Shop front in the summer

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

They have all laid in wait!!

Wowser what a busy day, I reckon that everyone that was out boating decided to wait until today until to come on to the wharf for something, From first thing this morning until now it has not stopped here all day, Fred started dieseling boats up first thing and that kept him busy until his morning cuppa at 10.30 and we have had a nice steady flow of customers on the wharf all day for diesel and other things, we have also had plenty of boats in for work today.

Mick has been busy all day on two private boats, one fitting a new toilet and the other removing a toilet and replacing the floor, he then went on to a private boat with a wiring problem, Bernard was a bit late this morning as he isn't very well and has a chest infection but to be fair he came in and although he has seemed to be stuck in first gear he has at least completed the tasks in hand, which were re aligning an alternator, sorting out some diesel leaks and has started on another job which entails changing some hoses on an engine, Freddie has not only served hundreds of litres of diesel today he has also blacked a boat, cut the cottage lawn and strimmed the moorings down the arm, Lee has painted some counter bands on a boat in the dock and has carried on with Falcon while our sign writer has made a start on the sign writing, I have to say, it is looking very smart indeed! Angela has also been busy today and has not stopped with boat bookings, and generally looking after customers, me on the other hand, well I have had my feet up on the desk all day and have been dosing.................................................................NOT!!

I would say that after the poor weekend things have got off to a good start now, lets hope it stays like this now for the rest of the season.


Monday, 30 May 2011

Back to the norm!

Well its bank holiday Monday and guess what.............. we have returned back to the normal weather conditions in this country associated with a bank holiday, its raining, and it has rained pretty much all day, until now, Typical! Great if you are a duck but not so much fun if you are standing on the back of a boat, needless to say it has been a quiet day here, we had two day boats go out first thing this morning and we have had two hire boats go out this afternoon but a distinct lack of people around over the course of the day and who can blame them for staying at home on a day like this, but 'sods law' always prevails and in the last hour the sun came out, so did a few people, a bit late in the day now!

It hasn't all been bad today as we have completed on a boat that sold yesterday, a new moorer has arrived today and taken up his new berth down the old Newport arm and we have had another boat come in today to be sold, so not a total wash out!

Graham has turned the two boats around that came back yesterday,fitted some anodes and carried on with the fitting of the new steel cabin, Mick has been removing an old toilet, fitting a new one and finishing off some jobs on other private boats around the yard, Ralph has blacked a boat on the dock, Lee has carried on with the painting of Falcon, I have to say what a fantastic job he is doing and the boat looks fantastic, he has also done the counter bands on the boat in the dock, Pam and Billy dropped in first thing this morning to collect more leaflets for the show, they said it is going OK, shame about the weather there today, they did say that they have struggled with keeping the Marque on the ground though, lets hope that they have had a bit of sun this afternnon.

That's about it from me for today

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Bank holiday weekend?

I am gob smacked at just how quiet it is given that it is a bank holiday weekend, I wonder if there is a lot going on else where locally which is keeping people away? I decided that as it is a Sunday and a bank holiday that I would come in to work and show willing, well I should have stayed at home, lets hope that tomorrow is busier!

Not much to report on really, We have sold two more boats today, completed on one that sold a week or so ago, David has been doing the promotional details for another boat that has come in for sale, Ralph saw the two day boats out first thing this morning, the one came back with no issues but the other one had booked an extra hour so as I type it is still yet to come home, Mick and David docked a brokerage boat that required a survey, thankfully that went OK and now has a clean bill of health,and One very happy customer so that sale should all be completed in the next week, Ralph then pressure washed the hull and it is now ready for a few coats of International Intertuf paint, Micky then went on to a private job to sort out a seized intermediate bearing on the prop shaft, Jay has seen a few customers but nothing compared to usual and Lorraine has kept us entertained with her usual humor, she is funny!

That's it from me for today, I am having an early day so I am off home now to relax until the morning when we all start again.


Saturday, 28 May 2011

Another Windy day

Well I am back, after having just returned from my weeks holiday down on my boat and the weather down in the south has been just as bad as here at Norbury, the wind will not stop blowing and today is no exception, at least it isn't raining, despite the poor weather I had a lovely time and I could have stayed down there for another week, You soon get back in to the swing of things and it relaxing on the back of my boat is now a dim distant memory! But here is just one picture showing how different my sort of boating is compared to the narrow boating.

Today has been a very busy day we have had a motor home go out,the holiday cottage, 3 shared boats, 7 hire boats and 2 day boats so plenty to keep everyone busy, it has been all hands to the pumps today to get everything sorted and everyone has worked hard to get all the boats ready for the holiday makers, lets just hope that the weather for them is a bit kinder than it has been this last week, Billy has gone to do the Crick show as David mentioned, that has left us a show around person down so David has stepped in and has had to dust off his show around skills and give instruction to some of the new holiday makers on how to safely operate the boats, he has also been in the dry dock and done some painting as well as overseeing all the jobs on the hire fleet, I think he will deserve a pint later, as well as sorting out the hire fleet etc we have also had to attend a breakdown on a private boat in Market Drayton, black a boat, carry on with the new steel cabin, see lots of customers looking at brokerage boats, so all in all a busy day and I think I made the right decision to return to work today and not on Monday as I was originally going to.

