Monday, 5 August 2013

Just over a year later - And we're finished!!

So it's taken just over a year, and we've finally done it. We have finished Morris the Van.

So what have we done since the last time I blogged? Well first and foremost, we have got the new gas connected up, courtesy of an old school friend Matt. The van now has a new high pressure gas pipe which connects directly to the grill / hob, thus negating the need for gas to go elsewhere in the van. Also, the connections have been tested and I have a shiny safety certificate to say Morris is ready to roll!

Also, with a little (well maybe a great deal) of help from my mother in law Erica and husband Pete, I have finished the new caravan curtains. I got the material for these at a real bargain, £16 for 5 meters at Dunelm. It is really thick too.

We have just come back from testing the van out in the Lakes. Other than the bottom cushions (the ones you sit on), these are all covered, the curtains are finished, the damp is eradicated and all the walls are papered, the painting is finished, the kitchen area (with tiling) is finished, and the exterior is complete. We even treated ourselves to a new Karzi toilet for the bathroom (a treat in the middle of the night, I assure you!!).

So, if I was going to be really picky, what is left to do (at a nice steady pace) in the van? Well, I would still like to add a replacement floor, the electrics have been safety tested and with a few amendments meet the criteria but I just need a certificate. I need to finish the last few covers and I would love to get the water pump working on the sink (as at the moment, water has to be poured into it). I would also like to change the front table into a more "nautically themed" one, but this can be replaced in time.

I hope you are as pleased as I am that it is finished. We plan to enjoy going away in the van a few more times ourselves and then will consider hiring him out for the holiday season either later this year or in 2014 (all being well).

What next? Another Van to add to the fleet of course!! Just need to convince the husband.

Thank you for reading and I hope your projects are as successful as ours!

Tanya and Pete (and Winter the dog).

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Almost there, I mean it this time!

We truly are almost there. I think we were right to say the end of June for our revised deadline and I don't think we will be far off. A great deal has happened since I last wrote. Our kind neighbour, Nigel, has taken a look at our electrics and ran a couple of checks. Morris passed these with flying colours and with a few little tweaks, we shall soon have a safety certificate. An old school friend, Matt, has very kindly taken a look at the gas for me. He has decided that to completely disconnect the old copper system and install a new high pressure gas hose system would be much safer. I have therefore got a shopping list of things to buy from our local caravan parts retailer and we will have a completely new and safe gas system soon. I will then have a gas safety certificate to match the electricity one!

Once we have these, we are going to consider looking into public liability insurance. If this is reasonable, we will consider hiring Morris out for other lucky families.

As well as this, we have made huge progress with finishing off the interior of the van. As you can see, just before the weekend, my husband (mainly - I helped a little) had managed to finish the fibre board coverings (with new wooden frame and insulation) at the front.

Then, by close of play Saturday, we managed to finish the blue wallpaper. Not only this, but I managed to have quite a spending spree at Dunelm. I got some lovely vinyl with similar caravans on it to Morris (for the door) and I got a cracking deal on my curtain fabric. I decided to go for a pink to give a shot of colour. The material I got is really good quality and enough to cover all the windows (5.5mtrs) only cost me £16!!

Then, by the end of the day today (Sunday), all the wallpapering and painting is finished, new crystal door knobs have been purchased and fitted all round  and other than re-fitting the beds at the front, putting in new flooring and a couple of new lights, we are done!!

A big thank you to my husband Pete, who has made the door look fab now!

We are hoping by the end of this week we will have the van finished entirely and can move it to its new home on a little farm. We are then all ready and set for the summer to carry on our adventures.

Thanks for reading, Tanya (Pete and Winter the dog).

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Missed the deadline but still going!

So, when I set up this blog, I promised that we would get Morris finished by 28th May, 2013 (our wedding anniversary). Well, if I am going to be completely honest with myself and you, we have missed the deadline. I can't really give an excuse, other than the winter this year has been bitterly cold so it has taken us quite some time to feel warm and motivated enough to get outside and get the work done. Also, we have just come back from a week in Norway to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. Another place I would like to go in the van!

However, we have still made a a great deal of progress and I feel sure that by the end of June 13, we will be pretty much finished.

We have now taken apart the front end of the van and were pleasantly surprised by the state that it was in. Yes, it was damp, but a great deal of the wood frame-work had not been affected and was still in one piece. It seemed to be a rogue screw in the top corner of the right side of the van at the front that was causing most of the problems, as you can see.

However, we have rectified this problem. We have removed the rusty screw and replaced it with a new one, and has used Sikaflex to seal the screw hole on the outside and inside. This has seemed to be effective.

We have then removed the old and rotting wooden frame, added a new wooden frame, and tonight, on one side, added new polystyrene insulation and wood panels.

I am now hopeful to have the rest of the insulation and panels on by the end of the weekend. I then just need to paper the front (as per the back's theme) and re-attach the seats and cupboards. I have painted these, around the kitchen, the ceiling of the bathroom and made a strip of quirky tiles to get a great deal of the finishing touches sorted.

