Shop front in the summer

Sunday, 30 September 2012

I saw the two dayboats out this morning while Steve flooded the dock and took the advertising boat to the end of the lane. After that we got the boat that Lee has just finished painting out of the paint dock and put the next one in. Then it was a jigsaw puzzle to get the boats in place down the arm so we could get to the dry dock to dock the one Lee has just painted. After it was docked Steve has pressure washed it and we've tidied the boats up in the basin and made sure all the covers etc. are on as rain is on it's way! The dayboats returned without trouble and are now already for the next outing.

Denise and Joyce have manned the tearoom today whilst Ange has been making curtains, answering phones and doing paperwork.

It's now persisting it down outside, so I'm off home.

Have a good evening.

Until next time...


Saturday, 29 September 2012

A BCN tour?

It's been a delightful day here today. Although it has been cool; around 12° - 15°C the sun has been out all day which makes a pleasant change (ssshhhhh... there has been no rain!). We had three day boats go out first thing which Simon saw to whilst seeing the dayboats back in. He then turned Ember round and has shown her out this afternoon. Steve's been doing turnrounds. It's only his fourth day of doing "Fred's" job, he's getting the hang of it now! Ange has been busy doing paperwork. Denise has been busy in the kitchen, aided by Joyce as and when necessary meantime Mrs. Handbag cleaned Ember and has stripped the other boats that returned today and has cleaned some boats ready for their next outings.

I went over to Parkhead Canal Festival last night to see some friends. The canal festival is held at the south portal of the Dudley tunnel. It is very rare these days to see a boat pass through the tunnel, for two reasons. 1. The headroom is very limited, meaning the majority of modern boats ride far too high in the water to pass through. 2. There are no ventilation shafts, meaning that all boats have to be towed through with prior arrangement with Canal and River Trust and the Dudley Canal Trust. I find Parkhead a gem of a place, as so many places on the so called BCN (Birmingham Canal Navigations) are. The canal here is actually the Dudley No.1 canal and it is a shame that is visited by so few boats. 

 There's a selection of historic narrowboats on regular display at the Black Country Museum, but at the end of September there is a gathering of historic boats held bi-annually where a large number of visiting craft can be seen on display at the museum and in the entrance arm. The above picture shows Hyperion on display in September 2009 under my ownership, restored to the Coronation livery of the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company, but carrying my own company name. She was loaded with 12 tonnes of limestone chippings for towpath improvements at Norbury Junction.

For the competent boater it's an interesting trip from Norbury to go south on the Shroppie to "Cut End", turn right onto the Staffordshire and Worcester canal to Stourton Junction, turn left and visit Stourbridge town arm by turning right at Wordsley Junction. Exit the Stourbridge town arm and turn right up the 16 locks, taking an immediate right above the top lock. After ascending the Delph (8 locks) visit Merry Hill before ascending the four locks at Blowers green to visit Parkhead and the southern portal of Dudley Tunnel. Retrace your steps down the first three locks and hang a left heading for Netherton tunnel. I personally would then visit Hawne basin by turning right onto the Dudley No.2 canal before the tunnel. Returning from there turn right, pass through the tunnel and join the New Main line (Birmingham level) at Dudley Port. Stay on this level and head into Birmingham's Gas Street Basin. Upon leaving Gas Street retrace your steps to Smethwick and turn right up the 3 locks which used to be paired locks. There's still evidence of this at the top lock. You are now on the Old main line (Wolverhampton level). Titford pools are worth a visit by turning left at Oldbury Junction underneath the M5 and ascending the six locks there, but be warned that the pools are very shallow these days. Retrace your steps and rejoin the Old main line, turning left at Tipton Junction to visit the Black Country museum and the northern portal of Dudley tunnel. From here return to Tipton Junction, turn left to Factory Junction and take another left heading for Wolverhampton, pass down the 21 locks and turn right at Aldersley Junction. Your now back on known territory and by turning left at Autherley Junction you are back on the Shropshire Union Canal.

Well that's it from me today.

Have a good evening.

Best regards,


Friday, 28 September 2012

man flu

when i arrived at work this morning david was there but our lord and master wasn't !!!!!!!!!!!
when he arrived some minutes later i said "thanks for coming in, are you ok?", "no i've got man flu" was the reply. "well go home then" we said in unison, "don't get spreading your germs round here", "i can't go home, i have a meeting at 2 o'clock, anyway you won't catch it, you're not a man", well i wasn't the last time i looked anyway ;)........."well go home and come back at 2 o'clock" was the reply.
at lunchtime i asked him what he wanted to eat, we went all through the menu and he decided on tomato soup and a plain cheese sandwich, he must be ill as he normally has a big fat sandwich with loads of mayo.......i do hope amanda doesn't read the blog.
we have had 1 day boat out this morning and what glorious weather they have had, the sun has shone all day.
3 shared boats returned to us which all needed cleaning. mrs handbag has done all the cleaning today, her name is carol but we call her mrs handbag as it is always by her side, she has also cleaned sphinx which has gone out for the weekend and headed off for market drayton, i do hope the weather stays good for them. she has also turned the cottage round, and no it is not facing a different way round....ha ha.
carol has also helped joyce in the tea room today as she has been quite busy due to the nice weather we have had.
fred has been on holiday this week so steve has turned all the boats around.
simon (engineer) has been working on the alternator on wolverley which is fine now but we are still awaiting new brackets for it so that it can be housed properly, other than that he has been a right pain sitting in my seat whenever he comes in to the office and refusing to get out of it so that i can do my work.
before simon went home at 4.45 this evening he said "well it has taken me nearly all week but i have finally cleared my desk".........guess where it my tray, never mind it will soon be emptied....til next time, byeeee ange.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