That's about it from me today, I might post tomorrow or it might be David, it just depends on who is the quietest, I hope you have a good evening.

Friday, 27 May 2011


I’ve been sent some pictures of Hyperion today, which I thought you may like to see. I owned her from 2006 until 2011 in which time along with help from friends and family I restored her to her former glory along with valued help from friends and family. Here she is loaded with 18 tonnes of domestic fuel at Norbury in September 2008. We had just returned from the festival held annually at Shackerstone on the Ashby Canal. Note the bike for lock wheeling with one of the pedals perched on the top plank.

The days seem to fly by here. I just don’t know where they go. It only seems a few days ago that I took Simon to the station when he was heading off on holiday – he is back tomorrow to check up on us all.

It’s been busy here today. We’ve turned nine boats around which has kept Fred and Bernard quiet whilst Mick has been working on a private boat. Graham has been prepping the boat that we are going to be fitting a new cabin to. There is quite a lot of rust on the inside of the gunnels which is what we will be welding the new plate work to, so that all needs cleaning off first. I’m sure we will see some steel work in place tomorrow, so I will try and get some pictures for you.

We had two familiar faces back today. Bill and Pam. Bill comes in on a Saturday when we are busy with turnrounds and Pam helps out in the shop/tearoom on days that we are short. They both worked here for a number of years (I won’t say how many Pam!) be it with Shropshire Union Canal Cruises, Anglo Welsh or Norbury Wharf Limited. Bill was our engineer and Pam looked after all of the holiday bookings, shop and worked in the kitchen (to name but a few things!). Today they have taken our advertisement boat and our stand down to the Crick Boat Show and will be manning it over the weekend. So if you are going to Crick, please head over to stand Q35 and say hello to them. They will give you a warm welcome and are more than capable of answering any questions you may have.

That’s it from me today.



Thursday, 26 May 2011


I am sorry that there wasn’t a blog for you to read yesterday, but I started to type the one below and then I had a breakdown on one of our hire boats at about 5.15pm which I had to attend. I tried to type one from my phone last night, but the signal kept dropping out – so I do apologise. Technology hey?

Anyway, yesterday was my birthday. I still feel like I’m 21, although I have started to think twice before hopping down onto the cabin top when I’m boating and how close the boat has to be in to the side before I step off. Go back six or more years and I would have taken a flying leap on to the counter as the motor was leaving the lock after pulling the top gate shut. In hind site it is amazing that I never hurt myself, but I didn’t ever think twice about doing it. I do now though, and one occasion last year the boat went off on her own due to the fact that I hesitated about taking a long stride as the boat was leaving the lock and decided that I couldn’t step that far! It was then a matter of sods law – she went up the outside of the pound and I had to scramble through brambles and nettles to get to her!!! So, I am not ageing, I’m just getting wiser! I had a great day at work and an enjoyable evening followed. I’m going to Birmingham on Saturday night to celebrate in style with some friends…

Yesterday morning started early for me. I took Annie out for a walk across the field at Norbury and then ensured that everything was removed from the dock floor, lowered the paddle and lifted the top plank. The dock takes about 40 minutes therefore when Fred turned up the boat would be floating and ready to be taken out.

After getting to work and opening up, Graham and Fred went down and lifted the remainder of the planks out and brought the boat off the dock. Fred was then called to pumpout duties on the wharf so Graham and I docked Python and Silver Haze. The former is on for her skeg to be straighten; as we couldn’t get it to sit correctly in the water, and the latter is on for some more major work. She was over plated by another yard a few years ago and hasn’t really moved very far since. Whilst on route to us the engine kept over heating which is a good sign that the head gasket needed replacing. Graham removed the head, we had it skimmed, pressure tested and put it back together. Although vastly improved she did creep up towards boiling point again. So once on the dock we discovered that the over plating ran across the skin tank, hence there was an air gap between the outside of the tank and the canal which should cool the water. So Graham has been kept busy with removing the over plating across the skin tank which will solve her problem.

We had a steel delivery yesterday. Graham is going to be fitting a new cabin to a boat that previously had a wooden top, so you will no doubt hear quite a bit about that over the next couple of weeks. Fred has got rid of all the rubbish that has built up whilst he was on holiday and we have got all the scrap together which now just needs to be taken to the scrap yard. Bernard did a service on a private and was checking the hire boats over that we have in and Lee has been painting Falcon.

