Shop front in the summer

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

what a glorious day

Hi all, it has been an absolutely glorious day here at Norbury today so the tea room has seen quite a few customers through the door. We are thinking of changing the name of the tea room to "Tupps tea room" as Denise looks like Mrs Tupp from the childrens tv programme "Big Bertha", she is so clever that her first aid kit repairs broken limbs and even severed limbs...........only joking Simon.
On a more serious note we have been quite busy here today in one way or another, the phones have been busy, we have been booking day boats and a couple of holiday bookings, and our E bay shop is going quite well.
Joyce has manned the tea room today as well as tidying up in the shop and putting stock out and putting items for sale on E bay, I have been catching up on paperwork and doing general day to day things and so has Simon :-)
Engineer Simon has been working on a private boat and Mr Handbag (Mick) has been blacking and doing odd jobs around the yard, everyone else has been on their days off.
We closed the tea room at 3.30 pm this afternoon, locked the doors and switched the lights off and taped it all off so that Joyce and Myself could paint the floor in reception, We were going to do half today and half on Friday. We then had a brainwave....lets close at  5pm and do it all. Simon said "but how will I get out"....sorted....We got 2 bricks and a plank ;-)....He set the alarm, walked across the plank, locked the doors and went home and hopefully the floor will be dry in the morning.
That's it from Me  today....til next time....byeeee Ange.

Monday, 25 February 2013


Excellent news, our new website is now live, just visit our web site as you have done in the past and the new look site will open up, please bear with us as not all of the information is on there as yet so its still 'work in progress' David is on the case! You will notice that our new site combines both our old hire website and the boat yard site, it was decided that we really didn't need the two sites, this will make the marketing much easier and save any confusion over what site people need to visit, the old address has a link from it to the new site so if you should have it in your favourites it can still be used; your feed back on the site would be great and any recommendation's!

Back to Monday, and its been a flipping freezing day here today, I did see a bit of ice on the canal this morning, I thought winter was behind us but not just yet by the looks of things, not long now, hopefully; Its been a quiet day here today, we have seen a few boats on the wharf for services and the lads have been kept busy today on various boats around the yard, Micky has been on the refit, checking batteries and charging on a private boat, while Freddie has been blacking and paint the day boats, oh and that's it as the other lads aren't back in until tomorrow and Wednesday, the tea room and shop are quiet at the moment which has given Denise the chance to give everything a good sort out, while leaving Joyce the monumental task of sorting out the three big boats that returned on Saturday, they did need a very good clean!

Until tomorrow.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

 It's been a cold day here at Norbury today.

We've had a boat on the dock for a survey, followed by one of our moorers boats for pressure washing and blacking. That's kept Fred and Bernard busy. Mick has been working on a private boat doing some boat safety work.

Ange and Lynn have been busy in the shop whilst Denise has been kept on her toes in the tearoom.

We've got another boat for sale which is an investment opportunity within our hire fleet. More details here

I'm about to launch our new website over the next few days, so keep your eyes peeled.

That's about it from me today.

Best regards,


Saturday, 23 February 2013

It's been mighty cold here at Norbury today. I don't think the temperature has got above freezing all day. It even snowed at one point!

The three boats that went out last week (Sphynx, Reflection and Ember) with twenty one children on arrived back first thing this morning. They had an absolutely fantastic time and there are lots of pictures that I have shared on our Facebook wall here

We've had one day boat out today and Prince has gone out this afternoon for the week.

Mick and Simon have been busy in the dry dock whilst the other Mick and Bernard have been turning the fleet around.

Mrs. Handbag has been busy cleaning, while Ange, Denise and Lynn have been kept busy in the shop

Thursday, 21 February 2013


I do love days like today, its been really busy here at Norbury and the place has had a great 'vibe' to it, everyone has been busy, Denise in the tea room has looked after the many visitors that we have had today, Lynn has been busy learning the ropes and putting stock away, Me and David have been kept busy with enquiries, bookings, quotes and dealing with lots of customers and of course the lads, who do give us some grief, talking of which, after a ride out to a breakdown on one of our hire boats this morning Simon returned and has been down in the depths of the dry dock where he is now replacing a bow thruster tube and at the same time modifying it so that it will be safe to use in the future, unlike it was when we inspected it in the first place, it was a death trap waiting to happen! Bernard has been in today and is back with us for a while as we have quite a lot of work on at the moment, and Mick (Mr handbag) has been painting, pressure washing and pumping boats out that have been on the wharf.

