Saturday, 3 July 2010

Dock theatre July 2010

Hello all

Just a quick note to let everyone know that we will be having another Theatre in our Dry dock this year – due to the success of last year.

Mikron Theatre will start everything off on Thursday 15th July at 8pm with there show Striking the balance. Ticket prices are £10.00 or £8.00 concessions

On Friday 16th July Kate Saffin will be bringing her 1 woman show to our Dry Dock. Her show this year will be split in to 2 half’s – 1st half will be Isobel’s war Then 2nd half will be Mary rose – a boat of ill repute. Ticket prices are £8.00 or £6.00 concessions

Tickets are available in advance from our shop or alternately please call 01295 272917 to reserve. Tickets will also be available on the night - subject to availability.

Please bring your own chairs -Although we do have a few chairs.

Refreshments will be available on both nights.Hope to see you there.


Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Hello again,
Not posted for a while, mainly due to being rather busy at the boatyard, but also partly to do with getting married!
Just wanted to let you know about a new service we are offering both at the yard and on-site, ever wondered what is lurking in the bottom of your fuel tank? Well now you can both find out, and more importantly remove it. The fuel pick up from your tank should not take fuel from the very bottom, this is to allow water (which sinks in diesel) and solids to form a layer, some tanks have a drain off to allow you to get the crud (polite technical term) out, however most don't.
Enter the Tooley's mobile fuel polishing system, (Fanfare and roll of drums at this point) using a battery powered pump, we collect the dirty diesel from the tank with a rigid lance, separate out the crud and return it to the tank, in effect hoovering the tank and polishing the diesel. The filters will remove anything bigger than 30 microns and all water, we then drain this off and present it back to you as a sample! The technology is certainly not new, it has been in use in the Marine industry and plant applications for many years, however I think we may be the first narrowboat yard offering this service. The circulating fuel acts as an agitator and will loosen and lift particles off the bottom and sides of the tank so we do recommend a fuel filter change at the same time and indeed anyone booking a fuel polish can take advantage of a discounted engine service at the same time. One of the main benefits however is to have an interesting table decoration to amuse and amaze Friends and Family!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010


Hi all

Well it has been a while since we last posted anything. We have had a very busy year.

We have had a change in the boatyard. Linda has now retired and Martin has had a career change and moved on. They will both be missed and I would like to say a big thank you to them for all their hard work.

We have a new member of staff. Bob has been with us now for a few months and is a great addition to the team. I am sure that he will do a post soon to introduce himself and tell you bit about himself. 

The dry dock is constant  with a steady stream of boats in for all sorts of work.  Narrowboat Penfold is going in to the dock tomorrow. The Uxter plate (part of the hull in the engine room) is very thin and needs cutting out and replacing. I will take some photos so that you can see what we are doing.

While we swap boats over the swans have a look around

The other Matt has been busy. (as well as getting married - congratulations) He has been doing various work on boats that gets him called away from the yard.  From gas work to breakdowns.  He has come up with a great idea that we will be offering to customers. We are keeping it a bit quiet at the moment as we will be the first to offer this service on the waterways. We are doing the final tests it and running trials, but I am sure that he will be letting you know all about it soon.

We have a few events happening at the yard this year. I will let you know about these soon.

Regards Matt


Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Big Freeze!

Well this year has got off to a cold start!

At the moment we are frozen in. The boat in the dock was supposed to have come out on Monday, but the ice is too thick and we do not want to damage the new coat of blacking. The next boat to come in cannot reach the dock anyway. So we will have to wait for things to thaw out.

We also have a boat with a hole in the hull who cannot make it to the dock. It will be good to get them in the dock and make them water tight.

We have been kept busy doing various call out work. One job was an emergency call out down to Lower Heyford. The boat had an exhaust fitting that was perished, but the weight of the snow on top of the boat caused the boat to sit further down in the water and it started to take on water! our deliveries were reduced due to the snow and I had trouble getting a part, so i picked it up myself but i could not make it as the roads were blocked - so i had to walk the last mile.

Another job we are doing is replacing an engine. The customers engine block cracked when the temperature dropped below -15.

If you have left your boat over the winter it will be worth checking it over.
Common problems that can arise with this cold spell can be battery problems, frozen pipes and heaters. Make sure that you check your engine over before starting.

If you are worried about anything then give us a call - advice is free!

Regards Matt A

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


Well we have had a busy December. The Dry dock has been busy with boats and we have had a lot of call outs on the canal.

Every year we have Santa's groto in the old forge. This year we had about 2000 childern visiting Santa. Here's a picture of his arrival at the shopping centre.

I have had my own arrival this year. My daughter Alice was born on the 3rd December weighing seven pounds. She is keeping us up at night but she is great.

We have had chilly start to the New Year I will update you shortly

Cheers Matt

Thursday, 12 November 2009

How is your bottom!

When was the last time you blacked your hull?

Do you know what is on your hull?

There are many different types of hull blacking, but they broadly fall into 3 types, which you should not get mixed up. They are: -

1 Bitumen - this probably the most common hull blacking. If you cannot find out what is on your hull then you are probably safest going with this as it is oil based and will go over all other blackings. However, bitumen will dissolve in oil and diesel so it is not the best product.
A boat with bitumen should really be blacked every 2 - 3 years.

2. Coal Tar - this is better than bitumen. It is coal based. It will go over epoxy but not tar. It is resistant to oil and diesel.
A boat with coal tar should be blacked every 2 - 4 years.

3 Epoxy - There are different types and the most expensive is considered to be the best because it lasts longer. It will not go over bitumen or coal tar. You need to know what was on before as different epoxys are not always compatible.
They say that boats with epoxy can be left for up to 8 years. We would recommend docking the boat half way to check the hull condition.

If you have any questions about your hull coating then please contact us, as it is very important to know what hull blacking you have, and also to know that the boat has been prepped and blacked correctly - as it can come off if done incorrectly!

Also at the moment we doing a deal on hull blackings in November and December. Email us at for further details.


Monday, 26 October 2009

Banbury Canal Day

A bit late but heres our update on our Canal Day in Banbury.

The event was opened by the Mayor and the sponsors who arrived on our day boat - the 'Dancing Duck'. Then the Duck when on provide boat trips for the rest of the day.
At the boatyard we opened the site for the general public giving the full access to the yard.

On the canal side in front of the dock we had a pig roast with our restaurant boat 'Rosamund the Fair' providing the bar.

We also had old cast iron forge that we saved from Alcan (Banbury's old aluminium works) when it closed.

Its nice having this old forge as it was made in Samuelson's Foundry in Banbury. The interesting thing about it is that the Tooley's used to supply coal and pig iron to the site by boat - so maybe the Tooley's supplied the fuel and metal to make this forge.

So what a fitting place for this to end up. We have restored the forge back to running order and Ron did demonstrations on the day.

We also had our 200 year old forge up and running with demonstrations running through out the day.

Our Chandlery was open as usual and was packed full of people all day.

We also had a display of Roses and Castles painting in the yard and we took bookings for our painting classes.

Here in this picture you can see Atlanta an old working boat in the dock. The dock is normally dry so we can work on boats out of the water, but on the day we had the dock full of water.
You can also see some old engines that have been restored and being displayed by Pete Downer and friends.
Well the day was a success and thousands of people came down to the canal saw different things and enjoyed the day by the water. And thats what our Canal Day is all about.