Wednesday 28 September 2011

Pick of the week - Maggie May

Here's a boat we would definitely be interested in buying if we were looking today!  We would really like a boat with reverse layout and that's what we'd choose if we were having a boat built.

nb Maggie May is listed with ABNB.  

Positives : the reverse layout,  love the cross bed and there's plenty of cupboard space in the bedroom, excellent shower, we like the external paintwork.

Negatives : not much... but if we have to pick something it's that we would rather not have a through bathroom
Price: £58,500
Length: 57ft 1in  
Builder: Piper Narrowboats  
Fitter-out: Brazel Narrowboats  
Year registered: 2003  
Style: Semi-trad  
Safety Certificate: RCD issued 2003, BSS to 2
Engine: Beta 43 diesel  
Bowthruster: Vetus 12V 55kgf 4hp  
Plating: 10/6/4  
Last blacked: March 2010
Fit-out materials: Headlining, cabin & hull sides in oak panels with oak trim. Floors in oatmeal carpet except for vinyl to galley 
Insulation: Spray foam
Headroom: 6ft 3in  
Berths: 2+2  
Berth sizes: 6ft 1in x 4ft 6in perm dble cross bed, 5ft 11in x 3ft 11in double on dinette
Mains Power: Landline, Studer 2500W pure sine inverter
Cabin heating: Webasto diesel c/heating > 5 rads, s/f stove  
Water Heating: C/heating + engine + 230V immersion > calorifier  
Water tank: 150 gall (approx) stainless steel
Cooker: Spinflo Midi Prima oven & grill - gas, 700W microwave  
Fridge: 230V 6cu ft  
Washer/dryer: Bosch 230V automatic washing machine  
WC: Thetford Swivel seat Cassette  
Shower: in tiled quadrant cubicle with curved doors
Other: REVERSE LAYOUT. Proven liveaboard. Glazed side doors in saloon & dinette. Glazed hardwood cratch with zipped vinyl cover with flexi window panels.
Location: ABNB, Crick Wharf


Tuesday 27 September 2011

Recipe - Chicken with Green Curry

This is a recipe we've adapted from a Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal dish.  It seems to have lots of ingredients but most of them get thrown into a food processor and blended up.  We’ve made it with the rice noodles and also with rice – either worked well. Serves 4.

6-8 chicken thigh fillets
Knob of ginger, peeled
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 stick lemon grass, remove outer leaves, split down the middle and slice
1-2 red chillies, de-seeded
Handful coriander leaves & stems
Few kaffir lime leaves (you can buy these and keep them in the freezer)
2 tbsp sesame oil
Olive oil
Tin LF evaporated milk
½ tsp Coconut essence
Cup chicken stock (or cup of water and a flat teaspoon chicken stock powder)
Juice of 1 lime
Tbsp soy sauce
Rice noodles, or rice to serve
Vegetables (any selection - about 3 cups) :
Green beans
Zucchini, cut into short sticks
Carrot, cut into short sticks
Red capsicum, sliced

1.      Cook chicken thigh fillets in a frypan sprayed with olive oil spray
2.      Cook rice noodles or rice according to directions on packet
3.      Put ginger, garlic, lemon grass, chillies, coriander and kaffir lime leaves into a food processor and process well
4.      Add sesame oil and enough olive oil to make a good paste, blend again  
5.      Spread a little of the paste onto each chicken fillet in the pan as they cook
6.      Cook the remaining paste in a heated saucepan until aromatic
7.      Add the chicken stock, coconut essence and evaporated milk to the paste, stir well
8.      Add the vegetables to the curry mixture and stir until they soften
9.      Squeeze the juice of the lime into the sauce and add the soy sauce. 
10.  When the chicken thighs are well browned and cooked through, drizzle a little honey on each and turn over once more
11.  Serve in a bowl – rice or rice noodles, ladle vegetables and curry sauce over, slice thigh fillets and serve on top

Sunday 25 September 2011

There's a lot happening

We have a lot on our plate at the moment!

