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)

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!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Countdown to Ecstacy

As well as being the best album to come from Steely Dan by far, Countdown To Ecstacy is where we are now at for The Boat For My Potplants.

As well as all those who have helped to make this leg of the adventure possible thus far, I particularly salute Paul Killick from the Arlesford Creek Boat Owners' Association for being so helpful. Thanks, Paul. All you others will be saluted in due course, but you know who you are.

The Countdown To Ecstacy goes like this: there has been a slight change of plan in that the boat is now being brought on Saturday morning...arriving at seven o'clock in the morning!!!

And that's not all! On Friday night I will be with my mates in London, staying up all night playing music, probably till around 3am!!! So I will then grab a couple of zzzz's in the early hours, and then head up the A12, just in time to meet Andy from the St Neots Marina at seven, who will be towing the Boat For My Potplants...behind a blinking Jag!!! How, I don't know...but I have faith.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

It's (Nearly) All Good News Indeed!

Good news! I've been to see Paul Killick at the Alresford Creek Boat Owners' Association, and he couldn't have been more helpful. He says I can keep the Boat For My Potplants at his yard whilst I am working on it. He's already allocated me a space.

Good news! Alresford Creek is an easy bike ride from home. So it will be easy for my lovely wife to bring me sarnies and tea to keep me going through the day.

Good news! I can join the A.C.B.O.A for just £10, and then I can join in to the boating community. This is especially good news, as they will be meeting regularly at...The Sailing Club in Wivenhoe!

Good news! I called in to ALDI today and discovered that from tomorrow, they will be selling a portable generator for £59, and even with 3-year guarantee. Just what I need!

Good news! I also called in to Waitrose to buy my March issue of Essex Life, and...we're in it again!

Good news! St Neots Marina are all geared up to bring the boat over on Wednesday next week.

Good news! My great mate and film-maker extraordinaire Mark Wesley may be able to come over on Wednesday to film the proceedings. And then we can put it on YouTube.

Slightly less good news...It's going to take longer to move the boat off the trailer and on to blocks than if it were to be put straight in the water. More time equals more cost.

Oh well, I can't complain can I? It's not every day I get given a 22-foot river cruiser complete with outboard motor, all for free!

Wey Hey. Here We Go!!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Today is the day when the future of The Boat For My Potplants will be decided.

The meeting is set for me to meet with the very helpful Paul at Alresford Creek, who I am crossing my fingers and toes will be receptive to the boat being brought to his domain next week. That's NEXT WEEK!!!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

It's all 'appenin' now

Yes indeed, dear bloggees! After what seems weeks of inactivity, things finally seem to be coming to a head. You see, I've had a problem. The Boat For My Potplants is in St Neots. I am in Wivenhoe. It takes two and a half hours to drive to St Neots. And then it rains. (And then I get paint-stripper on me). And I need to do some work on the boat before it is put in the water here, and the work has to be done when the boat is on dry land.

So on Monday I went to the Wivenhoe Sailing Club to ask if it would be possible for me to put the boat on their land while I work on it, and then use their slipway to launch it in the water.

'Does it have a motor?', I was asked at the Sailing Club. The clue is in the word 'sailing'. Enough said! You can guess the rest.

However, they did very kindly point me in the right direction, as well as the door. They gave me the name of the man to speak to at Alresford Creek Boat Owners Association. They don't mind motor boats there.

So, next Wednesday, 24th February is the day when the Boat For My Potplants will be coming to its new (temporary) home. Watch this space dear Bloggees for further details of the Boat Coming To A Place Near You.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Crikey!

Crikey! The Boat For My Potplants seems to have grown, now that it's been pulled out of the river.

Crikey! There was a ton of crud and barnacles on the bottom.

Crikey! My arm doesn't 'alf ache, after hours of scraping.

Crikey! Brushing paint-stripper is hazardous to one's health.

Crikey! Splashes of paint-stripper don't bode well on the skin!

Crikey! I look like I've been in the ring with Mike Tyson!

