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)

Monday, 27 June 2011

It's All 'Appnin'

It's all 'appnin' down in Wivenhoe on board my Boat For My Potplants...

Essex Life magazine has featured one of our blogs in its pages of this month's issue (July 2011).

...The interior of the boat has had a paint-job and it's now bright and shiney...the shag-pile has been laid...the hi-fi rocks...and the leccie lights are up and running.

...And not only that - 'Erindoors went and made a complete set of curtains, so it's just a matter of time until we can check out the on-board overnight facilities - I can't wait for that!

...And top geezer Mike has been servicing my old Johnson (4 hp outboard) whilst we've been on our hols. He informs me that it's now working just fine. We may even fix it on this weekend and see what 'appens when we start it up.

...And of course there's the Wivenhoe 'Front-Of-House' competition coming up in search of the best horticultural display. We thought it rude of us not to take part in the spirit of things, so I asked the organisers if we could enter the boat and they said "why not". It's out with the winter-pansies, and in with the summer geraniums, a good old brush of the astro-turf and we're ready for the judging this coming weekend.

It certainly is all happening down at Wivenhoe quay on the Boat For My Potplants.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Going Somewhere - Going Nowhere

After all this time of floating up and down vertically with the tide by the quay, it actually looks like it won't be too long before I'll be going somewhere horizontally - perhaps across to the pub on the other side of the river.

Mike, from the Nottage in Wivenhoe, has kindly offered to service and get going the outboard motor that came with the Boat For My Potplants.

It's a Johnson, which I've been told is a goodun. It's only a 4hp, but it's a start. It was free, as was the boat itself, and it needs to be checked out with the fuel tank, which I found on board.

This is going to be done tomorrow at 9.30am. As you can imagine, I'm jolly excited.

If it all works, top geezer Mike will be getting more than a standard-size tipple from me. I've heard he's partial to a rum or two - or maybe three.

Friday, 10 June 2011

In The Dog House

It's a Boat For My Potplants.
It's a garden. And a terrace.
It's a study.
It's going to be The World's Smallest Pirate Radio Station.
It's been a dining room.
It's always a bar.
It was a golf-course recently, but that's another story.
And last week it became a dog-house.

Our friends Lynn and Wayne came aboard one fine evening to join us for drinks and bask in the glorious sunshine. I had been working like the clappers all day on the boat's interior, and it was now looking clean, fresh and tidy.

Despite there being still much to do in the kitchen and toilet departments, in essence the boat is now comfortable and good enough to sleep in. And that's what their dog, Harvey, wanted to do.

He pleaded with his owners to let him experience life on the ocean waves (or at least the muddy banks of the Colne). Or was it Wayne pleading with Lynn? Who knows? Wayne popped home to get the dog-basket, just in case the answer was yes.

It was yes. So, some makeshift curtains were hung, and they all settled down for the night. It all seemed like a good idea at the time.

After a few hours, Harvey woke up his owners and asked if he could go home now. Or was it Lynn? Who knows? At three in the morning Wayne didn't really care.

All he knew was that he'd be in the dog-house if he didn't obey.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Cheers Alfie!

Luckily, I'm an early riser, and recently it's been glorious at seven or eight in the morning, being on the boat with no sounds except only for some sea-gulls squeeeee-wawk-wawk-wawking - and my paint-brush painting.

For these first couple of hours even I can be impressed with my own productivity.

In Wivenhoe, we are lucky enough to have our very own barbers, run by the amiable Alfie. As well as being at the cutting edge of his profession, he's also damn fine behind a lens and doesn't miss a trick.

I become thirsty and decide to pop round the corner to get a Coke, and as I go past Alfie's I tell him how much painting I've got to do on the boat today, and I rush back, eager to get on.

But then as the morning develops, so do the number of people around the quay. It would be rude of me not to pause from the task in hand and natter to a few.

It's only a matter of time before there are rumblings in my tummy, and I may as well stop for a while, have some lunch on the rear deck and soak up some rays. I invite Pete, one of my nautical neighbours, over to join me. We sit and eat and chat, and chat some more, as the tide gently comes in.

After an hour or so I get up. 'Right, Pete. I've got to get on now. I've got a lot of painting to do'

Pete returns to the jobs on his boat and I pick up my paint-brush one more time.

Then my phone goes. It's 'Erindoors. 'I'm coming over to join you while you're working'. 'No, no, no'. I protest. 'I've got to get on with this painting.'

I obviously didn't protest strongly enough, and she arrives a few minutes later, and asks me if I'd like a Guinness.

'I'll just have the one then. But only one. I've got to get on with this painting'

And then Alfie the Barber walks by and catches me 'at work'. I finally give in in to the powers of the black stuff and put away my brushes.

There's always maƱana. That's what it's all about here. Cheers, Alfie.