Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Cripes!!!

Cripes!!! OMG!! Wooah! Is that the date, already? Where did the year of 2010 nearly go? It was back in October of 2009 that I first embarked on this crazy adventure. My very first blog was read by a grand total of five people - and now I have, er, something like 5,000! Gee, thanks, guys and gals. It's because of you that those nice peeps at Dulux gave me their paint, and the nice man at Colchester Motor Glass sorted out my windows, and the fab crew at Sail & Cover had an eye for colour-coordinated canopies - with a difference.

How did it all begin in those heady days way-back-then?

Sunday, 4 October 2009

This is my Tale Of A Boat For My Potplants. It is a new adventure for me - blogging and boating coming together for the first time.

I have moved to a new flat, which doesn't have a garden, but it is by a river. Wouldn't it be great to have a boat that I can sit on surrounded by my potplants?

Well, I visualised it happening, and I'm now on the first step of the rope ladder, now that I have been given a boat by a good friend.

The boat is a hundred miles away.

I know absolutely nothing about boats - a minor problem, indeed. I don't have a trailer. I don't have a car with a tow-bar. I don't have a mooring. The boat doesn't have a working motor. But I do have some potplants, so all will be okay.

Read my blog to see what happens.


Ha ha. I didn't only end up with potplants. I got the full-on 5-foot planters, complete with winter pansies - which in the Spring of 2011 will be updated to geraniums.

Aaaah. The Spring!!! ROLL ON THE SPRING.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Hot Water Bottle

Crumbs, Neil Watson, pull yourself together, and nod your cap to what you HAVE got, rather than what you haven't.

During the past few weeks I've been feeling slightly sorry for myself.

Completely ridiculous, I'm at least thankfully aware!

Just because I've recently been working outdoors in the freezing cold. So what? Many others have to as well.

Just because I'd been wondering where my career took a wrong turn while my frozen hand held on to the ladder whilst my other frozen hand held the paint-brush. I know that it was somewhere way back, when my father encouraged me to go to university. Of course I knew best, and instead went my own way.

But now, during the coldest and earliest winter that I can recall, I can't help looking back to only a short while ago. I only need to think of those happy and hot days, laying on the back of the cockpit of The Boat For My Potplants in the company of 'Erindoors, basking and snoozing in the afternoon sunshine. Feeling slightly happy with myself.

And now my heart feels as warm as a hot-water bottle.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Oh no. It's a Disaaaster!

Part Two...

I couldn't get on to the Boat For My Potplants. The structure upon which the planks rested had been pulled clear out of the mud by the nose of the boat at high tide.

Luckily, a very helpful man by the name of Mark knew exactly what to do. In an instant he shimmied down the plank into the mud and attached a rope to the timber structure, climbed back up the plank and attached the other end of the rope to his car tow-bar. Slowly but surely he pulled the the frame clear of the mud.

He must have worked in a circus in a previous life. I don't know how he managed, but somehow he repositioned the posts in the mud, then precariously stood on top of one of them while he whacked in the other with a sledge-hammer.

To top it all it was by now dark, and the boards were damp and slippery, but that didn't seem to bother him.

It seemed like a disaaaster to me at first, but then I realised that here in Wivenhoe people help each other out. Especially when you have a Boat For Your Potplants down at the quay outside the pub.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Oh no. It's a Disaaaster!

Part One of a Two-Part-Blog...

So I got a phone call one evening from my Next-door Nautical Neighbour, complaining that in the recent high-tide and storm, my boat had moved precariously close to touching his pole. Ooh-err, missus.

I was so worried that my Boat For My Potplants might cause some embarrassing damage that I decided to get down to the boat at the very next high-water. Which was (unfortunately for me) at two o'clock in the morning.

Gosh. How loud everything sounds at that hour. But undeterred, I pulled the rope a little tighter and tied up.

However, not being experienced in said rope tieing, I had (unfortunately for me) pulled a little too tightly, causing the boat's nose to nuzzle itself under the timber structure that was embedded in the mud, and to which the planks were placed to allow for embarkation.

Imagine my horror, when I discovered (unfortunately for me), that the subsequent high-tides eventually lifted the structure clear out of the mud and apparently wrecked in the river.

Wait with bated breath for the next exciting installment, when all will be revealed as to the outcome. In the meantime, just marvel at Jason Cobb's excellent picture of the infamous timber structure, which is back in position. There's a clue (fortunately for me).

Saturday, 20 November 2010

I've Got A Feeling

I've got a feeling about The Boat For My Potplants. It's a positive vibe. I don't know where it's all leading, but it sure ain't down the Swanny River - it's up the creek with a paddle.

Today, a very nice man, by the name of Jason Cobb, wanted to interview me on my boat - for his blog. It was fun alright, but I have committed the immortal sin. I have stated in writing, and now in an interview, that I intend to start up Wunnerful Wadio Wivenhoe - pirate-style. Cripes! That means I really do have to do it.

All I need is Money. That's what I want. I'm sure that all that equipment is going to cost a pretty penny. And not only that - I need a motor. That's what I need. And I'm not going to get that for a song, either.

Hmmm. I'm going to put my thinking cap on and hatch a plot...

Any ideas?

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Lucky, lucky, lucky

On Sunday I went up the Co-op, as you do, to buy whatever we needed to complete the Sunday lunch. I paid for the good, as you do, and was just leaving the shop when I noticed that the new Essex Life magazine was on the shelves. I decided to thumb through the pages, just in case...
...just in case there was another mention of my Boat For My Potplants. Surely they must have given up on me by now and I would have become a long distant memory to their editorial pages.

But what was this? Yet another inclusion of my blog - detailing the continuing saga of 'Erindoors, me and how the boat was affecting both our lives. Tee hee, chuckle chuckle, all the world could see that this is a REAL project. It must be - it's in print.

I dashed home to tell 'Erindoors the good news. As she carried on making the roast pork and tatties, I reflected on how lucky I had been - and still am...

...Lucky to have been given a boat in the first place. Then lucky to get its mooring in a prime position. Then lucky to receive an original piece of artwork from Cherry Ann (which is now hanging in the cabin), and lucky to get 'Erindoors to plant the winter pansies and lucky to get the free paint from Dulux and lucky to get the fantastic canopy from Sail And Cover and lucky to have tons of friends and well-wishers 'in' on the whole project, and and and lucky lucky lucky.

