Shop front in the summer

Monday, 31 January 2011

Another Monday

I am sure that the time over the weekends has a different speed to that of weekedays as they seem to go much faster, or is it that i am getting older? Monday morning arrived with yet another chill in the air, temperature this morning on the way to work was -6 and just when i was thinking of getting my shorts out of the wardrobe! I will have to wait a little longer I fear. Here are a couple of shots of Norbury this morning, it was a fantastic sunrise, the sun was a stunning shade of orange and it seemed to just be managing to raise it self in to the chilly sky but at the same time casting a superb golden glow over the boats and the wharf, it almost made me poetic and bought a tear to my eye, then i walked in to the office and normality returned!

I see that David has kept you up to date with the goings on at the wharf over the weekend and what all the lads have been up to, they have pretty much been doing the same today so i wont repeat it.

I will just leave you with some shots of this morning.

Until tomorrow.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Northgate staircase

British Waterways are in the process of repairing the masonary and gates at Northgate staircase in Chester on the Shropshire Union Canal. The stoppage is due to be lifted on 18th February. They hosted an open day yesterday for those of us that are interested in the infrastructure of the canal system. Unforunately I was unable to make it, but Sue did go and she got some great shots that I thought you may like to see.

This is the top lock (dewatered) looking back towards Norbury!

Looking down into the top lock.

This is a rare sight. Looking down through the dewatered flight. Note how the locks a carved out of the solid rock. Bricks and stone blocks fill the gaps and make up the sides of the locks.

Two of the paddle holes in one of the chambers.

And finally a view across the basin at the bottom of the flight. The warehouse has gone from the right hand side and the flats are a new addition.

We've docked Defiant this morning for her annual check over and blacking. Jamie is pressure washing her now. Bernard will be replacing some of the stern gear tomorrow as it is now suffering from hours of use. Defiant has done well since we commissioned her in 2006. Hundreds of people have enjoyed days out on her and she is still well used. She will be joined by Victory this season and we will also be using Phantasy as a dayboat during the weekends in the busy period. Victory and Defiant both seat 10 people and are identical, whilst Phantasy seats 6. For full details of day boat hire click here.

Paul is doing a few jobs on Shropshire Blue which will then mean that her winter maintenance is complete - another one off the list! Mick is on the count down, in actual fact as I write he has just finished for the day and is off to the airport. Lucky bugger has got two and a half weeks off now...

Simon will be back tomorrow and will keep you posted on news as and when it happens.



Saturday, 29 January 2011

Another sunny Saturday

I'm glad that Simon has posted a few pictures of his passage through Drayton rockin' that he took yesterday. Crafty chap managed to sneak off and go boating whilst I was stuck in the office :-(... I was going to delete the picture of him sitting back and relaxing in rather deeper water than we are used to, but instead I thought I'd show you a picture of me out boating enjoying myself. I'll dig something out and post them at the end of today's blog.

Anyway, back to Norbury. The sun is shining but it's another cold day today. There was a thin skim of ice across the basin again this morning when I came to work.

All of the staff are busy in their separate areas either getting the boats and the yard ready for the forthcoming season or looking after the customers who come through our doors.

Ange looks after all of our holiday bookings, accounts and house keeping of the boats/shop/holiday cottage. She is a very valued part of the team here at Norbury and works very closely alongside Simon and myself. Simon managed to catch her unawares during the week and got a picture of her. So here you go; a picture, so you know who we are talking about.

Mandy is working her way through the fleet completing the spring cleaning. That's only after Mick, Bernard and Paul have finished their own separate jobs on each boat though. That saves dirt off of the yard being walked back through on the carpets. No matter how careful you are it still seems to find it's way in!

Mick has just finished installing two new toilets into Sphynx, which I must say do look smart. (I don't know, when talking boats you always end up talking about toilets!). He is now doing some maintenance around the yard before he flies off to Australia on Monday morning.

Bernard has finished the engine service on Sovereign Lady and is now in the process of fitting a T-stud to the centre of the cabin top on Ember. (Yes, even the best of us forget things on occasions! haha...).

Poor old Fred has been working down in the dry dock and has been complaining bitterly about the cold today! He has now finished all the painting works required on Sandpiper which will be floated out of the dock tomorrow. He is still out in the cold... pumping Phantom and Phoenix out as they have just come back in after being out on hire.

The tearoom has had a steady flow of customers today, enjoying a warm cuppa and a slice of home made cake. Jay does do a good job of looking after our customers and it's looking very homely and inviting.

And finally me. We'll I've been doing "David things" as Simon calls them! The sale of Sandrella was completed this week, so I have been sorting out payments and paperwork for that. There's always endless paperwork to do and emails to answer but most importantly I've been keeping an eye on what everyone is up to, to ensure that the jobs are prioritised and completed on time.

Here you go. Here's a picture of me on holiday.

Early morning coffee, heading up the Thames. August 2010.
© Lawrence Williams.

