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

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Quay Character Canoe-Man Jon

One of the great things about having a Boat For My Potplants on Wivenhoe Quay is that you tend to meet all sorts of interesting people.

Take Jon for example - one of my Quay Characters of Wivenhoe. When he asked me last night if I'd like to join him on a 5am canoe trip this morning, my head began to think of what excuse I could muster in order to get out of it. Then I thought 'Why not?'

So there I was at five o'clock all ready to go. We made record time from Wivenhoe to Mersea Island where we lit a fire on the beach to cook our sausages and make a brew. We laid out the fishing net, but sadly caught nothing, but what the heck?

By the time many people were surfacing from their slumberlands we'd already had hours of exhilaration and exercise as the sun burst through the mist. It was magical.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Much Respect To Nautical Neighbour John

There's been so much happening with the Boat For My Potplants since my last blog - only a few short days ago, when I went out on it for the first time.

Firstly there was the spectacular Wivenhoe Regatta on Saturday when we welcomed at one point 15 people on board all at the same time, and a good party was had by all.

Secondly there was the meeting set up with the chaps at Radio Wivenhoe to progress my nutty-as-a-fruitcake idea to turn the boat into The World's Smallest Pirate Radio Station. It looks like it might actually happen. Watch this space!

Thirdly I went down to dead-head the old geraniums yesterday, and Nautical Neighbour John was next door fiddling with his ropes. He kindly offered to take me out for some much-appreciated tuition on my boat, teaching me how to get used to my Shiny Suzuki. I learned about wind directions, currents, tides, reversing and turning. John certainly knows his stuff.

He let me take the helm all the time, including going out and back in to my mooring.

Considering his boat is moored next to mine, and it's a hundred-year-old beauty and must be worth a mint, he took a lot of guts to entrust me with the maneuvering. I took it nice and slow, and even though I say so myself, I think I didn't do too bad a job, thanks to John's excellent tuition skills.

Much respect to him.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

At Last!

Paul rang me on the phone. 'Whatever happens, we're going out on that boat today'. And who was I to argue?
At last the weather conditions were perfect.
At last the tide was high enough for long enough.
At last I had some confidence.

And sure enough, with Mike's help and guidance, off we went.

We picked Paul up from the jetty.
Jane came along too.
The motor purred like a kitten.
And I was like a kid at Christmas.

At last, after all this time and so many aborted attempts, my Boat For My Potplants finally became a boat on the river. At last.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

All Ready But Nowhere To Go

It's not easy being on a tidal river - having to wait for the high water at a time when we could all be present - and with the ghastly weather of late, this was the umpteenth aborted attempt at actually going out on the river.

Mike - who I'm confident knows a thing or two about ropes, hooks, cleats and knots - gave me a first-class lesson in how to get untied. Paul followed his instructions to a tee. Jane tended the geraniums, and I said how windy it was and that I don't think we should go out in it.

I was overruled and so we got ourselves prepared. We sat in the cabin and waited for the tide to come in. And we waited some more. I was poised to lower the shiny new motor into the water and start her up with the key that was all ready to be turned.

The water level rose. The boat began to float. How exciting, I thought. But then the tide went out as quickly as it had come in, and we were left on the mud again with nowhere to go.

There was much talk of neaps and springs, and how we should have been better off next week when the spring tide was due. So we called it a day and agreed to try again next Thursday.

At least Jane managed to get the geraniums dead-headed.