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, 28 October 2014

What's At The End Of A Rainbow?

The other weekend we welcomed our friend Lesley aboard for a drink or two, and a huge financial agreement took place to rival the multi-million pound deals done in The City.

Yes indeed folks, our friend has bought her place in literary greatness by agreeing to pay ONE HUNDRED POUNDS to be part of Muddy Water - the novel that's being created on the boat. She wants to be called MISS BAUDET, and I said: 'For a hundred quid you can be called anything you like, my darling'.

She joins an elite few who are all paying to be in the book. Now we have pledges totalling the grand sum of ONE THOUSAND POUNDS - to be donated equally to charities (RNLI, MIND and the Wivenhoe British Legion) at the book launch planned for next October.

The Boat For My Potplants has proved that there really is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.







Thursday, 23 October 2014

Take A Gander At Our Birds


Is it Thursday? Already four whole days since Sunday's Flavours Of Wivenhoe book launch at The Royal British Legion? What an incredibly lovely event that was, with 'Erindoors and I handing out glasses of wine to the guests as they arrived to celebrate the magnificent collection of recipes submitted by the good folks from around Wivenhoe.

The book is simply superb, and it brought a lump to my throat as I read my mum's recipes for her wonderful Port Wine Jelly and Jackie's Snaffles Mousse. I can vouch for the jelly as I have actually made it with my own bare hands, and it's rather jolly good. Bless her.

And just look at the cover. What do you see? Well, Wivenhoe has adopted a trio of fine feathered friends - a pair of swans and their own adopted goose - and they can often be seen gliding gracefully on the river. There they are on the cover! And thankfully there isn't a single goose recipe inside.




Sunday, 19 October 2014

Today's The Day





Yesterday saw the launch of a new Village Guide. There I was, eagerly flicking through my first edition, expecting to find pub ratings, photos of communal gardens and bus times - and what did I see? A picture of the new Damien Hertz sculpture that's come our way. It's disgusting! It's outrageous! It shouldn't be allowed.

And then later today we'll be attending the grand launch of 'Recipes Of Wivenhoe' at the Legion, but a mere stone's throw from The Boat For My Potplants. Apparently I have my SEX ON TOAST gourmet delight included, which is equally disgusting, outrageous and definitely shouldn't be allowed.

But it's all in the name of chariddy, and on the best possible toast!

I can't wait.

As they say, you don't have to be bonkers to live here, but it does certainly help.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

A Novel Way To Raise Some Dosh

The Lovely Fiona. What dastardly deed will she be doing in her character?

Every Wednesday The Boat For My Potplants becomes the home of writers writing and concocting the latest in the series of chapters for Muddy Water, whilst taking it in turns to cook up a new and exciting culinary dish.

Last week David pulled the rabbit out the hat and hit new heights with his gourmet 'beef hash and baked beans'. I can honestly say I've never tasted anything like it in my life, and the effort he put into turning the tin opener like he did was something to be behold.

But did you know, dear blog-reader, that this 'ere book is going to be making a mint for some special charities? It is indeed a novel way to raise some valuable £££'s for the Wivenhoe Royal British Legion, the mental health charity Mind, and also the RNLI.

You see, I'm such a cheapskate, I'll do anything for a few quid, and here I am SELLING some characters of my book to anyone who wants to PAY to be in it.

My target is to raise A GRAND, and so far I have reached SEVEN HUNDRED POUNDS after the lovely Fiona stopped me in the street last week and thrust a cheque into my hands, just so that her alto ego could be included. Don't ask me what that dastardly deed will be, as I haven't mustered it up yet, but it may well be something pretty ghastly.

So far we've also got Andy Stollery as himself, Mark as The Praying Mantis, Lesley as Ms Baudet the childrens' nanny. And Helen the hairdresser has now also expressed an interest, which would bring the total to EIGHT HUNDRED POUNDS, and with only two characters left to buy.

Roll up, roll up. Hurry hurry, offer closing soon. Throw in your dosh before it's too late!



Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sex Sells


I've got books on the brain, I have.

Not only am I writing the novel Muddy Water on board my Boat For My Potplants, there's another book about to be launched in only SEVEN days from now!

And it's not all about me, me, me, you know.

The OTHER book is the Recipe Book cooked up by some special people at The Royal British Legion (Wivenhoe Branch), including top girls Julia, Sue and Jane.

We're all going down to the official launch of the book next Sunday. And with 'Erindoors and me being contributors (me with a recipe for 'sex on toast' *, and Jane with some art), we'll be sure to get to the front of the line for our own copies.

I can't wait.

* 'SEX ON TOAST ???', I hear you ask in astonishment?

