Shop front in the summer

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!



Friday, 25 October 2013

Progress with Thea - Week 3

The painting of Thea has progressed well again this week. Here's a few pictures to update you.

The chequer plate front deck has been undercoated and the final topcoats of International Danboline have been applied. The front bulkhead has had it's first topcoat of Danboline too and the door jams have been sprayed to get good coverage in all those awkward areas.

The back cabin is coming on a treat too. The cabin sides and back bulkhead are in undercoat as are the rear cants. The counter top (back deck) has had it's first coat of Danboline too.

And here's a view of the other side.

The cabin top (roof) has been painted.

Mick has been busy making a new (wooden) rear slide which is now in undercoat.

He has also made and fitted new slide runners out of hard wood, which look a treat.

The engine hole slides are also receiving undercoat.

I'm hoping that you will see a real transformation by the end of next week, so keep an eye out for an update!

Best regards,


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Its nearly party time!

We have a great night planned for this coming Saturday evening, I just hope that all of the hard work and plans come off, We should be having a superb 7/8 piece band doing the early evening slot, they do some great foot tapping stuff and some excellent songs too, then they will be followed by Steve Hall or Stevo as some might know him, he might be bringing a friend or two with him to accompany him, he does some great stuff as as the night gets on he will no doubt be doing some of his own stuff which Can be seriously funny and a bit close to the knuckle, so that's the entertainment sorted! The food is being put on by Norburys own staff in the form of baked spuds with lashings of butter and cheese, topped with home made Chile if wanted, and on top of that if there is room left there is a hog roast too! The drinks list is a good one too, Bombarder (cask) beer, Doom Bar (cask) beer, Boddingtons (smooth pour) Becks veir (larger) and the usual wines and spirits, the trip boat will be alongside the wharf as the main bar, food will be served in the Tea room and the entertainment,stage, main tables and seating will be in the marque which will be adjacent to the shop on the wharf. So if you were thinking of coming but not quite sure think again because its going to be a great night!

If you havent had an invite we might have overlooked you, just drop me an email to remind me! 


Sunday, 20 October 2013

It's been a very busy day here today. I don't know where the time has gone to today, no sooner had I seen the dayboat away it was lunchtime and here we are now, at 5pm!

We have run four one-hour long trips on the trip boat today. They have been extremely popular even during the wet periods that we have experienced today. 

Denise and Lynn have been busy in the tearoom all day, whilst Ange has floated between the shop and the tearoom. I have been here there and everywhere (or so it feels...). Sylvia has been with Will working the trip boat. Mick has been doing Mick things and Lee has docked and undocked a boat following a survey, done some strimming, pumpouts, diesel etc.

As the season draws to an end, we have to reduce our staff numbers, so today has seen us say farewell to Lynn. She has been an asset to our team over the summer and she will be missed. She says that she won't miss us, but I am sure that she will! Anyway, good luck Lynn and we wish you all the best in the future and please do pop in from time-to-time to say hello.

Anyway, that's all from me today.

Until tomorrow...

Regards, David.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Progress with Thea - Week 2

I thought that I would give you an update on Thea.

The whole boat has now been prepped and Richard has started applying rust inhibitor, primers and undercoats. Here's some of the latest pictures for you to have a look at.

The whole of the cabin top (commonly known as the roof) is now in primer as are the Northwich style handrails. These handrails take a long time to prepare and paint as they stand an inch or so off of the cabin top on little stilts.

It was decided to take the riveted part of the cabin (back cabin and engine room) back to bare steel to avoid any problems in the future with old paintwork around the rivets on the cabin sides.

The front deck is now in primer as are the inside of the locker lids and drains.

The fore-end has been prepared and is also in primer.

And the primer is now on the sides...

Mick has been busy making a new wooden rear slide and slide runners and will be fitting them over the weekend.

Another update next week!

Until tomorrow,

Best regards, David.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Thefts from boats

Well what a horrible day it has been today, the morning started off grey and dark and it really felt like a day in the depths of the winter, Brrrrr and its gone really cold, stoking fires is probabnly the order of teh day for most people but not here as work still goes on, Richard as you know is in the final stages of the preparation work on Thea and is now starting to apply primer, as well as some finishing jobs on Ben Cruchan, that is the last boat he painted but it remained here while we did some major surgery in the engine room and no matter how careful people have been there is still some touching up to do, Lee docked a couple of boats this morning with Simon, one of them has got to have a new stern drive rubber boot fitted, not the normal sort of job that we do and we don't see many stern drives so that is something other than the 'norm' Lee then went in to the warm to help Richard do some painting, Simon showed a day boat out (must be mad in this weather) just the one out fortunately! Joyce has been doing eBay stuff and Ange has been catching up on paperwork!

As the title suggests we are starting to see a few thefts from boats, or hear about them, nothing new I know but it is worth mentioning the latest thefts!  I had an email this morning to say that a cratch cover has been stolen off a boat at Gailey and we had a diesel heater unit and an inverter stolen off a boat here at Norbury recently, without a shadow of a doubt this has to be a boater as these items would be of little use to anyone else, stay vigilant and make sure that your belongings are protected as best you can when your boat is left alone!


