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

Monday, 29 September 2014

That Time Of Year

That time of year has come round again, oh so quickly.

They say that time passes more quickly the older one gets, and for Alfonso The Second and me, we must be getting very old indeed.

I am 55, and Alfonso The Second is catching me up with a younger 46 years.

The time has come to prepare Alfonso's home for his winter hibernation. I don't want him outside in all weathers, the poor thing, and the wind around these Wivenhoe parts can be very cutting.

So from now on until the Spring, he will only be coming out on sunny days to get a little run around up to the farm shop and back.

But maybe I will venture forth and also take him, weather permitting, down to The Ace Cafe in Wembly for the once-a-month Italian car meet.

It is somewhere that Alfonso The Second has been begging me to take him to do for ages, and one of these days I may just surprise him with a little treat.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Another Secret

Last Sunday 'Erindoors and I
travelled all the way down to
London Town to the Royal Albert
Hall to see the great Nitin Sawhney.

Do check him out if you get a moment.

We wanted to stay overnight but I feinted when I looked at how expensive the hotels were around that area.

I mean, we were wanting to be in one of London's poshest areas after all, so it was hardly surprising, but I became a quivering wreck as I counted out the coins I'd saved up in my piggy bank and realised I only had enough for breakfast, let alone a bed.

BUT, all was not lost, thanks to University Rooms Dot Com. We found a room in Imperial College, quite literally NEXT DOOR to the RAH, and it was only seventy something squids - including full breakfast for us both AND use of the swimming pool and gym.

Well, knock me down with a feather, that's a good price I thought to myself, and so being a bit of a skinflint I went and booked up - but surely the room was going to be nasty and dingy and smelling of youngster students that don't know they're born.

More importantly, was I going to get a flea in my ear from 'Erindoors for being so tight with my wad?

No, Sir, it was just as good as, if not better than, any budget hotel room, except it didn't have a telly, but that
didn't bother us as we hadn't gone all that way just to watch Crossroads, or whatever they show these days. It was impeccably clean, the shower was great and powerful, everything worked, and the bed was really comfortable.

Honest, guvnor, they're not paying me to write this. It's all true!

And being just next door to such a magnificent venue meant that it didn't matter how long the missus took to get her make-up on as I knew it only took five minutes until we'd be in our seats eagerly awaiting the first performer to come on stage - who happened to be brilliant as a matter of fact (EVA STONE - check her out too - if you have another moment).

All in all it was a superb evening.

One of the best concerts I had ever been to. Certainly in my top five. And that's no lie!

The following morning we mosied on over to the uni restaurant and enjoyed mixing in with the youngsters. What a life of Reilley they all have. Not a care in the world. to be sure.

Students. They don't know they're born, do they?

Friday, 26 September 2014


Inside the Little Rabbit Barn

Listen, do you want to know a secret?
Do you promise not to tell?

As many of you dear blog-readers know, I am rather partial to a bit of good music. I can't play anything myself, but that doesn't stop me from appreciating it.

Old mate Jay
My dream gig would be three great musicians that I've had the privilege of previously being involved with. I'd have Sam Smith on lead vocals, Joanna Eden on keyboard and backing vocals, and Jay Stapley on guitar - all performing at the best secret venue there ever was.

Don't tell anyone about The Little Rabbit Barn, otherwise everyone will want to go there, and it won't remain the best secret any more.

My hat is squarely toffed to the wonderful Jonathan and Lyn who open up their secret venue once a month to host the most amazing music imaginable. 

Here's a clue - it's not far from The Boat For My Potplants.  

Lyn and Jonathan do what they do at The Little Rbbit Barn because they are passionate about live music

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Muddy Water

I've never written a book before. Well, actually I have, but it was a factual book called Bite Size Sales Tips. It was such a rip-roaring success that I bought back all the unsold copies from the publisher so that I could do a better job at selling them myself. I was such a great salesman that they are still languishing in my garage. The word IRONY comes to mind. However, that's another story from my long forgotten past that's best staying forgotten for now.

What I'm referring to here is a NOVEL. I've never written one before, and I believe now is the time in my life that I should try it. It's one of those things that should be included in one of those 'One Hundred Things To Do Before You Die' lists.

