Shop front in the summer

Monday, 28 February 2011

What happened to my holiday?

A week off is never enough time to get everything done, and relax at the same time, David said in a previous post "where has the week gone" well the same thing applies when you are on holiday as I am sure you will all agree, it was nice to be away from work but I never truly get away unless I go abroad or somewhere where there is no Phone service or Internet; I spent most of last week doing jobs around home and spent a couple of days in mid Wales, God I know how to live the 'high life'

As you can imagine I have been busy catching up all day today, don't get me wrong David has done an excellent job of getting everything sorted and I take my hat off to him for getting things like the new brochure proofed and to the printers, the Internet updated, the blog up to date and keeping all the balls in the air. Well done David.

Not much to report about today, Princess was docked and pressure washed off, Fred will give it a coat of blacking tomorrow, After that was done Ralph carried on with a few snagging items on Ember, just when you think everything is sorted you notice something else that has been missed, IT WILL BE DONE BY FRIDAY as its going out on its first cruise then. Mick has been fitting a 240V battery charger to one of the boats and stripping some external fittings off Sophie, Sophie is a 57 footer that has just come in to have a full repaint, I will be posting some pictures as it is progressing, I would have taken some today but Lee has been making a mess all day with his sander so I gave it a miss.

That's it for today, so until tomorrow


Sunday, 27 February 2011

Where has the week gone?

I had a fantastic night out in Birmingham last night with some friends. We met in Gas Street Basin (they were aboard boats and unfortunately I was just visiting by motor vehicle) and had a couple of drinks in the Prince of Wales PH on Cambridge Street, which is very close to Cambrian Basin. I've got fond memories of being in this pub back in 2001/2 when we used to attend the boat gathering in Birmingham. The lease is currently for sale, but the existing occupants are determined that it will not close. It's well worth a visit if your visiting Brum - if you like "proper pubs". We then decided to hit Broad Street to find somewhere to eat, we only got as far as Jimmy Spices World Buffet which is at the site of the now disused Regency Wharf between Broad Street and Gas Street Basin. I have to say that the food was fantastic and comes highly recommended. I had a drive down Broad Street before heading home (about midnight), it was heaving with people - I thought we were in a recession? Not on Broad Street, by all accounts! City life is a bit different to Norbury, but I know my preference. I love going to Birmingham by boat, I find the BCN so interesting. The architecture of the buildings is amazing, the construction of the elevated sections of the motorways is mind blowing, and the infrastructure of the canal network is just out of this world. I must admit that although I enjoy visiting the BCN I also like to turn back onto the Shroppie at Cut End to head home to the peace and tranquillity at Norbury!

Well, not only do I not know where today has gone, but where has the week gone?? It seems to have flown by. Monday again tomorrow and Simon will be back from his holiday already. Two thirds of the list of "jobs to be done" that he left me have been completed.

I've nearly finished our 2011 hire brochure, so I should be able to get that off to the printers once it has been proof read tomorrow and the page layouts have been sorted. The new boat manuals are virtually complete and now just need assembling into their files. There is only Princess left to dock and black tomorrow and then we will be ready for the "season" :-). I can't wait until we get into full swing. There's nothing better to have all the boats out and the basin empty!

Mick has been working on Sphynx most of the day. We need to replace one of the radiators so I must remember to order that in the morning. Ralph has been putting the final touches to Ember, she looks a treat and is off out on hire this coming weekend, after a final walkthrough she will be ready.

Jay and Carolyn were very busy in the tea room this morning, cooking breakfasts and serving bacon butties. Customers seem to come in waves, a slack period and then they all walk in together. Several times today there has not been one seat available inside and walkers along with their dogs have dodged the showers and enjoyed afternoon tea and cake on the wharf.

It's gone cool again here tonight, so a quiet night in with my feet up infront of the fire is in order.

Speak to you at the weekend.



Saturday, 26 February 2011

and some of Ember

We had heavy rain over night and it was still raining when we came to work this morning. I was down in Stourbridge last night and the water on the M5 and M6 was pretty amazing on the way home - I would of been better off with a jet ski!

As the title says, I got some internal shots of Ember today so here you go.

