Shop front in the summer

Monday, 31 December 2012

Water water everywhere

When is this weather going to improve, it seems to do nothing but rain; I was down south over the weekend so I saw a good bit of the country side and I was amazed at just how many parts are being affected by the flooding, I have never before seen the river Avon as high as it is, I crossed it in Stratford and it wasn't that bad but I also crossed it on the M5 and it seemed to stretch across the fields for miles, I also crossed the river Thames near to Oxford on the A34 and that was the same, the water in the surrounding fields stretched for miles and miles, then there would be a piece of higher ground which had escaped but that was surrounded by water making it in to a deserted island; I can only imagine how some poor people have suffered over the Christmas period where their properties have been flooded, and flooded and flooded again; Lets hope that with the coming of the new year there is also some better weather with it!

New years Eve and quite a busy day, lots of people off today so me and Denise have looked after the tea room and shop, Mick has been finishing off bits and bobs on boats, Bernard has been in today to help out, we have had a boat go out on hire and Steve and Bernard have swapped boats over in the painting dock, we have even had some boats on the wharf, so it was worth opening!

I know David has already said it but From me personally I wish everyone a very good New Year and if you are out celebrating later, ENJOY


Sunday, 30 December 2012

Happy New Year

From the clear sky and strange yellow thing in the sky when I came to work this morning, I thought it was going to be a gorgeous day, but by about 9am the heavens had opened and its rained or drizzled most of the day. To make it worse the wind has been bitterly cold, but that doesn't stop play at Norbury!

Denise has been spring cleaning Princess. I've been winding her up as I said that Mrs. Handbag will be inspecting it when she is in next Friday. Mrs. Handbag (as she is know known by all of our staff, regular customers, blog readers and the regulars at the Junction!) has now got a new title. She is our house keeper and she is going to be getting everything ship shape and Bristol fashion in the New Year ready for the forthcoming and fast approaching season. After Spring cleaning all of the boats her next job is to blitz the laundry so we can see the wood from the trees... She really is an excellent addition to our team and really does do an outstanding job. Her husband (and no, his name isn't Mr. Handbag!) will be joining us in a month or so time to be shadowing Fred in preparation for Fred's retirement - but there is good news... I've persuaded Fred to work part time when he retires, so he will still be a regular site at Norbury later in the year :-D

Ange has been doing paperwork and keeping an eye in the tearoom. Steve has been blacking a boat and doing some paintwork on Solace whilst Mick has been on gas jobs and fitting a super duper aerial to Solace.

It's the last day that I will be working this year, so from me personally Happy New Year to you all. Let's hope it's a good one.

Best regards,


Saturday, 29 December 2012

I knew the weather forecast was for wind, but the boats were banging together all night last night as the wind was that strong. At one point I though about getting up and putting some ropes down between the boats (I don't believe in fenders!) but I soon fell back to sleep... I got drenched by the rain walking to work this morning and it didn't seem like it was going to let-up all day, although it did decided to ease off this afternoon. 

Fred's been down in the dock prepping and undercoating the gunnels and counter bands on Reflection. Bernard has been doing no end of odd jobs on the boats and around the yard whilst Simon has been doing an engine service on Phantasy and Mick has been doing yet more gas checks on the hire fleet. Mrs. Handbag has cleaned the cottage and finished Ember off as they are both out today. Denise has been IC in the kitchen and Ange has been busy doing end of month paperwork.

There's been a few boats around today, but I'm longing for those long hot summer days when it is that busy that you don't know if your coming or going - it's much more interesting then...

Best regards,


Friday, 28 December 2012

It's been a busy day here at Norbury in one way or another today. Tom returned with Silhouette from his Christmas break and we got the boat turned round for the next owners. We've bid them fair well and Silhouette has now left to go to her new home. It will be a real shame not to have the owners; that we have got to know so well and built such a good relationship, around on a turn round day. We also got Sphynx ready and seen the new occupants on the way for their New Year break. 

Fred was busy with turn rounds this morning and has docked one of the hire boats with Bernard this afternoon for her annual out of the water inspection, pressure wash and black round. Simon's been working on a private boat that I towed back from Wheaton Aston on Christmas Eve that had developed a problem with it's hydraulic drive system. Ange and Denise have held the fort in the shop and tearoom whilst Mrs. Handbag has been cleaning boats.

That's everything to report for today. Until tomorrow.

Have a good evening.



Thursday, 27 December 2012

We are open

Don't forget folks that unlike lots of boat yards we are open between Christmas and new year, so if you are stuck for a broken part that is spoiling your winter break then give us a shout as we will probably have one on the shelf, or if you need coal or diesel to keep you going on these long winter days.

I hope you all had a good Christmas, as usual mine involved a lot of driving and it also included looking at one or two boats that are up for sale, I never seem to completely get away from it! Back to normal for some of us today and its been busy enough to keep me going in the office and Denise has seen a few folks in the tea room, David has been out side on the boats today doing winter internal checks while Simon has been welding a poorly boat on the dock today leaving Fred to do pump outs and such like on shared boats, and we even had one on the wharf for services!

 Nothing else to report about today so that's it from me.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

!!!Merry Christmas!!!

There's not much more to say except

From all of the team at Norbury Wharf Limited.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

It seems to have been  another busy day here at Norbury today and it has also been a very wet one! I think everyone must be stocking up for Christmas on their supplies of gas, coal, diesel and much more...

Fred's been in a bit of a mood today and wanted to go home even before nine o' clock this morning because he had forgotten to put his teeth in before he left for work. He has been chuntering about it all day and has blamed his wife, who I reckon is going to get an ear full tonight because she didn't remind him this morning. Poor Brenda!

Ange and Denise have been in the shop and tearoom whilst Mrs. Handbag has been cleaning the cottage and boats.

Mick has been cracking on with the gas work that he has been doing, Simon has finished the engine service that he started on Pippin yesterday and Fred has been following me round all day like a lost sheep... In actual fact we docked a Springer that had sprung a leak this morning, moved some boats around and done some painting. Steve finished the bits and pieces that he was in the middle of on Pippin and then went home at lunchtime due to the rain!

We've seen Summer Wine go out today and there are new occupants in the cottage for the Christmas period. I hope they all have a really enjoyable time.

That's it for tonight. Time to go home and put my feet up in front of the fire!

Best regards,


Friday, 21 December 2012

No so quiet

I have to say that I am a little surprised at just how busy it has been here at Norbury today, given how quiet it has been all week it has made today seem like a day in the summer, we even had lovely sunshine and blue Sky's to lift the winter blues! We have had people looking at boats, people on the wharf for services people in the shop buying last minute Christmas presents, all of the lads and lasses have been busy and I have been busy too, meetings and banking and tying up loose ends before the start of my holiday break, I am lucky this year as the Christmas holiday period has fallen when it has because I am not at work over the weekend anyway, we are closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so I have five days off! talking of days off, just to remind you that we are open pretty much as normal on Saturday, Sunday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and back to normal on Wednesday in the new year.

Just one more reminder, its the shortest day today, after today we head towards spring time!

