Van Build – Week 4

It’s week 4 of van build and the van is going to the garage for repairs Wednesday. With van life you’ve got to be prepared for unexpected costs and sadly we got hit. We started the van one morning and she wouldn’t go into gear. We called a mechanic and it wasn’t looking good. After a full diagnostics we are needing a new gearbox, clutch and differential!! And none of that will be cheap. It’s a shame when we are trying to keep costs low but we are trying to be positive and looking at the plus side…. at least it will all be new on our maiden voyage and we shouldn’t have any further problems fingers crossed!! At least it happened now and not when we’re somewhere remote and have spent all our cash!!

The other downside is it will take a few days and whilst it’s in the garage we are fully homeless!!

Not letting the bad news stop us we started the ceiling insulation and we are pretty much matching the process on the floor. We added some timber inserts that we can screw into and then added the insulation boards. They were pretty much cut perfect so they are wedged and don’t drop! We did also screw them though!

Then we added double bubble insulation with spray adhesive and used insulation tape to seal it all. We applied a continuous vapour barrier layer from the roof down the sides of the van. This was a long process but we’ll appreciate it when the cold weather hits and equally when we park somewhere hot! As my dad would say “if a jobs worth doing, it’s worth doing right”.

Wednesday we dropped her off bright and early and then felt lost!!

Elliot’s mum has a garage full of old furniture she has saved for us to see if we can use of any of it. We decided to make use of our time without the van and started sorting through. There was an old cabinet we stripped down and gathered all the wood to use later. The main reason for doing this now was to create more space. Then we stumbled across some amazing doors that would be the prefect size for the kitchen unit under the sink. They need a lot of TLC but we love a project and it’s worth it because they are beautiful. They are very old and you can see where they have been nailed together. All the nails are different sizes and not in any line or seeming order. I love this and much prefer character over modern. There are lots of items that just seem meant to be for the van, it’s exciting and very convenient!! I got bored and decided to go roller skating. I’ve not skated on the streets since I was a kid and I was scared haha!! No fear at age 10 but scared to look like a twat at age 30!! I managed to not fall over, had some fun and it’s also good exercise. I just need to learn how to stop safely.

Thursday we decided to go and explore…. We’ve kept my little convertible to use whilst we build the van and then we will begrudgingly sell her on before our maiden voyage. She has served me well and I loved cruising round in the summer with the top down in the sun but it’s time to let her go now.

We visited the White Horse on the hill in Westbury, Wiltshire.

There are quite a few of these horses now but I read this is the biggest and it dates back to the 1700s. From a distance it was spectacular… up close it was what Elliot described as ‘just painted concrete’ haha! It sits below an Iron Age settlement and reading up on the history was very interesting. It’s crazy to think people would just rock up somewhere and make it theirs. We will be living similar to that but just parking up and having a new garden whenever we like. We explored the area and the views were just spectacular!!

All we kept thinking was this would be amazing to bring the van to. We could just make a cup of tea… have a wee… just enjoy it with the home comforts. We started getting very excited for all the adventures we will have once the van is ready!!

When we first pulled up we saw a guy putting together a handglider, you can spot him in the back of this photo. I thought I could get Alfie to stand against the sign alone for a photo but he wasn’t having any of it, as you can see!

The guy with the hand glider had drove there with it on a massive roof rack and then went to work assembling it. We have never seen one take off before and thought he would run off the edge and glide down to the bottom. Just as we were about to leave we saw he was ready to go so we pulled the car up to watch.

I was amazed watching this… He disappeared over the edge and then all of sudden he shot back up in the air and just kept climbing higher!! It was awesome to watch, he seemed to have such control and it looked like loads of fun! I did some research and found out early hang gliders had a low lift to drag ratio so pilots were restricted to gliding down small hills. Which is what we had imagined when we first saw him! By the 1980s this ratio significantly improved, and pilots can now soar for hours, gain thousands of feet of altitude, perform aerobatics, and glide cross-country for hundreds of kilometres! Impressive eh! As he soared higher the radio was playing Fly Away by Lenny Kravitz which made us chuckle #PerfectTiming

Friday it was bad weather so we decided to have a day trying to get bits done. We organised the garage (as much as we could) and then I went to work on Etsy. We have a store selling jewellery that we hope to continue on the road to generate a bit of income. So I spent some time sourcing new stock, photographing the existing stock and getting them all ready online to go live. I love it but the problem is I want to wear it all and have to be really strict with myself (only taken 3 pieces for myself so far lol)!!
Click here if you want to view the Etsy Store

Elliot went to work sanding the old doors we had found! It was quite a challenge as they are very old and some have been painted but the difference is amazing!

The days are dragging so much now we don’t have the van to work on. I’m still happier than I’ve ever been and I know it will all be worth it once we set off in our finished van.

I decided to update the blogs from last week and every time I sit down to update the blog it makes me smile looking back on the progress and comparing the photos. I did this in the car whilst Alfie Bojangles kept me company on the passenger seat. It’s been great to have support from all of you reading this and following our Instagram page. We love reading the comments so thank you for taking the time it means a lot.

If we can live in a two seater we can definitely live in a van!! You might wonder where we are sleeping. Although we are parked up at Elliots mums house they have a dog reactive Rottwiler so we can’t take Alfie in the house with him unless he is tucked up in the bedroom at night. They don’t want to take any risks so we are playing safe and staying on the drive as much as possible. Then we are sleeping on our mattress on their living room floor.

We made a sale on Etsy but disaster struck when we set off to the post office! Connie won’t start! We’ve realised now what happened. We’ve been sitting in the car for a few days for a comfy seat and when the sun shines on us it gets very hot! She is all black attracting the rays and tiny so it turns into a little greenhouse! We have been sitting with the doors open to cool down not realising it turns a light on! We are guessing the light has drained the battery! Because she’s a hard top convertible she is built like a tank and very heavy! An absolute nightmare to bump start! We got her going with the help of Elliots step dad Mark and managed to post the package (we go to extreme lengths for our customers!!). The downside is we now have to spend more unexpected money on a new battery!

It’s great to read everyone’s comments and see that people are enjoying following our journey. All your support keeps us going, especially when things are tough!

So at the one month milestone we are homeless and happy.


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