Friday, 13 July 2012

Summer Time When the Weather's fine!

Summer Time When the Weather's fine!
The Golden Cloud 13/7/2012

Again after a little bit of a wait a return to the blog. Summer is started (apparently no one told the weather) and I've been up to plenty of memorable moments!

Sailing on the River Leri (with Nathan Thomas) (Following floods) Isle of Wight Festival (Mum & Dad, The O'Rourke's, Amanda Bright, and the Lovegrove's) (with floods) Wimbledon (With Dave Westmore) (with prolonged rain and abit of flooding) and then moving to North England to work in rivers (Same week as some floods) .... I guess its no surprise that people have started calling me Noah!

Although the international press may have told you the Isle of Wight Festival was a total wash out, in fact by my recent standards it was lovely! Great music, great friends, great times! And Wimbledon well it was just a walk in the park, I don't know why people make out like Wimbledon has a problem with rain!

After a fantastic few week's I have now I have migrated to the Preston area of England for 10 weeks work. The work is in River Water Quality Monitoring, and is for Aberystwyth University/CREH. 

The work is fantastic good fun, and also gives me plenty of time outdoors. It only builds my feelings of wanting to become more sustainable. The Beauty of the wild sections of the river, up in the moors and through the rolling hills. And the contrast of this, to the river's coming out of Urban Areas, and river's that are decorated like Christmas tree's with condoms, pantiliner, baby wipes, and tampons that have floated out through sewer overflows.

It makes you realise how bad our modern, unsustainable, not thinking lifestyles are. It makes you realise, something's got to change.

And so with the money I'm earning from this monitoring to help improve the environment, I will be setting up systems on The Golden Cloud to be more sustainable. Including Solar Panels, hand pumped reverse osmosis pumps for water sources, and onboard propagation for growing my own food onboard.

Fingers crossed I earn plenty of money, and I can put this all into practice.

In other news I'm now on Twitter follow me on @Goldencloud24

Speak soon

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Getting a bit choppy

Getting a Bit Choppy
The Golden Cloud 16/6/12

As You may have heard on the national and international news, over the last week or so, the river I call home (the River Leri) has has some serious flooding. Luckily like Noah, I got myself an arc before these floods arrived, and so unlike the villages of Tal-y-bont, Dol-y-bont, Borth and Llandre, as well as the countless caravans who I share the valley with, when the floods came, the water just passed peacefully under my keels!


The event was quite exciting and kept me onboard for a few extra hours but other than that was just another adventure!!! 

The day when the floods came started like any other at Ynyslas... Windy.
But that day the wind was different, it blew hard and strong, and for once being on the water was quite different to land. Every gust changed my perspective on life, from sea, to sky, to sea, to sky! It was getting a bit choppy.

As I knew I had no chance of paddling ashore as per usual, I decided at that point to row an anchor chain from my boat to shore, that way at least I knew there would be a way out if things went wrong!

In the process of putting in the anchor, I had a bit of a bear grylls style manly moment. A gust of wind (on that day we had gusts up to Force 10!) blew me back on the bank, and as a result I slipped and gashed a hole in my foot. Needless to say in the moment I didn't even notice, but by the time I returned to the boat, it was starting to hurt. So I decided to reduce the gangreen risk, and boiled up some water, put in a dab of flash, and with a scouring pad brushed out all the mud from the river... I must admit it kinda hurt!
The cut post cleaning up, was alot more impressive when my foot was covered in mud and blood with the cut open wide!

Then I settled down with a mug of hot cuppa soup, and got ready to sleep through the storm.

As the night went on, the waters only rose, the tide never went out, Lloyd of the boatyard tried to wake me up by beeping his horn and flashing his lights at me from the bank. He'd been told of what was to come and wanted me to get away to saftey! (although in all honesty I was probably in the safest place!) Needless to say, I slept through it like a baby!

