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)

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Riverside Sessions

Last night was sublime. At 7 o'clock I met up with two chaps on the Boat For My Potplants; Jerry and David. It was the kind of thing that only happens in Wivenhoe.

Jerry is the man with whom I did The World's Smallest Pirate Radio shows last summer, and now a firm friend.

David had put a note on The Wivenhoe Forum asking for some help with his boat, which Jerry answered, and then discovered that David is the author of a most amazing book.

The Rock Atlas is all about the places associated with music-related topics throughout the UK and Ireland. Where an album sleeve was photographed; where a group's last gig was; that sort of thing.

If you like music, you'll love it. It's on sale at The Wivenhoe Bookshop and of course that big company beginning with A.

So, imagine the scene last night...three blokes sitting on the back of the boat, talking music, watching the sun set and the birds catching their supper, and the best bit; taking it in turns to play our favourite songs on our iPods through the boat's hifi - quite loud - until around midnight. A little wine was also had, I vaguely recall.

We recorded it for future broadcast on Radio Wivenhoe, and it could be the start of something big. Top musicians, wanting to promote their latest project, will surely be clambering over themselves to experience what money can't buy. The concept of The Riverside Sessions has been born.

'Who's calling? Paul who? Sorry Mr McCartney, we're busy that night, we have a Mr Springsteen coming over. But I daresay we could squeeze you in'.


It's nice to dream, eh?

By the way, thanks to David, I heard last night the most beautiful Beatles cover. To check it out, go back to the top of my blog and click on the record. See what you think...


Sunday, 25 August 2013

Dear Chris Evans...

Dear Chris Evans, top dj at BBC Radio 2

Last year I created THE WORLD'S SMALLEST PIRATE RADIO STATION, and 'broadcast' my programmes from inside the boat. It was lots of fun, and raised £147 for the Royal British Legion by listeners paying for their favourite song to be played.

But to be frank, as my old teachers at school used to say 'Neil tried hard, but could do better'.

Did you know, Chris, apart from us both being disc jockies, we have a few more things in common?

We both have a boat. Admittedly, yours cost a little more than mine, as mine was FREE!

We both have Italian classics. You have Ferraris, and I have an old Fiat with a bit of rust

We both have played golf. You at Sunningdale, and me on top of the boat


We both write. You've done two books, read by millions, and I do this 'ere blog, read by dozens

The reason I'm writing is to ask if I could come to your BBC studio and watch, listen and learn from you, the Master of Radio. PLEASE!



















I promise to be good and quiet and not get in the way.


Sunday, 18 August 2013

Some Pictures For Paul And Yvonne...


Rubber car mats cut in half to prevent squeaks when the boards are down
Bi-fold door to cabin
Increase the headroom by lowering the floor, using ply tiles cut to fit the bilge

Nice and private when cabin door is closed 
Door to the loo, cut in half so as to take up less space to get past in the kitchen

The loo with library
Rear view out to the Colne

The captain's seat was removed to give more seating space

Rear deck, using B&Q decking boards

A removable central board for access to bilge




New Stocks Required

My new cyber-mates Paul and Yvonne, who own Tempest lV - another TEAL just like my Boat For My Potplants, asked for some pictures of my rear deck. So I've just nipped down with my camera in order to oblige.

While snapping away I put on the hifi and pondered whether it might sound even better with some old Bose speakers my sister gave me. They are lurking in the back of the garage and it's only fair to give them a try.

But before all that, I have to get on my hands and knees with a bucket and sponge and mop up the bilge. I'd forgotten to close up the canopy and with a few downpours we've had recently I have some work to do.

It's Sunday morning, and nobody was about. Whilst on the boat I had an urge to make myself some breakfast, but to my utmost shock and horror, I discovered that I had NO BAKED BEANS on board. Only Tesco tinned curry and Uncle Ben's rice, which I didn't really fancy at eight in the morning.

So at ten o'clock I'll be off to Aldi to stock up. I know how to live it up.



Saturday, 17 August 2013

Crumbs! Not A Bad Day!

'And Take A Deep Sigh...' Come on, let's go!
Well, it's all been river-related, but I didn't actually manage to get to The Boat For My Potplants to mess about with some new speakers. Maybe tomorrow. I never got round to try out the Bose speakers given to me by my sister Emma and her man Charlie, but I will make it my mission to do so just as soon as I can. You never know - it could sound brilliant.
On the canoe

'Look out the window and take a deep sigh'. (the lyrics to a song in my heart). 'Come on Jane, let's go', I said, early this morning. We went out on the canoe. She loved it. I loved it. It was lovely.

Then, there was the run alongside the river. I didn't run - she did. But I kept her company riding alongside with the best bike known to mankind, kindly given to me by Claire (she was the Olympic flame bearer in Saffron Walden last year, and triathlon extraorodinaire).

After that I was sent out for some milk from the farm shop. Being so nearby to Alresford, I couldn't resist but call in with Alphonso 2nd (my old 1968 Fiat) to see our mates Ian and Sue, who live there. Ian FORCED me to drive his beautiful MG up the road and back. I couldn't say no. It was a 'wow' experience that I will remember for a long, long time.

Claire's bike
Back in time for a great 'music extravaganza' at Geoff and Trish's, who live by the river. What fun, involving drinking wine and beer and having the craic together - six blokes sitting around and playing music tracks with the volume on eleven. Wonderful.
Alphonso 2nd

Ian's beauty







Monday, 12 August 2013

We Have Twins

Tempest lV
A Boat For My Potplants
Tempest lV





A Boat For My Potplants














Thanks to the power of the Internet, the recent article about My Boat For My Potplants in Motor Boats Monthly, and of course my Oscar award-winning (in my dreams) YouTube video (to the right on this 'ere blogsite), something wonderful has happened...

I was contacted out of the blue by a very nice man and his lady, Paul and Yvonne from Walton-on-Thames.

Like me, they had been searching for many many many hours for a boat the same as the one we each have. Not just one that looks a bit like it, but one that is undoubtedly the same.

And the boats have now found each other. All say 'Aaah'.

Los Amigos, aka A Boat For My Potplants, can now be reunited in spirit with its twin, Tempest 1V.

For me this is especially good news, because now I can confirm, without any hesitation, that my boat is definitely a TEAL. Paul and Yvonne have the original paperwork to prove it. EUREKAKAKA!

At first I thought it was a Norman, then a Callumcraft, then a Nauticus. But all along, Adi from the Norman Boat Appreciation Society (yes, there really is such an organisation) has been exploding at me 'IT'S A TEAL, IT'S A TEAL'.

I am ashamed that I ever doubted Adi's word, and I offer my humblest of apologies.

Adi, you were right all along.