That's it from me for this week, where ever you are and what ever you are doing I wish you all a very merry Christmas

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

another quiet day tday

It started off very wet and windy here at Norbury today. I took Dylan out first thing and by the time I got back I looked as if I had been dragged through a hedge backwards.
It has been quiet though, that quiet that Simon has done some cleaning. I took a radio with me and said to Simon "give me a call if anyone comes into the tea room, I am in Wharf Cottage", we have Ray and Claire Walmsley staying in there for 2 nights as they have just sold their house and moving back on to a boat :-)
I had been in there all of 5 minutes and the radio went off........."hello" I said...."when you go back over to the laundry can you bring me something to clean my desk with"....I took him some multi purpose spray and went back to the cottage with my radio. A couple of minutes later it went off again, "next time you go to the laundry can you bring me something else to clean  my desk, I've used all that"....mmmm, how has he used a full tin of cleaning solution on his desk, it ain't that big. I did as I was told and took more cleaner and a scourer, well I must say Simon that you now have the job as a boat cleaner, you're desk is spotless.
He was so proud of what he had done that I wasn't allowed to put anything on there, I went to take everything away and he said "no Ange, I've not finished yet, I've got phones to clean yet"....;-)
Steve has been doing some jobs on a brokerage boat, Fred has been doing winter works on the hire fleet and engineer Simon has been doing engine services on the hire fleet as in the next few days we have Pippin, Sphinx and Ember going out and also Wharf Cottage on Saturday for the week.
We have also taken a 6 week booking on Phoenix today with returning customers of ours, welcome back Wilf and Maggie Loynd.
That's all I have to report for today, til next time.......byeeee Ange.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Well I hope that you enjoyed the videos yesterday... From the emails that I have received today it sounds as if you did!

It dropped a bit cool again last night, although it was nowhere near as cold as earlier last week. There was a slight frost on the tops of the boats as I took Annie out for a walk. There's a lot of water around at the moment. The ground must just be that saturated that the slightest drop of rain seems to result in big puddles everywhere! I know that Denise has been having a long drive to work as she has been instructed not to drive through the puddle that has once again formed underneath the disused railway bridge in Gnosall. I have driven through it a couple of times recently and it isn't that deep and I am sure a car would get through OK if you just go steady.

It's been a quiet day today although the tearoom did have a sudden burst of activity around lunchtime which kept Ange and Denise on their toes... Bernard has finished the engine service that he has been in the middle of and since then has been servicing the macerator toilets on the hire boats that are fitted with them. It really isn't a pleasant job, but it has to be done every year to ensure there are no issues with them during the season. Steve has been doing some internal odds and sods on one of the hire boats which other than checking tomorrow is now ready to go out.

I've heard reports today that the canal is now open to the North. I am not sure how true the rumours are but I know that some of the boats that were waiting for the stoppages at both Shebdon and Woodseaves to lift have headed North. I am still to see a boat come South...

We've got a special visitor coming to see us tonight, but thats a story for tomorrow!

Until then... Best regards,


Saturday, 15 December 2012

Next of Kin

You may remember that some time ago we published an article about how we came by Ember, rebuilt her and incorporated her into our hire fleet to give her a new lease of life. Well, a few days ago we stumbled across some footage of another one of our current hire boats which I thought may be interested to you (with thanks to Peter Quick). First of all, grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy watching a BBC programme which was first broadcast in January 1997. I'm afraid it is in three parts, but I am sure that you will recognise some familiar sites!

Well, I hope you enjoyed that. The boat that was hired from Norbury by Maggie, Andrew and the kids is a boat called Abel Tasman and was filmed in 1997. She was built by Dartline in 1991 at Bunbury and operated by them here at Norbury until Anglo Welsh took the company over in 1997. In December 1997 they renamed her Venus and continued to operate her until she eventually ended up working from their Oxford base on the River Thames. She was advertised for sale in the winter of 2010 and Simon decided to purchase her and bring her home to Norbury in December 2010. We have since done some modifications and refitting work, but kept the same layout and have renamed her Princess. We entered her into our hire fleet for the beginning of the 2011 season. Since then she has proved to be a very popular hire boat. We decided at the end of last season to give her even more of a up lift by painting her in our Norbury colour scheme (grey, black and red) which we have recently completed. I must admit that she now looks a real treat.

Princess as purchased in December 2010.

Princess today ready and waiting for the 2013 season (minus the bridge bars that were fitted when filmed by the BBC in 1997)!

Best regards,


Friday, 14 December 2012

non stop friday

No I don't mean it has been non stop with customers today I mean non stop rain, I cant believe just how much the weather can change in 24 hours, yesterday freezing temperatures, ice on the canal and today incessant rain all day long!

I haven't seen much of Norbury as such today as I went straight from home to collect the new boat, he he it made me smile when i picked it up and I'm sure it will have that same effect on the many thousands that have already 'sailed' on her and the many thousands to come, I promise that once the rain has stopped I will get some photos, once I delivered the boat to Norbury I was soon dispatched again, this time down to the printers, our plumbing suppliers and our glass suppliers, so it is difficult for me to comment much about what has gone on here today, what I do know is that it has rained all day long!

That's it from me for this week, I am sure David will have something to say about the weekend.


Thursday, 13 December 2012

roll on summer

Blimey its been cold here today, only -3 today but the wind chill has made it feel like -20 and there hasn't been any wind as such just a light breeze my drive in to work this morning was superb as the moisture in the air from last night had frozen on everything and the frozen hedge lined lanes were like something off a wintry post card scene, you can imagine what the canal is like, it has about an inch or so of ice on it, and so have the boats!

we have had another uneventful day today except for the three amigos painting the tea room, they have made a lovely job and the place looks great and I really appreciate all of there hard work, I cant wait now to see the place buzzing again with people.

I have a busy day tomorrow as I have got to go to Derby to fetch our new boat, I am not going to say much about it except it will cause a few raised eyebrows, make a few people smile and hopefully make people talk, there will be some photos posted up as soon as it arrives!

A big thanks to everyone that has offered to collect the boat from the Braunston area, I am glad to report that I have found someone to do it, I promise that I will post any more boat movements on here, but remember be quick to respond as they get sorted quickly!

That's it from me for today, don't forget to keep your eyes open for the photos of the new boat

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

been decorating

It has been absolutely freezing here at Norbury today, not as much ice on the canal as yesterday but soooo cold. It has also been very quiet, well, with customers anyway as the tea room is closed whilst the 3 musketeers have been painting.....the 3 musketeers for those of you who don't know them are Simons dad Rob and his 2 brothers David and Brian. They do a lot of maintenance work here.Well this week they have been painting the tea room, was supposed to have been the kitchen but hey ho. The walls have been stripped of the pictures and lace plates and boy have they taken some geeing up ;-) We have had a bit of painting done here and then a bit done somewhere else, another bit needed a second coat and the bit near the ceiling needed doing and the story goes on. I kept going into the tea room to ask how they were doing and there was always a lot of arguing going on, I desperately wanted to make some headway but there was nothing I could do. Eventually things started to take shape. We have put all the lace plates back on the wall, all the framed pictures are now back for sale, we have drinks in the chiller and the kitchen is all in order. We did have a few arguments along the way. I started hanging the plates and unbeknown to me Rob had taken before photo's, he kept shouting "that's in the wrong place"........whatever!!!!....they are up and out of the way. All done now and looks very nice and freshened up.
We have had Bernard back with us today as engineer Simon is off for a few days sick as he had a car accident at the weekend, he is o.k but the car isn't :-(
Fred has been doing Freddie things and Steve has been doing some winter work on Princess.
Sorry for the short post but nothing else to report today, until next time..........byeeee ange.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Not suprised!

Given the time of the year I am not surprised that I have not had people breaking down the door with offers of moving these boats, it looks like I have sorted the short haul one from Nantwich but the one from Braunston has now been confirmed as a definite so if any one fancies a winter break please contact me, I must admit I wouldn't fancy boating in this cold weather, Talking of the weather, 'Good blimey' its cold, -5 when I left home this morning, fortunately the sun has been out most of the day and melted the frost covered boats and put some warmth in to the insides, I did check on five of the boats today that are going out soon to see if the water systems were all frozen and fortunately they were all fine and there were no signs of any frost internally and the water pumps all pumped water, heating systems lit and engines running, left like that for a couple of hours so if we have a severe drop in temperatures they should be OK, as I sit here by the heater I can confirm that the temperates have indeed started to drop rapidly and the ground already has a covering of frost, Eddie from the fisheries came up earlier and reported that it was -7 down there last night, Bbbbrrrrrrrr roll on home time and a nice warm fire!

until tomorrow Simon

Monday, 10 December 2012

Free boating holiday anyone

Not one but two! I have two boats that need moving, the one is not set in stone as yet but it is almost a definite, it is in the Braunston area and  needs to be moved to Norbury, it will be available from this weekend however we are not in any great rush for it so it could be done at your leisure, the boat is a nice boat, fully fitted, two berth (double) all you will need is food, drink, clothes, windlasses, who fancies it? drop me an email with your contact details, the other one is a definite and is at Nantwich so is only a couple of days away, this one is a four berth and the canal will be passable after the 21st December, Please remember that the last time I posted a freebie the offer was snapped up over night so its first come first served, so who fancies it?

