I Keep Tropical Fish. Or, Is That You Brian? 15th December

‘Avecoat Marina

Morning cuddles

Cabin fever must be starting to set in. As we lay in bed with our morning cuppa today we could see the outline of John our neighbour moving about next door. In unison we both said ‘Ullo John! Gotta New Motor?

The ice creaked and groaned as we moved about, it’s just about touching the sides of Oleanna now. For those who’ve never experienced being on a boat when the canal is frozen, movements can ping and twang for quite some distance. We wondered if Brian had just stepped on board NB Harnser on the other side of the marina.

Definitely cabin fever setting in!

Tilly’s pooh box got a refresh, one less reason for her to complain. The facebook groups today were full of tales where cats are being kept in. One cat a few years ago fell through the ice and had to be rescued by it’s owner as it desperately tried to find a route back up for air. Thankfully both the owner and cat survived the ordeal.

Icy still

Keeping water usage to a minimum is now required as the tap today is frozen. Mick tried pouring boiling water over it as had someone else, with no luck of defrosting it. I’d rather like a shower, but that can wait a few more days. Anyhow we’re still working with the slow water pump.

With temperatures due to reverse (up into double figures) at the beginning of next week we are hopeful that we may be able to get back out onto the cut. It all depends on how long it takes for the ice to melt in the marina. If someone was to try ice breaking that would aid the melt, but we don’t fancy being the first!

Solid canal

Years ago we had a week on our shareboat NB Winding Down when she’d been iced in at Aqueduct Marina. A group of people did their best one day to move a boat to the slipway, breaking ice in front and to the side of the boat, having to give up as they couldn’t turn it towards the exit. However the following day with temperatures that little bit higher the marina was just about ice free and an orderly queue formed to use the pumpout! The next morning it was frozen again.

Mick had a walk to Tescos along the towpath to post Christmas and buy more stamps whilst I rolled out pastry to make mince pies.

These might be nice, but Tom doesn’t like peaches!

This time I rolled it out thicker and built the edges up a touch higher than those I’d made a couple of weeks ago. Jennie had given me a handy tip of adding a strip of greaseproof to help lift them out once baked, I gave this a go too. Blind baked, then I made the frangipane topping. This was adjusted using smaller eggs and caster sugar with a bit of light muscovado, hoping they’d be slightly less treacly. Everything was put together and popped in to bake. The frangipane still melted, but not as much as last time. Maybe on my next batch I’ll try adding a bit of self raising flour to make the mixture a little bit stiffer. But that’s not likely to be this year, so I’ll have to remember.

Once baked they sat in the tin, smelling very good, for ten minutes. Jennies handy hint had worked very well, a knife was only needed to loosen the frangipane top that had splurged onto the top of the tin, the others came out like a dream! Thank you.


A cuppa was made and quality control tasting. Very nice, very nice in deed. Even Tilly thought they were pretty good, lip smackingly good!

I’d have preferred the chicken though!

The chicken carcus was put on the stove to make some stock, then all the meat was pulled off the bones whilst I cooked some onions and carrots. Everything was popped back in the pot and back on the stove. A mushroom, some tarragon and greens, when it was just about done I tried out some Zenb Agile pasta. This is a bit like Orzo in that you can add it to stews and it will cook in the sauce. It took only a couple of minutes and was very tasty. I’ll be using that again.

0 locks, 0 miles, 4th Jan a possibility, 0 tap, 1 slow pump, 1 neighbour with fish in his underpants, 40 Christmas cards in the post, 12 mince pies, 1 feline assistant, 3466 pieces of Agile, 1 chickeny pasta stew.

2 thoughts on “I Keep Tropical Fish. Or, Is That You Brian? 15th December

  1. finstallcrosswi

    I am glad the tip worked! I have yet to make mine – a job for this week! Yesterday was spent making some of the very many petit fours and sweets I make each Christmas – they make good presents and after a year or so everyone expects them!! I am sure you will be escaping soon if you have not done so already now the thaw has arrived. Have a wonderful Christmas. Jennie xx

    1. Pip Post author

      I suspect there will be a few people in Scarborough missing my Christmas biscuits this year.
      Not escaped yet, but it’s getting close. X

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