Tuesday, 29 May 2012
The lads have been busy today, Fred with blacking, sorting out the day boats after the weekend, generally doing jobs around the wharf, seeing to peoples needs on the incoming boats, Mick has commissioned Windsors new engine which Bernard fitted recently, that is purring away in the back ground as I write the blog, the noise is somewhat drowned out by the tweeting birds on the roof of the shop, As David mentioned yesterday, Steve is back from his extended holiday in Spain and is now up to his neck finishing off a private job that we have in at the moment, that leaves Angela, Denise and our latest addition to the work force, Charlot or Charlie for short, she is here on a temporary basis in between University and Will be helping out in the tea room.
That's it from me for today, I have a boat to go and view over in Leicester before I head home tonight, so until tomorrow maybe. Simon
Monday, 28 May 2012
Simon left yesterday morning to tow a boat back from Greensforge that we have brought. There'll be some more information about it in forthcoming blogs, so I won't give too much away! Anyway, he has arrived back with it this afternoon.
Bernard has been blacking the boats that we have got on the dock, whilst Mick has been working on a multitude of boats. I'm also pleased to say that Steve is back from his five week break and is working hard on a part refit that we have got on. Lorraine and Kim have been busy looking after the tearoom and cleaning boats.
I'm now off for a couple of days to recharge my batteries!
Until next time,
Saturday, 26 May 2012
We had three dayboats go out this morning and we have turned a few hire boats round today. It's been amazingly busy again. The sun certainly brings the crowds out. I'm not sure what the temperature has been today, but it has been HOT! I must admit that it has been pleasant to have a cool breeze.
That's about it from me today - think I'm going to have an early night...
Best regards, David.
P.S. Eddie has just been in and told me that it has been 33°C today.
Friday, 25 May 2012
Thursday, 24 May 2012
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
We had three day boats out first thing this morning, they all returned with issue and on time, everyone had a superb day, well you could hardly not in this weather, the lads have all been kept busy today, well the ones that are here, Fred and Bernard docked a boat form blacking this morning, Bernard promptly fitted some anodes and sorted out his sloppy rudder, Fred then pressure washed it and has then spent the rest of the day asleep down the arm in the sunshine, well not really but that's what I reckon he gets up to when I'm not looking, Simon has been chopping, hacking and fabricating steel work for a boat that he is working on, while my self, Angela and Lorraine have kept the shop, tea room and phones covered all day, I am glad today is over, that's it from me until tomorrow maybe.
Tuesday, 22 May 2012
If you follow the blog you will know that I have been away for a few days, I have been down on my boat doing some work and i did manage to do a bit of cruising, however the weather hasn’t been fantastic, its been cold and damp with the odd shower, not the best boating weather, but sods law, look at it now, I cruised back to my morning on Sunday afternoon and the sun came out, it has been shining ever since, in fact to day is simply stunning, yesterday was good but today is even better!
The sun has bought the folk out in there droves and that has kept Denise very busy all day, its been a relatively quiet day otherwise, not many boats around and the phones have been quiet, Angela has been busy stocking the shop, ice creams have been flying out the fridge, Fred has been blacking and finishing off a few jobs on Silhouette, that’s the shared owned boat that is in the dock at the moment, Matt has finished off now and the sign writing is just being finished off too, it looks great! Fred other than that has been kicking his heals today and doing a few jobs around the yard, Mick has also been finishing off some jobs on Silhouette which will be going out on Friday, while Simon has made a start on some steelwork modifications to a private boat that has just arrived, as for me, i have been catching up after having had a few days off, but other than that its been a nice easy day for me for a change.
This weather is set for being good all week and the weekend so it is the perfect time if you haven’t already been out on your boat to get down blow off the cobwebs and go for a cruise, or if you don’t have your own boat come and take one of ours out.
That’s it from me for today.
Sunday, 20 May 2012
Today has been an exception as we docked two boats for survey this morning and a further boat this afternoon to be pressure washed and blacked. That kept me and Bernard busy for the most of the day and we have been moving boats around. Mick has been working on a private boat.
Saturday, 19 May 2012
Talking of the summer, we have still got availability on the dayboats. It's been a great advantage this year to be operating three as it gives us much more flexibility and availability.
There's been three dayboats out today and we've turned four hire boats around. Bernard and I have removed the old engine out of Windsor and dropped the new one in. Billy has been doing showrounds whilst Mick and Simon have been working on two private boats.
The girls have all been busy, cleaning, answering phones, looking after customers, cooking, doing laundry - all the normal jobs.
Friday, 18 May 2012
I must admit we've got some peace at the moment as we have managed persuade Simon to take a few extra days over this weekend, so he can bob about on his boat.
