Shop front in the summer

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Making headway

Well as the title suggests we are making good headway with the winter works on our hirefleet. All the boats except 2 are going out this coming Friday, Saturday and the following Monday so Mrs handbag has been cleaning the boats and shampooing carpets. I showed her how the shampooer worked, we filled it up with water....wrong move....we then had to get it onto the boat :-( and unfortunately for us it was Sphinx, traditional stern with seats on the counter, the boat kept drifting out which made matters worse, we untied the ropes, pulled the boat back in, tied it up again, basically we were struggling whilst being ignored by Peter and Bernard, thanks for your help lads!!!!
Bernard has been looking at engines and generally making a nuiscance of himself.
Peter has been doing lots of different jobs from the winter work schedule on the boats, plumbing, varnishing and even a bit of painting.
The shop has seen lots of people through the door today, the weather has been glorious so lots of folk decided to visit Norbury, it's amazing what a bit of sunshine can do. The tea room has been busy for most of the day which has kept Denise on her toes.
We also had 3 day boats out first thing this morning which Peter duly showed out, all returned on time and all had a great day.  As soon as they landed Mrs handbag cleaned them as they are all out again tomorrow.
The blogs will being starting to get longer and more interesting from now on as there will be more things to talk about as we are starting to get much that's it from me, until next time, byeeeeeeee, Ange.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Getting Afloat - Part 5

Peter Underwood looks what turns ordinary people into boaters

What are the options for today's boat buyer? Are you a family boater or a solo boater, a summer boater or an all-year boater, a river person or a canal fan? All those questions and more you should be asking yourself before buying that first vessel. We look at the pros and cons of types of vessels and how they suit different needs .

When the boating bug bites it spurs you into swift action – but try to resist, at least to the extent that you can think carefully about what you really want from boating.
One thing that never ceases to surprise me is the number of boat owners we meet on our travels who have bought a narrowboat without even taking a holiday on one before. It's a bit like buying a car without taking a test drive – and potentially as big a mistake.

You can hire a boat for a few hundred pounds out of the main holiday season and that is probably the only way of being sure that boating is really something on which you want to spend thousands of pounds and lots of your free time.

Read the Canal and River Trust website and you will find it emphasising, with a heavy hand, the 'responsibilities' of boat ownership, but I would rather talk about the enthusiasm, the pleasure and the simple enjoyment it promises, beyond the tedious business of officialdom and the finger-wagging about rules.

In fact, don't approach owning a boat from the point of view of the vessel itself, start with you, your family and what you want out of a boating life. At the end of the day a boat is a means to an end – a better lifestyle for you and the people you love.

When you dream of being a boater, how do you see yourself? Are you moored out in the countryside, under leafy trees, watching the sun go down with a glass of wine? Would you be equally happy in the same spot with the fire lit, rain lashing down outside and a glass of wine?

You may notice a recurring theme there, but the serious point is that boating in the UK is an all-weather sport and rarely attracts sun-addicts, so any of those in your family are in for disappointment.

Do you want to explore the waterways, taking your boat to all the hidden places; whether they are  beside the crumbling mills of the industrial North, through the rolling hills of the Welsh borders or behind the back gardens and on the abandoned docks and wharves of our modern cities?

Perhaps you just want to spend weekends and holidays in a part of the country you have grown to love and have many of the comforts of home whilst being able to slow down to a pace of life only available on our waterways?

Can you switch from your everyday working life, where things have to be done quickly, to deadlines and even leisure is often grabbed and consumed as if it might evaporate unless swiftly seized, to a life where nothing happens quickly and the equivalent of a 20 minute road journey can take a whole day?

Once you have answered those sort of questions about what you and your family want from boating you can start to think about what sort of boat fits the bill. Don't think about a new boat or an older vessel – just about the type of boat that will suit you.
If you are the rushing about sort you may be better looking at sea-going, or at least river-going, vessels where you can, within limits, pile on the power and burn diesel to your hearts' content.

If peace, slowing down, and an outdoor, physical way of life sound more attractive, then the inland waterways may be for you.

 Travelling along our canals in Summer can be a different experience from other times of the year.
If you are the exploring type then the parameters almost set themselves. In order to explore all corners of the system you need a narrowboat, nothing wider than seven feet and nothing longer than 60 feet to fit in all the locks across the system. It also needs to have an engine big enough to cope with the flows on the rivers and even the tides of the Ribble estuary if you want to venture onto the Lancaster canal.

