Week one of working on the van has been quite scary. It turns out that between us we have one skill – cleaning. It may not get us very far but it will be the shiniest van in Europe. When something seems too difficult to clean, we paint it… badly! Fortunately Rodney’s dad is good at pretty much everything. He’s an engineer, a motor mechanic, a plumber, an electrician, an inventor and a builder. Granny Betty tells me he even knows how to use a sewing machine (so something else he’s going to need to teach us). It makes me feel quite humbled, and a bit pathetic at the same time. We’ve decided to blame poor schooling for this, even though we’ve been out in the real world for a couple of decades with plenty of time to learn for ourselves. I just don’t recall being taught anything practical/useful at school that could help us with this project- how to make coleslaw (yuk), how to create a very bright light with a Bunsen burner and a piece of Magnesium (cool but no), how to evacuate for a fire drill… actually that one could come in quite useful before long.
So basically Don has done most of the work for us so far, including fitting a new Truma water heater which enables us to have three consecutive showers of five minutes each- Rodney can’t really fit in the shower and is happy to wash in the sea / cold water so this means I “could” have a 15 minute hot shower all to myself every morning. EXCITING. Obviously I’m not going to because I really care about the environment and everything but theoretically speaking, I’m very excited about this.
The other thing we hadn’t factored in is how difficult it is to get parts for an elderly vehicle. Trawling the internet looking for things has almost become a fulltime job, and bugger me is it boring. We’ve found it so hard to get simple window stays (without a lock) and I’m so tired of looking that yesterday we were discussing whether or not the window needed to ever stay open anyway. Rodney: ‘If it’s too warm we can sleep outside’.
Nevertheless progress is being made and we should be on the road before the end of the month. We’ve been out for a couple of trips, to the beach and to the forest and it’s pretty awesome, the captain chairs are big and comfy and the windscreen is so vast, you really do feel like you’re in a space ship!
As we were driving along, no matter what speed we were travelling (slow or very slow) other cars seemed to stay behind us and not feel inclined to overtake. I said that they must be admiring our shiny behind, but Rodney insists there were probably bits falling off the van and they were trying to catch them for us.