Les Lobb's Diary
We're getting bored stiff not being able to travel, so we've decided to do a van conversion ourselves.
Been to look at a Renault Master LWB this morning, put a deposit down and collect it next week. It has been used as
an ambulance, is very well insulated and looks real tidy inside and out. I've asked them to take the seats out and get
rid of them, so should start off with a 'blank canvas'. Bit of a bonus, when we were leaving I asked him about the a/c
unit behind the passenger seat - it's not a/c it's a diesel heater!
Great news for you fashion conscious ladies,
Pound Stretcher and Primark have merged to create
a new retail store dedicated to women, it's going to
be called Stretchmarks!
A busy few days - our village street market was
last Saturday and all the work that went into
Dawn's stall was rewarded with a record turnout
and a sunny day.
The unsold tat is back in the summerhouse, but
after the September coffee morning it will be
stored at another trustee's house, because Dawn
is taking a break from fund raising to concentrate
on getting our bus on the road.
We fetched the bus/ambulance this morning and had a good run there and back (t'other side of Dorchester) apart
from a few sheep who decided to take a walk along the A35. Those blues and twos certainly helped me get through
Honiton a bit quicker. It drives very well, just like a car really, and with the seats gone looks quite spacious.
Got most of the layout sorted - I think! Ordering mattresses tonight.
Still can't make space for the jacuzzi, perhaps have it on runners underneath the solarium? The biggest practical
problem is getting the Aga through the side door, it will catch on the chest freezer, but praps if we jiggle it a
On the bright side, we haven't fallen out with each other yet.
Nipped into Exeter this morning and bought half a
rainforest, then this afternoon we got started on the rear
Plan is - bed across the wheel arches and raised for
storage under, settee portside, galley to starboard and
loo and shower behind drivers seat.
Sounds easy dunnit?
We've got the rear framing and bed base in place,
tomorrow we'll fit the front bed framing and panel a
couple of walls in the storage area for our chairs. Our
idea is to build the shower/loo next and then fill the 'bed
to shower' gap with the galley.
Good to have started actually building it.
Hob/sink and water tank being delivered tomorrow, and
roof vents, shower tray etc coming tomorrow or Monday.
I don't think Dawn has ever had so many birthday
Trevor, did you get your eyes checked, what did they
Got on well today, the job and the two of us. The water tank and hob/cooker came this morning, so we mounted the
tank on a base board and fixed it in place and finished the framing on the rear bed. The shower tray hadn't arrived by
lunchtime, so we changed plan and built the settee frame instead. Of course, as soon as we got started on that the
shower tray was delivered, but it'll keep.
The under bed storage is laid out for gazebo on the left which will overlap into the settee storage and on top of the
wheel arch I'm hoping to fit a length of 100mm waste pipe to do the same for the umbrella (fishing rods really, but I
haven't told head of design yet). Then a space for our chairs and to the right the main area holding water tank and gas
bottles. When the water tank is plumbed in, we'll make more use of the space above it and the gazebo area.
Phew, ready for a pint of the black stuff now, and I might have a small sherry.
Brilliant sunny day, not perfect conditions for working in
the garage, but we got a bit done.
I've been making a base for the throne room, but had to
pack in because it got too hot - sawdust was sticking to
me and my head looked as though it had been bread
crumbed (long while since it had a covering of any sort.)
Rob, if it's any help with your planning this came out at
1080mm long. I've raised the loo higher than normal
because it suits me better. The shower waste outlet is to
the front, which will give me access to it from behind the
driver's seat, should we ever need to. The whole unit
also has a length of rigid waste pipe running under it
from front to back, as trunking for cables etc.
Now enjoying a pint of the black stuff each - cheers.
Yet another scorcher!
Before we fix the shower unit down I wanted to get a conduit from the engine battery box (in the floor well) to behind
the driver's seat where the leisure batteries will go. It was fiddly, but using a step drill I got a hole into the battery box
and then fed the conduit under the driver's seat and made an exit hole low down near floor level. The painful part
came next - I ordered a couple of 6v Trojan T125 batteries and a Sterling B2B charger. Head of finance said 'you
might as well order the solar stuff as well', so I did and now my debit card's smoking.
Didn't get a lot done yesterday because we visited friends who live at Widecombe-in-the-moor. I'd forgotten how
beautiful Dartmoor can be on a fine day; plenty of tourists but loads of room for everyone.
Tis like bliddy xmas here!! Batteries here, solar panel here - got to get cracking now. There were through holes in the
floor where the seats had been bolted in, so thought as a temp measure we would foam them to keep them sealed
from water off the road. We now have a drive covered in little foam molehills where the foam dripped through, still I
suppose it shows the holes are full.
Lovely evening, but ain't the nights pullin' in.
Not many interruptions today so we cracked on with the
bus. The shower base is fixed in place and we have
most of the framework for the galley and the cupboards
over it finished. We'em both got leg muscles like a
Cambridge stroke, stepping up and down from the van
every time something wants cutting (or re-cutting!).
Head of drive clearance has hoed up the foam
molehills and the drive is back to its normal scruffy self.
Got friends calling tomorrow mid morningish, so may
be able to do a bit more before they arrive.
I'll put some photos up tomorrow; we'd shut everything
up when I remembered tonight.
Ashley passed his driving test yesterday - don't know
whether I'm pleased or worried.
Windy yesterday, dry this morning and rain this
afternoon, but did it stop us - yes!
We need fine weather to cut the ply outside, so we've
been doing the fiddly bits round the galley. Most of
the wiring is in place, or I think it is; when the
panelling is done, I'm bound to find I should have run
a cable somewhere that is then impossible to reach.
The ceiling lights are switched from the dash and are
flo tubes so that's got to be changed; when I took the
front unit off there's a bundle of wires behind it, so I
should be able to run a feed from the leisure batteries
and disconnect at the dash. There are several led
ceiling lights available that will fit the bill and they
are individually switched which is a bonus. Here are
a few pics, but I'm not much of a photographer so I've
made it look as though the wiring is coming out of the
shower waste hole - it isn't!
Had to stop yesterday, too hot. We got most of the back
end panelling done, gas locker, under bed storage
etc.(including my fishing rod downpipe!). Our biggest
problem is people stopping for a chat and by the time
they've gone I've forgotten the measurements I was
cutting to and where it was supposed to fit and end up
having to measure again. Once the panels start going
on you feel as though you're getting somewhere and,
with another decent day forecast for tomorrow, we
should be able to tackle the settee area next.
Well today didn't go to plan - does it ever!
Had a phone call to tell us the foam for the settee seats
was cut and ready for collection from Taunton. A quick
trip after lunch and then carry on with the bus was the
idea; left Tivvy on the link road about 12.30 and whoa,
brake lights as far as we could see. We sat on that bliddy
road for 2 hours (there are no exits before the M5) and
after looking over the motorway bridge we cut through
the back roads to Cullompton and returned home - both
overheating and bursting for a pee. All the roads
connecting to the M5 Tiverton junction were jammed up
with traffic and Julie phoned to say the police had
stopped traffic because of a jumper (not the woolly sort)
on one of the motorway bridges.
We rang the foam people and are going over early in the
morning, hopefully before the bank holiday traffic builds
An early trip to Taunton saw us home by 10.00 with the
settee cushions and a week's shopping.
We've been working on the settee/bed and after a lot of
discussion have decided on slats and a pull-out section
with ply fascia and doors mounted on the pull-out part.
Until we get it put together it's not worth taking photos
because they won't show much.