Today has been quite busy too, although it has rained most of the day and we even had hail at one point. The wind is building up again now, the weather forecast is for thunderstorms during the night, so Jay is stacking the chairs as I write.

We have all been busy again today. Ralph and I have had a mass move round of boats, which always seemed to be at the times the rain came. I have been soaked to the skin most of the day… Fred and Graham have been in the depths of the dry dock whilst Ange and Jay have been manning the shop and tearoom. Lorraine has gone through the boats that are in and cleaned them, ready for their depature over the weekend.

The shared boats are filtering back in now, ready to be turned around tomorrow and their new crews arriving to experience another week aboard their floating homes.

Our new dryer has arrived and it will be installed tomorrow – just intime for the weekend.

That’s it for today, I’m off over to Weston-on-Trent to pick some friends up who have moved a boat and then I will run them home.

Have a good evening,
Until tomorrow.



Tuesday, 24 May 2011


Not much to report really today. We have all been getting on with our day to day jobs, so not that exciting really and I don’t want to bore you with waffle.

Ange has been catching up with the paperwork that has accumulated over the last couple of days and she has made a good start at washing everything in the laundry.

It’s nice to have Fred back, he certainly makes coming to work more interesting!

That’s it for today.



Monday, 23 May 2011

Wind and rain…

As the title says that is what we have had for most of the day, although the sun has just come out in the last half an hour or so – now we are going home.

Lee is getting on well with Falcon, that’s the boat he has got in the wet dock that is having a full paintjob. Here is a picture with her undercoat on and coachline taped up in preparation for starting the application of the panel colours. The majority of customers request square corners to their coachlines, but this particular customer has requested scallop or rounded corners which we will also do (for an extra cost of course haha).

Graham has been on all manor of jobs mainly on the boats that we have got in from our hire fleet. First job was to sort a bent rudder and skeg out on Python. The Portapower hydraulic jack we have proved to be a problem, so that has had to have a service too! Here’s Python with the rudder gear in bits.

Mick’s been working on a private boat and Ralph’s been pressure washing the boat that we have on the dock and turning round the four hire boats that we have in.

There’s only been me and Jay in the shop and tearoom today, although I try and keep out of the kitchen – it really isn’t me! We’ve had a few walkers and cyclists in and have taken a number of hire bookings. I’ve been catching up on paperwork, brokerage advertising and ordering stuff that we need.

I spoke to Simon last night, and he confirmed that he has been bobbing about quite a bit on his boat the last couple of days – he should have stuck to narrowboating!

Until tomorrow.



Sunday, 22 May 2011

One thing or another...

I arrived at Norbury at 8am this morning and it looked like it was going to be a pleasant day, but that soon changed. Ralph saw the dayboats out and half an hour or so later they were to be seen coming back through the bridge. A tree had come down across the canal just north of the High bridge, was blocking the cut, so the dayboats headed off south making for Wheaton Aston instead. The tree must have been blown down in the night. Soon after the dayboats had passed the wind begun to pick up again and it has been blowing a hooly all day. So much so that it took my breath away and nearly blew me off of my feet at one point.

Mick and Ralph docked a boat this morning for a survey, and another one this afternoon, also for a survey.

There hasn’t been many boats (or infact people) around today, but I really do not blame them as the weather hasn’t been very kind. I bet Simon is bobbing up and down on his boat a little!

Steve is making good progress up the moorings, I will try my best to get some pictures tomorrow for you all to see.

About 4.30 the dayboats returned home, with both parties who thoroughly enjoyed a day out on the canal. I came back into the office to start writing this blog and heard shouts for me from outside. Unfortunately our industrial dryer decided to malfunction and caught fire. Mick, Lee and Ralph already had the flames under control and had the electric and gas supplies to it isolated. We have insured it was out and removed the burning material from inside before opening all of the doors to allow the smoke to clear. It’s a bit worrying to think that we occasionally used to leave it on when we went home – not in future. So, we are now in need of a new drier, if anyone knows of one needing a home or a good contact, please do let me know as I will start our hunt for one tomorrow.

Until then.



Saturday, 21 May 2011

Where have all the boats come from?

We awoke this morning to glorious sunshine, but by midday it seemed to have disappeared but the rain has held off, which is good as we have had another busy day today turning the hire boats around.

Fred popped in today; just to check up on us I think, but he was soon bombarded by Ralph who pleaded with him to take over pumping the boats out etc. Unsuprisingly he declined and disappeared off down the road in his car!

Graham has serviced three of our hire boats today, whilst Bernard check the remainder over. They have then both been working on two of the private boats that we have in for work at the moment. Mick has been doing internals on the hire fleet along with Bill who has showed them all out this afternoon.

The girls have done a sterling job yet again today, they get on and get the boats cleaned and dressed without any problems. Ange has certainly been kept busy

It’s been a steady day in the tearoom for Jay, but it has kept him occupied and allowed him to catch up on other chores.

