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)

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Lowering The Tone

Now that work is under way in earnest inside The Boat For My Potplants, I had a eureka moment whilst pondering how to achieve some extra headroom. Of course! I could make 'tiles' of plywood and lay them lower down into the sections of the bilge.

An old boat is like an old house. Nothing is exactly symetrical or straight, or indeed flat, so each 'tile' had to be made individually to fit precisely into each recess, which is what I did.

The idea worked, but unfortunately, the tiles creaked underfoot as they couldn't lay completely correctly. I scratched my head some more and came up with another great solution. I needed something rubber under each tile in order to even them out and absorb the noise.

Well! Being extremely cautious of the cost, or perhaps just plain tight, I eventually discovered Tesco 'Value' car mats at only £1 each, and promptly bought up five of them, pleased with my money-saving idea.

Well! Even the check-out lady commented that she could smell them coming when I was queuing up to pay. I should have put them back on the shelf there and then, but regretfully I didn't. I left the mats in my van overnight. The following morning I got up full of enthusiasm, had a hasty breakfast, and was eager to get to work.

Well! I could smell the bloody mats in the street before I even opened the van door. But unperturbed, I cut up the mats on the boat and placed them under each tile, convincing myself that the odour wafting from the cabin wasn't all that bad.

Well! Who was I kidding? But at least the creaking has stopped. All I have to do now is to work out how to put up with such a stink.

I know! I wonder if I can find some scented flowers to replace the winter pansies.

Right. It's off to the garden centre now. I've learned in life that there's always an answer to everything.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Think Once, Cut Thrice

In my professional life I've always taught myself to 'think thrice, measure twice and cut once'. That's all well and good in theory, until it comes to the subject of boat interior renovation.

I just can't believe what a plonker I was when I got to the bit where I repaired the 'ceiling' in the 'bedroom'. On discovering the existing wood was so dilapidated, I decided that replacement was the only option.

I thought about it three times, accurately measured it twice and cut some lovely new plywood just the once. Proud of my handiwork, I fixed the timber into place, and stood back to admire my work.

I continued with the job by fixing two struts and all new trim using screws and glue, as well as I possibly could do.

'Right', I thought to myself. 'That ain't going nowhere'. As I looked around for the celebratory bottle of beer I'd brought along for the occasion, my eyes caught sight of the air-vents that I'd put aside and that I'd forgotten to cut the holes for.

I've now got to work out how to accurately cut said holes in exactly the correct position to line up with the top halves of the vents situated on the deck. Unfortunately, I can't remove the tops and mark the positions from above.

Any suggestions?

Oops. If only I'd thought about it four times instead of three.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Under Pressure

I'm so much hap-pier now.

After many months of waiting, I can now pier out from my kitchen window at the Wivenhoe jetty, officially opened only yesterday by our local Mayor.

As people wander to the end of the structure and gaze up river, they will just be able to see The Rose And Crown in the distance, outside of which The Boat For My Potplants majestically floats at high tide.

Sadly the boat ap-piers to be going nowhere. That's because it still doesn't have a motor - but dear bloggees, I can report that plans are most certainly afoot to get one. Watch this space for exciting news to follow. One day.

In the meantime, I'd better get a wiggle on with the boat's internal refurbishment, now that hoards more visitors will be flocking to Wivenhoe during the summer months to follow.

Although I've managed to make enormous strides just recently, I can't help feeling a certain amount of increased urgency to get things finished due to yesterday's Grand Jetty Opening.

I can only describe it as pier-pressure.