It appears that we may have sold another boat today and the owners of Cotton Dancer have been in and asked me to reduce the price to £30,995.00. Cotton Dancer, originally named The Merry Pippin was built for Ange and her husband Mark and named after their two dogs. They sold the boat to Tim and his wife Jan (the current owners) when they moved onto the "bank" about four years ago. Tim is a fantastic artist and paints a lot of the Canalware that we sell in the shop. Since he has had Cotton Dancer he has made some internal alterations, repainted the outside to a high standard and also signwritten it himself. She has been regularly maintained by both owners and has been regularly docked here at Norbury since she was built in 1999. If you want a 50 foot boat that is ready to step onto and go boating, then this is definitely the boat for you!
Now, our dry dock is a very busy place indeed and usually it is booked months in advance. Fred does an absolutely superb job and we usually have a steady flow of returning customers as well as lots of new ones. However at the moment I have noticed that we have some gaps in our normally busy schedule, so as a special offer we are offering a limited number of blacking spaces at a discounted rate. You will get 25% off for bookings commencing in May 2012 and 10% off for bookings commencing in June and July 2012. This offer supersedes any other promotions or offers and only applies to the docking and blacking fees. If you fancy saving some money give us a call on 01785 284292 or drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We've turned four hire boats around today and two shared boats, all without a hitch - as it should be of course, but some unfortunate niggles do arise from time-to-time. Luckily none today...
I've been working on some amendments for the brochure whilst Ange and Kim have been looking after the office and the shop. Lorraine and Denise have been cleaning. Mick has been working on a private boat. Bernard has been turning the hire boats around and finishing a job on the dry dock whilst Fred has just been Fred - need I say anymore!
Monday, 14 May 2012
It hasn't been too busy today as you can imagine the weather has kept people away, and I don't blame anyone that has stayed in with their feet up by a fire today, Matt has been applying some paint to a shared boat that we have in at the moment, Simon has been working on a boat that we currently have for sale, Mick has been boiler servicing on a boat that we have sold and doing some refitting work on another boat that we sold a few weeks ago, Fred blacked a boat this morning, did a few jobs and as the weather was so poor he had half a day, that pleased him!
That's it from me for today.
Sunday, 13 May 2012
Although the Grand Union is probably one of the most publicised and well known canals in the country I was sorry to see the state of decline that it seems to be adopting recently, especially on the section south of Marsworth. I know we are currently in a drought situation, but I am somewhat sceptical; as I am sure others are too. We experienced a few low pounds here and there, but these were mainly due to gates leaking and rubbish gathering on top of the cills, which wouldn't allow gates to close. It took us nearly half an hour raking around with a shaft to get the bottom gates closed at Berkamsted. We encountered restrictions at Stoke Bruerne, Buckby and Braunston which I think were not required as water was pouring of the gates of both Buckby and Braunston. After a trip of four days, 141 miles and 105 locks I was disappointed to see only three British Waterways employees, although we did encounter several "new" volunteers whose role I am not entirely sure of (complete with their "welfare units"). I will write further on this subject after I have a reply from the local manager that I am in consultation with.
We've completed on Hero and Lyn d' Lou and taken offers on both Lacewing and Red Jasmine over the last couple of days, so our boat sales are remaining steady.
The Wharf has been a lot busier over the last couple of weekends which has kept Fred and Bernard occupied.
That's it from me today.
Wednesday, 9 May 2012
The lads have all been busy today, Simon has been on a breakdown this mooring, nothing serious as I gave him a couple of pointers to look for so he he sorted the problem pretty quick, he then carried on with welding and plating virtually the rest of the day, well until the rain got the better of him and he through the towel in and went and did some engineering on the hire boats, Bernard has been in and finished off installing a stove on to one of our hire boats, when you start a job they often spiral into something much bigger, this particular boat had a water leak, we traced the leak to the water tank, to remove the tank we had to remove the stove, all of the cupboards in the front, the stove, the hearth,the steps and bulkhead, we then fitted a new tank (the old one was really bad) and then we found that we had to replace some of the tiles on the hearth, the stove was past its sell by date so that need to be replace, so did the flue pipe, and the list goes on, anyway its all done now and ready to go out on hire again, Matt has been kept very busy with paint work this week, he is doing a full job on one of our shared owned boats, and Fred only did half a day today as he said that he wanted some quality time with his wife, I bet that's not what she said!
That's pretty much it from me for today.