I looked through some of the pics I'd taken, and then I reflected on how seriously lucky I am to have two such incredible kids (Laura, 20 and Oliver, 17) to be happy to spend time with their old man on board the Boat For My Potplants.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Electrifying!

Yesterday the big Switch-On occurred.

Solar energy is our future, and it's free. My local friend Martyn helped me connect up my solar panel to my regulator to my battery to my inverter to my iPod to my old Grundig amplifier to my old Grundig speakers. The good people of Wivenhoe Quay didn't know what hit them this afternoon when they got blasted with a few minutes of Dire Straits, as they sat outside the Rose And Crown and I cranked up the volume. Just testing.

Also to my delight I discovered that the internal boat lights still work after all this time, so no more clambering around in the dark for me and 'Erindoors.

But I got a call late last night just as I was getting tucked up in bed. It was Mike, who lives on the quay. "Did you know you've left your lights on, Neil?"

He didn't know that I had stuck some colour-changing garden lights, powered by the sun, in between the winter pansies.

I thanked Mike for his concern. You can forget boring Blackpool and disregard lousey London. The only illuminations worth looking at are right here in Wivenhoe, on the deck of the Boat For My Potplants.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

100 Today!

Today is the day that I write my hundredth blog about The Boat For My Potplants. One hundred blogs. I don't believe it, but it's true.

Oh what fun it's been so far, and I'm only just beginning Chapter Two.

Chapter Two, in which hopefully I will...

...sort the electrics
...renovate the interior
...get a motor that works
...learn how to drive (the boat)
...start up The World's Smallest Pirate Radio Station

All in good time.

But for now I am celebrating the 100th blog with a toast to all who read it. I didn't realise that anyone actually does read it until last Friday when I bumped into Paul and Vivienne in Saffron Walden, who said they enjoyed it.

CHEERS to you, and thanks to all the other Paul and Viviennes, wherever and whoever you may be.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Don't Mess With The Missus

During a spell away in France at Le Petit Chateau (available for weddings, bah-mitzvahs and funerals - or just plain old holidays), we went to a vide grenier, or car-boot sale to you and me, where I spotted a bargain if ever there was one.

A whole bunch of plastic, artificial flowers in bright colours, that would be just perfect to adorn The Boat For My Potplants - and all for only three euros. So I had to have them.

On our return to Englyland, I enthusiastically went to 'plant' them on deck. But 'Erindoors had other ideas with her natural winter pansies.

"If you put those plastic flowers on the boat, I'm outta here", she said. It wasn't until I looked up and saw the seriousness in her eyes that I realised I'd better not be a-messin' with the Missus, so I sheepishly gave in.

I may be spineless, but I'm not daft, for I know who's boss around here. My beautiful plastic plants have been relegated to the cockpit, and the pansies have won the day.

It's good to be back.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

A Moment Of Calm

A moment of calm was had this evening aboard The Boat For My Potplants, as I closed the door on her for the next four weeks.

We are off on our hols in France, but it's hard to tear myself away from the project that has turned itself into a right-rollickin' adventure, in which I've met some great, great people...

...Ron and Pam, who kindly gave me their boat in the first place.
...The people at St Neots marina who helped me get it to Alresford Creek.
...My fellow boating friends at Alresford Creek whilst I was renovating the boat's exterior.
...Cherry the artist, who came out of the blue and gave me her work to hang in the boat.
...Sarah and her colleagues, who made me a brilliant multi-coloured canopy.
...The marketing lady at Dulux, who gave me loads of paint to use on the next phase.
...Everyone at Wivenhoe who has helped me with the mooring, the fun and the excitement.
Thank you to you all.

And now the future beckons...

...An outboard motor needs to be acquired.
...The interior needs repairing and renovating.
...The solar energy system needs connecting up.
...The Pirate Radio Station needs setting up.

Well, dear bloggees, I'm looking forward to it immensely already

Oh yes...and of course the winter pansies will need planting...by 'erindoors.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Barnacle Bill and the World's Smallest Pirate Radio Station

Today it's merely a Boat For My Potplants. But tomorrow it can become Wonderful Radio Wivenhoe, with me, Barnacle Bill.

Yes, I am indeed drawing up plans at this very moment to present the Barnacle Bill Show, almost live, from my FM transmitter connected to my iPod. The good people of the Wivenhoe Quay can tune in and turn on using the small transistor radios that I can provide on the pub's tables for their listening pleasure.

The range of the iPod's transmitter may only be a few yards, but that's all I'll need to conquer the world of ship-to-shore broadcasting.

I've been doing some thorough research to find out how I can do it, using this and that gadget. It can even go out around the world on the internet, and it's all perfectly legal. At least I think it is. I'll just have to plead ignorance when my case comes up, m'Lud.

I'm of course already well experienced in the world of radio, having shared the airwaves with the likes of Emperor Rosko, Johnnie Walker, Mark Wesley and Dave Cash on the Radio Essex ship off the coast of Harwich. I got my taste of fame alright when I read out a few messages on the Mark Wesley Show on that glorious weekend as the station celebrated the days of true Pirate Radio.

My listening public clearly wanted more, so it was obviously only a matter of time before I'd want my own show.

But now I've decided I want my own station - the World's Smallest Pirate Radio Station.

So stay tuned, pop-pickers, as I dedicate today's blog to my old mucker the absolutely poptastic Mark Wesley.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

What the hell is THAT?

"What the hell is THAT?"

Indeed, the good Cap'n of Wivenhoe Quay has every right to question what the hell is THAT doing on the Boat For My Potplants. Perhaps he was thinking that boats should be taken a little more seriously than I was demonstrating.

Well, we have taken it seriously - we've got green material on starboard, and red on port.

But I'm sure he'll come round to the sight eventually, and see that all I'm doing is brightening up the view from the tables of The Rose And Crown, as the merry drinkers gaze longingly towards the multi-coloured brand new canopy that was fitted only yesterday.

I bet they all wish they had one.

Congratulations to the delicious Danielle, the apprentice from Sail And Cover Ltd, who cut her cloth for the first time on The Boat For My Potplants, and got it right first time. And thanks to the charming Charlie for fitting the cover so expertly. And lots of gratitude to the sensational Sarah who's Sail And Cover company so generously entered into the spirit that is The Boat For My Potplants, and who made it all happen.

I raise my tumbler of whiskey very high in the air to all of you.

Monday, 16 August 2010

It's all so exciting!

