RSS

Tag Archives: camper van

Barefoot – Looking Back…Right Back…

***FROM THE ARCHIVE OF DRAFTS***

Despite having Old Red for over a year (*ahem* almost three), I’m still a bit of a newbie when it comes to packing for outings. In some ways I am brilliantly organised, sometimes usually to the point of having way too much stuff, but I’m still learning what we need and what we don’t need, and our trip to Barefoot Festival was yet another education.

What Worked…

  • Our gazebo!…last year (*ahem*…YEARS AGO) for Beat-Herder I bought a gazebo on a whim. This gazebo was NOT waterproof. Pie and I discovered this when we saw torrents of rain pouring through it and onto all our neatly stored stuff. The new gazebo has a woven plastic roof so it was much better at keeping rain out (when it wasn’t falling diagonally that is).
  • Once again, Poundland was a brilliant source of camping supplies…we got some tiny waterproof picnic rugs (just big enough for two people to put their bottoms on, or for one person to stretch their legs out) that were really light and folded up very small so they fitted in my festival bag. The main tent didn’t have any flooring so they were really useful to keep our bums dry.
  • Also from Poundland…a pack of three rain ponchos for a quid. The hoods on them were rubbish but they were easier than a coat to put on for a brisk run to the toilet, and you don’t mind leaving them outside in the rain as much as your favourite mac (we tucked ours into the roof of the gazebo).
  • Big fleecy blankets from Primark…they not only made excellent blankets (as you might expect), but they also worked really well hung from the gazebo as sunshades. We kept them up with pieces of rope (from Poundland of course) and LOTS of gaffa tape. They made our camp feel like a very cosy little den.
  • Instruments!…we took Luke’s guitar, my ukulele and an ocarina, along with quite a few music books. We had many lovely hours sitting in the sunshine and singing our hearts out.
  • Cooking for ourselves…we had a meal plan (of sorts) for the weekend, and took a BBQ along with us. We factored in a few meals out so we got to try wood-fired pizza and an amazing french-toast croissant, but ultimately we spent very little on food and ate really well. Admittedly, the fact that Luke is a chef didn’t hurt either…

Next Time We Will…

  • Remember that it’s never too early to start packing…especially if it’s camping stuff and things you don’t use on a daily basis. On the other hand, there is definitely a point when it’s too late to pack, and that point is about half an hour after you planned to leave. Next time I will try not to blur this line again…
  • Stick to the list…the list is there for a reason. If you don’t give the list the respect it deserves and put it in a pile of paper on the coffee table you are bound to have to go home for pillows and coffee presses, and you’ll end up spending the entire weekend buying tea at £1.50 a cup and having to barter for tiny sachets of sugar…

And We Will Take…

  • MORE BEER!!…we didn’t bring enough so we ended up buying 6 pint bottles of cider from the beer tent on our last night. That set us back twenty-four quid. TWENTY FOUR QUID!
  • More tarpaulins and blankets to make rain/wind/sun shields for the gazebo…and more rope! We took a small bundle but nowhere near enough to make an adequate ‘den’. Our den kept falling apart.
  • Pegs!…both of the clothes and tent variety. These would also have been very useful in the construction of sun/rain shields.
  • More instruments…like drums and a tambourine and maracas. Guitars and ukuleles are ace, but it would have been nice if everyone (kids included) could have joined in an made some noise!

……………………………………………….

The majority of this post was written not long after Barefoot Festival, some time in the summer of 2013. Now it’s March 2015, I’m three months pregnant and I’m very aware that the next time we go to a festival we will probably have our little one in tow (unless, by some miracle, we manage to make it to a festival this summer…when I’m six months pregnant) so we’ll have a whole new set of things to take into consideration.

On one hand I’m very excited at the thought of the adventures and fun the three of us will have together.

On the other hand, I’m already wondering what essential stuff we’ll forget this time…

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why I’m Not Writing a “Mommy” Blog…

Although I’ve been meaning to revive my blog for many MANY months, I’ve got to admit that being pregnant and wanting to record my experiences is the main reason behind my new-found motivation to write. For a while I toyed with the idea of starting again. New life, new blog, new domain name. After all, wouldn’t it make more sense to write about this part of my life (our lives) on a blog created solely for pregnancy and parenting?

Well, yes, probably…but after much deliberation, that’s not the tack I’ve chosen to take.

You see, the thing is that this is my blog. When I started it it was supposed to be a place where I could talk about my life and my adventures. Along the way, Luke became part of my life, and although the name of the blog didn’t change, he became part of it too.

Like my husband, my pregnancy and my baby aren’t separate to my life as the girl with the camper van…they are part of it. When I got pregnant I didn’t stop being me, and I didn’t lose the will to do the things I’ve planned to do. I’m not abandoning my life and the vision I had for it, I’m simply enriching it with a new member of my family.

So that is why I won’t be writing a Mommy blog. It’s not that I have anything against the women who do (or, indeed, the men who write Daddy blogs), I just don’t see my pregnancy or my choices in parenting as being in their own little bubble, standing out from my life. My life is ALL the things I do, either alone, with my husband, or with our baby, and I want this blog to reflect my life as a whole, not just one facet of it.

I don’t want to give up this blog now that I’m expecting, just like I don’t want to give up on getting Old Red back on the road…and I can’t wait to start blogging about our adventures with him as a family. This is the happiest and most excited I have been in a very long time 🙂

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 13, 2015 in Life, Pregnancy, Random

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Killing Mould…Again…

Last year I wrote a post about having to get rid of mould from some of the textiles in Old Red.