Monday, 7 May 2012
I was shocked today when a good old friend of mine turned up, its great to see folk that you have spent time with over the years but have lost touch with, however I was even more shocked as I didn't recognise him as he was.................................................................are you waiting for this.......................................................................... dressed as a woman, 'GOOD GOD' I said what are you doing to which he exclaimed "I have come out, I am a transvestite", well to say I was gob smacked was an understatement, its more amazing if you know this chap, he is a big bloke, a superb engineer and for many years he was a ships engineer, always with oily hands, and he is 67 years old, so you can now imagine my surprise when he stood there in his short skirt, stockings, open blouse, earring's, stilettos and rouge lip stick, you could have knocked me over with a feather, none the less it was fantastic to see him or her, well what ever, it bought a smile to my face and everybody at the wharf!
That's it from me for today
Sunday, 6 May 2012
HERE at Norbury we are trying to persuade our boaters to stop going around in circles - unless they really want to.
We are experienced boaters ourselves and we think you get more out of the waterways if you take your time and don't aim to rush round one of the so-called canal rings in the all too brief week or two available to many hire and share boaters.
Over the coming months we will be looking in more detail at some of the attractions available within a short there-and-back trip from Norbury, whether you have two weeks, a week or just a few days to experience the true joy of a relaxed, unhurried potter in a narrowboat. We begin with a wonderful place visited by far too few holiday boaters but only 2-3 days travel from us at Norbury, moving just eight hours a day.
The National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port is reached by travelling to the northern terminus of the Shropshire Union Canal - past Market Drayton, down the beautiful Audlem flight, through Nantwich and Chester and finally past Chester Zoo into the industrial town of Ellesmere Port.
I won't pretend that last section is pretty but it is fascinating, with the tank farms of towers of the massive Stanlow oil refinery on your right as you head towards the canal's junction with the Manchester Ship Canal, writes Peter Underwood.
It is appropriate that the Museum sits on this junction as it brings together a unique fleet of historic boats from both the narrow canals, like the Shroppie, and the wide canals of the north as well as the rivers and the Ship Canal itself in the historic docks at Ellesmere Port.
The town itself is unprepossessing but the museum, with its stunning location on the banks of the Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal, extensive in-door displays, boat trips and historic buildings, is a great day out.
It began life in the 1970s as the North West Museum of Inland Navigation, later The Boat Museum, and was started by a group of enthusiasts passionate to preserve a vanishing way of life - the Boat Museum Society - and large collections of boats and other items such as traditional clothing, painted canalware and tools were bought together.
In the 1990s The Waterways Trust took on the management of the National Waterways Museum. Funding from Heritage Lottery Fund helped create new displays and improve visitor facilities.
The handsome Victorian buildings that house the Museum's displays sit amidst a scene of locks and moorings vibrant with historic and visiting narrow boats and rich with canal wildlife.
Designed by Thomas Telford under the direction of William Jessop, the docks at Ellesmere Port were still in use as late as the 1950s. They were a marvellously self-contained world and when you visit the museum today you can still walk round its locks, docks and warehouses and visit its forge, stables and workers cottages.
Walking the seven-acre site takes you through a landscape of Victorian buildings, docks, locks, stables, cottages and canal basins.
With lots of green spaces the site is full of lovely spots to sit and watch the world go by, and the waterways attract a wide variety of wildlife and especially many wild birds.
The Island Warehouse was built in 1871 as a store for grain and now houses the two largest display areas.
On the ground floor you will find displays about the history of boat and canal building.
Alongside historic boats and re-creations of workshops there are ingenious hands-on displays and touch-screen interactives.
Watch archive film of the spectacular launch of a narrow boat, find out how canal 'ice breakers' worked and see rich displays on the crafts and skills of boat makers.
Up stairs, find out what it would have been like to work on the canal as a boat or dock worker in our exhibition Life on the Cut. Plus a special display on the history of the Manchester Ship Canal.
Inside the building you will walk around boats of all shapes and sizes from a coracle to a canoe and from a gleaming leisure cruiser to the beautiful narrow boat 'Friendship'.
Set just aside from the rest of the museum, Porter's Row and its traditional cottage garden present a lovingly recreated picture of domestic life through the ages in Ellesmere Port's canal docks.
Originally built in 1833 the four cottages of Porter's Row were, over the years, home to shipwrights, blacksmiths, railway workers and, of course, porters and their families.
Today the cottages recreate homes from the 1840s, 1900s, 1930s and 1950s - each with the decor and features of its time, from oil lamps to electric light and from coal-fired coppers to early hand-operated washing machines.
The Power Hall is packed full of gleaming, beautifully maintained engines, all themed around water. The engines are looked after by museum volunteers.
Looking after these boats is an on-going task and you will see boats and narrowboats in various states of repair.
Boaters arriving at the museum will find British Waterways' visitor moorings in the upper basin, near the Museum entrance. To stay overnight, please contact Museum reception which is open 10am to 5pm daily.
