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

Saturday, 31 May 2014

I Didn't Get Where I Am Today...(Part One)

I didn't get where I am today without preparation, and preparation is exactly what I was doing yesterday, bringing Tallulah out from her storage barn and taking her to Wivenhoe Autos for her annual MOT. And giving Churchill The Nodding Dog a ride out along the way.

This is all in readiness for two major trips coming up in the not-too-distant future. The first one is next week, to our friends Vinny and Jay for their anniversary bash at their home on Mersea Island, only fifteen or so miles away. They said we can park on their drive, so we can stagger out from their party and into bed without much walking being involved.

So I've asked the garage to check Tallulah over to make sure she's up to the challenge, and while they're at it, please would they sort out the intermittent starter switch problem, and also fit electronic ignition to replace the points. I don't know what that means, but it sounds good.

All this is good preparation for the second trip coming up in July, which will be the furthest we've ever taken her.

More about that in Part Two.

Monday, 26 May 2014

You Can Have Your Money Back

Carol the museum owner and me with the Fiat 1200

The 124 Sport
Enough of gorillas. Enough of Snowy. Enough of Tallulah.

It's about time I turned my attention to Alfonso The Second, so named because Alfonso The First was my inaugural car after passing my test back in 1979. It was a heap of junk then, and I vowed to get a decent one when I grew up.

I'm now well on my way to growing up, and Alfonso The Second is definitely one of the loves of my life. I hope it will remain faithful to me for the rest of its life, which should be long and fruitful so long as I give it the care and attention it deserves.

The museum wasn't only full of old cars
I recently hyperventilated whilst on a cycling trip with Paul, Martin and Mike in Malta. I'd heard that there was a classic car museum. We negotiated a hefty 10% discount off the entrance fee (normally €8.50) with the owner of the museum, Carol Galea. He even challenged us, when we jokingly said we should be let in for free. 'If you don't think this is the best classic car museum, you can have your money back - but you have to be honest'.

The exterior of the museum 
It was simply stunning inside. Not only were there incredible cars galore amidst the cavernous 3000 square metres, there were old gramaphones, old vinyl records, old televisions, old costumes, old all sorts.

As well as a fine Fiat 124 CS, there was a beautiful Fiat 1200, the older uncle of my 124. I was salivating profusely by this time.

The museum was magnificent and one of a kind, and I would urge anyone remotely keen on old cars to make the visit if they are holidaying in Malta.

And no, we certainly didn't ask for our money back.

One of the loves of my life

Friday, 23 May 2014

Snowy Overboard

I went down to the Boat For My Potplants to return some of said potplants to their rightful owner (B&Q, Colchester), and the star of the show, the gorilla, back to its home at Mill Race Garden Centre.

Special thanks to both shops. They positively reacted to my request for their loan. It just goes to show that if you ask nicely, sometimes people say 'yes' - especially when the now-famous boat is involved.

But I very nearly had an absolute disaaaster on my hands as I accidentally knocked poor Snowy the dog into the mud.

Luckily for me - and Snowy - help was at hand in the form of a fishing net quickly handed to me by Quay Character Mike Downes.

And not a moment too soon. Another two hours and the tide would have come in and Snowy would have been a gonna, washed away past Alresford Creek and Brightlingsea, ending up in France.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Record Breaker!

I understand - partly thanks to the magnificent weather over the weekend - that this year's Wivenhoe Open Gardens has broken the record for most attended and most money raised.

Okay, the adjudicator hasn't yet finally adjudicated, but I reckon it's a safe bet to say that 2014 has been the best so far in the history of Wiv Gardens.

I'd like to think that it's been all thanks to the Gorilla In The Midst atop the Boat For My Potplants - but I can't legitimately lay claim. It's been down to the hard work and dedication of those who took part and opened up their gardens to the public.

And of corse The Wivenhoe Society, ably abetted by Jeannie and Pat.

If my gorilla could raise its Captain's hat to them, I'm sure it would.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


I promised to come clean about the gorilla, so here goes.

This weekend is the Wivenhoe Open Gardens, and I agreed to include my Boat For My Potplants among the 26 gardens taking part.