The sun has been shining all day long but it has been freezing cold, brass monkey weather in fact! It has however been a quiet day as there has only been myself, David and Steve in, the tearoom is shut for the week for a makeover and its either been peoples days off or holiday time for the rest, so I have been all on my own in the office today, which has been OK as its been quiet, David has popped in to the office on occasions today to make sure that I was awake, which of course I was! Make sure you all have plenty of your winter fuel supplies as apparently we are in for more of this cold weather and its gonna get colder!

That's it from me for today, I am off home to stoke up my fire.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

It's been a busy day here at Norbury today. The weather has warmed up somewhat, but I think it is just trying to lull us into a false sense of security! The forecast for next week is atrocious! Snow, ice and freezing cold winds - Arctic conditions they promise...

Mick has been finishing off some gas jobs he has had to do as he is now on holiday for the next week. Steve has been working on Ember today, doing some winter works which has required replacing some water damaged wood around the shower. Ange and Denise have been in the shop and tearoom.

We had a great night last night, unfortunately Denise took the pictures on her camera and she didn't bring it in today for me to post the pictures for you to see.

We are going to be a bit short staffed this week as both Mick and Denise are on holiday (not together may I hassen to add). The kicthen is also closed until Friday for some alterations and redecorating so we have got Simon's Dad and two uncles here to keep us entertained.

That's it for today.

Until next time.


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Firstly I must apologise that neither Simon or myself have had time to write the blog for the last few days. It's supposed to be quiet at this time of the year...

Fred and I undocked Arabia this morning. She was built by Roger Fuller twenty years ago and is a replica of a Fellows, Morton and Clayton motor boat. Her current owner decided that she wasn't performing as well as she should so we removed the propeller a few weeks ago and he has had it re pitched. We refitted it a couple of days ago and we await the results.

Fred and I then docked a boat for a surveyor and once the surveyor was finished, re floated that one and docked another.

Mick has been busy with servicing gas boilers and gas tests. Ange and Den have been manning the shop and the tearoom.

It's been a cold day again here. But we are off for our staff party in Eccleshall tonight. I'll try and get some snap shots and post them for you tomorrow.

Have a good evening.

Regards, David.

Friday, 7 December 2012

biting wind

Well to say it has been cold here today would be an understatement, the wind has been so cold and poor David and Steve have been working down the arm installing a new electricity post for the moorers to use.
Simon came in to work today with his casual clothes on, when he comes in dressed like this we know he is not staying :-)................but he didn't leave until 2.30 so we did have to put up with him for most of the day....only joking boss, you know we love you really.
Fred turned 2 shared boats around today and complained about the cold all the way through the small operation, he has also been doing some internal works on the inside of the hire fleet where it is a bit warmer than being outside.
Denise has manned the tea room, she has had quite a number of customers in there today, most of whom wanted a full english breakfast (£5.50 with a cup of tea or coffee).
Mrs Handbag has been doing all the cleaning today. She is very thorough with her cleaning and has driven me absolutely mad today for a meat tin for "Phantom" as she is going out tomorrow for 2 weeks, it will be sorted for tomorrow, don't worry carol.
Engineer Simon was on a call out this morning to the guys who are doing the maintenance work down at Shebdon, the boat they were using was very sluggish, he changed the fuel filter and everyone was happy.
I have been doing some ordering for goods that we are going to need to complete winter works and other than that answering the phones which has made denise laugh....why....the phones were that busy this morning  she said all she could see was me walking up and down reception answering phones, passing them over to people until there wasn't another phone to answer....Denise I thought you were my friend.
That's it for today, until next time byeeeeeeeeeee Ange.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

quiet again today

It has been a very quiet day again today here at Norbury.
It has been very cold but the sun has shone all day and we have seen a few walkers and cyclists about, other than that the tea room has been quiet. There is only either Myself or Denise in the tea room from monday through til friday at the moment so if is quiet when Denise is on duty then she goes out cleaning boats, if it is quiet when I have to man the tea room then I keep up to date with my invoicing etc.
Simon has been busy doing Simon things today, once he gets going on the computer, tap, tap, tapping away, he is on auto pilot and doesn't hear what you are saying to him.....mmmm.
We now have "Pippin" in the wet dock for her winter maintenance, "P

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Same old same old

Well it has been very, very cold here at Norbury again today, the sun did put in an appearance at one stage just not for very long.
We have had the usual cyclists in for their breakfast baps and a hot drink (£4.50). We saw quite a few customers in the tea room today and instead of the usual tea and cakes it has been all hot food.
David and Denise have been out on the boats today putting the finishing touches to them for the final pictures to be taken for the new brochure which left me in the shop on my own for an hour or so.
Steve and Mick undocked Cotton Dancer today and docked Wolverley as part of their winter maintenance, she is one of the shared boats that operates from here. Steve then went on to pressure wash her and Mick carried on with some work on a private boat.
We had a boat on the wharf for diesel and pump out and we have also had quite a few customers through the door for diesel, gas and chandlery.
Sorry it's a short post, until next time, byeeeeeeeeeee Ange.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Freezing cold

It has been absolutely freezing here at Norbury today, so cold that we have had to get the space heater and a bottle of gas in the shop to warm us up, trouble is once that heater gets going we are sweltering in there as it is so powerful and the jackets come off.
We haven't been very busy with customers here today, the tea room has seen a few walkers and cyclists which has kept Ms Cerrone occupied, if she insists on calling me Mrs Waaaard then she is now Ms Cerrone ;-)
Mrs Handbag (Carol) has been doing deep cleaning on Phantom today, the lads have finished their work on there so we are now allowed to clean her, good job as she is going out for 2 weeks in 2 weeks time.
Fred has been blacking and painting the counter bands on "Cotton Dancer", she is actually my previous boat from 6 years ago, he came in the shop this afternoon and asked what colour blue the boat was painted in on the gunwale black Fred, he said "no wonder i couldn't find the right colour".
David has put the finishing touches to the brochure so hopefully it will be going to print on monday.
I have been busy doing V.A.T return...........sorry Simon.
Nothing else to report today, oh and peter i missed a couple of capital letters out yesterday....sorry....I will get better honest....byeeeeeeeeeeeee Ange.

Friday, 30 November 2012

the brochure has arrived to be proofed

Well as the title suggests the brochure has arrived today for us to proof read it, there are some changes to be made, this will be done over the weekend then it will go to print on monday so watch this space!!!!
It has been a little quieter than a normal friday today, no day boats and only 2 shared boats returned to us today, so fred has had an easy day as regards turnrounds. We have had Reflection and Phantasy go out today, Reflection for the weekend and Phantasy for a week, they have both had to head south as the stoppage is still on at Shebdon until 21st December.
David has returned from his holiday today and has been catching up on brokerage, we have finalised on "cotton dancer" and the new owner will be staying here at Norbury for a couple of weeks while he waits for the stoppages to end so that he can take the boat to it's new mooring at Barton Marina.......we wish him well.
Denise has manned the tea room today and it has ticked over nicely. Mrs Handbag (Carol) has done all the cleaning today, she has dressed and cleaned Reflection and has also got Wharf Cottage ready for it's new occupants tomorrow aswell as a valet on Still Dreaming.
Fred thought he had got away scott free then "Silhouette" returned this afternoon, they weren't sure how long they were going to be out for as the weeks weren't booked..............hard luck freddie,they are back.
Simon asked me to get the banking ready for him this morning as he had to go out, I did as I was told and guess what, he went without it, so he went out, came back and then went out
Well that's it from me today......until next time, byee ange.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Sun at last

It seems ages since we saw the big orange thingy in the sky around these parts, but from first light it has been happily glowing in the most gorgeous uncluttered with clouds blue sky, it has even felt quite warm on the wharf today, it will probably drop really cold later when the sun goes in, long may this weather last, I do think it is what everyone in the country needs now after the deluge of rain over the last week or so.

