Friday, 2 November 2012

The Camper Van Cook Book

I was given a brilliant book for my Birthday given to me by my good friend Becca (the author of ‘Does Becca Love?’ blog and the same person to inspire me to do the Day Zero project 101 list!), so thank you Becca even though you shouldn’t have! :) Despite feeling under the weather herself she is always doing things for other people which is why we love her so!

The book is The Camper Van Cookbook and is an excellent read, it’s actually so much more than a recipe book and actually gives you tips on owning and servicing a camper as well as places to stay and things to do! It’s really aimed at VW camper owners but then the same principles apply to any vehicle, and we sympathise with the issues of owing a ‘classic’ camper as Waki is now 27 years old herself!

The book shows you games to play and songs to sing when bored on the journey or if the weather is bad, it lists the authors (and friends’) favourite camp sites, ‘pick your own’ farms, tips for attending festivals or going surfing amongst so many other topics! Oh and of course there are some great looking recipes designed for easily cooking in a camper or outside.

Happy Halloween, The Night of Endings & Beginnings!

Halloween brings change, it is traditionally the end of the wheel of seasons and the beginning of another turn and that has certainly been the case this year. I use it as a time to analyse what has happened in the year, and to think what I am going to do next.
I also carve cooking apples instead of pumpkins! Well, we already know I'm a bit weird! :)
They're excellent for spookily-lighting small spaces.
I have now left my job as a salesperson (Hello to my loyal Rajapack followers! I do miss you already!), and am starting a new part time job picking plumbing parts! The intention is to use the extra time I'll have to go and make my crafts and create my artwork, and getting selling at some local fairs and markets. Ryan is also making the switch and will be putting his mechanical and crafty talents to use, and it will be great to spend the time with him again.

Our plan is that The Waki Way will be our chance to really enjoy life and do what we've always wanted which is to be ourselves, together, and to work for ourselves. This past year I have really come to understand that life is so short and we can't waste a second being unhappy or resenting anything at all! It's scary yes, but then it's a fun challenge and I'm stubborn enough to make it work!

So if there is anything that you resent doing or being, change it - FAST! Who knows if we will ever get a second chance at anything we let pass us by?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Another Weekend Away

Ryan got us free weekend tickets to see the Phoenix Derby Championships at Cadwell Park courtesy of Comma Oils' promotion, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable trip away!

We stopped at the same camp site as my parents near Skegness again on Friday night, I managed to forget to pack some towels (oops!) so we stopped at a Tesco on route and I bought us a pair of black bath towels. We needed some nicer towels anyway so it just prompted the purchase!

We spent a nice Saturday morning wandering the discount stores and markets in nearby Ingoldmells where we bought a lovely new stainless steel stove top whistling kettle (we'd so far still been using the small aluminium one from my camping set!) and also an excellent shagpile rug for the living area. No more cold feet in the mornings from stepping on the bare floor! :)

We also come across a stall selling some funny signs and my Mum bought this one for us, with the state that Waki is still unfortunately in it was too suitable to pass by! 

Cadwell park is fairly close to Skegness so we only had a little way to go to reach Cadwell Park, though we didn't quite expect the amount of really steep hills we'd have to struggle up to get there! Poor old Waki really got pushed on that journey, and there was only one hill where we got down to a rather embarrassing 25 mph! Sorry to the drivers behind us, luckily it wasn't too busy! :S

We had a minor issue on the journey in the form of a leak from our water tank where the pipe had come off, which was actually a relief as in the side mirror Ryan said it looked like smoke billowing out and our hearts sank for a moment! But we were soon back on our way though low on water, but we had plenty of bottled water on board and there were taps at Cadwell for the washing up water.

We were surprised to find on arrival that you are allowed to camp anywhere you like around the track, though I can imagine that it’s a lot more restricted during bigger events like British Superbikes.

We initially checked out the facilities in the main paddock area and took a wander down to Club Corner just in time to see the start of a race and some wheelie action over The Mountain. We then took a drive around the track and found a good level spot by the tree line with a good view of the track, it’s such a bizarre feeling looking out of your home window with such a view! We spent a little while on the roof as it gave us a better view of the track, though the wind was pretty cold so we retreated before too long.
Waki parked and level. The front of the over-cab section looks much neater
now without the leaky front window but she still needs a paint job!
The view from the cab window when we arrived
A very happy Ryan and the roof view. Motorbikes, cider & bacon
sandwiches - what more could a guy want?!
The new generator got a good run and worked a dream (a post will follow on this but it means persuading Ryan to write about something!), having that running outside was actually quieter than the gas heater is currently. It can handle running a surprising amount of electrical gadgets at once, although this time we just had the batteries charging and run the laptop and TV.