I promised myself last year that I would empty the van for winter, and make sure that it got aired out properly every week, but that plan never really came into being, and so everything that was in the roof conversion (and therefore, out of the sunlight) had gotten spotted in that horrible white dusty mould again. I felt awful that I hadn’t learnt my lesson last time, and that I’d neglected Old Red so badly…

Mould on the seatpad from the rock'n'roll bed, which I'd stored in the roof...

Mould on the seatpad from the rock’n’roll bed, which I’d stored in the roof…

...and mould on the mattress from the bed in the roof...

…and mould on the mattress from the bed in the roof…

Luckily, it wasn’t too bad (although the pictures don’t do it justice), and there wasn’t any mildew so there was no terrible staining.

Like last time, I made up a solution of water and vinegar in a spray bottle. I didn’t have any white/white wine vinegar this time, so I made do with cider vinegar, but this was a LOT more stinky. Last time, the smell faded, so I’m hoping that’ll happen again this time!

I used a stiff bristled brush to get rid of the visible mould, but this time I remembered to cover my face to avoid breathing in too much nasty stuff…

I'm coming to get you Spores!...

I’m coming to get you Spores!…

My sister and her boyfriend both offered me a dust mask, but I was far more amused by my tea-towel bandito look.

Once I’d scrubbed as much as I could I sprayed all the mouldy surfaces and let the mattresses sit and dry in the sun, turning and spraying as necessary.

The mattresses look much better now, but they’re still a bit stained and tired looking after many years of use (by many people) and could really do with a refresh. We don’t have plans for a journey out any time soon, so new foam and upholstery has been added to our to-do list.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

That Really Grinds My Gears – Part 2…

So, as I said a few posts back, we suffered a broken gearstick over the Barefoot Weekened, but we were lucky enough to be saved by a resourceful RAC man and two kind mechanics. Sadly, there was going to be more to this tale…

Luke dozed all the way home from Kings Lynn, but when we got home he complained that he could smell fuel. I’d been able to smell it all the way back but had assumed it was oil from the funnel we’d used to fill up. My sense of smell isn’t the greatest and I honestly hadn’t given it a second thought.

Remembering the RAC man’s attempt to earth our battery (clipping onto the fuel pipe instead of the bodywork), we opened the boot hatch expecting to find a leak.

We found six.

All three of the woven fuel lines were leaking at both ends. Wonderful. Thank you Mr RAC man,

Luke searched around online and found that we could buy metres and metres of the right tubing for not a lot of money, so we’re not too put out, but we don’t really know what we’re doing to replace it. Luckily, a friend’s step-dad has the same model van and does all his own repairs, so we have enlisted him to teach us what to do. All we need to do now is find a free weekend to get Old Red back in working condition again. It’s put paid to our travels out for a while…

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 19, 2013 in Van Maintenance

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Breaking the Mould…

***Note: this post is lacking in pictures because technology sucks***

So, after knowing that I wasn’t airing Old Red as much as I should, and after realising that these actions had resulted in mould growing on some of his textiles, I continued to leave him to fester for a few more months.

With a festival looming ahead of us, and a pretty urgent visit to the mechanics on the cards, I needed to get off my bottom and make sure that I wasn’t going to give/get any breathing complications! And so into the van I went…

Since my last investigation I imagined that the mould would have gotten a million times worse, and that it might even have crept into the wardrobe to eat the summer dresses that I’d left hanging in there. To be honest, I deserved for the entire van to be swathed in mould, but the reality was that it had gotten no worse than it was before…and in fact, it wasn’t anywhere as bad as I remembered it! Bonus!

Okay, so the “upstairs” mattress was pretty well speckled with white mould, and the seat cushion of the sofa/downstairs bed had gotten a bit mouldy where the sun wasn’t hitting it, but the clothes in the wardrobe were all perfectly fine, and only the Ikea cushions had given way to the white pufty spores. The Primark cushions were clean and still smelt fresh (well, as fresh as they ever had), and the stuffed toys were also unblemished. I can only assume that Ikea don’t mould-treat their fabrics, but that’s probably due to the fact that they don’t store fabrics in damp conditions (unlike Primark…).

Luckily, I didn’t have to deal with any mildew (which stains), so I asked my good friend, Google, for advice on removing white mould from fabrics. I found lots of different methods for killing spores – like sunshine and bleach – so it was hard to decide which to choose. In the end I went for the method that required the least amount of shopping and held the least amount of peril (bleach? On fabrics? With my track record of ruining things?!)…

To Clean Mould from Fabrics…

You will need: vinegar, water, a spray bottle, a stiff scrubbing brush, a face mask, and sunshine

First, decide what you need to clean, and what you can bear to throw away. I didn’t have the time or resources to buy and cover new mattresses, but I could afford to throw away the two Ikea cushions (that cost just £1.50 each…they weren’t that comfy anyway!).

I carried my mattresses through to the back garden where I laid them out on the patio (in direct sunlight). I used a stiff-bristled scrubbing brush to get the visible mould off, but failed to wear a face mask. Note…WEAR A FACE MASK! I had a tight chest for days and days and days afterwards…

Once they looked clean, I gave them a good spraying with my anti-mould solution of white vinegar (I used distilled, which smelled vinegary, but if you prefer a nice cidery/winey smell then you could just as easily use cider or white wine vinegar) mixed in a clean spray bottle with some water. I sprayed and I sprayed and I sprayed until the fabric was soaked and my palm was a little blistery…and then I sprayed some more. When they were as wet as I could get them I left them in the sunshine to dry. Once they were dry I soaked them again.

Spray, dry, repeat.

Et voilà!…Mould-free mattresses with only the faintest smell of vinegar (which faded after a day or two).

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: