Thursday, 30 June 2011
Its been a busy day today, haven't really stopped again but at least it has made the day go quickly, Mick did half a day on Cloud nines wood work, Bernard took an engine out, Freddie blacked a boat, started stripping the grit off a the boat in the wet dock but then started complaining about his fingers tingling, (he is getting on a bit) so he then went on to pump out duties on the wharf, Graham is doing a fantastic job on the re cabin, it is looking superb! Thanks Graham if you are reading this.
Yesterday When speaking to That nice gentleman who popped in, Graham was his name, he said that he was on his way back home up North and was staying with some friends in Morecambe, I was telling him about the Ulverston canal, this is a canal that not many people have heard about, anyway I was saying that there was a lovely pub and restaurant at the end of the canal looking over Morecambe bay well take a look at this http://www.thebayhorsehotel.co.uk/ What a gem of a place, I stayed there several years ago and was very impressed, Take a look at the picture gallery on their website for some pictures of the canal and the stunning scenery, it isnt very often you find a real gem but when you do you shold tell everyone about it, I really must find the time to pay another visit to there again.
That's It from me today, its ten to six and I'm off home.
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
It has been a busy couple of days and the sun has been shining here at Norbury, we have definitely seen an increase in the traffic on the canal over the last couple of days, the wharf has been non stop which has kept Fred busy,we have even run out of diesel today, don't worry folks its only on the one pump and I have a fresh delivery coming in first thing in the morning, the usual has gone on today with docking and undocking of boats, boats in for different jobs etc, but it has been quiet on the work force front as Steve is off with a bad elbow, Lee is on holiday, Mick is on his two days off, Jay is on a course and David is still on holiday!
I had a lovely conversation today with a gentleman who follows our blog, he wandered in and asked for me, I was a little hesitant in my reply as you never know I might have owed him some money! but I didn't, it transpires that he follows our blog and he popped in for a chat about buying a boat, it was a nice chat as he grew up by the Wyrley and Essington canal near Walsall Wood which is the first canal that I had a boat on so we took a walk down memory canal (lane) for a short while, it re kindled some of my enthusiasm for the black country canals, Thanks Graham!
If any of you who read this blog have not ventured on to the BCN (Birmingham Canal Navigation's) then it is a must before it changes for ever, it is one of the few places left where you get a real sense of what the canals and the industrial history is all about, you do have to look hard for evidence of the link between old industry and the canals but going on to canals like the W&E, the Walsall canal, The Tame Valley canal, to mention a few, will give you an insight in to the fascinating past.
I spent a lot of time cruising around the BCN when I had my first boat back in the eighties/nineties, I was fortunate to meet some of the 'old canal company' employees who were retired boatmen, they had a wealth of knowledge and some very funny stories as well, sometimes I miss that life before, the almost free lifestyle when BWB didn't seem to mind if you had been around too long, there seemed a much more relaxed feel to the canal system then , I suspect that people from an older generation would say that it was even more relaxed back in the sixties and seventies!
Anyway back to today and its about time I went home, until tomorrow.
Monday, 27 June 2011
It started early this morning, I was on my way in to work early but got held up by a load of cows in the lane just approaching work so I was slightly later than anticipated, upon arrival there were 2 boat already waiting on the wharf for services, that pretty much stayed like that all morning as we had a steady stream of boats in and out for diesel, gas and pump outs, that kept Ralph busy, we had two day boats out first thing this morning which Mick sorted out, one of our hire boats was returned after a short break and the family had a fantastic time, we also had to get two boats ready and they went out this afternoon with some happy holiday makers on for week, Poor old Graham has been welding all day, that isn't the nicest of jobs in the heat but he has cracked on and the cabin is really taking shape now, he is just in the process of putting in a new front deck, Mick has been on several different jobs all day including stripping the roof on a boat in for top side painting, I have not stopped in the office today and Jay has also been very busy, all in all a good day.
Angela did a good job yesterday, especially as it was the first time that she has done a Sunday by her self, I enjoyed her blog, its nice to have someone else write it as they have a different slant on things.
That's it from me for today, I'm now sat at home with a cool pear cider and enjoying the evening sun.
Sunday, 26 June 2011
we have had walkers and cyclists piling into the tea room keeping jay, jack and the girls busy.
mick and ralph have undocked annon this morning and then docked taliesen for blacking and a survey. both day boats have gone for a fun day out.
sumo has come out of the wet dock after having her roof painted and has now swapped places with cobweb.
what a hot busy day we've had, both day boats are now back without any issues and ralph is filling them up with water ready to go out again tomorrow (2 tomorrow simon, i have written it in the diary:)
anyway i'd better get off as simon has been shopping today and bought a load of stock for us to put out lol !!
until the next time, bye for now ange.