We watched the film ‘Closer to the Edge’ following Guy Martin and some of the other main riders for the Isle of Mann TT road race which seemed a fitting way to spend an evening next to a race track. I'd say I also had the most peaceful nights sleep I've had in a long while as we was so far away from the roads (or any other campers! :D), though I did wake up the the commentator 'testing-testing' the speaker system around the track but it meant we didn't miss anything!

The hardest part of the trip was making ourselves go home, (especially as we knew we had enough tinned food on board to last a week and plenty of fuel!) but I had to be back at work so we had to go.

The scenery around Louth is quite spectacular farmland, and for our journey the beautiful rolling hills were set off nicely by the setting sun. I managed to get some photos on my phone but the phone can never do a scene like that real justice so I allowed myself to purely enjoy the views instead. Sometimes you just need to look around and smile at what you see :)

By being out and about we've come up with more ideas and of course found more things that need attention – like the knackered battery that was in charge of running the thermostat for our gas heater which needed swapping with the lighting one halfway through the night when we woke up cold! And we now also have the supplies to begin installing our wiring system (an early birthday present for Ryan from my Stepdad!) which will allow us to actually use mains hook-up when on site in future.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Introducing Kaa

I’d like to introduce Kaa to all of you who have not met him yet, the charming and quite oblivious passenger to The Waki Way of life. He is a Californian Corn Snake approx. 12 years old, (named after the Jungle Book character) and almost 5ft in length though trust me that makes him sound bigger than he really is! Sorry Kaa! He’s been a bit of an ambassador for snakes throughout his life and converted many ‘haters’ to admirers with his charm and hypnotising ways and I'm sure he will continue to do so on our travels.

He’s such a cutie and very friendly, and yes of course reptiles can be cute – look at him! He started life at the Japanese Koi centre near Henlow and was the ‘resident’ snake that they would bring out to show prospective customers so when I got him he was already around 4 feet and about a year old. I think all of the handling he got there is what has made him so relaxed around people, and he’s even been to visit the cadets at our St John Ambulance headquarters who were equally charmed!

He is still settling into his new vivarium in the house for the time being but will be transferred to the motorhome when the cupboard/sideboard area is built for him. I don’t want him to get stressed out by us building things next to him as well as being in a new vivarium with odd smells etc so we’re trying to get him gradually acclimatised to all of the changes.

Kaa’s new vivarium is a flat packed one by Vivexotic I bought it from a company called Seapets for a very reasonable price which arrived in good time and condition too, I actually wish I'd found them before I hand built his last viv as it probably cost me double the price in materials alone! They do seem to be the cheapest around for a great many pet supplies so I’ll definitely keep them bookmarked for our future requirements.

It went together well and actually comes with surprisingly strong good quality fixings, though it is only a chipboard unit so needs careful handling. I ran a seal of silicone over all of the internal joins to stop the damp getting through to the chipboard itself and also had to glue the back vents into place as Kaa would have been out of those it a heartbeat if left just pushed into place!

He actually managed to escape my homemade viv by pushing the glass and its runners apart and squeezing between the panes – luckily we were still sleeping in the house at that point and was just getting into bed when I heard him slithering across the bedroom floor! The runners on this viv are moulded from the same piece of plastic so can’t be forced apart, although the glass itself moves a little too freely along the runners for my liking so I’ll install a lock to stop him opening the doors. He is really inquisitive and surprisingly strong and likes digging, climbing and poking his nose into anything that's not his business so for now the doors just have a tab of tape of each end to stop him making another break for it!

Thursday, 13 September 2012


We now have something else to plan for in our Waki Way of life since Ryan proposed to me on Monday on our 11 year anniversary (no 11 is not as typo – I’ve been waiting a while!). 

He lured me into the motorhome to ask since it’s such an important part of our life together now! As September is our anniversary month we’ve decided to keep the wedding to the same time next year so watch this space… 

and a massive thank you to those who have already filled our Facebook pages with warm wishes! xxx

Friday, 7 September 2012

Amazing - Eco-fi Fabric

We recently recovered the fabric ceiling of the cab as it was very grotty, and also decided to recover the curved edging covers on which the original fabric had begun to rot away! To keep it light and bright we went with cream felt for the ceiling, bought from Milton Keynes market, which took a massive amount of spray adhesive and awkward pushing and pulling to get into all of the dips and bumps. 

The light colour is a risk with Ryan around and his dirty mechanic hands but it really does lift the space so is a risk worth taking!

We wanted to keep to the brown colour for the edging but couldn't find the right shade at the market so went back to trusty e-bay. I came across some well priced felt material called Eco-fi, which also happens to be made entirely out of recycled plastic bottles made by a company in America! See below pdf about how it's made it really is amazing! I know, simple things...

I've been showing it to everybody and no-one else can believe its plastic either so we have some good eco-karma in the project already without a compromise which is a rare thing!

