Monday, 30 April 2012
As you can imagine it has been an eventful week given the extreme weather we have had, on Saturday the hurricane strength winds caused several trees to be blown over and the usual place didn't get away with out incident, you guessed it Woodseaves cutting had a land slide which also caused a tree to come down so BWB shut the canal, the good news is that it has now been cleared and is open again, I reckon it is only a matter of time before that whole area suffers a major incident and closes the canal for a much much longer period!
I could keep on writing about things that have gone on since last Tuesday(last blog), the damage the wind and rain has caused, the jobs that the lads have all been on but the blog would end up being pages and pages long so I will try my hardest this week to keep things a little more up to date.
until tomorrow (hopefully)
Tuesday, 24 April 2012
Blacking and its merits have been discussed at lengths by every boater through out the land, and water! I have been involved with docking and blacking boats now for longer that I care to remember and have applied every type of coating from the cheapest to the most expensive two pack paints, I have seen new hulls, old hulls, primed hulls and bare steel hulls so I reckon that I have a good all round knowledge of steel hulls, the first word I will say on the subject Is that no matter what steel boat you own or its intended use the hull needs regular painting to give it overall protection against corrosion, the more the boat gets used then the more frequent the hull needs painting, you can not escape that fact! In a similar vein to an engine being used, the more it is used the more it needs servicing, boats are after all an asset and therefore they need to be treated as such and maintained to a good standard so that when eventually sold on they give a good return, bear in mind a surveyor can tell if a boat has been maintained properly or not, there are plenty of different makes and types of paint on the market and to someone who doesn’t know the differences it can be quite daunting as to which paint to apply, we have seen all sorts over the years and some boats have even had antifouling paint applied to the hulls, there are no hard and fast rules as to what is the best to apply, after about three years of a hull being in the water, no matter what was applied before there doesn’t seem much left on once it has been pressure washed, so my advice is to go for a mid ranged product but make sure you have it done between a two and three year period, don’t leave it any longer, make sure it is blacked undercover if at all possible, and that the recommended drying times applicable to the ambient air temperatures are closely adhered to, the other thing to remember is that there is no substitute to quantity and the more coats that are applied the better (within reason) we always put three coats on, the first with a big brush and then the last two coats with a roller, our dock is booked usually well in advance, if you are looking for a quote give us a call. Fred painting the counter bands, or tunnel flashes as they are sometimes know.
Sunday, 22 April 2012
Saturday, 21 April 2012
Whilst walking across the field with Annie the sun was starting to get some heat into it and I was doubting the weather forecast that I had heard only an hour previously. I was in the office by eight and Fred arrived soon after. I do enjoy our morning chats. Fred is so dedicated that he arrives half an hour before we open and before anyone else arrives on the yard. We talk about all manner of things, but it is usually work related. It wasn't long before Lorraine's husband arrived and informed us that she was still unwell and wouldn't be coming to work.
There were new occupants for five hire boats and Wharf Cottage arriving this afternoon, so the lads had to busy themselves with getting them ready. Denise set to with cleaning and soon after the heavens opened and it did come down! I know we are short of water but the rain/hail storms that we are experiencing at the moment are incredible.
Kim and I have looked after the shop, office and tearoom, although I must say that Kim has been doing the latter.
Matt has been in today and has been making headway with Calstock. I managed to grab a couple of photographs a short while ago, so here you go.
That's everything from me today.
Friday, 20 April 2012
It's quietened down somewhat this week, although saying that we have still had a good number customers through the door. We've completed on two boats that we had for sale and I have just taken a deposit on Tom Sandles. We must be averaging on about one and a half boats a week, which I am sure some of the bigger brokers would also like to be doing. It must be our friendly approach and sensible pricing. If you are thinking of putting your boat up for sale. Don't hesitate to contact Simon or myself who will be happy to talk you through the process and give you an idea on what sought of price we think that your boat should be marketed at.
Today seems to have flown by. Simon, Amanda (that's his partner), Bernard and I unfortunately had to attend a funeral at High Offley church this afternoon, which left Ange, Kim, Fred, Simon, Mick and Matt hard at work here at Norbury.
