Sunday, 30 September 2012

If I'm Honest...

I glanced up and saw Nautical Neighbour John sail past in his magnificent 100-year-old vessel, and I guessed he was going away for the weekend like he sometimes does.

'Ah', I thought. 'Here's an opportunity to take my boat out'. You see, I'm a tad nervous about bashing into John's boat on my return to berth, so if he wasn't't there, no harm could come.

And so I eagerly invited Paul to come out with me. He was up for it so we arranged to meet the following day at noon.

But soon after meeting up with Paul I spotted John making an unexpected early return. My heart sank and I nearly chickened out - until John offered to join us as well.

So the three of us went out on the river. We chugged along upriver but the motor cut out a few times while I was practicing reversing. I don't know why. And when we came back the wind and tide were strong and I had to abort my first attempt. Then on the second try we (or more truthfully, I) nearly hit the one boat I didn't want to - John's - just as the motor cut out again.

Thankfully Paul managed to fend us off just in time, and all ended well, except for my nerves, which were a little shot to say the least.

I need more practice, and I need to know how to handle the motor better. If I'm honest about today's trip, I didn't really enjoy it.

But there's always tomorrow.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Bin Lid and Emperor Ming

As I was waffling on to Jason yesterday morning about the boat's story thus far, I realised that the boat has indeed taken on a life of its own - with all the mullarky happening because of its own energy.

You can hear the chit-chat by clicking on the green triangle to the right - but I clean forgot to mention my plan to have an Indian restaurant on board. Oh well, that's for another time.

And I'm certainly looking forward to getting on with the serious business of taking the boat out under its own steam, or petrol, just as soon as I can.

But in the meantime I'd like to report that the grand sum of 147 Bin Lids (*) were raised during the 'pirate broadcasts' and donated to the Wivenhoe branch of the Royal British Legion, from members of the public paying for their requests to be played.

We even had folks from around the world sending in their choices. Among others, Kate from Minneapolis wanted anything by The Who, Jackie in Buffalo likes Phil Collins, Paul in Spain selected Billy Idol and Deborah in Barnet asked for Sparks.

The power of the radio, eh?

Emperor Ming!!! (**)

(*) Bin Lid - quid
(**) Emperor Ming - ker-ching

Saturday, 22 September 2012

It's Great To Be Back On My Boat

It seems like ages since I was last on my boat for the magical evenings that became the World's Smallest Pirate Radio Station's first two broadcasts (a financial report will appear in tomorrow's blog). 

Since then we went on holiday, and straight after that I've been working away and haven't had the chance to set foot on the deck to even tend the geraniums (which are looking pretty gaudy now, I can tell you, so I'd better tend to them, pronto).

But this morning that all changed when I went down to meet Jason on board for butties and a cuppa.

Jason (that's a microphone in his hand, you know) wanted to conduct a short interview with me, following on from the one he did a couple of years ago, for his rather wonderful Wivenhoe Forum, which serves the village with useful information and interesting comment about what's going on in the community.

We sat and chatted, the kettle boiled and the bacon sizzled. The sun shone and reflected gloriously on the river, and all was good on The Boat For My Potplants.

It's REALLY great to be back on board.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Can't Wait

I was pretty excited when I began writing this blog and discovered that five or ten people actually read it. And then the figure became one hundred. Wow, I thought, pretty good, and I metaphorically patted myself on the back. Then it became one thousand and I celebrated some more. And now the number has topped 22,000! Well, I never.

'Erindoors and I return home today after our summer hols in France, and I can't wait to get back to my Boat For My Potplants, to see how it is, to make a cuppa on board, and maybe even sleep a night on it before winter sets in. As usual there are some plans afoot - Jason from the excellent Wivenhoe Forum is going to come down for a follow-up interview; I'm looking forward to seeing Jerry from Radio Wivenhoe to see where we can go with The World's Smallest Pirate Radio Station; and I'll be submitting the boat's story-so-far to a mainstream magazine, hopefully for publication in January.

But mostly I want to go out on the river. I want to gain confidence. I want to learn about the tides, the wind direction, the weather. After all, that's what it's really all about.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

I Name This 'Ere Boat...

My Boat For My Potplants has had a few different names since it was built.

The editor of the magazine asked me to include a little of the boat's history, which got me thinking...

In the beginning it was a bit like decorating a room where you strip off layers of wallpaper and keep discovering new writings that previous owners had scrawled on the walls.

When I was given the boat it was officially registered as "KINGFISHER", named after previous owner Ron regularly saw such a bird perched at its mooring in Little Paxton.

Barely visible at that time was the previous name "SOLACE" in sweeping letters on the sides.

A few applications of paint remover revealed "TARKA", which I understand was its original name during its time as a holiday hire boat on the Norfolk Broads.

And now she (is it a "she"?) is "A BOAT FOR MY POTPLANTS". I'm certain I detected the lady at the boat insurance company giggling on the other end of the phone when I rang to renew the other day. I can't imagine why.

And of course, for the two weeks' duration of The World's Smallest Pirate Radio Station, "LOS AMIGOS" became the name of the day, but the sticker is still stuck to one of the sides - but only one, so that's okay then, eh?

Uh, oh. I've heard that it's customary to perform all sorts of rituals when changing a boat's name, but I'm afraid I haven't got round to that yet. And to smash good bottles of Champagne for no good reason is surely bordering on criminal activity, so I haven't done that either. Good grief.

Send me to the tower!