  • We still have our house on the market and hope that Spring will bring a buyer.  It's getting tiresome having to keep everything so tidy all the time.
  • Mick's busy working on the renovation of the house up the street.  It's all looking pretty good.
  • I've made a start on moving the boxes I've packed so far out to the workshop where we'll be storing them.  Once these ones are moved I'll go on packing more.
  • Work is a little complicated at the moment so we'll see what the next few weeks brings.
  • The garden has taken off again so there's always work to be done.  It's looking lovely.
  • I'm off to America with a friend in less than 2 weeks time.  Busy planning, booking, packing, cooking (for Mick).
  • Coco is on a decline so we're watching her a bit more closely with regular visits to the vet.  She has an enlarged heart and it's causing fluid on her lungs and now problems with her kidneys.  She's been off her food a bit and has lost 4 kilograms in the last 4 weeks.  Poor old girl.
We'll be in a spot of bother if we were to sell the house in the next few weeks and the buyer wanted a short settlement.  We just couldn't do it.  Mick's not much one for packing boxes (and I'd rather do it myself) plus there's many larger things that would need moving and doing so he'd be under pressure anyway.  I'll be away until the end of October so it would all be just too hard.  We'll see what happens.

In view of Coco's declining health we think it's likely we might be looking for a narrowboat at this time next year.  We've decided we'll rent out the new house when the renovating is finished.  We don't want to hold onto two houses with one empty, especially considering we'll likely be renting that house out in 12 months time anyway.  We'll just have to work out where to live once we do sell our house.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Pick of the week - Emma Jane

Here's a narrowboat we saw listed with Whilton Marina and we like it!  nb Emma Jane priced at £54,950.

We're interested in opinions on Pro-Build and Piper.  What do you think??

Positives : we like the colour, the interior is light, excellent cupboard space in the galley, lovely finish
Negatives : doesn't appear to be much shelving/cupboards in saloon, bed needs extending or turning, needs cratch and cover, we'd prefer a slightly shorter boat

Boat Specifications
Boat Type : Traditional
When Manufactured : 2005
Length : 62  
Hull Manufacturer : Pro-Build
Plating Specification : 10/6/4
Flat, V-Hull or Keeled : Flat
Fitted out by : Piper
Number Of Berths : 4
Fixed Berths : Two
Additional Berths : Two
Engine Specifications & Components
Engine Make : Beta B43
No. Of Cylinders : Four
Gearbox Make : P.R.M.150
Bow Thruster : Yes
Diesel Tank Capacity : 50 Gallons
Hot Water & Heating Systems
Source of Hot Water : Alde & Engine
Central Heating : Alde
Solid Fuel Stove : Morso
Water Tank Capacity : 120 Gallons   
Electrical System & Components
12 Volt Lighting : Yes
240 Volt Landline : Yes
Inverter : Victron 2500
Batteries :  6 Domestic, 1Starter, 1 Bow Thruster
Bathroom Specifications
Type Of Toilet : Dometic Vacuum Flush
Bath Fitted : No
Separate Shower Fitted : Yes
Vanity Basin Fitted : Yes
Additional Systems : Shaver point
Kitchen Specification
Make & Model Of Cooker : Caprice 2040
Separate Hob : No
Microwave Fitted : Yes
Make & Model Of Fridge : Shoreline F35
Gas, 12 volt or 240 volt : 12 volt
Additional Systems : Shoreline Freezer & Whirlpool full size washing machine
Fit Out Materials
Insulation Used : Spray Foam
Window Types : Hopper and Portholes
Materials Used : Gold Anodised
Bulls Eye, Pigeon Box or Houdini Hatch : None
Exterior Doors : Wood front & Steel rear
Side Hatches : Yes
Front & Back Covers : No
History Of Vessel
Boat Safety Certificate : August 2013
Last Hull Blacking : March 2011
Anodes Checked : March 201:40%
Additional Information : Satellite dish, sky box & cabling installed

Thursday 15 September 2011

Kindle book readers

Diane (nb Gypsy Rover AU) and I did some experimenting with our Amazon Kindle book readers the week before.  We wanted to try "sharing" books we'd bought.

First we de-registered Diane's kindle from her Amazon account and added it to my Amazon account.  When she turned the Kindle back on she was able to download all the books from my account.  Excellent!

We plugged Diane's Kindle into her laptop and copied all her books into a folder on the desktop.  She couldn't remember the password for their Amazon account and as the time in the UK was about 3am or something we couldn't ask Ray.  So by copying the books onto the desktop and them plugging my Kindle into the laptop we could then copy the books onto my Kindle.  It all seemed to work fine.

Then we encountered some problems.  When I linked my Kindle back to my own account, the books belonging to Diane remained on the Kindle but when I tried to open one it came up with a message saying you can only read it when the Kindle is linked to the account that bought the book. 

Diane's Kindle was not linked to any account - due to the problem of not remembering the password to put it back on her own Amazon account.  But, when she opened one of my books she was able to read it!  She decided to leave her Kindle un-registered until she'd read all the books from my account.

