Jackie Parry – author


Barge Renovations Update

We’re still buried in the bowels of our little ship – renovating away, only popping up for air when we need feeding.

Below are galley progress-pictures from a month or so back (where has the time gone?). Some people liked the painted cupboards, but we changed them for several reasons:

1) The photos looked so much better than the real thing.

2) My eyes couldn’t stand all the hectic patterns and clashing of colours, stripes and frills (frilly net-curtains, red curtains, striped curtains, and the stencilled flowers on the sky-hatch windows) – something had to give!

3) I like fresh, simple decor that creates the feeling of space.

4) We didn’t like them!

Getting ready to sand

Getting ready to sand

Some of the paint was very thick (dobbed on!), I was glad we had the electric sander!

Some of the paint was very thick (dobbed on!), I was glad we had the electric sander!

I couldn't wait to lighten this lot up!

I couldn’t wait to lighten this lot up!

First coat - there were five coats in total!

First coat – there were five coats in total!


Sitting on the stove top!


Much better!

Much better! (Ignore the timber door on the right, we currently have a vagrant door just sitting there in the way!)

That's better on the eyes!

That’s better on the eyes!

This one?

This one?

Or, this one?

Or, this one?

Currently, we are finishing off the front cabin and that is the end of the renovations for now.
Photos appearing soon-ish!

What are your renovation success stories?



Dutch Barge Renovations Update

Rouge Corsair Winter Renovations


After a ‘sticky’ start, the renovations are starting to show promise. Here’s what caused the delays:

DSC_0486The new holding tank – made from one of water tanks. Sourcing the right welder was a rather frustrating project. Having to cut the big tank up INSIDE the boat, made the boat filthy. It was too big to get out, so Noel cut it into four pieces, two were the holding tank (including lid), the other two pieces were superfluous. The plumbing parts were purchased on-line and all in French. Other bits-and-pieces from the Brico-marche, eight kilometres away, hauling all purchases by bike.

DSC_0497Noel drilling a hole for the vent.

DSC_0493There’s a hole in my hull!

DSC_0502A neat job – we now know what’s behind all the walls – good insulation and good wiring (now!) – we replaced all the old wiring.

DSC_0505Another hole, this time in the deck, for the new water tanks. These will be situated under the bed.

DSC_0507We’ve been lucky with the weather, Noel chooses the outside-projects in time with the better days.

DSC_0512rAnd cake… we like cake!


Eating Healthy for your body and wallet

My body has been hinting, quite heavily, at the kinds of food I should and should not be eating. I’ve decided to try and listen to what my tummy is telling me and eat less meat; certainly less red meat.

I have always wanted to adopt a healthier way of living and have managed to find excuses. Now, when I seem to be busier than ever, I’ve delved into cooking vegetarian (mostly) meals and I am amazed at the fantastic results.

So, after finding the wonderful farm/vegetable shop four kilometres up the road, I rubbed my hands together, googled vegetarian recipes and off I went – here’s the first week. (I spent 20 Euros on three huge bags of vegetables.)

Just a small part of my first shop.

Just a small part of my first shop.

First night: Ginger Veggie Stir Fry

I used the vegetables I had purchased that day and I used plain old flour instead of cornstarch. I never have all the correct ingredients. This worked a treat.

I cook great rice, even if I say so myself. I cover the rice by about an inch of water (maybe a fraction less), boil until the water goes milky, then put the lid on and turn off the heat. Ten to fifteen minutes later, perfect rice.

This meal fed Noel and I for two nights.



Second night: Left over Ginger Veggie Stir Fry.

Third night: Curried Lentil Pies Recipe

This is a fantastic recipe, so easy and so fulfilling.

I stirred in some Tandoori paste instead of ghee. I used olive oil instead of butter, I didn’t use mustard seeds or ground cumin and I used the vegetables I had purchased. Definitely use pumpkin and potato for the top – fabulous!

This fed us for three nights! And I have made it again since, I can’t get enough of this and it fills me up easily.

Curried Lentil Pie

Curried Lentil Pie – when dished out, add a spoon-full of natural yoghurt – delicious

Fourth & Fifth nights: Left over curried pie.

Sixth night: Chicken stew

Noel bought some chicken. I find it hard to completely cut meat out of our diet. I enjoy it, but I haven’t eaten red meat for a few months now and I certainly feel the benefits.

This was just plain old chicken stew, with all those great ‘in season’ veges, swedes, parsnips, carrots, also onions, leeks, and whatever you have to hand.

I braised the chicken separately first. In the big pot I used vege stock, cup of wine, a few herbs (whatever is to hand – basil, parsley), a bit of sweet chilli and soy sauce. A half a cup of French lentils is a good idea to help fill you up. Perfect!

So easy, tasty and filling.

So easy, tasty and filling.

Seventh & eighth night: Left over chicken stew

Healthy wallet

My 20 Euro shop lasted a week-and-a-half (and I still have a whole cabbage left). I did another shop this week, and that cost 13 Euros – for two enormous bags of veges. This week I tackled:

Spinach and blue cheese frittata – I didn’t have nuts or tomatoes, it was still yummy.

We'd worked hard that day - so I added pumpkin and potato mash and a delicious salad of spinnach, fresh parsley, carrot, zuchinni, onion - yum!

We’d worked hard that day – so I added pumpkin and potato mash and a delicious salad of spinnach, fresh parsley, carrot, zuchinni, peppers, onion – yum!

A treat! – Walnut and Coffee Cake

We were given some walnuts and did I have fun cracking them – then I made this wonderful, truly fantastic cake – with a healthy twist!

I didn’t want to use double cream and I had only ‘normal’ yoghurt. So I spooned out two pots of yoghurt (small pots) into coffee filters (one pot per filter), then, I stood the filters in a colander, and let all the liquid drain away. Voila! Thick (Greek style) yoghurt – thick enough to use as a cream substitute!

Draining the yoghurt - for 1-2 hours.

Draining the yoghurt – for 1-2 hours.

It worked perfecting – the icing is so sweet that the yoghurt balances out the sweetness and in all honestly, tasted just like cream!

Not as pretty as the recipe picture - but absolutely delicious!

Not as pretty as the recipe picture – but absolutely delicious!

I was so proud of my efforts - I had to include two pics!

I was so proud of my efforts – I had to include two pics!

Healthy living

I am loving the ‘zone-out’ time cooking is giving me. My body is enjoying the benefits and so is our bank balance! The big plus is finding recipes that are fulfilling, I am a big eater. Now, I can eat as much as I want and I’m not piling on the pounds!

I;d love to hear from anyone who has great recipes to share.