Shop front in the summer

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Mad Thursday!

I reckon because of the poor weather everyone stayed put over the last few days as today has been manic here at Norbury, the Wharf has been non stop all day with boats in for services, the tearoom has also been busy as has the shop! We had three day boats out first thing this morning, as we have everyday through out June, They all returned without incident, except the one that came back with half a tree on its roof, they are staying in the cottage and I reckon that they wanted to light the open fire in the cottage. Its going to be a really short post today as its mayhem out on the wharf as we also have several of our hire boats coming back in early, and they could do with some organisation! so until tomorrow.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Wet Wednesday

I should have put a wet couple of days as the title as yesterday was hell here, it didn't stop raining from first light until the lights went out last night, today hasn't been as bad and we even had some sun but then the rain came back and it has stayed with us all afternoon, its been a very busy couple of days here on the wharf, we have seen lots of boats in for services and lots of passing boats too, it does make a pleasant change to see the canal busier than it has been, I have to sat though that it still isn't as busy as it should be! I had an interesting conversation with a customer today who was bemoaning about the lack of facilities along the Leicester ring, I too did a bit of boat on the river soar recently which makes up part of the ring and I too remember seeing a distinct lack of open boat yards, my customer was saying that half of the yards were either shut or had stopped selling diesel, is it a sign of the times, is stocking diesel just getting to be a too expensive commodity to have say in tanks, I know that if I didn't have a hire fleet, day boats, trip boat and we didn't see much in the way of passing trade then to be honest I would maybe consider stopping the sale of the stuff, you only need to loose a few gallons and the profit has gone on the rest!

As usual Wednesdays are quiet on the ground in terms of staff but those that have been here have been kept on their toes, Bernard saw all three day boats out this morning and has also been sorting out fuel pipe on a private boat, Steve and Lee undocked a boat and Lee pressure washed that, rubbed down the counter bands and gave them a coat of paint and that is between pump outs and wharf duties, while Me, Ange, Joyce and Sylvia have looked after the shop and tearoom which have been busy too.

Until tomorrow

Sunday, 26 May 2013

It's been such a glorious day here at Norbury today. The sun has shone all day.

The Shropshire Star, our 42-seater passenger trip boats has created plenty of interest on the four one-hour long trips that she has operated today. These trips see the boat leaving Norbury heading north along the picturesque Shropshire Union Canal to Grub Street where the boat is turned round and heads back to the yard. Customer's today have been intrigued by the local wildlife including Ducks with their ducklings and a Heron that has been flying low just infront of the boat. Don't forget that she is operating tomorrow too as it is Bank Holiday weekend. Departure times: 11:00, 12:30, 14:00 and 15:30.

The girls have been flat out in the tearoom today. Ange has been flitting from one end of the shop to the other. Bernard has been repairing an exhaust system on one of the hire fleet whilst Lee has cleaned and painted a water tank prior to docking a boat which he is currently pressure washing.

That's it from me today. I'm off out to Party in the Car Park at the Royal Oak in Gnosall tonight to sit back and watch some entertainment...

Best regards,


Friday, 24 May 2013

It's been a blustery day here at Norbury today, the wind just hasn't let up and we have had a few good downpours. I believe that the weather is going to improve over the next 24 hours - lets hope so anyway...

Mick has been busy working on Cloud 9 whilst Bernard and Fred have been busy round the yard. We have had three hire boats go out today along with three dayboats this morning.

Ange and Joyce have been busy in the office and shop, whilst Denise has been kept busy with customers in the tearoom - assisted by Sylvia at the busier times. Lyn has been cleaning boats today and Richard has been glossing the boat that he has got in the dock at the moment.

And don't forget that our 42-seater passenger trip boat; "The Shropshire Star", will be running public trips on both Sunday and Monday this week from Norbury Wharf Limited. Just turn up, book in at reception and enjoy a one hour cruise along the beautiful Shropshire Union Canal. Departure times are 11:00, 12:30, 14:00 and 15:30 hours.



Monday, 20 May 2013


I am sorry for the lack of posts on the blog of late, we have been a bit busy with getting the trip boat sorted, a bit short of staff when we have been a bit on the busy side and also there has not been that much of interest to report of late, not even outstanding weather to comment about! Today has not been any different, the weather has not really amounted to much, except it hasn't rained which is always a bonus in this country. Not a lot to report about things either, no day boats out, only one hire boat out and that was already to go, a boat on the dock being blacked and a boat in the wet dock being painted, Mick has been doing lots of different jobs on boats around the yard, David has been doing paperwork and sorting out the marketing for the charter side of the trip boat and the girls have been busy either in the office, tea room or cleaning boats, the laundry and the holiday cottage.

That's it from me

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Public trips on The Shropshire Star

It's been a busy day here at Norbury. Two dayboats out first thing, two boats returned and six have gone out this afternoon. That's kept everyone busy.

It's been nice to have Denise back too after her few days holiday. I hadn't realised how much I had missed her...

Let's hope the sun shines on us tomorrow. Our forty two seater trip boat "The Shropshire Star" will be running public trips from outside the shop on our Wharf tomorrow. The first trip will be at 11am, then 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm. Each is an hour long trip to Grub Street and back on the Shropshire Union Canal. Don't forget these trips are offered on a first come first served basis, so book in early to avoid disappointment. Don't worry if the weather is inclement as all the seating is undercover...

So here's to a busy day tomorrow!

Best regards,


Sunday, 12 May 2013

The arrival of the newlynamed Shropshire Star trip boat at Norbury Junction on the Shropshire Union Canal revives a 50-year-old tradition on one of the country's most attractive and popular canals. And the man to steer the boat on it first outing from its Norbury base is Mal Edwards, who steered the first ever trip boat to operate from there – a converted wooden working boat called Iona, which was horse-drawn between the
1960s and 1980s.

Norbury Wharf Manager, David Ray, said: “We are delighted that Mal has agreed to steer this first journey. Not only did he steer the old Iona trip boat from here for many years, he was the last lengthsman on the
Newport and Shrewsbury Canal which used to take boats to both those towns until it closed many years ago.

“The canal arm at Norbury Junction is the start of that old canal and our dry-dock was once the first lock on the way to Newport.

“We have launched this new service on the day the Newport and Shrewbury Canal Trust have their annual event here at Norbury and we hope their plans to re-open the canal go ahead and we can take the trip
boat on what would be another attractive waterway.”

Renaming the vessel The Shropshire Star means the highly succesful daily newspaper of the same name has become the first newspaper to have a boat named after it. The bank holiday weekend saw the new trip boat
officially renamed the Shropshire Star by Mr Tom Graham, a member of the family which owns the Star's parent company, the Midland News Association.

The trip boat, the first to operate from Norbury Junction, near Newport, for nearly 15 years, emerged from a short stretch of the defunct Newport and Shewsbury Canal during the weekend canal festival and Tom
Graham joined Mal Edwards and David Ray, the manager of Norbury Wharf Ltd, in donning flat caps and sprinkling traditional ale over the vessel.

David Ray said: “In a way this is a successor to the many working narrowboats who used this stretch of canal and, as there are a lot of superstitions about renaming boats, we decided it might be a good idea to pay tribute to those old boatmen.

“Caps were the headgear of many working men and most boatmen earned a beer at the end of their long working days, so we devised a little ceremony that acknowledged the past and allowed us to look to the

The Shropshire Star will be following in the wake not only of the wooden Iona trip boat but also another Iona, originally a working narrowboat called the Bellerophon, which was renamed the Iona and worked
from Norbury. It now operates on the River Wey. However, the 70ft long Shropshire Star is no stranger
to the people of the West Midlands, it was built in 1969 as a trip boat by Les Allen, a Black Country boat-builder, and has operated from Oxley Moor on the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal until last year; firstly as the Compton Queen and later as the Stafford.

Since acquiring the vessel earlier this year Norbury Wharf Ltd, which also operates a fleet of holiday boats for hire and dayboats, has been using its skilled staff to begin a refurbishment programme.

David Ray said: “We have stripped out the interior fittings and either renewed or refurbished everything from the carpet upwards. Although we have not had time to completely repaint the exterior – that's a job for next winter – we have smartened it up and changed the name.”

The Shropshire Star, named in honour of both the canal which will be it's new home and the local newspaper read by hundreds of thousands of local people, plans to bring the pleasures of narrow-boating to an even wider audience.

David added: “We already cater for people who want to hire a boat for the day or the week and we sell  boats to those who have fallen in love with the canals. This is a way of allowing everyone from small children
through to people old enough to remember the working boats on the canals, to get a taste of one of our great national assets.

