How this blog began: Boat, garden, party venue and writer's retreat.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Last Night...

Last night, Christmas 2009, I walked quietly along the quayside at Wivenhoe, in the freezing damp air. The river was calm and still, and no one was about, Wivenhoe's occupants having decided wisely to stay in the warm for their Christmas evening supper.

I wandered casually over to the position on the quayside where the Boat For My Potplants is going to be moored, and gazed dreamily at the empty space, feeling happy with myself for having secured such a prime location for the boat's new home.

It is sure to be an upstream struggle, transporting the boat over from St Neots, getting it ship-shape in the Spring, and finally welcoming friends and family aboard to share the first Captain's Dinner some time in the Summer.

I can't wait!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Definition Of A Boat

I have been reliably informed that the definition of my boat, or any boat for that matter, is a 'hole in the water that you pour money into'. But it's a secret, dear bloggees, between you and me. My wife MUST NOT be informed. But what the heck - in for a penny, in for several pounds. After all, it's not every day that one gets given a boat, so at least one can do is to look after it. And a couple of hundred quid for bead-blasting sounds quite reasonable. And with mooring costs and moving costs, insurance costs and licensing costs, it is, er, cough cough, the season to be jolly. And if I were to be writing this post-sunset instead of pre-sunrise, I'm sure it would all sound jolly cheap indeed, as I sleepily sip my port at the end of the day. Somehow, this morning's tea only serves to make the reality more clear to me.

But good news - I may be joining the Norman Boats Appreciation Society, if the Boat For My Potplants turns out to be a Norman 22. Or could it be a Teal 22? How exciting! Sooner or later all will be revealed as my membership to Yachting And Boating World Forum proves to be invaluable, in the unfolding story that is The Boat For My Potplants.

Now! Under which mattress did I hide that brown paper envelope? Because sadly I can't seem to find it. I'd better buy a Lottery ticket today.

Friday, 18 December 2009


Bless my digereedoo! Do you know what it is yet? Well, I do - it's a "Norman 22", that's what it is, diddle, iddle iddle um, by the jolly Court of King Caractucus. Thanks to my new contact who will be transporting the Boat For My Potplants from St Neots to Wivenhoe in February. He obviously knows more than a thing or two about boats, as he so quickly identified the craft.

So now I can begin to research interesting facts about the "Norman 22", and I am sure that you bloggees out there cannot wait to find out more. Well, tie me kangaroo down, Cap'n, all will be revealed in the goodness of time.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Three Stops Past...

This morning I received a text message from my very good, but equally very mad, friends Paul, Mike and Jay, who are trying to pursuade me to take the Boat For My Potplants by river AND sea from its current mooring in St Neots to its new home in Wivenhoe.

In the past I have declared that No Siree Will I Go To Sea, but I do have to admit a faint enthusiasm for such an adventure, despite there being more cons to the pros.

Here are 12 cons, in no particular order...

The boat does not currently have a floor on which to stand safely.
To take it via river / canal / sea will take days, or even weeks.
It will cost a fortune in diesel
I don't even know if the outboard works
It might sink in the sea.
It might capsize in the wind.
It has no electricity. Or toilet that works. (that counts as one con, combined)
I don't have any life-jackets.
We would have to plan meticulously, and time is lacking due to...(next...).
( I'd have to take ages off work.
We might drown.
My mate Greg (who knows a thing or two about boats) has advised that he is re-naming me Dagenham (ie 3 stops past Barking) - for International bloggees, Dagenham and Barking are stations on the London Underground. And Greg says don't do it.

...And 1 pro...
It would be extremely good fun

Monday, 14 December 2009

Just When I Thought...

Just when I thought I had it all sewn up regarding the somewhat two critical questions of a) transportation and b) mooring, I have hit a snag. A jolly big snag at that. Now that the deal has been done for the mooring, I thought it would be prudent to contact the company (who had quoted £275 to transport the Boat For My Potplants) without delay, and book them in the diary for as soon as possible after 1st February.

Alas, their answer came back, saying that their trailer had been involved in an accident and was now out of service. So, it's back to the drawing board to organise transport of the Boat For My Potplants from St Neots to Wivenhoe.