I had to do some cutting and sewing to get it to fit the internal angles which I done by hand as I never have liked using a sewing machine, and it's a good way to practice my needlework. 
I intend on doing a lot more fabric craft work in the future and we don't have room for a machine anyway. The Waki Way is about doing things the simplest way possible, although we do joke that it's possibly about being the most awkward and inconvenient way possible which is how it's felt with the multitude of obstacles we've encountered so far but we persevere for a simpler way of life!

I can’t bring myself to throw away any fabric offcuts, especially with all of the crafty things that could be made with them so I needed a way to store them. I could just leave them in a plastic bag in a cupboard somewhere or I could have them to hand in a nice attractive bag so decided to make a cushion cover out of the ecofi fabric to hold it, and of course added a few embellishments that would complement our decor. 

I must own up to the fact that it wasn’t my original idea, I was actually inspired by someone on a YouTube video who uses her pillows for storing fabric! 

Click on the link below to view her video, she really is an amazing woman who in a similar situation to us decided to buy a trailer chassis and literally built herself a tiny house on top of it from recycled and salvaged materials!

Friday, 31 August 2012

Project Playlist

Music is an important factor in your mood, it can be relaxing, energising or inspiring. Throughout this project I have been adding songs to a playlist on YouTube that I named ‘You can do it! Do what you’ve always dreamed about!’ to help get us through the low days.

One of the tasks on my Day Zero 101 list was to get the playlist up to 101 inspirational songs , which I’ve finally done – with Ryan’s help of course. See Day Zero blog post for what the project is about and my full to-do list.

It is an eclectic mix of music for sure, from Rock, Pop, Garage, Dance, Happy Hardcore, New Age and even some Classical movie themes. I must say now though that for some reason I’ve never been a fan of the film Rocky, so there’s no Eye of the Tiger in this list I'm afraid if you were hoping for it!

See below for the YouTube link and list of tracks, put it on while you work on your current project and see what happens for you – there is nearly 7 hours of inspiration in there! All of these songs have either taught us a lesson, helped us get back up and carry on when we were down, or just remind us of a happy time and deal an awesome mood so I hope they help you too. 

Leave a comment here on the blog if you discover any that you like - it would be nice to know we've helped someone out somehow!

  1. This Time - The Verve
  2. Bornslippy - Underworld
  3. What a Wonderful World - Eva Cassidy
  4. You're Free - Yomanda
  5. Chariots of Fire - Vangelis
  6. Follow Me - Uncle Kracker
  7. Beautiful Day - U2
  8. Tubthumping - Chumbawamba
  9. True Colours - Eva Cassidy
  10. Tonight, Tonight - The Smashing Pumpkins
  11. Today - The Smashing Pumpkins
  12. Perfect -  The Smashing Pumpkins 
  13. The Mission theme - Ennio Moricone
  14. Lucky You - The Lightning Seeds
  15. The Last of the Mohicans music - Trevor Jones & Randy Edelman
  16. Everything Will Be All Right - The Killers
  17. Wherever You Will Go - The Calling
  18. That's What Makes the World Go Round - Sword in the Stone song
  19. Thank You - Alanis Morisette
  20. Devotion - Sy & Demo
  21. Open Your Eyes - Snow Patrol
  22. This Isn't Everything You Are - Snow Patrol
  23. Raindrops & Sunshowers - The Smashing Pumpkins
  24. If It Makes You Happy - Sheryl Crow
  25. She's a Rebel - Greenday
  26. I'm Raving - Scooter
  27. Yeha Noha (Wishes of Happiness & Prosperity) - Sacred Spirit
  28. I Want to Break Free - Queen
  29. We Are The Champions - Queen
  30. Don't Stop Me Now - Queen
  31. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
  32. Twenty Years - Placebo 
  33. Running Up That Hill - Placebo
  34. Passive Aggressive - Placebo
  35. Battle for the Sun - Placebo
  36. Between Angels and Insects - Papa Roach
  37. Fukin' Perfect - Pink
  38. Heaven is a Halfpipe - OPM
  39. I Don't Wanna Be - Gavin Degraw (One Tree Hill)
  40. Good Life - One Republic
  41. Wonderwall - Oasis
  42. Always Love - Nada Surf
  43. Uprising - Muse
  44. Time Is Running Out - Muse
  45. Invincible - Muse
  46. Feeling Good - Muse
  47. We Are All Made of Stars - Moby
  48. Lift Me Up - Moby
  49. I'll Bring You Flowers - Sweet Female Attitude
  50. The Voyager - Mike Oldfield
  51. Beat It - Michael Jackson 
  52. Breaking The Habit - Linkin Park
  53. The One - Limp Bizkit
  54. Stronger - Kanye West
  55. I can See Clearly Now - Johnny Nash
  56. Imagine - John Lennon
  57. The Middle - Jimmy Eat World
  58. Dirt Off Your Shoulder - Jay Z
  59. You Can Do It - Ice Cube
  60. Singing In The Rain - Gene Kelly
  61. Warning - Green Day 
  62. Minority - Greenday
  63. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) - Greenday
  64. Now We Are Free - Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard (Gladiator)
  65. Dreams - Gabrielle
  66. Break Out - Foo Fighters
  67. Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac
  68. Tender - Feeder
  69. Tell All Your Friends - Feeder
  70. Seven Days In The Sun -  Feeder 
  71. Just a Day -  Feeder 
  72. Forget About Tomorrow -  Feeder 
  73. Buck Rogers -  Feeder 
  74. Comfort in Sound -  Feeder 
  75. Reverance - Failthless
  76. Mass Destruction - Faithless
  77. Over The Rainbow - Eva Cassidy 
  78. Long Long Journey - Enya
  79. Wild Child - Enya
  80. Return To Innocence - Enigma
  81. Lose Yourself - Eminem
  82. Don't Stop - Fleetwood Mac
  83. I'm No Angel - Dido
  84. One Way or Another - Blondie (Coyote Ugly)
  85. Colours of the Wind - Pocahontas song
  86. We Made It - Busta Rhymes & Linkin Park
  87. Another Green World - Brian Eno 
  88. 'Freedom' The Execution Bannoburn - James Horner (Braveheart)
  89. Born This Way - Lady Gaga
  90. Born Free - Matt Monro
  91. It's My Life - Bon Jovi
  92. Song 2 - Blur
  93. Coffee & TV - Blur
  94. Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head - BJ Thomas
  95. Bare Necessities - The Jungle Book
  96. Pure Shores - All Saints
  97. You Learn - Alanis Morisette
  98. Hand in my Pocket -  Alanis Morisette
  99. Everything -  Alanis Morisette
  100. Try Again - Aaliyah 
  101. Everyday Is a Winding Road - Sheryl Crow

