A Boat For My Potplants

My nautical project had taken me to places I’d never previously been. Metaphorically speaking, that is. Despite renovating the boat that was given to me, and even receiving a free new motor along the way, I admit to being too scaredy-cat to venture out on the open river. But never mind, I can do other things instead.
In the meantime, I saw an advert for an old motorhome. What an excellent home for Churchill, our nodding dog, I thought. 'Tallulah', our T-reg classic is doing her bit to keep us young at heart.
And 'Alfonso The Second' - my deliciously beautiful poor-man's classic car is another old thing that is helping to get my mid-life crisis well and truly kicking in.
So dear readers, welcome to my blog - a recipe of my old things, including a dash of the odd ingredient of the lovely 'Erindoors added here and there to the concoction, conjuring up a small hors d'oeuvres of magical Wivenhoe.
AND NOW... A great use for the boat, which has become my 'writer's retreat'. The book, called Muddy Water, is set in Wivenhoe, and features a cameo appearance of me and the boat. Well, it's my boat and my blog, so I CAN!

Muddy Water - the novel what I'm writing on board my boat and inside our motorhome

Muddy Water - the novel what I'm writing on board my boat and inside our motorhome
MUDDY WATER - is also a novel way of raising cash for three deserving charities; MIND, RNLI and Royal British Legion. People are literally stuffing cash into my mits so that they can appear as a character in the book. Click the pic to be transported to our Facebook page to learn more. Please click the LIKE button on Facebook. Gawd knows why.




Sunday, 25 January 2015

How To Top The Gorilla

It's coming around to that time of year when thoughts about The Wivenhoe Open Gardens are brought to the fore.

I received my invitation this week to take part in mid-May, but what can I do to top last year's coup?

I mean, it'll be tough to top Gorilla In The Midst, eh?

Any ideas, please send them on a postcard c/o
The Boat For My Potplants
aka Los Amigos
aka Kingfisher
aka Solace
aka Tarka
The Mud on Wivenhoe Quay
Outside The Rose And Crown

They say it can be bad luck to change the name of a boat, but I don't believe it!

It's going to change again soon

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Goodbye Vroom Vroom

Those who know me know that I have a liking for old things that give me pleasure.

There's Alfonso The Second, the old 1968 Fiat 124 Coupe. Superb.
There's Tallulah, the old 1978 Hymer motorhome. Original.
There's Los Amigos, the old 1974 ex-Norfolk Broads Boat For My Potplants. Splendid.
And of course there's the old 1959 Jane, aka 'Erindoors, wife extraordinaire. Concours.

But this weekend I've been letting go and saying goodbye to my old set of Scalextric.

Goodbye dear tracks, dear cars and dear buildings.

You've done me proud, but you're serving no purpose stuck inside boxes in the garage.  It's time for others to have some fun with you.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

1 / 11 Ratio

Since the summer I have been going down to the Boat For My Potplants on nearly every single Wednesday evening with my mentor, publisher, editor and all-round good-egg David so that we can 'work' on the latest chapter that my grey matter has created of my novel.

We've been taking it in turns. One week he brings the grub and I bring the wine. The following week our responsibilities are swapped around.

That was all very well during the warm and balmy evenings, but as the winter nights drew in and the evening air became colder it was sometime tempting to liaise for our 'work' session at the Rose And Crown instead.

BUT, we are not mice - we are men! So we kept at it - through the rain and cold, every week without fail. In actual fact with the heater on, the hot stew and dumplings and bottle(s) of wine to keep us cosy, the temperature outside was of no consequence.

And as a result of the 'work' on the boat, I am now pleased to report that the first draft of Muddy Water, set quite a lot in Wivenhoe, is now done and dusted, ready for doing all the error corrections.

I would say that for every five minutes of 'work', we did 55 minutes of eating, drinking, playing music and being very merry.

In my book that's a jolly good ratio.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Yo Ho Ho!

Writing spondoolics! Christmas has come again for me - or perhaps early for next year already?

This February's edition of MMM magazine (Motorhome and Motorcaravan Monthly), OUT NOW, features good old Tallulah, our very own T-Reg.

And I have been given FOUR WHOLE PAGES in which to elaborate the story of the magnificent old Hymer and become the author of the magazine's OWNER REPORT. Yes, that's me, at the top of the page, looking like a right plonker.

But who cares about looking like a plonker when the real star of the show is our lovely home-on-wheels, freshly adorned with the rather superb looking go-faster stripes, even if I say so myself.

It's a shame that 'Erindoors doesn't much like the shade of blue that I chose, but I'm sure she'll come round to it one day - after all, I am now an official MMM contributor and of course I know what's best.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

It's A Classic

Citroen DS - great colour scheme
Happy New Year to all my blog readers.

Maserati - can only be in red
Belatedly, because we're already into the double figures of the month, and it was only like a minute ago that we were partying like there was no tomorrow. Well yes indeed - there certainly was a tomorrow, and the next day and the next. Where does the time fly?

