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

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Harry and Me

Don't you just hate it when you've had a job in the diary for weeks, only to be canceled at the last moment by a client who doesn't appreciate the implications that his late notice has caused yer average self-employed decorator, such as me?

So, instead of working several miles away, as originally planned, I switched to doing a local job - so local in fact, that it was but a stone's throw away - a midway position between my home and The Boat For My Potplants.

So there I was, repairing a window, and the sun came out. It was glorious to feel the natural heat on my face at long last, and I wanted more of where that came from.

I reached a point in the work-process where I needed to leave some filler to dry for two hours. In one direction I had paperwork to do at home. You know - really boring stuff like sorting out receipts and invoices. But I also had a boat that was calling me in the opposite direction, with its rear deck facing the sunshine.

Now I like to keep my paperwork up to date. But I also like to lay on the deck of the boat, drinking a Coke, listening to my iPod, and reading a magazine. But which one's better? There was only one way to find out...

In true Harry Hill style...FIGHT!

I wrestled with my conscience. It was a tough battle. But in the end there wasn't really any contest.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Ruby and Josh agree Wivenhoe is better than St Tropez

What a great pleasure it was to have Steve, my old friend from school days, come to stay with us last weekend, along with his charming wife Harry, and their two delightful children Josh and Ruby. This was the first time they had come to visit us in Wivenhoe.

When Ruby was younger she had a 'Naming Ceremony'. It was like a Christening, but without the religion, and it had been a privilege for me to attend as 'Responsible Adult', instead of God-father. You can forget the jokes, thank you very much - I've heard them all by now. As 'responsible adult', I knew it was my duty to show Ruby and Josh the Boat For My Potplants, which they had been looking forward to seeing.

The children 'walked the plank' and climbed aboard. I lowered them down the hatch one by one, and they then enthusiastically fished over the rear deck with their net.

I had forgotten the expressions of delight and excitement shown on young faces when they experience something fun for the first time, especially now that my own children are grown up and more interested in computers than boats.

Josh and Ruby didn't care tuppence that the paint was pealing off the cabin walls. Or that it was a bit cold and damp that day. And I didn't care thruppence that they went a-clambering around, knocking this and that in their wake. It was simply good Fun, with a capital F.

Even if I were a millionaire, I'd still choose my 36-year-old river cruiser outside The Rose And Crown in Wivenhoe. You couldn't have this much fun with a super-yacht moored in St Tropez harbour.

Could you?

Friday, 11 March 2011

Nice Pic, Doctor!

A well-known figure within the Wivenhoe community suggested that he could take some photos of my boat at the end of last year. I was particularly keen to get some shots from the other side of the river, and I knew that my poxy little digital camera wouldn't really be up for the job, so I gratefully and excitedly accepted his kind offer.

Clinton Hale (known as Doctor Clinton, although he's now retired) obviously knows a thing or two about proper photography, and this became obvious when he sent me a disc containing his recently-taken pictures.

How kind people can be! And it seems that The Boat For My Potplants is the catalyst for goodwill and favour.

I'm sure that certain serious sailing folks frown upon such a vessel taking up space outside the pub. "What on earth is that boat doing there with plants and astroturf and a multicoloured canopy?", I can here them muttering.

But to others, I hope it brings a cheer to them, especially now that the golden sun of springtime is beginning to shine upon its bow, with the perfect setting of the Rose And Crown in the background.

Thank you, Sir Clinton, for taking the trouble to capture the essence of what it's all about.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

At last...

At last, at last, at last...there are bursts of spring sunshine appearing all over town, and especially outside the Rose And Crown, where the Boat For My Potplants is majestically moored.

I can't wait to begin working on the interior renovations, as well as the cleaning-up operation of the exterior (especially as I now have my super-duper ActiveBrush to try out).

T'was only yesterday that I spotted my nautical neighbour giving his vessel a good old scrub, and I think it's about time I followed suit and did the same with mine, so indeed I will.

And now that I have independent power on board, thanks to my solar panel set-up, it will be easy to use my power tools for cutting, sawing, drilling and sanding, and generally bringing the cabin up to scratch.

During our cold and wet winter of discontent, my plans for this summer's exciting programme of activity have been brewing, and soon the fermentation process will begin.

In the meantime, the winter pansies have been flourishing in their planters, and all is good with the Wivenhoe world.