If you are content to base your boat in a smaller area and won't want to explore further afield then you can buy something wider or even longer. Check the minimum lock lengths and widths, as well as the air draft under bridges on your chosen waterways and that will dictate the external dimensions of your boat.

 Do you want a full length boat or a short one which offers easier handling and mooring?

Whether you and your family are summer boaters or all-year boaters, along with you budget, will decide whether you buy a 'yoghurt pot,' as GRP vessels are disparagingly described by steel boat owners, or one of those painted steel boxes regarded with some disdain by the owners of expensive, upmarket GRP gin palaces on the Thames.

One of the funniest moments of a visit to London for me was watching a collection of half a million pound gin palaces gather in the lock of St Katherine's dock by Tower Bridge to come out on the Thames. As they left a sea-battered Greenpeace boat, with its experienced deep-sea crew has waiting to enter and suddenly even the super-confident Thames motor yachts were deferring to a different class of boater.

There is a hierarchy of boats but the joyful thing is that each boat owner usually believes his or her class of boat to be the superior choice – so that's all right then!

 Will it be steel or a lively little GRP runabout and does river or canal cruising suit best?

GRP cruisers tend to be cheaper and to give you more space for your money but they are less comfortable in bad weather and more difficult to keep warm. We started boating with a 32ft Viking, designed to fit narrow canals, even though we were based on the Yorkshire Ouse.

We loved it, it fitted our budget at the time and it enabled us to begin exploring the waterways of the North.

Later our family needs (and our budget) changed and we had a steel narrowboat built, but the exploration continued.

Another reason to look at the decision to buy a boat from a personal viewpoint rather than starting with the boat and trying to fit your family around it is finance.

Buying a boat will cost thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of pounds. If it is to become a comfortable part of your lifestyle you have to be comfortable with spending that amount of money.

That means you either have that sort of amount to hand and can spend it without an impact on your family budget or that you have an impeccable credit record, a really helpful bank and can easily meet to credit repayments.

Even though prices are currently at an attractive low point – at least from the point of view of buyers – loans and boat mortgages now have a distinct resemblance to hens' teeth and it is a difficult time for families to join the hobby.

Only you can answer the financial questions, but bear in mind that you cannot see a boat as an investment, despite what the brokers and boat builders may claim. The chances are that you will sell it for less than you bought it and, although it doesn't depreciate as quickly as the family car it is unlikely to gain in value.

The good thing is that there is a sort of sliding scale. You may not be able to afford a new boat with all the things you need but you can pay the same money for an older boat with those facilities already in situ. In this sense boats are not like cars as they do not deteriorate at the same rate and you can bring them back to an improved look and value by spending money on repainting or refitting the interior.

You must decide whether the depreciation, added to the running costs of several thousand pounds a year is good value for the weekend breaks and longer holidays you will enjoy.

While the type and dimensions of your boat are decided by budget and your preferred locations just how simple or complicated it needs to be depends on the requirements of you and your family.

At one extreme, you may be thrilled by the idea of living in the back cabin of an old working narrowboat with just a small stove for cooking, a bowl of water to wash yourselves and the gentle odour of diesel and oil from the adjacent engine-room. If that's a thrilling prospect and you have the skills and/or money to keep such a boat afloat then you can become one of the dedicated owners of historic boats, using your holidays to visit boat gatherings and festivals around the system.

At the other, your modern family may demand enough power to keep an army of gadgets going, twice daily showers all round and a kitchen able to produce gourmet meals. You may need to be looking at the sort of boat normally acquired by those planning to live aboard all year round.

Most of us will be somewhere between but it is advisable to explore the expectations of all the family – if only to give them a reality check.

Almost every boat bought is a compromise, with the possible exception of those specified and designed from scratch with an open-ended budget.

Most of the time it is a compromise between hope and budget but sometimes the boat itself demands that you compromise.

We had a 42ft holiday boat built for us, fairly standard design, slightly oversized engine, and were delighted with it. After just over a year we sold it to buy a second-hand 42ft boat that had simply captured our imagination. The upstart that intruded on our boating lives was a canal anomaly designed and built at Wincham Wharf on the Trent and Mersey with a solid steel cabin with windows and an indoor steering position taking up a third of the length at the stern, and yet able to pass under the lowest bridges on the system. It is still in use as a live-aboard boat on the Grand Union.

So be warned, however good your list of requirements becomes you will always face the risk of seeing a boat that forces you to rethink your priorities and find the money to acquire a vessel that just captures your imagination.