So if any of you fine Bloggees out there have a trailer and a vehicle to tow it, please step up to the mark. Generous quantities of Captain's Rum will be provided upon completion.

Of course if all else fails I suppose the Boat is going to have to be driven (or sailed or rowed) down the river and out to sea. Anyone got any life-jackets for hire?

Saturday, 12 December 2009

It's a Done Deal!

Today, on the twelfth of the twelfth, the deal was done between tenant (me) and The Waterlords of Wivenhoe! I officially now have a mooring for my Boat For My Potplants. And what a grand mooring it is! It must be in the most prime position in Wivenhoe that could possibly be wished for - bang smack in front of the Rose And Crown pub. The Rose And Crown is the in the epicentre of Wivenhoe life, especially in the Summer months, when the Boat For My Potplants will surely flourish.

Will it become a sales pitch for The Potplants?
Will it become an Offshore Pirate Radio Ship?
Will it become a Floating Luxury B&B?
Will it be a Summer Rave Disco? - (I haven't yet mentioned this latest idea - watch this space)
Will it become a shrine to Essex Life readers?

The answer is, of course, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes.

We have now answered the questions of HOW to get the boat here, and WHERE it will be placed. Now the remaining question is WHEN?

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Buoy oh buoy!!!

Buoy oh buoy, me hearties, shiver me timbers, raise the anchor and set course for Wivenhoe. Because WE HAVE GOT A MOORING!!! I made strong head-way during last night's Important Meeting with the water-lords. I almost swelled up on the poop-deck as negotiations successfully concluded and agreement was made on an even keel.

So, steady as she goes, Cap'n. Thanks to all you bloggees out there for your support and advice. I must stem the tide of my own excitement and prepare for the next installment of the Boat's adventure.

I must admit that I'm rather pleased with the cut of my own jib. Now all I have to do is to fathom out a way to shape a course for getting my Boat For My Potplants to its new home, right bang OUTSIDE THE PUB!!!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Blogsite Goes International!

How cool is this? A Boat For My Potplants is about to go Global with followers from across the pond in the USA. I don't think my boat would actually make it across such a large pond, but metaphorically it's just a short haul away.

My terrific friends whom I have known for many years, Jackie and Larry, are to become bloggees of this very site. Jackie asked if I will be growing Pot on deck? Of course not was my answer. But on reflection what a brilliant idea that would be.

So now we have several uses for the Boat For My Potplants; Herbs and Spices, Bed and Breakfast, Wonderful Wadio Wivenhoe, and Illegal Drugs.

A Very Important Meeting that is due to take place shortly, might open the (flood)gates for the mooring that I am seeking. By this time tomorrow I could well have a mooring tenancy along the quayside. Watch this space.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Away For A While

Several feelers have now been put about declaring that I am keen to have a mooring for The Boat For My Potplants. And today, I have been invited to join a group of people, the Wivenhoe Ocean Racing Club, which I will be delighted to do. Now, the Club, or W.O.R.C., as it's better known sounds like my cup of tea, or swig of rum. Not only is there no ocean nearby, neither is there any racing - except to the bar for the first drink. So I, with my sole eccentric membership of B.F.M.P., should fit in quite nicely, I trust.

Now, I don't know much about the Club yet, except that it does a wonderful job in helping to raise funds for the British Legion's building upkeep here on Wivenhoe Quay. It was W.O.R.C. that put on the magnificent firework display that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.

I am now looking forward to putting my boat, with its potplants, up for the next ocean race, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.

In the meantime, dear bloggers, important work is pulling me away to distant lands for the next two weeks. I will be cooking gastronomic extravaganzas, painting high walls, and relaxing with friends. Mentally though, I will be still on my boat, wondering whether my wish for a mooring will be granted when I return.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Excuse Me!

Well, dear bloggees, it has been a while now since my last posting. Not for lack of enthusiasm on my part - no siree, far from it. It's just that until I get a mooring I can't really do much in the way of arranging transportation for the Boat For My Potplants from St Neots to Wivenhoe.