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Until tomorrow.



just some photos

I really was tiered last night and couldnt be bothered with uploading photos but I thought now that i would share some from yesterday while going through Tyrley cutting, sorry about the poor quality, i was using my phone;the first one is approaching the first bridge above Tyrley locks

Next one is the rocks in the water at the affected area by the fall. The next picture is of the two work men drilling holes in the "50ton" lump of rock, it didnt look that big, but i wouldnt want it landing on my toe! last picture is of the whole area, difficult to take good pictures with an iphone when it is freezing and your hands are shaking with the cold! Last and probably the best shot of all is me in warmer weather in my shorts showing of my legs and surprise surprise, on a boat!!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Boating today!

I cant believe that I am sat here typing this blog when Emmerdale is on, I am missing probably the best TV programme and it looked like a real good episode! will have to watch it on iplayer.

Back to the blog, its been a superb day weather wise, the sun has been shinning in Norbury toady, it really has felt like spring is around the corner, Sparrows sat on the gutter of the shop twittering away and people with their coats off! It has been a busy day, well the bits that I have seen toady as I have been out all afternoon, firstly I had a sunken boat to visit to do an estimate and then I went boating, yes I know, I don't go boating any more, today however I had to go and move Phoenix through Tyrley cutting, for those of you who don't know, Tyrley has been shut for the last couple of weeks due to a large land slide in to the canal and a 50 ton lump of sandstone sat in a precarious position above the canal; After many meetings with BWB they finally agreed yesterday to allow me to travel through the affected section, at my risk I hasten to add, so I set off from Tyrley top lock at 2.00pm arriving at the affected section about fifteen minutes later, the fall was no where as bad as I had expected but to be fair to BWB I can understand why the section is shut as the rock is in a dangerous position; there were several workmen suspended on ropes with drilling equipment making holes in the rock, by the looks of things they are breaking it up into smaller sections and dropping it in to the canal from where it will then be dredged out; I have to say that i wouldn't fancy their job! Once past I was free to travel on to the Wharf at Cheswardine.

Well Emmerdale has finished now but Coronation has started so I will leave it all to David to keep you up to date with events over the weekend.

So until; Monday, I hope you all have a good weekend.


Thursday, 27 January 2011


Well it's been a bit grey over Norbury today and it snowed at one point this morning, temperature has droped to freezing and there is a cold nip in the air reminiscent of them cold days in December, I hope this isn't what is in store for us over the next few days!

I have escaped today, banking,shopping a meeting with my accountant and now I am sat in a reception while one of the motor homes has an
MOT done,I hope it passes.

I can't really comment on what has gone on toaday at work as I have only been there for a short while and I don't suppose I will make it back that early, I thought I would type up the blog while sat here doin nothing.

I tried yesterday to contact BWB to get an update on the stoppage at Tyrley but they failed to answer their phone, I tried 6 times and also left messages but no luck I am afraid so I can only presume that the situation has not changed, I will try again shortly and if I can get an update I will post it on here.


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Wednesday already

I am not sure that a wet day in Feb is as bad as it gets Jim, I reckon that a freezing day at -20 in December takes some beating! My ex missus once said that a wet weekend in Cornwall was bad, so there we have it three different opinions on when bad is bad!

Its been a very quiet day today, i hope this is not a sign of things to come? The spin doctors have been giving out doom and gloom about the slow recovery of our economy in the news, I hope that when the weather improves so does every ones spirits and we see an improvement in the overall recovery, failing that i hope we are busy!

I wont bore you with what the lads have been up to today, suffice to say that they have all been busy in their respective jobs and work is progressing without to many problems.

It is change over day in the painting dock tomorrow, if it isn't raining i might get a couple of shots of the boats coming out after being tarted up for the forthcoming season.

Until tomorrow.


Tuesday, 25 January 2011

wet Tuesday

It might have rained all day but at least it hasn't snowed and the temperature isn't below freezing!
Is it me or does January seem a looooooooooooooong month? it seems to drag on and on, still it is nearly the end of the month and the nights are starting to draw out, I noticed tonight as I was locking up at 5.30pm that the sky was a little lighter, soon it will be light at 5.30 and then it will really seem like spring is on its way, as we have had an early harsh start to the winter it seems like it has been a really long winter so roll on spring and summer.

Trouble with January is that in our business it is very quiet, it is true to say that this year we do seem to have been relatively busy and have had a steady flow of customers through the door, but i love it when it is non stop through the day, so much so that after a busy day you cant remember what went on:someone please remind me of that statement when in August i am wishing we could have some quiet days!

Nothing really exciting to report from today so until tomorrow


Monday, 24 January 2011

Monday blues

The weekends seem to go so fast and before you know it it is Monday again, Its been a bright day at Norbury, temperatures have been about 5 degrees all day and not much wind but it has seemed really cold, I don't remember it being this cold when it was -20 but then I didn't go outside that much then!

The lads have been ploughing through the winter maintenance on the boats and in doing so have started to identify problems caused by the severe weather last year, mainly pipes and water pump that have burst and broken so Paul has been fixing some of them today, he still has quite a few boats to go through so i suspect that he will find some more before he has finished, Lee has worked his socks off today and made a real impact on the two boats that he is touching up ready for the impending season.