However, you do need that list of what your want from a boat clearly in your mind – or even in writing – before you set out to see what's on offer.

 Wide or narrow depends on location and where you aim to take your vessel.

To go back to that car analogy, boat buying is very much a matter of buyer beware. If you are buying privately make sure the person who is selling has clear title to the boat, just as you would a car, and there is no finance outstanding which means it is really owned by the bank or lender.

Most boats are sold by brokers and they see themselves as simply facilitating the sale. Like estate agents they won't take responsibility for any fault which may subsequently be discovered. In fact, many brokers won't even ensure a boat is clean and tidy before putting it on sale.

Once you sign on the dotted line and cast-off the lines you have to deal with the consequences of any breakdown of the engine or other equipment as the boat is sold as seen.

In fact it is more difficult than buying a car or a house. A boat doesn't have registration documents, there is no Land Registry for boats and even after you have had a survey, costing around £300 or so (plus a fee for taking the boat out of the water), carried out you will only really  get a list of potential problems.

Boat Safety Certificates, should come with most boats but think of them as MOTs and about as reliable as indicator of the boat's value. If the boat is new or has been built within the last couple of years it may not have a Boat Safety Certificate but a document called a 'Declaration of Conformity'. This means the boat has been built to the standards in the European Recreational Craft Directive and the Declaration of Conformity can be used in the same way as a Boat Safety Certificate.

The Recreational Craft Directive means that boats sold after June 1998 should have documents from the original builder of all relevant data. Make sure you get a bill of sale and collect all documentation available before handing over the cash.

Your search for the right boat could be a long one and the simplest way of starting is to use the many adverts in the boating press to check what's on offer and make a short-list of those you want to explore further.

There are also online boat sales sites and personal advertisements in magazines like Towpath Talk from boat owners wanting cut out the brokers. In the end there is no substitute for getting on board and having a good poke around as well as a test run if the boat is a serious contender.

When you get out there in the boat yards and marinas, looking for the boat that best fits your and your family, just keep comparing your wish list with the reality.

The chances are you will have to compromise but don't forget that this is a buyer's market so the boat you don't think you can afford could suddenly come into reach if you make an offer that fits your budget.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Busy and productive week

As the saying goes "time flies when your having fun"! This week has flown by, but it's been an extremely productive one.

Lee has been making good progress on Birmingham. All the preparation has now been done, the areas that are being painted have had two coats of high build primer and the undercoats are being put on.

The front end has had quite a bit of work done too. The cants have been taken back to bare wood, the tee stud removed for fettling and the rest of the fore end ready to receive some paint as this picture shows.

Here's a couple of shots of the cabin from mid week when the boat was at primer stage.

The handrails on the engine room are wooden and had suffered from old age, so Mick has made a pair of very nice new ones that were fitted on Friday. We have made them out of Sapele which is an African red hard wood very similar to what we know as Mahogany.

We have completed a welding and fabrication job this week which comprised of putting a new floor in a gas locker - a tricky job when you are working through a small hatch, and filling in a window and porthole before fitting a new porthole which Mike has fitted today.

We have also made a new wooden door frame and rear door for another private boat.

Peter has been busy working on the hire fleet as well as docking, pressure washing and blacking, whilst Bernard has been working on the engines on the hire fleet.

That's it from me for today.

Until next time, David.

Monday, 17 March 2014

It was all go yesterday, hence why I didn't have the time to write a blog!

We had three dayboats go out first thing, we had a boat on the dock for a survey followed by another for pressure washing and blacking. It's such a small world. As I was backing the boat down towards the dry dock we were discussing this and that and it turns out that they used to be based at Hallingbury Mill on the River Stort. They were so surprised that I knew where it was. My parents used to keep their boat there in the early 1990s and I have fond memories of the place.

We also swapped the boats in the painting dock. Pacific is looking resplendent in our "Norbury" livery. Unfortunately Trevor didn't have time to finish signwriting her while she was still in the dock, so he has been making hay while the sun shines today and has got one side completed. I best get her turned round, so he can finish the other side tomorrow - weather permitting...

Pacific at Norbury Wharf Limited.

Well Birmingham is now in the paint dock for a full cabin repaint. She was built by Harland and Wolff in Woolwich, London in 1936 for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company. It's quite enjoyable working on old boats. Simon reckons I'm sad as I am really passionate about old boats and our canal infrastructure, but if the truth be known, he is too!

 Birmingham in the paint shop.

