Shop front in the summer

Saturday, 28 December 2013

A very Merry Christmas

Hi everyone

I hope you all had a very good Christmas and are looking forward to the new year celebrations that are nearly upon us; We were closed over the Christmas break but we are back now until new years day when we shut again for that day only and then back in as usual; it can be quiet here at Norbury between Christmas and new year but we still need to be here for those that need our services and for those that are seriously looking for boats and yesterday we saw lots of people looking at boats, and I am pleased to say that we sold two boats yesterday and took several bookings on hire boats,we even had two day boats go out for the day and one hire boat return after having a lovely Christmas aboard (despite the weather).

  Saturday got off to a quiet start but the weather was definitely in our favour and it has been a glorious day with blue skies and sun, the birds have been a twittering and it has felt like a spring day, I know, it wont last and the bad weather will soon be upon us; the wharf has been busy today with folks in for pump outs, obviously disposing of their Christmas dinners! getting diesel and gas, it has been nice to see boats moving about for a change! Again we have seen lots of people in looking at boats for sale, we have had one hire boat return and another one go out today, no days boats out which is a shame given the cracking weather, and we have had the guests staying in the Holiday cottage go home and some more arrive for a week, so in in all not a bad couple of days!

That's it from me for today and indeed this year, so let me just say that I hope you all have a cracking new year and I hope you all have a good cruising season.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Sunshine and showers

Sunshine and showers... That's what the weather has been like today. One minute the sun has been out and the next it has been throwing it down with rain, hail and even sleet! 

I'm glad that we have got past the shortest day. These short days certainly do not give me that much inspiration when you wake up in the dark and go home from work in the dark.

I did a bit of boating with Sue at the beginning of the week. I just can't help myself! It was a most enjoyable morning on my bicycle - lockwheeling from Gailey down to Penkridge. I must say Thea does look a treat and is a credit to everyone here that has worked so hard on her.

Thea below Otherton Lock, Penkridge.

It's been another productive week here at Norbury. Mick is back from being off following a double hernia operation. There's a full list of works that he is fighting through at the moment. Not to mention the new oven, grill and hob that he fitted to one of the residential boats off of Shelmore embankment - they will be able to cook their turkey on Christmas day now! He has also wired up the replacement engine that Bernard fitted to Phantom last week and as I write we are running the engine up to test the installation.

Phantom's replacement engine.

There's still a bit of tidying up here and there and a bit of painting to do, but we will do that once we are happy with how it runs.

We have got the trip boat in the wet dock at the moment. She worked hard last season and we thought that we would treat her to a bit of a makeover. She's in the preparation stage at the moment, as you can see from the photograph below.

The Shropshire Star in the Wet Dock.

There are quite a few areas that we are taking back to baremetal where excessive corrosion has taken place, but other than that she is just being sanded back until a smooth surface has been achieved.

Treating corrosion around the hinges on the side doors.

Phoenix is on the dry dock. Fred pressure washed her yesterday after she had been docked. I have got to say that Phoenix is my favourite boat in our hire fleet. She steers and handles like a dream and turns on a sixpence. She was built by Colecraft Engineering in 1991 and is powered by a smooth running Isuzu engine that we fitted some years ago after her original BMC started to give trouble. She's lovely and cosy inside too. She's got an interesting history, but I will leave that for another day!

Phoenix on the Dry Dock.

Well that's about everything from me. I am at work tomorrow, but then Simon has been kind enough to let me have a bit of an extended break, so I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year and I will be back in the New Year.

Best regards, David.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Stunning Skys and odd birds!

Considering that it is now the middle of December and depths of winter the weather is being rather kind to us and we are having some superb days, lovely sunny spells and its very mild indeed, its that nice its tempting to go boating! And we have got some boats out next week and the week after and even some day boats, so i am not the only one to think what a good idea!