I woke in the morning to the sound of police sirens, then Lloyd tried again, and this time I woke up! He took me to shore, for me to find the area a police cordon and was being evacuated! The flood waters rose all around. We sat on the bank watching it all, as the land around us flooded the boatyard was fine! Maybe I shouldn't be supprised, as Ynys is Welsh for Island, and Ynyslas boatyard was the only land for miles around!

As the morning became evening, and the weather settled, I hoisted my bedding up the mast to dry it out. Tomorrow was another day, and this was just another adventure!

The flood was just another story for the boatyard, but it also brought with it free gas bottles, and firewood, we even saw bikes and tables float by!

Since the floods have receeded, and I've been back to the usual ways, with the exception of the extra fun of collecting tree's from the river and sand bars for firewood!

During my search for firewood yesterday, I also harvested a bucket of Samphire, a small succulent plant highly prized in culanary circles, should go nicely with my dinner!

Onboard the flood showed up a few leaks and a few worries, so I've now wired up the VHF so I can call for help if the worst happens, practised crank starting the engine and rigged up an interior tent so I'm dry from the leaks.

This evening the rains are falling again, and the wind is howling too. Who knows what will float down the river tomorrow!

Friday, 8 June 2012

We are sailing!

We are Sailing
The Golden Cloud 8.6.12

Once again I've left you lovely people for too long. So much has happened in so little time with me and the boat, and now I type sitting onboard my boat as she sways in the Gales.... Maybe this wasn't the best week to give her some sea trials!

About 10 days ago I had a bit of an issue at Uni, and as a result I was frustrated with life. The result of this frustration was me deciding I should spend a week or so tending to my Boat.

As I started working me and Lloyd the boatyard manager, started talking and we decided that it was probably better for me to work on getting the boat to sea for a short period of time, to suss out any issues she had before I spent out on the interior. For all I know I could spend thousands making her gorgeous inside and then the engine might not work or the hull might have a massive leak!

First I repaired the mast, her spreaders (the arms that keep the mast upright) had snapped over winter. To save the extortionate cost of buying Yacht Spreaders, I went to a metal merchants, brought the tube raw and manufactured it myself!

Then I got to work on was sanding down the hull to check for any dodgy repairs... I found a few! 

Turns out at some time in the past her long keel had hit bottom and got damaged. Whoever owned her at the time did a quick repair job with car filler fibreglass, and never got round to going over the job properly.

Needless to say this area now leaked,and so needed a repair.

So I sanded the area down, chipped out the fibreglass, drilled it around the hole, and left it to dry.... Apparently 40 years of soaking water into a concrete cored keel meant it didn't dry, and as time past it kept seeping water.

In the end we decided to mark down the affected area, reseal it quickly and come back to it in the winter, put the boat in a barn and let her dry out.

Next on the list was getting the engine started. So we charged up the battery, put a hosepipe on the water intake, and next morning started her up.

Amazingly she started first time!!!! Turns out the engine name SABB (not SAAB like the planes and cars) which is Scandinavian for hard working and reliable, is quite fitting.

Then I unpacked the sails to check for damage, all sails were the original 1970 sails no damage, just a bit of oiling on the Hanks! This was too easy!

 Then the issues began....
1st I noticed that the prop shaft was disconnected with the engine. meaning although the engine worked it didn't turn the propeller!

And because of the engines age, the bolts were not modern metric dimensions! So out with the hack saw and manufactured some new bolts.

Then all bolted up. Me and the lads from the boatyard slowly hoisted the mast up by resting it on the roof of a shed! By the end of the beautiful evening, we sat around with Golden Clouds on the horizon, sharing a curry and a can of lager! Wonderful!

Then to make her ready for sea, I removed the infamous freezer, and put in a worktop to give me space for chart work. While a porta potty was installed in case I journeyed to Aberystwyth Marina, where the bucket and chuck it method isn't accepted.