Until tomorrow


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

More boats needed

Wow another fantastic day here at Norbury, its been that warm that I have even shed my coat! I knew first thing this morning that it was going to be a nice day, It was very cold this morning with the car being covered in a good frost, it was also very foggy and the air was heavy with moisture which was causing everything to became frosty, it didn't last too long and by lunch time the sun had disappeared the fog and cold and it has been a stunning day all day long!

We have had a very busy day today, the phones being busy, the shop and tea room have been busy, boat bookings have been flooding in, and I have sold two boats, now that's a result! David sold two last week, so we are getting seriously low on stock, so if you want to sell your boat, get it to us as quick as you can.

The lads have all been busy today, Simon has been cranking a flue, no that's no kinky or anything like that, he has been putting some angles in to a flue pipe so that it fits between the stove and the roof collar and generally finishing the fitting of it and tidying up, Fred as usual has been blacking and painting the day boats in the wet dock, Mick has been removing the panelling out of the front of a boat that we are going to dock tomorrow to replace its bow thruster tube, there is a lesson to be learnt here, this boat is not a very old boat, only about 10 or 11 years but because the bow tube cant easily be accessed along its full length when docked for blacking it has eventually corroded and sprang a leak, and subsequently sank! Be warned folk if you have a bow tube fitted, make sure that when you have the hull blacked you treat your bow tube to some TLC as well.

Until tomorrow.

Monday, 18 February 2013

I'm back!

Wow what a superb day to return to work, the weather today has been brilliant, bright sunshine all day long, its been a bit chilly but that has not spoilt the day at all. Its been a busy one today, the weather has obviously helped but also the fact that it is half term has had an effect, lots of people around looking at boats, lots of people in the shop and tea room keeping Denise busy, Lyn has been busy putting stock away and generally helping out in the tea room and answering the phones, I guess the lads have been busy too as I have hardly seen any of them today, or they have been avoiding me! It always seems to take ages to get back in to the driving seat after a weeks holiday but after two weeks its even harder to catch up, fortunately not too much for me to plough through as David and the team seem to have everything in order!

I have had two lovely weeks away, I think that when you have your own business you never truly get away from work unless you go abroad and out of contact, but didn't go abroad this time for lots of reason so  I had a couple of days doing business related jobs, a few days on my own boat servicing the engines and generally getting it ready for the upcoming season, and I ended up doing decorating and several outstanding jobs around my house, oh and lots of socialising! But because I have not had a time schedule to keep to it has felt like I have had a month off work, so I am now totally chilled.

Until tomorrow

Sunday, 17 February 2013

What a lovely day it has been today. It was about -2°C when I got up this morning, but the temperature soon climbed in to double figures. The sun has shone all day and the sky has been blue. I think it is going to be another cold one tonight...

It's been very busy during the day. Ange, Denise and Lynn have been flat out in the tearoom most of the afternoon. We even had about twenty scooters turn up for refreshments. I managed to catch a photograph of them for you all to see.

I captured it as "Spring has finally sprung..." A bit of sunshine and it brings folks in their flocks!

Bernard and Fred have undocked Defiant and docked a private boat which Fred subsequently has pressure washed whilst Bernard and Steve put Victory and Defiant in the paint dock.

I am expecting Simon back tomorrow, so I am sure he will tell you all about his holiday!

I'm off for a little light refreshment myself now.

