Shop front in the summer

Sunday, 28 April 2013

It's been quite a productive day today.

Steve has been working hard on the trip boat and Lynn has been making a super job of cleaning the windows. There was some years worth of grime on them and it has taken some shifting but I was able to turn the boat around this afternoon so she could start on the other side.

Mick has been doing no end of little jobs on customers boats today.

Bernard and Lee docked a boat this morning which Lee has pressure washed. Bernard has started to remove a holding tank on a private boat.

Best regards,


Saturday, 27 April 2013

All go

Well it has all been go here today. I think we are going to have a busy week ahead too...

We had two dayboats out first thing and we have had five boats go out this afternoon; Reflection, Phantom, Phoebe, Princess and Python. That has kept everyone busy really.

True to April weather, it has been sunshine and showers all day. Some really heavy showers and infact some sleet and hail at times.

We are working hard on the trip boat too. The majority of the carpet was laid yesterday and some of the tables and chairs are on their way back in this afternoon. I have been tidying up the back doors. There are some Roses and Castles on them that I want to try and keep, so I haven't touched them, but I have re grained them and the woodwork in the door holes. Steve has been fighting the elements to try and get some paint on. It's only to tidy her up for this season really, as we are hoping to give the outside a full make over in January.

Don't forget to come and visit next weekend and view her. If you would like to be at the unveiling ceremony and see our special guest steer her off up the canal, you are more than welcome to come and join us on the Wharf outside of our shop and tearoom for 12.30pm on Saturday 4th May. She will be available for viewing on Saturday afternoon, Sunday and Monday outside the shop on our Wharf. Further details of public and chartered trips will be available at the weekend in leaflet form.

The big question is what her name is going to be.....

Best regards,


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Free boating holiday anyone?

Its that time again where I am offering anyone the chance of a free weeks boating, this is just a provisional at the moment but I might have a 50 footer on the Gloucester and Sharpness canal that needs to be moved to Norbury within the next couple of weeks, so any takers or interested parties please drop me an email, remember folks that it is a first come first served basis so be quick if you are interested.

Thanks Ange for the blog yesterday, I ran out of time to do one, and thanks Mike for the comments on Mondays blog, I echo your comments and I truly hope we are both wrong and its just a blip and it isn't the end of an era, which if I am honest I don't think it is, more a case of, the start of a new era!

Been a busy one today, as well as the usual day to day stuff I have completed on two boats that have sold and finalised the deal on a third boat that was surveyed recently so all in all not a bad days work, The lads have all been busy, two boats docked, one for survey and then another for blacking later one which Lee duly pressure washed, Bernard has been moving boats around the yard making space for the hire boats that are going out the weekend, Steve has been cracking on with the trip boat and it does look like it will be finished by the 4th May and Richard has been applying paint to the newly prepared boat in the wet dock.

Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

first aid course

Hi all, as the title suggests some of us have been on a first aid course today. There was David, Mike and myself on the course, I can't believe where the time has gone since we did the last one, anyway we all spent the day in Wharf cottage with Ade our tutor. He is a really nice chap and makes you all feel at ease with the training and we had lots of laughs along the way with the mannequins, blowing up their noses and into their mouths...........yuk. We stopped for break at 12.30 and when we went back to the cottage there had been a little accident in the utility room. There was a mannequin lying in there with a hoover on its chest, an ironing board nearby and a bin preventing us from getting in there, as David was the last person back from break Ade made it Davids duty to talk us through it (thank goodness it wasn't me). We carried on with the course for a couple more hours and stopped for break again at 3 pm. We then talked about drowning and low and behold there was a mannequin hiding behind the wall on the, all the people in the junction were now watching us do our training, how embarrassing, then it was back to the cottage to finish off and our certificates will be here in 2 weeks time.
As we have been training this has only left Simon and Joyce in the office and Sylvia in the tea room today. Simon and Joyce have been working on E bay, taking bookings and looking after customers in the shop and Sylvia has been in the tea room with the help of Joyce as and when needed.
Steve has been cracking on with the trip boat, painting the roof, Rich has been prepping the boat in the painting dock, Bernard has been on pump out duties amongst other dodgy things and as I haven't been here for 10 days I haven't had chance to tell you all that my nephew Lee has taken over from Fred and has been pressure washing, blacking and general yard duties....keep up the good work Lee ;-)
until next time byeeeeeeeeeee Ange.