New Policy

It isn’t very often that people really annoy me but today several people have got under my skin, life is too short to deal with unreasonable people so from today onwards I am making a new policy where I refuse to deal with unreasonable people, if that means that I will loose some business and subsequently some money then so be it, this morning I had a lovely email from a couple thanking us very much for sorting out their problems yesterday on their boat, and then later on this afternoon we had a chap complaining that as I had not contacted him then I obviously wasn’t committed and we weren’t doing him a favour etc etc, I work most days well in to the early evening and often call people after the office has shut, but because I hadn’t called this one chap back in the time scale in his mind, that means I am not committed to my work! Well he has just lost out on my expert advice and help and will have to find someone else to deal with!

The weather has been a bit better today, and we have even seen some sun, but we didn’t escape a really good deluge late on this afternoon, its been a really busy day here today, and we also had 22 tons of prepacked winter fuels delivered, so we are now well stocked up for the on set of winter, sounds horrible, doesn’t it! not much of interest to report today, Lee has finished the boat off in the wet dock, Simon has been welding anodes and rudders up, removing smashed windows and sorting batteries out, Steve has been doing Freddie jobs, a bit of blacking and plenty of skiving just like Fred!

That’s it from me for today, still lots to do for me.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The tide is in!

You wouldn’t think that there is a tide on the canal, well there isn’t really but the water is not only controlled by a weir system but also by 'let' off paddles that are situated along the canal in strategic positions, usually found above a brook, stream or a river, what is supposed to happen is that the weirs should cope with the excess water and they usually do, in times when we have heavy rain fall then a BW operative, opps sorry a Cart operative, should lift the paddle and  let some water off, they do this often and forget the paddles are up, consequently they run too much water off and the level of the canal drops alarmingly, but if we have heavy rain fall over night then the paddles don’t get lifted until the morning, subsequently the levels rise and it looks like the tide has come in, we tied a boat up yesterday tight on the wharf and this morning it was listing quite a lot, enough to worry me, I took a look and all was fine.

We have done much better with the weather today, light showers, except for now and it is again throwing it down! Been a manic day today, boat moving, docking, paperwork, emails, and I don’t know where the day has gone.

Until tomorrow

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


What on earth is going on with this vile weather? having been away last week and having had stunning sunshine everyday until Sunday, I was shocked to drive back in to Staffordshire and see just how much it has rained, you would not believe that only 200 miles away the weather could be so different, don’t get me wrong, Sunday it rained on and off for most of the day, Monday it rained a bit in the morning and the trip home we saw virtually no rain, so you can imagine my surprise as I came off the motor way to see rivers with burst banks, fields more like lakes, water running off the fields across the roads like rivers, and then when I watched the news to see how many flood warnings there are in our area, bloody hell I should have stayed down south!

 I did have a superb week, a bit of boating, just for a change, this time we headed down to Weymouth along the south coast, it was very quiet down there, I bet we could have counted the amount of moving boats on one hand that week, we had to break the week short, diesel bug slowed us down twice and I had to change the filters, a party to go to at the boatyard where the boat is and a quick trip in to London, so not a totally relaxing week!

As you can imagine it hasn’t been an overly busy day here today, a couple of boats on the wharf, virtually no one n the tearoom and shop, lots off people off so me, Ange, Denise, Simon, Lee and Steve have done what has been required, although Simon had to disappear off to a breakdown late on today, Steve called it a day having spent a lot of it out side in the rain, which only left the four of us so you can see its been quiet, that has been good for me as my first day back I have had loads to catch up on, nearly there just a couple of jobs to finish off and I should be back on top, so until tomorrow.


Monday, 24 September 2012

Cats and Dogs comes to mind!

When I finished work last night I went home and did some painting on my own boat. The rain began about 9 and I think it has rained pretty much non-stop since. There can't be that much up there, can there?

I don't blame anyone staying tied up in this weather! There's only us nutters that keep going when we are boating, come what may! That reminds me... When we were coming back from Northwich in July we had a torrential rain storm. I had taken the motor out of Colwich lock, filled the lock and Michael bowhauled the butty in. We could hear rumbles of thunder, but thought it would pass over. No sooner had I hung the butty on and Michael passed me my full English breakfast then the rain started. Well, the water couldn't drain off the motor's cabin top quick enough, it was flooding over the handrails. We had also pumped the butty dry the night before and within minutes she was at a near 45° angle where the water was running to the one side. Getting to Wolseley bridge, I dropped the straps off and let the butty run up on the inside, strapping her to a stop abreast of the motor to take cover under the bridge. We were that wet, that we both had to get changed. After we had dried out and the rain had eased a bit we pressed on for Rugeley for a shopping stop. When we got into the town a lot of the shops had been flooded out.