Its been another quiet one here today, although we have had a boat on the wharf for services, a returning shared boat so it has been totally dead, we have even had a few customers in the shop, it cant be full on busy all the time as we would never have the chance to catch up with essential paperwork, then I suppose if it was busy all the time we would just employ more people!

The lads have all been busy, we docked a brokerage boat that sold over the weekend, Fred and Steve did that and Fred then proceeded to pressure wash the hull sides, its having a few coats of blacking and a set of anodes, Steve then carried on with winter Jobs on the boats, Simon has been getting a couple of boats ready for the holiday makers this weekend and also he has started on the winter servicing on the rest of the hire fleet, we have nearly finished all of the jobs on Sues boat (no problem) just a little welding job left to do tomorrow when some bits turn up, I had a look at it today and between Simon, Mick and Fred they have made a lovely neat job of it, picture of the completed engine installation.

That's it from me for toady

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

From hereon in

Well I hope I have spelt the title correctly ;-)
A customer and good friend at Norbury has commented on my blogs," the content is good but can we please have capital letters where they should be"............"pretty please".........ok Peter from hereon in i will do as I'm told.
It has been very quiet here at Norbury today, the tea room hasn't seen much traffic at all apart from the usual greedy bunch that are employed here. How does anyone find time to eat 2 ......yes 2 bacon and egg sandwiches, drink a cuppa and smoke a cigarette in 15 minutes ?........that's why Simon or David chase them out of there. One of them turned the clock back at the weekend by 20 minutes, David walked in and turned the clock forward by 20 minutes and they all got up and walked out.........well if someone had done that to me I would have stood my one would admit to it ;-)
Mick has been doing some work on a private boat, engineer Simon has also been doing work on a private boat and also fetched Reflection down for me to clean ready for the new occupants on friday.
Well needless to say she didn't get cleaned as other things cropped up in the meantime. I've had no customers all day then at 3 pm I had 4 meals to cook and the lads appeared again for their break, there is no peace for the wicked.
Fred has been busy delivering coal and winterising day boat "Victory", if she books over night Fred you will just have to bring her back again ;-)
Simon popped into Newport this morning to go to the bank and have a wheel put back onto his car, he said "will you be o.k ?"...."of course" I said, well he was back within 1/2 an hour...........banked and the wheel done!!!!!!!!!!!!!
nothing else to report for today so until next time, bye Ange...............see you soon Peter.

Monday, 26 November 2012

views from a different point of view

Thanks Peter for your excellent guest blog, I have my own views about living on boats and I have done the opposite to Peter in as much as I lived on the land until I was about 20 and then on boats until moving in to a house when I was 40 (oops giving my age away)that was 6 years ago, so I have views on the subject too!

When living on a boat you are at the mercy of A. the mooring provider, B. the body that administrates the navigation you are on, C. the local council, D. unwanted visitors. I need to quantify these by saying that if 'A' wants you gone then you have little power to oppose them (unless contractually bound) point in case is the Fish and Duck marina in Ely where the operator gave ALL of the residents three months notice to quit and there is nothing they can do about it,  'B' The same applies if the operating body decides to deny you a license, 'C' if the mooring that you are on is not a proper residential mooring (usually requiring planning permission) the Council can have you removed (this has happened in the past) 'D' this one is more about other peoples inconsiderate behaviour, imagine you are on an idyllic mooring in the middle of countryside and someone moors there boat opposite to you on the towpath and then either party's all night long or runs their generator/engine/noisy heating all night long (it does happen) all these things can happen but in reality they are very rare!

Peter makes the point of recent issues on the TV, flooding, power cuts etc, indeed I had a power cut at home recently, no real problem I ended up in the pub! Flooding would affect anyone, even those on boats as you effectively become stranded on your boat, and the dangers are very real when on a boat on water that is rising,or falling; electrical failure isn't too much of a problem providing that the electrical system is in good order, the engine is in good order and you have plenty of diesel and a good bank of batteries, but you must remember that as well as the cost for diesel to produce the electricity there is also the cost of the upkeep of the engine and the electrical systems, it doesn't always follow that living on a boat is a cheaper mode of living.

If you are retired, the boat is paid for, you can continuously cruise, you can take care of your own maintenance, you don't run your engine 24 hours a day to produce electricity, you live frugally, then living on a boat can be a cheaper option than living in a house, Would I go back to living on a boat? I don't think so, but you never know, I do miss that feeling that if I wanted to 'go' then I could, living in a house does feel a bit restrictive, but while ever I have my roots here at Norbury then living in a house suits me.


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Contrasting a life afloat with a life on land

As I sit on my boat, moored in the heart of Birmingham, with the city centre, currently throbbing with the Frankfurt German Market, just a couple of hundred yards away and surrounded by apartment buildings where a penthouse can cost £1m, I am listening to the radio.
It is telling me of floods, of gas and electricity bills going up by yet more hundreds of pounds a year, of people unable to feed their families, even though they are in work, and yet more transgressions by bankers and financiers, to say nothing of politicians.

I can’t help wondering why the figure for the number of people living full time on their boats isn’t growing even faster than the Canal and River Trust says it is.

By comparison, we have many fewer things to worry about. There may be floods but our homes float and can ride out high water, if we moor them properly.

Diesel may be creeping ever upwards but as we can generate our electricity from our engine and even from sunshine we are not in the hands of the greedy power companies to the same extent.

The CRT may be less efficient than we would like and charge us too much for our licences and mooring fees but it is not as dangerous as an out of control banker and probably only as greedy as an MP filling out his expenses.

Once you have bought the boat, living on it can be cheaper than living in a house, even though the trade off is emptying your own waste and keeping the water tank full.

On top of all that there is the freedom. Tomorrow we could be moored out in the country with only the birds for company. You can’t do that with a house.

Guest blog from
Peter Underwood

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Hi all it's Denise here. I'm the Catering Manager (as David calls me).

It's been a wet miserable day here, but I've been busy in the kitchen cooking Full English Breakfasts, Bacon and Sausage baps and serving cups of tea and coffee. We've now got Burger's back on the menu, so David and Ange had one each for lunch and I even made David pink mayonnaise...

We've had a dayboat out today. I bet they were a bit chilly, but they really enjoyed themselves. It was Nelly's and Boo's birthday (that's Kim's twins).

Mrs. Ward (that's Ange) has been busy tidying the Chandlery and working on her computer. She was showing me how to take hire boat bookings yesterday. I'm getting used to doing it now, but I still have a few problems with the mouse!

The lads have been cold outside, so they have been in asking for cups of teas to keep them warm. Mick has been doing all sorts on different boats today. Poor Freddie has been cold and wet today, but he has had his banana suit on to keep the worst of the weather off, bless him... Steve has been doing some winter works on Phantom.

David has been re-writing the brochure that Simon deleted off of the computer. He has had Simon's heater to keep him warm whilst he has been sat at his computer.

That's it from me. If your at a loose end tomorrow, come and have some lunch and your sure to be kept entertained!

Love Denise.

