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, 30 May 2010
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.
Posted by Neil Watson at 18:34
Friday, 21 May 2010
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.
Posted by Neil Watson at 19:34
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
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.
Posted by Neil Watson at 06:53
Sunday, 9 May 2010
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.
Posted by Neil Watson at 15:27
Sunday, 2 May 2010
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.
Posted by Neil Watson at 18:16