It was a lovely drive to work this morning in the sun and I was treated to a lovely scene over the boat yard as I approached, I tried to capture it on my phone but it didn't come out quite how I wanted, see what you think
after taking the picture I carried on to the main gate and I was met by this bunch of..... well I am not quite sure if they are male or female, but they are an odd bunch, they are Guinea fowl and they sort of live next door but they prefer the wharf and spend most of the day mooching around on the wharf side and trying to get in to the shop and tea room!
Ange will be writing a blog this Saturday and I know David has a lot to say and he will be writing a blog on Sunday.


Monday, 16 December 2013

It's been another interesting week here at Norbury. Richard has finished transforming Louisa from this

to this...

The list of works has been quite comprehensive. Which has included: fitting a complete new exhaust system, replacing all the vents and removing the windows prior to painting and refitting. The girls will weave their magic on the inside and give her a good clean and then she will be all ready for her owner to collect.

Bernard has completed fitting the new engine into Phantom. The wiring just needs to be modified and then it is ready to be run up and tested. Meanwhile Fred has blacked her and painted the counter bands. Fred only works a couple of days a week now, but he is kept busy with coal deliveries, blacking and the other day-to-day yard duties.

Best regards, David

Thursday, 12 December 2013

winter opening hours

Its nearly that time of year again when everyone closes their doors for a few days over the festive season, unlike a lot of boat yards and chandlers who close up shop for two weeks,we don't, as we very much appreciate that lots of people live on boats and important things can break, so dont forget that we have a fully stocked chandlery and we also supply solid fuel, red diesel and can offer help and advice if something shoud go wrong,  so to see our Christmas opening times just click on the link


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Trip boat ideas?

As you know our trip boat has gone from strength to strength and is gaining a really popular following, even over the last couple of weeks it has been out on several charters,one of the cruises was for the Shropshire and Newport canal society and the last two cruises were for the RAF and were for training exercises, they all had a very good time, one of the RAF cruises was tailored just for them, it started out from the Wharf Tavern at Goldstone and involved a run up to Park heath winding hole and returning back past the Wharf Tavern and up to Tyrley locks, down the locks to Market Drayton and back up the locks and finally finish at The pub, so as you can see we are flexible towards different cruises so if anyone wants something a bit different we are open to suggestions. Now we are now planning ahead and thinking of new events for next year, we are going to be running the very popular fish-n-chip suppers starting in the spring of next year, we are also considering running cheese and wine tasting cruises, but I am asking if anyone has any other ideas, now it has to be sensible and something that the general public would like, so if you have any ideas then please feel free to drop me an email or leave a comment.

As you would expect at this time of year it is quieter than the summer months so that gives us time to catch up on some of the maintenance around the yard, the boats and the holiday cottage, this year we have invested some money in the cottage and it has just been given a bit of a make over, its had new double glazed windows throughout, and a full internal redecoration, and the addition of a solid fuel stove instead of the inefficient open fire in the main sitting room, after Christmas it will get brand new sofas and chairs, the old ones are only three years old and are still in good condition but now that the decorating has been done the furniture needs updating too. So if you fancy a nice stay in a very warm cosy cottage with superb views over the canal and open countryside just let us know.

That's it from me, David will no doubt write a blog over the weekend.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Keeping you up-to-date

Although the canal remains quiet, we have had quite a busy week here at Norbury Junction.

Firstly, following a pre-purchase survey it was recommended that Elsie was over-plated along the length of her hull sides, from the chine angle (that's where the side plates meet the base plate) up to and just above the water line. So the hull sides were grit blasted, the steel was ordered and we have completed the over plating work required while the boat was on our dry dock, prior to the new owners taking possession of her.

Here's a few pictures...

Plating to the forward port side

Plating down the port side looking from the front

Plating on the port side looking from the back

Elsie plated, blacked and safely back in the water today

Richard has been working hard in the paint dock and has so far transformed Louisa from this...

to this...

He will be putting the finishing touches to her this week and she should be back out on the water by this time next week.

Bernard has been fitting a new engine into Phantom, which should improve her considerably as the original engine had a lot of hours under its belt and was starting to show signs of problems. It has been quite a big job as we have had to cut out the engine beds and fit new. She is now on the dry dock, Fred is pressure washing her prior to applying a coat of blacking and Bernard is removing the stern gear. We will get a new centre tube machined up this week and re-bush the packing gland, replace the propeller shaft and have it all back together by the end of the week.