Crikey! What have I let myself in for?!!!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Doing The Hokey Cokey

On climbing aboard my Boat For My Potplants, we (my friend Neil Rowland and I) most certainly did put our left leg in followed by our right arm. It was the only way we could climb on, through the gaps in the cover and tarpaulin that have been protecting the cabin for several years.

As we waited patiently for the marina's tow-boat to arrive we could hear the sound of a put-put coming towards us.

'I hope it's not that tiny thing', said Neil, as he spotted the titchy craft in the distance. Of course, sure enough, it was, driven by Andy from the marina. And what a nice guy Andy is. Full of enthusiasm and joy to be spending his working days with boats. It's because of people like Andy that made the day so special, as he expertly towed us along the river and through the lock.

It's all to do with the folks that I'm meeting along the way of this great life-adventure.

That's What It's All About!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Sink and Soar

My heart sank.

I crawled through the canopy and fell in to the boat, and the true scale of the task that lay ahead dawned upon me as I surveyed the vessel and all its years of decay.

Shiver-me-timbers and shiver my body. We waited on the Boat For My Potplants for the marina's tow boat to turn up. It was cold. It was damp. It was cloudy.

I took up my position for the ride.

Half a mile up the river it was still cold. It was still damp. But as we approached the lock the sun came out, and the Canada geese took off in flight from the water just in front of us as we put-putted along. It was glorious.

And my heart soared.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

And The Winner Is....ME!

Yes, dear Bloggees, the winner is most certainly me, because tomorrow is the BIG day in which I will go to move the Boat For My Potplants in its first phase, from Little Paxton, up the Great River Ouse, to the marina at St Neots, where it will be pulled up the slipway by a mighty tractor.

I am a winner indeed because not only will I be able to smell the mighty tractor in all its diesel glory, but I will also be able to stand on deck of my Boat For My Potplants as it is towed along the river and through a lock.

I'm staying at my mate Neil's house tonight so that we can be up at the crack of dawn and be off to his dad's (the present owner) place. I am duly equipped with the necessary equipment to extract the gallons of water that have collected inside the hull before we 'set sail'.

I am so excited that I can hardly contain my bilge pump!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

and and and and and

Captain Pugwash was standing on the deck of The Boat For My Potplants along with his Rear-Admiril Coruthers, and looking inland at the Rose And Crown.

How did he string a sentence together, that made sense, that included five "and"s consecutively?

The answer is in the "ROSE AND CROWN" sign on the wall.

'Rear Admiril Coruthers', said Captain Pugwash, 'Have you noticed the words on the sign for this public house are not spaced correctly?'

'What do you mean, Captain?', asked Coruthers, attentively.

'The spaces between "ROSE" and "AND", and "AND" and "CROWN" are not equal.'

Monday, 1 February 2010

And I'd Like To Thank...

Crumbs Corruthers! I never thought it would be such a logistical ordeal to move a blinkin' old boat from one place to another! But nevertheless, with the assistance of Andy and John at St Neots Marina, My Boat For My Potplants will be towed from Little Paxton for a mile along the River Ouse to the marina next Friday.

But this is just a small part of this journey, this adventure. There are other people along the way who have now become part of the team, part of the crew.

Without my friend Neil, I would never have been offered the chance to have a boat in the first place, and without his father, Ron (the boat's owner), I would never have been given it.

Without Martin (of Eastern Garage, Finchingfield), I would not be able to ensure the outboard motor works, and without Kevin (of Boat Moving Solutions in Ipswich) I would not be able to trailer the boat to Wivenhoe.

Without Jane and Brian (mooring owners), I would not have such a fine position for the boat next to the Rose And Crown in Wivenhoe, and without Julian (Editor of Essex Life), I would not be writing about this on Essex Life's blogsite.

Without Jillie (my decorating client and donator of curtains), I would not have any stripy material to pull myself together with (the old jokes are the best), and without Mark (ex DJ) and Greg (experienced sailor) down the pub, I would not have any more whacky ideas to laugh over with a few pints in hand.

Of course, without Jane (my wife), I would not have got this far.

And thankfully, without my, er, friends, Paul, Mike and Jay (who tried to persuade me to take the boat to Wivenhoe via the North Sea), I'd probably be at the bottom of the ocean by now.