Best regards,


Saturday, 16 February 2013

hectic day

Well what a busy day we have had here at Nor bury today.
We had Phantom return first thing with happy customers aboard, they ordered full English breakfasts just as a massive Tesco delivery arrived for the 3 hire boats that have gone out today. Denise helped the poor Tesco man offload all the groceries and left me in the kitchen, I can cope with a couple of breakfasts, but then 3 more people turned up for food and I just go into panic mode, I can make a mess in her kitchen without even cooking :-) sorry Den.
We have sold Serendipity today aswell.
Lynn and Mrs handbag have cleaned Ember, Sphinx, Reflection and Wharf cottage ready for the new occupants. Mr handbag has been turning boats around, engineer Simon has turned Wharf cottage round and Mick has been working on a private boat.
David has been in and out of the office today sorting quotes for jobs and selling Serendipity.
I have been listing items on e bay....and then all hell broke loose....the hirers turned up for Ember,Sphinx and Reflection. A great bunch of people from Blackpool, 21 kids and their youth workers. We had their groceries all over the laundry....masses of one stage we had food, kids and luggage taking up all the car park area, then we had life jackets:-) ....I bought out as many as I could, we had a fitting session then the stragglers formed an orderly queue in the laundry while I kitted them all out....flipping heck I was worn out by the time I'd finished....anyway they have all departed happy and gave a wave to Dyl the dog as they cruised past my boat.
I'm exhausted so until next time, byeeee ange.

Friday, 15 February 2013

It's been an absolutely glorious day today with temperatures as high as 12°C, although I must admit that it has turned a bit cold again now...

It gets a bit confusing when you have got two people with the same names. Well, we have got Mick and Mick, then Simon and Simon! It confuses me at times believe me and you should see the things I write about them in our diary! I've resorted to calling Mrs. Handbag's husband Mick, Mick and the other Mick, Micky - it's got nothing to do with a mouse, honestly. Hope that makes sense...

So, Mick has been busy with blacking, turnrounds and touching up the paintwork on Bounty today. Micky has been doing some jobs on the shared boats and has been getting the three boats ready that are going out tomorrow. Yes, we have got three boats out tomorrow - it feels like the season has actually begun.Steve has been doing some jobs round the yard.

Mrs. Handbag and Lynn have been cleaning boats whilst Ange and Denise have been manning the shop and tearoom, and putting out stock!

I sneaked off out earlier, only down to Newport, but I treated everyone to cream cakes - you should have seen their faces when I produced them at lunchtime...

That's it from me today.

Until tomorrow.

Best regards,


Thursday, 14 February 2013

What a difference a day makes? Today has been completely opposite to yesterday. The snow has gone and the temperatures have increased to 10°C plus. We even enjoyed our morning break sat outside the tearoom enjoying the sunshine.

Following on from a post a week or so ago when I published the picture below, one of our regular hirers; Hugo, sent me an email and some pictures.

Hugo hired Sir Edmund Hillary from Shropshire Union Cruisers in 1980 and sent me the following two pictures.

Adderley is my favourite flight of locks on the whole canal system. It's such a picturesque flight. I particularly love going down in the spring, when you can quite often find lambs on the lockside at the second lock - they can squeeze through the fence and the lovely daffodils are in bloom. I always end up with a glass full of daffs sat by the water can on the cabin top!

I've got a busy night ahead... So until tomorrow.



Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Snow again

Just when we thought the weather was improving - it has snowed again! It's been mighty cold outside today, I went out in the van earlier and the external thermometer was reading -4°C!

Mick and Steve have undocked the boats that were on the dock and docked one of the dayboats. The dock desperately needed cleaning out and as the weather has been so foul they have set about that. Steve's also been out delivering coal and we have managed to swap the boats in the paint dock too.

Joyce and Ange have been busy sorting, tidying and serving customers in the shop and tearoom and getting items onto Ebay.

Wrap up warm and have a night in by the fire!

Best regards,


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

It's been a cold day here today. I think the temperature must have only got just above freezing in the middle of the day. Ange, Joyce and I have been busy doing some reorganisation in the shop today along with our normal daily chores and looking after customers.

I don't think we have ever sold so many batteries in one day as we have today. Don't forget that we offer some of the best deals on batteries on the canal system.

643 and 644 starter batteries just £76.95 with one year warranty.
110amphr leisure batteries from just £64.95 with two years warranty.
SFL 110 amphr leisure batteries from just £74.95 with two years warranty.
135amphr leisure batteries from just £105.50 with two years warranty.