Monday, 22 April 2013

It aint just the canals

It was without a shadow of a doubt the best weekend so far this year in terms of the weather, I had to go South on Thursday evening down to Lymington and because of the excellent weather decided to stay there over the weekend and do some boating on the Solent, now given that Friday was lovely and Saturday was just stunning I was amazed at how few boats were out and about, Friday it was like a ghost town; It is unusual for marinas down in the South to offer anything free but on Friday one particular marina were offering free moorings and electric for the night, it just so happened that we were there and took advantage of the offer however even that was very quiet and hardly had any boats moored there for the night,the rest of the weekend saw a few more boats out and about but considering the exceptional weather it was still very quiet, it seems to me that this situation is right across the country as the canal also seems very quiet indeed and David has reported that whilst the shop and tea room was busy with visitors the canal on the other hand was very quiet with boats, is the cost of running boats finally getting out of hand and are people feeling the pinch, is the cost of fuel to get to the boat and then the subsequent fuel used in boating just getting too much? or is it just still early in the season? or the lovely weather we had the weekend was just a one off and no one was prepared in time to go boating,You tell me! Answers on a post card, well we are in the 21st century now so just leave a message instead.


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Wharf Cottage at Norbury Junction

Wharf Cottage sleeps eight people and is available for Holiday lets or Bed and Breakfast (subject to availability). 
An ideal location to "get away from it all". Wharf Cottage is set in peaceful Staffordshire rolling countryside and is in a designated conservation area.

The quiet country lanes are ideal for cycling and there are several good walks, including the Millennium Trial. 
For those who want something less strenuous, you can sit on the wharf-side enjoying something from our tea room and watching the boats and wildlife. 
To take advantage of the views our cottage has upside down accommodation which has recently been refurbished. 
Upstairs is an open plan living area with exposed beams, kitchen/dining area, picture window overlooking the canal basin and French doors leading to the balcony over looking fields. 
On the ground floor are 3 bedrooms: 1 x double, 2 x adult bunks and 1 family room with 2 x adult bunks and 2 x single beds. There is a bathroom with bath (shower over) and wash hand basin and a separate WC. The utility room is also on the ground floor. 
There is full oil fired central heating with an additional open fire place in the sitting area. The kitchen and utility room is fully equipped with electric cooker, microwave, fridge, washing machine and tumble drier. Colour  T.V's are in every room and there is a video, DVD and CD music centre. Wi-Fi available throughout.
Included in the hire is all bed linen, towels, fuel and power. Parking for two cars. One well behaved pet  under strict control welcome. 
Further details can be found on our website and to book now online visit

Saturday, 20 April 2013

It's been an absolutely glorious day here at Norbury today. We had two dayboats go out first thing, with both crews having a really enjoyable time. One of the passengers even got sun burnt!

Denise has been busy in the tearoom, ably assisted by Sylvia and Alex. Lynn has been in the office with me and we've done quite a few dayboat bookings and hire boat bookings. It soon gets busy when the sunshines.

Mick has been working on Cloud 9, whilst Simon got Summer Wine ready and showed her out. Steve has finished the woodwork in the trip boat and is now onto varnishing and splashing some paint about (literally).

Sorry for the short blog tonight... More tomorrow.

Best regards,


Friday, 19 April 2013

I really don't know where this week has gone to... In actual fact I can't believe it is the 19th of April... Time just flies by when you are enjoying yourself and I must say that this week has been one of those.