One thing I I have always wanted to do was to visit the London Classic Car Show, and that was exactly what I did yesterday.

My favourite beauty was this stunning Citroen DS from the 1970's. Oh, Lordy Lordy, what I would do to have one like this is nobody's business.

My own little beauty
My second favourite was this Maserati. And I would still do just as much to have one.

And I even managed to pick up an original Fiat 124 AC 1968, just like my own one, for a song.

So I went home a happy bunny, with another classic in the bag.

A happy bunny

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

I Don't Know Where To Begin

My head is in a flurry.

There are so many things going on that I don't know what to focus on first. Or best.

That's why, dear blog-readers that I haven't posted anything here for getting on four weeks. Never before in the history of A Boat For My Potplants have I come up with that difficulty.

Anyway, that's my problem and not yours.

So for the time being, while I try to get my concoction of things into some kind of order, I will simply write about my latest giggle being jiggled with, namely being on the cover of the world's top magazine DER ZUVERLASSIGE. Well, not me on the cover specifically, but our old Tallulah The T-Reg.

Yes, fame has beckoned once more, and the magazine has even dedicated three inside pages to the story of how we acquired our pride and joy, for which I am truly proud.

Here's what I say: it doesn't matter what you are passionate about in life, as long as you have a passion. And I salute the publishers of Der Zuverlassige for having such a passion for all things concerning old Opel vehicles, of which our Hymer Bedford Blitz falls into the category of.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Oh Crikey!

Oh Crikey indeed.

The call came through from those good people at October Films putting together a showreel to the BBC about motorhomes, and they asked me to do a few little clips for them to help their presentation have a certain 'zing' to it!

So at the weekend, in the pouring rain, my mate Ian and I went over to where Tallulah is kept. Ian became director and I, of course, was the star, darling.

And what fun we had.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Splendid Isolation

I admit I'm not known for my enthusiasm of walking.

In fact 'Erindoors told me today that she'd given up on asking me to become Mr 'Imoutdoors because she had come to expect that I'd either say 'yes' with reluctance, or 'no' because I've usually got too much to do.

So I surprised 'er by ME suggesting that we go walkies this morning.

We went to Wrabness, a gem of hidden splendid isolation on the Stour estuary in Essex.

The beach was deserted and beautiful. The air was still and the waters were calm. Mist rolled in.

We discovered a building in the making, daring to be different. How wonderful that the spirit of great design can still live in an age of planning consents and local authority 'no-no's'.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Vinyl On Tap

Chima - very happy with his new 45
On Sunday morning we had great pleasure in inviting old chums Nenah and Paul, and Nenah's brother Chima, to come aboard my Boat For My Potplants.

Chima had told me on Facebook the day before that he had bought a new 45 that he was looking forward to playing. Not realising that he was actually gracing our presence here in Wivenhoe, I invited him down to spin the disc on the boat's plattenspieler the next time he was in the area.

Lo and behold we bumped into the jolly trio at the previous night's party and so we set up an arrangement for Sunday morning breakfast aboard, along with said vinyl.

And a jolly time we had.
Me, very happy with my sausages, bacon and toms

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

What's At The End Of A Rainbow?

The other weekend we welcomed our friend Lesley aboard for a drink or two, and a huge financial agreement took place to rival the multi-million pound deals done in The City.

Yes indeed folks, our friend has bought her place in literary greatness by agreeing to pay ONE HUNDRED POUNDS to be part of Muddy Water - the novel that's being created on the boat. She wants to be called MISS BAUDET, and I said: 'For a hundred quid you can be called anything you like, my darling'.

She joins an elite few who are all paying to be in the book. Now we have pledges totalling the grand sum of ONE THOUSAND POUNDS - to be donated equally to charities (RNLI, MIND and the Wivenhoe British Legion) at the book launch planned for next October.

The Boat For My Potplants has proved that there really is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Take A Gander At Our Birds

Is it Thursday? Already four whole days since Sunday's Flavours Of Wivenhoe book launch at The Royal British Legion? What an incredibly lovely event that was, with 'Erindoors and I handing out glasses of wine to the guests as they arrived to celebrate the magnificent collection of recipes submitted by the good folks from around Wivenhoe.

The book is simply superb, and it brought a lump to my throat as I read my mum's recipes for her wonderful Port Wine Jelly and Jackie's Snaffles Mousse. I can vouch for the jelly as I have actually made it with my own bare hands, and it's rather jolly good. Bless her.

And just look at the cover. What do you see? Well, Wivenhoe has adopted a trio of fine feathered friends - a pair of swans and their own adopted goose - and they can often be seen gliding gracefully on the river. There they are on the cover! And thankfully there isn't a single goose recipe inside.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Today's The Day

Yesterday saw the launch of a new Village Guide. There I was, eagerly flicking through my first edition, expecting to find pub ratings, photos of communal gardens and bus times - and what did I see? A picture of the new Damien Hertz sculpture that's come our way. It's disgusting! It's outrageous! It shouldn't be allowed.

