Thumbs up from River Nene cruisers

 
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Activity on the River Nene is certainly beginning to pick up, and last week we had a good number of over night visitors which was really thrilling. Not only did their arrival give us the chance to meet face to face, (which is something that both John and I thoroughly enjoy), but it also gave us the opportunity to chat through our plans and aspirations for White Mills Marina and of course show our guests how the development has progressed over the past 10 months.

The feedback we got was incredibly encouraging, with all of them promising to call in on their return journey later in the Summer.  Even as I sit here typing this blog, yet another gorgeous narrowboat has cruised through Lock 9 on the River Nene,  colourfully painted and looking glorious in the Spring sunshine.

Darla Rose the vintage coffee caravan had a successful first day on Sunday, with both the homemade cakes and fabulous range of "proper" coffee proving incredibly popular.  We are now looking forward to Darla Rose returning this Sunday and every Sunday through May; we hope word will spread and the delightful little vintage caravan will become increasingly popular for boaters, walkers and cyclists.

We are now gearing up for Crick Boat show at the end of the month when we will be having our very own stand in the Waterways World Boating Marquee. If you are planning to go to the three day event, then please do come and look us up we are on stand number 93 and will not just be waving the flag for White Mills but the entire River Nene!

Finally we have another Open Weekend this weekend (7th and 8th May) , so if you haven't popped in for a while then please do come and see us, things have certainly changed. 

See you  soon!

 

 

 

Proper coffee - barista style

 
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We are so thrilled that lovely Michelle from Darla Rose has agreed to come to White Mills Marina to serve coffee - barista style- from her truly gorgeous 1964 sprite caravan every Sunday from 1st May.

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Michelle who is a fully fledged barista will be serving "proper" coffee from her beautiful caravan which she has transformed into a coffee lovers paradise. We would so like her new venture to be a success and it would be lovely to think that both of our businesses will grow together.  Please do come down and support her.  If Darla Rose proves to be a popular, then we hope Michelle will come down on Saturday's too.  I am sure you will agree it does look amazing.

On a side note, if any readers of this blog know of anyone who would be interested in a residential marina manager's position, then please direct them to the careers section of the website. It is a great opportunity in a fantastic location for the right person.

Until next time!

 

Bear Grylls eat your heart out!

 
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It was something out of a Bear Grylls programme at the marina today, as a dozen students from the arboriculture course from Moulton College undertook some tree surgery.  For us, it was certainly exciting although it did looked pretty hairy as they niftily climbed as high as they could to reach the top of the trees to start sawing!  We were assured that all safety precautions had been taken, which was a relief. The lads did some excellent work getting rid of the dead wood and already the trees are looking much better after their trim.

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Whilst all this was going on two or three boaters came for a tour, and we even managed to get our heads around the card machine.  All in all, a great day down at White Mills.

 

Dizzy wins a few hearts

 
 
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Little Dizzy has been winning a few hearts this week as she has been spending some time in the office meeting visitors and potential moorers. And quite honestly, she has loved every minute of it.

Who would have thought that a scruffy little dog like her would become such a key member of the White Mills crew! Keep your eyes peeled - she is going to be appearing in our ads now!

Another bit of exciting news is that we have now actually got a landline. It is 01604 812057 - so go on give us a call!

 

Its official! New River Nene marina now open.

 
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After a hectic past few days, of painting, planting and landscaping, White Mills Marina is now very much open for business, with moorings available for widebeams, narrowboats and cruisers.  Hurray!

The new office and laundrette which were erected at the beginning of the week, gave us the green light for all hands on deck and it has been, all weekend, which has been brilliant.  The two buildings have been painted (two or three coats!)  and fitted out, whilst the majority of the marina has been seeded with grass and I can't believe we are saying this, but we are now looking forward to some rain to make it grow!  The electric gates at the entrance are connected up and over 100 hornbeam hedge quicks carefully planted either side.

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We have had loads of people popping in to take a look especially yesterday, with several serious enquiries, which is incredibly encouraging and exactly what we had hoped for.  To round off the buzz that has definitely been percolating around the marina,  we had out first overnight moorer last night and if that was not enough excitement for one day, our first campervan booking too. 

We have just about finished the jobs for the weekend, and cannot believe our luck with how the weather has stayed fine all day today.

 

 

All hands on deck - college students get stuck in with marina landscaping

 
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Now that the marina is nearing completion, we were so pleased the Level 3 diploma students from Moulton College were able to come along yesterday and get our landscaping underway.  Accompanied by their course Lecturer Stephen Bassford, the dozen strong team, who incidentally were a really great bunch, did a marvellous job and planted over 100 metres of hedging. They also helped tidy up any loose wood and scrub, so all of yesterday's activities combined with the painting of the posts outside the marina at the weekend means we are beginning to look really rather smart.

A big thank you to Moulton College who we are looking forward to welcoming back in the next few weeks.

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Congratulations to Alfie Henmen who along with Andrew Baillie were announced joint winners in our recent landscaping competition.  Sadly Andrew was not able to join us yesterday, however Alfie is pictured receiving his prize from John.

We will be implementing elements of both of their plans as the marina develops. Well done lads!

 

 

Floating pontoons perform perfectly

 
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The last forty eight hours have not just been testing for us folks along the River Nene, but across the whole of Northamptonshire too, as the aftermath of the deluge on Tuesday night takes its toll.

We are pleased to say that the floating pontoons are doing exactly what they have been designed to do, and are keeping the narrowboats and cruisers we currently have moored at White Mills totally safe, which will be a great comfort to boaters who have booked their moorings on the River Nene with us.

Thanks to our links with the Environment Agency the notice we received from the them stating flooding was to be expected gave us ample time to ensure that everything on site remains safe and secure until flooding subsides.

We now know that whatever the weather throws at us all our boats will be safe and secure.

If you would like to discuss the procedures we are putting in place to overcome potential flooding issues, then please do not hesitate to give us a call on 07802 890874.

 

 

 

 

 

February focus

 

When we arranged last weekend's open weekend, we were not really sure whether anyone would venture out to White Mills in the cold to see how things had moved on since our last open weekend back in November. Once again, we were pleasantly surprised.

It was great to see so many of 'our boaters' who have reserved their berths (and some who are contemplating it!) popping in to take a look and enjoy a cuppa. They were very complimentary about how White Mills is looking, as were all the locals who took the time to drop in and see us. We do love to welcome people from the the local vicinity to our open days as it gives us the opportunity to show them around and explain what our plans are as well as listen to their thoughts and ideas. We were so lucky with the weather too, it was sunny and dry and the marina looked in fine form.

Prior to the open days, we took the 'bull by the horns' and tidied up along the roadside, it is looking so much more welcoming.  Next Wednesday we have a team from Moulton College coming to help with some preliminary landscaping, we will be announcing which student has won our competition for landscaping designs so that is something we are looking forward to.

Finally, we have a new and very sociable friend that has joined us on the marina, it has certainly made itself at home very swiftly indeed.  We are not sure whether it is a cob or a pen - but one thing we have noticed is that it has an insatiable appetite for bread - meaning there is not quite so much toast in the mornings!

 

 

 

Elusive Bittern spotted

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We had a very exciting piece of news from a local birding expert walking around the reed bed at Quarry Walk yesterday,  (just across the road from White Mills Marina.)   He told us that at long last he had  seen the  bittern.  The brown heron like bird not only gracefully flew out of the reed bed but landed on the water's edge where it quickly disappeared from view.  

We were lucky enough to see a bittern around Quarry Walk about three years ago, however it has remained incredibly elusive ever since. Walkers have reported seeing it on rare occasions, but by its very nature it is happiest out of sight.

 

 

River Nene marina facilities take shape

 
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Any developments seem to be dictated by the weather, and the past few weeks at White Mills have been no exception!

Luckily last week thanks to the dry spell, Land and Water were able to crack on; the all important tanks including the pump out station and the Elsan disposal were placed in situ, and if that wasn't enough excitement, the diesel tank was put in place too!  The other two pieces of great news are that the mains water has been connected and is now available direct to each berth, and the car park and road are taking shape very nicely indeed.

