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 :)