However, earlier this week, I did have a Very Important Meeting with a Very Important Person who knows Someone Who Has A Mooring that may possibly be available. I have to wait patiently. I have discovered that here in Wivenhoe it's not about what you know, but who you know, that counts. I was a little dismayed by the question put to me about whether Wivenhoe actually wants another rotten old boat on its quayside. Excuse me!

In the meantime, my small article has been submitted to Essex Life Magazine, and my fingers are crossed that publication could take place in their January edition. And if they print a photo as well, then who know where it all may lead. It could be the start of something Big. Then moorings galore will be offered to me left right and centre.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

I didn't get where I am, etc etc

In my last blog I mentioned The Company Shed as an ideal destination for the Boat For My Potplants. Thousands of you bloggers have asked what The Company Shed is. Well, it is the most delightful 'restaurant' imaginable, located on Mersea Island by the water's edge. It serves sea-food for take-away, or (if you're lucky) you might get a seat inside where you are encouraged to bring your own bread and wine. Scallops, prawns, lobsters, white fish, salmon, crabs are bountiful. You name it, they serve it.

However, when mentioning my desire to take the boat there, my friend Greg (whom I reluctantly admit probably does know a thing or two about boating) has steadfastly advised against me taking the Boat For My Potplants to this great place. 'You will have to cross the wide estuary', he says. 'It is SEA. Your boat is a RIVER boat. It is called a RIVER boat because it was built to go on RIVERS, not the SEA'.

Greg - you are such a kill-joy. I didn't get where I am today, etc etc by listening to people telling me what I can't do. But on this one, you're probably right. Even more reason why I have to prove you wrong.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

All Very Technical

Could fame beckon for The Boat For My Potplants? We have been invited to write something for publication in the excellent Essex Life Magazine about us (the boat and me that is). We hope to also include a picture of our dilapidated state, in the hope that someone somewhere might take pity on us and help us improve.

In the meantime, discussions have been raging with people in-the-know about the boat's motor's power requirements. Apparently, if it's only a few horse power it will take all day to go up to Mersea Island to The Company Shed, and by the time we get there the tide will be out so we'd be left stranded. But, also apparently, you can't just go and fit a more powerful motor. It's all about the drag of the hull, and the lift that is gained.

It all sounds very technical to me, and to some of you dear bloggers too, no doubt.

Friday, 6 November 2009

"It's all about yer cockpit for maximum growth"

Something that I just hadn't realised until this evening was that "It's all about the position of the cockpit for maximum growth", according to our great friend Sandra. "What do you mean, Sandra?", I asked.
"Well, it's obvious. Unless the boat's cockpit is south-facing, yer pots aint gonna flourish."

So, on those words of wisdom, I relax, knowing that I have become another step closer to fulfilling the dream of A Boat For My Potplants.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Yes, Yes, Yes and No

Yes, I have had a quote to get the Boat For My Potplants taken from St Neots to Wivenhoe by road, for £275.

Yes, Essex Life Magazine says I can submit a letter for them to publish in their magazine abiut this blogsite.

Yes, dear bloggees, you could become (semi-) famous.

No, I haven't got a mooring yet.

Sunday, 1 November 2009


I have a Great Idea! I will write to the boating magazines in case they might be interested in the unfolding story of A Boat For My Potplants. Or should I write to the gardening magazines? Either way, you never know what might happen. After all, their magazines are about boats (or potplants), so one of their readers just might be able to steer me in the right direction. And, dear bloggers, I certainly need steering.

It may be obvious to you, dear readers, that I know little about boats (and not a lot more about potplants either) However, I am sure the trusty sword of my enthusiasm ought to carry me forward in my personal crusade. I could do with some help though.

All I have to do now is to look up the magazines' addresses, find out the names of the editors, send them a link to my blog, and the rest is as simples as a meerkat's ass.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Another step closer

This evening in Wivenhoe saw the wonderful firework display, set off on the other side of the river. The spectators crowded on the quayside outside the Rose And Crown to get the best view possible. They, and I, weren't disappointed. The general atmosphere was splendid.