Not only did I convince 'erindoors to sleep on the boat for the first time on Saturday (it was brilliant gazing up through the hatch at the stars above) - that was exciting enough.

Not only have I seen a photo of the work-in-progress of the multi-coloured canopy (it's going to brighten up the Wivenhoe quayside, that's for sure) - that was also exciting enough.

Not only am working on setting up the World's Smallest Pirate Radio Station (transmitting from my iPod inside the boat to the pub's tables outside) - that will be very exciting.

Not only am I going to start decorating the lounge, loo, kitchen and bedroom (now that I've got all the paint from Dulux) - that will be even more exciting.

Not only all the above, but also...The Boat For My Potplants has been featured in the September issue of Essex Life Magazine (complete with photo of a potplant being donated by one of the welcoming party on the launch-day) - now that really tops the excitement scale - for me at least!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A Woman Of Substance

'I never change my mind', said Sarah Blum, whose company Sail And Cover Ltd of Woolverstone near Ipswich, has kindly agreed to make me a new canopy for my Boat For My Potplants.

That's what I like - someone who sticks to her word. Why aren't there more companies in the world like hers? She said she was going to sort me out - and by golly, she is sorting me out.

And just in the nick of time, I wager. It's been a-raining all day long, and my temporary repair of the original canopy is all but falling apart - were it not for the Duck tape and staples that are keeping it in one piece - just about.

Pretty soon my boat will proudly be displaying a custom-made, and possibly multi-coloured, cover that will protect it from the elements.

And there I was thinking that Sarah may have changed her mind about the job. Shame on me. I hadn't realised that I was dealing with a real woman of substance.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Fired Up Again

My paint's run out. But thankfully those awfully nice people at Dulux Trade have supplied me with enough to sink a battleship, let alone a boat with some potplants on it. So, my glass is raised to you dear Dulux folks. It won't be long before I'll be opening up the tins of Supergrip Primer, Weathershield Undercoat and Weathershield High Gloss that you have kindly given me - all top stuff that will help me prove that I don't need that expensive specialist marine paint that some people say I should be using.

It is true to say that after all the euphoria of the Boat For My Potplant's launch, and then some subsequent shenanigans about where to park it, my enthusiasm for cracking on with the next phase of the renovation had waned slightly.

But now that I've had a much-needed rest to get my batteries recharged, I'm very much looking forward to beginning the next phase of the renovation - the bit at the back (cockpit, I think it's called) and the lounge, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom (cabin, galley, bunk and, er, Porta-Potty).

'Erindoors seems to be pleased with the way things are coming on. And I'm very pleased to be using Dulux Trade products - so bright, tough and perfect for use in such a harsh working environment.

Thanks, Dulux!!!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

It Goes With The Territory

Blimey! Who would have thought such a hornets' nest could be stirred up so much by a little boat with flowers on it?

Mick asked me where my boat was going.
Bryce told me to put it there.
Mick said that was Pierre's space.
But Bryce told me to put it there.
Josh said the space belonged to Pierre.
Marvin told Josh to shut up.
Bryce had told me to put it there.
Pierre's boat is over at Daron's space.
Daron will want to bring his boat back soon.
Josh will have to sort things out with Bryce.
Gerard got all upset with Bryce.
Andres laughed.
George stood back to watch.

And I carried on watering my potplants.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Finally recovered

There were so many things that could have gone wrong, but someone was obviously looking down on us last weekend, because with almost military precision the operation went without a hitch.

It could have rained, but the sun shone instead;
The boat was loaded on to the trailer and it didn't fall off;
The tractor pushed the boat into the river and it didn't sink;
The tow-boat pulled us up to Wivenhoe, and didn't break down;

We triumphantly came into our mooring and the crowd witnessed our special welcome from our new nautical neighbour. Something along the lines of "You can't park there, gov". It was all a bit of a storm in a tea cup and perhaps he wasn't aware that The Boat For My Potplants was coming to town.

And now the dust has settled and I've finally recovered from the traumatic ordeal. So it's now onwards and upwards with the continuation of the renovation. So much to do. Fortunately so much time.

A beautiful moment of calm was grabbed last night as 'erindoors and I shared our first bottle of Moet onboard.

The tide came in. The boat floated. The sun went down.

Monday, 19 July 2010

This and That

"Come on Jane - we've got a bit of time before dinner. Let's go down to the boat and get some jobs done. There's this and that, and this and that, and this and that to do", I said.

"Okay", said 'erindoors.

We arrived, after two minutes' walk from home, with watering can for The Pots On My Plant Boat, and we climbed aboard, with the on-lookers from the pub watching us from behind. We dutifully nourished the geraniums that friends had so kindly brought for us the day before.

Then we went to the back of the boat (or stern, as I've been informed it's called) and prepared ourselves for the tasks that lay ahead.

"First, I'll just have a sit down and taste this bottle of wine that Andy gave us yesterday", I said.

And this was that.

We Did It!!!

On Saturday we moved the boat from its blocks on to a trailer.
On Sunday afternoon the tractor pulled the trailer down to the water's edge.
By four o'clock the tide was enough to have us floating.
At 5.30 our tow-boat arrived.

At six o'clock on Sunday evening on the 18th July 2010, The Boat For My Potplants arrived at its new home outside The Rose And Crown Pub in Wivenhoe.

We did it!!!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

How did they do THAT?

On the day before the launch of The Boat For My Potplants, final preparations were busily being made - the most essential of which was to load the huge vessel from its blocks onto an old trailer.

How did they do it? I still don't know - and I was there all the time helping (well, watching at least).

As if by magic, a couple of hours later, the boat was already to be towed down to the creek this afternoon, for its maiden voyage up the river to Wivenhoe.

I've got a "to do" list as long as my arm, so forgive me for making today's blog short. When the boat finally gets to its mooring position outside The Rose And Crown, I'll be able to breathe a sigh of relief, and crack open the bubbly.

Fingers crossed!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Attracting all nice things

I can't help reflecting on some of the great people I have come in to contact with since my friend Neil asked me "Do you want a boat?" last autumn.

There's Neil's dad Ron, for a start. He kindly gave me the boat in the first place when it was in serious danger of complete deterioration. I hope he's pleased with what's been done so far.

There's Andy from Colchester Motor Glass, who stepped in to sort out the broken window and perished rubber seals, just when I was giving up.

There's Sarah from Sail And Cover near Ipswich, who will be making me a new multi-coloured canopy. Most people would have run a mile from such a challenge.