From entering at the front are two single berths that also form the dinette when the table that is stowed opposite the galley is erected.

Next comes the fully equipped galley.

Then the dinette that converts into a double bed.

Following this is the main shower room.

Then the two double bedrooms.

Followed by the toilet compartment and vanity unit opposite and the two single berths at the rear.

It's been a busy day here at Norbury. Phoenix, Summer Wine and Shropshire Blue returned from their weeks outing and Phantom, Phoenix, Shropshire Blue, Debdale and Oasis Too have departed the basin with some very happy holiday makers aboard for this week.

The sun has been out this afternoon which has lifted every ones spirits from the forecast of the rain continuing throughout the day.

Fred has turned the boats around, whilst Bernard checked the engines over and Ralph checked the internals. Ralph has showed the boats out this afternoon and been doing some finishing off jobs on Ember. Fred is down in the dry dock blacking Sphynx in between serving customers on the wharf and Bernard is still repairing a boat, which will hopefully be finished by closing time :-).

That's about it from me today.



Friday, 25 February 2011

Pitctures at last

The rain has held off so far today, although the sky looks pretty threatening.

Well at last I have managed to get some pictures of Quartz, so here you go. They will be added to our website over the next couple of days and will also appear in our 2011 brochure.

(I didn't take this one today - there's still ice on the canal in the picture!).

From entering at the rear is first the dinette that converts into a double berth.

Next comes the galley.

Followed by the shower compartment with the pumpout toilet opposite.

Finally comes the two fixed bunks.

Bookings are coming in nicely for Quartz and I think that she is going to become a popular four berth boat. Talking about bookings, Ange has been kept busy today, there seems to be a steady stream which will hopefully keep us all busy throughout the season.

Python came back with some very happy customers aboard this morning. She was out again this afternoon along with three other boats that Ralph and Fred set to and turned around without any problems.

Mick is working on replacing the central heating boiler in Sphynx. They don't last forever, and I would imagine that this one had been in for a good time. It had sprung a leak during the winter, so the water jacket has been removed and replaced and it is now being reinstalled. It's just a case of testing the gas system for tightness and servicing the other gas appliances before it can be run up and tested.

Lee has finished painting Princess and has this afternoon been cleaning out the dock ready for the next boat to be put in for a paint job. It soon mounts up when old items are removed from boats and not put in the bin!

We all had Fish and Chips for lunch. I mentioned it earlier on in the week and all of the staff jumped at the chance - so it looks like a regular meal for Friday lunchtimes. At least it will avoid having to cook on a Friday night!!! We used to do a similar thing when I worked for Nationwide Building Society, but there we used to sit on the pier end at Southend - they don't taste the same sitting by the cut, although I wouldn't change my current location...

Lets hope for some sun tomorrow ;-)



Thursday, 24 February 2011

Flown by

Another day has flown by! I can't believe that it is already 10 minutes to 5. Where has the day gone to?

It has been lovely to have the sun out all day. I've even been outside in my shirt sleeves rather than being wrapped up in a jumper and fleece :-).

We've had to have a shuffle around of boats today which takes a couple of hours out of the day, but (fingers crossed) they are all in the right location ready for the turnrounds this weekend.

Fred has blacked Sphynx and generally been tidying up around the yard, whilst Bernard has been armed with angle grinder and welding set to do some repairs to one of the boat that we are currently working on.

Mick has finished the works required on Quartz and has been doing some odd jobs on the other boats that are going out this weekend.

The tea room has been busy today with walkers, cyclists and tourists.

I know I promised you pictures of Ember and Quartz, but I haven't got around to it yet! - tomorrow, honestly...



Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Where has the day gone to?

As the title says "Where has the day gone to? I really don't know - it has flown by!".

The carpet fitters came this morning to lay the carpet and lino on both Quartz and Ember, which went quite smoothly. By early afternoon they were ready to carpet the office, well all I can say is what a mess we got into. It took me back to those days in early December when we were in disarray and it has taken Ange and I all afternoon to get straight again :-(

Simon popped in this afternoon, just to make sure that we were working hard. He is impressed with the effect that the carpet has made. It will hopefully keep us a bit warmer too.

