Shop front in the summer

Friday, 30 November 2012

the brochure has arrived to be proofed

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

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Sun at last

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

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

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

That's it from me for toady

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

From hereon in

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

Monday, 26 November 2012

views from a different point of view

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

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

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

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


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Contrasting a life afloat with a life on land

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guest blog from
Peter Underwood

Saturday, 24 November 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love Denise.

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Ark

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

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

Until next week

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

another quiet one

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

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

very quiet

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

Monday, 19 November 2012


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

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

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

Until tomorrow

Sunday, 18 November 2012

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

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

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

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

Best regards,


Saturday, 17 November 2012

It's time to go boating

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

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

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

Best regards,


Friday, 16 November 2012

manic day

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

Thursday, 15 November 2012

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

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

Best regards,


Wednesday, 14 November 2012


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

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Busy busy busy

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

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

That's it from me for today

Monday, 12 November 2012

Miserable day

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

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

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

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

Lets hope tomorrow is a bit more interesting.


Sunday, 11 November 2012

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

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

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

Enjoy your evening, until tomorrow.

Best regards,


Saturday, 10 November 2012

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

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

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

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

Have a good evening.

Best regards,


Friday, 9 November 2012

it's "PHOEBE"

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

Thursday, 8 November 2012


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

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

Short post today sorry

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

new name needed

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

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

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

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Canals, canals and more canals

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

that's it from me for today

Monday, 5 November 2012

Winter cruising advice for boaters who want better value

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

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Can you catch your dream at Norbury?

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

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

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

Further details of Dream Catcha will appear on our website tomorrow

Until tomorrow,

Regards, David.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

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

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

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

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

That's it from me today.



Friday, 2 November 2012

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

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

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

That's it from me today.



Thursday, 1 November 2012

where have they all gone

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

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

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

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