That's everything to report for today. I will try and get some pictures of the progress of the repainting of Calstock tomorrow.
Wednesday, 18 April 2012
As you can imagine it has been a quiet day today, as I have said before though Wednesdays are generally quiet but the rain has kept everyone away toady except the hardy few, Fred and Simon docked a boat this morning, Fred then proceeded to pressure wash it while leaving Simon to move boats around the place, we have had more boats turn up to be sold on so that has kept me busy, once Fred had finished he helped Simon move the rest of the boats around and made room for the returning boats this coming weekend, Matt is in the final stages of top coating the boat in the dock and that is the total sum of today's goings on!
Tuesday, 17 April 2012
Its still busy at work even though the kids are now back at school although we don't have many boats out at present, we have seen a fair of boats passing through Norbury, we have also seen a fair few stop on the wharf to take advantage of out excellent deals, I have been busy today dealing with brokerage queries, that side of things at the moment does seem to be keeping us very busy, I cant remember how many boats we have sold in the last two weeks but its a few and we have had more turn up to be sold, its amazing how long it takes to just sort out the infernal paperwork, anyway I have just had my dinner land in front of me, and given the choice of typing up the blog or tucking in to my home made fish pie, well I think you can guess the answer to that one.
Sunday, 15 April 2012
The quarter of a mile of linear moorings has always been popular and vacancies can be rare - and that's likely to remain the case now it has been brought up to modern standards.
Last year the firms' Managing Director, Simon Jenkins decided it was time to bring them up to date.
He said: "The path beside the moorings had been eroded in places and it could become slippery for our moorers, and we found that more boaters wanted power and water close to their vessels, so we decided to bring the moorings up to date."
That meant a long and difficult task as the path by the boats is bordered by a farmer's field and all the new materials for decking and the pathway had to be wheel-barrowed the quarter of a mile. It has been reminiscent of the sort of work carried out by the navvies who originally built the canal, with little scope for mechanisation.
A year on from last Spring a one metre wide deck runs the length of the moorings with a stone path another metre wide alongside it.
New mooring rings, attached to four foot long steel pins that have been concreted in, now attach the boats and the first eight boats now are now served by water points and will have electricity supplied as well; in the past just four boats had electricity.
The steep bank which runs alongside the mooring will be fenced and landscaped with grass and wild flowers. It will also be netted in places to prevent the sort of erosion that had narrowed the pathway in recent years.
The final stage, this April, will see the building of an access ramp, hand rails, and a new steel security gate.
Simon Jenkins said: "We know offside linear moorings are popular with boaters, who don't like crowded marinas, and we now only have one space left, so if you want it be quick.
"We think linear moorings should be as modern and easy to use as any marina and that's why we've invested a lot of time and money in bringing ours into the 21st century."For more news take a look at our e-magazine Norbury News at http://www.norburywharfltd.co.uk/norbury_news.htm
Friday, 13 April 2012
Continued dry weather has meant British Waterways has already published details of overnight lock closures at locations across the Midlands and South that it hopes will help make the most of available water resources.
As some parts of southern and central England experienced the driest year on record in 2011, BW has already spent an additional £700,000 investment on 24 schemes to improve water resources for the main boating season.
The restrictions, come into effect on the Grand Union and Oxford Canals at the end of March, and see boat movements controlled in some key locations with gates being locked at the end of each day to minimise wastage through vandalism or paddles being left open. Similar measures will be in place on the Kennet & Avon Canal as groundwater levels fall.
And although the times of opening are already down to just four hours a day in some places it may get worse as BW says the restrictions will be reviewed throughout the season and adjusted where appropriate.
Vince Moran, operations director said: "We don't want to restrict opening times, particularly so early in the season, but I'm sure most boaters would recognise that this is an unusual year. That's why we're investing a significant amount of money on a package of schemes which are focused solely on maintaining navigation on the vast majority of the network throughout the main boating season.
"However it would be foolish of us to make this investment if we weren't then careful with the water that it yields and that's why we're implementing these restrictions at selected locations in order to ensure we use water sensibly and responsibly to see us through the summer".
