So my old boat will live on, with new careful owners. It's been saved from the scrapheap - I would say forever - and mighty glad I am too.
It's been the source of enormous fun and countless good times, but it's only right and proper that someone else now gets to take over at the helm.
Lesley, the new owner, has also paid me to be included as one of the characters in Muddy Water, which - surprise surprise - is set in Wivenhoe. In the story she (aka Miss Baudet) comes down from Leeds, sees the boat with me working on it and decides to buy it. She changes its name to 'Miss Baudet', and lives happily ever after. Or does she?
And thanks to her and a number of other good folks, a total of £1,500 has been pledged. At the book launch in October this will be equally divided and donated to three charities - MIND, The RNLI and the Wivenhoe Royal British Legion.
There's still much work to be done on the book, so I'd better get cracking.