It's been much the same today. I hear that they have shut schools in Shrewsbury due to floods and I've had a number of emails come through from Waterways saying that rivers are on flood alert. Let's hope the water subsides as quick as it rose.

Simon's back tomorrow, so I am sure he will tell you all about his latest boating trip!

Until the weekend, keep dry!


Sunday, 23 September 2012

We've had two new boats arrive for brokerage today.

1986 40 foot cruiser stern narrowboat built by Springer Engineering. £17,950.00.

 1999 32 foot cruiser stern narrowboat built by Liverpool Boats. £27,950.00.

Full details of each of these boats can be viewed on our website at

We've had three dayboats out. Unfortunately the weather has turned damp, so I don't think they had a fantastic afternoon, although they have still enjoyed being out on the canal.

Mick has finished off a few odd jobs that he had left to do on the boat that was on the dock, he has then turned Windsor and Wharf Cottage around. He is now doing a few plumbing repairs in the toilets and then he is off on holiday for a week... Denise has been busy in the tea room whilst Ange and Joyce have been making curtains and listening out for Denise call when she's needed a hand. I've managed to get on with some computer work today.

Best regards,


Saturday, 22 September 2012

It dropped cold in the night. According to Eddie it was -1°C and I can quite believe it. Fred had ice that he had to scrape from his windscreen and I must admit that I had to go back for a jumper when I took Annie out for a walk this morning. Apparently it's going to be another cool one tonight. It is a nice sight as you look up and down the canal to see smoke belching from chimneys, a sure sign that the colder nights are upon us already...

It's been all go here today! Some of the hire boats had already returned when I came to work this morning. No sooner were we in the office and the dayboaters had arrived and the rest of the hire boats were back. The basin was alive with boats. At the same time it seemed that all the private boats set off from the visitor moorings. There were boats here there and everywhere, but we soon got them all organised and where they should be.

Mick has been doing some odd jobs on a boat that we have had on the dry dock - fitting fenders, resealing roof prisms, fitting new batteries. All the sort of jobs that are much easier to do when the boat is undercover. Fred and Will went down first thing to finish the blacking off on the boat on the dock and then turned the hire fleet around. Mrs. Handbag and Sarah have been cleaning the boats, whilst Joyce has been manning reception. Ange has started making a full set of curtains for a boat owned by one of our regular customers. Denise has done a fantastic job of manning the tea room today, mostly on her own. I know that she is totally knackered when she went home, but her hard work is greatly appreciated and I will be taking her for a stiff drink shortly, just to say thank-you! 

Best regards,


Friday, 21 September 2012

We've been a bit short of pictures recently so I thought that I would take one for you today! Here's the boat that Lee is in the process of painting. 

I'm sure you will agree that it is looking really smart. Trevor has been busy slaving away completing the signwritting as he is off on holiday tonight.

Mick has been working on a private boat fitting new batteries, altering the wiring and fitting a Sterling management panel. These panels are very good if you live on your boat as you can see at the press of a button the state of your batteries, you also know when they are fully charged so your not wasting diesel. Fred blacked the boat on the dry dock first thing and has been doing turnrounds and general 'Freddie things' this afternoon. Simon has been turning the fleet round and getting on with some bits and pieces that need finishing off.

Denise has been busy in the tearoom today, Joyce has been manning reception and Mrs. Handbag has been cleaning boats. Ange has been busy with her day-to-day jobs that she has to get done, although she did also have a trip to the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford to take Lorraine to see the consultant and have a lightweight plaster put on.

That's it for today.

Best regards,


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The weather is so changeable at the moment, one minute the sun is out and it is baking hot, the next it is hammering it down with rain. As Ange told you, I was trying to get some jobs done on my own boat yesterday. A good friend of mine came over to give me a hand too, he was halfway through painting on the cabin top when the heavens opened so we moved Ant into the bridge hole on the mainline of the canal to take cover. No sooner had we got in there a boat appeared wanting to pass through. Luckily it was someone that I knew so they understood the situation and ended up pulling in for some diesel. We dodged the showers and fingers crossed no harm has been caused...

Fred and Steve docked a boat this morning. Fred has pressure washed it off and Steve carried on tarting a boat up that we have currently got for sale. Once the pressure washing Fred and Steve have given the dock a bit of a blitz. We try and keep the floor in the dock immaculate and the majority of the time it is. Unfortunately on the odd occasion the silt does build up and then the centre channel becomes blocked, meaning that any ingress of water flows over the dock floor meaning that it makes it quite uncomfortable to work in as you are sloshing around in water. The boat that we refloated this morning had an amazing number of fresh water muscles stuck to it's underside that promptly fell off all over the dock floor and blocked the centre channel. It's all nice and clean again, but it has been hard work for them both...