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Ark

Its been a very quiet week here at Norbury, so much so that we have been struggling to write about the comings and goings here as there haven't been many, the weather has not done us any favours either this week, as everywhere else in the country we haven't escaped the infernal rain, we have had the toilets flooded out, the water level in the canal is definitely up as our floating bridge is floating higher than usual, but where I have really noticed the water is around the lanes, they have standing water in places that I have never seen before, don't worry if you are planning to come to Norbury as the lanes to here from the main road are clear, I had to go up to Cambridge today and I was amazed at how much water there is everywhere, every river I went by has burst its banks and the fields are like lakes, the forecasters are predicting more to come, at this rate we will stop repairing and building narrow boats and concentrate on building an Ark.

The lads have all been busy today, Lee has finished off Phoebe, that's the new to us hire boat and it is looking fab, Simon has been finishing off the engine installation in Sue boat 'No Problem' and that's looking pretty good too, Fred has docked a privet boat to remove the prop, the prop is too small so its going away to be re-pitched, Micky has been turning boats around and getting the cottage ready for its next guests, Ange has been busy with paperwork, Denise has been busy in the tea room and poor David has been re doing the brochure (don't ask why he is re doing it) lets just say that I am not popular with him at the moment!

Until next week

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

another quiet one

it has been quiet here at norbury again today, when i walked (ran sorry) down the towpath this morning it was absolutely heaving down with rain and blowing a gale. the rain eased off at lunchtime, so i quickly went home to take dylan out cos he doesn't like going out in the rain, he likes his home comforts too much. the tea room has not seen much traffic today, in fact the most traffic i have seen down there today is the lads wanting to be fed and watered. steve made me smile, he said he likes it when i'm in the tea room cos he only gets 1/2 a cup of tea.......dunno what he means as he only pays 1/2 his tea money....ha ha.
fred, simon and simon undocked the boat from the dry dock today, fred said that he and simon could manage, jenk wasn't having any of it, he insisted on getting wet and helping them ;-)
fred had his big yellow rain suit on for most of the day, he always says "you watch, as soon as i put this on it will stop raining"........wrong.
david, denise and mick have all been on their days off.
we haven't seen any boats about today but we have had a few people in for diesel in containers and a few bits of chandlery sold.
sorry but there is nothing else to report for today...........until next time, byeeeeeeee ange.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

very quiet

well the weather has done us no favours at all today. it has been wet and very windy, every time i went to the laundry today i had to sweep loads of leaves out, even shutting the door doesn't seem to make any difference :-(
i have been looking after the tearoom today as denise has been on her day off but it hasn't overly busy in there. we have taken a booking today for "pippin" for a week over the new year.
engineer simon has been doing some jobs on one of the brokerage boats (roza) and fred has been washing the outside of "no problem" which has had some engineering works done to it.
lee has been prepping on "phoebe" which is going to be our new hire boat for next season and is now in the wet dock for painting and mick has been doing some winter work on "quartz".
well that only leaves one person........simon......i think he was bored this afternoon as he has been outside with the pressure washer on the forecourt........i walked back from the laundry and he said "make sure you wipe your feet before you go in there"....he has washed all round the diesel pump, outside the shop door, the tarmac on the yard and then had to wash all the muck off the day boats that had been created from the pressure washing........ha ha, at one stage engineer simon asked me if i had a camera.
sorry, but nothing else to report for today.....until next time, byeeeeeeeee ange.

Monday, 19 November 2012


What a different day today than yesterday, I had to go Southampton over the weekend and yesterday afternoon I was stood on a pontoon on the river Hamble having a cup of tea and chatting to a friend, we were both standing enjoying the sun and wearing T shirts, we both commented on how warm the sun was and what a stunning day it was, now look at today, wind, rain and freezing temperatures, I should be grateful that we had a good weekend as according to Angela and David it bought the folks out and it was nice and busy!

Now that this cold weather is well and truly upon us don't get caught out, we can all be complacent when it comes to winterising our boats, we have been busy since last week making sure that all of the boats that are not going out are having a thorough going through and a proper dosing off antifreeze down to -20 degrees in the central heating systems and the engines, you might think that -20 is a bit over the top but the year before last saw temperatures down to that for prolonged periods and  we then saw lots of boats with damage caused by the extreme temperatures.

Its been quiet here today, which in some respects is good as we have had lots of jobs to catch up on, we also had a delivery of steel cages today that me and David have placed out side of the shop front and loaded them up with coal and smokeless fuel to make it easier for customers to get rather than having to go to the compound and wade through the mud when it rains.

Until tomorrow

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Jack Frost paid us a visit this morning and when I went out with Annie the grass was crunching under my feet. All of the boats down the arm and in the basin were white over and the road was a bit slippery in places. All of the padlocks were frozen up when Mick was unlocking, which delayed him a little.

Steve and I undocked No Problem this morning and then Mick, Steve and I docked Phoenix for her annual blacking and the tug to have it's reconditioned hydraulic motor refitted. It does make it a bit difficult when the ropes are all frozen up, but we coped!

The new owners of Myk ron Pearl have been here today, preparing for their trip to London. It's good to see new owners making themselves at home on a boat that hasn't been inhabited for some time. It really does bring a boat to life.

Denise and Ange were busy in the tearoom at lunchtime and Ange has cleaned the cottage this afternoon. There's been a good number of people looking at boats for sale again, but we haven't seen any customer since about 3.30pm so Denise went home early.

Best regards,


Saturday, 17 November 2012

It's time to go boating

One of my friends popped over to give me a hand to extract a bolt that was being troublesome on my own boat after work last night. It's always easier with two people, especially when you are trying to stand on your head, shine a torch, hold the bolt extractor on to the remains of the bolt head and operate the socket wrench. Once we had done the job we went for a quick drink with Denise and her other half Mike along with Mrs. Handbag and her husband in the Junction. I couldn't believe my eyes when we departed in heavy rain. I decided to retire to bed and have an early(-ish) night. There's nothing more therapeutic than listening to the pitter patter of rain on the cabin top as you dose of to sleep.

It's been a nice day today, although it has gone cold again now. I reckon we might even have a frost tonight.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I seem to get withdrawal symptoms if I don't go boating often enough. I would be quite happy to be boating all the time, but unfortunately work does seem to get in the way... So, over the next couple of weeks I'm going to squeeze in having a few days off and I think we will go off to Birmingham to not only visit some of my favourite hostelries but also tie it in with an annual visit to the Frankfurt Christmas Market located in Victoria Square at the top of New Street. It's well worth a visit if you haven't been before. More details can be found here.

Best regards,


Friday, 16 November 2012

manic day

was i glad to see 5 o'clock arrive tonight, it has been an absolute manic day here today.
we had 4 shared boats return to us today which has kept fred busy along with phantasy and quartz which have all turned round. i umd and ard yesterday about whether to ask mrs handbag to come in today to do the cleaning, i'm sooooooooo glad i did otherwise denise and i wouldn't have coped. the phone has been relentless which is good, we have also taken a couple of holiday bookings for next year.
denise heard the familiar clip clop of the cyclists shoes (she makes them sound like horses) and phoned me for some help........she has been really busy in the tea room all day.
mrs handbag has turned phantasy and quartz around and also done a valet on wolverley. when the part owners of still dreaming arrived this afternoon she was just emerging from the back of phantasy and the gentleman said to her "you must be mrs handbag", she said "how do you know that, i haven't even got my handbag on", he said "i've been reading your blog"...............she found me and wanted to know what i've been saying about her............only nice things carol..honest.
david has been busy with fred today loading the trailer ready for simon to take all the scrap to the scrap yard, well you wouldn't take it anywhere else would you?....but it keeps simon occupied anyway, he came back from the scrap yard just in time for lunch then announced that he was going home ;-)
we have been busy with chandlery and diesel aswell today.........nothing else to report so until next time, byeeeeeeeee ange.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Simon's been to see a boat down in Audlem today. He was out for sometime, which did put a smile on Fred's face... Fred's been blacking, painting an engine room and he has been moving boats around. Simon has been working on some private boats today and Lee is making a cracking job of repainting Princess - she certainly won't be recognised when she is next out and about. Denise has been in the tearoom between nine and three and I have been in the shop and office on my own most of the time.