Saturday, 25 June 2011
So we had two day boats out first thing, six hire boats returned, seven boats out this afternoon and a motor home, everyone has worked very well and all of their hard work is very much appreciated, we now have a new show round girl (Becks) who did a superb job and as our hire fleet will be increasing next year she is a welcome addition to our friendly crew, we currently have 10 hire boats, two day boats but next year we will be increasing the fleet by at least three or even four boats, we will be needing another engineer for them so if anyone fancies a job drop me a line.
Everyone in the office has worked well today and Angela has worked her little cotton socks off, thanks Ange x, amidst all of the goings on today I even managed to iron out some issues with the computers at long last!
Thanks for the message Ira and Carrolin, your mooring has not changed much so you will still find it! we will be doing your last and that may take some time!
Well that's it from me until Monday, I am off tomorrow so I wont write up the blog, Not sure if Angel will or not, I boubt she will have time, so until Monday, I hope you all have a nice weekend.
Friday, 24 June 2011
Its turnaround day today and everything has gone to plan, no major issues, 5 services done, 3 day boats gone and come back 1 hire boat gone out with some happy holiday makers on board and a boat blacked in the dry dock, the lads have worked very well indeed and they have all managed to get back on to some of the outstanding jobs on boats that we currently have in for work to be done, the weather has even been kind to us today which has made the day even more pleasant; We have had the final delivery of decking for the moorings, there is now a mountain of timer in our compound waiting for Steve to get it all put down, its going to look excellent when finished!
That's about it from me for today
Tuesday, 21 June 2011
We have been kept busy all day, even though it has been quiet on the canal, but as I write the blog Fred is just out side doing a pump out when he should be on his way home, he has been good today, he even started early so that he could catch up with some outstanding jobs, that cold he had last week has done him the world of good I think, Cheers Fred! Bernard has also worked hard today and completed several services as well as getting an engine up and running that has not run for a couple of years and he has also been fitting a new stainless stell tank in to one of the hire boats, Micky has been on the motor home getting it ready for its next holiday makers, I hope the weather is kinder to them that the last ones, and finishing some outstanding jobs on a private boat, Lee has been fliting from one paint job to another and trying to dodge the showers, We also had a large delivery of batteries today, so we are fully stocked with more fresh batteries in the chandlery, If you want some 110amphr at a fantastic price then you will not beat our price of £63.50 for three or more, we also now stock 135amphr at a very very good price.
I went up the moorings today and Steve is making good progress and cracking on well with works which is going to make them superb when all finished, I cant wait until they are all done, I will crack open a bottle of the fizzy stuff to celebrate!
I must get off as I need to go and view a boat that is at Wheaton Aston for some work and my tea will be going cold!
Monday, 20 June 2011
Its been a very busy day today, lots of people around, lots of boats on the wharf for services, and lots of catching up for me to do, the usual has been going on around the yard, so the lads have been doing the normal sort of jobs, nothing to exciting to report, David is off on his holidays today, a much needed break he is having, he is off down to Braunston as I am sure he has mentioned (more than once) you will have to put up with me blogging for the next couple of weeks.
That's it from me today as I have plenty of things to catch up with still.
Sunday, 19 June 2011
John and Di stopped this morning for diesel, on their way to Braunston with Dory. I've got some fond memories of her back in the early 2000's when she was owned by Chris Shenton and she was taken about by John and June Anderson. It's great to be at Norbury listening to the bop, bop, bopperty bop, beat of a bolinder, it sends shivers down my spine... I can so easily imagine heavily laden Clayton's boats meeting a pair of Joshers' in the basin, greeting each other and then bopping off onto Shelmore embankment and Grub Street cutting alike, obviously that was when the trade was still on the canal! Anyway here's a picture of Dory heading south after shoving off from the wharf.
John Cooper picked Falcon up this morning following it's complete repaint - she does look smart and he is very proud of her. If you see John on his travels, give him a wave and give him a wide berth so his boat doesn't get scratched...
Mick and Ralph docked The Shrew this morning. She has now been pressure washed prior to blacking and Graham will be doing some steel work on her tomorrow.
Lee has also been in today, even though it is his birthday (Happy Birthday, Lee!). He's cracking on with Sumo and has been doing some paintwork on Cloud Nine.
Sue and Vic; aboard No Problem, are regular customers of ours and they are on the upper reaches of the Thames as I write. Sue's blog is well worth a read, find it here - http://noproblem.org.uk/blog/
Hope to see some of you at Braunston!