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

well what can i say

hi all, simon has asked me to write a blog today as he doesn't know what to write other than the usual garb that goes on here. i will do my best.
well we've had no day boats out today, we've had phantom return from a 6 week cruise with very happy customers aboard.
joyce has manned the tea room which has kept her busy along with  keeping up with our e bay sales, wrapping parcels and sending them off to the post office. at one stage we had to send her to the petrol station in gnosall to get some fuel for the strimmer so that lee could carry on with the task in hand. she's as bad as i am in the company vehicle....can't reach the pedals and no rear view mirror and can't do reversing very well without one, but we got there between us.
simon answered his e mails then someone asked for a bottle of gas to be delivered to their house and there was only him able to do it as either we weren't old enough to drive the van or not strong enough to get the bottle out at the other end....oh well, it kept him occupied for 1/2 an hour.
i have been re-stocking shelves, collating orders for the chandlery....stove glass for one, as customers don't realise that we sell more glass at this time of the year because when they go to their boat for a visit they light the stove and the glass cracks as the weather is cooler.
simon (engineer) has been working on the hire fleet and mick has been working on a private boat. rich is making headway with "thea" and i'm sure david will be putting more photo's on as the painting progresses.
all in all not a very busy day, sorry about the lack of capital letters peter (underwood) you know who you are....until next time, byeeee ange.    

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Old faces

I do like it when old friends and customer's pop into say hello and today has been one of those days.

Firstly we had Blue Diamond pull on the Wharf. Still looking resplendent in the livery that we painted it about eight years ago. We had a good catch up and natter about the current climate and the condition of the waterways. It was also good to see Tony and his wife Julie who used to be part owners in Oasis Too which was based here for a number of years. They turned up with their new boat, which they are really chuffed with.

It has been really damp here today, alright if you are a duck, but not much else really...

The lads have all kept their heads down today and got on with their relavent jobs. Fred has been blacking, turned a couple of boats round, done some pumpouts and diesel on the Wharf and a bit of painting - inside I hasten to add... Simon has turned Phoenix around ready for the customer's arrival tomorrow and finished a service on an engine on a private boat. Mick has been down the dock finishing some jobs off on another private boat.

Lynn has been cleaning boats and catching up with laundry, whilst Denise has been in the kitchen and Ange in the office with me. I've had my head glued to the computer screen all day designing the hire boat brochure for next year. Watch this space - we should have copies by the end of the month :-)

Best regards,


Friday, 11 October 2013

Progress with Thea - Week 1

Well Thea has now been in the dock for five days and a lot of headway has been made. As with most jobs on boats the list just seems to get longer and longer, but it's always best to address any issues when they are discovered. 

It was decided to remove the rear slide runners prior to preparing the cabin for painting and it was a good job that we did because there was a lot of corrosion going on under there as you can see by this picture!

It has now been needle gunned and linished back to remove it prior to a rust inhibitor being applied as you can see here. 

You can also see that we decided to remove the chimney collar to treat the corrosion that was occurring underneath it and the corrosion that was occurring down the cabin side has been dug out too.

The counter, dollies and cants get continued use, so we have decided to take this working area back to bare metal.

The large front deck which is constructed out of chequer plate has been needle gunned and wire brushed.

All the portholes have been removed and all apertures papered up...

Richard has now started to sand down the cabin sides.

I'll give you another update at the end of next week.

Best regards,


Thursday, 10 October 2013

What a difference a day makes!!

On Tuesday I was saying how fantastic the weather was, well what a difference a day makes because it has now gone the other way and the temperature has dropped massively compared to two days ago! So much so that coal sales have shot up through the roof and we now have deliveries planned for tomorrow to our usual customers, that will please Fred. Don't forget that not only do we sell pre packed solid fuel, coal, logs, stick, fire ligthters but we also deliver by road (minimum 10x25KG bags) and we still deliver by water, but only in Norbury, and only on a small boat that we load on the wharf not a 70 footer like other people do.

Another busy day here at Norbury today, well it was first thing this morning, the reception was full of people, people collection ordered parts, people getting diesel on the wharf, a big tractor with one of our regular customers on also after diesel, day boaters coming to collect their boat for the day, the phone wouldn't stop ringing, we didn't know where to turn first, we could have done with three tills at one stage and three ears to answer the phones, and then it was like someone turned the electricity off as the place went dead quiet and it stayed like that for the afternoon, the day boat came back with happy boaters on it and we had a hire boat return that has been out for the last three weeks with a regular customer on board.

Nothing really exciting happening around the yard, Simon has been working on a vintage engine in a boat, and has been fitting anodes, as well as having a mooch around the engines in the hire fleet, Lee has blacked a couples of boats on the dock and done some tidying on the moorings, and Richard has been mostly making a dusty mess in the paint shop as he carries on stripping Thea (a converted ex working boat) that belongs a to a friend and customer of Norbury.