The restrictions have been discussed with boating organisations, canal societies and waterway businesses. As a result BW has produced special maps showing the restrictions and the varying potential drought risk across the network as a tool to help boaters to plan their journeys.
Vince continues; "Boating should be a pleasurable experience so we'll ensure that boaters have access to a range of clear, accurate and up-to-date information to help them plan an enjoyable journey. And, of course, only a small proportion of the network will be affected so if boaters don't need to be in the South East then what better opportunity to explore another hidden corner of the nationwide canal system?"
The navigational maps will be updated on a monthly basis and published with reservoir reports at www.waterscape.com/features-and-articles/features/british-waterways-reservoir-watch.
The Shroppie, of course, is a canal that never runs dry, as we reported in the last issue - so why not come and join us and get plenty of water as well as the cheapest diesel and some of the best scenery in the UK?
For more news take a look at our e-magazine Norbury News at http://www.norburywharfltd.co.uk/norbury_news.htm
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
It has been a quiet bank holiday, not many boats around or people for that matter but I don't blame anyone for not venturing out side if they haven't needed too, even though the sun has been out its still been a quiet day, its been good in some respects as i have now caught up with a back log of jobs, the lads have been busy, Matt painting, Simon rebuilding Phantoms engine, Bernard cleaning dirty fuel out of a boat, changing filters and engine servicing while Fred has been blacking, pumping boats out, dieseling boats up and weeding the wharf, nothing too exciting has happened this Easter or indeed today, so until tomorrow.
Sunday, 8 April 2012
Saturday, 7 April 2012
Mick has been working on Pippin, but went off to a breakdown on a private boat at Waverton near Chester earlier this afternoon. Picture phones are a wonderful invention, you know. The chap onboard the boat managed to send me a picture of the problem, so we could diagnose exactly what the fault was before Mick was dispatched!
Theres not much more to report for today.
Friday, 6 April 2012
That's it from me for today
Thursday, 5 April 2012
Once through Chester you are heading towards the Manchester Ship Canal and the southern bank of the Mersey Estuary and there sits the fascinating National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port, a spectacular celebration of narrowboat culture.
If you hurry this month you will see it at its best as the Easter Boat Gathering 2012 will attract around fifty boats from across the canal network are expected at the four day event, which runs from 6 April.
FMC Minnow at Adderley returning from the Port in 2007.
Again this year, the traditional fun and games will be joined by a Sea Shanty festival and three days of musical entertainment (April 6-8) and evening concerts.
During the first three days of the gathering, shanty singers from across Europe will be performing their atmospheric songs among the museum's historic dock buildings and renowned boat collection.
Family fun is guaranteed with children's crafts and music workshops, plus costumed characters bringing Porters Row to life.
Shanty singers will be showing youngsters how to perform traditional songs and highlighting some of the more gruesome aspects of life at sea. Add with old fashioned games around the museum, and there is plenty for all the family.
Museum marketing manager Oliver Briscoe said: "We're excited by the plans for the Easter Boat Gathering this year with a real emphasis on music and family fun. It's a great chance to showcase the heritage and tradition of the canals to the general public in a great setting."
Other events across the festival include demonstrations of traditional crafts, lectures, book stalls, lock demonstrations, battle of the tugs, and a tour of the museum's Heritage Boatyard. The full programme is available on the museum website at www.nwm.org.uk .
However, whether you make it for Easter or not, the museum is well worth visiting as it sits where the wide and narrow canals and rivers meet the sea. Here you can see the vessels that plied the Ship Canal and the River Weaver as well as the narrowboats that carried cargoes inland.
It is a fascinating insight into the past and the lost opportunities of our waterways.
For more news take a look at our e-magazine Norbury News at http://www.norburywharfltd.co.uk/norbury_news.htm
Wednesday, 4 April 2012
You can imagine my surprise this morning when I reluctantly peeled back the curtains to see the ground covered in snow, albeit a very light covering, last week I saw temperatures well in their 30's and could hardly escape the heat and this morning I have had to put two jackets on and the heating just so my blood circulates! It has been blowing a 'hooley' all night which has caused the chairs and tables to be strewn all over the wharf this morning it was reported by one early boater that he had rescued most or them while waiting for us to open up this morning.