Nothing else really to report from today's events so until tomorrow.


Sunday, 23 January 2011

Sunday already

It's Sunday again...

I really don't know where the weeks go to. It is now four weeks since Christmas. Easter will be with us before we know it. We have got a lot of work to get done before then to ensure that all of the boats are ready for the season. The majority of them will be out before then...

This morning saw Paul and Jamie swapping the boats in the docks. Quartz is now in the dry dock and is being pressure washed, ready for blacking. Defiant and Phantasy are in the painting dock to be tidied up. Phantasy is going out on Thursday - it's a good job she doesn't need too much paintwork! Mick has changed the fluorescent tubes in the dock, as a number of them had stopped working over the last week or so. He is now busy doing the engineering work required on Victory which will allow Steve to get on with lining her out. Jay has been busy in the tea room with walkers etc. and Mandy's busy cleaning one of the shared owned boats.

I've been writing boat manuals. The current ones need updating a bit and I've got three new ones to write for Quartz, Princess and Ember. It is surprising how long it takes and there's still more to do. And then there is the laminating...

There's been a few boats around again today. Here's a picture of a passing boat making use of our services.

Over to Simon once again tomorrow.

Until next week.



Saturday, 22 January 2011

Another chilly morning

It was a cold night again at Norbury with a harsh frost. When I came to work this morning there was a very thin layer of ice on the canal down the arm towards our dry dock.

The winter works are progressing well on all of our boats. Here's a view back across the basin taken from underneath Bridge No. 1 of the Newport Canal showing some of the boats based here. That's Princess closest to us, she arrived yesterday and following her winter works will be offered for hire - Click here for details.

Also lurking near to the bridge you can usually find this plump feathery friend.

He is one of my favourite ducks that are currently residing at Norbury. He is an Aylesbury duck and is very friendly. He (like us) can not wait for the Spring, when he will be fed by the many families that make a special trip from their urban homes to take a walk along the delightfully rural Shropshire Union Canal. (Yes you can buy corn from our shop to feed him too!). Ironically I've never seen one of these ducks in Aylesbury, and I have spent quite some time there as we used to have a mooring in the canal basin! Aylesbury is certainly worth a visit by boat and the Aylesbury Canal Society welcome all with open arms.

The lads are all busy with their jobs again today. Bernard has finished servicing Dedale's engine and has now started on his next one. Paul has been doing some work on Quartz, but has now gone down to the dry dock to put the mushroom vents and cabin fittings back onto Honeystreet as she will be coming out of the dry dock tomorrow. Fred has been busy all day. First job was off to Knighton to deliver some coal. When he returned back to the yard he has applied the last coat of blacking to Honeystreet, he has also painted the water tank and in the picture below he is seen to be prepping the counter bands, ready for their final coat of topcoat.

Phantom came back this morning with some very happy customer's aboard, who were sad to leave their floating cottage and return home. She has been turned round (pumped out, gas bottles replaced, cleaned etc.) and has now gone out for a further week with her new residents aboard.

Whilst I was updating some information today, I came across this photograph that I thought that you would all like to see ("I hope that you haven't got any copyright on it Karen?"). I think it is a fantastic action shot of Simon ice-breaking with Defiant some weeks back. The ice was about 4 inches thick then and mighty hard to break. Let's hope that the ice doesn't come back to haunt us!

After looking at the Beebs weather forecast it looks like it's gonna warm up a bit this coming week. I really hope it does!

We've completed on Long in the Tooth this week and Sandrella is currently Under Offer with the completion hopefully being early next week. Sultan and Mayflower have been reduced. We have sold four boats so far this month. That proves that we really are good at selling boats and that there are still people out there looking to buy a narrowboat. Lavendar Lee has also arrived and is now offered for sale. For a full list of boats for sale click here.

That's it for today folks.



Friday, 21 January 2011


Its been another bitterly cold day here at Norbury, When i got up this morning and looked out of my bedroom window it looked like it had snowed, the haw frost was amazing it was standing up on the bonnet of my car like millions of white soldiers standing to attention, it was -4 and on the drive in to work and i feared that the canal would be well and truly frozen over but i was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't, the boats had also escaped the chilly night, the trees were covered though and as it warmed up the ice was dropping on to the parked cars making hell of a racket in the process.

Its been busy all day with people in and out and all the lads have been busy doing the usual on the boats so nothing really exciting to report.

It is Friday, it is 5.30 and that's me done for the weekend so until Monday i will leave David to entertain you and i know that he will post some pictures on here for you to see.


Thursday, 20 January 2011

Bitter again!!

Wow it has gone seriously cold here at Norbury, i was hoping that the bad weather from last year was all we were going to see, how wrong could i be! It was -4 on my in to work this morning and it has not got above freezing all day, the canal did have a smidgen of ice on it this morning but only in the sheltered areas, i just hope that all the boats that have been recommissioned will be OK if this temperature continues or we will have more burst pipes!

