Tag Archives: GCSEs

Catch up posts are becoming a bit of a theme!

Maybe it’s because nothing much newsworthy happens, but it has been far too long since I posted so I figured a catch up post was in order.

Obviously, since I last posted in February, it’s mostly been work and airsoft around here, but we did manage to go on holiday too, as a family of 4 (yes, that’s FOUR!) back to Portugal for 10 days.

Nik visited the MotoGP in Jerez while  we were there, and we all did some touristy things like waterparks (Nik and Eliot), theme parks (Zoomarine, all of us) and mini golf (various combinations!) as well as eating out and general Lagos-y wanderings.

Proof that even Jake enjoyed Zoomarine
Obligatory photo from “The Lighthouse”
The river from the Marina bridge

I won’t bore with more photos. You all get the general idea. Sunshine, holidays, touristy things etc. It was a great trip and probably both Jake’s and my last. Eliot will probably just move back one day and Nik, I am sure, will do many more trips for the Jerez MotoGP race.

It was almost certainly our last family holiday, so it was nice that it went well.

Since then,  (and after the mammoth job of catching up with 10 days away from work!) we’ve been trying to get away in the van for the odd weekends here and there.

We’re experimenting with local-ish smaller sites, just for Friday and Saturday nights, and without either of the boys (but usually with dog).

We’ve been to Wolds View Touring Park near Caistor which was really nice. Adults only, and on a quiet weekend at the end of half term (not that half term makes a difference at an adults only park, but that’s why we chose it) so only alternating pitches were occupied. The facilities were great and the owners were lovely. Cafe on site served a good breakfast and afternoon tea (although we didn’t try that). Bit of a walk into the town, and not really worth the effort unless you need anything from the Co-op. It’s about all that’s there.

We had a fab weekend though and will definitely go back.

It was a weekend we did without the dog too so it was truly a weekend of doing absolutely nothing whatsoever (except streaming MotoGP qualifying!) which was great! Although we did miss the dog!

Pitched up (and having a quick kip) at Wolds View Touring Park

A few weeks later, we had another trip, this time to a place near Harby, Lincoln run by a place that sells campervans and motorhomes (which, oddly, I hadn’t come across previously!)

It was a larger site but it was lovely to only have to drive 15 minutes down the road! We had a grass pitch, which we wouldn’t usually choose because they can be uneven and a bit damp, but it was fine with a lovely view of the fishing lake. We’d probably choose a grass pitch next time, although they are a little further away from the toilets/showers. It had plenty of space to walk the dog too (including a rally field)

We liked the site and its owners a lot and had a great weekend. Another definitely re-visit!

‘Vans across the other side of the fishing lake
I recognise that ‘van!
It was a lovely setting
Looking forwards to going back here!

We’ve also been away for a third time since the beginning of June! This time to somewhere a little further up, in Barton upon Stather. A (former?) award-winning Camping and Caravanning Club certified site at Acorn Wood.

Again, a lovely site. Small, with only 5 hardstanding pitches and perhaps room for 3 or 4 grass pitches, but with fabulous toilet and shower facilities and lovely owners. There wasn’t much of a rural area to walk to dog nearby (there’s a very small fishing pond with a walk around) but we took the short walk into the town (village?) itself and sat in the park for a bit, so we didn’t miss out. Definitely another gem of a site that we’d recommend and revisit.

Ducks on the pond bridge at Acorn Wood
Playing doggie bubbles in the awning

So many places, so little time!

There is another story I could tell about a site who decided they didn’t want me on their site in case I blogged bad things about it (this coming from a 10/10 rated site), but I’m done ranting and brewing on it now! Their loss!

Our next trip is to Tattershall Lakes, which is where we made our first real trip last year. There’s lots to do and Eliot is coming with us this time too. It’ll be fun. We hope!

Apart from being busy with work, Jake is out at work most days and Eliot is getting ready for starting school in September. We’ve had a trip up to school today for a(nother) tour around and to discuss his options. He’s chosen to do Music, Drama and Construction, leaving the 4th option slot open for additional support lessons for maths and English if required. He seems happier about going back now that he’s got some control over what he spends his time doing all day.

Nothing more disheartening that sitting in a class learning about stuff you’ll never need to know again. I remember it well (or, perhaps more pertinently, I don’t!)