It's been a busy day again today, too much to write in a short space of time!

Best regards,


Wednesday, 14 November 2012


i say ditto as it has been really busy again today.
when i was crossing the bridge to go to work this morning simons vehicle slowed down and stopped, the window opened and amanda was sitting at the wheel, i said "sorry" but i thought you were simon, "i have never been so insulted" she said, "is it my morning stubble", her car had gone in for an mot so she was using simons vehicle to go and visit her mom in doncaster, we had a laugh about it and off she went.
i  have sorted 2 bookings for next year on one of the new boats into the fleet "solace", i've had to swap the customers over onto solace as sovereign lady is leaving us at the end of this month and although there is only 4 people in the party they wanted 2 fixed double beds...........sorted and happy.
i have also taken a christmas present booking for a guys parents, that will be a nice surprise for them as they have never been on a narrowboat before and i have also done a booking for sphinx for july next year :-)
i've been left in the shop on my own quite a lot today as simon has been in the dry dock inspecting the boat in there and denise has been cleaning the cottage ready for its next occupants and guess what, phone ringing its head off, customers in the tea room, customers in the chandlery, a customer turned up to pay their final payment on a brokerage boat and another to pay their deposit on a brokerage boat by which time simon was back.....thank goodness.
when simon returned i went to seighford to deliver a boat part that needs repairing and i got lost......couldn't find the flippin place, i had to phone to make sure i was in the right vicinity, i was only about 100 yards away and then went off to the bank.
when i returned to the office steve was sitting in my chair trying to fill out some paperwork, looking for a pen. pens are a sore point we must lose 20 pens a week as staff pick them up and walk out with them and they are never seen again then they all moan at us as there is nothing to write with, i keep my behind my ear, i arrive with it and go home with it....ha ha. steve was also wearing simons glasses whilst doing this paperwork and as you can imagine he was not a happy bunny when he was looking for them and they were on someone elses eyes. i thought world war 3 was gonna break out at one point.
that's all to report for today, till next time...........byee ange.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Busy busy busy

You know when you have had one of those busy days, when everybody wants a minute of your time, the phone doesn't stop ringing, the lads just keep asking questions, it gets to a point where you cant do anymore, remember anymore, you end up with a sort of 'red mist' well that has been today here at Norbury, its been a very very busy day, and a productive day too, nearly a full house with staff, Simon is back off his holiday and boy don't we know it, he is great but he has been reading the book that Fred has written on how to annoy me and he has been doing his best all day to wind me up (in a nice way) so with Fred and Simon both giving me grief I am now ready for home.

We have sold another boat today, had an offer on yet another boat, is this a sign that things are starting to move a little? we have taken several bookings today and even three day boats for early in January! and all this on top of the usual day to day stuff like ordering bits, chasing suppliers, inspecting boats, working out quotes, etc etc etc.

That's it from me for today

Monday, 12 November 2012

Miserable day

I hope the rest of the week is better than today, it started of grey, over cast, wet, cold and generally miserable, and it hasn't really changed much all day, the place has been quiet, not many customers around either, although we have seen a few people looking at boats that are for sale, funny we know that the people looking at boats are at least serious about buying one as the would certainly not venture out if they wernt!

Not too much to say about today, not only has it been quiet with customers but staff have been thin on the ground, Simon is still on holiday although he is back tomorrow, Ange's day off, mick has been at hospital today, Denise's day off, Fred's day off, we have only had Steve,lee, David and Joyce did put in an appearance aswell.

Lee has been preparing a hire boat for a new colour scheme, Steve has been blacking a boat that e sold over the weekend,David has been doing paperwork, as I have been and Joyce looked after the shop and tearoom.

We did have one good result today as we sold another boat, alls being well that should complete this week, that's good news as we were starting to run of of room for the boats that are for sale.

Lets hope tomorrow is a bit more interesting.


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Well I don't know where the day has gone to today. Unfortunately I was unable to have my two minutes silence at eleven o'clock today because I was tied up with some customers, but I think I have made it up this afternoon!

The weather has been lovely again. There was a good sharp frost this morning when I took Annie out. It's nice to hear the grass crunching under her feet as she runs up and down, longing for me to throw her ball for her! It has dropped cold again, but I am sure I will be OK when I am sat in front of the roaring fire in the pub at 5.30... It's a bit of a habit now, Sunday evenings in the Junction after work, but it's good to catch up with news and to relax in the warmth after a cold day in the office!

Surprisingly we have had some boats in for diesel, gas and pumpouts today, even some heading north although they know that they need to turn round at Grub Street as they can't get to Shebdon.

Enjoy your evening, until tomorrow.

Best regards,


Saturday, 10 November 2012

It's been a glorious day here at Norbury today. It started cool and extremely foggy, but by about 10am the fog had cleared and the sun came out. It could quite easily have been a Spring day. The temperature has begun to drop now and the sky appears to be clear, so I reckon it will be a cold one tonight, so get those fires stoked up well! 

We had one day boat go out this morning, although we did have another booked via the internet, but unfortunately the customers didn't show up and we haven't been able to contact them. Lee and Fred have taken Phantom and our pusher tug out of the wet dock. Princess has now gone into the paint shop to have a make-over. When Lee has finished with her, she may even come out in a new livery, watch this space... Fred has been shifting boats around most of the day, doing pumpouts and diesel on the wharf. Mick has completed some outstanding jobs and disconnected an engine in one of our regular customers boats, which we have just lifted out so that the engine room can be cleaned thoroughly and painted prior to the installation of a new engine.

Joyce has been in the tea room today, Ange has been keeping her eye on the shop and manning the phones whilst Denise has got on top of the laundry. 

The canal is certainly a lot quieter now that the stoppage has come on at Shebdon embankment. I haven't taken a drive up there yet to see how the works are progressing, but I may well do that in the week and get some photographs for you all to have a look at.

Have a good evening.

Best regards,


Friday, 9 November 2012

it's "PHOEBE"

hi all, as the title suggests the name of the new hire boat is going to be "phoebe" ;-)
we had a bit of a conflab this morning, polly, poppy, pilgrim, peaceful and then simon decided he liked phoebe so there you go.........sorted.
we had 4 shared boats return to us this morning who all had a good time and extremely lucky with dry weather, i think the seasons should be swapped round with all the rain we had during the summer and now we are have having some really nice, although cold days, but at least it is dry.
we had 2 hire boats out today, phantasy and quartz and have only been able to venture south as there is maintenance work going on at shebdon.
it hasn't been an overly busy day today but we have taken a couple of holiday bookings and a day boat booking.
steve has been fetching a boat back for brokerage and managed to get a great big piece of carpet wrapped round the prop, fred returned to the boat with him this morning to try and cut it off, when they rang to say they couldn't get it off david suggested they try with a carving knife and it would soon be free :-(   no chance.
david went out to remove it and it took ages, he has since returned, the carpet has gone and he is soaked. steve returned with the boat a short while later.
joyce has manned the tea room today and denise has been doing valets for the shared boats and getting phantasy and quartz ready to go out.
simon went to the doctors this morning with a poorly finger.........bless.......and has been out banking this afternoon as he had nothing else to do....or so he said.
nothing else to report for today so until next time.........byeeeeeeee ange.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


A BIG thank you for those that took the time to send me some ideas for some names for the new hire boats, there are a couple that I quite like, i will give it another week or so to see if there are any more ideas then I will make a decision, I like 'Progress' not sure I fancy calling a boat Fred!

Its been a busy day here today, I have been out to see yet another boat that the owner wants us to sell, Steve has gone to fetch another one to be sold, David has taken the photos of another one to go up for sale, and we have sold two brokerage boats today, so its been a good day.