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Flooring, floods and filters

Wow, I can't actually believe that my last post was about the Jubilee weekend! Sorry everyone :-/

I've been so busy recently but, unfortunately for Waki, with almost everything but the refurb! The main reason is that I've had the last 3 weekends completely hijacked by major local events where I have been volunteering for St John Ambulance, and my last day off work was used for doing the Swan hotels chalk boards again, though I have thoroughly enjoyed it all.

The fresh water tank in place under the sofa
So what have we done since the last post...?

We now have nice new vinyl flooring in the living area, which extends under the sofa and meant that the water tank could go back into place - though we still need to get ourselves a nice new filler pipe as the old one is definitely past it!

Wickes Beech wood-effect vinyl flooring
Ryan completed this task, glueing it all down with some particularly messy flooring adhesive which meant that we had to go over it with a scouring sponge and degreaser to clean it off - a job that still needs repeating a few more times!

We decided on the planks of vinyl from Wickes as they were well priced and should be slightly quieter and warmer to walk on than laminate (they're also easier to cut and there were several bolts in the floor to fit around). We chose to run them widthways to maximise the look of the floor space which I think works well, see below.

The water heater is under a cupboard under the kitchen area
The pump with the water filter attached
Ryan also managed to fix the existing water heater which wasn't working when we bought Waki. That saves us some expense for sure which is great news! Apparently the previous owner had tried to use it when it was frozen and it hadn't worked since so we didn't hold much hope for it, but Ryan took it apart and reconnected it with the gas bottle in the garden and it worked fine! It actually gets really hot, very quickly and now we can't wait to get the bathroom sorted out to use the shower too.

He then reconnected the pump and sink so we can actually use the tap too! We bought a water filter from Go Outdoors to freshen the flavour - though we also intend on using the Aquapure disinfectant tablets in the tank to stop any bacteria growth and a water filter jug as an extra taste improvement measure for drinking from. 

It was a nerve racking moment in using the sink for the first time since it was put back together as I could just imagine it not going into the waste tank for some reason and flooding the place (because that's generally our luck!) but it was fine so well done Ryan - you can now add plumbing experience to your list of talents! We did however have a bit of a flood moment earlier on when the residual water in the pump pipes went everywhere so not entirely smooth sailing, but then it did help clean the floor! :)

One last area of rot and mess!
When I had a few free hours I managed to cut out the kitchen cupboard openings so we can access the whole space easily. They just had one small door per cupboard which made it a nightmare to reach anything at the end, so we will have a set of double opening doors on either for full easy access.

We now just need to reline the one above the hob as it was a bit rotten inside like everything has been, and make some nice doors and then we'll be able to begin stowing things away. We want to line the cupboards in a plastic sheeting the same as for the kitchen walls so we need to go shopping again!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Jubilee Weekend Work

The week before the Jubilee weekend Ryan took some holiday and got a massive amount done, in the evenings my time was taken up with a last minute commission from a friend at Bedford's Swan Hotel, see Chalkboards post on my art blog, so unfortunately I couldn't help much. We've had a great weekend since though and got lots done already. Ryan's Dad done a good job decorating the house so we all felt quite patriotic, especially on hearing the National Anthem so many times on the Isle of Man TT broadcasting that Ryan has been listening to on his phone for the whole time!