As well as having a display of REAL and ARTIFICIAL plants and flowers, against the better judgement of a peeved 'Erindoors. But once she got into the spirit of things she suggested that we get a gorilla for it.

'Don't be daft', I said. 'Folks will laugh at me.'

She muttered something inaudible under her breath.

I considered things for a moment.

'Brilliant! And we can have palm trees and everything. We can call it 'Gorilla In The Midst Of The Wivenhoe Open Gardens'.

Sometimes I even surprise myself with how my brain works.

So, I'm off now to Mill Race Garden centre to borrow a gorilla, and then to B&Q to borrow some palm trees.

Just another normal Wivenhoe day.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

My Open Garden Is Closed

A while ago I was invited by Jeannie and Pat of The Wivenhoe Society to include my boat in the Wivenhoe Open Gardens. The Wiv Soc raises funds for the St Mary Church and a local charity by selling programmes and tickets to the event. What a damned fine coup to include a boat for the first time in living memory, despite the fact that I'll actually be away for that weekend (carrying out very important research of the restaurants and local wines of Malta).

I thought long and hard. Another damned fine idea came to me. I will integrate artificial plants with real ones so that viewers can try to spot the difference from their quayside viewpoint.

But how could I prevent the pots from falling overboard? The solution came to me in a fit of genius when I visited the local Aldi and saw a picket fence for only £3.99. Now I like brands, but I love Aldi better, so I snapped up the little bargain like a shot.

Now all my problems are solved. My garden is closed in like a sheep pen, except I couldn't find a sheep to put in it. But I did find a gorilla.


To be continued some more...

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Writer's Retreat

I've decided to write a novel. On the Boat For My Potplants. It will become my office, my writer's retreat. Everything will be there - lighting, music, tea-making facilities, toilet, nice view, solitude.

The novel will have everything - mystery, murder, jealousy, revenge, action, excitement. So, just a normal Wivenhoe day then.

I'm all set up with my table. And I've already begun writing.

"Once upon a time..." is as far as I've got so far - but it's a start.

In the meantime, 'Erindoors has been busy helping with preparation for the Wivenhoe Open Gardens.

It's all go go go around here.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Five Minutes of Infamy

Good Ol' Andy Harris, presenter of The Motorhome Channel, had been threatening to do something on Tallulah The T-Reg for a while.

And now he's done it.

So, dear blog-readers, did you spot my mistake? Of course all caravans have wheels. Stupid me!

But hey ho, it was all in the best possible taste, especially Jane's retro cushion.

Friday, 2 May 2014


I'd have to kill you if I told you of the secret location that I went to this morning in order to clean up the canopy for the Boat For My Potplants. What a brilliant set up. Plenty of indoor space, a warm water pressure washer, drying line, and a nice bloke to show me how it all works. Special thanks to Oliver and Sarah from Sail And Cover at Woolverstone Marina near Ipswich for their help. What jolly fine folks they are.

On return to Wivenhoe I managed to replace the canopy all on my own, and mighty fine it looks too.

I was so in the mood to continue cleaning that I thought I must take advantage of an unusual opportunity. My nautical neighbour John had taken his boat out, meaning that I had unprecedented port and starboard (ooh, er, missus, listen to me talking the lingo), access to my boat's sides.

So I baled out my little tender and paddled along with sponge in hand. The boat's looking a million rupees now, all spic and span ready to receive the gorilla on board for the Wivenhoe Open Gardens.

'GORILLA?!?', I hear you cry.

To be continued.

Wash Day

Today it's Friday 2nd May, which means it's wash-day. So up with a lark, I scuttled off down to my Boat For My Potplants to remove its super duper multi-coloured canopy.

You see, I'm preparing for the Wivenhoe Open Gardens in a couple of weekends' time, and it just wouldn't be ship-shape to display a garden with a dirty canopy, so I'm hot-footing it over to the lovely Sarah at Sail And Cover in Wolverstone Marina where she has special washing equipment precicesly for such an event.

There's no flies on her, and nor will there be any left on the canopy after today is up.