Students from Moulton College have come back with some interesting landscaping designs and we hope to go through them this week, and pick a winner.  Evidently, the unusually mild weather has shortened the planting season by a few weeks, we are not sure whether we will be able to implement the planting scheme this Spring or not, its going to be tight. Amazingly, the daffodils we planted at the tail end of last year are poking through, it wouldn't surprise me if in the next blog we will be including a photograph of a bank of bright yellow daffs!

We continue to get several enquiries and visits each week from owners of narrowboats and wide beams looking for moorings from which to explore our gorgeous River Nene. Our first widebeam is due to arrive within the next few days, which we are very excited about.

The new office has now been ordered, and is due to be delivered the second week of March, this is a good month later than was originally planned. I hate to mention it again, but the weather really does have a lot to answer for.

Finally, having launched 'Cooking on the Cut' (our new recipe area on the website) - one of our soon-to-be moorers Roger Furnevall (nb Charlie Beere) submitted an excellent recipe using Frankfurters, so a big thank you to him for getting the ball rolling!  We are very keen to fill this section up with loads of interesting and unusual recipes, so if you do have a favourite one we could post up, then please do get in touch.

In the meantime, batten down the hatches and stay safe, and hopefully next time I shall have a rather more exciting photograph to post up!

By the way don't forget we have an Open Weekend on 27th and 28th February 10am - 4pm. We would love to see you.

 
 

'Cooking on the Cut' - recipes for boaters

 
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Calling all cooking enthusiasts - we are launching a new area on the White Mills Marina website called 'Cooking on the Cut' and would love to include YOUR favourite recipes which we can then share with other boaters looking for culinary inspiration. 

With storage space tight and cooking and prepping areas limited, is it possible to cook up a gastronomic feast? Do you forage in the hedgerows and use nature's larder to boost your banquet? Is one pot, your lot? Or is it the BBQ for you?
We want to know!

Please email your recipes and top culinary tips to info@whitemillsmarina.co.uk and we will post them up on www.whitemillsmarina.co.uk. If you have a photo of the finished dish then we would be thrilled to include that too.

If we get enough culinary creations then we would love to put together a special charity 'Cooking on the Cut' cookbook especially for boaters, with all donations going towards Pancreatic Cancer. Now that is what we call win! win!

 

What a year!

 
 
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The wonderful thing about this time of year is that it gives you the opportunity to reflect on the past twelve months, and it would be fair to say that for us, they certainly have been the most incredible months ever. 

It is amazing to think that this time last year we were really only discussing the pros and cons of creating a marina at our age, so who would have thought twelve short months later the field once used for grazing sheep would be actually housing boats instead!

We have met some really terrific people over the past year, and the support and enthusiasm for the marina from boaters, locals, friends and new acquaintances has been fantastic, and we really can't thank everyone enough.

So as we approach the start of another New Year, we would like to take the opportunity of wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.  Please do remember, if you haven't been to visit us yet, the door is always open. Just give us a call and we will make sure we are there to greet you. (07802 890874)

With all good wishes

The White Mills Crew (which of course includes Dizzy!)

 

 

 

VIP visit from MP

 
 
 
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A VIP visit from MP for Daventry Chris Heaton Harris has resulted in the first of many trees being planted at the marina.  And there are no prizes for guessing which species we chose for Chris to plant.........  a weeping willow. Well it had to be done!

Commenting on the development Chris Heaton Harris said, "The marina looks fantastic and I am looking forward to seeing it full with boats in the near future."

We are now looking forward to working with Moulton College to come up with a landscaping plan which we want to implement with their help early next year.

Thank you to Chris Heaton Harris for taking the time to pop in. It was very much appreciated by us all,

 

 

 
 

The day the boat came in

 

Today is certainly a day that will be remembered by all of the White Mills crew, as it is the day that the first boat cruised in. And it certainly was an exciting moment. 

Land and Water still have some work to do before they hand back the site and allow us to welcome visitors. In the meantime, if you would like to come and look around, then please do give us a call, on 07802 890874 and he will make all the necessary arrangements. 

What a happy day!

 

 

The end is in sight

 
 
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There really has been considerable change on site since the last blog, so it is hard to know where to begin.

All the floating pontoons have been installed (well they will have been by the end of play tomorrow) and Land and Water's huge machines are inching their way nearer and nearer the roadway entrance signalling the end is definitely in sight.

