A Boat For My Potplants


My nautical project took me to glorious places, metaphorically speaking. There were parties on board. There was The World's Smallest Pirate Radio Station. Of course there were plants. And one day even a gorilla.
The boat also became my 'Writer's Retreat'. I decided to become an author, writing my debut novel aboard the boat. The book, called MUDDY WATER, was naturally set in Wivenhoe. Amazingly, several local people paid good money to have their names appearing in the book, and a lot of cash was raised for worthy charities - the RNLI, MIND, The Samaritans, and The Royal British Legion.
Now, my next multi-singular selling novel, FLORIDA KEY, is in 'production', due for publication in October 2017.
I'm sure to be visiting writers' block along the way, as well as euphoria, self-doubt and inspiration.
See how my book goes through all the stages - from initial concept to final print. I'll take you with me on my personal journey as I work on the words, on the cover, on the marketing, and on the publishing.
Maybe it will inspire you too to have a go at bringing out THE BOOK IN YOU. Everyone has a story in them, just waiting to be told, and after all, if I can do it, anyone can.
(Click on the tabs below to see more about the Writer's Retreat In France, the old Boat For My Potplants, Tallulah the Motorhome, Alfonso the Car, and Jane the Woman. And to find out more about MUDDY WATER the novel, click the cover to be transported to its Facebook page)

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Shiver Me Timbers - we're almost there!

It could well be that NEXT Saturday (13th February) is the day that we embark upon the first phase of the Great Move of The Boat For My Potplants. Ey, ey, Cap'n, yes, Sirree.

The plan is to attach one of the outboard motors to the back of the boat (assuming it works), and after baling out the rain-water that has collected inside her hull, we will be setting off on her first maiden voyage of several years. We'll be going up-river from Little Paxton to St Neots Marina (about one mile, and through a lock), where I hope we'll get the boat pulled out of the river and put up on dry land.

There, the hull will be spray-washed, and inspected for potential essential repairs, and it is then hoped that the following week the boat will be collected by Kevin of Boat Moving Solutions, to take it by road to its new destination of Wivenhoe. I haven't met Kevin yet, but he has managed to instill a certain degree of confidence in to the proceedings that I welcome.

What began as a little pipe-dream has turned in to a logistical monster, involving many people, who I consider part of the (growing) team.

Read more about The Team, in the next blog, coming soon...

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Wonerful Wadio Wivenhoe

As some of you dear bloggees may know, I was indeed Barnacle Bill for a whole two hours on the Mark Wesley show, on board Radio Essex's lightship off the coast of Harwich, during the Beeb's celebration of 40 years since the closure of the pirate radio stations .

The taste of radio stardom was just too much for me to bear. I decided there and then that broadcasting was to be in my destiny.

So last week, Mr Wesley and I, who had had more than our fair share of Captain Morgan's rum, came up with the wheeze that I should purchase an iTrip for my iPod and use the tiny FM transmitter to broadcast from the Boat For My Potplants to the good people sitting at the tables outside the Rose And Crown. This would surely make it the most local radio station ever.

How will the patrons of the Rose And Crown be able to tune in? I will, of course, provide a tiny transistor radio for each table.

What will be the first song I should play? "Sailing"? "Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay"? "Messing About On The River"?

We've got plenty of time to decide on the Playlist, but mark my words, the moment will be upon us before we can hoist the Jolly Roger, so get your thinking caps on NOW!

Friday, 22 January 2010

It's CURTAINS for the boat!

Dear bloggees. It certainly is curtains for the boat! As some of you followers may know, I am a mere painter and decorator with aspirations to become a ship's (or at least a river-boat's) captain one day. This week my mind has been turned to curtains. Yes, indeed! Jillie, one of my lovely clients, has not only offered to donate her fine stripy curtains for use on board my Boat For My Potplants, but she is even willing to cut them to size - including the lining! How cool is that?

AND...(yes, there is in fact an 'and' to this exciting week), the marina at St Neots has offered to TOW the boat to its slipway from the present mooring position, which is about a mile away (and via a lock), and then to put the boat up on dry-dock for pressure-washing as well.

AND...(yes, there is even more), my mate Mark (ex-Radio Luxembourg DJ Supremo, and top bloke), who was down the pub with me earlier this week), has come up with a wizard wheeze for how the boat can become the world's most LOCAL PIRATE RADIO STATION. More will be revealed on this blog, coming to you very soon.