I was standing just a few feet from the place where I imagined The Boat For My Potplants will one day be moored, and I strolled home with a spring of anticipation in my step. My small step became a giant leap, when I bumped into a man who might play a critical role in helping to get my mooring. We shall see if he can make the key introductions that I need.

The river was perfectly tranquil this evening. A perfect place for my boat. On yesterday's posting I promised to disclose its name, and this evening I thought its name was even more apt. It's called Serenity. Aaaah!

Friday, 30 October 2009

What's In A Name

This is the weekend in which I will make some true investigations as to the mooring possibilities. I am sure I will be asked what is the name of my boat. I can't really say that it is called A Boat For My Potplants, as this will raise further questions about a) the boat and b) my state of mind.

So, I need to say what its name really is. I have often been asked this particular question, which until recently I couldn't truthfully answer, as I did not know it.

But now I do. And, dear bloggers, I can assure you all that it is most certainly in keeping with a) the boat and b) my state of mind.

All will be revealed tomorrow, but the picture taken this morning close to the boat's (hopeful) new resting place, gives a good clue.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Up all night checking out transportation

After the second time that my darling wife Jane kicked me for snoring, I decided to vacate the warmth of the marital bed and go and (try to) sleep on the sofa. But I couldn't. My mind was by now whirring with the thoughts of how to get the Boat For My Potplants from St Neots to Wivenhoe.

Despite my friend Paul saying that he has 'a cunning plan', which I am sure involves The Sea, and which I have already stated 'No Sirree', I found myself pouring over the internet at four in the morning doing all-important research. No, honestly Guv'nor, there wasn't a big breast in sight. It was all about inland waterways and boat transportation companies, to whom I have sent a number of emails requesting further information and estimated costs. I can't wait for their responses. It will make me feel that I'm now becoming serious, and that others may take me seriously too. Money talks.

So, dear bloggers, it's either going to be by trailer by road, or boat by sea. We shall see.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Back to the ceiling with a bump

Ouch! After last night's whimsical dalliance to and from the pub, dreaming about the positioning of the Boat For My Potplants along the quayside, my mind has been brought firmly back to earth, or rather the ceiling.

As you can see, there is some mighty work to be done! Not only in getting a mooring, or getting the boat to Wivenhoe from St. Neots. No. Even after those essential tasks have been completed, there is plenty to be done inside and out in order to get her shipshape - or should that be boatshape?

Who knows? Another glass of rum Cap'n, and all will become as clear as a silted up River Colne.

Friday, 23 October 2009

This beautiful place

Jane and I took a walk this evening along this beautiful quay of Wivenhoe, hopefully the new home for the Boat For My Potplants. We smelt the air, so warm for nearly November. We watched the sunset and saw the moon rise in the sky. What Friday evening would be complete without a pub drink? So we took a glass of wine in the local pub, The Rose And Crown, and I imagined the boat being moored just a few yards away.

I imagined it, and I knew that imagination alone will not be enough. Or could it be?

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

What type of Pot?

Ey ey me Hearties
After a delightful cycle ride at the weekend with my delightful wife Jane, along the delightful River Colne, I gazed in awe at how magnificent this part of the country is. I imagined cruising up and down the river in The Boat For My Potplants, and I can't wait for the Spring to come.

In the meantime, I have been asked the same question now by several bloggers and followers; what sort of potplant will be grown in the pots. Yeah, yeah, I know where you're coming from, and I have to say that I HAD been thinking along the lines of mint, thyme, parsley, bay and that sort of thing. But now that a pot seed has been planted in my mind, well, you never know...

Monday, 19 October 2009

Ey ey, me Hearties

Another day, another exhilaration! It's only a matter of time before my boat comes in, literally speaking. In every way it already has, but here I am talking about getting The Boat For My Potplants here.

I am such a novice in the boating world. What sound system should I get? Where should I position the lcd TV? Which is port or starboard?

Crumbs, Captain Curruthers, I have so much to learn, but it's going to be a ball!