Quartz and Ember do look superb, I'll get some pictures of them tomorrow as I want to get our 2011 hire brochure finished off and the new pictures uploaded to our website, and of course here so you can all see them too.

Bernard has been out to a breakdown at Cookley on the Staffs and Worcs canal today, which meant that he was out for most of the afternoon. Fred has docked Sphynx and pressure washed her. Lee has made short work of the painting works required on Princess.

Lets hope tomorrow is a little more productive!



Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Photographs today

Some pictures for you today!

Firstly, here is Phantom following a coat of blacking that Fred has applied this morning. She will be refloated tomorrow and we will then be docking Sphynx.

Here's Fred washing the cabin off on Yelvertoft.

Lee is busy with Princess, he can be seen here painting the cabin top.

Steve is getting along with Victory. Here is a photograph of the inside virtually all insulated. Panelling will begin tomorrow :-)

It's been a quiet day here today. Only a couple of boats out and about on the canal, I suppose that's down to it dropping a bit chilly again though?

Bit short and sweet I know, but you have had some pictures!



Monday, 21 February 2011

Another day flown by

4.30pm - where has the day gone??

It has been another chilly day in Norbury, as I believe much of the country is experiencing at the moment.

It was a busy start to the morning. Python needed a final check over before she was collected at 11am, as did Wharf Cottage. A couple of snagging points were corrected and both boat and cottage are now being enjoyed by their occupants for this week.

Steve is starting to make headway fitting the cabin out on Victory. It's all battened out and the majority of the insulation is in. I'll get some pictures for you tomorrow...

I know, I know... I promised you some pictures today, but I am afraid that it was too cold to go outside! Only kidding, I don't know where the day has gone to really and now time has run out.

Lee's painted the counter bands on Phantom has been busy getting Princess spruced up for the season. Her first booking is on the 5th March - which I took today! Mick has been doing some odd jobs on the boats that we have got in, to ensure that the winter maintenance work is complete.

There will be a bit more activity tomorrow when Fred and Bernard are back at work to entertain you (they certainly entertain all of us at Norbury!).

I'm sure that Fred will have a read of this blog tonight, to see what is in store for him tomorrow, so don't worry Fred, I've written a list - you won't get bored!

Catchya tomorrow.


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Getting back into the swing of it!

Simon has been keeping quiet as to why I have been away for a few days this week. The reason why is that I made a surprise visit down to Essex to visit my family and also for a birthday party for my aunt yesterday evening. It was a roaring success and it was great to see everyone together. My parents came over from Spain too, which was brilliant to get to see them again so soon after they were over at Christmas/New Year. My Dad's up here for a few days so I am sure he will be handed out some odd jobs to do around the yard, and of course I've got a list for him too!

Well it's good to be back, albeit a nine day stint as Simon is away. I always find it amazing how long it takes to catch up after a few days off. Just little things really; items moving around in the shop, e-mails to catch up on, proofs of adverts that needed to be approved by yesterday (!) and Simon's list of jobs to do...

It's a damp day here in Norbury. Although it's not raining, I'm sure it may later on. Let's keep our fingers crossed for a bit of sunshine...

We have docked Phantom this morning for her annual blacking and under water check over. Jamie's set to with the steam cleaner to clean her off prior to blacking. Ralph helped with docking this morning and has now started on the gardens.

Mick has resealed a window on a boat in the basin, attended a breakdown at Gailey and is now doing some improvements to Quartz. We've also got a Webasto service booked in for today, which Mick will attack.

I've just been onto Quartz and she is nearing completion, ready to be introduced into the hire fleet. The carpet fitters are coming during the week and I'll get some pictures uploaded of both her and Ember (and onto our website) for you all to peruse.

Right, I'm going to get on with some more "catching up".

I'll get you some pictures for tomorrow.



Saturday, 19 February 2011

What a day!

It was a miserable, wet, damp, cold dim start to this morning and i didn't relish the though of lots of people around picking up boats but as the day progressed the weather did improve a little, well the rain kept off but that was about it!

Considering that we haven't had all the boats go out today it has been very busy indeed, not only with holiday makers but with people in general, everyone seems to have been in today for one thing or another! Its great to see the place this busy and i cant wait for the Summer to come, it gives you a real buzz when its as busy as it has been today. long may that feeling last.