Her original back cabin was wooden, but it had deteriorated badly so the owners had the cabin "skinned" in steel about twelve months ago at another midlands boatyard. This was done by removing the outer skins of the original cabin and constructing a new cabin over the top without removing any of the interior fixtures and fittings.

 Uncovering years of paint on the original engine room.

Her engine room is still the original, although part of the cabin top (roof) has been replaced in later years. It takes a lot of preparation before any paint can be applied. Here's today's efforts working on the engine room.

Mick has been stripping Birmingham and fitting Pacific up, Peter has been blacking, Lee has been working hard prepping Birmingham whilst Denise and Joyce have been holding fort in the shop.

Best regards,


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Accident prone

Well where shall I start, I have never met anyone as accident prone as Denise in all my life. There is never a day goes by where she doesn't break a mug or a plate, well today she has taken things one step further by having a few accidents. First thing this morning she was moving the newspaper stand outside and got her finger trapped between that and the door, she was then showing a customer something in the shop and caught her arm on the corner of the shelving. Next comes the biggie, she fell in the canal. She was standing on the back of Sphinx and Bernard called her, she lost her footing and fell in, simple as that. Bernard didn't get his priorities right either, he came over to the shop to tell us then went over to haul her out. You'll all be pleased to know that she lived to tell the tale and she has been telling everyone all about it. Other than that she has been fairly busy in the tea room with cyclists and walkers especially.
Mrs Handbag has been outside spring cleaning boats and also helping out in the tea room when needed.
We had 4....yes 4 day boats out first thing this morning which Peter and Mick duly showed out, the weather has been really kind to them today all have returned and everyone had a great time.
David has been trying to get risk assessments done but there have been a lot of customers around today so they have to be put on hold until tomorrow....we'll see, hopefully the good weather will stay with us and we will be nice and busy tomorrow.
Mick has been working on the heating on Python and Peter has been laying new lino in the bathroom on Pippin and fitting a new flue collar to the fire.
Well that's all from me for today....until next time byeeeeeeeee Ange.    

Friday, 14 March 2014

Getting Afloat - Part 4

Peter Underwood looks at what turns ordinary people into boaters.

The market for boats has gone through substantial changes as we have gone through a double, perhaps triple, dip recession. More boats are up for sale as owners try to realise the value of under-used assets but prices are falling. Will you be buying something that is worth very little in future? Can you have faith in the future of the waterways now they are run by a charity? Are you safer buying something second hand that has already lost its initial premium price, or is a new boat a better option? Where will the money come from and how do the sums add up?

The market for boats has gone through substantial changes as we have gone through a double, perhaps triple, dip recession. More boats are up for sale as owners try to realise the value of under-used assets but prices are falling. Will you be buying something that is worth very little in future? Can you have faith in the future of the waterways now they are run by a charity? Are you safer buying something second hand that has already lost its initial premium price, or is a new boat a better option? Where will the money come from and how do the sums add up?

Unless you are listening to a boat salesman it is clear that owning a boat is not quite the investment today it was before the banks crashed our economy and we started to attempt to pick up the pieces.

When we bought our first boat nearly a couple of decades ago, we didn't expect to make money on it, as we could on a property, but neither did we expect to lose as much as we knew we would on a new car.

Boats sat somewhere between the two and, if you spent money on improving them, you might even get some of that investment back when it became time to sell.

Yet, even then, boats were not bought and sold like houses. Then and now they are sold like cars and you stand as much chance of buying a boat with problems as you do of buying a rogue car, with as little comeback.

That's not aimed at frightening any prospective buyers, it's just a reminder that buying a boat is very much a case of buyer beware – you need to be fully informed of what is on the market, exactly what you can expect to get from broker, and how much it is going to cost you, over and above the purchase price.

However, there may never be a better time to buy a boat – there are bargains out there that you may never see again if the economy picks up and the country begins spending money once more.

 When the boating bug bites you just want to be out of the water
- but you could do so in a real bargain.

Let's start with the current market. If you want to buy a boat of any sort, from a windsurfer upwards you are about to become part of the tiny 2.7 per cent of British households which own a boat, according the  British Marine Federation's latest available research.

That is just over a million craft of some sort but six out of ten of them are canoes, small sailing boats or windsurfers.

Of the remaining half a million in round figures, most are coastal craft of some sort but, according to Canal and River Trust (CRT) statistics there are around 36,000 boats on their waterways. That has grown substantially from the turn of the century up until the last couple of years – from 25,401 in 2000/01 to 35,241 in 2010/11.