Soon it was time to get her afloat, and after a day of cleaning her up and cleaning the area where she once sat, Lloyd picker her up in his tractors slings, and down to the water. Mick from the yard who also owns a Falmouth Gypsy, came on-board to help with proceedings. 

Down into the water, and away we went FANTASTIC! She sat beautifully in the water! And she reversed with ease out of the slings.



She could only reverse!


Mick ran to the front of the boat and prepared the Anchor!

OH NO!!!!

Luckily the beast of a rudder this fantastic boat has meant she steered OK in reverse. So we gently reversed her onto the mooring, with a bit of help from the nose of Lloyd's rib. 

When low tide game I got down underneath the prop, and saw that too big an    anode (piece of metal to stop the propeller deteriorating) had been installed. So I unscrewed it, put it onboard, and readjusted the bolts on the propshaft.

Tide returned. FORWARD Gear existed.

Since then, I've happily lived onboard, and every high tide myself and Mick have gone down the estuary to try and iron out any issues with the boat.

Yesterday we even got a jib sail up, and in the wind this was enough so we didn't need the engine.

Needless to say these sea trials are showing a few faults (3 a4 pages so far) but nothing that cannot be worked around.

This weekend when the weather dies down I'm going out without Mick for the first time, but with some friends out fishing. Safe Seas and Tight lines!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

What to do?

The Golden Cloud 6/5/12

What To Do?

Again after a long period away with work including time at sea becoming an "Advanced Powerboat, Day Skipper, and VHF License holder" I came back to my humble aboard at 12 o clock last night after a hard day’s work. (See what I did there, humble abode, aboard :D)

Then I notice.... Tarpaulin has gone....Great
The strong East winds we had last week, tore the tarp clean off the ropes and tossed it across the boatyard! The grand cost of a 6 by 8m tarp which I cannot afford to replace means I now have to re sew seams, hem, and eyes onto the tarp, before re-ropeing it and tying it back on a more secure way. An obvious result of this was that the boat had about 5 inches of water in the bilge to pump out! Amazingly though, it wasn’t too damp.

Then I go inside, and flick the lights, power was out. I didn’t have time to work out if this was as a result of the water, or I’d just used up my credit on the meter, but the rest of the evening was by torch light.

Then I get down to my bed to go to bed.... COCK IT! Left the sleeping bag somewhere else... not actually 100% sure where to be totally honest!

So as I wrapped myself up in blankets fully clothed and settled down to a total of 4 hours sleep as I had fieldwork in the morning.  Surprisingly though, I felt warm, safe, and at home. The only thing that wasn’t great was the sound of ropes slapping the roof, a sound not heard on the boat for a good few months while the tarp was alive!! REMINDERS TO SELF NEVER LEAVE A BOAT UNATTENDED!

In a months’ time, I'd been planning to meet up with a friend for a long weekend in Cardiff. But on the realisation that hotels cost money, this idea soon gave way to the invite to my friend of "come stay on my yacht instead!"

4 days, 3 nights in June in Ynyslas... that’s the great British summer holidays for 50% of Birmingham! However, they don't have to sleep on a clapped out boat!

So with the realisation that I've not got; a chimney that works 100%, a roof that stops water 100%, and 100% of my insulation, the boat needs painting, the cupboards need finishing, and really the 2nd bed isn't very good, Oh and that the boats a dump, I've got a lot of work to do!

If you didn't guess, this last bit is kinda a call to arms... If anyone has some spare time in Sunny May to help out, please give me a buzz!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Just can't get enough

The Golden Cloud 9/4/12

Continuing on with the theme of the last blog, of what I really want and enjoy in life.

And before you fall asleep ladies/welsh, I do eventually make my point, and everything is relevant, though is probably as tangential as Eddie Izzard making toast. 

You may know that I am a fan of a certain football club. For years this team have been the pinnacle of my focus when procrastinating, and the sponge of all my wages. This team is of course "The Invincible... Wolverhampton Wanderers" (Quote from Gabriel Hanot, editor of L'Équipe, 1954, who's article referring to the domination of Wolves across Europe lead to the formation of the European Cup (a cup Wolves have never won!))