The awning, cleaned and refitted, created an area of much welcomed shelter when the Bank Holiday weather came!

Ryan bought a large sheet of aluminium and more wood supplies and removed the large front window on the cab bedroom overhang and got the hole cleaned up, now I have a nice solid wall to sleep next to at last! It was one of the last things bringing down the feel of the place.

We've slept in Waki every night since Sunday night and have had the best sleep in a long time so I think it's safe to say that I'm used to it at last! :)

Ryan then sealed and riveted the sheet on the outside and filled the gap with insulation, before lining it with foil and upright pine cladding.

He also finished where I left off cladding the rest of the ceiling in the kitchen. The cladding works brilliantly as a ceiling covering, and by running it sideways on the ceiling and upright on the front bed wall it tricks the eye into seeing more space.

I continued painting the ceiling to get it sealed and finished, we wanted it a nice bright white to again maximise the feeling of space inside. We also have the roof vents back up, though we have ordered another new one as the kitchen one is broken.

Ryan also finished repairing the back corner where our wardrobe will be and around the side storage hatch. Whilst the sun was out the two back side windows were cleaned up and resealed and the lower one was painted black as it will be under the level of the kitchen cupboards. We considered replacing it with aluminium sheeting like on the front but decided that it would stand out less with the window just blanked out from inside and screwed closed. I just need to finish filling around the repairs and then we can get the last bit of wallpaper up!

We went shopping on e-bay and finally ordered a toilet, the vent, and 2 x blinds for the roof vents. They've just been delivered today so we'll now get to work fitting those...

Monday, 21 May 2012

Road Trip!

It was my Mums birthday at the weekend (Happy Birthday Mum!) and we decided we would join them in their caravan up Skegness to celebrate, and thought it would be a good road test for Waki. Also with a deadline to work to it helped make us push extra hard to get lots done so we could enjoy at least a degree of comfort on the trip. So when we decided with only a couple of weeks to go we cracked on and somehow managed to achieve in only a handful of spare days what had taken us many weeks before!

The floor panels under the sofa
We have completely replaced the battens and plywood for the drivers side wall, got it lined with the foil blanket and foam sandwich, filled the rough edges and even wallpapered AND painted! We also done the kitchen wall and window, didn't have the time to get it papered and painted like the rest but it does look a lot better than it did! Ryan mended the blinds and got them back up so we have some privacy in the living room again, and has replaced the plywood on the floor under the sofa area where the water tank had previously leaked and ruined it.

We also bought ourselves a gas powered blown air heater, but Ryan can explain that gadget in full detail in it's own post once it's properly fitted!

The bedroom area with our taped up front window!
Whilst Ryan was at work on Saturday I got to clearing out all of the stuff that we didn't need for the trip, and I got the ceiling in the bed area clad with the pine tongue and groove so we now have a lovely clean new ceiling to look at. It also means that we don't keep getting gritty bits of foam in the bed which feel as nice as the notorious bed toast crumbs and were just as difficult to brush out!

The sofa is now repaired and back in place too which took us until nearly midnight on Saturday night and some of Sunday morning, but with a good clean up Waki was as presentable as she's been in a long while and ship shape for the journey.

So on we went via the A1, on which she made excellent speed (so much so that Ryan had to keep backing off to a comfortable 60mph!) and then headed on up to the flat expanse of Lincolnshire farming country. After previous bad experiences in the Clio with accidentally ending up in the centre of Peterborough we figured it would be awkward at the very least with Waki so chose the Spalding route instead. The trouble is all road signs literally disappeared as soon as we turned into the place, (which I think is a ploy to try and get people lost so they stop for directions and cream teas!) and we ended up causing a little bit of mayhem in the old stone-cobbled town centre! It's great though how because of our size everyone sees us coming a mile away and suddenly becomes super polite and flashes us through all of the tight gaps, perhaps that will change once we get the paintwork done!

We stayed at Cottage Farm campsite in Addlethorpe which was a in pleasant and and quite peaceful area outside of Skegness. At least it was peaceful whilst we were there, there's a Banger Racing and Stock Car track just up the road and it can sometimes be heard from the site or the racers parties can be noisy but there was nothing on whilst we were there. We had some rain showers overnight but I slept better than I had to date and there were no leaks by morning either so the night was a success!

It was nice to be able to just wake up feeling good and put the kettle on like home. We hadn't had time to get the water tank cleaned out and re-fitted, and we need to fix the water heater yet too, so we just used bottled water for drinking. We also used Ryans 'camel pack' water carrier, which has a drinking tube and a stopper like a tap, suspended over a bowl in the sink for washing up. The trip to the toilet blocks and showering on a freezing tile floor for 20p wasn't particularly fun though, so can't wait for our own toilet and hot water!

