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

Thursday, 30 May 2013


It's only right and proper that the Boat For My Potplants is slept on. And TOMORROW is the night, alright!

'Erindoors has sadly declined the well-intentioned invitation to join me, saying that she'd rather sleep in a comfortable bed at home.


What could be more comfortable than a couple of cushions and a quilt inside the cabin, the sound of seagulls squarking above, and the smell of outflowing sewage as the tide flows east of Colchester?

And the sight of sunshine upon the plastic flowers.

Tomorrow I will be preparing things for tomorrow night - and of course the following morning...

Duvet. Check.
Whisky flask. Check.
Fresh water. Check.
Jim-jams. Check

and then for the early hours of Saturday morning...

Coffee. Check.
Bread and butter. Check.
Bacon. Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle.


Sunday, 26 May 2013

Iron Maiden and Potplants

By an extraordinary set of circumstances, I've recently been working with Dennis Stratton, former guitarist with Iron Maiden, and currently with Praying Mantis. I can report that he is indeed a Very Nice Man.

And not only that, he likes Wivenhoe a lot - but then again, who wouldn't?

So I approached him with an offer he couldn't refuse...'Well Dennis, how about playing something on my Boat For My Potplants when the small on-board studio is ready? It could do wonders for your career, you know, and we could do an interview and put it out on Radio Wivenhoe, the best radio station in all of, er, Wivenhoe.'

Dennis is no stranger to international stardom - but playing on a boat with potplants on the deck is a first for him, and he simply couldn't refuse, especially when he considered the consequences of being on the best radio station in all of Wivenhoe.

'Okay Neil, I could play along to a song I wrote for the the Praying Mantis album Nowhere To Hide, called Whenever I'm Lost'.

I came home and listened to the song. I pinched myself to make sure I hadn't been dreaming all this, and sure enough, I hadn't.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

What A Day!

Yesterday wasn't one of those ordinary, run-of-the-mill days. No Sir.

I set off to the headquarters of IPC - the publishers of Motor Boats Monthly. I was somewhat hoping that Sally (the Features Editor) was going to give me some positive news about A Boat For My Potplants being in the magazine.

And sure enough, the news couldn't have been better.

I was shown the SIX pages (yes, I had to count on more than one hand) of the special feature, and I was left in a room so that I could proof-read the article. As I continued reading, my smile grew bigger and bigger.

The July issue is going to show my boat in all its former dilapidation, and now in all its glory. It will include pictures of local Quay Characters who have helped me with my adventure. There's Mike, Martyn, Paul and John - not to mention the lovely 'Erindoors.

And companies who have helped me have also been given a mention. Like Colchester Motor Glass, RoadPro and Sail And Cover. Dulux, B&Q and of course Suzuki are in there too.

And not only that - there's someone in-the-know at the magazine who's pretty sure that my boat is neither a Norman, Callumcraft or Teal - but something else entirely.

All will be revealed...

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Which Way?

I have to admit that my recent jaunt at the helm of The Boat For My Potplants, although exhilarating, was for me slightly frightening.

Am I the only person in the world who is feeling a little out of his depth on his boat - whether on the Waters of Wivenhoe, or indeed anywhere else?

If only I were to have my own column within a boating magazine, I could write about being a novice on the river - something definitely outside of my comfort zone.

Or I could stick to the world of partying aboard - something definitely inside my comfort zone?

I dunno. Which Way?

Today I bought my train ticket for my London meeting with IPC (publishers of Motor Boats Monthly magazine) on Monday at 2pm.

All because of a few flowers on a boat.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Always Something On The Horizon

On Monday week I'll be travelling down to London to meet with my friends from Motor Boats Monthly magazine, so we can discuss the contents of the forthcoming feature about my Boat For My Potplants that's due to appear in their July issue.

I'm pretty excited about that.

In the meantime I've been obtaining various bits of equipment for my Vinyl-On-Tap programmes to be recorded on the boat during July and August. All I need now is a microphone, and I'll be sorted.

I'm pretty excited about that as well.

But of course, most importantly, the plants need watering - and the garden will continue to

That's not only exciting, but also very important.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

At Last!

YES! At last I did it!!!!

The truth is, that despite all good intentions two weeks ago, I chickened out. I considered and pondered while the tide came in. And I let it go out again.

I felt pretty bad about it, I can tell you. I don't usually allow my fears and demons to get the better of me, but on that day I did, and I went back home with my tail between my legs.

Then last Sunday morning I got a call from Paul. 'Are we going out on the boat then?', he asked.

And so we did. We untied, went out, and came back again.

Relatively unscathed, and no harm done, despite the bloody motor cutting out AGAIN as I went from forward into reverse, just as I was coming in (hence the film ending too soon, as my operative puts the camera down to try to help).

It must be ME doing something WRONG.

I'd got new petrol and opened up the tank air vent. The motor had recently been serviced. But still it cut out. Maybe I was being too timid, and should have given it more welly.

That must be it!

What's the nautical term for 'MORE WELLY'? All answers will be considered!