Ange has been catching up on paperwork, answering phones and looking after customers, whilst Lorraine has been kept occupied in the tearoom.

Until tomorrow.

Best regards,


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

back in the swing of things

david has been on a day off today of sorts, he has been outside working on his boat but was there if we needed him ;).............we tried not to need him, honest.
that just left me catching up on all the invoices and boat paperwork for the last 10 days which i had cleared by lunchtime....full steam ahead, joyce answering the phone and doing bookings for hire boats and for next year believe it or not, and lastly denise in the tea room where she has been quite busy, especially over lunch time. i walked down to the tea room this morning stamping my feet complaining to denise about how cold it was....flippin perishing....and she was stood at the sink in the kitchen running her hand under some cold water........."o m g denise" i said," what have you done"? she replied "i shut the door to the tea room cos it was raining mrs warrrrrrrrrrrrd and wondered why it wasn't closing and it was cos my thumb was stuck in it" oooops. i fetched a first aid kit and patched her up but i think she may lose her thumb nail, she has now gone home for a lie down......poor denise, she is off now for the next 3 days so hopefully she will be on her way back to recovery by saturday :)
we had 1 day boat go out this morning with my best friend and family on board, it was hannahs 23rd birthday and i don't know where the years have gone since we met them for the first time, she was only 5 when we first met them and i have been summoned to a party in their pub called the blue pig before christmas on a blue pig promise ;).........don't worry hannah, we will be there, i promise.
i haven't really got that much more to tell you about today except that the weather has been very mixed and flippin cold..............brrrrrrrrrrrrr.
till next time byeeeee ange.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Yesterday just didn't seem to go to plan at all. It didn't help that Bernard couldn't come into work as he has got a bad chest infection.

Whilst Mick flooded the dock I showed the dayboats out. As I was heading north with the last boat to go out, I came across Ange and her crew tied on the towpath as they couldn't get onto their own mooring as one of our moorers had tied their boat up in the wrong spot. So once I stepped off of the dayboat at the end of the moorings and bid them fair well, I moved our moorers boat into the correct spot which involved pulling it by hand round some four or five boats.

It's something that I am used to pulling a boat by hand! On the canals we term it "bow hauling" and it is the only way of moving an unpowered boat. It is most common when working a pair of working boats as when you get to narrow locks, there is only one thing for it. Human power to pull the butty along (I'll tell you about "long lining" another day...) There is a technique to it too, for which many people don't seem to get. The technique is basically the same that a horse uses to start anything off that it is pulling, but certainly the best ways to watch them is pulling a plough (or even a boat!). Basically a horse takes up the slack and then leans into the collar; using it's body weight rather than muscle strength, until the item it is pulling starts to move and then it is a case of just keeping the momentum going. It's exactly the same when you are pulling a boat that weighs anything between a few tonnes or a loaded butty that could be in excess of thirty tonnes. The best way when working a flight of locks is to pay out the full length of the line to get the straightest pull. Take a firm grip over your shoulder and lean into the line. Once the boat starts to move, you carry on leaning into the line with your body weight and begin to walk forwards keeping a close eye on what the boat is doing. You'd be surprised how quick the boat will travel and it has to "strapped" to a stop when it enters the next lock. It's amazing how number of people comment and say that it looks hard work, if you do it properly it is no more exhausting than walking with a rucksack over your shoulder! Bowhauling wasn't always necessary in all areas going back to the carrying days as certain lock flights had companies ponies stabled which could be used by the boatman. For example Audlem had such ponies. A boatman once told me that these ponies new the flight so well that they would know when to start pulling and when to stop. Once you had finished with their services you could even turn them round, give them a smack on their backside and they would walk back to their stables unaccompanied. Apparently they would walk past the top or bottom locks either...

It's been another busy day here today. One day boat out first thing and a hire boat to turn round. As Bernard hasn't been able to come in again today Lee applied the first coat of blacking and then carried on with the repainting of the Horny Toad which is coming along a treat. The coachline is now taped up and the undercoats for the main panels are being put on. Mick serviced Phantasy engine has been on a couple of breakdowns, nothing serious - just flat starter battery and a private boat that was experiencing engine trouble at Autherley Junction.

Denise has been IC of the tea room and has done a grand job. Joyce has been manning the shop, answering the phone and other bits and bobs that just don't seem to get done in the summer months.

It was a lovely morning this morning, but it turned to rain this afternoon. Let's hope that tomorrow is better as I want to try and get some painting done on my own boat!

Best regards,


Sunday, 16 September 2012

we're back

we left gnosall at 9 am this morning, i was still in the shower ;) looked out of the window and we were moving, still managed to wave to velda as we passed her boat and we had matching dressing gowns on..........good choice velda.
there were quite a few boats about this morning, some of them were our hire boats heading south, although we did see monarch there this morning but she then came through norbury around 11 am this morning.
polly, little baby yorkie, was running hell for leather down the towpath this morning towards norbury, i don't know where she gets all her energy from she is only 17 weeks old and has been so well behaved this week along with phoebe who has been an absolute diamond, welcome back anytime.
peter and sandra along with phoebe and polly have returned to newcastle upon tyne this afternoon and have arrived home safely :)
the end.............bye ange.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Firstly, thank you to Ange for keeping us updated with her trip and writing a blog when we just seem to run out of time!