All of the boats went out without too many problems, there is always something to upset the proceedings, we had a minor break down on a boat that went out yesterday, a wire came off the split charge relay causing the domestic batteries to flatten! that sorted and hopefully all will be quiet now.

That's it for me for the week, I will leave you in the capable hands of David to entertain you


Friday, 18 February 2011

Dawn chorus!!

That's it, it is official, spring is on its way, I always sleep with my bedroom window open and six o'clock this morning the dawn chorus started, it doesn't take much to wake me up in the mornings and this morning was no exception, it was lovely to hear the birds twittering but in six months time I will be moaning about the row as it will get earlier and earlier, in the height of the summer they start at around four in the morning! It wasn't the most pleasant of mornings and a bit cold and damp but it is still only February, that said we have a few boats going out today so we are busy today getting the boats ready, I thought it was 8 out today but I missed two out so we have a total of 10 out this weekend, I hope we see some more boats around next week on the wharf as it has been very quiet with passing boats.

Fridays are usually busy from now on and its great to see everyone around the place getting things sorted for the boaters to collect the boats later today, Saturdays this year will be equally as busy as we are now operating more hire boats and some of the shared boats are going over to a Saturday 'turnaround' Lets hope we have a good season this year without to many problems with the canal;

David is off today and tomorrow because he is working all next week as i am off, i would think that he will post some pictures up next week of things going on around the place, I never seem to have the time to wonder around taking pictures.

Until tomorrow

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Just another day

Not much to say about Thursday really, it started off very quiet, in fact when i came in this morning there was only me and David in, i was a little concerned as usually Mick and Angela beet me in but not today, Slowly people started to roll in but no Mick, I thought he may have been swept away while in Australia or worse, caught up in a bush fire, nothing that dramatic, he was stuck at Redditch station! his flight was delayed and it didn't land until 5 am this morning, it wasn't worth him coming in today so i suspect that he is now tucked up in bed with a bit of jet lag.

The lads have been up to the usual on the boats, nothing really exciting to report there, things coming along nicely. Its nice to see that the boats are now coming and going, amazingly we have 8 boats out this weekend, although i believe its school half term next week so that might explain that.

Its been a nice day weather wise, lets hope it stays like this for the weekend.

Lets see what tomorrow brings

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

stunning start to Wednesday

Leaving home this morning the sun had broken through and the mist was rolling off the fields, the temperature was below freezing which gave the fields a silver glow with the sun casting shadows over the frost, it was just as stunning when i arrived at work but instead of the fields being covered in frost it was the boats, it was before eight o'clock and no one else had arrived so it was lovely and quiet, Fred then appeared and shattered my peaceful start to the day, then a customer came in for diesel and we havent stopped since! The sun has been in and out all day breaking through the clouds just to remind us that Spring is on its way, roll on the Spring!

Fred has been busy, with the help of James he has docked Yelvertoft which is a shared owned boat for blacking and some touch up painting here and there, he then had the unsavoury task of unblocking a soil pipe in one of the cottages, he is now prepping the boat for its first coat of paint later (hopefully) Bernard has also been busy today re-commissioning some of the fleet, we have several boats out this coming weekend and there is always some work to be done on them, it doesn't help when we keep getting these cold snaps as sometimes it can do some damage to the water systems if it gets really cold. Mick is back tomorrow and he already has a list of jobs waiting for him, Carolyn is busy cleaning boats, Amy is busy varnishing, We have had a massive influx of customers into the Tea room earlier, it was so nice to see it full to the rafters with people! Ange is busy with curtain making and Steve is putting the final touches to the varnish on Ember, hopefully this is the last coat!

That's it for today, so until tomorrow.

P.S. Hi to Stuart and Libby and we look forward to you being our guests from Saturday onwards

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

wet, windy and cold

You might have noticed that i didn't post anything about yesterday, well that is because during the day i didn't have time and as it was Valentines day yesterday, as soon as i got home last night i got changed and then took my partner out for a romantic meal for two at a cosy little country pub! I can hear you all now saying "arr isn't he lovely" and yep you are right! Now that all that rubbish is done with we can get back to normal business.

Tuesday has started off cold, wet and windy but apart from that nothing too exciting has happened, We have had a day boat go out today, I think they might be slightly mad as it is a horrible day, I suppose it seemed like a good idea at the time of booking it!
Ember still needs another coat of varnish, it seems to be soaking it up like a sponge, one more coat and that will see it all coated and we can start putting the inventory on. Bernard has been turning around boats today and getting them ready for the weekend when we seem to have a few boats going out, Fred has been busy varnishing bits and bobs in the warmth of the wet dock, Jamie has blacked Phoenix and Victory and has also been cleaning out engine 'oles' and Lee has been putting the finishing touches on to Phantom in the painting dock, Angela has been arranging interviews for the beginning of March for a new engineer and i have been doing 'Simon' things!

Mick is back from his holidays on Thursday and he has a list of jobs as long as the canal to keep him busy, i hope he is feeling refreshed, I am off on all next week, nothing to extravagant, jobs around home for me, i don't get to go away until later on in March.

That's it for now.


Sunday, 13 February 2011

Rain today :-(

I spoke far too soon yesterday. The sun has gone into hiding and it is raining today. In actual fact it is very persistent here at Norbury and is complimented by the wind! I've just been over to the dock to see how things are progressing and I am now drenched - I should of swam down the arm, I'd probably be drier...

This morning started with Jamie and Paul swapping the boats on the dock. They undocked Suzanne and then docked both Phoenix and Victory. Phoenix is in for her annual blacking and check over and Victory is in to have a different propeller fitted and the paintwork completed, although I think we will take the opportunity to give her a quick pressure wash off and another coat of blacking to tidy her up for the season, she suffered a bit sitting down the arm for the winter in the harsh weather.

Paul has been back on Princess doing the winter work on her before she is commissioned and entered into our hire fleet. She was certainly well put together by Dartline and I am sure she will prove to be a popular boat.

Bernard has done a few jobs on one of the boats that we have got for sale and has also got the engine running on another (REF 10205). It certainly is running well, forward and reverse. As I write he is just ferkling with the speed! She's definitely well worth the £4,995.00 that we are asking for her! I'm waiting to be inundated by telephone calls!

Mandy and Amy have set-to armed with brushes and varnish tins to give Ember her final coat. It isn't the best time of the year to be varnishing, but we can't leave it any longer as the boat goes out at the end of the month. She is booked solid from April through to September. We've got a couple of weeks left in March that we have discounted by 10% off of the brochure price, so if you would like a trip out contact us to make a reservation.

Jay has been kept busy with a steady flow of customers in the tearoom and he has been doing some reorganisation in the shop.

Simon's back tomorrow and unfortunately I won't be posting until next Sunday as I'm having a couple of days off at the end of the week, to prepare me for the week after when Simon will be on holiday for the week!

Until then,


Saturday, 12 February 2011

Snowdrops and Crocuses

It's been another sunny day here at Norbury. It's good to see that Spring is really on it's way. Snowdrops and Crocuses are coming into bloom. Whilst the Daffodil's are just starting to poke through.

The residents at Wharf Cottage for this week decided to take the opportunity to have a day out aboard Defiant today - it certainly has been good weather for them. They opted to go towards Wheaton Aston, but turned at High Onn and headed back to Gnosall for lunch. There's four pubs in Gnosall - The Boat, The Navigation, The Royal Oak and The Horns. The first two are the closest to the canal and well worth a visit. From the bay window at The Boat there is a brilliant view of the canal.

Mandy and Amy have been busy prepping Ember for her final coat of varnish, which will be applied tomorrow once all the surfaces are sanded, tack ragged down and allow the remaining dust to settle.

Paul saw the day boaters on their way and has been doing the winter maintenance on Sovereign Lady and Princess. Bernard has been in the dark depths of the engine hole on Python and Princess.

Ange has been making curtains for Ember and Princess. I really don't know where she gets the patience from to sit sewing some 20 odd pairs of curtains - I certainly couldn't do it!

The suns certainly brought the crowds out today - well not as many as in the summer months, but certainly enough people to keep us on our toes!

Lets see what tomorrow brings!