I hated school. In fact, I hate schools in general, but these next 2 years will be good for Eliot. Unlike Jake, who was already advanced enough to teach himself, for the most part, to get through his English and Maths GCSEs at home, Eliot needs more help and support than I can give him. Hopefully, he’ll come out with some qualifications and some friends from being at school, and both of those are good things.

Maybe some of his mates will fancy campervan weekends away, or airsoft days out!

Oh, just one more thing. If anybody is into Forza or knows anybody who is into Forza, Jake does Youtube videos and regular(-ish, internet permitting) live streams with gameplay, giveaway and dev builds. His channel is here and support is always welcome!

Changes are a-coming

Firstly, what is this weather doing? One minute its brilliant sunshine, the next it’s snowing like Alaska, and the next it’s just grey and raining all day.

Will winter just make up its mind already?

Where we live, we tend to get a bit short-changed when it comes to the wintry stuff, so Eliot and I both got a little excited the other day when PROPER snow started falling. And then, 2 hours later we had blue skies and sunshine.

Mother Nature is a bloody tease!

This weekend, we were hoping it’d err on the side of “bright” rather than “grey and rainy” as the boys (the 3 of them, plus numerous friends) had planned to go to airsoft in Lincoln.

A photo taken of Jake (foreground) at a recent game.
A photo taken of Jake (foreground) at a recent game.

In fact, despite the weather and the forecast, they went anyway, leaving at 8 this morning with the car (and newly fitted roof box – we owned the box already from our tent camping days, but needed to buy new fittings for the Ampera) all loaded up with guns and kit.

Yesterday, as usual, was prep day.

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And prep day is one thing, clean up day is probably worse!

Will ya just look at those boots?!
Will ya just look at those boots?!

I have that to look forward to when they get back in a couple of hours. Oh joys!

Still, they’ll hopefully have had fun – despite the rain – and will no doubt be super excited to go again in a couple of weeks.

It won’t be long until we’re juggling our weekends though, between airsoft, MotoGP and going away in the van. MotoGP is a set calendar so that will get first dibs on our weekend, then hopefully we’ll get away in the van a few times in amongst airsoft. Hopefully!

We’ve got a couple of van trips away booked already, but nothing until the summer holidays. The rest of our vacation planning is really concentrating on our Portugal trip in May.

We need to get all the term-time holidays in that we can this year, because, all going well, Eliot will be in school from September!

We had much discussion about it, but we had a meeting with the school and we think he’ll be OK to go back, entering year 10 in September.

He’ll take Maths, English and Science as standard, and then be able to choose from a range of non/less-academic courses (such as construction, which he fancies, performing arts, music etc) on top. Hopefully, he’ll cope OK with it, knowing that it’s only 6 terms.

I think it might be a bigger deal when it comes to it, but we’ll see. We’ve got some work to do before then, but it is getting difficult as winter has remained busy for us work-wise.

Busy work is good, of course. We recently invested some money into some clearance stock, and we’ve had good sales on that stock so far. Much better than expected.

Of course, with increased sales, comes increased headaches. It’s a trade-off.

Jake is still hoping to find a job himself. He’s applying for various suitable jobs (warehouse work etc) but no luck yet. One job we applied for said it had had 700 applicants online alone. What hope does a 17 year old have?

 

Busy, busy, busy. Work,, school and play!

Summer, huh?It was summer, right? Because right now it’s easy to forget we actually had one. Stupid autumnal weather and its precipitation!

But anyway, we did. I know we did because I have blue sky photos and memories of van trips away to prove it.

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We’ve been away twice, in fact, since I last blogged.

Firstly, we did the Lincolnshire Steam and Vintage Rally which was a great few days away and our first trip without electric, and we managed just fine. In fact, if anything we are much heavier users of our fresh water than we are mains hook up electric. We managed easily on our 12v system (even on a less-than-sunny weekend where our solar wasn’t getting as much as it could) but we had to refill our water tank by Saturday evening. How we’re using 66 litres of fresh water, I’ve no idea, but for our subsequent trip away, we took bottled for tea/boiling (which was so much nicer than tap/site water) and used a large bottle of site water for the dog. We managed better over a longer period then, so perhaps we have it sussed now.

The Steam Rally was good. Typically British weather (and particularly windy) but everything worked and held up and we got pitched (in the Caravan Club area) alongside friends which definitely gave the weekend something extra.