We have usually got plenty in stock, but it is always a good idea to give us a ring before making special journey. Other batteries (including AGMs) are available by order only and are usually available within seven days.

Mick has changed a gearbox on one of the shared boats today and done an engine service on a brokerage boat whilst Fred has been blacking, painting, polishing and pumping rain water out of boats.

We were busy yesterday with craning and it went manic just as I sat down to write the blog, hence it not getting published. Denise has been showing Lynn the ropes whilst Fred and Mick were occupied on the yard and in the docks. I did manage to get picture in between lifts - not very good I know, but it shows that we were working...

Have a good evening. Until tomorrow...

Best regards,


Sunday, 10 February 2013

Rain, rain and more rain

Today it has persistently raining!

Mick, Fred and I have docked Victory (thats one of our dayboats) and a brokerage boat for pressure washing and blacking. 

Mick has finished a diesel stove service and has been repairing some wood work on one of the hire boats. Steve has been doing jobs around the yard and Fred has pressure washed the boats on the dock, turned a couple of hire boats round and done some coal deliveries.

Don't forget that we supply Housecoal, Anthracite, Excel and Taybrite all in 25kg clean sealed bags. We even deliver to boats, pubs and houses in the area, but we do have a minimum order quantity of ten bags.

Denise and Ange have been in the shop and tearoom today whilst I have seemed to be here there and everywhere!

Not much to report on such a damp day, but we have got a busy day scheduled for tomorrow!

Best regards,


Saturday, 9 February 2013

This and that

Well I am sorry that you haven't had a blog for the last couple of days. I did write one yesterday, honestly, but it didn't seem to post for some reason or another. It did keep flashing up "an error occurred while trying to save or publish your post. Please try again" as I was typing, but I have had that happen before and it has still published. I do apologise!!!

The title of yesterdays blog was Busy, busy, busy and it certainly was. Ange was laughing at me at one point as I had a phone to each ear and was frantically typing on the computer! Ange was busy too with bookings and showing our new member of staff (Lynn) the ropes. Denise was being Denise and was busying herself in the tearoom until she decided to sweep and mop from the office through to the tearoom. She decided to start giggling. Ange and I weren't impressed as we were trying to concentrate, but we soon joined in too - although we didn't even know what we were laughing at.

Quartz returned on Thursday with a great crew aboard. Unfortunately Darna broke her ankle whilst they were away, but she insisted on finishing her holiday before going to the hospital! I think the highlight was watching Simon carry her off the boat... They departed after a hearty breakfast that Denise cooked them. They did ring yesterday to say that she was having surgery in the afternoon and they would keep in touch. Such a great crowd and they assure us they will be back!

We have only got one prime space left in our dry dock before Easter now. Wednesday 20th March to Sunday 24th March. Further details about this service can be found on my last blog entry here. It will be filled on a first come serve basis, so don't miss out, contact me today. We are now taking bookings for the rest of the year too!

I was down in Stoke Bruerne last night and stayed with some friends for the evening. We had an enjoyable evening in the Boat Inn which has been owned by the Woodward family since 1877. I used to spend alot of time there and even lived there for a short period before I came to Norbury. When the day comes that I move onto the bank, then Stoke is the place that I think I would like to be. Northamptonshire is a fine county with it's sandstone buildings and open rolling countryside. Oh... and I forgot the Grand Junction or rather Grand Union Canal!

It has been a damp old day here today, although I think we had a lucky escape as it was snowing as I drove back up the M1 and M6 this morning! 

Both Phantom and Phoenix have been collected by their occupants this afternoon. Our regular customers; Wilf and Maggie, are out of Phoenix for the next six weeks. I hope that they have a fantastic time and come back with plenty of stories to tell. 

There are also new occupants in Wharf Cottage today. It really is a great place to get away from the rat-race, sit back in the warmth of the open plan living room with the fire roaring up the chimney. It is such a unique cottage with its "upside down" configuration. The bedrooms, bathroom and washroom are on the ground floor along with a large utility room and the living room and kitchen are above giving excellent views of the Shropshire Union Canal from the large picture window and the open countryside across the Norbury estate from the balcony on the opposite side of the building. It is available weekly and you can find further details here. We even do Bed and Breakfast when the cottage isn't booked out!