So, with the help of David Roberts, my literary agent / publisher / editor (I love saying that - it sounds so posh, innit?), we are together concocting a magic recipe that will surely result in the movie moguls of Hollywood beating a way to our plank. "I heard you knocking", I will say to Mr Spielberg, as he leans over and rustles at The Boat For My Potplants' flower arrangement.

David lives in Wivenhoe and has written two very excellent books, namely Rock Atlas and Rock Atlas USA. No, they're not about minerals. If you are even remotely interested in music, check 'em out - you won't regret it.

So, what's all this got to do with A Boat For My Potplants, I hear you quiz? Well, it has become the venue of our 'book club', where we meet each week to drink wine, eat food, listen to music - oh, and discuss Muddy Water.

It's currently coming on a treat.

It's going to be a best seller.

I can feel it in my bones.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Last Night Of The Proms

Andy Stollery with Cheleas outside The Station pub (Andy is the one not wearing the trousers)
Crumbs, dear blog-readers, there's always so much going on in and around Wivenhoe, that I just don't know where to start.

Well, a good place is always at The Station pub, surprisingly situated very near to the railway terminal that is also called the station.

Last night I attended the Last Night Of The Proms - not at the Royal Albert Hall though. This venue was ten times better, and Chelsea of The Station pub certainly knew how to throw a great party. Andy Stollery welcomed me in by giving me a flag to wave. Or was it Chelsea? I couldn't tell the difference by the time I'd got there as I'd already had a few cheeky glasses.

This morning I'd say I was a little hoarse to say the least. Ney, my voice was shot to pieces as I'd been singing at the top of my voice to Rule Britannia and whatever else there was. I vaguely remember trying to keep up with Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious but I don't think I was in tune, but then again no one else was either, so no worries there. And for that matter, the entire pub was out of time too, but who was taking notes anyway?

Then this morning, still nursing a mini-hangover (I never get real proper ones), I decided to venture out to deepest Mersea Island to accompany my old mate Greg and his daughter Yasmin on his boat. A real sailing boat at that.

Blimmin' 'eck - what a pullava just to go out on the blinking water for an hour. I now know that I have the right idea just keeping my Boat For My Potplants moored up on the quayside outside the pub in Wivenhoe and enjoying its stationary status. 

All them ropes and sails and things! Enough to make anyone want to jump overboard, as I thought Greg was going to do when he realised that he didn't have enough depth of water to go anywhere for a while. 

Ho hum, we really needed someone who knew what they were doing, but sadly I was by now feeling worse for wear, so I wasn't able to offer my very useful assistance and kept myself quietly to myself. I was feeling a little sea-sick.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Hitting The Ground Running

Dear Blog-Readers,

I am sorry that I have been away from my post for so long. You see, the annual calling of Le Petit Chateau  was certainly calling 'Erindoors and me, and so although it was a tough job and someone had to do it, we thought it may as well be us.

That left me with a void of A Boat For My Potplants. I couldn't climb aboard for three whole weeks. It's only now that I can take stock of it and the other Stories From Wivenhoe, and I pray you will see that I haven't been sitting on my proverbials, no Sirree - I've been mighty busy, even while on holiday.

Here's a brief encounter with what's been occurring recently...

...Top motorhome magazine MMM have said they will be featuring our very own Tallulah in their January 2015 issue. Don't miss it folks.

...Speaking of Tallulah, I have been busy painting her exterior with some Hammerite Cream and Hammerite White. She's looking gorgeous, even if I say so myself.

...Alfonso The Second has sadly been in the hospital for all the time we were away. essential welding, don't you know, for the passing of the MOT. Well, it's now back and fighting fit, ready for the central console veneer that was kindly sent to me from another 124 fan, in Holland, and a little drive out to the Farm Shop at the weekend.

...The Boat For My Potplants is about to come up against some turbulent waters I fear, regarding its mooring. It will all come out in the wash. My favourite programme is Only Fools And Horses.

...Speaking of the boat, I am temporarily officially renaming it 'Writers' Retreat', as it becomes home to my tome creation. 'Muddy Water' is now in its Nineteenth Chapter, and I am hard at work, e'en as I write this.

That's all for now, folks. It's good to be back!