There are all the folks at the boat sheds in Alresford Creek, especially Alan who makes great tea, and Paul, whose tractor and trailer will be used this weekend for the launch.

Of course there's 'erindoors, although I did already know her. She's been busily making some nice bright cushions, but more importantly, has never complained about being a boat-widow every time I've said "I'm just off to the boat, dear".

And now, my faith in human nature has escalated even higher, when fellow blogger and Essex artist Cherry (check out her website at www.cherryann-art.com), contacted me and offered to send me, without charge, something for the boat. Yesterday, the postman arrived with a package from her, along with her good wishes.

Today it will be my first job to find a hanging position in the cabin for her unique piece of art called "The Mermaid" on this penultimate day of final tasks prior to launch on Sunday.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A Boat For My, er, Hifi

Crikey! Opinions are split over whether I should use artificial (my suggestion) or real plants ('erindoors' insistance). I never knew I could cause such a stir with the words 'plastic plants'.

While the fierce debate rages on, with the populist vote due to be counted real soon, my attention has been diverted to other very important issues.

I am moving in to the unchartered waters of electronics, and am leaving it all to old and trusted top bloke Andy Harris of the excellent RoadPro company (google them out - they do all sorts of 12-volt things for boats and trucks and things). I've known Andy for years and if he says I need a QC7622 then I believe him.

All he asked was what I wanted to do on my boat. And of course I want to play my 1970's top quality Grundig hifi, complete with Grundig Audiorama spherical speakers, all of which have been languishing in the garage for ages, just waiting for the Boat For My Hifi, er, Potplants to come along.

So very soon I should be rigging up the solar-panel, leisure battery, fitting kit, regulator and inverter, so that I can blast out Steely Dan, Harry Nilsson and ELO to my heart's content.

Hmmm, I wonder who else could I play to the good people of Wivenhoe?

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Eruptions!

With only a week to go before the launch of the Boat For My Potplants, it's not only the controversy surrounding whether or not I should wear my new Captain's hat that rages on.

No indeed, there's a new eruption that's affected the Watson household, with 'erindoors declaring that she won't be setting foot on deck if I decide to go ahead with my plans that were casually brought up in conversation last night.

And I'm not talking about the Eyjafjallajökull eruption either.

I thought it was perfectly reasonable, now that I have ordered made-to-measure planters from Barry of Saffron Walden, that I should become concerned about the practicalities of daily plant-watering, and that my solution would be to use artificial plants - which are really quite life-like these days.

Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather. The room went deathly quiet. The atmosphere could have been cut with a knife.

"Artificial plants!!??!!", my wife shouted. "Yes, it's a great idea, and it would save having to carry water to the boat every day", I reasoned. But maybe I'm wrong. I'm so confused.

Who is right? Artificial or Real? You decide. I'll democratically go with popular opinion. Please advise your vote.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Full Steam Ahead

Jay's bringing the motor.
Martin's coming alongside with his speedboat.
Gerry's ready with the tow-rope in-case of breakdown.
Adam's coming from miles away.
Martyn's taking command of 'driving'.
Jane's making the cushions.
Sarah's stitching the canopy.
Andy's sealing the window leak.
Neil's bringing his tools.
Paul's revving up the tractor.
The pub's open.
Ann and Ed got me the Captain's cap.
Alan's making the cuppa.
I've put a floor down.
The 18th of July is only two weeks away.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Exhilaration, Confidence, Trepitadion and Excitement

Exhilaration:
I've been able to remake the bunk area. The old wood was completely rotten and had to be completely removed. It was extraordinarily hot inside the boat and I was producing more sweat than I've ever known. I didn't think I had the skill to do it, but I'm exhilarated that I did - all by myself.

Confidence:
Martin from Wivenhoe has given me the confidence that it is indeed possible to bring The Boat For My Potplants up-river to Wivenhoe under its own steam, using its own low-power outboard motor, along with the incoming tide.

Trepidation:
After being in my comfort zone of working on the boat on dry land for so long, I'll be navigating unchartered waters - for me at least - by bringing the boat into the river for the first time. I do hope that my feelings of trepidation are unfounded.

Excitement:
This started out as an open invitation to the boat's launch on Sunday afternoon on 18th July, and I didn't really expect anyone would actually come to it. Now, apparently, many people will be turning up to witness the arrival of the boat at its new home outside the Rose And Crown pub. How exciting!

It's jolly lucky that I've just found out that I've won something! Last week I randomly put my business card into a prize draw jar on the bar at said pub. And I've just received notification that I'm the winner of a £50 bar tab.

So, if you get there before the boat does, go and get a drink on me at the pub - first come, first served. If you get there after the boat arrives, don't worry, I'll be bringing plenty of bubbly on board with me.

Mmmmm, delicious Lambrini!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Top Bloke of Wivenhoe, Martyn Carrick, was chatting to me the other day and said that he thought I was doing it all wrong, when he asked me how I was planning to get the boat from Alresford to Wivenhoe on July 18th.

'I'm going to be towed by my brother-in-law's's speedboat, my step-dad's motorboat, or Paul's sailing boat, or perhaps all three', I said.

'Pah', said Martyn. 'You should bring The Boat For My Potplants under its own steam'.

'But I only have a 4hp motor', I explained.

'Then we should borrow a larger one', retorted Martyn.

I was slightly taken aback. I was in my comfort zone of thinking that by being towed it was all down to someone else. Martyn brought me out of that comfort zone, by making me realise that, yes, actually, he's damned-well right. Now why didn't I think of that?

The Boat For My Potplants is worthy of more than being simply towed. After all this hard work, it bloody well ought to make it to Wivenhoe on its own.

On Saturday I went out on a boat to get some practice for all this mullarky. And now, I've got to find a motor...

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

And Now For The Final Push

There's so much to do and so little time.

On Friday I finished the windscreen in order to attach the canopy to it.

And on Saturday, I was on a mission to get the interior floor all done by midday, and by jove I did it!

Now all I really NEED to do is to sort out the canopy. With wishful thinking, I excitedly unfolded it from its storage bag and clipped it to my newly-rebuilt, nice and strong windscreen. I stood back to admire my work, hoping that the canopy COULD be recommissioned. It was a hope against hope, and I have had to accept defeat. Even I have to admit it looks Crap, with a capital C!

But fear not! I have met up with the magnificent Sarah, of Sail And Cover Ltd, near Ipswich. She is coming to my rescue, thank goodness.

