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)

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Girls On Film

Behind the scenes at The Boat For My Potplants it has been that time once again to discuss, negotiate and agree on its mooring position with the Waterlords Of Wivenhoe.

It's not the sort of thing that I particularly like doing, but, hey ho, if I am to continue enjoying this beautiful spot, it has to be done.

To take my mind off it, and on to more pleasant thoughts, I look back to a few days ago.

Aah, that's better.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Only In Wivenhoe (Part Two)

Following on from a fun-packed day on the Boat For My Potplants, the Lovely 'Erindoors and I dashed home to change into something more formal.

We had been invited to a pop-up dinner party being held on Wivenhoe Pier.

It was surreal. We brought our own plates, cutlery, food and drink to share - and of course a chair to sit on.

The conversation flowed and so did the wine. The sun set. All was good.

Then at the weekend we took Tallulah, our recently acquired T-Reg (1978) Hymer on its inaugural trip. We went to Mersea Island, just a few miles away, and returned Sunday afternoon. Just as we were pulling up back at home, we were met by Nenah.

What perfect timing! Nenah was trundling her wares - excellent ice-cream - on an old bicycle.

All this can only go in in Wivenhoe.


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Only In Wivenhoe (Part One)

Muddy feet make muddy deck
Following the Regatta, I thought I'd better get down to the Boat For My Potplants and conduct a major clear-up operation. Not only did we have a man (actually a lady) overboard into the mud, resulting in much mud being brought on to the deck, we also sank (with the help of Canoe-Man Jon) a kedging anchor (I believe that's what it's called). So now my starboard stern line is secure. Hey, listen to me being all nautical now. I would
Canoe Man Jon says 'pass me down that anchor'
have said "back right rope" a year or so ago - but now I'm all educated.
5am and the clear-up operation commences

Lucien's new companion (right) needs a name


So on the morning after the day before, I awoke at 5am due to the heat and bright sunshine. I pondered for a moment in bed as to what to do, and then decided there was no time like the present. Off I went, cleaning cloths and bin-bags in my grasp. I finished the task two hours later, and rewarded myself with an on-board cuppa whilst gazing at the river and listening to the very loud squawkings of the local wildlife. BLISS.

Of course, as it was Sunday, at midday the British Legion opened its doors. It would have been rude of me not to have a couple of Bloody Marys (* see footnote).

And Lucien was presented with a companion (** see second footnote) by Rob, who had bought the as yet unnamed sailor from one of the Regatta stalls for me.

Thanks, Rob. We can now pass the Victoria Police badge to its new temporary owner.

First footnote (*)...What's the correct plural for more than one Bloody Mary? Is it Marys, Maries, or Mary's?

Second footnote (**)... But we need a name for him. Any suggestions?




Sunday, 14 July 2013

Abandon Boat!

It was a Regatta Day to surpass all others. The crowd gathered and it was a mighty big one, encouraged by the wonderful weather. The sail-past of some beautiful boats was stunning. The races were fun to watch.

Our mate Simon triumphantly held his winning trophy aloft - and somehow managed to muster up enough energy to go on to perform a magnificent set at The Station in the evening.

Funnily enough, my Boat For My Potplants became a sought-after venue, as soon as the word had gotten out that free drinks were on board.

Before long, there were eight or so guests on the rear deck, soaking up the sun. From my viewpoint in the galley I noticed we were tilting at a somewhat strange angle.

'Rob', I said. 'Can you lean over the back and make sure we're not sinking.'

'We are', said Rob. 'The water's coming in.'

'Right. Can everybody move to the front and get off please', I asked politely.

Nobody moved.

'I mean, NOW', I commanded, in a Captain sort-of-way. Full of authority.

That did it. No nonsense while I'm in charge.

The boat righted itself.  The day was saved, and so were we. And I was also saved from the embarrassment of having to explain how I sunk a boat whilst still in its mooring.

Phew. That was a close call
.
Simon at The Station

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Regatta Day Is Here In Wivenhoe

Gotta get up, gotta get out, it's early in the morning and Regatta day is here.

What if I'm late, got a big date. There was a time I'd be dancing till a quarter to ten. Gotta get home before the sun comes up.

Up and away, Got a BIG DAY.

Down by the quay.

Amongst the great characters that make up this wonderful place.


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Why Does It Take So Long...?


Question: Why, oh why, does it take so long to go such a short distance?

Answer: Because this is WIVENHOE, of course!

The Lovely 'Erindoors had been asked to make some bunting in readiness for the Regatta this coming Saturday. We set off to deliver it by hand to Graham and Lesley. The walk along from our place to theirs is only a few hundred yards by the riverside, and such a distance anywhere else would have taken three, maybe four, minutes at most.




But here the journey is fraught with danger. The danger of stopping to chat to anyone and everyone along the way.

By the Wet Dock. 'Hello there'. Along The Folly. 'Hello there'. Past The Quay. 'Hello there'. Outside The Rose And Crown. 'Hello there. Fancy a drink?'. 

Then we were alongside my Boat For My Potplants, and of course we had to stop by and plant the new geraniums.

Next to the Nottage Museum and near the Royal British Legion. 'Hello there'. Then on past our mates Rob and Sion's. 'Hello there. Glass of wine?' 

An hour later and the bunting is finally delivered.

No wonder I never get anything done around here.


Thursday, 4 July 2013

Meet Captain Lucien

Fresh back from our holiday, we recall with great pleasure our meeting with Cliff and Liz from Down Under. Of course I couldn't miss an opportunity to tell them all about my Boat For My Potplants, and when I did, I was presented with a genuine Victoria Police badge (Liz is a cop) to be kept somewhere on board. Try as I might, I couldn't think where to put it.

The following day we went to a Vide Grenier (car-boot sale). I couldn't resist buying the Captain for a euro. I asked the seller what the Captain's name was. She thought for a moment, scratched her head, clearly thinking 'zees English are zo crazy' and came up with "Lucien".

And it dawned upon me that Captain Lucien can wear the badge, with pride and honour, on The Boat For My Potplants.

It all sounds a bit mad, but then dafter things have been known to happen at sea.





Monday, 1 July 2013

Straight To It

What a wonderful 'holiday' was had, if that's the right word for it. More like a 'living in France experience', but frustrating to not have access to a local WHSmith in order to pick up the July issue of Motor Boats Monthly and see myself in it.

I know, I know, it's all about me, me, me, and I feel ever so slightly embarrassed - but what the heck...we only get a few moments of fame so we may as well play to it, eh?

So, at the Calais Eurotunnel I made a dash to the shop, searched amongst the rack, and there it blinkin-well was.

I wanted to parade around and shout to anyone who would listen "Hey, man, that's me here on the cover".

Good sense prevailed and I whispered a few words to the Lovely 'Erindoors instead.