Although it's gone cooler the weather has been delightful today with the sun out for the majority of the day. We've turned six boats round and the cottage along with the three dayboats that went out this morning.

Mick had to attend a breakdown at Goldstone - nothing serious, just a few wires that had been tugged that operate the toilet on Reflection. Since he came back he has been doing the internals on the boats and some showrounds. Simon has checked the engines over and done some show rounds too.

Will and Fred have completed all their normal Saturday jobs and are now having a bit of tidy up in the stores.

That's it from me today - I'm off to have a gander at the boats at Windmill End.



Friday, 14 September 2012

flippin builders plastic bags

well we left swindon this morning at about 10 o,clock and the sun was shining brightly, it was a glorious morning, perfect boating weather.
marsh lock first then on to botterham where this spectator dived on us as soon as we got to the lock gates to tell us that the top lock needed emptying, mmmmmmmmmmm, go away came to mind. bumblehole next was in our favour then we got to bratch which was also in our favour ;) then on our merry way we went, very quiet. we even had lunch on the go today. sandra said i am taking food orders, who wants what? we gave our orders then i heard the word "lock", sandra and i jumped off while peter cooked breakfast, when we got back onto the boat he had eaten his and sandra and i had a warm bacon and black pudding sandwich.........thanks peter, thanks for coming, thanks for going ;)
had to call in at limekiln today aswell to get a pump out, you don't realise when you are on the boat full time, the toilets fill up quicker......ha ha..........met bob from limekiln for the first time and what a nice chap he is, pointed us in the direction of the local supermarket for more supplies aswell.
i also had another go at steering today and did some bridge negotiating aswell, 10/10 and also passed some stationary boats, i've never had many opportunities to steer the boat as mark doesn't like doing locks very much so i've always drawn the short straw but as we have had 4 people on board this week there has been no excuse for anyone not do anything that they have never done before, but sandra has not steered the boat, she will be doing her helsmans course just before they get their boat in april then it will be way to go.
on approaching autherley junction today we got into the lock and sandra said to me why is the boat shuddering, we had a great big builders bag wrapped around the prop that we picked up as we entered the lock........grrrrrrrrrrr............mark and peter soon had it cut off and thanks to the guy from napton narrowboats for helping pull the boat through the lock, he did offer his help if we needed it but we were fine, thankfully. we are now moored about an hour away from brewood and are having chicken, chorizo and med veg for our tea with a glass of wine or 2, so until next time...........byeeeee, ange and crew.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

we are on our way back

well i see there is no blog again so i will write one and tell you all about our days cruising. what a cracking day it has been weather wise, the sun has shone all day and it has been really warm.
we left kinver this morning at about 12 o'clock after having enjoyed breakfast on the boat and then went into kinver to have a quick look around and a cup of coffee and a tea cake at a quaint little tea room and taking in a few sun rays, there was also someone walking round there with a jacket on with "britains got talent" on the back of it.............chancer ;)
we have only 2 locks to do then we can fill up with water and moor up at swindon and have fish and chips tonight at the renowned fish and chip shop there i was told by the trusty crew, mmmm i don't think so, about 8 locks later we were still looking for this water point and eventually found it at greensforge moorings and then still had more locks to go before we got to swindon, but what a nice tea we eventually had from the fish and chip shop............recommended.
when we came through the lock at kidderminster this morning a very "kind lady" arrived at the lock and promptly re-opened the side paddles on the lock for us as were about to depart the lock as she said there wasn't enough water in it, i guess she was only trying to be helpful...........well she didn't help at all ;) as i had mark doing the locks with me today and he has only ever steered the boat and completely confused him.
i have also been steering the boat today for a change, very narrow on the staffs and worcester canal so a bit hairy at times but no accidents i'm glad to say ;)
we were going through one bridge this morning and peter mis- judged it and ripped the chimney off :(..........gotta buy a new one now.
we have seen a few people that we know out on the canal this week while we have been out, gail and stewart on "umpshire", reg and laurie and crew on "debdale" and the crew on their way back to norbury on "silhouette", i hope they have all had as much fun as we have had :)
we have moored up just through hinksford lock tonight and the t.v reception is rubbish so we are reading, listening to the radio and enjoying a glass of wine, oh and i am writing this blog ;)
we are a bit ahead of ourselves on our trip so we will cruise past autherley junction tomorrow and make our way down to penkridge before we turn round and make our way back to norbury at the weekend.
till next time.............byeee, ange and crew.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

busmans holiday

Big thanks to Ange for posting a blog yesterday and letting us know about her antics, Yes Ange and crew you are all numpties!!

