In the weeks running up to the Build En France I was researching and planning. I tried to decide as much as possible what I wanted in advance. I drew out a scale drawing of the van and endeavoured to fit in everything I wanted. I thought you might like to see my plan. It was a piece of graph paper that got scrappier and scrappier as I wrote notes and made changes. But this week we have pretty much built exactly what I planned.
Week three here of the build has been a bit different. Sunday evening, Jill and her husband Pat and her mum Shelagh, folks we used to live next door to waaaaay back when I was a kid turned up with their Hymer campervan (and Pat’s guitar) to stay for the week. I haven’t seen them since the day they got married 20 years ago! But you’d think it was only yesterday the way we picked up where we left off. There was chatting and drinking, and laughing and jamming! Musicians and campervan enthusiasts – it’s difficult to shut us up!
It’s also really rather handy to have a proper functioning campervan to study at this stage as I try to understand and match certain systems.
Anyway, there are now just five days to go for us to finish the build.
Monday I got bought stain and then prepared the floor boards while Dad fitted the rest of the units. After that I laid the batons and insulated the floor in the living area which is actually beginning to look liveable!
Tuesday. Dad and I laid the main floorboards in the living area. Then we built (and I stained) the drop down seats for the dining room. We also created the table and sunk it’s socket into the floor. That was exciting – gaining a whole dining room! This is Jill trying out one of the seats before we put the table in.
Wednesday I finished off the carpeting and did a bunch of stuff while Dad was off viewing houses that Jill and Pat were interested in buying. When he got back he installed the remaining parts of the shower cubicle and waste pipes. Here’s the shower floor going down.
When he finished for the day I got on to painting stuff, it’s easier with him out of the way. Except that it was nearly midnight and the lights made the white paint glow bright in the darkness attracting lots of flies to get themselves stuck in my fresh topcoat. Doh!
Thursday Dad finished off installing the gas cylinder. And then made the door and installed for the shower while I fitted all the other door handles. When I ran out of jobs to do I started moving some of my things in!!!
We did a whole heap of other little jobs but it got really intense. Our days got longer and longer, and our sleeps got shorter as we approached the deadline so I can’t remember what happened when anymore.
That evening we had a little party. A barbeque with neighbours and friends, both English and French. I got the van out of the hanger, tidied her up a bit, added some soft furnishings and put her on show for the guests several of whom brought me moving in gifts and cards. Ahhh! As the evening faded out we sat around the brazier and Pat and I played guitars and sang ’til the stars came out. Around midnight I retired to spend my first ever night in the van! It was really lovely, lit with my gas camping light and some candle lanterns it was really cosy. In the morning Mum tried to raise me with a cup of tea but she couldn’t wake me. My alarm clock woke me and there was Mum outside tapping on the window. I guess that insulation really keeps the sound out as well as the heat in.
Here’s how the bedroom looked friday morning just before I left complete with Mum’s contribution, curtains for the store.
Dad and I got on it early Friday morning because we still had shelves to build and install plus a few other small jobs like another angler grinder moment cutting down the draw runners from Chris old desk to fit in the van.
Chat Noir Lutine had a naughty moment, just as I was about to put up the full length mirror she went scampering through the van knocked the mirror over and took out my gas lamp at the same time smashing them both all over the floor. – NOT HAPPY JAN!
I told Dad over breakfast on the last day that I needed to leave at 12:30 to catch the ferry. At 12:32 Dad screwed the last screw into the final lock and I gave everyone rather hurried but emotional hugs, took one last look at the glorious french countryside (above), then I jumped in the van and set off for home!!! I was overcome that we’d actually achieved what I intended in under three weeks! Amazing! My father really is a remarkable man, incredible patience and incredible talent. He has worked so hard and done a really beautiful job on my van. Thank you Dad!!! And thank you Mum for the support you gave us during that intense time. 🙂 xxx
The last (fuzzy) screw!
Couple other things… Injuries!? I made reference in my last blog post to a fellow Dad knew who managed to cut his fingers off with a band saw. Fortunately nothing like that has befallen us. The worst it has got for me was tripping on the step and falling head first out of the van with a bucket of paint – it landed upside down in the mud. I landed knee first, so big bruise, and chest next, on a pot of Polyfiller on top of a leisure battery. It caught me square in the chest I hung suspended for a moment whilst I worked out how to right myself. Dad caught his finger with the air compressed nail gun.. and I also smashed my thumb a couple of times trying to force a very reluctant nail through some carpet. I have a big blood blister and a blackening nail to show for it.
Oooooh! One other thing to mention is that Van Blanc finally has a proper name. Van Blanc wasn’t totally doing it for me. It’s alright as a surname but it’s a bit impersonal. I knew I’d stumble across the perfect name sooner or later, and I did! I have decided to call her Luna. It works for me for several reasons… Firstly, it’s the name of the kitchen we installed, that’s what made me think of it. Secondly the van generally has a white/grey colour scheme throughout – very lunar. I’m a big believer in/noticer of the influences of the moon on our energy – moon woman. Then there’s the illiteration – Luna and Loy. It’s also a nod to those who think I am mad!!! So Luna Van Blanc she shall be named.
I realise you’re probably itching to see proper PROPER photos but I didn’t get chance in France or in the crazy house move that followed and I am now parked up in the Kustom Revival workshop where we have dismantled stuff and made a mess while we fit electrics! So more to follow in the next couple of posts!!!!
Right.. time for me to get back to helping Ant with the electrical installation!
‘Til next time,
Lots of love,