Saturday, 31 March 2012
It's been a really busy day here today. Victory, Defiant and Phantasy have been out as dayboats and we have turned round six of our weekly hire boats and Wharf Cottage. That's kept everyone busy. We've even had to rope some extra staff in today to give us a hand!
Simon sent me an email last night. He doesn't appear to receiving the emails I send him - they must be getting lost at sea, haha (the emails that is). So, hopefully he will ready this blog tonight and see that everything is hunky dory here...
Have a good evening.
Friday, 30 March 2012
We've turned five shared boats round and one hire boat.
Fred has been on his normal Friday duties of pumping the boats out etc. He does a really good job. Mick has been working on a our hire boats. Simon has been tacking the plates into place on the boat on the back. Matt is making good progress on Calstock and Bernard has been servicing engines.
A tree came down yesterday somewhere near the five locks at Drayton. It was cleared by about lunchtime today and we have seen a steady flow of traffic through since.
A friend of mine has just arrived into the country from New Zealand today, so I'm off over to Wheaton Aston to see her tonight.
Have a good evening.
Wednesday, 28 March 2012
Matt has been working hard prepping Calstock.
Here's a couple of shots of the basin and the canal heading off from Norbury, showing the glorious sunshine.
That's it from me today.
Have a good evening.
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Simon's started on the next boat that we are plating. The first job is to remove the rubbing guards and the patches that have been added over the years. It's now ready to have the bitumen ground off... Fred has blacked the boat on the dock, painted the gunnels of another boat and has been getting boats ready for the forthcoming "busy" weekend. Matt has been prepping the boat that we have in for painting - pictures tomorrow! and Mick has finished off a diesel heater service and finished some odds and ends on a couple of other boats.
It's been a bit busier on the wharf today. We've started to see more boats moving.
Joyce has been flat out in the tearoom, no, not laying down, but serving lots of customers! Ange has helped her as and when needed and has been catching up with paperwork and looking after customers in the shop in between.
That's it from me today.
Enjoy your evening.
Monday, 26 March 2012
So that's it from me today.
Sunday, 25 March 2012
Isn't modern technology a wonderful thing? My phone advanced by an hour on it's own, as did all of our computers, leaving just the analogue clocks in both the shop and tearoom to change. There's the one in the staff room too, but I don't see the point in changing that as no-one takes any notice of it anyway, haha!
It's definitely been the start of British Summer Time today. We have been incredibly once again. This has meant that we have had between four and five of the girls working in the tearoom all day. Lorraine's off at the moment on holiday, but we are looking forward to her coming back on Wednesday.
Talking about holidays, I have just received a text message from Simon. He has arrived at his destination safely and is sunning himself on the back of a boat - what he doesn't know; as he hasn't got any internet access, is that we are doing the same! The only thing we are lacking is the alcohol.
We have a whole host of boats for sale at the moment, and I have never known as many people looking at boats as we have today. I've taken a deposit on one that has only just arrived and it hasn't even been advertised!
I've managed to catch two more staff today so you can put faces to names.
Firstly we have Kim who only joined the team at Norbury last week. I managed to catch her on having a break before the made rush started this morning. She's recently returned to the UK from living abroad and has taken the position as our General Assistant and can be found working in the kitchen, cleaning boats and working in the office.
Secondly we have Denise. She thought I was only joking that I was going to take a picture of her and was somewhat shocked that I managed to catch her skipping across the Wharf. She is our head gardener. She can also be found helping out in the tea room of a weekend and cleaning the hire boats, amongst other jobs that we can find for her!
My ear's prick up as soon as I hear an old engine. I don't know how I manage to hear them from sitting in the office, maybe it's my sixth sense?? Anyway, the picture below shows Victoria which headed south today, on the way to Droitwich for the Historic Narrow Boat Owner's Club gathering over the Easter weekend. She was built by Yarwoods at Northwich around 1930 and is currently powered by a Lister JP2.
Saturday, 24 March 2012
The fog stayed with us until about 10.30 but then it has been a glorious day for the rest of the day, although I fear that it will drop cold again overnight tonight.
Finally and following hours of hard work our new hire boat and dayboat availability search and online booking system has today gone LIVE! We are in the process of finishing off the required authorisation to accept online payments, but in the meantime it is possible to book a boat and then either give us a call to take the payment or we will give you a call by the following working day. I think we have ironed out all of the creases and I hope that it flows smoothly, but if anyone has any queries, questions or suggested improvements please do not hestiate to contact me and I will do my best to help you along the way. The booking system is designed to be used in a modern browser, such as Mozilla Firefox. For full details please visit our website.