I spent my days off working on our new trip boat, which I must say is taking shape nicely. People are getting to know that she is based here and they are eager to book. Unfortunately we need to complete all the necessary certification before we can take firm bookings, but I am well on the case with this. Plans are afoot to have a launching ceremony on Saturday 4th May at 12.30pm on our Wharf and by then we should know from what date we can accept bookings from. In the meantime we welcome visitors to come and have a look at her in the various stages of completion prior to entering service.

Things have changed so much in the last nine years that I have been at Norbury. We used to do a lot of advertising in local papers, waterways press, newsletters etc. But nowadays the majority of our advertising is internet based, hence the new website that we introduced a couple of months ago and our online booking system which is now into its second year. By utilising websites such as Apolloduck we not only have a local audience but a national if not worldwide audience. Of course there are still people out there that don't use the internet and we still keep them in mind, so you can see regular adverts in Waterways World and local newsletters and we encourage these customers to pick the telephone up and talk to us!

A few weeks ago we decided to try a bit of extra online advertising and enrolled with a company called Wowcher. It has proved to be a huge success, meaning that we sold in excess of fifty dayboat vouchers in under twenty four hours - now that's some going... Joyce and I have been really busy today processing the bookings for the customers who telephoned wanting to make a booking with their voucher. And there's more to go. Keep an eye out for our next offer!

Best regards,


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Hard work!

Even on the days when things are really quiet sometimes the day still seems like hard work,a bit like today!  I love busy days when you are running around like a headless chicken and don't have a minute to think, I get a real buzz out of it and it always feels like its been a productive day, but I hate days that are generally quite slow yet you feel like everything has been hard work and you haven't actually accomplished anything!

One thing that has been accomplished today is that Richard has finished the paint job that he has worked so hard on, here is photo of the boat just as it was coming out of the dock at lunch time.
I have to say that he has achieved a great result and from what was a bit of a rusty boat that was seriously in need of 'freshening up' Good result! We then docked the next one to get the 'Richard touch' incidentally the Oaf like looking person on the front of the boat is Simon our engineer, I am sure he will give me some stick for that description tomorrow.

Until tomorrow.
Simon (not the Oaf)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Charlie Atkins

I watched this short clip during the week, which was posted on Facebook and I have just got to share it!

Produced by the BBC and broadcasted on Midlands Today it shows a narrow boat named Mendip that used to deliver chocolate crumb from Knighton on the Shropshire Union to Cadbury's Bourneville factory. It's recently been restored to carrying condition and resides at the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port.

Well, I hope you enjoyed that! I was actually in Birmingham whilst it was being filmed, on my way to the Black Country Museum for the bi-annual gathering - but they obviously decided they didn't want to film us...

It's been a funny old day here today. The wind was howling when I woke up this morning. The sun has been out a few times, it's rained too but it has mainly been grey and overcast.

Best regards,


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Wind down

It has been a cold few days on the wharf but this afternoon it has really warmed up, according to Angela who has been informed by Denise that the weather is going to improve massively for the weekend, apparently when Denise talks about the weather she is usually right! Lets hope so, in both cases!

Its not been overly busy here this week so far, although Monday was quite busy for those that were in the office,but that was mainly due to my absence because of meetings and people being either on their days off, off sick or on holiday!

Nothing really to report about, the usual stuff has gone on, boats being painted, boats being blacked, hire boats going out, day boats going out, bacon sandwiches being cooked (I hate that because the smell is gorgeous and I would love to have one every time I smell them)

The reason for the post title is that Ange is on wind down as she is off on holiday next week, in fact she is off from this coming Saturday, Guess what and where she is going........................yep I reckon you have guessed it, shes going boating, on her boat and up to Llangollen, so keep your eyes open for her boat, the Merry Pippin, give her a wave if you see her and her motley crew which will be made up of her hubby Mark and friends Peter and Sandra.

No boating for me, just yet!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Is your engine happy?

