#4 The Project Begins

Well, in a week’s time – just as soon as we get back from our trip to Cornwall.

The second van was a no go, something about an engine knocking; apparently it was going to be replaced the following week but at this point we decided to call it. We drove straight to the other place, went for a test drive and bought our van!

It was a nice run back from Edinburgh, popped in to see my auntie on the way back as she was only half an hour away. We are usually flying past on our way further north and west so it is nice, when we have some time, to pop in for a wee catch up.

Getting in the van from the car, it’s a lot more basic on the inside, I knew to expect this but I think it is still noteworthy. This obviously depends on what van you go for and what car you usually drive. It runs lovely, I really appreciated the two and a half hour drive home right away, to get a feel for it and I must say – it is a pleasure to drive.

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On the shores of Ullswater, Cumbria

We have been preparing a little in the previous months, collecting the few tools and things we would definitely need. We currently have two pallets propped against the wall in our kitchen (and those things are surprisingly big when you get them inside), waiting to be dismantled and sanded down – these will be the basis for our furniture. I have a colleague who has 5 more stockpiled for kindling which he has very kindly offered me. We are hoping this will be more than enough, however we will only know for certain once we see how much usable wood can be salvaged from each one.

So, the initial to do list:

1     Book in the van to get the window fitted on the side door
We pondered the idea of doing this bit ourselves, a friend of mine did it and it worked out just fine, however with our very limited experience we decided that cutting a hole into the side of our van was just a bit too much of a risk, that we weren’t willing to take. At the moment we are settled on a fixed window, for the extra cost the small sliding bit it doesn’t seem worth it, when we will probably just have the door open most of the time anyway. We have 3 places close to us that offer this service so it is just a case of getting a quote for each and booking it in.

2     Remove the ply already in the van
This isn’t going to be too difficult; it looks in good condition so we are hoping to reuse some of it. Again, only when we start taking it out will we get a better idea of what will be salvageable.

3     Remove the bulk head
We have made the decision to remove the bulk head, making the cab and the rest of the van one living space. After a little research this doesn’t seem too tricky to do, a couple of screws and some welding to get through but it should (should!) come right out.

4     Clean clean clean!
Despite it being smart and tidy on the inside already, we will need to give it a good scrub before we start any of the insulating.

5     Install swivel seat
To maximise our living space we have decided to go for a swivel seat in the front, this offers extra sitting space without impacting on our basic living space. At the moment the idea is to have a screw in table which will align with these seats, but can be stored separately until needed. We have read a few stories of people installing the swivel plate in after they have done the insulation and flooring and have been left unable to fully rotate the seat due to the floor sitting too high. We have subsequently decided to do this bit first to avoid those issues completely!

6     Insulate
The insulation will involve a whole list of sub-steps, which we will go into more detail about as and when we get to this stage. For us, this is the exciting bit because as soon as this is done it is ready to camp in. There is nothing stopping us throwing an air mattress in the back and trying it out for a night or two!

As already mentioned in-between all these steps will be the continuous work on the pallets to get them to a usable state – huzzah for splinters (and I am expecting many!)

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