Friday, 17 December 2010

Nan gets a make over

Nan the Van is in for a Christmas treat. In a bid to beat the VAT rise in January, I plucked up the courage to run Nan down to my trusty garage in town and get the bloke to have a good look around. I'd spotted a bit of rot on the off side sill and, knowing that to be an MOT failure, thought I might as well have the whole jolly lot sorted at the same time (besides, our pals 'The Middletons' are having their van done up this winter and We wouldn't want to let the side down come our annual Easter run out!).

All in all it's not in bad nick for a 31 year old machine. The panel over the near side front wheel is about the biggest chunk of metal that Fraser (in the picture) is welding on. Apparently the bloke who had it before was pretty handy with the filler!

Most pleased with the progress so far, another week and the welding should be complete, then it's raid the piggybank time for a respray! More pics to follow!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Stay-at-home Vikings

A friend of mine, Nick Harper, played a gig in Norway not all that long ago. He berated the audience in Hamar for being 'stay at home Vikings'. His point being, that Vikings are still around in Britain, and indeed as descendants of those marauding hordes, he could lay claim to his heritage and proclaim that whilst he was a true and 'tough' Viking, his audience was far less vicious as they were descendants of less tough 'stay at home Vikings' whose ancestors were not brave enough to cross the North Sea in an open boat! It went down well and the gig was a tremendous success.  Then I got to thinking ... how many Vikings are there left in the UK?

I'm much more interested in the pop top, sleep six, Super Viking conversion that graced the late (never seen one pre 1979, and they're fairly common on the Type 25s) Type II Bays. I'm not entirely sure why, and to what end, I haven't a clue, but I've started collecting registration plates of Super Vikings I come across. I bagged a few at Camp Bestival earlier this year, and now have a grand total of 5, including my own. Yeh I know, it's pathetic, but maybe, just maybe if the list grows, I could end up being the Super Viking sage of Britain. So if you own a Super Viking conversion, let me know. Send me the registration number and I'll add it to the 'database'. Who knows, maybe one day we could all end up on 'Late night nerds' on Nerd TV! Go on, we could all be a part of history.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Four go mad in Dorset!

Wow, what happened to the Summer?  Day one of the Summer holidays and Circus Sutton went south.  A splendid weekend at 'Dovefest', a field in Dove Dale in the Peak District, with lashings of ginger beer and a jolly good hoot!  Music, revelry, and a lot of showing off in our friends' field made for a top start to the hols.
Nan the Van was out on her first full length road trip.  206 miles to Durdle Door, £52.27 of unleaded fuel got us to Dorset with a stop over in Leamington Spar and Savernake Forrest on the way.  That's 21.6 miles per gallon, not bad for a 31 year old 2 litre engine!  The plan was to meet up with pals from Dovefest at Camp Bestival in the grounds of Lulworth Castle.  We camped at Durdle Door campsite, an old favourite from years ago.  


Thing is, places change, and boy had this place and sadly not for the better.  Too many statics and not enough level ground for a campervan.  We were booked on for two nights but high tailed it to the sanctuary that is Tom's Field a few miles down the road.  A different kettle of fish altogether, laid back, friendly and flat.

A great few days and our first visit to Dancing Ledge, a 'swimming pool' blasted out of the Purbeck Rocks some time in the early 1900s, presumably by a bloke with a whole lot of time on his hands and an ample supply of TNT.  The water was bracing to say the least, but I did manage to venture in albeit only for a brief moment or two.
Then on to Camp Bestival, quickly re-named Camp Jesterville owing to the extortionate prices for rides and entertainment in the children's field.  At two fifty a go for a single ride down a helter skelter we thought it a bit rich.  Won't moan about it here, suffice to say we shan't be returning.  Madness were good and George Clinton was out of this world, so not a total loss!

7 hours, £58.70, and a half pint of engine oil saw us safely back in Otley.  After ten day in the van, even I was glad of the cosy duvet and a proper bed!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Nan's last ride

Back in the Spring, my brother and I took Nan for a ride in Nan the Van.  Given that Nan was born in North Wales, it seemed appropriate that we head for the hills to find a final resting place.  With my erstwhile badminton partner and general good mate Glyn reading the map and taking the pictures, we headed west on the M62.

There's Nan on the dashboard, centre stage below the rear view mirror.  We'd decided to scatter Nan's ashes on the top of mount Tryfan.  Mountains are good, way above the tree line you see, and for some strange reason Nan was never fond of trees.  I remember years ago driving down Ebw Vale on a day out with Nan, remarking on how beautiful the scenery was.  "Yes Joshua", she said, "but there's too many bloody trees!". That's cool Nan, we can do no trees!

A splendid climb through knee deep snow, a struggle to the top of 'Eve' (don't look down) and a sudden change in wind direction!

Thanks Nan!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Bittersweet beginnings

Nan was born in 1909, she lived for a hundred years.  Nan died last year, with the money she left me, I bought a Type Two VW.  Nan The Van rolled off the production line in 1979, some seventy years after her namesake.  I miss my Nan, but think of her and smile every time I sit behind the wheel.