Short post today sorry

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

new name needed

Its that time of year when we have some of the shared owned boats disappear to different marinas, new shared boats arriving for their stay with us for a year or two, old hire boats being sold off and the arrival of new to us hire boats, we have already had one ex hire boat turn up today to be sold on, which David will get done this weekend, we have another new to us hire boat arriving on Saturday and another one next week, so we want to change the names on the two boats, I would like to keep them short and to one syllable, so its your chance to fire some names at me, it would also be good if one of them started with the letter P, however it is not that important, look at our current fleet of boats to get some idea of what might fit in, whoever comes up with the right name, and if we decide to use it then I will make sure that their name gets mentioned in the brochure and on the side of the boat, this could be your chance for a bit of canal fame, send your names to don’t forget to put your name on the email as well.

Its been a very quiet day here today, which has been good as I am now nearly on top of my jobs again, we had a day boat go out this morning and as I am writing this blog it has just returned and the people have had a superb day, at least the weather has been kind to them! Angela has been a busy bee today, she has booked six boats for next year, which is excellent, as well as looking after the tearoom in between answering the phones and doing paperwork, Fred and the new chap Martin have been really busy, Fred is showing him the ropes because he is retiring as from next year, well not quite full time retirement as I wont let him but a couple of days a week is ok, so they have been docking boats, pumping boats out and moving boats all day long to facilitate the turnaround this weekend.

That’s it from me until tomorrow, don’t forget the names.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Canals, canals and more canals

I never seem to be far from water in what ever I do, if I go out for a meal then I prefer if the venue is by water, if I had the choice I would live next to water and when I go on holiday I usually try and find somewhere by water, so this weekend I went for a short break to Amsterdam, I know what you are thinking, Drugs and prostitutes, well far from it, I went to see what their canal system was like, and I was amazed at just how many canals run through the city, its a fantastic place, there are some stunning boats, lots of traditional barges and tugs which have been converted to livaboards, and plenty of modern caravan style floating homes, the canals are pretty much lined with residential boats, they are crammed in to gaps everywhere, so many boats are residential apparently the authorities put a ban on any more residential boats taking up new moorings, but that was 30 years ago, I hate to imagine what the situation would be like if a restriction hadn't been imposed, I suspect that in time our waterways will be overrun by residential boats, the difference is here we have lots of marinas to house the boats.where Amsterdam seems to have none!  Whilst there we went on a boat trip to see more of the canals and we came across the Kromhout museum, so before we left to catch the plane home we went for a visit, it is housed at a working boat yard with slips and workshops, similar I suppose to Norbury but on a bigger scale, I could see through the windows lots of old engines, lots of semi diesels, maybe a Bollinder, and definitely big semi diesel Kromhouts and Gardner Kromhouts and all sorts, but it was closed and wouldn't be open until today, I will now have to go back at some stage to see the sights I missed on this trip!!!

that's it from me for today

Monday, 5 November 2012

Winter cruising advice for boaters who want better value

THE most recent boaters’ survey by the Canal and River Trust shows boat owners are using their boats more often, even if they are not travelling as far, and it seems most boaters are aiming to get the best value out of their investment.
That would seem to indicate that we may see more boats than ever using the waterways this winter – providing an alternative winter break and extending the boating season.
With that in mind, and to assist their ever-increasing number of winter hire boaters, as well as the many share boats owners who cruise most of the year, Norbury Wharf’s manager, David Ray, has come up with some winter cruising advice.
He said: “Once people get over the idea that boating is a sunshine sport, and they’ve had to do that this summer, many of them realise there is no need to abandon their boat in October and not use it again until March, especially when it can provide a whole series of winter breaks at little or no extra cost.
 “We hire many of our boats throughout the winter and people love getting cosy with a multi-fuel stove glowing on the boat while the wind blows outside. Most share boat owners like to cruise in the late autumn and early spring and boats are often a favourite place to spend Christmas or New Year.
“It is perfectly practical to boat throughout the year if you are sensible and plan ahead. The only problem can be people not understanding how to deal with the conditions.
“ We have an amazing number of people coming in complaining that their boat, or hire boat, won’t handle correctly; and when we explain it’s because of leaves around the propeller they don’t believe us! The Shroppie seems to suffer far more than any other canal which is probably because of the deep cuttings along its length with the overgrown trees dumping their leaves in the canal.”
So here is the Norbury checklist for winter cruising:
1.       Make sure you have the right clothes to defeat the weather. Standing on the back of a boat for several hours allows the cold winds to penetrate, so layers are the answer, as many as you need and never mind making a fashion statement. Ensure you have good waterproofs because they will keep out the wind as well as the inevitable rain. Oh, and hats, gloves and scarves. The reason so many boaters wear hats is that they keep the heat in.
2.       Autumn brings fallen leaves and many accumulate into the canal forming a leaf soup. The action of the boat’s propeller sucks them in and they gather in great numbers around it – you can hear the engine note dropping when it happens and eventually you will slow down and be unable to steer properly. When the propeller stops turning they just drop away again and the best way of clearing them when you are moving is to throw the engine into reverse briefly, put it in neutral till they propeller stops turning before giving it a blast in forward gear. You will see the leaves shoot out at the stern. In the very worse conditions you will be doing this several times a day, but the colours along the cut will be a spectacular compensation.
3.       Frost, especially in the morning is inevitable in the winter months and it can look lovely on the bare arms of canalside trees but it is also potentially hazardous underfoot. Make sure you have sturdy boots with a good grip, especially if working around frosty locks and take extra care when crossing beams or getting on and off the boat.
4.       Don’t plan to journey for many hours a day, you have less light and cold weather means spending more than three or four hours on the tiller will leave you chilled and uncomfortable. Work on the basis of short journeys and short days. Focus on visiting nearby villages and small towns in their run-up to Christmas or enjoy the canal banks and spring bulbs start to push through the winter soil.
5.       Winter is a surprisingly good time to enjoy canalside wildlife, so take the binoculars. When the leaves are gone from the trees you can see further into woodlands and sometimes whole flocks of small birds will be seen taking over a particular tree or hedgerow. You can also spot foxes, stoats and badgers, certainly in the afternoon twilight on a rural canal bank and sometimes even in the daytime as they cross a snowy field.
6.       If you do find ice forming it usually takes a few days before it becomes too thick to travel so you can usually either get back to your mooring or find somewhere you are happy to moor the boat, with local facilities like water and pump-out available. If you are on a hire boat, don’t worry, the hire company will get you back to base at the right time.
7.       Torches are essential for winter boating so make sure you have a good one as you will need it to negotiate the towpath between the boat and the nearest canalside inn – and of course to find your boat again in the dark once you have enjoyed a meal and a pint or two. It is essential when you need to get the key in the lock and get back into that cosy boat.
8.       Your comfort on any boat depends on ensuring you have stocks of essentials. Make sure you have enough diesel, gas and coal or wood so that you can travel, cook and stay warm no matter what happens. A pack of cards is another useful staple, providing winter entertainment, especially if accompanied by a bottle of something nice!
9.       The working boat families used to keep a kettle on the back cabin stove so hot drinks were available at all times and many liveaboard boaters still use their solid fuel stoves for this and to cook their meals as they travel. A constant supply of hot drinks and a meal ready to eat once you have made your journey for that day makes winter boating even more of a pleasure.
10.   Look ahead. Check the weather for the next week or two and if it says there are days and days or sub-zero temperatures in prospect you have to face the possibility that the canal may freeze thickly enough to make movement impossible – so you might want to treat the boat as a holiday cottage in a winter wonderland (if you can get to your mooring). Realistically this sort of weather is usually short-lived and some winters never arrives so don’t get too neurotic about being frozen in.
David Ray concludes: “There is something special about winter boating, the canals are much less busy and you can often travel all day without seeing another moving boat. The views are often sharper and clearer, especially on a canal like the Shroppie where the embankments allow you to see for miles, right across to the Welsh hills.
“Sometimes it feels that you and your boat are the only things moving in the landscape, but when you moor you can suddenly join the world again in a cosy canalside pub, sitting by the fire with the locals. It can be almost magical.”