Unfortunately unlike in 1954 when Real Madrid, and Honved fell to the Mighty Wolves, at the moment my team isn't terribly good. Languishing at the bottom of the English Premier League, the team and the fan base are in pain and infighting.

Pain, is a weird feeling for me to feel at this moment, but indeed watching my team throw away a lead against the lowly Stoke City, it was something I felt.

Now I've spent in the region of thousands of pounds following, getting tickets, transport and merchandise for this club. And in the grand scheme of things, watching them a few weeks back against our rivals West Bromwich Albion, it might as well have been Pier's Digs-league team.

In all honesty, yesterday's excitement was comparable to seeing Wolves beat West Brom 3.1 (March 2001 and May 2011 :D), and significantly less expensive, lower carbon footprint, and never balanced by the terror of a 5.1 loss to said Albion.

Yesterday I went for a kayak with my friend Billy. My kayak has never lost to its rivals 5.1, or sacked its brilliant hilarious paddle and replaced him with a clipboard.

The kayak scored its first goal, of a stunning performance as we got in the water... kayaking with a friend on Easter Sunday... Lovely.

Second goal to the kayak came as we rounded the harbour wall, and in the distance was a pod of dolphins. To be this close to such majestic creatures, was an honour... 
Sadly we forgot our cameras but this is a picture from the web of a Tan-y-Bwlch Bottlenose Dolphin
Better was yet to come. As billy and I headed south along Tan-y-Bwlch beach so 6 or so dolphins from the pod joined us, and started playing around by our kayaks, getting as close as a paddle length. Hat trick to the Kayak here I think.

Soon they got bored and stopped playing near us, so we went onto the beach to check we weren't dreaming and that actually did happen.

We returned to the harbour (to the awaiting news I had the evening off work, meaning I could have a Roast Dinner!) with big smiles on our faces. And in injury time as we came round the Harbour Wall, one final goodbye as from no where a dolphin rose (in what seemed slow motion) feet from our kayaks.

So this weekend Kayak and nature's free entertainment 5, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0.

In the small amount of time my modern life allows me to spend in nature, its surprisingly frequent that she gives me these amazing moments served up on a plate. Where as its increasingly rare my football team give me anything other than grief. I think its time I started supporting nature a bit more!

Later in the evening we went for a walk waiting for the dinner to cook, and from the pier head we could see a ship scuppered with 3 crew onboard against the rocks by Aber harbour trap, with the RNLI trying everything to get them afloat. This made me only think that perhaps option 2 in the last blog was the best idea....  a yacht in the sea looks dangerous, I'll keep the sea for kayaking with dolphins.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Future

The Golden Cloud 7/4/12

The Future

And so for the last week or so once again I've hardly spent any time on my boat, well save for an evening fighting some metal ontop of the chimney.

Now this time its not the hotel, but I'm residing in a plush Ikea showroom of a house, as I dog sit for a lecturer off on his holidays.

The week has been an interesting one of self discussion over what I want from life, what my aims are, and what I enjoy.

One thing that has been revived spending time in the epitome of all that money can buy (including a double bed sized bath tub) has been my realisation that although its nice, it doesn't make me happy. In all honesty the best bit of the house, has been the view, and you can get a view from a shed, or a cardboard box.

Lupus the Dog
A joy of the house/dog sitting has been the time outside walking Lupus the dog. Admittedly the dog itself has been a pain, its a big (expensive) pedigree labradoodle who has defiantly been spoilt every day of its life. Every walk you spend most of the time forward planning how to avoid it seeing that grandma on crutches or that chew-able chiwawa. But on the occasions when I have found a deserted woodland, an empty beach, a open hilltop and the dog runs off, you soon realise how amazing nature's world is, and how important it is to not ruin it. 