Saturday, 18 June 2011
Mike and Cath slacked in the basin this morning for supplies on their way to Braunston. Here's a picture of their boats with Jim Taylor's Empress in the background. The motor boat is called Radiant and the butty Regulus. They were both built in 1935 for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company at Northwich in Cheshire. They were the first of eight pairs built to the 'E' type design and have become known as the Middle Northwiches. This class of boat are quite unique for narrowboats as they have rounded chines (where the sides meet the bottom) and slight vee bottoms, meaning that the boats "rock and roll" which did make them unpopular with the boatmen, although it was intended to increase their speed by being more streamlined than a conventional boat. More details can be found in Matt's website here.
I managed to catch a shot of one of the sparrows (that are currently nesting in the eves of the shop roof) resting on the Tee stud of Regulus. These little birds enjoy nesting at Norbury as they get plenty of tit bits from our customers dining outside the tearoom on the wharf!
Radiant and Regulus were soon to be on their way again, only to get through the narrows when the heavens open. They will be heading up into Birmingham and via Hatton. Have a good trip Mike and Cath - see you there.
We have turned around Sovereign Lady and Phantom today as the other boats that went out last week went for two weeks. We have also had two day boats out, they've had a bit of a damp day, but they still have enjoyed themselves.
Bernard and I have made a temporary repair to the pressure washer meaning that Ralph can use it when he is pressure washing. Fred has finished blacking the boat on the dock after he turned the hire boats around and Ralph has done the internals on the boats and now shown them out. All in all a good day :-)
Lets hope for some more sunshine and less rain tomorrow...
Friday, 17 June 2011
These turn round days seem to come around so quickly, I just can’t believe that it is Friday again. Phantasy returned this morning, with its occupants thoroughly enjoying their first experience of narrow boating.
Three engine services have been completed today on Silhouette, Willoughby and Yelvertoft. Willoughby has had to have some remanufacturing of the exhaust system done as the flexible pipe had rotted through and was starting to “blow”, which obviously isn’t healthy for the engine to be inhaling!
Our popular dayboats; Victory and Defiant, have both been out today. They are booking really well this year. The weekends are booking well in advance and the week days aren’t too bad either, although we still have space. So if you want a day out (be it a corporate day, anniversary, birthday party or for a family get-together etc.) this summer for upto ten people (per boat) then contact us as soon as you can to save any disappointment. Prices start from as little as £9.90 per person.
Sphynx has also been collected with a party of ten aboard for a weekend break. They will be back on Monday – let’s hope the weather is good to them.
I’m off boating for ten days after work on Monday. Yes, I know as the title says – A Bus Man’s holiday, but the canal is more than my work place, it is a way of life for me! I will be bound for Braunston in Northamptonshire for the historic narrow boat gathering which is held at Braunston Marina over the weekend of 25/26th June. Further information can be found by following this LINK. This annual event attracts some 80-90 historic vessels, and this year it is expected that in access of 100 boats will be in attendance. It’s certainly a fabulous event to experience with chimneys smoking, engines thumping or purring away, the daily boat parade but mainly because of the number of people that it attracts. I hope to see some of you there! (see you then Karen!).
Here’s a picture from a few years ago of Hyperion loaded with "the band" at Braunston!
That’s it for today folks. Have a good evening and I will be back again tomorrow, with more tales from Norbury Junction…
Thursday, 16 June 2011
I went out this morning to do some shopping and to get a tyre replaced. It is amazing how many people you meet in Newport that are customers - a quick trip round the town takes a couple of hours. It's good to see familiar faces though which hasn't always been the case.
I came to Norbury back in the summer of 2005. My parents had previously moved out to Spain and I was uncertain as to what I wanted to do, although I had a secure job with Nationwide Building Society and was living aboard a comfortable pleasure boat in Northamptonshire. I took the plunge, sold up and moved out to Spain only to return 2 months later as I missed the cut and my friends too much! So I returned to the UK and helped one of my friends setup a carrying business on the canal. It was obvious from the outset that it wasn't a long term agreement so I started looking around for alternative forms of employment. I ended up here at Norbury, first on pumpout duties, but soon progressing to Wharf Supervisor and shortly later the Manager. The rest has been history... In the November of the same year I bought Hyperion which I returned to near original condition and then passed her onto her next custodian in January 2010. I now own the converted river class butty Ant which was one of the last carrying boats built by E.C Jones at Brentford for British Waterways in 1970. She is a great boat, not the prettiest of designs but very practical for her current use.
Here's a picture of her laid at Braunston prior to being converted to a motorboat.
