath bank and lots of rocking! It continued throughout the night and not much sleep was had by Pawel, Eddie or me!

I think I've said it before, but this time we both genuinely believe we've never had winds this bad on board before. At 3AM we had to go outside to re-tie the boat as the ropes had come slightly lose which was allowing the boat to crunch against the bank more than it should and even the fenders weren't managing to take the impact!

We kept thinking all the new tiles in the bathroom were going to be off the walls - but we've checked over them all this morning and they're fine!!

Even Eddie looked shattered this morning like he'd not slept all night and kept looking worried all morning!

Rob was due to come but obviously cancelled as the snow was quite bad where he is and there's no way you could really work on the boat today. The winds subsided a little bit during late morning, but they're still quite bad.

I've had to come into Manchester as there's no phone signals on either of our phones or Internet connection at all in Poynton and I had a few things to do online - so I'm writing today's blog from Pret!

Here's how things were looking out the front doors this morning when we got up:




You can't see in the photos above, but there was snow literally blowing horizontally - the winds were that bad. I'm not sure what speed they were, as our weather station is inside due to us moving from our usual spot for Rob to work. However, on XC they were forecast as being 45-55MPH overnight.

A worried pooch:



Poor Ed was that scared he didn't even want to go out when I opened the doors!

So, weather prevailing, I think Rob should be coming tomorrow now to finally finish off the bathroom - starting to all feel like a nightmare and jinxed now! Will we ever get this bathroom completed?! Ha!

Right, got to get the train back to the boat where I shall be in isolation with no Internet or phones for the foreseeable future!




Thursday, 21 March 2013

There Must Be Something in the Air!

What a weird day. We awoke quite early to say that neither of us had slept very well last night. I actually also woke up in a really good mood as it looked really bright and sunny out, but that was soon to change with the idiots around today...

Not long after getting up I noticed a fisherman who was setting up shop for the day. He literally sat right next to the back deck despite the rest of the towpath moorings being empty behind us. All of his poles etc resting on the back deck. I've noticed fisherman doing this near other boats before?! Why???

He was firstly told to get his poles off the effin deck, to which he obliged and then followed by kindly telling me a story that I couldnt have given a fuck about, of how there's sometimes another boat that lets him put all his stuff on and let's him sit behind the boat for a bit of shelter "like". Ugh!

We shifted him along as we had to go to top up with water as well and then return to the same place for Rob coming back only facing the other way. Which would have meant he would be then sat outside the front doors. Trying to take the boat into mooring with all his kit there would have ripped his fishing line and basket right out of his hands if it had got caught so we told him we needed him MOVED!! Idiot! Im sure he was planning on sitting his coffee cup on the deck too! Maybe I should have got him a coaster?

We then had another stupid individual for the day, who decided to move his 70ft rot box of a boat (wooden), backwards, with no engine and using a pole, running from the front to the back to try and keep it straight. That all sounds OK though doesn't it???

Only, by this time (lunch) the wind had picked up to around 30MPH so the old fool didn't stand a chance resulting in a collision with every boat he passed further up. However, still intent on moving the shit heap, he continued heading backwards towards our boat.

My mouth was about to let rip which was only stopped by Pawel saying he was going outside to stand on the gunnels of our boat to get ready to kick it off to stop it hitting us. By this point, it had gathered a bit of pace so if it did hit us, it would have done a bit of damage and probably took off some of the new tiles off in the bathroom! There was no apology as he was going past only weird mumbling noises...

Then.... Another boat hit the side of us this afternoon when they came into moor in front of us, moored up, and then decided against it for some reason. This resulted in them untying all the ropes, restarting their engine and for some random reason putting the engine into full speed to start cruising when they weren't a safe distance away from our boat. Only did they slow down when they saw me open the front doors ( clearly thinking it doesnt matter if they hit another boat if there's no one on it)

So they cracked into our boat 2 or 3 times, my front doors were already open to call them a f****in w*nker and kick their boat away from mine. I'd literally had enough. What made it even worse is that I got the pathetic docile looking smile followed by a meek "ooh sorry".

Is it something in the air today!? I could understand it if I was moored near a bridge or on a bend but I'm on a perfect straight and the canal is wider here than anywhere due to a marina basin on the other side.

Grumpy boater, me? Stupid bloody individuals more like.

Some good news.... I've got some new chillies growing!





Should I use them whilst they're green?! Or leave them to go red?

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Bathroom Refurb - Day 7

Rob arrived again this morning just after 8 and after a quick run through things and a chat we headed off out, firstly taking Eddie out for a quick run on the sports field. We dropped Eddie back off at the boat to keep Rob company (!) and then headed out to town so we were out the way.

It's actually really boring being out of the boat all day with nowhere to go and nothing to do and then with the thought of coming back in the evening and starting a mammoth clean up - it's never a great day!

Pawel headed off to work at 2:30PM and I headed back to the boat and got back on board at around 3. Rob was nearly finished up, needing to just make templates of the floor to cut our new flooring, which will be going in on Friday.

I started a bit of cleaning up when I got back, but have been at it until only around half an hour ago - exhausted now!! Cleaning dust off the blinds, the top of the cupboards, vases, tops, floors, inside cupboards....it gets everywhere!!!!

I cannot wait until this time on Friday when it's finally all finished!
For now, I don't think we will have any more work done for a little while as we simply need a break from the stress of it all - even more so with my knees at the moment and an upcoming operation.

Here's how everything is looking now....

From the galley looking in towards the bathroom with new door trims and grouting all finished:



The shelf unit that Rob has finally completed and fixed to the cupboard side: (he's also completed the boxing in on the floor today)



The shower is in!!



New Sapele window frame: (bit dark, sorry)



Excuse the mess in the pictures, I'd still not cleaned up but it's all looking a lot better now. Certain things just need a few coats of varnish to finish them all off nicely which we'll do.

There's still a few bits and pieces to be done on Friday but hopefully it won't require cleaning up like today!

Disaster for today: shower screen didn't arrive. The company or delivery company had missed off part of the address so the carrier only had the road name and not the number/business name, meaning that the carrier didn't know where to deliver to.

It better arrive tomorrow so Rob can fit on Friday!




Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A Quiet Yet Busy Day?!

There's not a lot to report today really. I've been busy trying to find a shower screen that will be delivered tomorrow which Rob can then fit whilst he's here. We found out yesterday that the other one is too big and so it's now just sitting in the bath.

Fortunately, I've managed to hunt a company down who make one which is only 1300mm in height and they have pushed for us to have it delivered tomorrow.

We've also had to move the boat today, ready for Rob returning tomorrow as he has problems with parking the van in our usual spot. We're back near the visitor car park for a day or two, although I have to say, I don't really like it down this end!

Here's a picture for today:



It's not meaningless and I will explain a bit more about it in the next week or two but it is exciting for us. For now, we've had to keep it under our hat - you know what it's like.

Hopefully, the majority of the bathroom will be finished tomorrow bar the new flooring. Rob will return on Friday to finish that off and then we're done....although little does Rob know that I have a few more jobs that need doing ;) Once they are done, the boat is FINISHED in terms of fit out!

The only things we will be doing afterwards is maintenance and concentrating on getting a diesel central heating system installed, but that will be only done later in the year ready for next winter.




Pictures as Promised

Here are some slightly better pictures of where we're up to. Everything still looks a bit crap as there's lots that needs finishing off:

Waterfall tap:




Vanity:






Bath panel: