Shop front in the summer

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Behind the tradition is internet power

It would be difficult to find anything more traditional than the boatyard at Norbury Junction. Old waterways buildings surround a traditional wharf with cranes and a lovely Shropshire Union bridge leads the way north.
The business is traditional as well, a hire fleet, day boats, a trip boat, a paint shop, dry dock and chandlery, everything for the boater, in fact.
Yet Norbury Wharf Limited is not so much diesel-powered these days as internet-powered, according to Managing Director Simon Jenkins.
He said: “Over the past few years we have found that our business has had to become more and more responsive to the demands of the electronic age. Our customers want to do business online and we now try to duplicate many of the things we do here in the electronic world.
“Apart from a daily blog of our doings, we book our hire boats, day boats and even the trip boat using our new website. We are also active on Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis to keep customers in touch with our latest deals and the price of our diesel.
“We now have videos of all our hire boats online with YouTube so that people can learn about their chosen boat even before they book it, as well as watch our instructional videos on boat handling.
“We produce a monthly electronic magazine that goes out to a long list of our subscribers and we even have a web-cam on the wharf so that our customers can watch us going about our business on their laptops, tablets and mobile phones.
“Of course you can't black a boat's bottom, service the engine or fill it with diesel electonically – although I sometimes wonder when it will happen – so customers also get the enjoyment of visiting us in these beautiful surroundings.”

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

busy day again

hi all, i think personally that we have had a busy day again but simon will probably think differently. at one stage i had a phone at each ear, the person on the end of one phone call was very understanding, it was jo from the ice cream company that we use (big delivery coming on friday so she was very happy) the person on the other phone was wanting to book a fish and chip supper so i really did have to deal with her first. the fish and chip supper is being run throughout september on a friday and saturday night as is proving very successful, please feel free to contact us for more details.
denise has been in the tea room today and jenny and i have been in the office in the paint dock having a good clear out and getting covered in paint dust....deep joy.
simon has been doing simon things and simon engineer has been working on one of the hire boats that is in for a few days.
lee has been undocking and docking as well as serving customers on the wharf with diesel and pump outs.
mick and david are on days off and sylvia will be back at work on saturday.
i felt a right twit this afternoon, after jenny and i finished for the day in the paint dock i went to fetch one of the huge wheelie bins to put all the rubbish in, just like being in a supermarket it had a dodgy wheel, i lost complete control and it stopped just before the water....phew, but don't tell simon cos he didn't see me ;-)
busy day tomorrow, there is a boat being craned out at 8am.
until next time....byeeeeeeeeeeee ange.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

doesn't matter what i say it will be wrong

well i was supposed to write a blog last night and i didn't so i now have to tell you what has gone on for the last 2 days :-(
well as you all know yesterday was a bank holiday and the last one before christmas, flip, i don't know where this year has gone, it only seems like yesterday that simon was in his dark, winter mood and now here we are in august with september just round the corner.
we had 3 dayboats out first thing yesterday morning and 4 today, all returned without issues and all had a fab time, yesterdays weather was stunning and it has been sunny most of the day today.
well we were very busy in the tea room yesterday, denise, sylvia, lynn, kelly and myself were all in there together serving hot food and sandwiches and of course lots of ice cream, we were also busy with the trip boat. today denise and jenny have manned the tea room and it has been busy in there again.
simon thought we were in for a quiet day....wrong....the phone has not stopped ringing all day. we have been taking day boat bookings, fish and chip supper bookings, trip boat bookings and even holiday bookings for next year. at one stage we had no internet :-( and were having to go back to the old pen and paper scenario until it got up and running again. we then had to play catch up and the phone was still ringing its head off.
david has gone off boating for a couple  of days and sylvia is on holiday until saturday.
lee was busy on the wharf this morning with diesel and pump outs, i did help a bit with the diesel but i'm afraid he did all the pump outs....sorry lee.
simon has been welding anodes on to the boat that is currently in the dry dock and richard is making good headway with the boat that is currently in for painting.
well that's it for tonight, time for tea, peter underwood sorry for the lack of capital letters where necessary ;-)

Sunday, 25 August 2013

It's been a busy old day here at Norbury today. I was in the office just before 8am and no sooner had I walked through the door there were customers appearing ready for their day out on one of our dayboats and the phone was ringing it's little head off. Denise was next in and we were getting a bit panicky as the time got closer to 8.30am as there was only the two of us here. Was there something we didn't know? No sooner had we had that thought then everyone else walked through the office door. We breathed a sigh of relief!!!!

I got the dayboats ready and was soon showing the first one out. After that I was getting the trip boat ready for a full day of trips and then went down to the dry dock to help Lee float the boat off that we have had on the dock for the past few days.

I was back over in the office by lunchtime and the girls had been run off of their feet. They do work well as a team, bless them...

We have had a busy day on the trip boat. Passenger numbers have been up incredibly with each trip carrying 35+ people.

It's now time to go home and I am heading over to Alvecote Marina near Tamworth to join in with the activities at their annual boat gathering that is occurring this weekend.

Best regards,


Thursday, 15 August 2013

missing person

Dear All

We have been asked by Thames Valley Police to circulate the details of a missing person (details below) who may have hired a holiday barge and be cruising the network.  We are asking on behalf of the Police for your help in finding this man or helping them with their enquiries with any possible sightings. 