And here is one of now.
Anyway, back to today...
Bernard has serviced an engine on a private boat and has been in the depths of the dry dock this afternoon replacing the bottom rudder bearing and fitting a set of anodes. Fred (I think has been asleep with Bernard) has blacked the boat on the dock and painted the counter bands. He has also been kept busy with boats on the wharf and has been down into one of our cesspits recovering items that are not intended to be in there! Graham has been working on Hawthorne today, we are really starting to see some progress now and I will try and get you some pictures tomorrow. Lee is cracking on with the boat that he has in the dock and has also been doing some other painting works on another private boat that we have in for some works this week.
I had a good evening out last night whilst moving cars around for friends that are off boating. That's always the problem, isn't it? You move the boat and then you need to get back to the car! When I was doing alot of travelling around the canal system with my parent's back in the 90s, my Dad was always deployed to go and get the car. Obviously it is much easier if you have a friend to do a car shuffle but it regularly entailed a bike ride, bus trip and train ride.
Anyway, I think that is enough for today.
Let's see what tomorrow brings... Apparently it's going to rain again :-(
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
It's been a quiet day here today, although Caroline and Ange have been kept busy with customers in the tea room/shop, with service washes and answering the telephones.
Fred and Bernard have docked a boat and Graham has been out on a breakdown up the Welsh
I'm off to do some car shuffling for some friends who are heading down to Braunston - more about that tomorrow...
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Falcon has now been finished. Lee has made a superb job of the painting and all of the other bits and pieces are now done.
Cloud Nine is on the dock for an assortment of works. Fred has been painting the gunnels today and has given her a coat of black.
Quartz sprung a leak, traced back to the stainless steel fresh water tank and as there was no inspection plate in the well deck Bernard set to with the plasma cutter and has cut the deck out. We've now lifted the tank out and a new one will have to be ordered.
Monday, 13 June 2011
Steve has blacked the boat on the dock, whilst Lee has done the painting works required on it in between painting the boat that he currently has in the dock.
The wood has arrived to put the new walkway in up on our main line moorings, so once the bolts arrive tomorrow, Steve will be steaming ahead with that.
Sunday, 12 June 2011
Anyway, with all that aside we had a good day and turned the boats around with only minor issues to put right. I do miss Fred when he isn’t here though. So, hurry up and get better Fred – we all wish you well…
This morning started early. Thirty cyclists booked in for full English breakfasts, twenty people out on two dayboats and of course the normal passing trade. And then the heavens opened!
I’ve been catching up on things that I should have done yesterday! Ralph and Mick docked a private boat, which Ralph has pressure washed and Mick has been doing some jobs on a private boat and has also been out on a break down.
It’s been a quiet afternoon, but I guess that’s because of the rain.
Lets hope for a more interesting day tomorrow.
Friday, 10 June 2011
Graham has been progressing with putting the new steel cabin onto Hawthorne. Now he has the sides in place, he has started forming the roof bearers and will be rolling the roof tomorrow, prior to fitting. Here's a picture of his work so far.
Fred has been off for the last couple of days as he is poorly, so Steve came into work this morning to black the boat on the dock for us and Ralph has been on turn round duty.
Thursday, 9 June 2011
It's been a busy day here again today. The phone's haven't stopped ringing, which is a good thing, but when you are in the middle of something they can be rather off putting.
Simon's gone home, he is off now for ten days, so you will be having the pleasure of my blogs every day.
I'll get some pictures for you tomorrow to have a look at what we have been upto.
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Its been a busy couple of days here at Norbury, David has been off for his 'weekend' he has gone off down south boating with some friends, Angela has also had a couple of days off so we have been a bit thin on the ground today, David is back tomorrow and Angela on Friday, but then I am off on holiday for a week so David and Angela will be busy, its always the same, there is always someone off on holiday or catching up with days off.
The weather has been a mixed bag over the last couple of days, I think they call it a typical English summer? one minute its grey, or raining, the next minute it is glorious sunshine, I don't know if to put my coat on or take it off! It does however seem to improve as the day goes by, Amazingly I have had my fire lit at home for the past few nights as the temperature has dropped enough for me to feel the cold, although I have now turned the central heating off! We are still selling smokeless fuel so I reckon that people on boats are doing the same.
All the lads have been busy over the last couple of days, Micky finishing off jobs on Falcon, that's is finished now and looks superb, The owner is very pleased indeed with it, Bernard has been up to all sorts of things mainly on our hire boats that are in at the moment, Poor OLD Fred is not very well at the moment and he is sure letting everyone know it, he only did half a day yesterday and went home to bed, I think he needs to work harder then he wouldn't notice it!
