Why do I feel like I've been here before? Have a look at my blog www.aboatformypotplants.blogspot.com to see the history of the boat in pictures, sound and film!

My lovely old Grandad used to tell me when I was nee high that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. As it was when I began my love affair with The Boat For My Potplants. And I do still have many miles to go - not least getting a motor - and I'm crossing my fingers that next Friday's meeting with Suzuki will present a positive outcome.

But while all this is going on, somebody told somebody that I'm a painter and decorator and that I've been working on "that boat by the pub with the potplants on it". Back in the balmy autumn I was asked to visit a lovely old wooden sailing vessel that's kept in a farm-shed awaiting renovation and painting, and its owner and I fixed a date for me to begin my first 'professional' boat job, and that date has now come up.

I arrived on Monday morning at 9am. By 10am I was frozen to the bone. Why I had to pick the coldest week of the year is anybody's business - but I'd agreed to do it, so I'd better just get on with it. Cold it may be, but what a privilege it is to be entrusted to work on someone else's pride and joy. And to be paid for it!

I looked at the extensive task ahead and had that deju-vu feeling all over again. The same one that I got when I first began working on my own boat. Just where to start? I had to reach deep inside my mind and pull out a gallon of positive energy to pick up a scraper, and start at the very beginning. It is, after all, a very good place to start.

It's funny how things work out. I would never have been given this job if it hadn't been for the Boat For My Potplants. I could instead have been decorating Mrs Smith's living room this week. Nice and warm. Cups of tea brought to me. 'One sugar today, Neil?' 'Yes please, Mrs Smith'. Nice.

Nah. Boats is more fun. More of a challenge. More rewarding. Give me that deja vu feeling any time.