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. My goal is to one day conquer that illogical fear.
In the meantime, I saw an advert for an old motorhome. What an excellent home for Churchill, our nodding dog, I thought.
Being very nervous of driving such a large beast, (and the fact that it's 36 years old, and needs a bit of fixing here and there), I reckoned it should be just perfect for going to music festivals in. We've never been to one before, as we thought festivals were for young people. Well, Tallulah is doing her bit to keep us young at heart.
This, and other stories from Wivenhoe, (including the tales about Alfonso The Second - my deliciously beautiful poor-man's classic car) is all about my mid-life crisis well and truly kicking in.

And now dear readers, welcome to my blog - a recipe of my old things, including a dash of the odd ingredient added here and there to the concoction, conjuring up a small hors d'oeuvres of magical Wivenhoe...




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!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Alte Opel

Tallulah is going to be in Alte Opel (Old Opel) magazine, possibly even featuring on the cover. What a great opportunity to extend the hands of friendship between our two nations and plan to take the old girls there sometime. Old girls? Tallulah is one, and you know who the other is.

Monday, 11 August 2014


Cheeky Chappie Andy Stollery has pledged the grand sum of £250 to the Wivenhoe Royal British Legion if only I would include him in my book Muddy Water what I'm currently writing on board my Boat For My Potplants. I'm already up to Chapter 12 and Hollywood will soon be knocking on my canopy to buy the film rights.

That's very generous of you Andy, but I'm afraid I just could not think of a plot line where you might comfortably fit in.

I was scratching my head (in thought, not the flees) and then he sent me a clue, as per the term STOLLERIED, found in the Urban Dictionary. Honest Guv, it really is there.

That's given me plenty to work on, so now the Legion's dosh is safely in the bag.

A most charming and generous chap frequents The Station Pub in Wivenhoe.  
His favourite pursuit on a Sunday, early evening, is to stroll into the bar and buy the entire pub (especially if it's full of females) Zambuccas.  
The clientele embraces this largesse with abandon:  Zambuccas downed in one, pronto. Often unsuspecting tourists are informed that it is said gent's "birthday" in order to facilitate their willlingness to hurl themselves like Lemmings into their forthcoming total inebriation.  
As soon as the first round is consumed, said gent buys another round and the clientele chuck the next one down their necks.  This continues for several hours until the entire pub is in utter carnage.  
At which point said gent (also known as The Zambucca Fairy) chuckles to himself, says "goodnight turnips" and leaves.  
If you are ever in The Station on a Sunday and you manage to make it home without an ambulance, you haven't been properly "Stolleried".
(stollery: noun) (to stollery: verb) (stolleried: past tense)

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Regatta Day in Wivenhoe

The best ever regatta day

Several people may be nursing their hangovers this morning following what must have been one of the best regattas in the history of regattas.

The sun shone, the wind blew, the band played and Punch punched Judy.

And we were privileged to have been invited to not one but two of the coolest parties, the first being in the afternoon at Denise and Graham's with the best view of the proceedings, and the second being in the evening at Sally and Graham's with the best music performed by Simon.
Mark's caravan

Canoe-man Jon and my fellow Haggis Committee member Snod The Sailor

Me in between my two favourite ladies (exccept for 'Erindoors, of course)

Punch and Judy packed away for another year
Great view of the proceedings from Party Number One

Great music from Simon at Party Number Two
In between the parties the drinks flowed on the Boat For My Potplants, and just about everywhere else for that matter.

Then this morning, whilst taking down the boat bunting, old chum Mark came past and invited me to become his first ever tea guest on his new caravan that he's been building. There's never any shortage of things to get up to around here. Like for instance next January's Burns Night, for which I have a vague recollection of forming The Haggis Committee yesterday with Snod the Sailor.