Now you are up-to-date I will let you enjoy your Sunday afternoon...

Best regards,


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Lots of interest in boat buying

We have been quite quiet here at Norbury today, it didn't help that the A519 was closed in Woodseaves due to roadworks. However this didn't stop the cyclists turning up in their droves this morning which kept Denise and I on our toes for a while.
We had 1 dayboat out this morning, they were lucky with the weather as it was quite mild first thing, it stayed dry for them all day but by the time they got back it was just getting dark and getting a lot colder, the main thing is that they enjoyed themselves.
Well as the title suggests we have had a lot of interest in brokerage boats over the weekend, so much so that we have had offers on Chirk Navigator, Quartz and Sphinx, all offers have been accepted so we are now just awaiting deposits. Who would believe it, November and three boats sold in a couple of days and all ex hire boats aswell.
Bernard has been in today doing bits of engineering and generally making a nuiscance of himself and Lee has been working in the dry dock and sorting out the engineering workshop getting rid of lots of rubbish in there to make room for more rubbish....ha ha.
I have been going through our E-bay shop making sure that we still have all items available in the chandlery and also parcelling up the items we have sold. We are not breaking any records but there aren't many days where we don't sell anything. Also David and I have been having a major sort out in the office, it either went in the bin or transferred to the other office which now desperately needs a major sort out, when I go over and sort it in the week I'll just throw it all in the bin anyway ;-)Lastly, Mrs Tupp has manned the tearoom, She did call me down a couple of times to help her but other than that has coped on her own.
Peter Underwood, you know who you are....capitals, just for you.
Well until next time, byyyeeeeeeeee, Ange.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Where's the snow?

As I was driving home last night, there were threats of snow forecast, so I was quite surprised when I woke up this morning to clear skies. The temperature must have plummeted in the night, because the boats were all iced over. Apparently there were flurries of snow all around us (Cannock, Brownhills, Chester and Stoke on Trent) so we were quite lucky to miss it. I say "miss it", I like the snow really, but it brings havoc to the country and it isn't any good for our game! Moving boats around in the snow and ice, really is not fun... I hear that there is some definitely on its way over the next 48 hours. We will wait in anticipation! 

Activity has been productive here over the last few days: We have got one of our hire boats on the dock, which is receiving a new stern gear and a coat of bitumen on her bottom. Richard, is progressing well with prepping the boat that we put in the wet dock a few days ago for repainting. And it's that time of year for winter maintenance on the hire fleet.

Due to the winter stoppages nearby at Tyrley and Adderley and on the Staffs and Worcs near to Penkridge the canal is extremely quiet at the moment and passing traffic is virtually non-existent. I know I shouldn't wish my life away, but Christmas and the New Year can't come quick enough now - to see the canal open again. Let's hope that we aren't ice bound then...

Joyce and Ange have been busy in the Chandlery today: doing some rearranging and tidying up.

That's it from me today.

Until next time.

Best regards, David.

Saturday, 16 November 2013


We currently have just two moorings available at the idyllic location of Norbury Junction. One can accomodate a 50ft narrow boat and the other a 60ft. Both of these moorings are located on the Newport Canal which now leads just 100 yards off of the Shropshire Union Canal to our covered dry dock. Both moorings benefit from electric hook up and water. Car parking is provided adjacent to the dry dock, making access easy. These moorings do not come up for grabs regularly, so don't miss out on this opportunity. Full details of all the facilities that are offered can be found on our website For further information please call our office on 01785 284292 or email

Thea - completed

Richard put the final touches to Thea yesterday morning and by lunchtime we had the boats moved in the basin, the tent rolled up and were getting her out of the dock and into the daylight. 

She looks superb and is a real credit to everyone who has worked so hard on her over the last six weeks. 

I think the following pictures say it all really!

When you see Sue out and about make sure you give her a wave and don't get too close as you don't want to scratch the paintwork!