We went home via Peterborough as my Stepdad assured us that the previous bad part of the road that messed us up last time had been fixed, and it was a much smoother journey though we met the rain again nearer home. We had taken out AA breakdown cover for the journey just in case, as none of our mechanic friends would be able to tow something of our size, but thankfully it wasn't needed. Not wanting to give up the holiday feeling we ate Fish & Chips for dinner in Waki and I then had a normal busy evening at St John Ambulance to attend. Better get back to work then... :)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Riding out the Storm

Ryan is so proud of his finished bed platform, I came home to find that he had made up the bed with duvet and everything - which is something I know he HATES doing so he must have been excited!

Like a kid wanting to camp in the back garden he kept suggesting sleeping out there so I finally agreed that we would on a Saturday night as neither of us needed to be up for work the next morning to mess up routine etc.

Ryan got the blinds fitted where the walls had been finished and covered up the rest for some privacy - it was just parked on our driveway still after all!

Typically on that night a relative storm rolled in and buffeted Waki with wind and rain for the entire night! 

I had the corner side of the bed as I figured I wouldn't be worried about falling out over there, but it was difficult to ignore the sound of lashing rain right next to my face. Don't get me wrong I like the sound of gentle rain on a window to relax to but this really wasn't a comforting kind of rain! We stuck with it though and (once I had gotten over my nagging fear that we was going to tip over in the wind!) I finally got a little sleep but couldn't have been more than a couple of hours in total! :( Ryan slept fine of course!

Never mind, it's just something else I need to get used to and I'm sure I'll get on fine on those sorts of nights in the future once I'm familiar with the movement and sounds. We do also still have the roof layer of wood to go on and curtains to be made yet which will help block a little more noise. We also need to try positioning Waki differently in windy weather if we have the room to, at the house we can only park on the driveway one way which means that the wind will always hit us from the side but if we can get her rear to the wind then that should mean less movement and noise!

Since beginning to write this post we have since slept in there again with better weather and I'm pleased to say I had a MUCH better nights sleep so there is hope for me yet! :)

Friday, 4 May 2012

The Expanding Foam Monster!

The curved section of the overcab bed area had us searching for a filling option as it needed something fairly rigid to support its shape but that would also be lightweight and insulating. In the end we decided on using expanding foam against the metal, capped with a layer of the grey squashy foam I got from work to give a clean working edge and finished with a plywood board to form the wall against the bed.

The grey foam cut in half was a perfect fit and stuck to the expanding foam nicely, though once I had enough in place I realised that the expanding foam cans really don't want to stop halfway through and it just kept coming out! I laid the can on the floor in a plastic bag expecting it to slow down once the pressure eased off and went out to the garage, but on my return the bag was nearly full of foam and still growing like something out of Ghostbusters! :S

Not wanting to waste any I grabbed another pair of gloves and worked my way around filling all the gaps in the insulation and down the gaps in the replaced floor battens etc until it had finally had enough. I then spent the next week gradually picking of patches of the foam residue from my arms, hands and wrists where I'd managed to accidentally lean in some of it in the panic - it really doesn't wash or scrub off so you basically have to wait for it to come off in time with your skin!

On Ryan's day off he cut the protruding foam flat to the floor and fitted the bed boards. He's also in the process of adapting our old king size foam mattress to fit the space which includes a 'bumper' at the open edge which he's found makes climbing up (and not falling out!) much easier.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


After the clean up operation I was able to get some wallpaper up, which I must say has now massively improved the feel of the place! Instead of rough looking old patchwork plywood and filler is now a smooth expanse of white paper at last. 

I've helped wallpaper many times before but never done it on my own nor in such a small space, so according to The Waki Way tradition it was a ridiculously awkward and long job but I got there in the end! I'm very pleased I chose paste-the-wall paper as there is no way I could have used a pasting table inside, and the bad weather and narrow doorway would have made pasting outside near impossible too.

We also got a tester pot of a cream paint that we liked so I applied it around the windows. This means that we can now put the blinds back on for evening privacy and insulation without needing to take them down again/or mask up for painting. They are so fragile I'm surprised they survived being taken down the first time, and we really don't have the money to buy a new set to fit so must look after them! 

So we just have a patch at the back end still to do where the wardrobe will be, (we found another rotten batten which requires the side luggage hatch door to be taken out first) and once the other side window etc has been replaced we can repeat the process there and all will be fresh and smooth! 

Spring Clean

(I'm a bit behind with my posting at the mo so sorry for the long gap!)