Its been a hive of activity today, we seem to have been very busy, quite a few folk around, some looking at boats, the new owners of some of the boats sold recently have been in to check on their purchases and customers requiring chandlery, we have even had a few people in the T room!

The lads have been busy as usual, Mick finishing off deck boards on Yelvertoft and doing the gas work on Debdale, these two boats are both shared owned boats that we look after, Debdale has just returned to us after being well and truly stuck in the ice at Tixall wide, it was stuck there since about the first week in December but managed to get back before the stoppages came on.

Steve has been doing wood work on Ember, nearly finished now, just trimming it up and varnishing it, lee has done a sterling job on Quartz and that should be done by the weekend, Fred has been pressure washing Honeystreet in the dock and Bernard has been doing the winter engine service on Debdale and Jay has been painting and varnishing the T room this afternoon, giving it a bit of a make over!

I spoke with BWB this afternoon and the news on the Tyrley stoppage is that they should have a specialist engineer on site within the next few days to look at stabilising the bank and once the engineers have done that and given the all clear then BWB will get another firm in to clear the canal, I cannot imagine for one minute that it will be complete within a fortnight, but here is hoping.


Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Deliberate mistake, or not?

How many of you who read the blog noticed? yesterday i put in the title "Sunny Monday" I only put it there to see if any one noticed and make a comment, obviously you are not as observant as I thought! Truth be told I had a long weekend and forgot what day it was.

It has been another fine day at Norbury, the sun has been shining, no wind but it has gone freezing cold again, it was freezing this morning and it is freezing again now, I doubt that it will be cold enough to freeze the canal over, I will keep my fingers crossed!

No news on the land slide at Tyrley cutting except an email saying that it is still shut!!! I don't suppose BWB will rush to sort it out as i suspect that they think that it wont matter until Easter, i certainly hope that is not the case.

The lads have all been busy as usual, we have moved Honeystreet out of the painting dock and that is now waiting to go into the dry dock tomorrow and we have put Quartz in to have its paint work done, Quartz is one of our new hire boats, I have got the SD card for the camera so here are just a couple of shots from today. Above is Quartz, having some prep work before a quick touch up, it will be getting a new full livery next year, we don't have enough time this year.This is a Picture of Lee,the painter at Norbury, Lee is also know as Smurf, although not a name he is too fond of, the reason for 'Smurf' is that one day after preparing a blue boat, he came out covered in a very light blue dust! Credit goes to Smurf for the job that he does as it isn't the nicest job in the world and it is very hard work, Smurf has worked for me now for many years and he started well before I took over Norbury so he is now my longest serving employee!

Over the next few weeks i will be taking some pictures of everyone who works at Norbury just so you can all see their 'ugly mugs'

Don't ask me why the text above is in blue and underlined as I have no idea.


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Sunny Monday

What a lovely day, a bit cold but the sun has been shinning all day and it really makes a difference to how things feel and it makes the place seem alive somehow, even though it is not been buzzing with customers today, dont get me wrong we have been busy with different things and customers but it hasn't been buzzing! We have seen a few boats moving but I don't think we will see many, well at least until we know what is happening with the closure at Woodseaves cutting, I hope BWB don't hang around and get it open as soon as possible, I will keep you up to date with proceedings as and when I know.

The lads have been busy, Bernard has been 'fertling' with Willowweeds bottom today, that is a boat on the dry dock at the moment and Fred has given it its second coat of paint, Paul has started the winter maintenance on Debdale and is cracking on with that without too many problems, we have had a couple of BWB safety examinations carried out today on our hire fleet, they passed without too many problems so not much to do there.

We have a new boat on our books for sale, the details will follow as soon as we get the pictures and details, keep your eye out on our website for the updated information but just to keep you interested, it is a 62 footer with an asking price of 32.5K

The new camera turned up today so once the new SD memory card comes I will be back in the frame for taking some pictures, sorry about the pun, David did say that I would be back today to "entertain you"


Monday, 17 January 2011

Sunny Norbury

The suns been out today and I've been making the most of it. We've had the blinds open, doors open and heaters off! I've heard that we are in for a bit more bad weather before the winters over, but lets hope it's no where near as bad as the last lot.

The Wharf has been busy today. The picture below shows three boats awaiting services on the Wharf today.

Debdale made it back from Tixall, although they had another hold up when they got to Penkridge as there was a tree down across the canal.

The lads have all been busy and we are now ploughing through the winter maintenance on all of the boats that are based here at Norbury.

Simon's back tomorrow, so he can keep you entertained for the week.

I best get going as I have got to go over to the Princess Royal to pick a friend up who has broken her leg...



Sunday, 16 January 2011

Grey clouds over Norbury

It's been a grey old day here at Norbury and not really that much to report. It's been a bit wet too, but I suppose it'll keep the canal topped up...

We've undocked Summer Wine and docked a private boat for pressure washing and blacking. Jamie's got that all cleaned off now and the dock cleaned out. She'll have a coat of Intertuf tomorrow, as long as she has dried off.

I've taken an offer on Sandrella that has been accepted. I'm glad that she is going to a good home.