There is nothing quite like the steady throb of a happy engine as you cruise along through the English  countryside on your boat. But there is nothing worse than the time when it dies on you, just when you really need it. You should have listened to what your engine was saying because it can’t give you as many clues as a car with all its modern computer systems and even the old-fashioned clues like oil or water on the ground
where you park.If you saw oil on the drive under your car you would get it checked out - but your boat engine might be  leaking oil and you would never know - unless you have a spotless bilge! 

In fact, boat engines are subject to more abuse than the average car, even by the fuel they use. Red diesel is nowhere near the quality of white road diesel and that means changing the filters is even more important. Regular servicing is the key -just how regular depends on the number of hours you are out boating each year.

At Norbury we know a lot of boats whose engines regularly work 1,000 hours a year or more - in fact our own hire boats can come close to that -and we have to work on them regularly to keep them running smoothly. You might not come close to that but an annual service is really the minimum.

A vintage Lister JP2M rebuilt by Norbury Wharf's experienced engineer's,
waiting to be installed in a narrowboat.

Norbury Wharf boss, Simon Jenkins, said: “Don’t be like the customer who called in recently with a gearbox that was completely destroyed. When we asked about the boat’s last service he told us it was when he had
bought the boat two years previously!

“The chances are that, if he had had a service, the problems with the gearbox would have been spotted and probably solved before it became too late.”

Norbury has a staff of experienced engineers, some of whom have been working on engines for four or five
decades, and they are accustomed to the little foibles of marine engines.

“Our years of experience mean we can often diagnose a fault quickly, perhaps from just listening to the  engine.

"In fact, most boaters can do the same. Although an annual service is the minimum I would suggest every steerer tunes in to the noises his engine is making.
“You can tell when it is running sweetly but you can also hear when it starts to develop other little noises and different handling characteristics.

“If you hear a problem developing, get it looked at sooner rather than later - it will be cheaper in the long run.”

Listen to what your engine is telling you - it may need help Norbury Wharf’s most experienced engineer.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

ice cream sales on the up

Wow what a busy day it has been here at Norbury today. It started off a little frosty again this morning but the sun soon burned through and it has been absolutely glorious day all day. So much so that we have a serious run on ice creams, I was in 2 minds on tuesday when the supplier rang whether to order at all so I asked her to ring me the next day and see what was going on with the weather, still not looking too good I reluctantly placed an order.......phew, so glad I did, I'll be topping up onTuesday and hopefully again on Thursday ;-)
We had 5 hire boats return to us this morning and all had a good time and we have had "Princess" depart this afternoon with returning customers aboard for 2 weeks and heading towards Llangollen, have a good time Rob, Charlotte and co. We also turned Wharf Cottage around that was cleaned by Sylvia.
Fred has been doing his usual saturday morning stuff and being a general pain, he has also been doing bits and bobs on the trip boat along with Mick and Steve.
I've done a couple of holiday bookings today but have spent most of my day in the tea room with Mrs Tupp, it was quite quiet this morning but then I think everyone woke up all at the same time and came to Norbury for an all day breakfast. Lynn has been out cleaning "Princess" and has then stripped all the bedding etc from the boats that returned to us today and ploughed through a whole hoard of washing.
That's it from me for today, until next time byeeeeeeeeeee Ange.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Busy friday

Well what a busy day it has been here at Norbury today. When I walked along the towpath this morning it was a bit icy underfoot and the sun was shining. The sun has stayed out all day and has been quite warm. It hasn't stopped folk buying coal tho, we still need the fires lit. We have sold lots of diesel aswell and also done a fair amount of pump outs.
I sent Simon out shopping this morning as he kept saying "I haven't got a lot to do today", so he went to Stoke and when he got there the warehouse was shut, they must have heard he was on his way....ha ha.
David has been busy doing brokerage paperwork for the accountant and I have been busy with holiday bookings, the phone has been relentless.
Lynn and Joyce have been out cleaning and Mrs Tupp has been busy in the tea room.
Fred has been outside with his friend Alan who is learning the ropes and doing well I hasten to add.
Steve has been carrying on with trip boat which is coming along nicely and Mick has been helping him.
Well that's all from me for tonight, the blogs will have a bit more content soon, promise....byee Ange.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

East wind!!!!!!!!!!