Friday, 11 February 2011

Sunny Friday

Simon has been in such a good mood today, that he has gone to the pub and left me to write the blog! At quarter past five, it's a bit late to start writing about what has happened during the day, but I'll have a go...

The phone has not stopped ringing today, holiday bookings for the hire boats and motor homes and general work enquires - Spring must be in the air. Well like Simon mentioned yesterday the sun was out most of the day and although it rained last night, it has been much the same today. The local farmer has been out and cut the hedges (that's disturbed the birds that had started to nest!) and in another field a tractor and spreader have been muck spreading (that has given Norbury a lovely aroma all afternoon).

There has been a few boats passing through today, they must of heard that the stoppage is now off in Woodseaves.

This is quite possibly one of the last Friday's that it will be relatively quiet here, as the boats start going out from next week in any great numbers.

Lets hope for a nice weekend and I'll be back with my normal (long) blogs tomorrow!



P.S. And I've got just one message from Simon to Fred: As Simon was going out the door he was singing "money, money, money..." - see you tomorrow!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Wow what happened to Thursday

In the blink of an eye Thursday came and went like an Intercity train running late! I cant really tell you what went on today as we all seem to have been run off our feet, I said this morning that I was going out to get some stock, well I managed it at around 3 o'clock this afternoon and returned at nearly 5 o'clock and finally locked up the shop at just after 6 o'clock so as you can see I have been a bit busy!

It is Friday tomorrow, we are nearly half way through February and the season is looming rapidly, although the boats have carried on going out all winter, it has not been in great numbers but in two weeks time at 'half term' they will all be out, so it will be all hands to the pumps shortly to get the small details tidied up and the boats made 'ship shape' and ready for the holiday makers, it doesnt seem like five minutes ago that we were plunged in to the depths of what seemed like an Arctic winter, but know i can almost smell Spring in the air.

Today I was accused by a member of staff of always talking about money orientated subjects in my posts so just for you Fred I havent mentioned anything about money in this one, well except to say that I will be saving some as I think I am going to retire Fred early!! ...................................... ...................................................................Only kidding Fred if you should be reading this, I am not going to be that kind to you, you will work until you drop!

Until Tomorrow folks



this should have been posted last night!!

Its been a very quiet day today which has been good as I have had meetings today and it has given Ange time to catch up with making curtains for the new boats, I have said before that she is good at most things and does do most things at Norbury! The lads have been busy and we have docked two boats today, one for a survey and one for blacking, Lee has also swapped boats in the painting dock. I did say that it would be a quick post tonight as I have a date this evening, nothing to exciting just some friends and some beer!

Paul i like the way your mind ticks!! unfortunatley Fred didnt have to unblock any macerator toilets today but i am sure he will be unblocking some blocked toilets in the summer!! I try my best to find him some horrible jobs!!

Until tomorrow

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

some excellent news

I had an email today from BWB, not a direct email just the sort that you get to notify you about stoppages, anyway the good new is that they have announced that Woodseaves cutting is now open to navigation, with care; thank god for that, we might start to see some more traffic at last, it would have been nice for BWB to keep us a little more informed as to the progress! so that we could let our customers that don't have computer access know all about it.

The weather at Norbury has been stunning today, Spring must be on the way, a direct contrast to yesterday with the horrendous wind, today started with temperatures at -3 and all the boats covered in frost again but as soon as the sun woke up it soon warmed up and melted the frost, the sun bought out plenty of people today and we even had a few boats on the wharf for services, I do think that they were taking advantage of the weather as well.

The lads have all been very busy today and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel (pardon the pun) we might even manage to get all the boats finished for the start of the season, the bookings are coming in thick and fast so the start of the season for us might be a little earlier than anticipated!

Talking to people at work it is amazing who reads this blog, even some of the staff read it to get some idea of what they are up to the next day, so if you are reading this Fred, i am sure I will find something horrible for you to do tomorrow.

Until tomorrow


Monday, 7 February 2011

wind, wind and more bloody wind

It has not let up all day, wind that is! i dont know what it has been gusting at but I would say that I have never noticed it this windy before, our flags have all blown away, I even watched the newspaper stand wheel it self across the wharf this morning, I did catch it before it disapeared in to the canal, I think that if anybody had been boating in our vicinity today they would have been struggling, best thing to do on days like this is to stay tied up!