Its great that virtually everyone that works at Norbury has an interest in boats, canals or has got some history with the canals and boats, David was bought up with canals and boats and of course lives on one and enjoys messing with historic boats in his down time, if you ever need to know anything about the history of the boats then David is your man, Angela lives on a boat and has done before and she enjoys cruising along the canals, Lorraine also has a boat, Joyce also lives on a boat and enjoys cruising the canals,Denise also lives on a boat, Mick lives on a boat and cruises the canals, Simon our engineer has been bought up with boats on the broads and is currently building his own narrow boat and loves all things boats, Lee doesn't live on a boat nor does he cruise the canals but his mom and dad were both born on the working boats and Lee spent many years traveling around with them on boats until they finally settled down, Fred lives on a boat, Bernard has been working on narrowboats all of his working life, now he has taken semi retirement, and lastly me, I don't live on a boat anymore, I did for many many years and I travelled the canal system extensively, but now prefer the comfort of a house, but I still love boating and in my spare time I love nothing more than messing about in boats but on the sea and the estuaries in the South of the country; You could say that we all have busmans holidays!

Its been a busy day here, well not that busy but in the absence of David, Ange, Denise, Mick, Steve and Charlotte it has been quite busy, the rain this afternoon pretty much killed the job so Joyce slooped of early and we shut the doors on time, which does make a change.

That's it from me for today.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

we are at stourport

i do have permission to write this blog.
phew we are here at last...........mark is not very pleased with himself as he couldn't moor the boat outside of the wharf in stourport basin because of the wind, i heard him say to peter "any ideas", peter took over the tiller and within minutes we were moored up and i had tea on the go:)
we left kinver this morning at about 10 o'clock after everyone had showered and eaten, we had run out of bottled water once we had all had a cup of tea first thing and couldn't find a shop anywhere or a water point. the wind caught the boat as we approached the lock at wolverley, peter and i were getting the lock ready and the boat was veering against the bridge, sandra suddenly realised what what was happening and grabbed the pole to push us off the bridge, what a sterling job she did ;) peter and i negotiated our way through all the locks until we got to caldwells lock when we realised we needed a water conservation key, we have never had to use one before and wondered what the hell was going on........."why won't this lock open" i said, then the penny dropped ;).........ooops
it was just after here that sandra and i read the map wrong and thought that we had done all the locks before stourport, we then heard "lock" and we both jumped off the boat to see what the panic was about, sure enough there was another lock that we had missed by which time the stern of the boat was actually touching the lock gate, we are both on the naughty step.
once this lock was out of the way it was all plain sailing.
we did stop at sainsburys in kidderminster for some provisions, 4 bottles of water and a loaf of bread, peter and i went and 45 mins and £65 later came back, on the step again........sorry sandra and mark ;). we are now moored up in stourport basin until tomorrow afternoon when we will start to make a casual cruise back to norbury.
p.s. sandra has just said "don't forget i did one of the locks", i said" if you can tell me the name i will post it"............ha ha
well that's it from me today....byeeee ange.

Monday, 10 September 2012

not very exciting

As the title suggests, not really an exciting day today although I suppose that not every day can be jam packed with excitement, well not along the canal that is, the weather has been a mixed bag today, it started off with a glorious morning, a bit of mist plenty of dew in the garden and the sun trying to make an appearance, it went really muggy about lunch time, cold this afternoon at about three and by 4.30 it started raining, as I am typing the blog it has dried up but is cloudy!

Not much to report about today's activities, I had to drop Steve off at the train station, he was heading for Whaley Bridge to collect a boat that is coming here to be sold, I then came back and sorted some paperwork, sorted the emails then jumped in to the car to go to Newport to do the banking, I forget my wallet so came back to work to get it,had a quick coffee and back to Newport to do some shopping for the Tea room, then back to work where I have been doing paperwork all afternoon, David has been doing David things, never really quite sure what but he does it well, Lorraine and Denise looked after the shop and Tea room as well as cleaning a boat and the cottage that have gone out today, well the cottage hasn't gone out but you know what I mean, Mick turned the boat around and that has been the sum total of the activity for today, As I said, not very exciting today!

Until tomorrow Simon

Sunday, 9 September 2012

It was like a works outing last night. There were two live bands on at the Junction, so it was a good excuse to go and have a drink, sorry, I mean to enjoy the music... A good night was had by all. We all left just before midnight, but apparently some stuck it out until 3am this morning!

It's been another lovely day today, although slightly cooler. We've had all three dayboats out again. Docked a boat for survey and docked another for pressure washing, blacking, roof painting and a few other jobs.

Mick's been out on a breakdown at Gailey and Bernard has been busy docking, pressure washing, moving boats around and doing a few odd jobs.

Best regards,


P.S. Anyone that saw Joyce's black lip today, don't worry Les hasn't hit her - the parrot bit her yesterday!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

What a glorious day it has been here again today. We had three dayboats go out first thing and two boats return.

We waved Ange off on holiday this morning as she departed from the Wharf, following filling the boat's diesel tank and changing empty gas bottles. Have a great time Ange.

We've all been kept busy as we had to get eight boats and the holiday cottage ready for their occupants for this week who all had arrived by about 3.30pm.