Sunset along the rows of caravans at the Steam Rally - August 2016
Sunset along the rows of caravans at the Steam Rally – August 2016

Only a week or so after the steam rally, we had a longer, 4-day break at Kidderminster. Jake, again, decided to stay home (being 16, he’d rather not “camp”!) so it was just the 3 of us and the dog. Weather was rain, sun, rain, sun (same old, same old!) but we had a great few days.

The first day was particularly warm and sunny and we made the 4 mile walk into Kidderminster along the tow path of the canal.

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We spent a good few hours in the town, with the dog who was absolutely no trouble whatsoever as we took turns to go into shops and he was good as gold while we ate lunch.

It was a good trip away, although we did find one van issue. Well, not a van issue but an issue we had at the site in particular: slope!

There’d been no mention of all sloping pitches in the booking details (and I’d already ruled out a different site because it DID mention it!) and we had real problems levelling. The fridge told us we were nowhere near level when it melted all our ice creams because it wasn’t working, and it took a good 45 minutes with 2 site staff and a lot of scaffold planks to get us somewhere near to level on day 2!

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We know now though: pack levelling planks as the ramps we had (visible above) were definitely NOT up to the job!

Since coming back from Kidderminster, the van went on hold for a while as we sorted Jake out for starting college. We did a few trial bus runs to check timing and walking routes (which, through Lincoln at the moment, are both a nightmare as the major roadworks of COURSE were scheduled to start right as the schools/colleges start back!)

All went fine though and, on the whole, his start at college has gone well. He’s even been nominated Class Representative. As long as he doesn’t have to actually do anything, I’m sure he’ll be fine!

Oh, and speaking of college, we had exam results, of course. Jake needed 2 C grade passes  (in Maths and English) for college and he exceeded these by getting a B in his English. Apparently though, college then made EVERYONE sit both a maths and English assessment anyway in case people had given false grades!

say-wha-logo

Beats me why they did that. Jake was more concerned that he’d only got a C in his English one though (although he did better than his GCSE result in his Maths!) but he’s fine. He’ll still be one of the brightest ones in the class, I have no doubt.

He’s eagerly awaiting being 17 in December so he can start using his 125cc motorcycle for college instead of the bus. He’s still working at Pyramid on the days he isn’t at college so he still has some income even during the school term which is currently funding a motorcycle jacket and then trousers and, after that, fuel and running costs to get him to and from college and work.

They grow up too fast!

We are tentatively back to school with Eliot too, currently doing a bit of a maths recap with a view to slowly starting to look at GCSE programs. Hopefully, he’ll also take at least Maths and English GCSE/IGCSE to keep his college options open, but he has no clue really what he wants to do yet. He’s only 13, he’s got ages to decide anyway. Meantime he can learn life things and continue his passion for all things Japanese. We are learning some of the language and El regularly practises his sushi-making.

Eliot making sushi. The hat is just a teenager thing!
Eliot making sushi. The hat is just a teenager thing!

And obviously, he gets to learn geography as we travel in our van!

We’ve modded the van a little bit since our last trip actually. The kitchen cupboard was a pain, with the left door opening into the aisle and making it impossible really to reach over or around it to take anything out from inside. So, I requested a bi-fold option.

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It now hinges in the middle…
...and opens well out of the way...
…and opens well out of the way…
...for super duper access!
…for super duper access!

It’s SOOOO much better and I can’t wait to trial it this weekend when we’re away at the Motorhome Show (child-free AND dog-free!!)

We also added a much-needed bathroom cabinet to the wetroom

Valuable storage in the bathroom
Valuable storage in the bathroom

And, although I don’t have a photo – shocking, I know – Nik fitted an external switch for the new water heater so we don’t need to reach under the seat to switch on the mains/240v supply for it. It’d have been in the original design except the original heater was gas only so we never planned to have a 240v supply needing a switch.

We’ve got another short break planned in mid October too. We’re taking the dog to the beach for his first “sand and sea” experience. In the two years we’ve had him, we’ve not taken him to the coast at all and now we can do easily, so we’ve booked 3 nights away. We contemplated going actually during half term but a) Eliot said he’d prefer to go when kids are at school and b) £60!

3 nights mid October was £30
3 nights two weeks later, during half term, £90!

We can spend that extra money on stuff to do, so it was an easy decision really. It’ll be fun.

Apart from that, nothing much else planned. I’d like to fit in another trip away this year, but I think we’ll wait and see how the van fares in the cooler weather in October first (although, if it’s anything like previous years, it’ll be nicer and milder than now!)