Best regards, David.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Year of Bargains

It has been a year of bargains in the boating business, according to Norbury Wharf's Managing Director Simon Jenkins.

Looking back at the end of the 2013 boating season, he said: “We have been in no doubt that our customers have less money to play with than for many years and we have worked hard to keep our prices down, with the result that families have still been able to afford boating holidays, days out on our trip boat and our self-drive day boats and even a cup of tea in our wharf-side cafĂ©.

“Throughout the season we have offered the best value for money we could and I am pleased to say that we seem to have earned the loyalty of our customers.”

That is showing both in the number of holidays already booked for 2014 - within a week or so of the dates and prices going live on the Norbury Wharf website.
“We have bookings for our largest boats for many of next year's key holiday periods, right from the first half-term in February through to the summer. People want to make sure they get the boat they want when they want it; and our experience shows that will pick up even more immediately after Christmas,” Simon added.

Boat owners also seem to be planning ahead and making sure they keep their boats in tip-top condition. Norbury's painter Rich Corbett , 45, trained as a graphic designer at art college but began working in boatyards nearly 25 years ago. He worked at Norton Canes Boatbuilders for nearly a decade on and off, building his reputation as a painter and since arriving at Norbury early this year his services have been in great demand. In fact they are now booked up for much of 2014 and bookings are being taken for 2015.

There is a similar story on the dry dock where bookings for next year are growing steadily, something not seen in earlier years.

“I don't know if boat owners are now realising they have a valuable asset which needs looking after,” said Simon Jenkins. “I was always a bit bemused by people who owned a boat but didn't seem to care if it was deteriorating, but we don't seem to see that as much now. Perhaps that is one good impact of the recession.”

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Pulling my hair out!

I came to work this morning with all good intentions! So, by 8am I was sat at the computer, accompanied by a warm cup of coffee to set to and get our Brokerage boats listed on Ebay. Two hours later I was still trying to upload the first set of photographs.

The internet connection here at times is diabolical. Apparently it is because we are so far from the exchange - we are virtually at the end of the line!

I have managed to list all of our Boats For Sale on another new website though - This website is hosted and managed by Morton's Media who produce Towpath Talk. Do take the time to take a look as I am sure this website is really up and coming and may become as "worldwide" as Apolloduck one day?

It was an extremely busy morning this morning. Ange, bless her, spent most of her time running from one end of the shop to the other. Denise has been busy cooking...

Lee and Mick docked one of the boats for sale this morning - Chatty Dachs which we are sprucing up. 

You can tell that it has dropped coal, because battery sales have shot through the roof today.

That's all to report for today.

Best regards,


Friday, 1 November 2013

Progress with Thea - Week 4

I can't believe how quickly the weeks seem to fly by. Although I am in and out of the paint dock every day, I'm surprised how quickly Friday's come round.

Anyway, this weeks progress can be viewed in the following pictures that I have taken today.

Best regards,


Monday, 28 October 2013

What a weekend!

I know that David posted some pictures of the end of season party on Sunday and I think that the pictures speak for them selves but it has to be said what a fantastic party it was and a big thanks go out to the staff at Norbury for pulling it together, and working hard on the evening, the friends of Norbury for their help in setting up the marquees and the general help getting it set up, a huge thanks to Steve Hall who entertained us later on with his music and laughter,(he even got me up on stage) the Swing band who were amazing and entertained us from 7 O'clock (they really were amazing, and whats more they went on to do two more gigs that night) The chap who did us proud with the hog roast, and Jenny who manned the bar on the trip boat, she did a sterling job! And finally a BIG thank you to everyone that made the effort to come out to the party on such a dismal and depressing night, If you were there I think that you will all agree it was worth the effort!

It takes such a lot of hard work to put an event on like that while trying to carry on with the day to day business and I did think early on Saturday that it would be the last one that we did, BUT given the good time that everyone had and how smoothly it went I cant wait for the next party which will be even better!


Sunday, 27 October 2013

End of Season Party 2013

After weeks of planning we hosted our 2013 End of Season Party last night which was a great success. The pictures say it all really...



Until next year!