A good thorough Spring clean makes everyone feel better, and poor old Waki was certainly due one! It seemed that on every surface and in every corner there was dust and pieces of crumbled rot, with our wood and tools mixed in. I also didn't like the thought of trying to wallpaper with all of the grit and pieces of wood and foam floating about ready to get stuck to it before I could get it on the wall! :S

So despite the Bank Holiday rain (yes that's how behind I am!) we carried all of the bulky items out in to the garage for safekeeping and I set to work sorting and sweeping. We decided that the sofa and wall needed to be torn out as it was probably worse than the other side was, and as it was going to create A LOT of mess it would be best done now. 

The sofa was actually very simple, it was only attached to the wall with silicone sealant, and as the wall was so wet it crumbled away very easily so there's one upside I suppose! Ryan went outside and taped the open corner that's waiting for the bed support, and we shoved the heater into that corner to help it dry out. Hopefully we'll have a nice sunny day together where we can repeat the process of taking out that window and resealing it all. 

So once that was out of the way I swept up some more and used our old vacuum to clean the whole van. Much better!

You can easily bring a bit of magic into a Spring clean by adding some simple visualisation, I just imagined as I cleaned that all of the stagnant energy, rot and negativity that had been held up in the van for so long was leaving. I actually used the twigs of Hawthorn and Blackthorn that I gathered for my Ostara (Spring Equinox) blessing as an extra tool to get the energy out of the door which I felt was a fitting way to throw them out too! What is left behind I can now see as good, clean positive energy, with room for creativity. 

Go on give it a go and use a bit of Springs magic energy to clean up your life/house/mind too :)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Busy busy!

Hi everyone, I've been a busy bee recently and have profited from a bit of crafty holiday booking around this Easter to get 2 straight weeks off work *Insert smug grin*! Well OK I haven't been working in the motor home for the entire time, everyone needs a break, but I have been sure to go in and achieve at least something each day.


To start the week off Ryan helped on Monday by getting the cab holes filled with fibreglass (see below pics) and we got the supporting beams in place. It was a big job as there were so many holes and the original screws (and actual nails in some places!?) had to be removed so we could get the nice new supporting battens and beams into place.

He also made some D-shaped sections of the thick plywood to screw into and to hold the shape of the curved part of the over-cab. We will be filling the curved section with expanding foam which should give us a nice layer of insulation and help keep a bit of rigidity.

Tuesday I managed to get the foam into place on the bed section, fun if you like puzzles and Tetris! I also have the emergency blanket and foam roll layers for the bed cut to size and neatly folded away, ready for Ryan to help finish the cab. I also got the wood cut out ready for supporting the corner of the bed by the sofa which after our earlier investigations we found to also be completely rotten.

I had to modify the curved fabric sections that cover up the cab/bed edging to fit around the new supporting beam of wood we will need for the permanent fixed bed, but we have also now decided to recover them with new fabric as well so will still need more attention yet. I unscrewed all of the fixings in the cab ceiling so that we can recover the grotty stained fabric there, that will certainly freshen up the place but now it means I need to go fabric shopping again soon!

As this has been a bit of a patch up operation with cheap supplies, and like refurbishing an old cottage instead of a nice new straight walled house, we have a lot of slightly wonky bits and edges to fill etc. The cheap plywood is a bit on the rough side so needed sanding down, then I had to smooth out the transition between the plywood wall sheets by shaving down the wood, cue axe wielding maniac :)

Before anyone asks the axe was the sharpest and most controllable tool I had available for the job in hand, when supported carefully with both hands (I know you can only see one hand in the pic but I had to hold the camera somehow!) with fingers out of the way and a good cutting action AWAY from myself it cut through the tough ply nicely.

Once it was as smooth as I could get away with I sanded the edges down, dusted it off and then got to work with the filler, smoothing over any rough knot areas on the wood and also over any screws positioned in the middle of the sheets that wouldn't be covered up when the blinds go back on.

After another good few sets of sanding down and sneezing sessions, (I know a dust mask would have been healthier but I hate getting the sweaty face feeling too!) the wall is now ready for some wallpaper and paint!

Another job that I'd been meaning to do as well was to get the old stuck on paper off of the bathroom door and the kitchen cupboards.

It was at that annoying stage where it was peeling badly around the edges so had to come off, but the glue was still perfect in the middle so it left most of the backing behind. So armed with some warm water, a sponge and a wallpaper scraper I set to work determined and at least half an hour later I finished with an aching arm, glue covered hands and a big satisfying pile of paper scrapes on the floor!

It's hard to keep the motivation up when you're working on your own, unfortunately Ryan didn't get as much time off work over the Bank Hol as I was originally hoping but it should mean that he'll get a day off this week in lieu so I'll put him to work again then! Sorry Ryan but you want this finished too! In the meantime I shall keep putting my 'You Can Do It!' motivational YouTube playlist on and making sure I do SOMETHING each day. So let's go and have a look at this wallpaper then...