We’ll do a few winter trips anyway because that’s why we made the van: to use it all year round. It’s just hunting down those good sites that are walking distance to other places, rather than needing a car to get anywhere off-site, especially out of season.

We’d really love to do a longer trip, further away. Maybe a week or so. But that would mean partially closing the business for that period (and ensuring that the 16yo got himself to college from home alone) so it’s unlikely to happen.

We joked about closing down for November and driving down to Valencia for the final race of the MotoGP season. That WOULD be awesome, but it’s not too likely to happen.  It’s quiet season, admittedly, but still a scary idea!

Maybe next year…

 

Quick trip away, new bike, no more exams and lots on the van!

Cor, busy, eh?

Since I last posted Jake has finished his GCSE exams. He thinks he did OK, and he seemed happy enough after each one, so fingers crossed he’ll have done what he needs to get the grades college are asking for. Time will tell, roll on August 25th!

Meantime, he’s hoping to get some extra hours in at work so he can start saving for his 125cc motorbike when he turns 17 in December.  He’ll be able to use a 125 to get to Lincoln at back (for college) and he much prefers this idea to the bus (personally, I’d rather he used the bus!)

Speaking of bikes, we’ve upgraded Jake’s! His original bike was great but a bit on the slow side to be riding on Lea Road (which is a 40 mph) so we upped it to a slightly nippier one which will allow him to ride WITH the traffic rather than holding it all up. It’s a nice looking thing now that Nik has done a custom sticker job on it!

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It’ll do him for work until he can up it to something suitable for his college run.
Nik, being Nik, managed to sell his old one within hours of listing it on eBay. Bonus!

I also had a quick weekend jolly to my sister’s last weekend. That was fun. She’s got herself a new job (after 6 months without one) so we had a bit of a celebration weekend. That and a belated birthday treat of afternoon tea in Folkingham which was lovely.

Yummy Yummy
Yummy Yummy (and yes, that’s my tea WITH milk!)

So, aside from afternoon teas, bikes and exams, about the only thing that’s been happening (aside from work being busy, but you really don’t want to read about that!) is, guess what? The van!

Nik got tons done while I was away last weekend. He made lots of lovely doors for overhead lockers and kitchen units; routing them with super curvy edges and knock-on trim.

Routing roundy corners
Routing roundy corners
Routing grooves for knock-on trim
Routing grooves for knock-on trim
Knocking in trim
Knocking in trim
Vinyl-covered door-y goodness
Vinyl-covered door-y goodness
The under-oven cupboard and the drawer above the fridge (as well as the fridge door itself) will all be covered/re-covered with silver. We're not liking the black vinyl here.
The under-oven cupboard and the drawer above the fridge (as well as the fridge door itself) will all be covered/re-covered with silver. We’re not liking the black vinyl here.

The fridge electrics were finished (12v and 240v) and the gas lines were fitted properly so we could, when we’re feeling brave enough, actually put some gas in the tank and try them all out.

Like I said, when we’re feeling brave enough!

Fridge connected to 12v, 240v and gas!
Fridge connected to 12v, 240v and gas!

There’s a slide out shelf, above the fridge, which can be removed (along with the drawer) for fridge maintenance.

Slidey outy shelfy thingie
Slidey outy shelfy thingie
Slidey outy drawer thingie
Slidey outy drawer thingie

While I was away (Nik gets a lot done when I’m not about because he has no one getting in his way. Apparently, at times it is like trying to “do plumbing with an orangutan”! His exact words which he is NOT allowed to forget he said!), Nik also sussed out fitting our kitchen taps which were proving to be a bit of a challenge because our worktop was deeper than the stem.

Oops. That's not gonna work!
Oops. That’s not gonna work!
Template time
Template time
More routing to make space underneath for the tightening nuts
More routing to make space underneath for the tightening nuts
Ta-da! Isn't he a clever sort?
Ta-da! Isn’t he a clever sort?

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Since coming back from my sister’s, we’ve not spent much time in the van until yesterday (Friday).

I did manage to paint the inside of the wardrobe walls though during the afternoons. We’ve just used a satin paint to take the wood edge off it and make it a bit lighter, brighter and more inviting for storage  – because, you know, storage needs to feel welcome!

First panel (the wardrobe/bathroom wall) was painted out of the van...
First panel (the wardrobe/bathroom wall) was painted out of the van…
... the second (wardrobe/bed) panel was done in the van. A much splatterier job!
… the second (wardrobe/bed) panel was done in the van. A much splatterier job!