Bookings for the hire boats are still rolling in making it look like we will have a good season (fingers crossed).

A few good friends and regular customers have popped by for a chat today. One being Vic off of No Problem. His wife Sue really does write a fabulous blog that I enjoy reading throughout the week. (We are learning and getting plenty of tips off of you Sue!).

Hopefully there will be more to write about tomorrow...

Best regards,


Saturday, 15 January 2011

More information on the rock fall in Drayton Rockin'

Here's some pictures of the rock/land slide that occurred yesterday in Drayton rockin'. The stoppage notice that was released by Waterways was incorrect. The main slippage has occurred between bridges 56 and 57, although there are a number of other slippages.

There has also been a number of smaller rock falls, as in the picture below.

And there are areas that are in need of stabilising.

These deep cuttings on the Shropshire Union do prove a problem for Waterways especially through periods of heavy rainfall (and there's more rain on the way!). If there was still a dredger based here along with a couple of pans, then it could be cleared in a couple of days. Unfortunately the dredger was sold off a couple of years back, so the job will probably be contracted out. Once the obstructions have been cleared some serious stabilisation work needs to be done to prevent it happening again. We will have to wait and see what happens. We'll publish updates as and when available.

It's been a grey day here, but the rain is holding off which has meant that all work is progressing well. Bernard has straightened the rudder on Summer Wine and replaced the top and bottom rudder bearings. He is now busy fitting a new complete fuel filter assembly to Sandpiper. Fred has been blacking Summer Wine and painting the counter bands. Mick has been doing some more work on Sphynx and now he is awaiting parts, so in the meantime he is doing a few more maintenance jobs around the yard. Paul has completed the internal checks on Sandpiper and is just about to start on another boat.

The stoppages on the Staffs and Worcs have been lifted early which has meant the owners of Debdale can now collect her from Tixall Wide. She will be returning to our yard over the next few days. That will then allow us to get on with her winter maintenance meaning that the boat will ready for this years up and coming season.

Until tomorrow.



Friday, 14 January 2011

Shropshire Union Canal closed between Goldstone and Tyrley

It's been a nice steady day here today. The sky's been blue and the sun out for the majority of the day, although it has started to drizzle now.

The rumours that were filtering through by lunchtime today of the Shropshire Union being closed due to a rock/landslide in Drayton Rockin' (that's Woodseaves cutting between Goldstone and Tyrley locks. BW call it Tyrley cutting) were confirmed when a lady from Waterways at Northwich rang me at 1pm. Apparently the slip occurred during the night following the rain we had yesterday. It sounds quite serious and apparently other parts of the Rockin' are also suspect. We are just hoping that Waterways manage to get the canal navigable as soon as possible. We certainly don't want to be in the same situation as we were back in 2009 when the canal breached at Shebdon and we didn't see any moving traffic for weeks.

Unfortunately we also have one of our hire boats stuck to the north of the slide, meaning that it can't return. Luckily the lovely couple aboard still have two more weeks holiday before they will be returning home. There are planned stoppages on the Trent and Mersey until March meaning that they can't even get back to Norbury that way. FINGERS CROSSED Waterways will sort it ASAP... - we might all need to get up there with our shovels!!!

Here's the British Waterways announcement (note how they spell Tyrley!).

Stoppage: Closure to navigation and towpath at Tyrely Cutting due to rock fall

14 Jan 2011 until further notice

Associated Regional Office: North Wales & Borders Waterways

A substantial rock fall has occurred within the Tyrely cutting which has blocked the navigation to all craft between bridge 58 and 59 on the Shropshire Union Canal. After initial inspection there is concern that other sections of the cutting face are at risk of further collapse. For safety reasons we will therefore have to close off the towpath and navigation until further notice whilst investigations are completed and the rock fall removed.

The nearest winding holes that are available for use are located at Goldstone Wharf to the south of the stoppage and above Tyrely top lock to the north of the stoppage.

Further updates to follow.

British Waterways apologise for any inconvenience caused by this incident if you require further information please contact our office on 01606 723800.

We docked Summer Wine this morning for her annual blacking. That's kept Fred busy. Bernard's done an engine service on a private boat and then he has been carrying on with the winter engine services on our shared owned boats. Mick's being on maintenance today! Replaced the unit fascias in the kitchen in the tearoom, installed a dishwasher (yes, we've now adapted to 21st century equipment!) and changed the light bulbs around the yard that had blown.

I've ordered a new camera today as well, so you can hopefully start having daily pictures again from the end of next week - it won't be kept in the office for thieving hands to take advantage of again either!

That's about it for today.



Thursday, 13 January 2011

Thursday 12th

Not a very exciting day today, only seen the one boat on the wharf today for services, me and David have had a move around of boats and have sorted out the new brokerage boats and put them where they should be and moved the now sold boats to appropriate moorings, we only have three empty moorings at the moment, i suspect that will change once spring arrives and people start moving off for the season, The weather here at Norbury has certainly got a lot warmer, I have even managed to remove my scarf and gloves at long last, even Bernard was showing some chest hair today, now that must mean its getting warmer! We might even see some sun this week.

