The boat 'MISS BAUDET' is a garden, party venue, writers' retreat and HQ for serious meetings with my publisher David

Thursday 11 February 2021

 Conor, my young neighbour and occasional apprentice, created Mr. Snowman on my boat when the first flurries settled in Wivenhoe. But a rendezvous proved that Snowy couldn't talk as he had originally been built with no mouth. 

That was soon rectified with Conor's return trip today, and Mr. Snowman and I were able to have a nice conversation. 

I told him how much I was looking forward to sitting outside the pub, having a few pints and chatting among friends in the warm sunshine.

He looked at me, horrified at the very thought.

Saturday 19 December 2020


Well, it's that time again, and I thought we all need a little cheer-up during this most unsettling of years. Being the shy retiring type what I am, there would have been a time way back when that I would have worried about what peeps might think about my boat. After all, Wivenhoe is a very serious nautical village.

But now I just don't care. After all, it's a Boat For My Potplants, and I do declare that holly and ivy can count as potplants of sorts.

I also don't care that my Santa and his trusty Richard the Reindeer (Rudolph was off and busy elsewhere) were damaged when I went to collect my eBay purchase from a lovely lady in Colchester at a bargain price of 40 squids. 

No Sir - all that matters is that my little Christmas display brings a smile to the good folks of Wivenhoe and around the world.

Merry Christmas!

Monday 6 July 2020

The Monty Tales

After a period of probably 20 years, the car inherited by me that I've decided to call Monty, was started by Phil and the boys at Wivenhoe Autos.
Unfortunately, the clutch is seized, but no matter, my mate Ian has come to my rescue.
Ian has offered to work on the car when he can during the next 6 months.
So the next task is to get the car away from Wivenhoe Autos so that they don't have the inconvenience of having to push it in and out of their workshop every day.

Saturday 4 July 2020

New Arrival Near My Boat

Well, dear readers - here is my latest project.
Yes, I agree, it is not very boat-related.

The connection is that it will one day be parked near the boat, giving rides to the good folks of Wivenhoe to raise funds for our British Legion building.

I inherited a Mini Moke. It's a long story, and I may as well tell it here. My blog is as good a place as any.

'Prologue' - the Moke arrived on Wednesday from County Cork in Ireland.

In my next blog post, let's call it 'Chapter 1', I will tell the story of how I acquired the vehicle.

I'm warning you, 'Chapter 1' itself is as long as 'War And Peace'.

You'll need to sit down with a cup of tea.

Tuesday 9 June 2020


For months now I've been following Steve Guttenberg's 'Audiophiliac Daily Show' on YouTube, where he waffles on about stuff to do with hifi.
As an audiophiliac myself, I hang on his every word - coming out from Brooklyn, NY, USA.
I love music, I love hifi, I love vinyl - I do declare.
So when he posted an invitation for viewers of his channel to send in a pic of their system, I had to jump right to it.
But it wasn't as easy as it sounds.
It was mighty difficult to take a pic that displayed what I've got, if you know what I mean.
In the end, I sent two.


Saturday 6 June 2020

Sorry, Your Majesty

Sorry Liz - I had no idea, until one of my nautical neighbours pointed out, that I had my Union Jack upside-down, indicating that I was in distress.

It was blowing such a hooley today, and cold and wet too, that I certainly was in distress.

Thank goodness I took the bird in its cage inside the cabin just in time.

Saturday 30 May 2020

Wivenhoe Open Gardens

Last year we created a display on the boat for the 2019 Wivenhoe Open gardens amidst the Brexit talks. It coincided with my invitation to a French delegation from Montolieu as part of my plan to create a 'Town Friendship'.

Everyone had a jolly good time, and I vowed then to do another Open Garden in 2020.

Alas, the hot topic of Brexit is now paled into insignificance by the Pandemic of our century. Bring back Brexit - it was so much easier to cope with than Covid-19.