It has been incredibly busy here today. It's like someone has given out a press release that Norbury is the place to be. We've only had one shared owned boat go out today, which Simon has been working on. Bernard has been working on a regular customer's boat, doing an engine service. Fred followed him along and has done a smashing job of cleaning the engine bay out - you could eat your dinner out of the bilge. All of the normal jobs have been done completed too - blacking, serving customers on the wharf etc. The girls have been extremely busy in the tearoom and I must say that they have all done a sterling job. Ange has been here there and everywhere to keep on top of whats going on.
Tomorrows another day, and by the looks of it the weather is going to be smashing, so I would expect that we will be very busy.
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Its been a quiet day here today at Norbury, a handful of passing boats but not many people around and the phones have been amazingly quiet, however Angela was busy first thing and by 9.30 she had taken three hire bookings, she has remained busy all day making curtains as well as several breakfasts this morning, we should change here name to Angel! Bernard was in first thing and has gone off to a boat over in Halesowen to prepare it for a trip back to Norbury, it hasn't run for a long time so new batteries and a quick service are required, We docked a boat for survey this morning and Fred has now pressure washed it off ready for a coat of black on the hull, Simon is still cleaning up Phantoms engine and poor old Matt has been preparing and painting in the wet dock, I say poor old Matt as he had a fall the other day and dislocated some fingers, they were popped back in but he is still suffering a bit.
That's it from me for another day.
Monday, 19 March 2012
Its been a busy day at Norbury today, lots going on and lots of people around, the lads have all been kept bust on their respective jobs, the lads have also been busy on the moorings, I see that David gave you a very good report on the moorings yesterday, by the end of this week they will nearly finished, the surfaces will be done and then we just need to fence them off and then we can start on the next stage which will be constructing an access ramp, hand rails, new steel security gate with key code, and finally new pre-pay electric meters.
That's it from me for today as I have a meeting to have before I leave.
Sunday, 18 March 2012
As you can see from the next set of pictures major works were required.
It's taken a while, but there is now light at the end of the tunnel.
So here we have it...
You can see that we have also landscaped the bank leading up onto the field above. This will have grass and wildflower seeds scattered on it over the coming weeks and to allow it to bind together we have got netting to fit on the steeper parts.
Our moorings are currently full, but if you would like to be added to our waiting list please contact us by email or telephone (01785 284292).
Another weekend has passed by. Simon will be back tomorrow, but he will definitely be on a wind down as he is off on holiday on Friday!
Until next time.
Saturday, 17 March 2012
We have been busy getting boats onto our books for sale. A full list of current boats can be viewed here. There are still a couple to add which I will try and get advertised over the next couple of days.
Ange has been working hard putting all of our hire boat bookings onto our new computer system that Simon has told you about whilst I have been doing all of the website alterations. We are hoping that everything will go live on Friday this coming week. If it is rolled out on time we will all have put many hours of work into the process so lets keep our fingers crossed.
The lads have all been very busy too. The moorings are coming on a treat. Boat painting, blacking and general servicing and progressing as normal! I'll get you some pictures to have a look at tomorrow.
I went out on Wednesday lockwheeling for Kestrel and Walton. I met them at Audlem for 9am and helped them upto the top of Tyrley locks. Walton is a wooden boat that has recently been lovingly rebuilt by her owner of some 18 years. She was launched last month at Malkins Bank, Wheelock on the Trent and Mersey by a traditional method of side-slipping (A video of her launch can be viewed below). She is now travelling to Tamworth for her single cylinder Seffle engine to be fitted via the Black Country Museum, Dudley.
Well that's it from me for tonight.
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
The day started out a bit misty and grey but it has turned out to be a lovely afternoon here at Norbury, its been a busy day too, lots of people about, the tea room has kept Lorraine busy today and then she has been really busy filling the shelves with stock, the shop is looking really well stocked now and almost ready for the Easter onslaught, lets hope the rain stays away.
All the lads have been busy on different jobs, docking, painting changing gearboxes, getting hire boats ready, and we have had a real big push with the moorings toady, five lads have been at it all day with wheel barrows backwards and forwards making the new path, its gonna look brilliant.
Ray and Claire, good Friends and customers have made it back with that boat that needed moving from Great Haywood, it all in one piece, so keep your eyes on our website as it will be going on to brokerage as soon as its been cleaned and David manages to get the paperwork sorted.
That's it from me for today, I intend to leave a little earlier than last night, so until tomorrow.
