I haven’t updated the blog for about 3 weeks. Things got a bit shit and we’ve been busy since making up for lost time.
In the last blog the van had been in the garage a week and we had been keeping busy doing little jobs and having days out. Another week went by and the garage still hadn’t completed what they led us to be a 1 – 2 days max job! We can sleep in Elliots mums living room on a night but we can’t let Alfie near their dog so through the day we are on the driveway. The weather has turned now and it’s pretty miserable, sitting all day in the wind and rain makes me pretty miserable too! We have the use of a garage but there isn’t much space so we work on a bench at the open door so it’s pretty cold but were trying to stay upbeat! The apoxy resin arrived so we set the fossils to make our door handles.
We’re really happy with them so far. With the left over resin I set a blue rose from my sister’s wedding. I tried to get it finished in time for their wedding anniversary but didn’t so she received a video of me making it instead (soon come Katrina xx).
We went to the carboot on Sunday and found a cute little Moroccan style lantern for 20p it was quite tarnished so we covered the glass with tape and sprayed it black.
We went for a walk and it started to rain. It didn’t poor it down it was just a light drizzle and it actually felt really good just to walk and feel the rain on my skin. I used to always hide away from the weather. If it was cold I would stay inside nice and toasty unless I had to go out. If it was sunny I would hide in the shade. When it rained I would run for shelter. I haven’t got a choice now but I think it’s good for me to be outside more whatever the weather.
Since leaving our home and more so being away from our van whilst it’s in the garage, we are exposed to the elements a lot more. It’s made me appreciate things more and the great outdoors really does clear your mind. It’s hard without the van but we do have use of a kitchen and bathroom and a roof over our heads at night. Some people are completely homeless with nobody to offer shelter. This is when I realise how lucky we are. This is just temporary and it’s a great test. Some people go from living comfortably in a house straight into vanlife which can be a hard adjustment. We’re living on a driveway in a 2 seater car so we’ll be upgrading! We don’t find faults, we are in this together and tackle each challenge head on. Without eachothers support and a positive outlook this would be a very shit situation!
My environment always plays a big role in my happiness and it’s so freeing to know that once our van is complete we are free to explore new environments as much as we please. The garage ended up fitting two parts that were faulty and had to be taken back off. They then told us that the brake discs needed to be replaced at an additional unexpected cost! This was really frustrating as we could’ve done this ourselves and saved the labour costs! We were then told the price would be double originally quoted and there was still no estimated timescale for completion. Up until now every update had been call tomorrow lunch! We then saw on their facebook they’d had a nice team photoshoot with out van as the back drop! This pissed us off and we decided enough was enough! We went and got her back the next day.
The first thing we did was pull the two front passenger seats out and installed a new single swivel seat. This will allow us to walk from the front to the back and create more space and seating with the chair turned round. We looked online and it was really expensive to buy a full swivel seat so we decided to construct our own. We bought the swivel mechanism on eBay and then called the local ford breakers to see what they had. We picked up a seat and base for £40. It’s from a 2005 model so the fabric is a different design to the drivers seat but I don’t mind that. We treated the base for rust and then sprayed it black. We also removed the arm, sprayed black and then re attached.
It was really easy to swap over as the base bolted in the same places so we didn’t need to drill any new holes.
When we took the seat out we noticed there was moisture under the rubber floor. There was a sponge layer that was saturated and seemed to have just been retaining water! We decided to rip it all out as there was no way to dry it fully. We extended the flooring from the back to come round the new single seat. This makes it feel like one.
We keep seeing posts on Facebook van groups about break-ins and vans being stolen. We don’t ever want to be without the van again so were not taking any risks with security. We’ve bought an extra lock we have added to the back doors.
The next day we were given an old cupboard that was going to the tip. We took the drawers and made a frame under the bed for them.
We’re going to use the top as a worktop and we will also try and use the doors somewhere. I really love the hinges so want to try and use them somewhere.
Whilst the van was in the garage we decided to use the time to learn all we needed to about electrics and Solar and do this job our self. It will save money and also mean if anything goes wrong we will know how to fix it. We’ll feel better on the road knowing how everything works inside out. We have started ordering parts as we have found that is cheaper than buying a full kit from one store. Our solar panel arrived so it was time to get it up on the roof. We cleaned it, angle grinded the few rust spots, then treated with Hammerite and re sprayed white. When that dried we lifted the solar panel onto the roof and marked where the panel would go. We bought the biggest panel in the shop and it weighs just under 20kg because it’s so big it’s hard to hold and manoeuvre. I literally have zero arm strength so it was no easy task! I started on the roof so Elliot could pass it up and quickly realised I had no choice of pulling I up so we swapped. I got down and Elliot got up on the roof, I summoned all my strength and lifted it a few inch off the ground and Elliot pulled it up!
We bought a fixing kit that consists of corners and side attachments to hold it on the roof.
We marked where the corners would go and then lifted the panel back down. We screwed and used Sikaflex to seal the corners on. Once it dried we had the mammoth task of lifting the panel on the roof again. We sealed it with Sikaflex and we will eventually screw it and add the other sections. For now it needs to be left to dry. We then vapour barriered the back doors and the final bit of the side panel.
That takes us to Sunday the 16th September which is my Dads birthday. It’s the first time I didn’t see my dad on his birthday and it made me very sad. I’m missing all my family like mad and although we video call and speak and text all the time it’s just not the same. This is why I’m even more eager to get the van finished so I can go and give them all a big hug!
If you have your family around you cherish them and let them know that you love them. If not then pick up the phone or go visit if you can!
We went to the car boot again and managed to get another lantern. It’s copper which is a bit of a theme in our van. This one was £2 but it’s definitley worth it and lanterns are a cheap way to add light and maybe even a little heat. We have Sundays as our only day off from working on the van. Although we could work all week I think it’s good to have a break so on Sundays we chill.