While I was painting outside, Nik was tidying up electrics inside. It’s al much neater in the overhead locker “control panel” section now and, apart from the kitchen light which still has to be wired up to the switch, almost done and ready for trimming and fitting.

Additionally, he finished felt-lining the overhead lockers fully (I cut all the felts to size while Nik was in the van, and he glued it all in)

Felt-lined lockers and an almost-finished control panel
Felt-lined lockers and an almost-finished control panel

I also became re-acquainted with my sewing machine! We have 3 sets of curtains to hang and they all need modifying in some way or another.

Curtain cut in half and pinned ready for sewing
Curtain cut in half and pinned ready for sewing
Been a while since I've used this old girl
Been a while since I’ve used this old girl

Firstly, The ones for the rear doors. The 2 rear windows were going to use one pair of curtains: one curtain on each door, but we discovered that it wasn’t possible to open them fully to one side because a full curtain width took up too much space across the small window still. So, I halved each single curtain and hemmed the insides. The look pretty good now and will hopefully open better each side of the windows. We just have rails to make for the back doors first (we only have one “demo rail” at present)

Then, we figured out what sort of pole to use for the main living area window and test hung those. The length will be adjusted once the seating cushions are here because we’ll be better able to gauge how long we want them then.

Loving the colours though!
Loving the colours though!

Hanging a set on the sliding door is going to be more of a challenge and will probably involve 2 taut net curtain wires, one top and one bottom, to keep the curtain from flapping when the door is opened or closed.

Also, today, we’ve started on the dreaded bathroom! All walls have been built, including the passageway wall which we hadn’t previously constructed, at we’ve begun lining them with the waterproof shower/wet room wall finish. It’s a tricky process and everything will need silicon sealant around it to make it watertight enough to shower in, but it’s going OK so far.

The shower/wet room wall finish
The shower/wet room wall finish

Tomorrow will be a super-busy day, lining the rest of the walls as well as lining the hall/passageway side of the wardrobe and bathroom with the silver finish…and routing out door holes.

Full, person-size door holes.

That’ll be fun.

Any messy!

Yay!

 

 

A quick (probably not) update of stuff, things and whatnots

How’s that for no useful search engine keywords?!

It’s not even been a week since my last post, but we’ve been super-busy so I thought I’d update anyway.

Jake has had his first maths (higher) exam and he seemed quite pleased with how it went. There were some questions towards the end (the A/A* ones) which he said he couldn’t do but he was confident he’d done enough to pass the paper, which is the best we can hope for. Considering he’s only been studying properly since January, I’m super-proud of how he’s done. He’s got a short break from exams now (it’s half term so there aren’t any) before he has both English papers and his second maths paper the following week. There’s a bit of work to do before then, but I’m sure he’ll be fine.

Work is getting very hectic. It’s been pre-TT so everyone needs everything weeks ago (because, you know, their bikes won’t work without that sticker/screen/insert-random-vanity-trickbit-here)

We’ve started using “Drop & Go” at the Post Office which has definitely been a blessing. Being able to just drop the postbag in, rather than queueing, is AWESOME!

Busy work means that van business has had to wait until after tea or weekends mostly. This weekend, being a bank holiday (and, dare I say it, good weather?!) has been productive already.

We’re on lots of finishings at the moment. Wallboards, felting and suchlike.

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The overhead lockers that went in are now felted around the inner edge (and one at the back – just so we could see what it is going to look like!) and silver panelled both on the fronts and underneath. We need to run a trim along the back (wall edge) underneath and the front where the silver panels meet but it’s looking good, and we could finally mount those lights which sit above the sofa area.

As you can see, we’ve also fitted both wall panels on that side, the window trim and the inner window ledges and sides.

Wall panel with window cut-out and edging trim
Wall panel with window cut-out and edging trim
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And with its sill and inner sides
We also did the kitchen wall and window
We also did the kitchen wall and window
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Looks pretty darn awesome!

Can I just take a moment to say a little about routing?

Oh. My. Goodness! What a hugely messy job.

By our second window, we’d resorted to using multiple taped sheets, but it still got into every nook and cranny.

 

Messy, messy, messy!
Messy, messy, messy!
Man-at-work shot!
Man-at-work shot!

Routing these boards in situ is scary. One false move and the panel is ruined, so it’d be one expensive mistake if that router slipped!