But anyway, whatever. There was no reason we shouldn't create a little colour on the top of my Boat For My Potplants, was there?

So, early this Saturday morning, 'Erindoors and I went about producing a small garden, utilising the various bits and pieces donated for said cause by the good folks of Wivenhoe.

Hopefully the tweeting bird, as well as the other objects, have given a few reasons to be cheerful (Part 3) during these strange and surreal times.

Monday 25 May 2020

I Don't Believe It...

I don't believe that I've had my Boat For My Potplants for something like 10 years now, and it's only just occurred to me that I don't have to sit on the relatively uncomfortable rear-deck seats.

So, at long last and not a moment too soon, I have put in some planks across the seats to make a handy sun-bathing deck.

All I need now is a selection of cushions - or better still, a steamer chair.

Hey Ho, hey ho,
It's off to eBay I go.

Let's see what I can find.

Saturday 9 May 2020

Back to Basics

Well, it looks like I will finally be going back to my roots, and using my Boat For My Potplants for exactly that purpose - to put plants on. Or at least flowers. And artificial ones at that.

I will look back at these times in years to come with credulity. Usually in May, Wivenhoe has its Open Gardens, and on two occasions my boat has had a nice display (see main banner pic of this blog).

This year, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Open Gardens has been cancelled, as has pretty much everything else. I wonder whether, in years to come, I'll look back and remember what the pandemic was all about, or whether it will have left an indelible mark, and the world will never be the same again. Who knows?

Anyway, I digress. For folks to see my boat, all they have to do is walk past it. And so I thought why not add a bit of cheer and create a little display?

So I put out an appeal on Facebook for donations of plastic flowers to be left on the boat, so that I can use them to make a display.

Amazingly, donations have been flooding in, thick and fast. Well, I've had three so far. But it's a start.

One of the donations, for some strange reason, wasn't actually a plant or flower - it was a vase. Very pretty too. Oh, and a chicken. A rubber chicken that squeaks.

Never mind. I'll carry on, regardless.

Saturday 2 May 2020


There's no stopping me now. Spurred on by the success of having an amplifier and semi-good speakers (although there's always room for speaker upgrading in any hifi system), I've been playing around with getting the TV hooked up to a cheap and cheerful DVD player.

Remarkably, it worked. The picture was great, but the sound, going through the TV was absolute sh*te, putting it mildly. And when I played my laptop through the TV to watch music videos on Youtube, it sounded even worse.

So, the answer to this enormous problem was to connect the TV to the hifi amp. Luckily, because the amp is an ancient Grundig, with more inputs than I could throw a stick at (phono, plus 4 others), I'm able to connect 1) iPod, 2) BlueTooth receiver for iPhone connection, 3) TV, and 4) record player. And I still have one left!

Anyway, all I needed was an HDMI cable to connect the DVD player to the TV, and an Optical cable to connect the TV to the Grundig amp, and I'd be laughing.

(Some might say that with all this talk of cables and connectors, that I've got too much time on my hands. They might have a point.)

Well, the cables came, and now I'm well and truly laughing - because it all sounds FANTASTIC!

Wednesday 29 April 2020


Yes indeed. During this lockdown I've snuck down to the boat to make a few small, but essential changes.
For example the right-hand loudspeaker wasn't completely straight, so that demanded immediate and radical attention.
The curtains are now all up, thanks to the efforts of the wonderful 'Erindoors.
And there's now a telly, although not yet connected up. The telly is so that David the Publisher and I can have our regular Book Clubs aboard* with a background of music videos playing.
Of course the ancient Grundig amp is still there, firing up those Mordaunt-Shorts divinely, and it's neatly tucked away now in its own little cubbyhole.

But some things will always remain the same, apart from the song. The view from the back of my Boat For My Poplants is still the best in Wivenhoe. All that's still missing is a potplant - which is why I've now got a potty, ready for an artificial delight that will follow shortly.