I only hope that the good people of Wivenhoe will be of open minds. We'll see!

Monday, 18 January 2010

What's In A Name?

On many occasions I have been asked what the name of the boat is. Of course, it is called A Boat For My Potplants. 'But why?', I hear you ask in unison. The answer, my friends, is blowing in the gale, the answer is blowing in the gale. It is called a Boat For My Potplants because that's the primary raison d'etre for me wanting to get a boat in the first place - just so that I can use it like a garden, and sit among my plants, and read the papers.

'What sort of potplants do you mean, dear boy?', comes the often-asked following question, insinuating something, er, not quite ship-shape or bristol-fashion, if you know what I mean. I tell 'em I'm only considering geraniums, chrysanthemums, pansies and the like, and NOTHING else!' And that's why it's called what it's called', I say.

'But it must have a real name. And you know that it's unlucky to change the name of a boat, don't you?', they say.

'Yes, I reply.' It's real name, painted in fading lettering on the side, is aptly named "SERENITY". 'And that is what it will remain for ever.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Do Do Ron Ron

Welcome, dear bloggees. Last night I was brimming with the excitement of all the latest developments concerning my Boat For My Potplants, and I promised to reveal more today. Being a man of my word, I am going to start with the revelation of who the current owner of the boat is.

It is the very lovable Ron Rowland, who, in his seventies, has now decided that the boat has become too much for him to look after. It has become a liability more than an asset, and it's only going to become more so over the coming years. Which is why he has so kindly offered the boat, which he has owned and cherished for the past 16 years, to me - thanks to the inspiration of his son (and my great friend), Neil Rowland.

It was Neil who put in the initial call to his dad after he and I had been sitting outside the Rose And Crown in Wivenhoe. I was gazing out to the river soon after having moved here, and turned to Neil and said 'One day I'd love to have a boat here.' Thanks, mate! And I mean that most sincerely.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Essex Life and so much more

Eurekakaka! A Boat For My Potplants is now Famous, with a capital F!
It is featured in the February issue of Essex Life Magazine, including a picture!

We have been invited to contribute to the Essex Life blogsite and to make regular contributions to update their readers about the boat's progress. And what excellent progress we've made, to be sure.

In fact there's so much progress to talk about that I simply cannot contain myself any further and have to go and have a lay down to calm the excitement.

So, dear bloggees, until tomorrow...





More details to follow...

Monday, 11 January 2010

I know what it is now!

My boat is a Callumcraft 22. Not a Norman 22, as first thought. The Callumcraft is very similar to the Norman, and is in fact based on the Norman. But it's not quite a Norman. Shall I go on? Okay, I won't just now, but I bet you, dear bloggees, are very relieved to finally learn of its true identity.

Last Friday I had planned to go to the boat at its current mooring in St Neots and to bring back its motor, ready for servicing. But the bad snow prevented me. So, the trip has been rescheduled for this coming Friday. My fingers are firmly crossed that the weather will be kind to us for our second attempt.

And now for some GREAT news concerning the servicing of the outboard motor...and the publication of Essex Life Magazine. I'll tell you tomorrow...

In the meantime, here's a pretty picture of the pub outside of which my Boat For My Potplants will soon be moored...

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snow joke!

It's snow joke. It's been planned for Neil and me to go to his father's garage in St Neots to collect the outboard motor tomorrow. This is in order to get its condition checked over prior to the Great Boat-Moving early in February. However, it's chucking it down with snow this evening, so perhaps a drive from Wivenhoe to St Neots may be a little foolhardy. Drat and double-drat.

Should I stay or should I go?

All will be decided in the morning when I pull back the curtains and look out at the white stuff on the road. I'll keep you posted.

Now, dear bloggees, I remember on an earlier posting I mentioned I had Big Plans for the Boat For My Potplants. Those Big Plans involve making the boat into a pirate radio ship. Sort of. Who would you suggest we get as a DJ? I wonder if Tony Blackburn is busy?

Monday, 4 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Well, dear Bloogers, may I wish you all a very Happy New Year.

The new decade is bound to bring its downs and ups, its low and high tides, its adventures on the stormy seas and calm rivers.

We will be looking at bead-blasting the hull as well as carrying out other essential repair work before the Boat For My Potplants finally settles in its new resting place, here in Wivenhoe. Apart from anything else, a new floor - or is it called a deck? - will be required. Work, work, work. Money, money, money. Fun, fun, fun.

This is the Captain's Blog, signing off for now.