Visiting boats are usually directed to the lower basin, through two sets of locks inside the museum complex. It won't cost a fortune to moor right in the heart of the museum itself. You pay £6 per person for the first night and that gives you entrance to the museum for as long as you stay there. So a boat with two people would pay £12 to visit the museum and moor there for one night and only another £4 a night for any subsequent night's moorings.
Dogs are welcome, and there is fresh water and refuse facilities as well as a facility for Elsan pump out.
This has to be one of the most interesting locations to moor at in the UK. The stunning setting combines the historic Ellesmere Port canal docks with a vibrant museum and an iconic location beside the Manchester Ship Canal and the Mersey with views of Liverpool across the water.
Saturday, 5 May 2012
BACK when the canals were first being transformed from working waterways to a key part of the UK leisure industry some bright spark invented canal 'rings' as a way of marketing holidays - but the Four Counties Ring, Cheshire Ring, Warwickshire ring and all the rest should become a thing of the past.
"The truth is that rings, although superficially attractive, as holidaymakers get to see a lot of waterway and don't have to retrace their steps, are not something we should be promoting in this day and age," says Simon Jenkins, boss of Norbury Wharf Ltd, a hire boat company and boatyard on the Shropshire Union - and the Four Counties Ring.
He believes that encouraging ring journeys gives the opposite impression of the waterways to the one the industry needs to cultivate.
"The essence of a holiday on the canals is slow, relaxed, journeys through beautiful countryside and fascinating heritage, but as soon as you set the target of completing a ring it becomes a race to get round in the time of your boat-hire or your allotted time if you are a shared ownership participant.
"That might be OK if you are taking two weeks to complete something like the Four Counties Ring but we often have people completing it in under a week and that means long days, whatever the weather, and missing most of the canalside attractions along the way, to say nothing of speeding past moored boats and eroding the canal banks with wash.
"Most importantly the holidaymakers don't get to relax and enjoy the canal itself and the places along the way. I think they would be more likely to come back if they were encouraged to plan more relaxed journeys and incorporate some of the great places they can visit.
"There are great business benefits for hire firms like ours and all the canalside towns and villages in that approach, as we get less wear and tear on our boats and the local businesses see more of the holidaymakers who are no longer rushing past to complete a ring."
Norbury is doing something about it by highlighting other options in its monthly magazine for customers and suggesting out-and-back routes that will allow them to take their time and explore along the way.
It starts by highlighting the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port - just two to three days of travelling from Norbury and a fascinating insight into the background of the very canals they are exploring.
There are plans to look at what the canalside towns and villages of Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire have to offer the passing boater, as well as suggesting that hire and share boaters should remain flexible and simply travel as far as is comfortable for half their allotted time before turning back.
Simon Jenkins says: "Any experienced boater will tell you that a canal can look completely different when you are travelling in the opposite direction. It is surprising how you spot different views and it gives you a chance to repeat something, like a pub meal or a good local butcher which you enjoyed on the way out.
"I know we are particularly lucky at Norbury that we sit on one of the most beautiful canals in wonderful countryside with lots of lovely little towns and villages within easy distance, but any hire boat operator or boatyard can do the same thing. It will also decrease the pressure on the system as a whole in times like this when we have droughts and restrictions on locks."
He says it is significant that experienced boaters rarely launch out on circular journeys as they know what they like and aim to enjoy themselves without being more exhausted at the end of the holiday than when it began.
Wednesday, 2 May 2012
It started first thing this morning with boats queueing to get on to the wharf for services, Bernard and Fred were busy docking boats so I was left to look after the customers on the wharf, don't tell anyone but I quite enjoyed having the banter with the folks, that set the scene for the rest of the day and it has been a busy one all day, I reckon that everyone has been shut up in their boats over the last few days dodging the rain and that's why we have seen so many people in today.
Anyway about the title, some of you may already know about the new diesel that was introduce a good while back, you know the stuff that has a certain percentage of bio fuel added to it, well at the time there was speculation that it would cause damage to the diesel engines that we had in our boats, this has now started to come true, I don't wish to alarm anyone about the possible problems but for warned is for armed, We have some hire boats that used to belong to another hire company and they are also having problems, we have had two of those boats develop an issue with their fuel pumps, the bio fuel breaks down the seals in the fuel pumps and that then ends up filling the engine sump with fuel, in the worst case the engine will 'run away' with its self and that can cause it to blow up! you need to pay particular attention to the oil level in your sump, DO NOT TAKE IT FOR GRANTED THAT IT WAS FINE YESTERDAY SO IT WILL BE FINE TODAY,CHECK IT EVERY DAY by dipping the dip stick, when filling with fuel put the fuel additive in! It will be an expensive job if you don't.