During this time outdoors I often look out to sea with the water flat calm and a breeze blowing back my hair thinking soon I could be out there. Next on the footpath though is some woodland, and as I walk past the mushrooms, wild garlic, and other abundant food it is hard to forget that my allegiances with the boat are shared between sailing it into the sunset, or using it as a house in a sustainable life onshore. 

If any of you are unlucky enough to be a friend of mine I'm sure you will know I have 2 dreams that I want to choose between come autumn (and not the sharing life with a Girlfriend or a Puppy).

With a desire for the opportunity the boat offers me I have come up with 2 plans. Both are based on me saving my wages and using them to invest sustainably to make my future life more affordable both for my wallet and my planet.

Option one
The obvious choice for someone who owns a boat, make the boat seaworthy, sail into the sunset and just keep going... abit like this couple  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17084034

This plan has a lot of merrits, not only how much fun it sounds, but also with the limited space and access to shops at sea, you have to live sustainably to survive.

Option two
I have always wanted land, something inside me wants a small stream or lake, some woods and a horse. 

As a youngster who had been brainwashed by society to thinking that a masssive career was all important, I decided I wanted to work my socks off in the city get rich and retire to a large wooded lake. My Dad was going to be the gilly (his job would be to sit all day fishing then tell people how to catch) and mum would be the gardener.

But now this plan has simplified, I just want enough to live. According to the Feudal System of Medieval England that would be about 1/16th of an acre of land for food production, plus a few shared tools, access to a woodland and an ox.

Mark Boyle (Author of Moneyless Man, and Free-economist see www.justfortheloveofit.org) regularly updates facebook with links and sustainability motivation. One quote he posted was that of Mahatma Gandhi "be the change you wish to see". And like Mark I want to see a reinvigoration of society, reconnection between producer and end user, a reduction on reliance of the monetary system, sustainable lifestyles etc.

Now on that line of thought Option one although fantastically amazing I know a boat with humans is always going to need to come ashore, at least to get an orange to stop scurvy. But if I plough my money into a yacht I will have to buy my way on land. To buy i need money, thus a job, and for a job I need a fixed long term abode, and a bank account (all quite hard on the ocean waves)

So Option Two, work my ass off this summer, put all earnings into savings, buy a couple of acres of woodland/pasture. Move my yacht onto the land (temporary structure so no need for planning permissions). Then my life expenses suddenly over time will diminish. 
Housing - Land and Yacht owned outright = 0 P/A
Food - crops off the land, foraging, hunting, fishing = small inputs in first year, decreasing through time
Heat - existing clothes replaced by skins and wools from land, fire fueled by coppicing and managing the woodland.

Straight away I bet your thinking How can you afford that on one summer's wages. Well land is surprisingly cheap (<6000 an acre in parts of the UK) and I only need a small amount.

For doing this I will be the change I wish to see, I will need to grow links with the local rural society to survive, I will reconnect with local producers and barter my wears, I will become overtime increasingly dependent of the monetary system and I will grow a sustainable lifestyle....

So for now, I will only pay for things on the yacht, which can be used if the yacht is on land as well... In case I never go to sea in her.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Economy Pretentious-ness

Economy Pretentious-ness
The Golden Cloud 28/3/12

Long time no blog!

Over the last month I've been very busy, and the boat has drifted into a back seat (sadly). For some strange reason this master student, has put the masters in the driving seat over the yacht!... Weird... Something was definitely up! 

Oh yeah, its cos I get to do fieldwork with my mates in the most beautiful scenery in the world. Thats why I don't have time for a yacht :P

As stated in the last update, the hotel gave me the oportunity to escape the yacht, have a warm bed, shower etc. and in all honesty it seemed the simple option.