* After things return to some sort of norm**, and social distancing is no longer a prerequisite to all activities.
** I haven't mentioned it before on this 'ere blog, but there's a nasty virus going round worldwide, and so none of us can meet up, which is a great pity, as I'm missing my mates down the pub - as are we all.

Saturday 4 April 2020


I came to the conclusion a while back that my poor old Boat For My Potplants was indeed in need of a bit of a pick-me-up.

It was looking tired and uncared for, untidy and, dare I say, a little dirty.

It was time for a repaint and a clean, putting things away in their places, and generally having a good old sprucing-up.

Luckily for me, my reliable 'Erindoors (Jane) offered to make me some new, brighter curtains - using some left-over material she had lying around in a box under the bed. Perfect.

But we didn't have any tape that goes along the top, where the hooks get hooked (I don't know what its technical name is) - so she ordered some from our local Colchester Franklins shop ( Sadly, the physical shop is currently closed due to Coronavirus*, but they are still taking on-line orders, and an on-line order was duly placed - but unfortunately for not enough. One of us mis-calculated, and it may well have been me.

Anyway, a second order was placed - and lo-and-behold, the lovely lady from Franklins turned up at our doorstep the very same evening to personally deliver it. Now, that's what I call GREAT service.

So, Jane was able to get on and brighten up the boat, after I'd finished giving it a fresh lick of paint.

Tune in tomorrow folks, and I'll update you with what I've been doing with the onboard record player. 

I bet you can't wait. 

* (One day soon I will do a blog about Coronavirus - it's so unbelievable, and I'm sure in years to come I'll have to pinch myself that it really happened)

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Extraordinary Times

For so long, I've been dreaming of having time on my hands to get back to doing my blog, finishing my book, updating social media pages - just doing anything creative that normal living, jobs, commitments have been getting in the way of.

I'm hoping that one day in the future I will look back at this picture, and ask myself why did I hang rainbows.

For today, just the picture is enough.

Monday 16 December 2019

Meet Rolo

Let me introduce Rolo to you.

She's meant to be a full English Cocker spaniel but Joss, the owner, suspects she may have a bit of dachshund in her or something else!  Joss got her in Dubai, although she was originally from Hungary. And now she lives in Wivenhoe. She's certainly a well-travelled dog.

I've always welcomed pooches on the Boat With A Few Potplants, and Rolo must be at least the tenth canine to set paws on the deck.

And very pleased I was too when she came aboard - after all, I needed to get acquainted with her as she is a central and pivotal character throughout my latest blockbuster, Mister Tap.

Rolo plays herself, and Mister Tap is her master. Or is it the other way round?

Saturday 2 November 2019


What do I do on the boat once a week, every week, and have been doing so for the last few years?

Well, I'll tell you what I do, what I really really do.

I meet with my publisher, editor, cover designer and good friend David Roberts.

Although we spend most of our time talking blx, we do actually have serious 'Book Club' meetings to discuss how to move forward with whatever our current project at the time is.

Currently it's 'MISTER TAP', to be published 2020.

To help things flow, we take in in turns to bring the wine, or do the food.

Both of us play the sounds.

It's an essential part of the book-writing process. 

Friday 1 November 2019


Well, I didn't overcome my fear associated with taking the boat out.

Apart from the threat of poor weather hanging in the air, there was another insurmountable problem to contend with - I had misread the tide height, and it just didn't come up high enough to float us for long enough.

So we went for a meal instead at Wivenhoe's very own Syrian restaurant. Excellent vegan fare, and highly recommended.

Actually, I was much relieved that I couldn't take the boat out - but it's still on my list of to-do items.

I won't be satisfied until I've done it, but that will have to be next year now.

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Overcoming The Fear

It might seem a piece of cake to all you boaty people out there, but not so for me.

But this year is MY year for overcoming my fears.

First off, in May I drove my 51-year-old Fiat to Laon in France to attend a classic car gathering of epic proportions. Previously, I'd not gone much further than to the Co Op in Wivenhoe - and there I was doing a round-trip of around 700 miles.