The lads have been busy as usual,there doesn't seem a day when they have no work to do, at least that's what they tell me!

Good news came today, i will be seeing some of the stranded boats return next week, in fact one of them turned up on the wharf today, so we now have another new brokerage boat here for sale, David will post the details over the weekend.

I'm off home now so until tomorrow


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Well today didn't bring anything exciting really! Its been a steady day today, Ange has had a good old tidy up in the new office, i have been doing paperwork, ordering bits for the new boat and the other usual stuff that I do, I did manage to get down to the dock today to have a look around Sovereign Lady out of the water, all was fine with her bottom and apart from a good clean and some fresh blacking there was nothing to do so that's a nice easy job for Fred tomorrow, Bernard has had his head in the back of a shared owned boat all day doing its winter service on the 1.8BMC engine in it, Mick has finishing the heating, and plumbing on Ember, Steve has been busy making the drop down table for Ember's dinette and Lee has been striping the paint off the roof of another shared owned boat.

All the snow and ice has well and truly gone now and it has left every ting really wet, the ground feels spongy when you walk on it and there are leaks appearing from beneath the ground where main water pipes run, Severn Trent are going to be busy for a few months catching up with leaks, i just really hope that we don't have any more sub zero temperatures as i suspect it would cause more serious damage.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, it seems to me that David gets the interesting bits and pieces to put on to the blog!

Time for me to shut up shop and head home, so see you all tomorrow


Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Jam packed

Looking around the wharf this morning I thought to myself, we seem to have a lot of boats here at the moment, I know we have more hire boats this year and more shared boats as well , and they are not all here yet, I still have some stuck because of the ice and the infernal stoppages, I apologise to everyone who is coming through at the moment as it is a bit like a slalom course, makes life a bit more interesting though! If you are ever in Norbury and you need to Wind around and cant because of all the boats just drop into the office and ask and we will move them for you. Sue and Vic have now disappeared, miserable old goats didn't say goodbye! I am sure they will be back to bend my ear soon, I don't mind my ears being fondled! oops meant to say 'bent' Sue its always a pleasure!!

Its been another busy day today, more bookings for boats, more of the same general work on boats, the odd pump out, diesel, gas and coal, chandlery orders coming in to fill the shelves, getting ready for Easter, Its not far away, I can hear you now saying "its only January" but the Easter eggs are in the shops already you know!

Ange has returned to work today, poor thing still isn't very well, but I reckon that plenty of hard work and she will forget all about it! I hope she doesn't read this tonight or she will bend my ear tomorrow.

Not really much to report about Norbury today, No ice, no snow, nothing out of the usual, nothing really exciting so lets see what tomorrow brings.


Monday, 10 January 2011

Monday 10th Jan

Wow what a busy day it has been at Norbury, Old friends and good customers Sue and Vic came in today after their long enforced stay in the ice in Market, it is nice to see them even if they do bend my ear a lot! Its great to also get some excellent feed back from all of you who take the time to read the blog, its amazing how many people are reading this now, it has really taken off, any comments on how we can improve it will be very welcome.

It really has been a busy day today, the amount of bookings that we are taking for the hire fleet is amazing, David has had a busy weekend with bookings and today has been no exception, Ember is doing fantastically, I wish I had another one the same, maybe next year! Talking of Ember, I saw her out in the day light for the first time since she has come out of the painting dock and I have to say that she looks superb! Lee has done a stunning job on her and she now sports the new livery in Grey black and red. The reason behind the colour scheme dates back to 1991 when I painted my second boat in the same colours and they look striking so every boat that I have owned since has been the same colour.

The lads have all been busy again today, Lee has started stripping the roof on another shared owned boat, he will be painting that all week, Paul has been getting the holiday cottage ready for a family who has had to find some accommodation while their hose is being repaired after damage caused by the severe weather, Mick has been doing gas work on several boats all day, he is trying to do as many as he can before the end of the month as he is off to Australia for two weeks, luck so-and-so.

Just a small correction for yesterdays post, David has made a mistake in the dates that he put in the blog, it should say 2012 and 2011, not 2011 and 2010 so if anyone was wondering, we do have space for some shared owner boats in 2o12 and space for winter maintenance in 2011.

Thats it for today, so until tomorrow.


Sunday, 9 January 2011

The weather forecasters are improving at their job! The sky's blue and the suns out again today, although that wind is still pretty chilly. I reckon it will turn quite cold tonight.

Some more pictures for you today. Here is the view from the bridge looking north towards Market Drayton. That's our long term moorings on the right hand side and the visitor moorings on the left.

Here's another one for you. This time looking from the towpath and back across the basin to the wharf buildings where we house our tea room, gift shop, chandlery, hire fleet and boat sales.

I managed to get a picture of our new day boat for 2011. That's Victory looking resplendent in our Norbury livery and awaiting completion and commissioning ready for the up and coming season.

Here's her Beta engine that Bernard has been busy installing. We are agents for Beta Marine and can supply or supply and fit engines throughout the year at very competitive prices.