I don’t know where all of the boats have come from on the canal today. There was a queue on the Wharf this morning for pumpouts etc. and then again this afternoon which resulted in me being out there for the last two hours as everyone else was tied up.

That’s it from me today. Have a good evening and speak to you all tomorrow.



Friday, 20 May 2011


Well it has been another busy day here today. We had a couple of day boats out this morning and we've turned around eight boats and all have gone out without a hitch.

Amy and Lorraine have been busy with valets and cleaning our hire boats. Bernard and Graham have been in the depths of engine bays today checking engines over and services. Mick has been to the see the bright lights of Wolverhampton, well in actual fact he hasn't he went and sorted out an Alde gas boiler on one of our customer's boats that would not stay alight and has been back on a private boat here this afternoon. Ralph has been run off of his feet! Doing Fred's job as well as his own - pumpouts, diesel, gas, water, external valets, showrounds and blacking etc.

I am off down to Tamworth tonight to meet up with some friends from all over the Midlands, hence the short blog tonight.

Until tomorrow.



Thursday, 19 May 2011

Where do the days go?

My two days off of work seem to fly by and I never do get far away from the canal! Tuesday saw me heading off south with a pair of working boats, owned by some good friends of mine. In actual fact I used to live on the butty boat prior to moving to Norbury some six years ago. I had a great day out with them and we ended the day by sitting talking about boats with some other acquaintances. Yesterday I drove upto Anderton; not to see the Anderton Boat Lift - although it seems more impressive each time I visit, but to see Sue and to have lunch in the Stanley Arms. Since we went to Chester before Easter she has been to Ellesmere Port, across the Mersey to Liverpool, Wigan and back down to Anderton. She is off down the lift to Northwich next, then back up the lift to Middlewich and Braunston. I was then back here for 5.30pm to take Simon to Stafford station (I had to ensure he didn’t miss his train haha) and then I was off to Church Eaton to meet Karen on Dave off of Sandpiper. I boarded the boat whilst Dave was expertly turning the boat round and then had a ride back to Norbury with them, which also included a stop in Gnosall for a well needed pint and chip butty in the Boat Inn. That’s the first time I must have been in the Boat for nearly three years, and I must say it is a vast improvement from then.

The day seems to have flown by today. Steve has been making his way along our moorings up the main line with the mini digger to make the path a bit wider. I think it is going to prove to be a slightly bigger job than we first envisaged, but it will be well worth it when it’s done. Bernard has been doing some jobs on a couple of private boats, as has Graham. Lorraine has been getting Princess and Motorhome 1 ready for going out at the weekend, whilst Ange and Jay have been occupied in the shop and tearoom, taking holiday bookings and generally looking after our customers. Lee is making good progress with Falcon. He is now at the undercoating stage – I will get you some pictures tomorrow.

Best regards,


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

what has happened to the weather?

What has happened to the weather, it has been raining here at Norbury today and it is bitterly cold, which is really annoying as I am off on my holidays as from tonight, I was under the impression that we were in for a heat wave? I am keeping my fingers crossed that it picks up a bit for the weekend and next week.

Its been another busy day here, two boats un docked and a 70 footer docked for pressure washing and blacking, Bernard has been finishing off the stern gear job and has also removed the injectors and injection pump off the same boat as they all need servicing as they have not been done in nearly 30 years and the customer is complaining about smoke, we will also be doing a compression test on the engine to ascertain if the compression is down, Lee is still painting and the boat is already looking much better even though it is only in primer, Ralph has been pressure washing and has showed some customers out on Sphinx which has gone out for a short break, Steve has started on our moorings making the path wider and having a general sort out, I have been very busy again, completed on yet another boat sale, taking bookings for moorings, I would imagine now that we are full with moored boats, although we can always find space for a little one!

As I said earlier, I am on holiday as from tonight, I will be down south on my boat for a week, so David will keep you up to speed with what is occurring with the goings on here at Norbury in my absence.

That's it from me now as I have a train to catch.
Speak to you in a week or so.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Dull tuesday

The birds woke me up early again this morning and at 5.30 it looked like it was going to be a nice day but it soon became grey dull and overcast and it pretty much stayed like that all day, the temperature has been a bit on the cool side but at least it hasn't rained today and the wind has died down compared to how it has been of late, the wind does cause problems with handling boats so I am sure everyone is glad that it has dropped off.

It started off very quiet this morning but that didn't last long and it has been another manic day, I have not stopped all day, people with problems with their engines or just general jobs and enquiries, the wharf has been reasonably quiet though and we haven't seen many boats on the move.

Its a bit quiet around here this week as Fred is on holiday, I am sure he is missing us as much as we are missing him, Fred if you are reading this, as I know that you do, you will be glad to know that I am on my holidays next week! Bernard has been very busy today as he has had to replace a complete stern tube assembly, prop shaft, rudder cup and fit a set of anodes which has kept him out of mischief all day, Micky has been on a couple of private jobs that have come in today and has also been repairing the pressure washer, annoying really as it was serviced recently by so called professionals! Ralph has put the final coat of black on the boat in the dock and Lee has been painting again all day.