And then later today we'll be attending the grand launch of 'Recipes Of Wivenhoe' at the Legion, but a mere stone's throw from The Boat For My Potplants. Apparently I have my SEX ON TOAST gourmet delight included, which is equally disgusting, outrageous and definitely shouldn't be allowed.

But it's all in the name of chariddy, and on the best possible toast!

I can't wait.

As they say, you don't have to be bonkers to live here, but it does certainly help.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

A Novel Way To Raise Some Dosh

The Lovely Fiona. What dastardly deed will she be doing in her character?

Every Wednesday The Boat For My Potplants becomes the home of writers writing and concocting the latest in the series of chapters for Muddy Water, whilst taking it in turns to cook up a new and exciting culinary dish.

Last week David pulled the rabbit out the hat and hit new heights with his gourmet 'beef hash and baked beans'. I can honestly say I've never tasted anything like it in my life, and the effort he put into turning the tin opener like he did was something to be behold.

But did you know, dear blog-reader, that this 'ere book is going to be making a mint for some special charities? It is indeed a novel way to raise some valuable £££'s for the Wivenhoe Royal British Legion, the mental health charity Mind, and also the RNLI.

You see, I'm such a cheapskate, I'll do anything for a few quid, and here I am SELLING some characters of my book to anyone who wants to PAY to be in it.

My target is to raise A GRAND, and so far I have reached SEVEN HUNDRED POUNDS after the lovely Fiona stopped me in the street last week and thrust a cheque into my hands, just so that her alto ego could be included. Don't ask me what that dastardly deed will be, as I haven't mustered it up yet, but it may well be something pretty ghastly.

So far we've also got Andy Stollery as himself, Mark as The Praying Mantis, Lesley as Ms Baudet the childrens' nanny. And Helen the hairdresser has now also expressed an interest, which would bring the total to EIGHT HUNDRED POUNDS, and with only two characters left to buy.

Roll up, roll up. Hurry hurry, offer closing soon. Throw in your dosh before it's too late!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sex Sells

I've got books on the brain, I have.

Not only am I writing the novel Muddy Water on board my Boat For My Potplants, there's another book about to be launched in only SEVEN days from now!

And it's not all about me, me, me, you know.

The OTHER book is the Recipe Book cooked up by some special people at The Royal British Legion (Wivenhoe Branch), including top girls Julia, Sue and Jane.

We're all going down to the official launch of the book next Sunday. And with 'Erindoors and me being contributors (me with a recipe for 'sex on toast' *, and Jane with some art), we'll be sure to get to the front of the line for our own copies.

I can't wait.

* 'SEX ON TOAST ???', I hear you ask in astonishment?

I told them that sex sells, and that's why they've had to order in extra copies to cope with the curious crowds all wanting to know the secret ingredients.

Friday, 10 October 2014

All Trim And Proper

Leather trim arrived in the post

Down to the metal after removing old cracked veneer
You may recall, dear blog-readers, that a while back I was bowled over by some international good will in the form of Rene from Holland, who is a member of the Fiat 124 Coupe Fan Club on Facebook (yes folks, there is indeed such a group, with 1,266 members and counting!).

Make a template from paper and cut new veneer to size
I had posted if anyone knew where I could get some veneer to replace my cracked and damaged console material that surrounds the base of my gear stick in Alfonso The Second.

Lo and behold, Rene went to all the trouble of sending me some, and despite my protests he refused to accept any payment!

Glue it down and add a little varnish, and trim to follow soon
That was a while ago, but sadly since receiving it, Alfonso The Second was in the Fiat hospital for quite some time, in need of some surgery (welding) in order to pass the MOT.

Well, I am delighted to report that Alfonso The Second is now fully recovered and last weekend I fitted the veneer, but to finish it off nicely I sent away for some nice leather trim to put around the edges.

That's just arrived in the post, and so I now have a very exciting Saturday to look forward to when I come to fit it.

It doesn't take a lot to get me excited.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Go Faster Stripes

I wanted to make old Tallulah go a little faster, so I thought some nice stripes would be just the ticket.

I took a great deal of care getting them nice and straight, and what with the new hand-painted cream and white paint, she's coming along quite nicely.

I could have spent a fortune on having her sprayed, but being the skinflint that I am I was very happy to buy a few tins of Hammerite and do it myself.

I'm just a boy-racer at heart.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Saturday Night And Sunday Morning

Saturday Night. 

Plastic cup of whisky.

Genesis nice and loud.

Snug as a bug in a rug.

Sleeping on the Boat For My Potplants.

Sunday Morning.

Waking on the Boat For My Potplants.

Wee in bucket.

Coffee, strong and black.

Black pudding and fried tomatoes.

Good day to the world.