Mick (Mr. Handbag) has applied the final coat of blacking to Dawnstar which we have recently sold on brokerage. He has then been doing some painting and other works on Python. Simon has serviced the engine on Victory whilst Mick has recommissioned Phantom and Phoenix and showed them out. Denise has been chained the cooker all day (not literally!) and Ange has checked the cleaning on the boats and Wharf Cottage and doing her normal day-to-day jobs.

Our Ebay shop is still doing well, don't forget to have a look here. More listings are posted on a daily basis (when we get the time!).

That's it from me today.

Best regards,


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

One of the jobs that most boat owners recognise as an essential part of keeping their boat afloat is getting it out of the water every couple of years and renewing the coats of blacking that protect the steel below the waterline. However, many may not realise just what else needs to be checked once the boat's bottom is available for scrutiny. When a boat is in Norbury Wharf's dry dock there is an extensive checklist of items
before the blacking itself can be applied.

Manager David Ray explained: “We look at the anodes, of course, to see if they need replacing but we also check the stern tube for wear and ensure the skeg is still straight. “Then we look at the top and bottom rudder bearings for wear and check to see the rudder itself hasn't been damaged. “We look at the propellor for any damage and check the nut and split pins holiding it in place as well a looking at any damages on the chines. We look at the counter band paintwork and the gunwhale sides to see the paint there is OK and
examine the weed hatch, as there can sometimes be corrosion there on older boats. We even look at the fenders.”

David says the three or four day bottom blacking slot is the ideal time to do some simple jobs which would be much more difficult or impossible in the water. “Whilst the boat is on the dock we give the hull a full health
check. We can repair and replace everything from a new fender to a new bottom – although that may take somewhat longer!”

Norbury's dry dock is popular with boaters, especially as returning customers get a 10 per cent discount, but that's also to do with the professional job they deliver and their reasonable charges.

The dock is is particularly popular with liveaboard boaters as it has a substantial walk way from dockside to boat deck rather than some rickety old plank!

Electric and water is supplied free whilst the boat is on the dock or you can stay in the Wharf's own holiday cottage for a few days bed and breakfast or on one of the fleet of hire boats at a discounted rate.

Currently docking and undocking costs £120 and the cost of pressure washing and applying no fewer than three coats of blacking depends on the length of the boat and the type of material used - but all include VAT.

Bitumen costs £7.95 per foot, International Intertuf 16 comes in at £8.99 per foot and Comastic at £10.50 per foot. The dock is also available, on turnaround days usually, for surveys. Norbury can arrange and book pre-purchase surveys, insurance surveys, hull surveys and full surveys. There is an on site Boat Safety
Examiner and qualified Gas Safe Engineer.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Well the weather has been somewhat changeable today. When I came to work this morning the sky was blue and the sun was shining. An hour later the wind had got up and some dark clouds came over and we had a blizzard. Within minutes we had a dusting of snow over everything. By lunchtime the sun had come out again and the snow began to melt. As I write its blowing a gale again and raining cats and dogs and is bitterly cold - wonderful British weather...

Today seems to have flown by. I've spent most of the day outside rather than stuck in the office - it makes a nice change that does. Moving boats around with Fred, docking and generally getting everything in order! I do enjoy working with Fred, he does some odd things and he really makes me laugh.

Simon has been working on Python doing the winter engine service. He has had to replace the exhaust system as when he took the lagging off there was hardly anything left of the original silences and pipework.

Mick has nearly finished the modifications and shower installation to Moore2life. Joyce has been lending a hand today, doing a bit of cleaning and helping with the tearoom. Ange has been catching up on paperwork and manning the office and shop.

Thats it from me today.

Best regards,


Monday, 4 February 2013

It's been a bit quiet here today, although the phone has been busy and we have been packaging yet more items up that have sold on E-bay.

Denise has been on window cleaning duty today. I hadn't realised just how dirty they had got, but we can now see out of them...

Steve has replaced a section of the soil pipe down at Lock Cottage. One section had collapsed due to old age and heavy vehicles regularly passing over them. He has finished doing the brick work in the manholes and replaced the manholes themselves today. We just need to finish off with some hardcore and that will be a good job done.