We have had a new moorer arrive, an old engine was delivered that needs re building, Angela has been busy again today with moor bookings for the boats and Jay has kept the tea room customers happy and has been tidying up in the shop and chandlery,

That's about it from me today so until tomorrow.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Mega busy Monday

Back to work with a bump today, after haveing had a lovely fairly relaxing weekend I came back in to work this morning expecting a normal sort of Monday, however it has been very busy indeed, we have sold four boats today, taken plenty of boat bookings, quoted on several jobs, lifted a boat out of the water and that was all before lunch time!

It wont be a long post today as there isnt too much to say about what has been going on today, I have been to busy to keep on top of who has been doing what and it is now 7.30pm so until tomorrow.


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Grey and overcast

It’s been a bit grey and overcast here at Norbury today, although the sun has shone on a couple of occasions and we have had a few short sharp rain showers. The wind has been quite fierce at times too, which has resulted in a number of the chairs outside of the tearoom being blown up the length of the wharf. I certainly wouldn’t want to be going across the Pontcysyllte aqueduct today…

Mick, Ralph and Graham undocked the two boats that were on the dock this morning and have docked a further two, both of which have had surveys. One has had an insurance survey and the other a pre purchase survey. Ralph has been down in the depths of the dock pressure washing this afternoon. Graham has recommissioned the domestic water systems on one of the brokerage boats and has been refitting the cylinder head on a private boat following removing it and replacing the head gasket. Mick has modified an alternator for one of our customers and has gone back to making the new cratch board for Falcon. Lorraine and Jay have looked after the shop and the tearoom today, with help from Jack and Caroline during the busier periods.

I couldn’t believe it when I was taking a dock booking this morning and looked at the calendar. The dry dock is now fully booked until the middle of July and we have got bookings all the way through to November. That’s the first time that I have known the dock to be booked that far in advance for six years. I wonder if the excessive number of boats that require blacking is a result of the ice during the early part of the year? So, if your boat needs docking and blacking I suggest that you contact us as soon as possible, to avoid disappointment!

I have updated the adverts for the brokerage boats, advertised the last minute discounts on our hire boats for next week (see here) and have still been generally playing catchup.

The wharf has had a steady flow of boats pulling in for diesel, gas, pumpouts and coal again today. Whilst talking to one of the owners on one of the shared owned boats that we operate, they definitely think that the canal is starting to get busier than earlier in the year – let’s hope so!

Well that’s it from me for this weekend. I am expecting the dayboats back about 9pm tonight following the corporate event that is being held at the Premier Foods factory at Knighton. Let’s hope that everyone has had a good day aboard and they haven’t been caught in the showers! In the meantime I’m off for a Sunday carvery at the Swan at Forton (which comes highly recommended) on the main road between here and Newport, Shropshire.

Until next weekend.



Saturday, 14 May 2011

Back in at the deep end!

I know Simon isn’t going to believe me, but I couldn’t blog yesterday due to a problem with the hosting site – Ange will back me up on that though! So, I do apologise for it…

I flew out to Spain on Tuesday 3rd May, to surprise my Mum for her birthday. I had a fantastic time over there and was joined by my Nan, Sister, Aunt and Uncle for part of the time. I arrived back in the UK on Thursday and got straight back to work yesterday morning.

We had a good day at work yesterday, although my head was spinning when I went home. It does take a while to get back into the swing of things and catch up on what has been occurring during the period I was away, especially as I get used to having a siesta in Spain – I’ll have to talk to Simon about implementing that here!

We certainly seem to have been on a roll with boat sales at the moment. We have completed on one of the boats that we have got out on the bank and we have taken a deposit on Hester. I’ve got a couple more customers coming to see me tomorrow who are interested in some of the other boats that we have got for sale.

It’s been a busy day here today as well. The dayboats departed about 9am this morning. We’ve turned eight boats around, one of the motor homes and the holiday cottage. That’s kept everyone busy. Bernard and Graham have been through the fleet checking the engines over and doing two services. Billy and Ralph have done the internals and then shown the boats out this afternoon. Fred has been doing his normal duties, although the traffic seems to have picked up on the canal and we had boats queing for pumpouts/diesel this morning, four deep, which did put him slightly behind schedule. He is off for a “well earned” break now until Tuesday 24th May.

Mick has been making a new cratch board for the boat that Lee is painting in the dock and was last seen heading to a breakdown on a private boat at Goldstone!

Both dayboats have been collected and have departed heading for Knighton. They are being used tomorrow as part of a corporate event that the Premier Foods factory are hosting.

Well that’s it from me today. I’m going to get the websites and advertising up-to-date tomorrow – so I’ll spend the day in front of the computer!