It is important that If you do have any information or believe you may have had contact with this man you should contact the Police directly via the details below as soon as possible.

APPEAL :  Missing Man
Thames Valley Police are trying to locate a missing man from Milton Keynes. The last reported sighting of Brian Nolan, DOB 22/09/1950 was at his home address in Tattenhoe in March 2013. Mr Nolan is white with shoulder length grey hair, which is believed to be considerably longer now.
Mr Nolan is a keen angler and has been known to use canals and waterways. There has been a suggestion that Mr Nolan may have gone on an extended holiday within the waterway network. Inspector Yakoob Teladia, who is leading the investigation has requested the Canal & River Trust email any holiday hire companies to check their records and if Mr Nolan is known to you or has used your services to contact Thames Valley Police by dialing 101. Alternatively Inspector Teladia can be contacted on

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Capture our wildlife (on camera) and win

The green and leafy cuttings and embankments of the historic Shropshire Union canal have become havens for wildlife, and walkers and boaters are now being urged to capture the birds, plants and animals with their cameras to provide a record of the wide variety to be seen.

Norbury Wharf, based at the heart of the canal, is urging customers who hire one of their boats for the week or the day, as well as those who take a trip on its new trip boat or simply walk the towpath and use the café, to send them their pictures of the many birds, animals and plants to be spotted along the banks.

Manager David Ray said: “Sometimes the prolific growths of trees and bushes can make you feel as though you are on a river, steaming into the interior of some tropical country in Africa or South America and birds and insects flutter through the leaves.

“There is so much to see around here that we wanted to demonstrate the great variety. To encourage people we're running a summer-long competition for the best photographs and we will offer the winners a day boat for a day to go out and explore even further.”

Keep alert and you could easily spot the bright blue flash as a Kingfisher patrols low over the water and on the banks you can see the sandy workings of the Badger, one of Britain’s largest and most popular wild animals.

High up in the canopy of the Grub Street Cutting you may see a roosting Buzzard as these birds of prey have become almost commonplace along the Shropshire Union Canal in recent years.

There is even a chance of seeing a rare Red Kite as the new breeding colonies in Wales as steadily spreading across the Shropshire hills.

Cormorants are another relative newcomer joining in the search for fish in the canal, and the Shropshire Union Canal has legions of Moorhens and every length of canal seems to boast a resident Heron who will flap majestically away as the boat approaches – a bird who seems to prove their descent from dinosaurs.

Swans, Geese, Mallards and other ducks abound on the canal and, in the summer Bumblebees and Butterflies, along with less attractive insects.

Along the banks of the canal the predators of the ground search for prey. Stoats and Weasels are sometimes seen but there is a possibility that you will spot an Otter or even a Polecat. In the summer there are also spots where wild strawberries grow, usually out of reach on the high rocky walls of the cuttings.

David added: “The canal has become an ever more important sanctuary for wildlife and a trip on a boat provides a unique way of spotting some rare residents, as well as getting a close-up view of the everyday inhabitants.

“We know there are lots of good photographers out there and we hope to be able to print up the best pictures and exhibit them in our shop and café to inspire even more people.”

Saturday, 10 August 2013

busy saturday

hi all, we have had a very busy day here at norbury today.
we had 5 boats return to us this morning all with happy customers aboard, everyone had a great time and have been to different destinations on the canal system. all 5 of the boats turned around and have gone out this afternoon along with phantom and summer wine, the only boats left in the basin are phoenix and phantasy. we also turned wharf cottage round.
we also had 4 day boats out this morning, i know we don't have 4 but as phantasy isn't out on hire we have used her as a day boat today and made 4 customers very happy, all 4 have returned without issues and everyone had a great time.
sylvia has been manning the tea room today as denise has had the weekend off to go to a wedding, lynn is also off on holiday so we have had kelly and tash in the tea room and jenny, sarah and mrs handbag out cleaning the boats and cottage and ploughing through the washing. we also had the trip boat to clean after the fish and chip supper last night which was again a success and had the maximum of 42 customers aboard.
as soon as the day boats returned the girls were on them getting them ready for tomorrow when we have three out again.
mick and simon have engineered the boats today and bill and becks have done the internal checks, then bill, becks, simon and mick did the show rounds and bid the happy folk farewell for a week. i do hope the weather stays dry for them.
david and i have been in and out of the office all day making sure that everything is ok with the boats before they went out and then i started getting all the paperwork ready for next weekend. the phone has also been ringing its head off all day with day boat enquiries with the wowcher deal that we are running at the moment and also the wowcher deal that we are running for the fish and chip supper, it certainly keeps us occupied.
well thats it from me today, i can't think of much else to report, so until next time byeeeeeeeeeee....ange.

Monday, 5 August 2013

I am sorry that we haven't blogged for the last few days, but I just don't know where the time goes to. We've had a slightly damp weekend! One minute the sun has been out and the next the rain has been lashing down... A good old British Summer hey? The highlight of today was the unveiling of the boat that Richard has just finished painting. Mawddach has been a familiar sight here at Norbury for the last 6 or so years. During the last four weeks she has had a complete make over in our covered and heated Wet dock and here are the results.
Best regards, David