That's about it from me for today, so until tomorrow.
Monday, 6 June 2011
As we are getting busier I must apologise in advance if we start to miss the odd day here and there on the blog, I missed Fridays out completely and got a telling off from my mom as she is an avid reader as well, she reckons it is the only way that she keeps up to speed with what I am doing, well some of it, Friday seemed to come and go in a haze and I forgot completely until Saturday when I read Davids blog and realised that I hadn't done Fridays, I am blaming David for that as he dragged me kicking and screaming down to one of our local pubs for a beer and that was the end of me for the evening!
Whats been going on today? I know all the lads have been busy, doing what I am unsure, I think that Micks been on Falcon re fitting it after it has come out of the painting dock, Lee has started preparing another one in the dock, Ralph has been blacking, Steve has been digging holes in the towpath up our moorings and Graham has been welding the cabin together, (I think) David has been busy doing David things and apart from doing the banking it seems like I haven't achieved much, I am sure I must have done but I cant remember now.
That's it from me for today, David is not in now for the next two days so if I am not too busy tomorrow I will post something if I can.
Sunday, 5 June 2011
What a busy day it has been today... Jay is on holiday at the moment, so Lorraine has been covering in the tea room over the last few days. We had flocks of customers in this morning for breakfasts, bacon sarnies and lots of tea, which meant that I had to ring Caroline and ask her to start early and I even had to do a stint in the kitchen; helping collecting plates, washing up and running orders. Now that doesn't happen every week - so that shows how busy we have been…
The canal hasn’t been very busy today, although we have still had a few boats pull on the wharf for services.
I’ve been trying to catch up with the advertising of the brokerage boats this afternoon – I’ve just got the websites to update now, so watch this space for our new additions. We’ve had done extremely well in the last ten days – we’ve sold seven boats!!! So if you have got a boat to sell, you really should bring it to us to advertise on your behalf. We don’t charge you for moorings and our brokerage fee is only 4% + VAT.
Mick and Ralph docked two boats this morning and have just got Falcon out of the paint dock. Lee has done a super job on it – I’ll get you some pictures and upload them tomorrow.
Simon’s back tomorrow, so I am sure that he will keep you entertained for the week.
I’m off now to walk the dog and generally relax! Until next week…
Saturday, 4 June 2011
The lambs in the field woke me up this morning bleating their little heads off and the odd ‘bah’ coming from their mothers! It was time to get up and take Annie for a walk in the already warm sunshine. Annie is my Springer Spaniel that I have had for the last four years.
I arrived at work for about 8am, already to find that some of the hire boats were making their way back into the basin and tying up alongside each other. Ralph and Mick got the two day boats ready and also Phantasy for their oncoming guests for the day.
We have turned eight boats around today and they have all now departed for their weeks holiday without any issues. Everyone has worked really hard today and done a fantastic job.
I’m just sat waiting for one of the dayboats to return and then I’m off home for the day – they aren’t late back, as they did book an extra hour!
It's been another scorcher today, although we have had light rain later this afternoon. Lets hope the sun is out again tomorrow.
Thursday, 2 June 2011
Fred Has blacked a boat on the dock, Lee is still putting the finishing touches to Falcon, Graham has had a good day on doing the new cabin, Ralph saw the two day boats out today and has been catching up on some very much needed grass cutting and general tidying around the yard, Steve is cracking on well with the moorings, I should get some pictures of that so you can see just what a huge improvement that is going to be once completed, the shared boats have started to return ready for ther turn around tomorrow, Angela has been catching up on paperwork and filling the shelves in the chandlery, the chandlery is almost a full time job in its self when we are busy, David has been doing 'David' things and I have been catching up with changing the prices for the hire boats for next year, we kept the prices the same for this year and even Incorporated the VAT increase but unfortunately we cant do the same for next year so there will be a price increase from the 1st Jan 2012.
That's about it from me today, I hope you have all enjoyed some nice weather like we have today
Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Fred has been kept busy with the wharf, blacking and strimming the moorings, Graham saw the day boats out first thing this morning and then fitted a locking filler cap to a private boat while Bernard did a few jobs on another private boat that has come in for some work, once he finished that he then carried on with some rectification work that the surveyor had recommended on a boat that has just been sold, Lee has been busy putting the finishing touches to Falcon, while Steve has been getting the mini digger stuck up to its axles in mud up the towpath, Graham had to go up with a set of chains and block and tackle to rescue it, later on he has had to go to a shared boat that has broken down, All in all another busy day and a pleasant one as well as the sun was shining.
That's it from me for another day, so until tomorrow.