Until tomorrow.

Best regards,


Thursday, 12 May 2011

My weekend has arrived

Yeah at last my long weekend has arrived, I'm off down to Southampton to take delivery of my new boat, well its new to me, so I am having a sort of bus mans holiday, I think that once boating gets under your skin you can never truly leave it alone, its a bit like a drug, its just a shame the NHS don't pay for it!

The weather has been a bit of a mixed bag again today, the wind has kept on blowing all day but the sun has put in an appearance between the odd bit of rain, all in all not a bad day,Both day boats went out first thing this morning, in fact one of the customers was here even before the rest of the staff,I think he was a bit keen, plenty of boats around today, a few on the wharf for services and bits and bobs, one of the hire boats came back early which gives us the chance to get that sorted before the weekend, that's one less for them to turnaround on Saturday, Bernard has been busy in the dry dock, sorting out a greasy stern tube and a broken heat exchanger, Fred has been blacking, painting and washing boats off, Ralph has been concreting and weeding while Graham has been sorting out the hire boats,the day boats returned without issue and everyone seemed to have had a good day, one of the boaters is now enjoying a night in our holiday cottage for his 40th birthday.

That's about it from me now, David will keep you up to speed over the weekend.


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Running out of steam

Its been a long few weeks for me because of the bank holidays and the way that they have fallen this year, but my long stint is nearly over, only one more day to go and David is back from his holiday and I am having a couple of days off to catch up on some R&R, you don't realise how you seem to run out of steam when you haven't had a break for a long spell, I never used to have grey hair until I started doing this job, is it the job or my age that has caused it I wonder?

It hasn't been a bad day today, the weather has been quite kind, we did have a few spots of rain but it didn't amount to much and the sun has appeared on a few occasions, and it has turned out to be a lovely afternoon.

We have had a new engineer start today, he is a nice chap and he knows his onions, he has been involved in this industry 28 years so he really know his stuff and he will be a valued member of the team here at Norbury, his name is Graham so make sure you make him feel really welcome if you see him around the place, the lads have been really busy today, we have docked two boats, fitted a new propeller, pressure washed two boats, done and engine service, welded some hinges on a boat, fitted some batteries, checked out an alternator on a boat, that now needs a new one, welded some anodes on to a boat,done several pump outs, lots of diesel, seen lots of prospective boat owners, taken lots of bookings and so on, the shop has been busy and the tea room has kept Lorraine busy all day.

That's it from me today, David id back in the country tomorrow and back at work on Friday so no doubt he will let you know about his adventures while he was away.


Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Playing catch up

Did it rain or what last night? the thunder and lightening show was spectacular, fortunatley this morning it had all gone and the sun was shining at 5am when the blasted birds woke me up! it hasnt been the best of days in terms of weather, at one point i nearly took my coat off but then it went like Siberia again and it has been threatening rain most of the day, despite all of this it hasnt put the customers off and we have seen a steady flow of customers in all day which has kept Jay busy and happy.

The lads have been kept busy all day, Fred doing jobs on the moorings, Bernard repairing the Matbro,sorting the motor home out and servicing one or two of the hire boats, Mick has been on a private job this morning sorting out leaky mushroom vents and sorting out yet more leaks on roof lights this afternoon,I am not suprised though given the amount of rain we had yesterday! We have been busy today with customers looking at boats for sale, that has kept me busy anyway and I have also been up dating adverts for the papers and magazines that we use and we have had a steady stream of boats on the wharf today for services, I suspect that they all stayed tied up yesterday because of the weather(fine weather boaters!!)

Nothing else really to add about todays events other than to say have a nice evening.

Monday, 9 May 2011

A bit like a grave yard

No Power all day, the place has been very quiet, we have been unable to do much indeed, Lee has been preparing the boat in the wet dock with the aid of a generator, Ralph has been making a new step on the moorings, Mick has stripped the boat in the dock and fetched a boat back that had broken down, I have been asleep most of the day and Jay has looked after the odd customer when they have wondered in to the dark un inviting place today.

Lets hope that everything is back to normal tomorrow, so until then.


Sunday, 8 May 2011

Noah and the Ark spring to mind

I went out for a bite to eat last night and did it rain or what? If that had kept up for long then British waterways wouldn't have had any canals to worry about and everyone with a boat would be called Noah, The roads were like rivers, The level in the canal this morning was certainly up, I am sure the farmers around here will have been glad of the down pour, it carried on well in to the night, the sky this morning looked full of rain and was very dark and moody, it has rained on and off all morning but the sun has come out to brighten the day up and it has ended up being a lovely day.