And I lived to tell the tale.

And now I plan to take out the old Miss Baudet (aka A Boat For My Potplants) at high-tide on 22nd September.

Yes indeed, I'll be firing up that Suzuki 9.9 and easing out onto the River Colne, and setting compass for Rowhedge.

It's a long way, for sure - at least one nautical mile there and back.

I'm shivering me timbers in fright already.

Saturday 18 May 2019


Blimey! What a week it's been.

Jane has been preparing her art exhibition. She's so cool, calm and collected that it didn't seem to faze her one bit.

We've both been preparing our Open Garden on top of Miss Baudet. I hope she doesn't mind! That was less cool, calm and collecting for me. Can you imagine the trauma when I discovered that the original tiger that had been offered, had been sold. But Nellie the Elephant came along instead.
Phew, that was a relief! And then we found a little tiger anyway.

And as well as all that going on, it is with great honour, I find myself welcoming 7 friends from Montolieu, France (including Monsieur le Maire and his wife) to our little town, to see Wivenhoe for the first time, and to attend our own Mayor's Ball this weekend. But these things don't just happen by accident, you know - it takes years of meticulous planning. Well, a few days, at least.

I would never have imagined two years ago, when I sheepishly suggested the idea of a 'town friendship' between Montolieu and Wivenhoe to Monsieur le Maire, that he'd actually be here, with an entourage that includes his wife, the museum curator, a bookshop owner, a restauranteur, an interpreter, and a wineshop owner.


C'est fantastique!

Wednesday 8 May 2019

Never A Dull Moment

In just a week and a half from now, it will be the Wivenhoe Open Gardens, and I've promised to make a display on the top of my boat. Not only that, Jane will be participating in the Spring Presence art trail.

So, yesterday, not to miss a bargain, in preparation I bought some astroturf from Aldi.

Coinciding with that weekend, a delegation of 7 friends, including the Maire of Montolieu who joined me on stage at my book launch last year, will be coming to visit Wivenhoe to attend our own Mayor's Ball.

In my excitement, I ordered some French flags!

I hope this will be the beginnings of great things to come - of cultural exchange and friendship between our two unusual, friendly, quirky and creative towns.

Tuesday 9 April 2019

Elephant Found!

I found an elephant!
And a tiger.
I have the boat.
All I need is a jungle like I had for the gorilla.

Sunday 10 March 2019

Elephant Wanted!

Miss Baudet (the current name for The Boat For My Potplants) went naked, all for the sake of preparation.

When one is invited to take part in this year's Wivenhoe Open Gardens, one must have one's boat spic and span - and that means one must clean the canvas canopy.

This entails one taking it off, pressure-washing it, and putting it back on - unfortunately in gale-force winds.

It wasn't easy, but with thanks to 'Erindoors, one managed it.

Now one has to think up how to turn the boat into a garden.

Last time it was with a gorilla.

This year, especially as Nellie the dwarf twin elephant in 'Mister Tap' is fresh in one's mind, one is now in search of a Nellie-lookalike.

And, as the Maire of Montolieu MIGHT be visiting that weekend, one wants to put on a good display.

So, if anyone has one to lend one, do let one know.

Ta very much.

Sunday 3 March 2019

Spice of Life

 I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want.

The boat is coming back to life, with the recent addition of a secondhand record player I recently bought.

However, in this day and age of modern technology, I really ought to go all bluetooth so that I don't drain the battery after having the amplifier on for half an hour.

So, all I have to do is rustle up a few crisp tenners and buy myself what I really really want.

I want two Minirigs speakers and a bluetooth turntable by Audio Technica.

The speakers are amazing. I wonder if they'll give me a couple if I ask politely.

No, probably not.

So, my finger keeps hovering over the 'BUY NOW' button on Amazon.

My heart says 'press', but after looking at my Barclaycard statement, my head say's 'don't'.