At this stage suffice to say I think she's on my wavelength. In fact, I know so. As soon as she offered to make me a multi-coloured canopy for the Boat For My Potplants, I knew we were destined to work together and for her to join in with the fun.


Friday, 18 June 2010

As Big A Plonker As Rodney

What a plonker I am! For hours today I have been repairing, re-making and renovating the windscreen for the Boat For My Potplants.

It had all come apart before the boat even got as far as Alresford Creek, so when it arrived I was faced with four sections of rotten-framed window. In fact five sections, since one of them had become two.

I hadn't a clue about which one went where, so I put on my thinking cap - and thought hard. Obviously I didn't think hard enough, for it was only when I stood back to admire my handy-work that I realised something wasn't quite tickety-boo.

There was a gap where a gap shouldn't have been. I tried to decrease the gap by screwing the screw tighter. The wood went snap. I said a naughty word out loud. Then I saw the light (through the gap), and noticed something odd with the angles. Why were they obtuse, when they should have been acute? (I now know that my O'level maths lessons would eventually come in handy one day).

I only got my port and starboard back to front, didn't I?

Watson, you absolute plonker.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Boat For My Potplants launch 18th July

I should be able to muster up a few beers and wine to celebrate - and even some bubbly perhaps - so come on down on Sunday JULY 18th, when my Boat For My Potplants will be officially re-launched on the River Colne and brought a mile or so up-river to its mooring outside The Rose And Crown in Wivenhoe.

High tide is at 6pm, and we will be putting the boat in the water at 4pm at Alresford Creek, so that it can be towed in to position on the incoming tide, to arrive at the pub by six.

There's still a lot of essential work to be done (windscreen re-build, canopy re-make, interior floor re-fit), but I'm confident that it can be completed in time, so long as a) I get my finger out, b) the weather is kind and c) 'erindoors doesn't have too many other ideas like going shopping and the like.

All are welcome to witness this exciting (for me, at least) event. That includes followers of my Boat For My Potplants blog, readers of Essex Life Magazine, members of the Norman Boats Appreciation Society, the good people of Alresford Creek Boat Owners Association, friends and family, and of course 'erindoors, without whose patience my Boat For My Potplants would still be just a dream of an idea.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Ejected from diy store!

Yesterday I went into the two-lettered diy store in Colchester.

The sales assistant was clearly already a little impatient with me while I was thinking how I should fix the flooring on the boat's cockpit, the timbers of which are completely rotten.

Firstly, I asked the man to carry a heavy sheet of external plywood to the cutting saw. Then I changed my mind for equally heavy external MDF, so he returned the ply and struggled over with the MDF instead. I hesitated some more, and scratched my head, pondering the prices. I could sense that he was becoming a bit miffed. 'I think I'll have the ply, after all', I said, sheepishly.

He probably thought I was having a laugh at his expense. He impatiently asked me what it was for, and I explained it was for my Boat For My Potplants. By now he was convinced I was really taking the proverbial, as I could see him turn visibly redder in the face.

'What you want is decking', he said. So I thumped him first, before he had the chance to get one over on me!

Only kiddin'! In fact, the chap couldn't have been more helpful as he found countless offcuts of plywood for me - for only £4!!! And not only that, the decking was on special offer at less than £2 a plank.

So, now I can really B&Q it, in time for the official launch date of the Boat For My Potplants, which will be on Sunday 18th July.

I hope you can come along. Full details of this exciting event will be posted on the next blog.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

I Hope They Work

Now, dear bloggees, it is time to bore thee with the subject of RUBBING STRAKES. Not rubbing strips or rubber strakes...No, sirree...Now that I am a member of the boating community, no less than a member of the Norman Boat Appreciation Society (even though technically I don't have a Norman Boat), and also a member of the Alresford Creek Boat Owners' Association (even though technically I don't live in Alresford), I am, nevertheless, now slightly knowledgeable in the terms of things used on boats. Such as RUBBING STRAKES.

RUBBING STRAKES are the bits of wood down the side of the boat, generally to protect the boat from damage. And my Boat For My Potplants didn't have any. No, technically, that's not correct...it did have them, but they were so rotten that they actually had weeds growing out of them. Not just any old weeds - mine were king-size.

So, off they had to come. And replacements had to be fitted. 'How much???', I asked, shocked at the £400 price tag associated with teak. 'Anything cheaper?', I asked. Iroko was still unaffordable at £200. I finally settled on PINE SKIRTING BOARD from B&Q, at a price of around £10 each side.

I HOPE THEY WORK, and that I don't have to do it all again next year. The method in my madness is that, despite advice from all and sundry, I have used a softwood, due to its cheap price-tag. I have coated it with wood-hardner. I have Dulux SuperGrip Primed it. I have undercoated it. I have silicon-sealed it along the top. I cut it in to sections to fit around the boat-side. And I have top-coated it twice with "Totally Cocoa" Dulux exterior brown paint, similar in shade to mahogany. I HOPE THEY WORK, 'cos I don't want to be doin' all that again in a hurry.

But, you see, my wallet is thin, but my time is fat. I have no deadline to meet, except my own. And I'm always willing to learn by my mistakes - but on this occasion, I HOPE I DON'T HAVE TO.

Friday, 21 May 2010

I've Got An Idea

This week I bought the June edition of Essex Life Magazine, and my eyes popped out when I got to page 13, and read by own blog, there in full-on black and white. They used the one where I'd described going to a wedding with paint on my ear. But what stood out for me is that it included two references to Dulux SuperGrip Primer.

Now, call me old fashioned - but do I see an opportunity opening up here before my very eyes? I see product placement and sponsorship deals galore. All I have to do is to include some well-chosen desired brand-names, contact their PR agencies, and I could be floating my boat in decadence in next to no time.

So, to prepare for this new direction in my venture, I shall practice here and now with a new-style of blog. Here goes...

"As I bring My Boat For My Potplants up the river, using my powerful new Yamaha 10 hp motor, moor up outside the fabuloso gastro-pub, the Rose And Crown (great for lunches), I look at my accurate Breitling watch. 'Goodness. Is that the time already?' It's Pimms o'clock. That cool, refreshing drink that goes so well on these occasions. So I break open several bottles, but one of my guests prefers Bollinger Champagne. Or could that be Crux? One can't be too fussy, you know".