Questions, questions, questions

Now it is established that the Boat For My Potplants is the one for me, I have to turn my attention to TWO main tasks;

1) Getting it here (from St Neots to Wivenhoe)

2) Getting a mooring for it (preferably along the quay)

To get the boat here, it can either come by road, or by water. If by road, I need a vehicle with a trailer - or I could hire the services of a specialist company - at goodness knows what cost.

If coming by water, I need to research the waterways and find out the route. My good (?) friends Mike, Paul and Jay have kindly suggested that we should navigate our way to the Thames, and then out round the Essex coast. On their last message to me, they asked me to organise the life jackets. Thanks guys! I'll think about it.

I'll also think about the mooring.

Questions, questions, questions. All will be answerd in due course. Watch this space.

Saturday, 17 October 2009


Wow indeed! Yesterday I was taken to see the Boat For My Potplants. I was half expecting to find a wooden old wreck in its early stages of sinking. Instead I climbed aboard a sad, old, decrepit and neglected river boat that, in essence, is fine. Sure, it needs much TLC bestowed upon it to make it water-worthy again, but I'm in no doubt that it can be brought back to life.

It has a fiberglass hull!

There is an outboard motor!

There is space for the potplants!

I was clambering around on board like a demented boy. Like a cheshire cat who's just got the cheese.

After languishing for so long in the waters of the Ouze, the boat's own spirits soared yesterday, as it realised that new life was going to be breathed in to it one day soon.

There is much work to be done. But the first hurdle has been passed by a sea-going mile.

Now we must work in earnest to find a mooring in Wivenhoe, and then concentrate on getting her there.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

I aint going in no sea

Apologies to my band of avid readers - I've not been able to post a blog for three days now, but I guess I will be making up for lost time from tomorrow - because tomorrow is THE BIG DAY when I go to see The Boat For My Potplants for the first time, in the flesh, so to speak.

I will be armed with my trusty camera, ready to take snaps galore. I know you are all gagging for views of the interior, and my appraisal of the boat's condition, and by jove, that's what you'll be getting. Roll on tomorrow!

Now, on the subject of sea, it has been suggested that we should drive The Boat For My Potplants down to the River Thames and round the coast to Brightlingsea, and then up the river to its final resting home of Wivenhoe. I can assure all of you that I enjoy and value my life immensely, so a sea-going adventure is catagorically out of the question. I might be mad, but I'm not stupid. Or is it that I might be stupid but not mad? Whatever. I ain't going in no sea, no sirree.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Tea at sunrise

As autumn and winter approaches, the chill is without doubt creeping in to the riverside air. As I walk along the quayside here in Wivenhoe, I can hear the gentle jingle-jangle of things to do with boats clanging in the breeze.

When I get my boat, I will sleep on it all night at the first opportunity, so that I can experience waking up at the crack of dawn, boiling a kettle on an old camping stove, and making a brew of tea, as the low sun rises on the horizon, reflecting its rays onto the bow. I won't use tea bags. No, sirree! Only a tea pot and proper tea leaves will do on my boat. I will of course need a strainer.

I've heard that tea leaves are rather good for pot plants. Can anyone confirm? Earl Grey or English Breakfast? Twinings or PG? So many questions. So much to learn.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

A colourful deal has been done

Apologies to my band of loyal readers for missing my daily blog yesterday. It was on account of attending the wedding of an old friend, Anna Hennings, who I learned has two canoes. Why would anyone want two? So I did the polite thing and offered to buy one of them from her. She accepted. The deal has been done. I know not what type of canoe it is. Except the colour, which I can assure my dear readers is more than acceptable.

So in a few weeks, after returning from honeymoon with her husband, Anna will be bringing the vessel over to Wivenhoe. And then the problem of getting out to the centre of the river to go on board The Boat For My Potplants will have been resolved - just in case I cannot get a mooring closer to the quay.

You see, I am logically thinking this through, and filling all the gaps.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Bed and Breakfast and Pork Pies

Today was a good day, and I feel I have moved another step forward . Firstly, I have found a local garage who will probably be up for sorting out the engine and outboard motor. Secondly, this evening I had dinner with my wonderful sister Emma who thinks that having the boat is a great idea.