Monday, 28 July 2014

A Blog About My Blog

It occurred to me that some people may actually want to see pictures of the old Boat For My Potplants, old Tallulah The T-Reg Motorhome, old Alfonso 2nd Fiat Coupe and even the old woman 'Erindoors, so I've been busying myself with updating this 'ere blog with some gallery pictures without me in them.

Whilst beavering away I couldn't help notice that the view count is coming dangerously close to 50,000.

Who would have thought that so many would have bothered to click their mouses, (or should that be mice, or even mices?) over A Boat For My Potplants.

I'm wondering what day the count will reach 50,000, and I wonder who will be the 50,000th clicker to visit my story.

Whoever you will be, WELCOME ABOARD!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Power Of International Goodwill

This week the Netherlands have been truly in the news for terrible reasons. On a lighter note I would like to thank Rene from that country for responding to a Facebook message I posted about the central console needing a repair job on Alfonso The Second.

He sent me some veneer, beautifully packaged and free of charge, despite me asking where I could send payment to him.

My poor man's classic is currently at the garage awaiting some welding work to be done in order to get this year's MOT certificate.

As soon as it's back with me I will be fixing the central console with the new woodgrain, thanks to Rene.
Veneer, ready to be cut into shape for the central console, thanks to Rene from Holland

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Rollocks! Saturday Night And Sunday Morning

Friday evening on the back of the Boat For My Potplants I met with Alison my health lady. I'm on a free NHS course to help me bring down my cholesterol level and reduce my alcohol intake. We sat and discussed what I ought to be doing as we downed a cheeky bottle of Rose and consumed a packet of pretzels. That wasn't quite the right idea in mind - but it was the end of the week, so that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
Saturday evening

After Alison had left, Jane came down and we decided to take out my little tender behind. By the time I'd walked home to get the buoyancy aids from the garage and we had faffed about with untying the ropes, finding the oars and ROLLOCKS, and all that mullarky, we sat in the dinghy about to cast off.

Sunday morning
No sooner had we settled down with oars in hand we could see that the tide was rapidly departing, and that was that. We barely had enough time to clamber back aboard the big ship and dash off to the pub where I proceeded to not do much good to my health campaign for the rest of the evening.

Sunday morning came, and I began Tallulah's make-over with a paintbrush. What a difference a few drops of Hammerite can make.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Sound Of Noisy Silence

I was concerned that my little tender behind was perhaps not tied up as well as it could have been. I awoke early this morning and decided to go down to my Boat For My Potplants at high tide so that I could adjust the ropes.

I wanted to wait for the tide to go out and make sure that I hadn't tied the ropes too tightly, so I sat on board and waited.

Usually I have some music on, but at 5am I was content to sit in quiet.

Although I can tell you that at that time in the morning the silence is very loud

I listened attentively to it.

There were the gulls and egrets. I'm sure I could hear fishes popping up here and there. In the distance I could hear a plane. Or was it some rolling thunder? The air was still and it began raining - gently to begin with, and then harder for a few minutes. The birds' calls became louder as if they were competing with the noise of the heavy rain drops splashing on to the river's water.

The beauty of it all was deafening.

It was a magical silence.


Monday, 14 July 2014

Music And Words

The future international best seller was created here
I had a couple of hours spare, so I used them wisely and went to the Boat For My Potplants armed with my iPad, upon which I am furiously writing my first novel, called appropriately Muddy Water.

I don't mean that I was furious when writing it, just that I was writing quickly as my fingers on the keyboard struggled to keep up with the words appearing before me in my tiny brain.

To calm myself down I put on some soothing music, thanks to the new inverter that I recently installed to replace the one that bust a few months ago.

Now I can listen again to my on board hi-fi as I 'become' the characters in my book.

I was Stanley Markland the horrible wealthy landowner's son, Tristan Thomas the gay politician, and Constance Markland who's desperate to have another baby. All at the same time.

It's a confusing and tiring occupation being an international best selling author. Or so I'm told.

The soothing music was listened to here (the round thing is one of the speakers)