By jove, I think I could have the jist of something big here. But before I get too carried away, I must concentrate on fitting those new rubbing strakes today. I check the meagre contents of my wallet, and decide on using pine skirting boards, costing a tenner from B&Q. I'd better go and collect them in my second-hand van before the exhaust falls off again. I'm sure the journey in a Bentley Mulsanne would give such a better driving experience.

Oops. I'm off again.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Getting there

Slowly but surely, the task of breathing new life into an old boat that has seen better days is gradually progressing. My thoughts are being diverted for a few days ahead, away from stripping, painting, pulpits, antifowling and windows. Alas, I must go to Istanbul for my annual bike ride with my mates, Paul, Martin and Mike. It's not going to be easy, I can tell you, tearing myself away from The Boat For My Potplants, but these things are sent to try us.

Unbelievably, I've been granted permission for us to hurtle by pedal-power around the F1 race track, scene of this month's Turkish Grand Prix soon after our Easyjet arrives tomorrow afternoon, subject to strikes and volcanic ash. Then we'll be crossing the Sea of Marmara to the beautiful island of Buyukada where no cars are allowed. And I've just been informed by Steve, another friend who's currently there, that we should prepare ourselves for the 30 degree heat. It's going to be a tough job, but someone has to do it. I of course will take my boat pictures with me so that I don't get too homesick. And a picture of the wife too, if there's room in my rucksack.

I'm already torn between being on that boat tomorrow evening as we sail into the sunset, and being on my boat in order to complete whatever the next job will be. But I'll be back by Monday, subject to strikes and volcanic ash, ready for the final push to get the Boat For My Potplants finally upstream and outside The Rose And Crown.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Mud, mud, glorious mud

There was something great about today.

Despite it being cold and drizzly, and to be honest there were more comfortable ways of spending a Sunday morning, but there was indeed a great sense of mucking in together for a common cause. It was a dirty, rotten job, but someone had to do it, and fortunately many hands made light work.

We had all been invited to turn up with the incentive that at 10am we could enjoy Alan's mugs of tea, and bacon and sausage baps with lashings of tomato sauce. After stuffing ourselves we set to with the serious task of clearing the slipway of mud and sludge ready for launching our boats into the creek during the coming weeks.

The Boat For My Potplants is coming closer and closer to that magical day, so I felt it was only fair that I joined in. After all, I'd be wanting to use the slipway just like everyone else, so I turned up to do my bit.

I'm glad I did. There was something great about wallowing up to my knees in mud, but more than that there was something great about being among all these boating enthusiasts.

Yes, there was certainly something great about today.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

It Seemed So Reasonable To Me

'Can't you even make yourself look decent for a special occasion?', said my wife, at yesterday's wedding of our friends Cathy and Andrew. It was too late to do anything about my ear by then, which she had noticed was covered in paint, just as we were about to go in to the ceremony. A minor mistake that anyone could have made, I thought.

You see, it was no ordinary paint, and I tried to explain how necessary it had been that I'd used Dulux SuperGrip Primer (and I discovered that SuperGrip Primer doesn't scratch off from skin very easily. Well, not at all, in fact), and that it had been essential for me to quickly nip to the boat just before we were due to leave home, so that I could put a coat on the window surrounds. It simply had to be done, I said in my defense, so that I'd be able to get the undercoat on in time for the top coat to get dry before the windows were due to go back in on Monday. My explanation didn't seem to improve the situation. Maybe trying to justify my mistake was also a mistake.

Countless fellow guests came up to me, 'helpfully' pointing to my ear asking 'Is that paint on your ear?'

I offered what I thought was a perfectly reasonable story that I'd had to paint my Boat For My Potplants shortly before leaving home. 'Your what for your what?', came the response. I decided to cut my losses, concentrate on my canapes, and just say that my wife had failed to noticed the state of my ear until it was too late.

For some reason that proved to be my worst mistake.

Friday, 30 April 2010

It's Good To Have A Deadline

Deadlines are good. They help to focus the mind. Otherwise everything would happen manana, including the launch of The Boat For My Potplants.

Bloggees may recall that I'd previously mentioned a date of April 17th, when I'd be launching the boat and bringing it (her?) upstream to Wivenhoe Quay to sit proudly outside The Rose And Crown.

However, I was inexperienced, over-ambitious and a wee bit foolhardy when I'd set myself that deadline. In my defense, it wasn't really a deadline - more a guideline that was inevitably going to be broken. Looking back at the old girl's condition, it's no wonder things took a little longer than anticipated.

I've since become wise in the knowledge and experience that, when talking about boats, everything takes twice as long to do (except for the spending of the money).

But today marks a new guideline, or should I be so bold as to say deadline? With the world's press and media waiting with bated breath, I'd better get it right this time. So, for accuracy, I've invited my friend Neil Rowland (he being the person who's father the boat previously belonged to) to work with me on some essential tasks, and I'm sure at the end of today a realistic date for the launch party will have been set.

Watch this space. Start looking through your wardrobes to choose your outfit. The date for the hottest ticket in town will soon be announced!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Star Man of Colchester

Following on from my last blog, I did look for, and find, the phone number for Colchester Motor Glass, after the debacle of spending half a day with a friend trying to fit a new window. It ended up becoming a rather interesting convex and concave shape, and splitting the surrounding rubber seal. This was due to said friend and me trying to fit the window inside-out and upside-down and making the skies even blue-er than they were, with our rather distasteful swearing in the process.

Super-Hero Andy, from Colchester Motor Glass has come to the rescue, by offering to re-fit the window and supply a new seal, all for a very reasonable price. And while he's at it, he's also going to re-fit all the other windows as well, for what I consider a good deal. Not only that, he is sourcing chrome-inserts for the seals, which I think will look super-cool.

But what about painting the window frames? Whilst the windows are out, this would present the ideal time for painting. 'No problem', says Andy. 'I can take the windows out one day, let you paint the surrounds, and then refit the windows with the new seals on another day'.

Now that's what I call service. Only the sort of service one can find from a local specialist, rather than a non-personal national conglomerate. So the moral of the story is to seek out the independents and give them the chance to soar with you and share in the fun. I for one am looking forward to inviting Andy aboard my Boat For My Potplants for a beer and a warm welcome.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Some Steps Forward And Some Steps Back

I found a local company to cut a new window while I waited. A step forward.

'PUSH!', said Greg, who had come to work with me for a couple of days, as we struggled to replace the broken one. After what seemed hours, we finally got the new one in, ruining the rubber surround in the process. And why was the window so bowed? The next morning we realised we had put it in back to front. A step back.