However, a month of being in the hotel made me realise that i'd lulled myself into thinking this was the best option when in all honesty it was a good go between. It has many issues

a) I was kinda taking the piss of my boss. 

b) one of the main ideas of the hotel was that I was in town for seeing people, but with having to be at the hotel at 11 every night for work (sober) I'd only been out once in a month....Uni students just can't give you 10 days notice of a night out.

c) I'm in this to save money, and what with leaving the boat unattended (leading to it damaging itself) and ending up getting takeaway or ready meal most nights, I was spending more and getting worse food.

What turned everything was a trip by chance back to the boat the other week.
I'd left it too long and in the end by the time I had returned, the mast spreader had snapped, the tarpaulin had ripped, the chimney had leaked, and as a combination of the above the boat was damp and mouldy.

The trip was superseded by subsequent days of fantastic weather. Thus it was inevitable that I'd find myself back aboard... It's days like this one owns a yacht for!

So I've been back and forth recently to improve her ready to move back on-board. And today was the day, the move back really began.

In glorious Welsh sunshine I've scrubbed the boat fore to aft, re-rigged the tarpaulin, and cleaned every inch inside to clear the mould.

That will teach me a lesson for leaving my mistress the best part of alone for a month.

To round off the evening though I went for a spot of class. I'd picked up some Oysters, and had them Killarney Style with Gin & Tonics, followed by a french chicken casserole with a glass (mug) of red, all eaten in the cabin of my yacht as the sun went down.

Oysters, G&T on my yacht.... ok that sounds pretentious. But listen, its not a expensive exercise. Oysters cost 60p each, the gin and tonic were both from lidl, and the yacht well you all know how cheap that was (if you don't read previous blogs!)

Plus on today's work to earn it...

So yeah... Economy Pretentious.


Long may the sun continue.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

So you thought it was cold!

The Golden Cloud - 09/02/12

I thought it was cold the other week, how wrong I was!

As per usual many things have changed since the last blog.

A minor alteration of 2 bus routes has meant my future at Ynyslas is in severe jeopardy. Something that for them wasn't a big change and for anyone else probably didn't make much difference has meant a total change of life plan.

A week ago the last bus to Ynyslas was 10.30pm leaving Aber. This meant I had ample time if I wanted it in the evening to go out for a drink with mates, go to seminars at uni, work abit late, have dinner at a friends, have a social life. This week the last bus is 5.40pm. Now if I want to work late, or have a social life, I have option a) sleep on the street, b) beg friends to stay over, or c) leave the bike at Borth station and cycle the final 3 miles in the dark and perhaps pissed. I really can't be planning a life around any of those options.

A further thing that it reduces massively is my opportunities to start a relationship with anyone, as you can't go on a date and be done by half 5! It also means that friends can't come over to see the boat and have dinner, or give me a hand doing it up!

So the conclusion was drawn that I had to either 1) get a car, 2) move to aber marina, or 3) move to aber harbour.


Now each has its positives. A car I can use to transport bulky items and gives me freedom. The marina I can walk onto the boat from nearby pub. The harbour is cheap and close to everything I need.

However, each also has negatives. A car even being relatively conservative would cost £3000 a year, and burns fossil fuels. The marina costs £2500. For the harbour I'd either have to walk across mud, or row to the boat!

Obviously the harbour is the best option, but it's got a major issue, the harbour master is never there! 

Anyway I came to the conclusion that ideally the harbour or marina are the best options. On discussing with my employers I found there is a possibility of sharing a mooring in the marina, while I have a large amount of work in the pipeline. As such, moving to the marina seems to be the way its going.

So to move to the marina I need to complete the following jobs.... 1) Paint the Hull of the Ship, 2) Get the Engine Running, 3) Get a Windturbine Rigged up, 4) Get the Mast up, 5) Get in the Water, 6) Sail to Aber.

The first job (and the only job I can complete myself) is the painting. So this morning after getting back to the boat last night, I set about this task.... Unfortunately once again this didn't go to plan.