That's it from me for today.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013


Its hard to believe that it is the 8th October today as the sun has been belting its rays out all day, in fact its been that warm that I almost had my jumper off and Angela almost broke out in to a sweat, Simon was moaning because he hadn't got his shorts on and his legs were hot, as you can imagine this weather has bought out the visitors to Norbury which has keep Joyce very busy in the kitchen today, its just a shame that the canal is not a bit busier with people taking advantage of this brilliant weather, lets hope it stays like this for the next few weeks!

We have had a great response to the boat naming competition and have had some interesting name suggestions put forward, we do have a favourite at the moment but please please keep sending in the suggestions, oh and don't forget that the lucky winner will get to take the boat out FOC next year (not the whole of next year, just a short break)

The fish and chip suppers are nearly finished for this year so if you fancy a trip with some lovely fish n chips get in quick as we only have a few spaces left for this Friday, Saturday and next Friday.

We find ourselves in the unusual position of having two moorings becoming available shortly so if you are looking for a mooring in this beautiful spot(they don't come up often) then get in touch.

That's it from Me for toady

Sunday, 6 October 2013

It's been a really busy day here at Norbury today.

It's been a really busy day here at Norbury today.

The trip boat has operated four trips as usual today, 11:00, 12:30, 14:00 and 15:30 hours. Each trip departs our Wharf outside the shop/tearoom and takes an hour round trip to Grub Street winding hole and return. There's plenty to see on the way and our experienced crew give a running commentary of things to look out for; like the infamous "High Bridge" that carries the Newport-Eccleshall road across the Shropshire Union Canal near to the village of Woodseaves. We ensure that our Fully Licensed Bar is well stocked to keep you fed and watered during the relaxing cruise.

We have undocked Sue's boat and it is now in the paint dock ready for Rich to start his magic on it tomorrow morning. The boat that has been in the paint dock has now been collected and started it's voyage to Droitwich.

There has been a bit of activity on the Wharf today. People stocking up with coal for the winter and our regular diesel and gas sales - not to forget the pumpouts!

Denise has been busy in the tearoom whilst Ange has been running from one end of the shop to the other - answering phones, serving customers etc. Lee has been pressure washing and Mick has been fitting the boat up that we got out the dock and stripping Thea.

I managed to take a picture as we were swapping boats on the dock today. It shows Thea passing Tycho. Both of these boats are Middle Northwich boats built for the expansion of the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company in 1936 (two of eight pairs ordered) and are peculiar as they have rounded chines and vee bottoms. It's nice to have two of these unique boats here at the same time.

Talking of old boats we have got quite a collection at the moment, which include: Ant, Calstock, Clover, Thea and Tycho.

Until tomorrow.

Best regards,


Saturday, 5 October 2013

New resident at Norbury attracts some interest

Regular visitors to Norbury will notice that we have a new resident. He moved in last week and seems quite content to live within our "working boatyard" environment. I first noticed him on Wednesday when he was fishing on the towpath opposite the boat that I was working on. He has also taken to sitting on the front of the hire boats, watching the world go by and creating alot of interest. I managed to capture a picture of him earlier and I thought that you might like to see it.

It's been a busy day here at Norbury today. We had three dayboats out first thing, followed by the trip boat out on a five hour chartered cruise to Wheaton Aston and back. We have just finished turning her around and we are off out again at 7pm with a Fish and Chip trip.

Simon has finished installing the engine in Ben Cruachan and it has been run up and tested. I must say it runs a treat and it runs really quietly and smoothly. We have sound proofed the whole engine room, it is mounted on super duper rubber mounts and we have installed an Aqua Drive.

Mick has been doing a bit of this, that and the other, but is making head way with the works he is doing on Ben Cruachan too.

Rich and Fred have finished painting a roof on a boat that we have currently got in the Wet dock which we should be swapping for Thea tomorrow.

I best go and walk the dog, get changed and get ready for the trip at seven. Until tomorrow!

Best regards,


Friday, 4 October 2013

Life on the Cut

I came across this great footage last night and thought I would share with you all, enjoy!

Best regards,


Thursday, 3 October 2013

Nearly a month!

I am so sorry that there has been a lack of posts over the last month, it has been very busy here at Norbury with the school holidays and different staff off on their holidays and time has just slipped past really fast, Angela was going to do a blog last night but it was her birthday after all so I reckon she deserved a night off!

I don't really know where to start in terms of whats been going on here, lots and lots of boats have been going out, almost three day boats constantly since July, its only now that the bookings are dropping off for them, the hire boats have been busy as you would expect over the school holiday period, but again they have dropped right off now and it almost seems like winter has arrived early, still there is loads to do here, we have some big jobs on at the moment, and the painting dock is very very busy which is keeping Richard on his toes, the dry dock too is still busy and we seem to have a steady flow of boats using that. The trip boat has been very busy indeed and we are currently running fish and chip suppers on a Friday and a Saturday night, public trips on a Sunday and that's not forgetting the charters which are gaining in popularity, only last weekend the boat was out Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Saturday night, all day Sunday and then again on Sunday night for a 5 hour cruise from the Boat inn at Gnosall to the Hartley Arms at Wheaton Aston, I think you could say it was a definite booze cruise judging by the amount of beer they got through on the boat!

Between David, Angela and myself we will be writing regular blogs from now on so keep your eyes peeled.