The number of new licences issued by the Canal and River Trust (then British Waterways) peaked in 2008 when 2,135 new boats bought licences. Since then it has nearly halved – 1,687 in 2009, 1,544 in 2010, 1,480 in 2011 and just 1,279 last year.

So what do all those numbers tell us when it comes to deciding whether to spend your hard-earned cash on a boat now?

First of all it shows that this is a really small marketplace with just a thousand or two boats changing hands each year. Check through the boating magazines and you will see there are perhaps half a dozen big brokers dominating the inland waterways market with maybe two or three times that number of smaller operators. Most big towns have more car dealers than that.

Whilton Marina, one of the bigger brokerages sells 20-25 boats a month according to Sales Manager Andy Robinson, that's 300 a year.

The second point worth making is that we are currently in a buyer's market. There are more people seeking to sell their boats than in the past, partly because boating is a hobby that has attracted many middle-class, fairly well-heeled families who may well now be feeling the pinch as public sector jobs are axed, pay is frozen, the future price of the house no longer seems quite so rosy and loans are no longer easy to arrange.

In fact, one smaller broker, Simon Jenkins of Norbury Wharf on the Shropshire Union canal reckons prices are now down as much as a quarter over the past couple of years, something that has made the finance companies offering boat mortgages very nervous and almost taken them out of the marketplace.

If you enjoy boating and can afford to buy your own rather than hiring for the day or the week
- there may never be a better time.

So if you are unaffected by those sorts of factors it may be a very good time to buy. Andy Robinson says, “boats have to be priced competitively to sell,” and any casual observer of the boat sales pages of Towpath Talk and elsewhere will often see boats reduced substantially from the original asking prices.

So there are bargains out there, and the experts tell me there are even bigger discounts to be had at the top end of the market. but the cost of boat ownership doesn't stop when you hand over tens of thousands of pounds and become the proud owner.

There may also be bargains to be had amongst the builders of new boats who have been badly affected, in part by the 20 per cent VAT that has to be paid on a new boat used for leisure purposes. There are no figures available but estimates by observers of the industry suggest builders who may have previously produced 10 boats a year have dropped to two or three.

It is easy to fall in love with the idea of boating and with individual boats, but you have to know you can afford it. Simon Jenkins said: “Anyone who bought a boat two or three years ago has seen it fall in value by around 25 per cent and will have spent out around £4,000 a year in each year of ownership.”

The latest CRT survey of boat owners shows that they spend an average of £3,900 a year on their boats - £2,000 on mooring fees, £700 on licence fees, £500 on maintenance, £350 on fuel, £250 on insurance and £100 on surveys and safety work.

The Trust has decided to stick to a rise in licence fees which is well above inflation this year, despite the recession, although it has promised lower rises in the years to come. It is also pushing up the prices of its moorings, sold through an online auction system, by hiking reserve prices considerably in the auctions and making it impossible for market forces to push down prices.

That may well be the shape of things to come as the Canal and River Trust, which has a fixed government income for the next decade or so, is facing rising costs and many fear those will be passed on to boaters.

The cost of Canal and River Trust licences and moorings is rising but at least they
have a guarenteed government income for the coming years, so boat owners can
look forward to their hobby being protected for some time to come.
So, if you have spent £40,000 on a boat you will be paying out nearly ten per cent of that initial investment every year that you own it and you may have seen its value fall by £10,000.

I can tell you that your boat will not increase in value by that amount each year. Andy Robinson optimistically says: “I can't honestly tell a buyer that a boat will increase in value. If you buy a boat for £30,000 and you keep it in tip-top condition we could probably still put it on the market for £30,000 in a couple of years time.”

The difficulty is that keeping a boat in the best possible condition costs a lot more than just £500 on maintenance, you have to keep that paintwork sparkling and correct any faults that develop, so you will have paid out, perhaps £6-8,000 over that two years, just using the boat and looking after it.

Even so, that's not a bad price for several family holidays and a few weekends, around £3-4,000 a year if you compare it with spending an equal time abroad.

Simon Jenkins thinks the market has just bottomed out. “I think we have got to the stage where people will just stop selling boats, they can't go much lower. I have just sold a 60ft, 2001 boat for £18,000 and that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

“To me, that means this is the best possible time to buy if you can afford to do so. There won't be a time like this again for buyers. Even then you won't be getting an appreciating asset but you will get a good boat at a good price and have a lot of fun.”

 Simon Jenkins reckons prices have fallen by 25% in the past two years
but believes they have now bottomed out.