Mick has been busy working on the shower installation and wash room modifications on Moore2life. See their blog here.

I came across this photograph today and I thought that you would appreciate it. Can anyone date it?

Best regards,


Sunday, 3 February 2013

Another mystery picture

We had a cracking night at the Anchor at High Offley last night. I haven't been there for about two months, but as always Olive and Elaine welcome everyone to their unique establishment!

It was freezing hard last night as we made our way back to Norbury, so I was suprised that when I got up this morning and took Annie out that the temperature had picked up again and there was no frost. It's been a bit grey today, with light showers at times but its certainly better than the snow that we still had on the ground this time last week.

It was good to see Duncan and Margaret with the Petrel; along with their friends on Lacerta, yesterday. They had made a special visit to Norbury just for diesel! Simon and I have known them for many years and it's always good to catch up with old friends. Here's a picture of the boats just prior to winding round and departing off to the south. I'm sure we will see them later in the year for more diesel...

Denise has been in the tea room again today and Joyce in the shop. Steve has been busy doing maintenance around the site whilst Mick has been working on a private boat.

We've been busy packing up yet more items that have been sold on E-bay over the past couple of days. They will be taken to the Post Office in the morning. 

Here's another picture for you to guess it's location.

Have a good evening.

Best regards,


Saturday, 2 February 2013

Although the temperature's dipped to a low of -4°C over night, it has been a glorious day at Norbury today. It's certainly brought people out of hibernation (although I don't blame them!).

Ange is off for a few days and Simon is on holiday, so Joyce has come to lend a hand. Denise has been busy in the tearoom and Joyce has been having a good sort out in the Chandlery. Mrs. Handbag isn't very well at the moment so Mandy stepped into place to do some Spring cleaning...

Late last year we were approached by a television producer who wanted to make a documentary relating to the disused canal from here at Norbury Junction. He teamed up with the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust, we lent them a boat and he has put together the following program which will be broadcasted on television this year.


Best regards,


Friday, 1 February 2013

Sooooooooooooo busy

Wow what a busy day it has been here today, it's been like a normal, busy Friday morning in the height of the season.
Simon was putting an order together on Wednesday for chandlery items, I piped up "don't get it all delivered on the same day", I said this because as soon as the season starts looming He just goes barmy, guess what? it all turned up this morning. It has taken Denise and Myself all day to bag everything up and punch and staple all the header cards on shackles, bolts, switches, lift the dots, canopy studs and much much more. All this along with Denise being busy in the tea room and the phone ringing non stop has made it a real busy day.
Simon went out around lunchtime to do some bits and bobs in Newport and asked if I wanted some stock bringing back for the grocery shelves, we didn't go down that road.
He returned a couple of hours later with some compliment slips from the printers that He proceeded to put right down in front of where I was working, after I had moved them out of the way he took the scissors to hack at a parcel that I hadn't quite had time to open, it was a new piece of equipment for the lads to abuse, well I knew that, and that's why I didn't break a leg to open it. He then put the bubble wrap it was wrapped in on my desk along with the scissors and the bank paying in books, at one stage I thought I'd lost the desk, I couldn't see wood for trees :-(
We have had a boat craned out of the water today that is being moved down to London, this was a private sale, not one of our brokerage boats.
We had a repair done to the pressure washer done yesterday as it had given up the ghost, Fred managed to blow it up this afternoon.
Mandy has been helping with the cleaning today in Mrs Handbags absence, she has spring cleaned "Quartz" which has gone out with a very excited crew on board, they have never been on a boat before so I suggested they head off down to Penkridge as they didn't want to do too many locks. After that Mandy checked Wharf Cottage over for Monday as it is out for a short break, the 3 amigos wanted to stay in it for a few days but I'm afraid the answer had to be "no", She then cleaned the 3 day boats as bookings are starting to pick up and 1 might just book overnight.
David and Fred have been busy un-docking and docking today.
Simon (boss) is now on holiday for 2 weeks now, have a good time Simon and see you in a fortnight.
That's all from me for today, until next time.............byee Ange.