The Ronseal floor paint, with 'added slip protection' that I used to paint the deck worked a treat and soon became rock-hard, which was a step forward. The Dulux Exterior Trade paint that I used on the cabin side looked nice. The next morning though, when it just rubbed off where it had overlapped the floor paint wasn't so good. A step back.

The Houdini hatch cover was rotten and needed repair. After new batons were fitted to hold the perspex, and with a sand and varnish, it looked great, which was a step forward. The next day when I went to fit it, I discovered the new batons didn't quite fit over the lip of the hatch and it had to be taken apart. A step back.

And so it went on. Some patching up here and some sanding there. The sander billowed smoke and became as useless as a chocolate fireguard.

But in the end some serious steps forward had been made; the antifowling got painted dark blue with success, although Greg did look a bit strange with blue hair.

And the pulpit came up a treat with the special metal primer and Hammerite silver that I'd found in the garage.

So all in all, I'd say that, thanks to Greg, there were more steps forward than back, which must count as a success. The weather was glorious, and we were two boys playing on an old boat.

All I have to do now is find that number for Colchester Motor Glass and see if they can come and fit the window properly.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

The Kingfisher Rises

Like a giant phoenix rising from the ashes to fly again, here we have the Kingfisher, aka A Boat For My Potplants, beginning to show signs of new life, getting ready to soar across the mighty ocean.

Or at least here we have a 35-year-old river cruiser with a freshly painted coat of primer on it, getting prepared for its one-mile journey up the river from Alresford Creek to Wivenhoe. Not quite as grand as a phoenix, but equally thrilling.

There's still so much to do. Undercoat, top coat, antifowling, wooden strips, windows. Luckily this isn't a race. This project is not to be hurried, but to be enjoyed to the full.

I realise I can't afford to bring my Boat For My Potplants back to its original condition. But a wise man came up to me while I was painting this week said: "Spend what time and money you can afford, and be content".

I'm so glad I met him.

Friday, 2 April 2010

What's In A Name? I'm so confused.

If I could have a gold dubloon, or even a bronze one, for each time I'm been asked what the name of my boat is, I'd be a very wealthy captain for sure - at least wealthy enough to buy a tin of marine paint.

The name painted on the side was "Solace", but I've now just uncovered a previous name of "Tarka".

I've been advised that it's unlucky to alter the name of a boat. Is that true, I wonder? The change from Tarka to Solace clearly didn't seem to do it any harm (ie. it didn't sink), and so it follows that the threat of bad luck is bunkum, and that it can be re-christened with any new name of choice. And I must admit I am rather looking forward to cracking open a bottle of Moet as 'I name this boat...'. Any excuse!

Although the vessel does have this 'working title' just for fun, I am wondering if I could officially re-name it "A Boat For My Potplants" without fear of impending doom. After all, the original idea of having the boat was to use it as a garden upon which to sit and read my newspaper among my potplants, whilst slowly drinking a cool beer during the balmy summer evenings. The name would be very apt.

But is A Boat For My Potplants too much of a mouthful, as some folks have suggested?

Might the unusual name raise too many eyebrows, as others have warned?

Or should its name revert to the previous Solace? Or the original Tarka?

Or should a new name entirely be given? If so, what could it possibly be?

Any suggestions please? I'm so confused!

STOP PRESS: I've just heard from Ron, the previous owner, who has sent me the following breaking news...Now I've even more unsure what to call her...
'Forgot to tell you the boat has had a third name for the last 10years or so and that was "Kingfisher" named after a real kingfisher which was often seen on the boat when moored.'

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Rain Stops Play

8am
So I gets up in the morning, bright and breezy, with a spring in me step, all ready to get crackin' on the Boat For Me Potplants. Being nice and sunny, today'll be perfect for paint-strippin' and sandin', in preparation for primin' and glossin' some day very soon. Then I'll be able to brings her up river to the mooring right outside the pub.
9am
But the wife says 'Darling, how about we go out for a coffee and croissant at the local cafe, being that it's such a nice day?' So I keeps her sweet and goes along.
10am
Then I thinks I should gets me some sanding belts, so I phones round and decides to go in to Colchester to get some. Ker-ching! Another fifteen quid down the hole.
11am
As I drives back I notices the sun going behind some clouds. Undeterred, I goes to the boat shed at Alresford to get crackin'.
12 noon
I pokes the plug of me 30m reel of cable through a hole in the wall and walks round to the door and clambers over heaps of junk to plug it in, and walks back round again to discover that it's not long enough to reach me boat, so I borrows another 30m reel and plugs it in to the first one. Someone chats to me and I don't wants to be anti-social, so I chats back. I then clambers up the ladder at the side of the boat, carryin' the cable and sander.
1pm
I starts up the sander and I gets going. But the small white clouds of earlier are now large black ones, and it begins to rain. So I climbs down the ladder and runs to cover up the cable reel. Then the shower stops and the sun comes out and I climbs back up the ladder and carries on where I left off.
2pm
Then I looks at the time and remembers that at four o'clock friends are coming up from London for the weekend. After a few more minutes sandin', the rain comes again, this time more than a shower.
3pm
So I decides to call it a day. I gives up. I packs up me things and goes home. I wants to play on me boat but today it's just not meant to be.

Doh!

Monday, 22 March 2010

And the winning song is...

Well, dear bloggees, I could hardly have imagined such a huge response to the search for a signature tune for The Boat For My Potplants, especially from the members of the Norman Boats Appreciation Society (www.normanboats.co.uk). Thanks to all who put on their thinking caps. I particularly liked Strangerover's suggestion of The Boatman by The Levellers for its lovely poignant lyrics...

If I could choose the life I please
Then I would be a boatman
On the canals and the rivers free
No hasty words are spoken
My only law is the river breeze
That takes me to the open seas
If I could choose the life I please
Then I would be a boatman
Buccaneer's entry of Messing About On The River is just brilliant, and wholeheartedly deserves a place on the podium.

I was going to award top prize to DF's idea of the theme from Hawaii Five-O, which I can just imagine blaring out from the early '70s stereo that came with the boat, as I take it on its maiden voyage from Alresford Creek to its new mooring in Wivenhoe, about a mile away.

But today I spent eight hours non stop scraping, scraping, scraping and scraping. A multitude of different coloured paints lay beneath layer upon layer. The paint-stripper mangled them all together like the colours of a rainbow.