No day boats out today so Ralph and Mick have been swapping boats over in both docks, that is not a five minute job, Ralph has been preparing a roof for re painting and has been attending to a few jobs on the moorings and Mick has been out on a breakdown and started stripping the boat down in the wet dock ready for Lee to start preparing the paint work for a full paint job next week, We have had another breakdown on a private boat but there is no rush for that so it will be done next week, Becks has finally mad it back to Norbury after her epic voyage on a brokerage boat that has turned in to a bit of a disaster, the engine kept overheating so it has taken a little longer and a tow to get it back, we will soon have that sorted!

There might not be a post tomorrow as we will not have any electric here at Norbury, the electric will be off as there are some major repairs being undertaken in our supply line, it will be a quiet day tomorrow, even our phones will be off!

That's about it from me today.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Turn around day

Well its Saturday again, I am in this weekend as David is still off enjoying him self in sunny Spain! It started off this morning a bit damp having had a good rain fall in the night,and it has rained on all morning but this afternoon the sun has come out to play again>

All of the boats have returned with no major issues, the people have all enjoyed them selves so the boats have all been turned around again and we have had 6 go out again today for another week, only one day boat went out today, unusual for a weekend to only have one out on a Saturday, there have been a few people around today looking at boats, maybe the boat sales are picking up a bit, keeping my fingers crossed!

The rain has not damped down any ones spirits, well except for the lads and lasses who have been out side turning the boats around, its amazing, when it is raining Fred seems to get the pump outs done a lot quicker than if the sun is shining! Fred then disappeared down the dock and put the final coat of blacking on the boat in there and has also finished strimming the moorings that is now ready to be floated off tomorrow, Bernard has been out on a breakdown, Mick has fitted a battery charger to a privately owned boat, Ralph and Billy have seen all of the boats out and they were all gone by 3.30, that is really good, sometimes it can be well after 5pm before they have all gone, Norbury is now devoid of most of its boats for another week.

That's it from me for today,I'm off home now to put my feet up until tomorrow.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Busy warm Friday

It didnt start out to be a warm day, in fact there was a definate 'nip'in the air but it didnt last long fortunetley and by lunch time it had really warmed up, there has been plenty going on here today, only six shared boats turned around today, I am glad as David is not here and he is far better organised than me with dealing with the owners requirements, although Angela does a stirling job and she is very organised as well, I would almost go as far as saying that I miss them when they are not around! I have been busy and we have seen a lot of people in looking at boats or booking boats in for work, paint jobs and bottom blacking which has kept me busy all day, I even sold Lilly No1 today so not a bad day!

Freddie has been kept busy again today with pump outs, he must go to bed of a night time dreaming about pooh! he has done about 10 or 11 pump outs including the hire fleet which is going out tomorrow, he then went off up the moorings, he assures me that it takes a long time to cut the grass but I reckon that he finds a nice patch in the sun and has 40 winks!! Bernard has been kept busy with prop shafts, bow thrusters and engine services, Mick has been puting broken bits back on to the shared boats, sorting a dodgy boiler out and replacing the floor on a boat, steve has almost finished with the paint job and Matt has washed nearly all of the boats, only about 12 to go, I think he will have to finish them off tomorrow.

I dont get to finish early tonight and I have to take Becks up the Welsh canal to collect a boat that is being bought back here to be put up for sale, so on that note I am going to shoot off, so until tomorrow.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

All change

I knew it was to good to last, woke up this morning to an overcast sky and a definate chill in the air, compared to the last few weeks any way! It hasnt been a bad day here at Norbury today, the sun has popped its head out once or twice but we did get some rain, it wasnt enough to even damp the dust down, the forecastors have given fantastic weather right through until July, when will the hose pipe bans start?

I had to go out last night up to Swanley marina and on the way back I decided to pop in to Audlem to have my dinner, what a dissapointment, I tried the Lord Combermere last week and their menu was very limited, I have eaten there before and it was excellent, i thought that on this occasion I would try the Bridge, again I have eaten there before and it has been excellent, this time however the place was deserted, TV blarring away with footie and again a limited menu so I went down to the Shroppie Fly, TV blarring away again but at least there was some life in the place and the menu was a bit more inspiring;the rump steak was ordered, well presented but not that good! If you want decent food at a good price you can not beat the Wharf Tavern at Goldstone, simply superb! The canal was very quiet in Audlem and there were only three boats tied up in the town pound and not much either side of the locks, Is it a sign of the times with rising fuel costs and people feeling the pinch that people are not doing so much crusing?

If you notice the time on my posts you will see that it is often early that day, this is because the blog registers the time as soon as you start on a new post, I usually start the post early and then leave it on the computer and up date it all day long, it saves me trying to remeber what has been done during the day, once completed I then publish it just before I go home!

No real calamities today, Fred has been blacking and then he went out for a 'jolly' to Penkeridge, Bernard has been tightening propellors up on the boat in the dock and engine servicing on a private boat and Steve has been painting.

Nowt else to say so until tomorrow.


Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Can you believe this weather we are having? another superb day here at Norbury, the sun was shining again at 5am this morning and I knew it was going to be another fine day! When will it end? The forecasters have said that it will be changing towards the weekend, I certainly hope it doesnt just yet,I know we desperately need some rain but but would be nice if it hammered it down at night and then was sunny during the day time, one can live in hope!

Not overly busy today, we have un docked a boat today and docked a seventy footer for survey and blacking,Fred has pressure washed it and it looks to be in reasonable condition, that will please the prospective purchasers, Bernard has been out to a breakdown near to Chester today,the boiler on Ember wouldn't stay lit, he sorted that one out and has been doing an engine service on a private boat, that only leaves Steve, and he has been painting a boat in the wet dock, Not much to add really, the shared boats are all out, the phones are quiet so no problems with any of them, the wharf has seen a couple of boats on today for services but the canal does seem quiet again.

I have spoken with David who is now enjoying the lovely weather in Spain, when I spoke to him he was in the process of enjoying a cool beer, I wont tell you what I was thinking when he told me!!!

That's about it from me today, we will see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Bank holiday is over

Amazing how quiet it seems once the bank holiday period is over, it has gone from being manic back to its usual sleepy place! well it seems sleepy compared to how it has been! It has been another superb day though weather wise, the sun has been shining down on us all day, but it seems to have been chilly?

I have been out today buying stock so I have not seen all that has gone on,but I do know that the wharf has bben busy today as all of the boats have been leaving they have taken advantage of our excellent fuel price and filling their tanks, Angela has done a sterling job looking after things while I was out and upon my return I only had a few phone calls to make and the odd email to sort out, I might just start going out more often!

The lads have been busy today, well those that are here, Fred hasw had today off, David is away on his holidays in Spain (lucky sod) lee is on holiday so that has only left Bernard who has been doing engine servicing, straightening a rudder, Mick who has been re commisioning a boat after its winter hybernation and other odd jobs on boats here and there and Ralph who has blacked a boat and weeded the wharf and the shop, Almost forgot to mention Steve who has been preparing a boat for painting, it is only having a quick one colour paint job so it shouldnt take him long, nothing elese much to report from today so im off home.

Until tomorrow

Monday, 2 May 2011

Early start

It was 5 am when I awoke this morning, I honestly thought that I had over slept because the sun was shining like it was mid day, no wind in the air and the birds were giving their morning chorus (noisy things) I realised at that point that it was going to be another busy day, I have not been disappointed but it has been nowhere near as manic as the past couple of days.

Over the last few days I have been moving boats around and I have to say that peoples boat husbandry nowadays is atrocious, years ago boat men took a real pride in their boat handling skills, a pride in their boats, things were done in a simplistic way to make the handling of the boats and the ropes as easy as possible, it is a real shame that people don't adopt the same attitude as it makes boating so much better, for instance, a boat comes on to the wharf for diesel and they don't bother to tie it up properly and it floats around somewhere in the middle of the canal and makes it really difficult to get on board to even put the diesel nozzle in, then there are those that leave their boat tied with such an unusual fan dangled knot that it takes nearly half an hour to remove the ball of knitting before the boat can be moved, It amazes me that someone in charge of a privately owned narrow boat would take to the water with almost no knowledge of the basics and in some cases no knowledge of the etiquette that is adopted on the canals, thankfully not everyone is the same.

The guys and gals have been kept busy again toady with a constant stream of customers in the Tea room and sat out side taking advantage of this amazing weather, the canal has gone quieter today and we haven't seen many boats on the wharf, maybe the very strong winds are putting people off from moving their boat, if that is the case I don't blame them for staying put.

I am afraid to say that you will have to put up with my rantings for a while as David is having a well earned break, (jammy so and so) although when he comes back I am having a well earned break as well!

That's it from me today, I am off home to put my feet up.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Bank holiday Sunday

Its been another fantastic day here at Norbury today, the weather has been superb,that is two bank holiday weekends that have been superb, we couldn't ask for more, we have had thousands of people here today which has kept Angela, Jay, Natalie, Jack, Caroline, Lorraine and Amanda all flat out in the Tea room since lunch time, they have done a sterling job with keeping the hoards of people supplied with Tea, cakes, beer, wine and some excellent food, It has been the busiest day to date, ever!

We had two day boats go out this morning and they too have been blessed with the superb weather, Mick and Ralph un docked one boat and then docked another for pressure washing and blacking, then Mick carried on with different jobs on several boats,he had another set of batteries to a boat today and I am amazed to say that we have run out of batteries now, that's over 40 batteries sold this week alone! We will be having More stock in next week, Ralph has pressure washed the boat in the dock and me and David have been kept busy with thousands of enquiries about boat hire, motor home hire, paint jobs, people looking at boats.

I wasn't going to have a beer tonight as I had one or two last night but to be4 honest Have to go and look at boat straight after work so while I am out and about I will have a beer.

That's it from me for today