As it has turned out that was a good idea.  Today I de-registered my Kindle to see if I could then open one of Diane's books.  No luck.  It seems it's a lucky quirk that Diane has been able to!

All the same it's great to be able to share books but you need to leave the other person's Kindle registered to your Amazon account for them to be able to read your books.  You should only do this with someone you trust as they would be able to buy books that would be charged to your credit card during the time their Kindle is registered to your account.  Either you, or they, can de-register it at any time.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Farewell Diane

I've enjoyed a few catch-ups with Diane of nb Gypsy Rover AU while she's been home to Melbourne.  It's been great to hash over the dozens of questions I seem to constantly have about life afloat.  And... I didn't have to type them!

Last night Diane flew off back to Ray and their boat to really start off on their life afloat.  Banjo the dog is with them now so this is how life will be for them for the foreseeable future. Idyllic!

It's likely the next time we see Diane it will be when we're in England starting our own adventure.  With Ray having to return to Melbourne for a work visit in the first half of next year we hope we'll see him then.  Come up for a country visit Ray.

We look forward to reading of your travels.

Monday 12 September 2011

Searching for supermarkets

I'm at my brother's house tonight and we were just reading the comment by Amy on the previous entry about the supermarket app.  He just showed me something else just as useful.

On a smart phone, well on mine and on his, is "Places" or "Google Places".  You can type in "supermarkets" and it shows you a list of all those nearby.  It tells you the distance of each one from your current location and you can choose to see one on a map, and you can get walking or driving directions.  Fantastic!!

Supermarket app

I read about this app for a smart phone.  It shows you where the supermarkets are in your vicinity.  What a great idea for someone on a narrowboat!

The main criticism seems to be that you need to choose which supermarket chain to show rather than being able to see all the different ones at once.  But still, it's a great idea.

Has anybody used it??

Friday 9 September 2011

Only my mum.... again!

"What happend to your arm, Mum?"  (nasty looking round sore on her inside fore-arm)
"I'm not telling you."
"C'mon Mum.  What happened?!"
"You'll laugh at me."
"Tell me.  I'll try not to laugh"

She had decided to remove one of the armchairs from the living room - it was too cramped.  She couldn't wait until her partner came home so she pushed and shoved but the chair was wider than the doorway.  She tipped it on an angle to try and fit it through the door.  Somehow, and this is the part that could only happen to my mum, she got it wedged in the doorway with the weight of the chair pinching a chunk of skin on her arm between the chair and the doorway.  So now she was one handed and couldn't find a way to lift the chair up to release her pinched arm.  In the end she had no choice but to pull her arm away - leaving behind the chunk of skin! Ouch!!! 

I tried, I really did.  When she got to the bit about trying to get the chair through the door I was starting to laugh.  Somehow I just knew what would come next.  I couldn't help it!  It seems so mean to laugh about your mum hurting herself but honestly, how many different ways can one woman hurt herself!? 

Hope it's feeling better soon, Mum. xx

Sunday 4 September 2011

Recipe - Corn fritters with avocado salsa

While we were in NZ we had a lovely breakfast one morning with corn fritters and an avocado salsa.  We decided we'd make them ourselves when we got home.  I browsed around for a recipe and came up with an amalgamation of a few I found.  We tried them this morning.   Suggestions or improvements welcome!

125g tin creamed corn
125g tin corn kernels
1 ¼ cups plain flour
½ cup milk
2 eggs
1-2 spring onions, sliced finely
Salt and pepper
1 tsp baking powder
(can also add some chopped ham, bacon, grated cheese, grated zucchini)

1.       Whisk milk and eggs together
2.       Add other ingredients and stir well
3.       Heat frying pan, spray with oil
4.       Drop spoonfuls of batter into pan and cook

Mix together the following :
1 avocado, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 red capsicum, finely chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce (or a dash of Tabasco)

Saturday 3 September 2011

A bank account in GBP

A friend mentioned to me the other day that HSBC now have a savings account in Australia that you can hold in a foreign currency.  These types of accounts that I've investigated in the past have had quite high fees and little or no interest so really weren't meant for saving.  I've done a little research on the account HSBC offer and the interest rate is extremely low, just .5%.  But, the bank charges can be kept at nil if you keep within the rules - minimum average monthly balance of AUD 1,000 equivalent and no more than 10 withdrawals in a month.

I have contacted HSBC to ask if this account could be used on arrival in the UK and will update when I hear back.  The other thing is that the account does not offer Visa or Mastercard access.  Still... it's worth considering.