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Its been a manic day today hence the late posting of the blog tonight, David Angela and myself were in a meeting with a new systems operator for a couple of hours today and then of course me and Ange had to catch up with the back log of jobs that was amounting for us, this was as well as another meeting today and looking after the many lads that we have in at the moment doing different jobs around the place, at one stage of the day I counted 15 people in, and this is a quiet day in March, the place has also been quiet busy with people around as well, nice weather again!
The new system that we are putting in is all about how we book all of our boats and it will enable everyone to book on line, see the avalability and also pay on line, it will save us a fai amount of work in trems of handling phone calls for booking boats but it will give all of our customers the flexability to book a boat 24/7, keep your eyes out for it on our websites.
That's it from me, I'm off home now.
Monday, 12 March 2012
We have had a bit of a move around of boats today as we have had several more brokerage boats come in for sale and several have been sold or are awaiting survey, so David has been busy sorting that out, we also moved the new day boat, it looks great in its 'fleet' colours, see what you think.
That's it from me for tonight.
Saturday, 10 March 2012
A guest blog from Peter Underwood today.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have always admired the Shropshire Union Canal Society as one of the most effective and hard-working in the country.
It does a great job keeping the canal looking good and I regularly see members touching up wood stain on signs and canal ‘furniture’ such as the benches on the splendid picnic areas such as the one at Coole Pilate.
I am not sure, however, that they and British Waterways have got it right when it comes to moorings.
They have identified some lovely mooring sites, but seem to have decided that every boat on the Shropshire Union only wants to stop for 48 hours in one place.
It is true there are three five-day mooring spots at Norbury, and a seven-day slot for a few boats at Gnosall and Audlem but almost everywhere else, including the whole of Nantwich and even the rural moorings to the south of Brewood are 48 hours.
Why is that wrong? Well an estimated 6,000 people live on their boats and many more indulge in six or eight month cruises around the system.
That means they are not hurrying like the average hire or share boat and have time, inclination, and often the money, to stop for several days and enjoy what a particular area has to offer.
There are three good pubs in Audlem and, over a period of a week or more such boaters may well want to try each of them. Nantwich has lots of restaurants and pubs as well as shops and for these more laid-back boaters 48 hours may well simply not be enough to enjoy them all. The same can be applied to Wheaton Ashton, Brewood and any number of the other towns and villages along the canal’s length.
There will be those who argue that having longer mooring times encourages boaters to exploit the moorings by overstaying but the reality is that 48 hour moorings cannot be enforced unless they are patrolled daily and so they are regularly abused as, on the Shropshire Union some BW official wanders past at best once a week and usually once a fortnight.
I strongly feel that you should not impose rules you can’t enforce and it would be much better if the SUCS were to settle for signs in the busiest areas that simply asked boaters not to stay more than 48 hours in the busy season – a request not an order.
At the same time establishing some 14 day moorings near popular towns and villages would mean that the local economy can benefit more from those cruising for long periods and wanting to stay a week or two.
Those who want or need to stay longer than 48 hours either ignore the rules – and that’s bad for BW’s credibility – or they go somewhere more suited to their needs. If the latter is the case then canalside businesses lose out.
Friday, 9 March 2012
David, Angela, Lorraine, little Amy and Joyce have been keeping their eyes on the shop, the cleaning, the tea room and looking after the customers, and my dad has also been giving us a hand, he nipped up to Liverpool yesterday and fetched some new shop shelving and then erected it this morning, well sort of erected it, in between dropping it on the floor and recking every ones nerves as it clattered everywhere, we all feared the worst expecting to find him under a pile of racking and shelving, fortunately all was OK, any way all done now and as I type the girls as busy pricing and putting all the new goodies on the shelf, we are preparing for the Easter break and re stocking the shop for what we hope is going to be a busy period.
I cant comment on what all the lads have been up to today but David informs me that they have all been busy, all of the shared boats that were due to go out have done so without issue and the cottage has been turned around and is ready for its holiday makers for the next week, no hire boats out this week so it should be a quiet week on that front.
That's it from me for today, I hope you all have a good weekend
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Its been a miserable day here today, it was raining on my way in to work and it has been cold and damp all day, the sun did put in an appearance but not for long, we even had a horizontal hail storm at one point! Needles to say not much has been done out side today, Steve called it a day just after lunch and that only left Fred and Bernard outside moving boats and docking, the shop has been busy all day and I have been rushed off my feet all day, I have not stopped and I am now ready for a nice pint later, so that's it from me for today.