I thought that I would get you a picture of Fred's handy work too. Here's Pendlebury in the dry dock. Lee will be top coating her gunnel sides tomorrow and giving her counter bands another coat, ready for Fred to apply the final coat of blacking to the hull when he returns to work on Tuesday.

Pendlebury is one of the 13 shared owned boats that we operate from here at Norbury. Since the demise of Ownerships Ltd back in May 2010 we have worked very closely with the owners of all the boats that we operate from here at Norbury to ensure that the they run as smoothly as possible for everyone. As well as working with the private syndicates we have also joined forces and work closely alongside BC Boat Management and ABC to open up even more options for our customers and to give them the very best service. If you are a share holder in a syndicate and would like to become "part of the family" here at Norbury for the 2011 cruising season (2010 is now full!), please express your interest ASAP - as spaces are filling quickly.

Here comes Quartz, she is another hire boat that we will be introducing for this season. She has just been delivered to us by one of our regular customers who has been and collected her for us.

Ember has just emerged from the paint dock too, to show off her excellent paintjob to all. She will now be on display on the wharf outside the shop for all to see whilst the work on her is completed. So if you are passing, pop in and have a look at what we can offer!

That's it for today and back over to Simon tomorrow!



Saturday, 8 January 2011

The weather forecast was correct for today; Sunshine - We had nearly forgotten what that big yellow thing in the sky was. Although the sun has been out for a couple of hours, the wind has been mighty cold and now it has blown some clouds over. More sun tomorrow hopefully??

Fred's been busy working on Pendlebury. We've got her in the dry dock at the moment, so he has kept himself out of mischief today with blacking, painting the counter bands/gunnels and blacking the water tank.

Bernard finished off the winter engine on Oasis Too this morning and has been doing some running repairs around the yard. He is now finishing the day off by working on the engine installation in Victory. That's our new dayboat that we will be introduced into our expanding hire fleet by Easter. That will allow Phantasy to be relieved of dayboat duties through the week and allow her to be returned to a Monday to Friday 2 berth hire boat, although we will still continue to use her as an extra dayboat at weekends.

Paul is fitting the windows and mushroom vents back onto Ember whilst Mick continues with putting the finishing touches to the electrics, commissioning the water and heating systems and complete the gas installation. She will be out of the painting dock tomorrow to show off her new paintjob - so I will get you some pictures of her then.

Winter works are progressing well now that the ice and snow has nearly gone. Just before Christmas I was sat looking at a check list of all the works that need completing over the next three months without a single tick in any of the boxes, feeling quite depressed. We now are looking to be back on track - which prevents me from sleepless nights (OK, Simon... Maybe not quite sleepless!).

Well we have been telling you about the boats that we have for sale and the ones that we have sold, but today another boat has arrived to be sold through our Brokerage service. Sandrella is owned by a lovely couple who are regular customers here at Norbury. They have now sadly decided that they are going to "hang up their windlasses" and retire from boating. She is a perfect example of a 2006 cruiser stern narrowboat having been built by J.D Narrowboats and could be used as a luxury holiday narrow boat or luxury live aboard. I will be advertising her over the next few days so keep an eye on our website HERE. Here's a picture of her. That's Bernard moving her off of the wharf this afternoon.

We are seeing more and more boats starting to move now after they have been unable to do so for the last six or so weeks due to the ice. That's meant that we have had a number of boats pull on the wharf to take advantage of the services that we offer daily to all of our customers, including pumpouts, Calor gas, diesel, solid fuels etc.

Phantom has been collected this afternoon and is out for a period of two weeks. During that time her occupants are intending on visiting the BCN. I know that they keep abreast of the news from Norbury via this blog - so have a great holiday from all at Norbury!

We only have three long term moorings available and one less after today as a couple from Telford who have just bought a boat from the Northamptonshire area have taken it on. For further details about our moorings please visit If you would like to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity please don't hesitate to give Simon or myself a call and reserve the mooring as they will be snapped up before the start of the cruising season.

So that's it for today folks.

Best regards,


Friday, 7 January 2011


Whhhhhay Its Friday so no work for me for the whole weekend, well apart from a small repair required at my partners rental property, and washing my very dirty car, oh and forgot that the house is a tip as we havent cleaned it for a couple of weeks because we have been busy over Christmas and New year, and need to get the logs and the coal in as we have run out.Thoroughly depressed now and don't want it to be the weekend! Only kidding.

Bookings are really coming in thick and fast now for the hire boats, its amazing how the bookings pick up just after Christmas, it shows that people are looking forward to the summer and I cant blame them, I am now thinking of where to go for my holiday, unfortunately I cant have time off when it is busy so I end up going somewhere out of season when nothing is open and the weather is not very good! I hope you are feeling sorry for me now? Any way here are a couple of pictures of Sovereign lady breaking the ice last week near to High Bridge just north of us, just in case you had forgotten what the winter looked like.

Sorry folks I cant upload the pictures as the internet connection keeps coming and going, David might post some pictures tomorrow.