There was Red and Yellow and Pink and Green. Orange and Purple and Blue. By jove, that's it!
I can sing a rainbow. Excellent!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

It's just not fun any more

It's just not fun anymore.

In the good old days of the mid '70's around the time that the Boat For My Potplants was built, it would have been fun to sit at the captain's table, glasses of rum in hand, trying to think up boat-related songs to adopt as the boat's 'signature tune'.

Many hours would have been pleasantly passed, recalling the likes of Michael Row The Boat Ashore (Harry Belafonte) or Rock The Boat (Hues Corporation). Or how about Moon River by Andy Williams or Many Rivers To Cross by Jimmy Cliff? And if one was feeling less than optimistic about the boat's future there's always Six Months In A Leaky Boat by Split Enz, or, God forbid, Wait Till Your Boat Goes Down by XTC!

But nowadays it's simple to look things up on the computer. Hours have been turned to seconds, and a bottle is now a thimble. It's just not fun any more.

But as for the Boat For My Potplants - well that's a different matter.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Virtual Tour Guide

Welcome to the first YouTube Virtual Tour Guide of The Boat For My Potplants, thanks to chief film-director Oliver Watson, my 17-year-old son. BAFTA nominations for Best Director and Best Actor will surely be flooding in quicker than we can say '...and CUT!'

Monday, 8 March 2010

A little step at a time

I've figured it out. Instead of looking at the whole boat and the huge task that lays ahead, I will from now on focus on a small section at a time. I'll set myself a target, and reward myself if I achieve it.

So on Sunday I focused on the rusty old screws sticking out of the sides. They had to be removed somehow. Each one needed to be hack-sawed off and each one would take several minutes to do. Balancing on one leg on the ladder and leaning over to get the right angle for sawing was not ideal. There were around forty to do along the top row.

That meant a lot of sawing. My arms ached. I just worked away on those screws until they were all gone.

I've still got the same number to do along the bottom row, but that's for the next day.

My reward? To stand back and admire my Boat For My Potplants in the bright sunshine and allow myself a daydream of one day sitting on its deck outside the Rose And Crown drinking a cold beer.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

A source of comfort or consolation.

A source of comfort or consolation. That's the definition of 'Solace', and that's the name written on the Boat For My Potplants.

And that was most certainly how I felt yesterday while I tirelessly worked morning till night busying myself with pulling out sodden planks and floorboards, rotten cushions and damp curtains. I pondered about the dozens of people who must have previously experienced solace and happy times during their holidays.

I wondered what the boat could tell if it had a life of its own. What could it say about its years of being hired out to folks, possibly on the Norfolk Broads

But of course it does have a life of its own. It has merely been in a deep sleep, and now it's being woken up to its new life in Wivenhoe.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

It's all in the planning

If I plan this right, with the aid of CPA (Critical Path Analysis), which is something I vaguely remember being taught at school in Business Studies, I should be able to get my Boat For My Potplants ready to sit on by the middle of April, just by the Rose And Crown pub.

By scientific planning, I will get the anti-fowling done, and the paint-stripping, re-painting and essential repairs. It is now that I place my finger in the air to arrive at a completion date, which is...er, Sunday 18th April.

The art of scientific planning starts right now. Here and now.

My plan is to take some sandwiches with me so that I can get a full day's work in. But I'm just not sure whether to take cheese and tomato, or ham and mustard.

Hmmm, I wasn't taught that at school...I've got so much to learn when it comes to The Boat For My Potplants.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Doh!

Today something was different - the warm sun was on my back for the first time in weeks, and I felt like I could conquer the world. So at 5pm I quickly packed up my work-things and dashed off in my van to the boat. I set up my step-ladder and climbed aboard. It didn't seem to matter that what I saw in front of me was a complete wreck.

At 6pm dark skies descended and I went home.

I poured and drank a glass of wine to celebrate my renewed enthusiasm, and then went in the bathroom to run myself a hot bath.

As I drank another glass of wine I reflected on how a sense of calm had come over me on the boat while I was sorting out the rotten flooboards. I also reflected on how Paul, the boatyard keeper, had kindly turned up and showed me where I could hook up electric power from inside the boat-shed. And then I reflected on how just a few simple words of encouragement from some buddies had turned negative to positive.

Due thanks go to old school chum Neil Hart in California; to Nick-Two-Pots, my new friend in Wivenhoe; and to Neil Rowland, the Rear Admiral of The Boat For My Potplants.

Five minutes later I went back to the bathroom, only to discover that I'd forgotten to put the plug in the bath. Too much reflecting? Too much wine, more like. Doh!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Oh God, what have I done?

That's another fine mess I've got myself in. After the euphoria of getting the Boat For My Potplants to Alresford Creek, I went back to look at it sitting forlonly on its blocks. I climbed up my stepladder and peered inside. Where there was once a canopy, now there isn't. Where there was once a windscreen, now there isn't. Where there was once a floor, now there isn't.

Everything had to be chucked inside the cabin so that the boat could safely be towed along the road at 50mph. And now I can't even clamber inside. To call it a mess is an understatement.

It was raining les chats et les chiens. I was tired after having been up all night. The realisation of what I had done suddenly sank in. That's not all that will be sunk if I don't get this wreck sorted. Oh God, what have I done?

Life was simple before I got a Boat For My Potplants. Will I ever learn? Naah! Probably not.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Operation Completed!

3am: Go to bed at my friend Vaughn's house in London after staying up all evening.
4.30am: Get up.
5am: Meet my son Oliver outside tube station.
7am: Arrive at Alresford Creek. Meet brother-in-law Martin, and Boatyard John.
7.10am: Andy in Jaguar and trailer towing A Boat For My Potplants arrive.
7.15am: Andy backs trailer and boat into position.
7.30am: Andy, John and Martin set up blocks for boat to rest on.
7.50am: Trailer is pulled away from under boat.
8am: All done. Hands are shaken for a job well done

During whole operation I watch helplessly and uselessly, but nonetheless acting as
Very Important Chief Photographer for Very Important Blogsite.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Saturday Morning 7 am

Not quite having the same ring to it as the delightful "Wednesday Morning 3am" by Simon And Garfunkel, it will nevertheless be music to my ears when the trailer turns up at the yard at Alresford Creek, pulling the Boat For My Potplants.

Then it will be a matter of all hands on deck, or rather all hands pulling, pushing, lifting and shoving, until we get the magnificent vessel on to blocks and drums.

Oh, what a day!