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Can you catch your dream at Norbury?

I know Simon told you about the latest boat that came in for sale on Thursday, but I though I'd expand a little further and show you some photographs.

Dreamcatcha is a 60 foot semi traditional stern; all steel, narrow boat built in 2004 by Northwich boats, benefiting from only having one previous owner. She has a very good specification list and is ready to move on to. She is powered by a modern Barrus Shire, four cylinder diesel engine that is in superb condition. From entering this boat at the stern there are some steps leading down into the large master bedroom which has plenty of storage space and a full height wardrobe. Next comes the generous sized bathroom with corner bath with shower over, Thetford cassette toilet and wash hand basin. Then comes the large galley (with side doors opposite) as well as the usual appliances there is also a washing machine. Finally comes the massive open plan saloon. This boat has two heating systems; a solid fuel stove is located in the saloon that supplies radiators throughout the boat. Along the other side of the boat is another set of radiators which are supplied by a Hurricane diesel heater situated in the engine space. The boat is wired with both 12v and 240v throughout and has a 3000W inverter, the boat has a battery management system fitted and a marine four stage battery charger. The boat’s onboard CD/radio system is fitted with speakers throughout the boat and a flat screen TV and satellite dish and receiver,the list of specification goes on, galvanic isolator, manual gas change over, twin gas bottles, large battery bank, twin coil calorifier with immersion heater, the list goes on!

In our opinion; with this specification, this boat would make a great live-aboard and at the list price of £37,500.00 is a real winter bargain, dont miss out as it wont be around for long.

Further details of Dream Catcha will appear on our website tomorrow

Until tomorrow,

Regards, David.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

I don't really know what to tell you about today, except that it has been cold...

The rest of the hire fleet returned this morning, so Denise and our new helper have been stripping the beds, they have cleaned the cottage for the new occupants that arrived this afternoon and Sovereign Lady ready for Monday. Ange has been doing paperwork and keeping abreast of the laundry. Whilst Joyce has been manning the tea room - well until she sloped off early this afternoon, so Denise is catching up in the kitchen at the moment.

Mick has finished fitting Wychwood up and I have managed to get a picture after Steve and him got it out of the wet dock, so here you go.

Fred has been busy with turnrounds and is now looking forward to a couple of days off.

That's it from me today.



Friday, 2 November 2012

It's here! Our tenth edition of Norbury News... We developed Norbury News in January this year and the first edition went to press on the first of February. It is designed to be informative and interesting for all types of readers and is aimed to keep everyone up-to-date with whats going on in Norbury. This month we have got a feature on Winter boating. All the editions can be viewed by following this link or you can request your very own copy to be delivered to your inbox every month by emailing me at

It's been a busy day here. We've turned around nine boats. Denise and Mrs. Handbag have been cleaning, Mick has been checking the engines over, Billy has been checking the internals whilst Fred has been doing his normal duties of pumpouts, diesel, water and gas. Ange has been in the office and shop, whilst Joyce has been in the kitchen looking after the customers in the tea room.

This afternoon whilst Billy has been showing the boats out, Mick has been fitting the accessories back onto Wychwood which is the boat that Lee has just painted. I'll take some pictures tomorrow when she emerges from the dock for you to see - she certainly looks nice. Fred has blacked one of our hireboats that we have currently got on the dock and Denise has been cleaning Wychwood.

That's it from me today.



Thursday, 1 November 2012

where have they all gone

It has been a bit like a ghost town today, there has only been me joyce and Fred in, well David did come in first thing bust said he really didnt feel well so after I had come back in from viewing a boat he slopped off to his warm boat and bed, I think that today has been a first in terms of the least amount of staff we have ever had in, it just goes to show how quiet things are going, I dont mind as everyone will be flat out shortly with winter maintenance and catching up on a backlog of private work!

We have had a new to us 60 footer come in today for brokerage, and what a very nice boat it is, a very good 2004 semi trad that has been fitted out with living aboard in mind and it has a very good specification list, it is being listed at £37,500 so it wont be around for long.

Or old friends and good custoers, Vic and Sue of NB No Problem have come in today and are leaving their boat with us for a few weeks while they go off on a nice Med cruise, Oh and while we have it can we just fit a new engine, black the bottom and the list goes on............ It goes without saying that it will all be done for when they return.

I cant really say much about today for the reasons already stated, so thats it from me for today and for the weekend.


Wednesday, 31 October 2012

its all lies!

Angela does tell some real big porky pies! I was not browsing through itunes yeasterday looking for new ring tones for my phone, I wouldn't even know how to down load the damn things to my phone to use as a ring tone, what I was doing was listening to messages that had been left on our answering phone, they are down loaded through a server to our computer then they can be played using a pre selected programme, in this case I use itunes, as the message finishes it then goes on to the next item on a play list, now for some reason itunes has downloaded a pile of silly ring tones, so you can picture the scene, I have just finished listening to a message, it finishes and then the computer starts to make the most bizarre sounds, sheep crying, cows mooing and people making rude noises, well Angela could not stop laughing, so as you can see, I was not wasting time, I was in fact working!

Its been a very busy day today, I don't know where to start, this morning got off to a busy start, emails out of the way, the lads sorted for the day, well there was only Steve and Fred as everyone else was off, then two lorries turned up with two boats on them, then the crane turned up, David came in to help with the unloading, crane set up and in less than an hour the boats were in the water and the lorries had gone along with the crane, we were craning in two work boats that were destined for the winter works at Shebdon, the company that is doing the job seemed a bit lackadaisical as they had not had the engine running and had no driver for the boat so David got the engine running, we filled up the empty diesel tank and then he went boating and took them up to Shebdon, I then went and collected him; loads more has happened today but I don't have time to tell you any more as I need to go and pick up Becks who is at Wheaton Aston with a boat that she is bringing back for us.

Until tomorrow

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

i'm back ;-)

hi all, i haven't been at work since wednesday last week, day off thursday, 3 days holiday, then guess what day off monday. i went boating for a few days with mark, 2 friends from far away newcastle upon tyne, their 2 daughters and 3 dogs, it stayed dry but it was cold, however, we had an excellent weekend.
so it is back to the grindstone today (not quite sure if i've spelt that right, but hey ho)
i have been ploughing through my in tray today, invoices and holiday bookings, i have even booked a day boat today for this friday. simon asked fred to drain 1 down and move it onto the moorings, then i booked it, so fred had to bring it back and fill it up with water, not a happy bunny, poor fred.
we have also booked phantasy for this friday, she was moored on our moorings and i asked simon if she could be brought down today so that we could get her cleaned, david said to him "don't forget you can turn her round down there, don't get taking her down to grub street to turn it like steve did last week", we did wonder where he had got to, no wonder it took him so long.
it hasn't been too busy here today, the tea room has been relatively quiet until i was left in the building on my own then i suddenly had people wanting to be served in the tea room whilst i was dealing with a customer in the chandlery and then the phone started ringing it's head off, denise was on monarch getting it ready for its new occupants today but she soon came to my rescue, thanks denise, you're a life saver. the boat was ready for when the customers arrived at 1 pm and they were happy that once they'd had lunch they could set off for nantwich.
simon has been doing simon things today, he is all caught up with his e mails and other jobs to do so he thought he would browse the i phone web site for ring tones.............what a flippin racket........i thought some one was being murdered at one point, it was so loud, we had to filter a few out as i to have to listen to his phone ringing when he is in the yard and we are all in the office.  
i can't think of anything else to report for today so until next time.........byeeeeeeee, ange.