Until Monday


Thursday, 6 January 2011

not very exciting today

Its been a busy sort of day but i suspect that is because Angela is off, poor thing wasn't very well yesterday but she had already booked several days holiday so she is now at home all bunged up and full of flu. The bookings are coming in thick and fast now for the hire fleet and our new ten berth boat Ember has had an amazing amount of interest and is now officially our best booking boat. The others will catch up soon, i am sure.

Work has continued on as normal, Steve has finally finished off the new office, Mick is finishing off Ember's bits and bobs, Bernard is doing more winter services, Fred has been blacking. Not much more to say about Norbury, at this time of the year its quiet but spring is on its way and then there will plenty to write about.


Wednesday, 5 January 2011

What a wet day

It makes a pleasant change to have some rain rather than snow, i hope the snow and ice stays away, most of the ice has gone now,just some rather large ice bergs floating around in the canal but at least it seems passable at long last, we still had to break the ice this morning down to the dock to facilitate a docking, thank the lord, we managed to dock a boat! There is still some ice in the dock but at least it is workable again!

Fred pressure washed the boat in the dock, Bernard set to replacing its anodes and sorting out its worn out rudder, Steve is back off his holiday and his first job today was replacing the broken soil pipe it the cottage, lovely job! that's all done now, new pipe and two tons of concrete later! Mick has nearly finished the wiring in Ember and Lee is just putting the finishing touches on it, it will come out the dock on Sunday, hopefully David will post some pictures of it, it does look smart!

We even had two boats on the wharf today for pump outs etc, i got really excited, customers, i haven't seen many of them in the last six weeks, almost forgot what they looked like.

My dinner has just arrived so until tomorrow.


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

New start to the year!

Today got off pretty much to the normal start today, no real problems, just a phone call complaining about one of our hire boats going passed moored boats and breaking the ice!

So this is the start of 2011 and what a start to a new year, VAT increase, fuel increase and we still have Ice everywhere making life difficult, we are absorbing the VAT increase on most of our services, moorings and shop items, there are a few items that have had to go up as the "mark up" is so small that if we didn't we would loose more money!!

The lads have been busy as usual today doing winter maintenance on the boats while Fred has had to do some digging and dig up a soil pipe from one of the cottages as the ice has damaged it and it now needs replacing, there is always something broken somewhere around Norbury.

Still plenty of ice around on the canal, but by the time I left tonight it looked like it was melting, I dint clock the temperature in the car but I am hoping that it stays above freezing as I need to dock a boat tomorrow.

Until tomorrow Simon

Monday, 3 January 2011

I thought you deserved some pictures today for following our blog daily, so here we go!

There was a little bit of 'cat ice' on the canal this morning, as you can see from the picture below. That's one of our hire boats on the left, Phantom. She is due on the dock on Wednesday for blacking and her winter maintenance to commence - let's just hope that the cold weather holds off long enough! The blue boat on the right is one of the boats that we have recently sold. Boats are still selling slowly and we sold an amazing five during the month of December. To view a full list of the boats that we currently have for sale see

The Boat Safety examiner has been to put a certificate on Staverton and Paul's busy with some bits and busy that the surveyor picked up on. She is another boat that we have for sale at the moment. Staverton was built by Simon Wain and Steve Priest of Brinklow Boat Services back in 1998 for the present owner. She is a replica of a Fellows, Morton and Clayton motor boat dating from the 30s and is a real treasure. I really hope that she goes to a good home soon - she certainly deserves it. Click here for a PDF link to the full colour brokerage brochure.

Mick's still busy with Ember's electrics whilst Lee is making a superb job, transforming her with a splendid new paint job. Our signwriters going to start putting his brush strokes on later in the week, so hopefully her paintwork will be completed by next weekend. There's just the woodwork to finish off then, carpet the floor and commission all of the systems and she will be ready for being put to work this season.

We have had some new diesel display boards made, as one of the previous boards was blown away when we had some strong winds, some months ago. I had to capture the picture below and send it to Simon yesterday. I had to chuckle to myself, as I could imagine his face when he saw it! If only it were true??

Obviously we are not selling diesel at 9ppl. The price of diesel keeps creeping up. Hopefully it will stop fluctuating soon. We've had to put ours upto 74.9, but I'm hoping (for one!) that it will come back down once this cold weather has finally gone.

Well that's about it for today.

Over to Simon tomorrow.



Sunday, 2 January 2011

Is the weather improving?

We sold William of Ockham on New Years eve after Simon uploaded the blog - just goes to show that it's worth while being opening over Christmas/New Year.

It has been one of those days today... I really don't know where the day has gone, although there isn't really much to report.

Paul's finished a few jobs off that have been outstanding and Mick's been busy with the wiring on Ember. Jay and Mandy have been kept busy in the shop and tea room.

Boats have started moving at long last! Summer Wine has headed south and a boat has come up from Gnosall. Thea and Lion have departed from the basin today.

Is the weather improving, or is it lulling us into a false sense of security?

We should hopefully be back to normal tomorrow, so keep an eye on the blog for some interesting updates! I'll try and get some pictures.

Happy new year from me and catch you all tomorrow!