Its been an incredibly busy day, David has been doing David things which has kept him busy all day, I have been doing 'Simon' things (well if David can have David things thaen I can have Simon things) the lads have all been busy on the usual winter maintenance and an old friend has come back for a while to help get all the jobs finished, Billy used to work for me up until the end of 2009 when he retired, I have to say that while he worked for me, he was a pain in the bum(an old curmudgeon) he worked hard, did a superb job but moaned like an old fish wife,but what a pleasure it is to have him back and doing some jobs on the boats, some of you will know him from previous years,and this year he will be helping out on turnaround days with showing the boats out. He doesent seem to be moaning as much, give him a week and he will back into the swing of things!

I'm sat at home again typing this and my missus (Amanda) is looking at me and craving some attention so until tomorrow.


Sunday, 6 February 2011

Another windy day

It's been another windy one here at Norbury today. Although all the chairs are stacked against the building they were, once again, strewn all over the wharf when I arrived this morning. I walked down the arm earlier and there were waves heading up it - they looked very impressive!

There's not that much to report really. Bernard has finished the engine installation on Victory and we've had it running. (I'm sure Simon might take her for sea trails tomorrow - that could be entertaining!). Debdale has had her gunnel sides prepped and her bottom blacked. Paul is cracking along well now with the winter works. He has been on Phoenix and Oasis Too today.

The shop and tearoom have been steady with customers, which has kept Jay busy. Mandy and Amy have been giving Ember another coat of gloss varnish. There's a few areas that are going to require a further coat, but we will do that later in the week. An old face is coming back to give us a hand this week and his first job is to put all the catches/vent covers etc, onto Ember - I'm sure he'll get a mention from Simon sometime during the week!

I have had several phone calls from people enquiring about docking and blacking today. The bookings are certainly rolling in now. I think virtually every boat on the canal system needs blacking this year following the ice back in November/December. Remember that all of our returning customer benefit from a 10% discount. Give us a call to avoid disappointment!

I have been progressing with the boat manuals this afternoon. They are coming together nicely now, but I will have to grab an hour or so tomorrow to have a good look around Princess and Quartz so I am familiar with them. The time seems to fly by writing manuals, by the time I have served a few customers and answered the phone an hour has passed by. And that's without having a walk down to the dry dock to see how work is progressing over there.

That's it from me today, over to Simon again tomorrow.

Speak to you at the weekend!



Saturday, 5 February 2011

10% discount!

I thought I'd send a bit of good news out for the one's of you who are thinking about booking a narrow boat holiday with us. We are offering a 10% discount to all customers who book a full week holiday to commence in March 2011. For full details visit our website

Also don't forget to book your day boat for 2011 as bookings are now rolling in! When you make your reservation take advantage of our new special offer - click here for details.

It's been a grey day here at Norbury, the wind is still blowing, bringing rain with it! The chairs on the wharf outside the tearoom had been scattered all over the place again this morning when I arrived at work. Apparently the wind got up to 90 miles an hour last night. The boats were certainly banging together most of the night.

Fred and Bernard undocked Oasis Too this morning and docked Debdale whilst Paul got Defiant ready, as she is going out tomorrow morning. This involved filling her water tank, recommissioning the domestic water systems and ensuring that the gas and diesel were full and toilet tank empty.

Two of the shared owned boats are off out later today - I hope the wind drops for them!

Simon's been keeping his eye on us today!! He has been doing some work on one of his vehicles in the yard - just to prove that he does get his hands dirty (occasionally!).

A couple of boats have passed through Norbury today, but the canal has been generally quiet, largely due to the weather, although I am sure that the stoppage eight miles away isn't helping! British Waterways did publish this update yesterday.

UPDATE (04 February 2011): Our specialist contractors have now made safe the rock face within the Woodseaves Cutting.
Our direct labour teams will complete removal of trees blocking the navigation on Monday 7th February 2011.
We will then complete an assessment of the channel to establish if restricted passage past the rock slide can be facilitated. This will also enable our dredging contractor to complete their schedule for the removal of the rock slide from the main channel.
A further update will be issued on Tuesday 8th February 2011.
British Waterways apologise for any inconvenience caused.