“The canals are unique and have become a place to see history in action, as well as enjoy some of the best countryside in the UK and even observe some wonderful wildlife and our new trip-boat will allow
even more people to get out on the water and enjoy all that without having to do any of the work of operating a boat themselves.”

The Shropshire Star will operate as public trip boat at weekends from May till November, with plans for Christmas trips being formulated. It will also be available for charter during the week with a wide variety of trips planned to appeal to everyone from schoolchildren wanting to learn something of the history of the
canals through to youth organisations, charities and special interest groups.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Windy city

Where has the sun gone and more importantly where did that wind come from, it started off nice this morning but the wind soon picked up and it has been blowing a 'hooley' for most of the day, talking with people yesterday on the wharf and they were saying that they wouldn't be boating today because of the wind that was forecast and I thought it couldn't be that bad surely, but it has been today so hats off to those that made the decision to stay put today because the wind  does make boating hard work!

Given that a lot of folk said that they would stay put today we have seen the wharf very busy with boats coming in for services, the phones have been busy too which has kept Joyce busy, eBay has also been busy and that has also kept Joyce from falling asleep, David has been catching up with important paperwork that has been left because of the busy weekend, Denise has been busy in the tea room with a steady flow of customers, Lyn has been playing catch up and cleaning boats that are going out the weekend, Mick is off today on his day off, Simon is off ill at the moment which has left us with Bernard to try and get the boats ready for the weekend, not to many boats out so he should have then sorted.

That's it from me for today

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The day after

The weather has been fantastic again today and the sun has been un-broken all day long which has seen lots of people down here on the wharf enjoying the warmth by the water, Joyce has done a sterling job of looking after the tea room and the customers, Angela has been ordering replacement of essential stocks after the locust style swarm that devastated our ice cream stocks over the weekend, we are very diverse here at Norbury with what we do, you can have your bottom blacked while sitting and enjoying an ice cream or whilst waiting to collect your hire boat you can sit and enjoy a beer or a glass of wine and unwind.

Its funny how sort of deflated you feel having just had a manic weekend and things then  return back to normal, we have been busy here today yet I feel more tiered than I did yesterday or Saturday, I suppose it catches up with you, Ange has said her feet still hurt, Nothing really interesting to report about today, so until tomorrow.


Monday, 6 May 2013

Incredible weekend

It is difficult to convey in words just how busy it has been here at Norbury over the bank holiday weekend, I have been here since 1997 and to date I have never seen this many people here at the wharf, We have got through somewhere in the regions of 120 loafs of bread, 5  freezers full of ice cream, in excess of 200 pints of milk and that is just the tip of the iceberg, I was dispatched first thing this morning to get an extra 80 eggs and 90 tomatoes and that was on top of a delivery that came in the morning as well, David said that for three hours yesterday afternoon he just stood at one till and served people to ice cream, the Canal trust are also reporting that they have never done so many canal boat trips since they started the festival, the pub too have been heaving and at 1.30pm today we heard reports of up to an hours wait just to get a drink, our brochures have been disappearing at a rate that we could not keep up with, and all of the new trip boat brochure have gone completely! Fair play to everyone that has worked so hard this weekend, thanks to the nine people in the tea room and the extra folk that have just come in and helped out, with out them all we would have been up the creek without the! Here are a couple of photos just before it went balmy. It got to the stage where we did run out of ice cream and pretty much everything else, and the wharf was grid locked with people, so was the tow path, the road, the car parks, the bridge, and the pub!


Thursday, 2 May 2013


I think that summer has finally arrived, and its timing is almost perfect as this weekend is the Norbury festival, there seems to be loads more going on this year at the festival, so if you are at a loose end come down and take a look, if the forecast is correct then we will be blessed by this stunnig weather that is with us at the moment.

We have been working really hard this week on many different jobs but the one that is most pressing is the trip boat, as I type the blog there are loads of things going on, The carpet was laid this week and Steve has been busy putting the seating back in, the beer was delivered today and tomorrow the new pumps are being fitted, there have been so many little jobs to be done that it is hard to keep on top of but I really think it is in danger of being 99% finished and ready for its official launch at 12.30 on Saturday, It has made the front page of the Shropshire Star news paper and the owner of the news paper will be here as well as some other well know canal folk to officially launch this in to service, the coverage so far has been great and so far we have had one booking for a school party next month!

I will try my best to write a blog over the next few days, but it does just depend on how busy we are.