First job, scrub down the hull... issue 1 hull covered in frost, issue 2 washing up liquid frozen, issue 3 sponge frozen, issue 4 when i've defrosted all the above with water that took an hour to boil on the stove, and start washing, the foam from the sponge freezes, then sponge refreezes.... Something tells me that preparing the boat for sea is going to take longer than I'd hoped!

Will update soon!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Self Preservation Society

The Golden Cloud - 04/02/12

The Self Preservation Society

You may all be wondering why I have not updated for a while, you'd think  the coldest week of the year would be a big talking point! Well it would be if I were cold!

The other night I had an indepth boat conversation with another Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences boat person who lives on a 47ft Ketch in Aberystwyth Harbour. He's a lecturer, and researches in Greenland based from said ketch!

His main comments during the conversation were that "I should be careful on the boat, as every man (or woman) has installed inside themselves a certian amount of passion for thier boat. If I were to spend too much time on her, or didn't get back enough good experiences, this passion will waste away and I'll soon be trying to sell a half converted boat!"

With these comments in mind I came into work last weekend, during my shift myself and the boss saw the weather forecast.... minus temperatures, east winds, and snow for the week....

And so just to give the night porter a week off you understand, I offered my services for working nights in exchange for a bed and a round of toast a day! Thankfully the boss accepted!

Thus the last few day's I've taken a welcome holiday from the boat as a Night Porter at the hotel, warm sleeps, hot showers, wifi... this is the life!  See how i'm living it up at ... http://www.richmondhotel.uk.com/index.php

With the wifi, I've made steps to insure I don't need the hotel. On Thursday I ordered the insulation for the boat, once installed I should be as snug as a bug in a rug.... mainly as it will probably be summer by the time I'm finished!

Another bonus of the hotel is I've been in easy access of Uni, and as a result I have obviously spent the week not at uni but in the field!

Fieldwork has been slow but beautiful. Days out with friends in stunning (frozen) scenery, by a river, on a van-road-trip, with hot spiced apple and/or cake breaks, and lots of playing with Icicles makes for an awesome week!

Sadly all good things come to an end and so as "the warm air wins" and Aber is drowned in a bath of cold rain, fieldwork is put on hold. But further good news is on the horizon as I see good friends from the not so distant past are headed towards Aber.

A week of frolicking, catching up, and hopefully insulation installation parties are on the way!

Chin up! Worse things happen at Sea!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Mussels on the Woodburner!

The Golden Cloud 27/01/12

Being tired from a long night chatting through thoughts and religion last night I came home today as early as possible to have a lovely evening by the log burner. 

The tide was out upon my arrival home and so I set about a foragers dinner... moules sur le poêle à bois. (Well thats what google translate calls Mussels on the wood burner anyways!)

Recipe number 2! Mussels A La Woodburner!

First walk the 10meters from your boat to the mussel bed!

 (Mussel bed is the gravelly looking stuff bottom right)

Collect a few mussels, choose the biggest ones as they've had time to live and make plenty of babies. Take only what you need, leave some for tomorrow.

Now bring them home put them in a shallow dish with some oats and slightly salted water, leave for 2 to 10 hours (according to the books i've read, i've heard slightly more and slightly less. Too long and they die, too short and they're full of grit and poo)

(My mussels purging in the frying pan)

After the time has elapsed pull the mussels out, if there open tap them on something hard, they should shut, if they don't discard. Then put them in the wood burner fire box so that the crack between the shells is horizontal.
Shut the door, and enjoy the smells and noise from the stove for 5-10 minutes.

While this is happening finely cut some garlic and some parsley in some olive oil and butter, and cook on the hob

After a while check the mussels, any that are open take the worst shell off, and keep the meat in the other shell, drizzle over a teaspoon of garlic oily butter, over the meat and put back in the woodburner to sizzle some more.

 Once the meat goes abit rubbery and all the fluid is gone, pull out and enjoy!
(Beware shells and woodburner = very hot)

Enjoy the mussels!
 Cooked Mussels
 Empty shells at the end!