That's about it for today.



Friday, 4 February 2011

Windy Friday

Wow its been windy at Norbury today and i don't mean me! Definitely not the sort of weather for boating on a narrowboat! When the wind blows like it has today we have to move all the furniture off the wharf, if we don't it all ends up in the canal; we had to move boats around today to make some room and generally have a 'boat tidy up' so off me and David went, it was all going fine until we went to put a small boat back on to its mooring, we needed to check it for leaks so went past its mooring and on to the embankment where the wind was blowing like mad, once happy with the boat we needed to turn around, not a problem with a short boat, But nearly impossible when the engine decides to conk out in the process! managed to get it re started and limp back towards the moorings where it conked out again, we then had to pull it past the moored boats, no mean feat with the wind is trying to blow the dam thing over to the other side of the canal, managed it, got it tied up and returned to move some more boats! we will have to get Bernard up to it tomorrow to sort it out.

The lads have all been busy and we have had to draft in extra staff to get some of the bigger jobs finished, Ember being one of the bigger jobs, being a new full fit and 70 foot long there is a lot of wood to varnish, well done to the guys and girls on it today as they managed to get one coat on everything, hopefully it will get another coat tomorrow and then just some snagging jobs to do, carpet to go down, inventory to put on and finally a rattle down cruise, in the next few weeks I will post some photos of the finished article!

Thats it from me for now, David will keep you informed of the weekends goings on.


Thursday, 3 February 2011

Quick post tonight

Its been a busy day at Norbury and i haven't managed to take any pictures or even write up the blog, so i am typing this at home, but, some of my very good boating friends are visiting at the moment so I am off out for a meal and I am running late, so that's all I have time for tonight.

Sorry it is so short, I will make up for it tomorrow.


Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Uneventful Wednesday

Its been a busy day today, not with too many customers but with catching up on many outstanding jobs etc. ordering and chasing up bits for boats.

The lads have also been busy, we have undocked the day boat and docked Oasis Too, Jamie has made a good job of pressure washing the hull sides and it appears to be in reasonable condition, Bernard finished off the day boat engine service and putting the propshart back together, Lee has been touching up Phoenix in the painting dock, Steve finally finished all the woodwork on Ember so he moved out today and moved on to the next boat waiting to have some internal work carried out, Fred soon got into Ember and started sanding down the woodwork ready to give it a couple of coats of varnish, The boat will be finished totally by the end of the month and then it will have its first hirers on it, The bookings are still flying in and now Ember is fully booked from April until September, Fantastic bookings which means we will only see the boat for about 5 hours on a Saturday to turn it around, Very pleased with that!

I'm off out now so until tomorrow


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

warmer Tuesday

What a contrast to yesterday, on the way home last night it was -6 so I thought that today I would need to scrape the windscreen and I dreaded seeing the canal frozen over even thicker than the previous day, what a surprise when I opened my curtains this morning to see it drizzling and no ice to be seen anywhere; As the day progressed it got better and better and better until mid afternoon it was just like a spring day again, some ice remained in the sheltered areas around the backs of some of the boats but the basin and the arm were clear, so is Spring well and truly on the way and have we seen the back of the long winter yet? it remains to be seen.

The lads have been busy as usual, Bernard has put a new stern gear in to the day boat, it has served four years with a LOT of abuse so it was time that it was sorted, All done and the hull has been blacked so that's ready to float off the dock and another boat will be going on to have its bottom blacked, Fred has been varnishing all day on different boats and painting deck board edges and Paul has been doing the winter maintenance on Sphynx, or Sphinx, I can never remember the correct spelling we have on that boat! Lee has been touching up Phoenix, this boat was painted by us six years ago and it is still on its original paint on the cabin sides, testament to its first paint job!

The shop has seen a few folk in today which has kept Ange busy in the Tea room, I don't know how she manages to do everything that she does in a day, she does work really hard. David is off today and he headed South with his boat down to Wheaton Aston for a change of scenery, and I have been busy all day long with one thing and another.

If the weather is nice tomorrow I will try and get some nice pictures just to remind you why Norbury is such a lovely place to be.

Regards Simon