Added to that, we’d had to build up the inner edge with plywood so that the cut-out was slightly in from the window itself, allowing us to add that edging on the wallboard. This also meant we had to create slightly more curvy corners out of cut wood so that the edging would go around the corners better. It was a tricky thing to do but it worked out really well in the end.

As well as walls, we also faced the kitchen unit. Another exercise in how much you have to cut out to make stuff look good!

Furniture board glued to the front of the kitchen unit
Furniture board glued to the front of the kitchen unit
and after routing!
and after routing!

Hopefully, the cut-outs will be useful for panelling other bits or that’s a lot of money sitting as leftovers!

As well as panelling, we also tested the water system. We filled the fresh water tank (mounted underneath the van) and checked that the water level registered on the gauge.

It did. Phew!
It did. Phew!

We fitted the kitchen and bathroom taps onto the pipework and pressurised the system. The pump worked beautifully filling the pipes and the hot water tank. Then we opened each tap, one at a time, checking they all worked and making sure we had no leaks.

Taps, pipes, buckets and sink!
Taps, pipes, buckets and sink!

There was one small leak on a joint in the (secondhand) hot water tank, but easily fixable.

We also tested filling the bathroom sink and draining it to see if the waste pipes worked OK. The bathroom sink and shower waste actually merge before going through the van floor to the waste tank and despite our efforts, we were worried that the sink, when emptied, would flow back through the shower waste and up the shower plug hole.

We were right to be concerned.
It did!

So, one non-return valve ordered and the problem will be sorted. At least we know now.

So we have a felted bed-end, walls, windows and overhead lockers.
So we have a felted bed-end, walls, windows and overhead lockers.

That photo was taken before the overhead lockers were done underneath, but it’s certainly starting to take shape.

And there’s a whole other day tomorrow!

Tomorrow’s plans are to finish the underside of the overhead (still with me!) lockers, to fit the kitchen strip LED lighting and to felt and panel the side sliding door. I insulated the sliding door today (which is why we’re working ’round the back of the van so the side door can be closed) so it’s ready for covering.

We’re felting it around the edges and into the window (because old work vans looks dinted and bumped!) and then we’ll panel where the van panels have been in the same board as the walls so it’ll all coordinate with our “lounge” area. The removable table will probably be stored here too so we need to sort out how we’re doing that too.

So much to do…so little time!

It’s all looking a bit grey ’round here

And I’m not (yet) talking about the weather.

 

Both bunk sides are covered now.
Both bunk sides are covered now.

The back end of the van is coming on nicely. Obviously, we’ve a storage unit to building under the bottom bunk but that back end is a nice boost when the front end tries to convince us we’ve still a long way to go!

It’s all a matter of insulating and covering for that back third of the van really and, once we’ve done routing the water pipes, the walls for the wardrobe and bathroom can go back in (remember those?!)

A quick recap!
A quick recap of the wardrobe/bathroom side of the van!

To the left, the storage/wardrobe (which now accommodates that water filler hose too) and then, obviously, the bathroom minus its front wall (yet to be built!)
It seems like a long time since it looked like this!

Now, apart from fitting the gas connections, it’s mostly prepping for final finishes, such as insulating walls, and rasping and sanding any woodwork that needs felt covering. Such as the beds.

What the un-prepped wood looked like...
What the un-prepped wood looked like…
After rasping...
After rasping to round off the harsh corners and edges…
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After sanding to make the finish a bit more felt-friendly…
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Cut felt to size and spray glue on!
It even stretched quite nicely into the cut-out for the internal handle for the back door.
It even stretched quite nicely into the cut-out for the internal handle for the back door.

I’m quite pleased with the end result. The felt is actually quite hard to work with though. It’s tough to cut (and wrecks the blades quickly) and its stretch is both a blessing and a curse: when you’re trying to lay along a straight line and DON’T want to stretch, it’s difficult!
Still, it’s getting easier the more we do and there’s still plenty to do!

What else has gone on?

Jake has got exams upcoming so he’s just finishing off his courses in time to do some final revision and mock exams beforehand. It’s cutting it a bit close but I think he’ll be OK. As long as he realises he needs to knuckle down.
But he’s a teen, so who knows?!

Work is busy.
Busy is good (of course), but it is hampering our efforts to get stuff done anywhere other than in the office during the sunshiney daytime! However, we cannot complain about busy because busy is mortgage paid and food on the table.

It’s not long since I updated really, so not much else has happened.