After this weekend, and the bits are re-attached, there are a few little jobs I want to get done (however, me and Pete can get away before this). These are:
*New LED strip lights around the front and back cupboards
*New boat effect pine table at the front
*New metal cover for the hobs to ensure the kitchen area is safe
*New boat effect flooring made of lino
*Few bits of the ceiling re-fitted
*New porta-potti
*Get the gas and electricity safety tested

We are then considering the possibility of hiring Morris out to other families for cheap holidays. We are not sure of the implications of this, or whether there would be any interest. Email me on if you would be interested in hiring Morris for vintage shows, weekends, weddings, parties or holidays and we would be happy to consider your suggestions.

As ever, thank you for reading.

Tanya, Pete (and Winter the dog - she likes to get in the photos where she can!!).

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Ready for an Easter trip that was never to be!

So, we have made lots and lots of progress on Morris. Unfortunately, we made a real push to get lots done on the premise of having a weekend away over Easter bank holiday. With the weather being extremely cold, snowy and icy, we have had to cancel.

Although this is a shame, because we have finished off the entire of the back end of the van, cleaned it thoroughly outside and finished the bathroom other than the floor, I feel that this has been worth it. It feels like real progress has been made and that it is poised ready for when the weather cheers up and we can get out in it again.

Only sour point, the caravan site we were wanting to stay in, I won't mention any names, have refused to hold our deposit until we are able to get down there when the snow clears. What a miserable couple! Never mind. Here are some photos of our progress, hope you like and thanks for reading, Tanya, :)

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Very cold outside but nice and toasty in Morris the van

So, the weather has taken a turn for the worse and it is freezing outside. However, there is no way I am slowing up progress getting Morris in tip top condition! (Well almost!). It has dawned on me that we have been working on the van for 9 months and we haven't yet finished. But it only takes 5 mins of skimming down the photos in this blog to see the progress we have made.

Today, we have made even more! Pete has finished taking apart the door and has made polystyrene covered in PVA glue ready to fit into the space that was filled with damp wood. This is currently drying in the garage. When it is back together, we will finish off with a chequer plate effect plastic over the top. This will give it the 1950s effect we are after but also ensures it is light weight. Pictures below of the fairy that was and also (if you look at the bottom right hand corner of the picture you will see a manky bit of string which was holding the door in place?!).

Not only have we done more work on the door, but I have finished the wallpapering at the back of the van. Now, we have the William Morris effect navy blue and a cream vinyl water proof paper that is filled with little specs of glitter. This isn't obvious until the sun shines through the window and then the wall twinkles. As well as this, I have sanded off the melomine paint that didn't dry correctly, painted with white undercoat then (following some internet advice) I have used our left over hessian diamond eggshell from our bathroom to cover the undercoat. This looks really nice, is clean but also warm and cosy.


I have also painted the entire loo walls and ceiling with wallpaper paste (to ensure the paper sticks well when I fit it next week) and have bought (as a treat) some cut glass light bluey / purple door knobs from B&Q after husband Pete kindly removed the stripes off the cupboards doors that didn't work. I think this adds to the sparkle, still looks nautical but classy too!

I hope you all like.

Yet again, thank you for reading and I will update when we have done more. There might soon be blue material for the big cushions on the way. I bet you can hardly wait!!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Getting ready for our first trip of 2013!

So Christmas has been and gone and even though I have been enjoying the festivities, I have comtinued with the caravan restoration in the more warmer setting of mine or my mother in laws homes. I have now finished all but the longest of the cushions, covering them in my soft thick beige material. I have velcroed the ends so I can remove the cushions to wash if I need to. The only one I haven't done is the lengthy cushoin at the back of the van. I will do this ASAP. (The caravan cushions are the ones stacked on top of my sofa!).

Today we finally had a bit of spring like weather so were able to get inside. We have removed the folding cover over the sink / hobs (which we are going to cover with the plastic style mosaic tiles) and removed the mouldy bottom of the door. We intend to fill this with checker plate or that effect to give it a 50's retro style. We will do the same to the top ASAP.

And finally Morris has had a little more exposure recently. Two weeks ago I came second on Signal 1's Super Fast Super Simple Quiz and used my short time on the radio to discuss my 1970's caravan restoration!

We are soon to go away in Morris for the first time in 2013 so should have a spurt in progress over the next few weeks. I will update when I can!

Thanks for reading

Tanya :)

Sunday, 9 December 2012

A spurt of progress just before Christmas

So, one of my fellow caravan friends gave me their two most recent copies of "Caravan Magazine". I love this magazine as it gives some really useful tips on the best time to go out in your van, some lovely sites and stories of caravanning in a certain year. In the November / December edition, they concentrated on 1962. I know this is a good ten years before our van was built, but it also talks about the progress of caravans through different years. And on one of the years was the "1975 Elddis Tornado". The little photo is lovely as it looks just like good old Morris! Seeing this reminded me why I was doing the work in the first place and motivated me into getting more done.

Therefore, this morning, I was up, ready and working in the van by 10am (this is very early for me) and by 2pm, had managed (with a little help from a reluctant Pete) to finish the "blue" wallpaper at the back of the van, and if I say so myself, think it looks pretty fetching! Here's some pics.

Also, I asked Pete to fit the cupboard door where my stripes have finished drying. I am still not convinced by these - but maybe this is because it is a bit out of context at the mo. Unfortunately, whilst this was being fitted, some of the cream paint (that I think is a load of old rubbish now BTW) has chipped (yet again)! I am therefore going to search for some better cream paint to go over the top of this, and to start the the front bits a-fresh with the new paint.

Thanks for reading and have a nice Christmas!

Tanya (and Pete).