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Over-cab Section

The over-cab section is essentially our bedroom so we want it to be as warm and sturdy as possible. We were originally going to just cap over what was already there with a heavy duty plywood board and pop our mattress on top, but investigations at the weekend revealed yet more rot so it had to all come out as well. Much to my dismay it also meant that a piece of plywood that we had already put up had to come back off to get to the corner :S

I came home from work the other day to what looked like a disaster zone as Ryan on his day off had torn most of the rotten soggy battens out from the bed section, pulled off the plywood and also a lot of the insulation to get at it all! Not only were the battens rotten but the metal itself was very corroded, and even had some small holes in the curved part at the front. I got the last pieces of the plywood chiselled off of the bed platform and cut out the old bed framework.

While I was on the roof painting (see 'The Roof - part 2'), Ryan got it all cleaned up and sanded down. He also applied a good coat of zinc chromate (an anti-corrosion aluminium primer) as we had done on other areas of corroded metal that were uncovered, though none of them were quite as bad as this part! It still needs filling to plug the holes, Ryan said he wants to use fibreglass for that part - it withstands flexing better than bodywork filler and that area does get the full force of the wind and weather when driving, which is probably why it's so bad.

The previous bed design consisted of three sections of mattress, the middle one of which slotted above the curved part of the cab ceiling. This was useful for walking into the cab to get in and out of your driving seats if the bed wasn't in use, though I always did seem to forget that the floor dropped away there and would mostly fall into the passenger seat! As we will be using that bed full time we are building a solid bed platform so won't be able to use the headroom there, but hopefully it means I'll take better care ducking into the cab in future!

The upholstered edging to the curved cab ceiling stood above on the platform at nearly an inch, and as headroom is a very precious resource to us now we realised that it would be a waste of valuable space to put the plywood board on top of the upholstery!

I decided to undo the fabric and padded covering and take off the protruding lip so that the board could go on flat to the existing platform.With the lip gone I pulled the fabric back over the edge and glued and stapled it down again, like new! :)

An interesting discovery was the date hand-written by Waki's makers on one of the wooden layers under the fabric 10-9-85!

                                                                  * * * * * *

As I'm writing Ryan is sitting on top of the bed platform putting the insulation back into the corner wall. The bed now has a new framework in place and the heavy plywood boards cut to size though still needs fixing down permanently, but the curved section of the over-cab needs to be finished first. We have also been investigating the walls around the sofa window and into the kitchen which has unearthed a few areas that need replacing too but that's for another day.

Thanks for reading, night night! :)

The Roof - part 2

As it was such a glorious day on Sunday we got the last beam properly secured and sealed on the roof. The bad weather, fading daylight and then shortage of silicon last time we was up there meant that Ryan could only put one layer of the roof seal on to get it at least weather proof and to stop it actively dripping inside when it rained (or when the snow melted!).

So Ryan scraped the layer of roof paint back off to redo the sealant on the bolts, a messy job as usual for him, and once it had dried I got up there with a paintbrush and got a good couple of coats of the roof paint over it all and around the edges again to use up the rest of the tin.

I had a succession of pointing children asking their mothers "why's that lady on the roof?!" and a few odd glances from Ryans family, but eventually finished and climbed back down to normality - well almost normality, it is me we're talking about!

I'll definitely have to try and keep a section of the roof clear of stuff as it makes the perfect sunbathing spot, and I enjoyed a moment of laying down with my hands behind my head and my work boots crossed but had too much to do to be able to stay there too long. For now I've just reserved the idea for when we find a nice spot on our travels, around the Cornish coast perhaps? :)

So now that the bolts for the roof beams are properly sealed we can finish the battens on the ceiling inside and get the insulation and cladding done there, after the front window has been replaced of course, and the bed finished, and the walls papered... *sigh* better get back to work then! :)

Monday, 12 March 2012


I'm sick of chiselling, I'm sick of hammering, and now I'm very much sick of sawing too but the walls are looking lovely at last! The plywood has been cut to shape and put in place...

The section for the overcab sleeping area was the toughest to fit due to it's awkward shape and the fact that I can barely reach the corner even when stood on the passenger seat! Thankfully my calculations lined up ok to cut it all out correctly, though I must have remeasured 5 times because the section of wood looked far too small to be our actual sleeping area! I think that's something we'll just have to get used to, I'd still rather risk hitting my head the odd time than re-make our bed every single day in the living area.

I cut out the ply around the door and living room window whilst Ryan was at work and we got it actually fitted up together as that involved taking the windows out again to seal them better. Ryan also replaced the electric hook up socket & added an outdoor plug socket so we don't have to trail an extension lead through a door or window if we need power in the awning.

As the largest areas of plywood were the reclaimed board they do need a good deal of sanding down before we can wallpaper them, but I'm just glad to finally see a solid wall in place for now! As they say, simple things please simple minds... :D