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

Monday, 31 October 2011

The Boat That Rocked

As parties go, that was a pretty good one. And the picture tells the story.

On Saturday evening we took our positions on board The Boat For My Potplants. I have never seen so many people on the quay. It was heaving. The queue to get to the Rose And Crown bar snaked for twenty or thirty people outside the door and along the road. Papa's, the fish-and-chippy around the corner, was doing a roaring trade. Music was blaring out from somewhere high up. The evening air was clear and mild. In fact the atmosphere couldn't have been more perfect.

The countdown began, and on the crowd's shout of "ONE" the first burst of rockets and bangers were sent skyward from the control point on the other side of the river.

From our rear deck position we had the most excellent viewing platform, and company to match.

After the firework finale, our solar energy system and old Grundig amp did us proud as we pumped up the volume, ensuring that the party went on into the night.

And more importantly, we had a stream of our guests coming on board to join in the fun on board the The Boat For My Party.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

It's That Time Of The Year Again

It's coming up to that time of year again when we have Fireworks On The Quay, organised by those grand people of W.O.R.C - the Wivenhoe Ocean Racing Club. Apart from the fact that there's no ocean, and no racing, it is a true description of a club in Wivenhoe.

W.O.R.C. raises much-needed funds for the upkeep of the Royal British Legion building, situated on the quay, near the Boat For My Potplants, and they do this by offering a spectacular firework display - set off on the opposite side of the river. Buckets are provided for spectators to donate whatever they can afford.

Those standing on the quay get a great view.

Those sitting on the rear deck of the Boat For My Potplants get a truly breathtaking, first-class, super-duper, incredible view.

And this year, like last year, our guests of honour will be Neil Rowland with his wife Angela. Neil is the chap who persuaded his elderly father to give me the boat in its derelict state.

So it's all his fault, and I thank him enormously.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Just Like The Man From del Monte

Just like The Man From Del Monte, who say 'YES' (sorry, younger readers - you won't have a clue what the heck I'm talking about) - the man from B&Q - he say 'YES', too.

After presenting my case as to why it would be a jolly good idea for the diy giant to give me something for The Boat For My Potplants, I returned to the store to meet Duty Manager Derek King (with my fingers tightly crossed behind my back) to see if he was positively receptive to my request.

Because those very nice people at Dulux have jumped on board by giving me paint, woodstain and varnish, and including the story of the boat's progress on their corporate website (see, I was sure that it was only a matter of time before B&Q came along for the boat-ride as well.

And sure enough, they did. I walked out the store clutching my bright and shiny new DeWalt power tools. Big Thanks to you, B&Q, and especially Mr King.

So now, I only need an outboard motor from the likes of Yamaha, Honda or Volvo, and then The Boat For My Potplants will be well sorted.

But in the meantime, the summer geraniums need replacing with the winter pansies. Like I said last time, there’s ALWAYS something to be done.

Friday, 14 October 2011

There's Always Something To Do

When is this Boat For My Potplants project ever going to end? There's always something that needs doing. No sooner do I finish the interior, my attention falls to the rear deck, which could do with a rub down and a new coat of varnish.

And then there is the painting of the top deck and repairing of the windscreen and the houdini hatch. But hang on a minute - I've already done that once. How can it possibly need doing again?

I suppose the winter snow and ice, the howling winds along the salt-water estuary, and the baking summer sunshine take their toll.

But instead of me getting on with it, a recent passer-by caught me red-handed taking a break (well deserved, I might tell you), catching the last of the summer wine.

There's always something to do. I hope that's the way it will always be.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Lower The Floor - Wiggle Your Toes

This Boat For My Potplants mullarkey shouldn't be all about me me me. I want to be able to put something back into the boating community...a tried and tested way to fellow owners of Norman Boats and Callumcrafts (of which I believe mine is one) to enable them to lower the floor in order to increase headroom.

For me me me it has been a resounding success, and with my 5 foot eight and a half inches frame (I'm very proud of the half inch), I can stand up properly inside the cabin - useful for making tea in the galley, or perhaps being a dj on The World's Smallest Pirate Radio Station (one day, one day).

For anyone remotely interested, here are the instructions...

1) Measure between the the bits that go down between the ribs of the bilge, width and length.
2) Go down to B&Q and buy some thick ply - get them to cut each section to size to save time later.
3) Place each 'tile' in situ so that you can cut them again precisely to allow for any lumps and bumps.
4) Paint the bilge to make it look clean and nice, and then paint the 'tiles' to make them nice and clean.
5) Place the 'tiles' in the bilge, and then cover over with shag-pile rugs.

6) Walk up and down the length of the cabin in bare feet whilst holding glass of wine, and standing     upright without tilting head (unless you're taller than 5 feet eight and a half inches),

7) Wiggle your toes in the warmth and comfort of your new floor.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Too Tired For Triple Word-Score

Last Friday night didn't go according to plan, due to the exceptionally high tide leaving the Boat For My Potplants on such a skew angle that it would have been impossible to spend a few minutes aboard, let alone sleep.

But never mind. After adjusting the ropes here and there, we were finally able to spend a whole night on board on Sunday night instead.

But I didn't manage to get the cook pot and stove out.

And we didn't open the Scrabble from it's wrapper.

Instead we got fish and chips from Papa's Chippy,  and of course a bottle of wine.

And because we were so exhausted from that afternoon's events of hanging on for dear life on the back of a giant inflatable banana off the coast of Brightlingsea, and having to be rescued because the engine conked out (another story), we were so completely exhausted that we were both sound asleep by nine o'clock.

So even though a learned Scrabble scholar had given me a pre-game tip of the high-scoring nautical word of "MIZZENMASTS" (on a Triple Word-Score that would have earned me 99 points - thanks to Deano), I was sadly not able to use it.

Oh well. What was it that John Lennon said? Life is what happens when you're busy making plans.