I told them that sex sells, and that's why they've had to order in extra copies to cope with the curious crowds all wanting to know the secret ingredients.

Friday, 10 October 2014

All Trim And Proper

Leather trim arrived in the post

Down to the metal after removing old cracked veneer
You may recall, dear blog-readers, that a while back I was bowled over by some international good will in the form of Rene from Holland, who is a member of the Fiat 124 Coupe Fan Club on Facebook (yes folks, there is indeed such a group, with 1,266 members and counting!).

Make a template from paper and cut new veneer to size
I had posted if anyone knew where I could get some veneer to replace my cracked and damaged console material that surrounds the base of my gear stick in Alfonso The Second.

Lo and behold, Rene went to all the trouble of sending me some, and despite my protests he refused to accept any payment!

Glue it down and add a little varnish, and trim to follow soon
That was a while ago, but sadly since receiving it, Alfonso The Second was in the Fiat hospital for quite some time, in need of some surgery (welding) in order to pass the MOT.

Well, I am delighted to report that Alfonso The Second is now fully recovered and last weekend I fitted the veneer, but to finish it off nicely I sent away for some nice leather trim to put around the edges.

That's just arrived in the post, and so I now have a very exciting Saturday to look forward to when I come to fit it.

It doesn't take a lot to get me excited.


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Go Faster Stripes


I wanted to make old Tallulah go a little faster, so I thought some nice stripes would be just the ticket.

I took a great deal of care getting them nice and straight, and what with the new hand-painted cream and white paint, she's coming along quite nicely.

I could have spent a fortune on having her sprayed, but being the skinflint that I am I was very happy to buy a few tins of Hammerite and do it myself.

I'm just a boy-racer at heart.


Sunday, 5 October 2014

Saturday Night And Sunday Morning

Saturday Night. 

Plastic cup of whisky.

Genesis nice and loud.

Snug as a bug in a rug.

Sleeping on the Boat For My Potplants.

Sunday Morning.

Waking on the Boat For My Potplants.

Wee in bucket.

Coffee, strong and black.

Black pudding and fried tomatoes.

Good day to the world.




Saturday, 4 October 2014

In The Beginning


Genesis. In the beginning there was the greatest prog-rock band going.

And my Boat For My Potplants has played a huge part in Phil, Steve, Tony, Mike and Peter getting back together.

It was on one of my book-club evenings with David Roberts (where we discuss how my forthcoming novel Muddy Water is coming along) that he disclosed to me that he is to have a starring role in the forthcoming Genesis documentary.

My, how I rolled my eyes with envy, as I enthusiastically played my favourite track nice and loud on the boat's sound-system.

"The carpet crawlers heed their callers. You gotta get in to get out". Magnificent, we both thought.

So when David was being filmed in some seedy Soho studio being asked what his favourite Genesis song was, immediately the song we'd been listening to with such relish only a matter of hours previously instantly came to mind.

And when he mentioned the pivotal role that the Boat For My Potplants had played in his choice, the producers of the film were so sold on Wonderful Wivenhoe, that they decided to shoot the opening title sequence on the boat, with all the band members playing their instruments on the deck amongst the real and artificial flowers.

Mike Rutherford was overheard saying: "You really can't tell the difference", and Peter Gabriel elaborated by saying to Steve Hackett how he admired the picket fence. Tony Banks even began pruning the geraniums that were still flowering. "These geraniums are still flowering", he said.

I wanted to make Phil Collins especially comfortable so I brought the gorilla out of hibernation as he played a magnificent version of In The Air Tonight whilst munching on some Dairy Milk.

You can see the whole darn thing on BBC 2 this evening at 9.15. Don't miss it!






Thursday, 2 October 2014

W.O.R.C.

It can only be in Wivenhoe where a meeting is called to discuss the future of The Wivenhoe Drinking Club,  er, I mean The Wivenhoe Ocean Racing Club (please note: there is no ocean and there is no racing, but there is a club, and it is in Wivenhoe, and sometimes drinks are had there).

It can only be in Wivenhoe where a motion is carried that another meeting is deemed necessary to discuss the future of said Wivenhoe Ocean Racing Club.

That's why I love it here so much. It's bonkers.

I wore my W.O.R.C badge with pride when I went to see the nice man at Suzuki to ask if they could let me have a motor for my Boat For My Potplants, and it certainly brought me good luck back then, because the nice man said yes.

Has W.O.R.C. sailed its course? We'll have to wait and see. Whatever happens in the future, it has been a fantastic concept, which has financially helped with maintenance of the lovely Royal British Legion building here on the quay.