It's amazing what people take on holiday with them. Sometimes we can't believe how much luggage they manage to squeeze into the cabins or in fact their elderly granny in a wheelchair who can still manage to climb aboard. Today is no exception. Some locals from Newport have gone out on Python today for a short break and they have brought their parrot along for the trip. George, as he is affectionately named lives in their house and only sleeps in his large cage. They rest of the time he is free to roam their property. It is no different when they are out and about, he sits patiently on one or other of their arms. They carry a perch around with them which he happily sits on when he isn't being fussed. He has created a lot of interest today and he has been stroked by a lot of people. Let's hope he enjoys his first trip on a narrowboat. I'm told that he will be sat on his perch on the cabin top as they cruise quietly along - so look out for Python and give them a wave.

That's it for today. Lets hope that it's another warm one tomorrow.

Best regards,


Friday, 7 September 2012

winding down

yippee.............i am on holiday for 10 days, just off down to the winding hole to turn round so that we are facing the right direction tomorrow, then stourport here we come. well that is the intention it all depends how much football is watched en route, not by me i hasten to add, mark and peter and sandra, the crew.
well it has been blisteringly hot here at norbury today and has bought people out in their droves to enjoy tea and cakes and ice cream has also flown out of the doors.
lorraine has been busy in the tea room today and she has called on either joyce or myself to help her out at busier times as charlotte and denise have been putting the finishing touches to the boats that are going out tomorrow, lorraine will "ping" them tomorrow (that means you can bounce a 10p piece off them.....ha ha.....we call her mrs ping). they have also been getting wharf cottage ready for a b and b tomorrow night for 1 person and then we will have to get it ready for a short break on monday............ooooops not we, they....i am on holiday ;)
fred has had a quiet turnround day today as we have only had 2 shared boats return to us this morning, all the rest are out for 2 weeks (lucky things), phantasy has also returned to us this morning with sad people on board, sad because they have to go home after a fantastic week aboard :(
we have had sphinx go out today for a week doing the 4 counties.
david and simon have been doing the prices for next years brochure.
i have been watching the clock.............not all day, honest simon, well that's all from me for today, last job done for 10 days, .................byeeeeeee ange.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

the weather men got it right again

well what a beautiful day it has been here at norbury today, bit parky when i was walking to work this morning even with the sun out but none the less a glorious hot day.
no day boats today :(
lorraine has been quite busy in the tea room today especially over lunch time. joyce has taken over what i was doing yesterday, thank goodness. we have a rack now to hang chandlery items on, everything has to be put into a bag and then a header card attached, which is then punched with a hole to hang on a rack with the price displayed i felt like punching someone yesterday and it would have been simons uncle david, he wouldn't share anything, said he had his own production line going, what a laborious task.........yawn, we are nearly done and more header cards being delivered tomorrow, the chap told me monday but simon had a quiet word in his ear and they will be ready at 11 a.m tomorrow ;0)
charlotte has been out cleaning boats ready for the weekend, i went to check what was going on at one stage and found 3 boats that hadn't been stripped of their washing from the weekend.......deep joy, something else to fit in to our busy schedule, i am trying to make sure that everything is done as much as possible as i am off for 10 days, going cruising with friends of ours down to stourport, but i keep finding things that haven't been sorted with the boats, bit like taking 3 steps forward and 2 steps back, will all be sorted for friday, i'll make sure it is.
fred has been doing freddie things and engineer simon has been helping him, bit worrying that both of them could be in trouble at some stage :(
well that's it from me for today, until next time..........byeee ange.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Not just the canals

Its not just the canals that suffer from a lack of consideration by others, I now do the majority of boating on the sea and that is no different, there is a divide between a lot of sailing boats and motor boats, now you would think that all boaters at sea would look out for each other and help someone if in trouble, I have seen some terrible behavior from other boaters and in some cases down right dangerous acts put peoples lives at risk, a lack of though on peoples behalf can ruin what should be an enjoyable experience, several times this year I have come to peoples rescue, I towed a broken down power boat recently that was drifting in a busy entrance channel, it was obviously in trouble and several other boats who passed within feet of it totally ignored the chaps requests for help, I am no Samaritan don't get me wrong but I couldn't ignore someones request fro help, in another incident a couple of weeks ago, we were in quite rough seas and there was a very large sailing race in progress, I was on a course heading for a small river on the Solent and a small sailing yacht kept tacking in front of me, as I approached a chap on the boat was waving at me, I thought initially to pass him but then we saw a chap covered in blood, it was in fact the skipper and he looked in a bad way, the other two crew hadn't got much idea of how to handle the boat, they asked if I had a VHF which of course I had, I contacted the coast guard and then kept as close as I could to the boat to shelter them from the rough seas until the life boat arrived, what I was amazed at was the other sailing boats that ignored their plight and several were gesticulating to me to move away from the stricken boat thinking that I was causing them trouble, the Life boat arrived and I carried on with my journey, I suppose that with any sort of hobby like boating you will always have the minority of thoughtless people, it is just a shame that the minority seems to be getting bigger.