We spent Sunday enjoying the weather round at my Mum’s, clearing her garden and noshing on BBQ. As the weather is due to change, it was a nice opportunity to be out in it.

Hopefully the upcoming non-summery/spring-like weather is just a blip and we’ll be back to working on the van in the sun again very soon.

You never know, we might even finish it before the Dutch… German… British MotoGP…  end of the year…

I have my optimist’s hat on!

 

It’s all go around here.

Well, the sun is shining, Nik is packing stock boxes in the garage and I feel compelled to post a blog update.Nik and Eliot are counting down to their Portugal holiday next week. They’re staying with a friend and visiting Jerez for MotoGP weekend as well as generally dossing around the area, catching up with friends and eating out.

They’re both super-excited. I’m less so because I’m left holding the work-baby, but it’ll be fine. It’ll be super-weird being in an empty house in the mornings though while Jake is at work….which brings me to Jake!

He’s been offered work during the mornings now that the biking season is getting underway (easier to believe with today’s weather than yesterday’s!). He’s working up at Pyramid on Monday to Friday mornings and then coming home and doing 3-4 hours of school work in the afternoons.

This works great for us because Jake has a tendency to spend his mornings in bed, so having to be up for work isn’t taking away any study time, it’s just much better for him to be out and about and earning.

And not only does my boy have a job, but he also got his college acceptance confirmation letter today. His experience day went really well (albeit running VERY late!) and the course tutor who interviewed him even commented that Jake’s high assessment results were unusual, and next time Jake comes, could he please bring 20 more Jakes with him! I think that bolstered not only Jake’s confidence and morale, but mine too. It’s awesome to think that he’s doing so well after what he’s come through. He just needs to knuckle down and get those two GCSE results now.

Not only has he got his college place, but he’s also decided that, as he’s working now, he wants his own transport.

Now, Jake is only 16 so he’s limited to one thing: a 50cc scooter. So we hunted about for a decent secondhand one, spent ages debating the pros and cons of a new one, and eventually found a proper COOL one secondhand relatively locally.

You'd never think that was a 50cc scooter, eh?
You’d never think that was a 50cc scooter, eh?

It needed a little bit of work: new levers, a new head bearing and a few niggly bits but we happen to know some someones in the trade! Helps, eh?

Jake’s CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) is booked for a week on Friday. It’s while Nik is away but if we’d waited until he came back, it’d just delay it. It’s a full-day, 7 hour course anyway so it’s not like he could stand around and watch (much as he may have wanted to!)
Then Jake’ll be able to use his scooter for work instead of us having to taxi him about (yay!)
When he’s 17, he’ll be able to get a 125cc which will be suitable to use for runs to Lincoln to college too. Even better!

Oh, and I nearly forgot, he had ANOTHER driving experience this week: his Easter present from Nik and I (he got that, Eliot got weights!). This time he chose to drive the Ferrari and LOVED it. The instructor/co-driver was really encouraging and Jake really enjoyed it. The fact that Nik took him up to the track on his own CB1000R probably added to the day’s fun!

Work has been getting busy so non-work stuff is very much confined to weekends (well, Saturday lunchtime onwards) only right now.
We have managed to get a few hours on the van though. Nik fitted the solar panel to the roof on Saturday and that’s now been keeping both batteries (the vehicle battery and the leisure battery) fully charged, which is great!

All fitted and working - excuse the grubby roof!
All fitted and working – excuse the grubby roof. It’s not usually on view!

There’s room for more panels if we decide to expand too. We might not, but it was a consideration when it was positioned anyway.

As well as being on top of the van, Nik has been underneath the van this weekend. He’s fitted both underslung water tanks under the van body. That’s a job we’d been dreading and, while it wasn’t as complicated as expected, it certainly wasn’t as straightforward as it should have been.

Both tanks are tailored to the vans specific chassis so the fittings that came with the tanks SHOULD have made it simple to fix.

It wasn’t.

But it wasn’t any great feat of engineering to get them to fit either so, meh.

Next thing to fit under there is the LPG gas tank which we also bought with vehicle-specific fittings. Fingers crossed that project is simpler. There’s a lot less space left under there now!

Anyway, I think that’s about it. What with work, the van, and being “back to school”,  (and can I just mention ANOTHER phenomenal MotoGP race last weekend?!) there’s not much time for much else.

By the time Nik and El come back from Portugal, it’ll be ME whose ready for a holiday!