What's more, when I mentioned an idea I had to let people stay on the boat in a sort of bed-and-breakfast situation, she was positive about that too. In fact, she wasn't just positive, she was down-right enthusiastic. Thanks Emma for your encouragement. It was nice to hear, especially as I have been described earlier this week as being a pork pie short of a picnic. I don't understand why, but I do know this. Pork pies or not, this boat is sailing up the river one day!!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Wonderful Wadio Wivenhoe

As with all great Eureka moments, mine came to me like an epiphany last night in the pub. I was discussing A Boat For My Potplants with my old mate Mark, who used to be a DJ on Radio Luxy, and I was saying what I might do on the boat when it finally reaches its new resting place, here in Wivenhoe. And like a huge light-bulb being switched on, we both concluded that the boat could become a new pirate radio station.

Being no stranger to the world of radio myself, I recalled the good old days when, for two glorious hours, I became Barnacle Bill on Mark's show on Radio Essex's Lighthouse Ship off the Harwich coast a few years ago. So I've cut my teeth on the microphone of off-shore broadcasting already, and I'm ready for more. Wonderful Wadio Wivenhoe, broadcasting three feet off the edge of the quayside.

I wonder if I can get Jonathon Woss as a guest.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

It's a Date

Did I forget to mention that I've not actually seen this boat yet? Well, it's a fact. I haven't actually seen The Boat For My Potplants yet. But I will be visiting it soon. Friday week, in fact, weather and other circumstances permitting.

It is currently resting in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, and it belongs to the parents of my good friend Neil. We are going to go there, and I have to say I am VERY EXCITED, as I'm sure anyone would be if they were about to view the boat they had been given for the VERY FIRST TIME.

So, in the meantime I had better prepare. And I still need to find a mooring in Wivenhoe.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Politics, and Herbs and Spices

Well, I'm storming along now, with loads of followere (5!) to my exciting blog page. I may have chosen a less user friendly blogsite than I should have, but I'm sticking with it and learning to expand my mind as the days go by.

Anyone can post a comment, but you need to open a Google account first. Go on - it's easy - and then you will be part of my exclusive group.

The boat is currently moored on the River Ouze in St Neots - so I will either need to sail (drive) it along the waterways, or trailer it across the land.

And now for my thoughts of the day...First - POLITICS. I was asked about my views on Cameron / Brown / The Other One. I said I don't care - I will decide who to vote for nearer the time - depending on which party supports a) pot plants and b) boats,

Second - Herbs and Spices. Eureka! I will grow pot plants on the deck filled with fresh Herbs and Spices - and sell them on the quayside. It's sure to be a hit with the locals. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme - and whatever else. Mint? Chillies?Bay leaves? The possibilities are endless. Post your suggestions please. I'm on to something, for sure.

More tomorrow...

Monday, 5 October 2009

Well, it's now Day Two of my new Blogging life. And I've got four followers (including myself). Things are definitely on the up, and there's only one way they can go...further up.
Back to The Boat.

I've moved to a place by the River Colne, which is very tidal. I think that the tideness (is that a word?) will become very significant as time goes on. I need to get a mooring. Apparently, it will be easier to get one out on the other side of the river, which means that I will need a dinghy to get to and from the boat. But that defeats the object somewhat of having A Boat For My Potplants.

I want to be able to go onto my boat, with said potplants, whenever I choose, without the need to pre-plan the event. So, I would much prefer a mooring on the quay. I think that may be easier said than done. But we shall see. Where there's a will, there's a way.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

This is my Tale Of A Boat For My Potplants. It is a new adventure for me - blogging and boating coming together for the first time.

I have moved to a new flat, which doesn't have a garden, but it is by a river. Wouldn't it be great to have a boat that I can sit on surrounded by my potplants?

Well, I visualised it happening, and I'm now on the first step of the rope ladder, now that I have been given a boat by a good friend.

The boat is a hundred miles away.

I know absolutely nothing about boats - a minor problem, indeed. I don't have a trailer. I don't have a car with a tow-bar. I don't have a mooring. The boat doesn't have a working motor. But I do have some potplants, so all will be okay.

Read my blog to see what happens.