That bitter East wind has been relentless today, the temperature is in fact around 7 degrees but the wind chill must be minus something, it hits your face and it makes it feel raw, there is no escaping from it if you are unfortunate enough to be outside, given the cold conditions I reckon that everyone that has not needed to move any where has stayed put with there feet up by a roaring log burner, I know that's what I will be doing tonight, its a shame really as the nights are now drawing out and we should all be enjoying the evenings outside rather than being stuck indoors!

Its been a funny old day, not much traffic about, we have had a couple of hire boats return early, only a hand full of boats on the wharf for services and a relatively quiet day in the shop, office and tea room, the lads have been busy though, Steve on the trip boats doing wood work, Bernard has been grinding a hull in the dry dock for most of the day and Richard has been paint the boat in the wet dock, we have had a new chap start today, Alan his name is and he has replaced Mick (Mr handbag) Mick decided that he wasn't enjoying the job as he thought he would so left on Saturday, shame I as quite like the chap! Any way the new addition to the Team is Alan and he will be taking over Fred's duties when he retires (eventually)

That's it from me for today
Off home to a nice roaring fire

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Norbury Jam

I am not on about a Sweet tasting fruit product that we sell in our shop, rather different sort of Jam! Over the Easter bank holiday there was the usual Historic boat gathering at Ellesmere port boat museum and the one of the routes used to get there is along the Shroppie, we did see quite a few old boats heading that way prior to the gathering and on Monday 6 of those boats decided to return via the Shroppie and stay at Norbury for the evening, 5 out these 6 boats where 'Joshers' made up of 3 motor boats with Bolinder engines, 2 butties and a Grand union boat, it was a lovely sight to see 5 old working boats tied on the wharf for the night, they turned up late and were gone early the next morning so they didn't really have any impact on the navigation through Norbury but it did look like the canal was jam packed full, I tried to get a picture but only had my Phone on me so I am sorry for the poor quality of the picture, the light was fading and I had had a couple of beers too!
It must have been a great sight and sound early the next morning as 3 Bolinders were kicked in to life and disappeared over Shelmore embankment in the early morning mist!

This morning was a cold one, the boats were well covered in frost on my arrival to work, but the sun was beating out its glorious rays from first light which was superb, the frost soon disappeared to leave us with a stunning day, just the sort of day that you want to loose your mooring ropes and go cruising! It has remained a glorious day all day long which has bought folks out to enjoy the wharf, given that today is our thinnest on the ground in terms of staff it hasn't been over busy, a couple of pump outs a bit of diesel but nothing to get to excited about, Richard has been cracking on with the paint job in the wet dock, Simon welding on a boat in the dry dock and Steve has been cracking on with the trip boat


Monday, 1 April 2013

Has it finally arrived?

I am of course talking about the start of the cruising season, I haven't been around over the weekend as I was being treated to a weekend away, well it was my birthday after all, anyway I know that David had several boats go out on Saturday which I would say was the start of the season, He said that he had a busy day on Sunday but today has been very busy indeed and we have seen boats queueing to get on to the wharf for services, the shop has seen lots of people in and the tea room has seen its fair share of folks through the door, It would have been a different story if that orange thingy in the sky had put in an appearance then we would have been manic but as usual it hasn't been out much today and its remained bitterly cold.
Me and David have been in and out of the office today and we have been moving boats around and generally tidying up the boats on the wharf, whilst out there I noticed just how many boats have been passed and the canal has been nice and busy, I will apologise in advance if I don't get around to posting any more blogs this week but I reckon that we will carry on being busy!