It started off a bit of a damp morning, no sun as such and when having a coffee this morning sat outside I could have sworn that I felt a bit of rain, however it has turned out to be a stunning afternoon, it got that warm that off came my jumper, and that is rare for me as I do feel the cold, and Fred actually got a sweat on when out on the wharf, It hasn't been a very busy day today, I know that Denise would disagree, she did have 16 breakfasts on the go early on this morning and she has been busy all day long, Angela even had to go and help her out at one point as the folk just poured through the door, the wharf has been a bit quieter today so that has allowed Fred to catch up with his outstanding pump outs and services on the boats that came back at the weekend and haven't yet gone out, Simon has been finishing off lots of small jobs on private boats, Steve has been finishing the repair work on a hire boat that he started last week and Mick has been making a new cratch board for a Private boat, I have had the chance to sort out paperwork for brokerage boats, I have listed two new boats for sale and answered lots of questions about other boats that we have for sale, no day boats out today so it wont be a late finish tonight.

Off to wash my car while the sun is out, until tomorrow.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Them and us

Wow what a busy day it has been today, probably because the sun has been out to play all day which as we all know brings the folks out to enjoy the wharf, the wharf itself has been quiet but the shop and tea room have kept me, David, Charlotte and Denise busy all day long, long may it continue!

When our hire boats return we always ask our customers to fill in an end of holiday report so that we can make sure that we are getting things right and if not we can see where we need to improve, most of the time the reports are constructive and better than average and a lot of the time we obtain excellent; today however we had one back that did not look to good, upon reading it I soon realised that it was no reflection on our behalf or the boats, it was however very negative towards other canal users and their attitude towards hirer's, rude attitude, gates and paddles being left open and no help at all, I have to say that when I started boating many years ago the attitude of boaters did seem different, we couldn't all afford posh boats and often we made do with something a bit older and a bit tattier but none the less it was our pride and joy, I remember one incident in the eighties when I was asked if I would like to go to a boat rally, I didn't know what one was but I was told it involved drinking and socialising, not one to be a party pooper I agreed, the only problem was that I had no engine so a tow was in order, not a problem I was only 34ft and the two boat was 36ft so we locked together, on arrival at the rally site it was pitch black, sometime in late September in the Black country from memory, my tow boat dropped me off at the start of the long line of boats as that was their mooring and I was instructed to make my way to the other end, bear in mind I was new to this and it was dark, at that moment a headlamp loomed upon me and a 70 footer bopped past, the chap on the back asked if I was fine, I quickly told him my position and a rope was thrown to me and I had another tow to my mooring for the weekend, I became best of friends with all of the people involved with my towing that weekend and I had a whale of a time; I am not suggesting that sort of behavior has disappeared from the cut but I have noticed that it doesn't seem as evident as it was back then where there seemed a sort of 'all muck in together' attitude; The person that hired the boat off us said in his comments that he had never met such rude people and that he would never return to the canals, that is a real shame and I hate the thought that he will tell others that people on the cut are not a nice bunch, when in majority we are!

Enjoy your evening

Sunday, 2 September 2012

We are supposed to be quiet now that the school holidays are drawing to an end, but this weekend has been incredibly busy. Today has been just as manic as yesterday.

We've had a few boats pull in this weekend that have needed repairs (one even had to be towed here!) and it is very rare that we don't have someone that we can just pull off of a job that they are doing and get them to repair the boats in distress, but this weekend I'm afraid that a couple of boats have had to hang around for a day or so until we can get someone to effect repairs. We do feel bad about it when that happens, but we just seemed to run out of hands!

Simon's two Uncles and his Dad turned upto do some jobs around the yard for us today. It wasn't the best day for them to start dismantling the shop, but by the time I walked through the door this afternoon they already had the racking in bits! I'm sure they will get the new racking up tomorrow and we will get the shop ship shape again...

I can't list the jobs that Bernard, Mick and myself have done today - with help at times from Steve who isn't actually at work today! I know Lorraine, Ange and Charlotte have been manning the shop and tearoom, I'm sure they have all been kept busy - unfortunately I haven't seen much of them as I have been out and about trying to fix boats!

Mick and I are sat here, knackered. There's only one thing for it - off to the pub for a well deserved pint, or two and something to eat.

Best regards,


P.S. Apologies that I haven't published the latest issue of Norbury News. I have printed a copy to proof read tonight and it will be on our website tomorrow.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

One of those days

Firstly I must apologise for not writing a blog last night, but it was one of those days. We had quite an emergency on our hands which resulted in pulling one of our moorers boats up the slipway and affecting some repairs.

It's been manic today too. We've only turned five boats around and had three dayboats out, but it feels like we have turned about a hundred boats round. We had to dock one of our hire boats as it had developed a fault with the stern gear. The good news is that it is all sorted now. We are running late tonight and the lads are still outside getting the dayboats ready for tomorrow, but we are nearly there and ready to go home.

I've had to leave the girls to it today as I have been outside getting my hands dirty - it doesn't happen often these days, but is quiet satisfying when you get the job sorted properly! Ange has looked after the customers whilst Lorraine and Charlotte have been incharge of the tearoom and Joyce, Denise and Sarah have been cleaning the boats and preparing them for the arrival of the customers.

I've got alot of telephone calls, paperwork and emails to catch up on tomorrow, until then...