Given the incredible weather today I would have thought that we would have seen many more people around the wharf but it has been surprisingly quiet, the lads haven't been so quiet though, Steve and Arron are in the last stages off finishing off the moorings and preparing for the many tons of stone that we will be laying down next week to form the new path, we have the first load delivered on Monday morning, Bernard has replaced the engine on a shared boat that he had taken out to weld up some very annoying drain holes that were not doing their job properly, Fred has been blacking and has been a general pain, Simon has been welding and doing work on a private boat, Billy has been fitting an aerial to one of the hire boats and recommissioning it ready for its first outing soon while Matt has been painting Bounty, its gonna look good, its being sign written on Thursday and I know David will get some pictures of it as it emerges from the wet dock this coming weekend.
My uncles have been causing their usual havoc, I have enlisted their talents to improve the water supply to the moorings, we have upgraded its supply from our holiday cottage and extended it to two further stanchions further along the moorings so they have made all of the connections and this afternoon was the big turn on, well not that grand an occasion really,but none the less it was another step closer to finishing the improvement works on the moorings, I am pleased to say that there were no major leaks and I had the honor of turning the furthest most tap on and getting my boots wet! I know that all of the moorers that will benefit from it will be really pleased.
Thats it from me for today, so until tomorrow
Sunday, 4 March 2012
Mick has been deeply involved on a private boat today.
Matt's been in to catch up in the paint dock and before he came in (whilst I was sheltering from the intense rain!) I took a couple of pictures. Here's Bounty in red undercoat, once the topcoat has been applied this will form the coachline.
And here's Defiant prior to a polish and blacking down to the water line.
Mick and Bernard have just got Defiant out of the dock and put Victory in to smarten her up ready for the fast approaching season.
Joyce, Lorraine and Ange have manned the shop and tearoom today and also managed to get the cleaning of Opal II finished off as she is going out tomorrow.
Not much more to report today. Have a good week and I will catch you next weekend.
Saturday, 3 March 2012
It was a cool morning when I took Annie out for a walk before I came to work. I must admit that I wished I had put a jacket on, but you learn by your mistakes! It has remained cooler and mainly overcast today with a couple of rain showers although we did have an hour or so of sunshine about midday which picked the temperature up slightly.
I can’t believe where the days go to, it only seems five minutes ago that I was sat here concocting a blog entry last weekend. My days off seem to pass even quicker and this week I managed to have an entertaining day on Tuesday. Simon’s Uncles have just purchased a boat which is now moored with us here at Norbury. Their experience is somewhat limited, so I agreed to have a day out with them to show them how to go on. They soon got the hang of steering and we travelled south to High Onn where we winded and headed back to Gnosall for lunch. I hadn’t frequented the Boat Inn for some years, so we decided to try it out for a spot of lunch. I must say that my Spanish style chicken served with a fresh salad and chips was delicious and a couple of pints of well kept Marston’s Pedigree went down a treat. After this we made our way back to Norbury and put the boat on her new mooring on our main line moorings and enjoyed a cup of coffee and a slice of homemade cake in our Tearoom. The next outing will be to Market Drayton so that I can show them how to operate locks – watch out for the next instalment. I am sure that many of you will see them out and about over the summer months and enjoy the cabaret!
Mick has had his head down all day today on a private boat that we are doing some work on. Fred has turned some boats around, blacked the boat on the dock and been doing some odd jobs around the yard. Simon has done a turnaround, showed a boat out and has been doing some welding work on the boat that we have got on the dock. Matt has also been in today to catch up with the painting of our new dayboat, Bounty. He’s making some good headway now, so I will try and get you some pictures tomorrow.
I hope you all have a good evening and I will speak with you all again tomorrow.
Friday, 2 March 2012
Its been a very busy day today, poor old Ange has been that busy with bookings that she had to go out side at one point to clear her head as she thought it might just explode! David has been in and out most of the day and this afternoon he has been rearranging the boats moored on the main line, they are all now in their correct positions and for the first time since we have been here we will no longer have to venture up the moorings when it is busy just to tie up boats that have come adrift with the passage of the boats, we have had several boats go out today and things are picking up nicely, it will only be a couple of more weeks and we will be well and truly in to the season and we will then have boats in and out constantly at the weekends and day boats all the time(hopefully)
Well its Friday night and that's it from me here for the weekend,I dont get away without working until Monday though as I have to go and look at a boat for sale tomorrow which is a long way away but at least I wont be sat here in the office.
So until Monday, I hope you all have a lovely weekend.
Thursday, 1 March 2012
As you can imagine it has been a very very very busy day, and I have now run out of time to finish off the blog as David is champing at the bit to lock up, so until tomorrow.