He thinks boat owners have reached the point where they won't sell at a low price and will try to save elsewhere. “We are seeing fewer boats being used for cruising and I suspect we will see more boat owners avoiding costs like licences and mooring fees.”

Whether that's true or not the boat market is a better place for buyers than it has been for many years and there are still canny people with the money to take advantage and they are doing so in steady numbers.

Whilton's Andy Robinson says he's selling to 25 or so such people every month and Simon Jenkins, who operates on a smaller scale sold four boats last month. Back of an envelope calculations would suggest that's around 200 boats a month being bought across the inland waterways.

Whether you should become one of those buyers depends very much on your personal situation. If you have the money available, or the impeccable credit history needed to borrow it, and you are reconciled to paying out a few thousand a year in costs and depreciation in order to have several wonderful holidays and weekend breaks then now really is the time to go for it.

All these words of caution have little to do with the essentially emotional decision to buy a boat – but they have to be said because of the national economic situation. When we are bouncing along the bottom of a recession it would be foolhardy to encourage anyone to spend on something they can't really afford.

I suspect, however, that all the facts and figures will fall on deaf ears if the people thinking of buying have already fallen for the waterways. If you are the sort of person who worries about what the future value of you boat might be and see it as an investment you will take heed.

If you want to be a boater you will find a way to buy a boat, enjoy the exceptionally low prices now available and get out on the water as quickly as you can.

I know that when we decided we wanted a boat 18 years ago we made the very grown-up decision to wait a year and make it a wedding anniversary gift to ourselves.

We lasted about a month before we went out and bought our first boat anyway. 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

It was only yesterday, driving through Norbury village that I noticed blossom starting to appear on the trees. There's quite a few cherry trees and their pink blossom is just delightful. Ofcourse the crocuses and snowdrops are in full bloom and the daffodils are just starting to show their heads. I think Spring may have sprung!

It has been a glorious day here at Norbury today. We had three dayboats out first thing this morning, two heading south towards Wheaton Aston and the other north towards Goldstone. The sun has been out all day and we have had brilliant blue skies. There has been plenty of people around; walkers, cyclists, boaters, taking advantage of the sunshine outside on our Wharf, enjoying a cup of tea and coffee. There's been full English breakfasts, bacon baps and not to forget plenty of homemade cake being consumed. That's kept Denise and Mrs. Handbag busy with help from both Ange and Sylvia for part of the day.

Bernard and Peter swapped the boats on the dry dock this morning, which Peter pressure washed. Bernard has been working on one of the hire boats, changing the exhaust silencer, which started to show signs of blowing.

That's it from me today.

Regards, David.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

What a difference a day makes? I took the following two pictures when I walked to work this morning.

It was a really cold frosty morning, but the sun soon burnt through and it was simply a glorious day. Today has been the complete opposite. It has been wind and rain all day...

We've had a busy day again today, three day boats out first thing and the tea room has been packed with cyclists etc.

We've had several people looking at brokerage boats and even an offer put in.

Until next week.



Saturday, 1 March 2014

Cracking weather

Hi all, as the title suggests, we have had fabulous weather here at Norbury today. It was a bit frosty to start with this morning but we have been blessed with sun all day long. We had 3 day boats out this morning and all have returned without any issues and a great time was had by all. They have got to be cleaned tonight as they are all out again in the morning.
We have had quite a busy day here (the weather does help), Denise has been busy in the tea room all day and we have sold lots of ice creams too. Hopefully before long I will be ordering it by the van load as usual, sometimes twice a week (fingers crossed for that).
We had Pippin return to us this morning very happy customers aboard, they hired the boat for a week with a view to buying one to live on....they are hooked ;-)
The cottage was vacated this morning by returning customers of ours who also had a great week.
Once everyone had left I started with stripping beds and ploughing through the washing. I was in the laundry room and Fred came in mooching around, "what are you looking for ?" I said to him, "something to wash the van with" was the reply, "come on Ange, where have you hidden the washing up liquid ?", like I was really going to show him. He then proceeded to take some concentrated flash off one of the shelves and was moaning about it only coming out in small amounts, "that's because it is concentrated Fred, so that you don't use too much" I said to him....and the moral of the story is that we now have a clean and very sweet smelling van :-))....apart from that Fred has been turning boats around and attending to boats on the wharf.
Mick showed the dayboats out this morning and has been working on a private boat.
Oh and Peter Underwood....CAPITAL LETTERS just for you.
Well that's all til next time....byeeee, Ange.