The bubble wrapped bollards which bring the electricity and water direct to each berth are now installed and are soon to be connected, and the temporary facilities building which we will be using short term is due to arrive any day.. 

Land and Water are planning to cut through the bank this week, and have installed some lovely wooden edging to the river entrance, so all in all, it is beginning to look very welcoming indeed.

John has been busy planting grass seed which is coming on a treat. The rest of the bunds and banks have nearly been finished and once the wind drops they will be hard at it again trying to get all the sowing done whilst the soil is still relatively warm.

With a new development such as White Mills come real opportunities, and this morning we met with Moulton College to explore the possibility of working with some of the students to come up with some landscaping designs suitable for an inland marina. Their brief is to design a sympathetic landscaping plan that will not only enhance the marina, but also encourage a wide variety of wildlife so that White Mills Marina becomes a real haven for as many different species of flora and fauna as possible.  We are now looking forward to their ideas by the end of this term, so we will be able to jointly implement the winning plans early next term in time for Spring. All very exciting.

 

What a day!

 
 
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We could not have asked for the conditions to be better for when White Mills Marina joined the River Nene.  Yesterday was probably one of the best days in October, as the sun shone and shone and shone.  

For the entire WMM team, Monday 26th October was the day that we had all been working towards and looking forward to for a long time, and it just did not let us down.  As the time approached to 10am there was a lovely flurry of local people around to watch Land and Water finally make the long awaited cut through to the River Nene. From the actual cutting through process to the fireworks exploding and of course the water running through the carefully laid pipes - everything went like clock work.  Cameras were clicking as everyone captured the momentous occasion, they were not let down as the water just flowed and flowed, by dusk it was amazing to see just how much water had flowed into the basin.

We had some terrific news coverage, BBC Look East came out and really did do us proud, and ITV Anglia came to support us too.  Anglia are doing a follow up story once the marina is full and the floating pontoons installed. 

So all in all a memorable and fabulous day and one I hope enjoyed by everyone who came to witness the river flow into White Mills.  Big thanks to the Collins family, Andrew Langley from Destination Nene Valley, and of course the delightful Joyce Boulos Hanna who all agreed to be interviewed. What a day!

 

We have a basin!

 
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This week can definitely be classed as a milestone as the last few blocks have finally been put in place creating a water tight basiin that looks really fantastic - so tidy and flat. It is amazing to think that we will never see it like it again and that the next thing to happen will be the cutting through to the River Nene on Monday 26th October followed by the installation of the floating pontoons, which we are looking forward to no end.  Evidently the pontoons are craned in and then towed to their destination using a small boat. Now this we really do have to see!

The fillng up will be very much a controlled affair and is expected to take around 56 hours to complete.  There will be no big gush of water, no huge waves just a gentle flow from the river over two and a half days.

So this time next week, White Mills Marina basin will be full and looking more how a marina should look.  Bring it on!

Don't forget we are hosting another open weekend on 7th and 8th November 10am - 4pm.  If you want to come down and talk about reserving your berth at any time, then we are only a phone call or email away.  Tel 07802 890874 or email info@whitemillsmarina.co.uk

 

Water water everywhere ...... well there will be very soon

 
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When the weather has permitted the last couple of weeks on the marina site has seen Land and Water hard at work with machines galore compacting the clay down either side of the marina walls to prevent any leaks.  It has been quite a testing and frustrating time, because thanks to the intermittent rain just as the clay dried out to the correct moisture content for it to be effective, it rained again.  However, I am glad to say that all is now well, the compacting has nearly finished and we will soon be ready to cut through.  Hurrah!

As soon as we have a date and a time when Land and Water are planning this momentous event (which should be within the next two weeks), then it will be posted up on this website.  The filling up of the actual marina basin is expected to take around two or three days, so it will be fascinating to watch. 

We have just come back from a lovely afternoon at the marina, where we have been planting daffodils along the bank to bring a splash of colour in the Spring. John has been strimming away to make the bank look neat and tidy for when we cut through too so all in all its looking very smart indeed.   What was particularly nice about this afternoon, was the number of walkers stopping and looking and watching the marina progress. Of course we just had to stop what we were doing to have a chat!