This weather has hindered the lads getting on with their jobs, Steve has carried on with the concreting immediately in front of the shop although he has complained that his hands were like ice, Simon couldn’t carry on with plating today so once he had finished fitting anodes and sorting out a worn rudder this morning he went on to Phantoms engine rebuild and that is now nicely underway and it might even be back in the boat by the weekend, Bernard has been docking boats with Fred and also preparing boats for this weekends turnarounds, I had a tot up today and with the day boats and we have a total of 36 boats going out over this coming weekend, its gonna be a busy one, probably the busiest we have ever been, we still have one more boat that we could let out, if that happens then everything that we can go out will be out.
That’s it from me for today, until tomorrow
Tuesday, 3 April 2012
Today was not as manic as yesterday and David informs me that Yesterday was no where near as busy as last week, maybe I did pick the right week to be off, David is now having a few days well earned rest and has gone off boating, you see we just cant get away from boats! The lads have all been busy today with there respective jobs, Steve has 95% finished the moorings, just a couple of small jobs to complete, he has been digging up just out side the shop, we are resurfacing the area directly in from of the chandlery door where the crane sets up to load boats in to the water, the old slabs having broken up over the years of heavy abuse caused by cranes and big vehicles, it will be a big improvement once done, i might even get some pictures tomorrow.
That's it from me for today.
Sunday, 1 April 2012
Suggestions for traditional recipes for our traditional tea-room have been flooding in and we have chosen a winner for our prize of a free trip on one of our 10-person day boats.
The ideas have ranged from the simple to the unusual and have come from the whole of the UK as well as Europe.
Tony Petchey, who lives in the Poitou-Charentes area of France obviously hungers for simple British pleasures and suggested, bread and dripping, stuffed heart, braised Ox cheek and even Yorkshire puddings for tea with jam on then amongst other things.
From much closer to home, Les White said: "Faggots is what you need, or gray peas and pigs trotters."
Wendy Hodkinson was a fan of sheep brains, tripe in milk and rabbit stew. She said: "My Mum said they used to eat sheep brains on toast and it made a very good meal!
"The tripe is just boiled in milk and rabbit stew is made from cut pieces of rabbit and the normal stew vegetables in a pot and slow cooked.
"Very nice. I had it at a Halloween Party years ago and went down a treat."
Brian Cessford is a raspberry buns man and says they were, "often made by my mum and had to be eaten on the same day and, as I'm one of three brothers, that was always easy."
From a farmhouse childhood Marie Brockley offered us a dish called Round Tata's (as in potatoes) She said: "Mum would do it us on cold nights served with baked beans, total comfort food which after a hard day at school was just what was needed.
"My parents were (and still are) farmers so it was a good filling meal which Mum could leave in the oven and required little overall effort, yummy!
In the end, and delicious, though many of the ideas were we opted for an idea from Tony Petchey, the bread and dripping fan and he wins the day out in the day boat.
Nothing is more traditional and English than the English breakfast, even if it has been taken over in recent years by the American invention of hash browns.
Tony favours a much more English version of the hash brown - good old-fashioned bubble and squeak. Whether cooked with sprouts or with cabbage that has been a favourite part of breakfasts up and down the country since transport cafes were invented.
In London and the South East it tends to be made with potatoes and cabbage but in many other parts of the country it has to be Brussels sprouts. I am a sprout man myself but it is a matter of taste.
The recipe is simple, two thirds the weight of potatoes to one third of sprouts/cabbage cooked and then mashed and mixed before forming the mixture into round cakes or simply putting it in hot fat in a frying pan.
It is important to cook until it is well browned and slightly crispy on the outside before serving it up alongside the bacon, sausage, black pudding and eggs.
It will be going on our breakfast menu as an option under the name Tony's Bubble and Squeak, so keep an eye out for it next time you visit the tea room.
If you want to see some of the recipes take a look at our e-magazine Norbury News at http://www.norburywharfltd.co.uk/norbury_news.htm