Posted by: thecampulance | March 31, 2010

We’re back and off again!

After a long absence we’re back again and off on our travels over the easter weekend.

Since the last post the Campulance has had some interior tweaking – a whole new lighting sytem, new wipe clean flooring, a mirror and some other technical stuff that I left R to sort out as I don’t understand it all! 

We’ve also had a fab weekend in Dumfies and Galloway wild camping in the woods over my birthday, a beautiful sunny weekend away in Skipton with R and J, our new Peerie dog and their new dog Bud, an amazing holiday touring around the outer Hebrides and Skye and lots of little local day trips.

This time we’re going back to Scotland (despite the snow) but this time staying on the mainland and hopefully making it around the top and down to to Applecross bay via mum and dad in Aberdeen! I can’t wait – 10 days off work to plod around through wonderful scenery, going for long walks on beaches, knitting and listening to radio 4, and just generally gowing slow for a while…bliss.


Posted by: thecampulance | May 10, 2009

First outings and a farewell…

A couple of weekends ago we took the Campulance for it’s first proper outing and pottered up to Scotland to my Gran’s for her 91st birthday.  Once you get used to the slow pace (nothing over 60mph), the noise of the engine (you are sitting right on top of it) and the fact that you are so far apart from each other that you have to shout, you realise that it is actually a very pleasant way to travel – especially as you are so high up you can be nosey and look over hedges into people’s gardens!

It was a momentous occasion, not just because it was our first overnight stay in the Campulance, but because it was the first time in years that the whole family had been not only in the same country but also in the same place.  Gran’s house is quite small so most people ended up in the local hotel (a few minutes walk away), but we were lucky enough to test out the drive way.  Apart from being a little chilly we had a fantastic nights sleep (I was surprised at how comfy the bed was) and it was nice to be woken up by the smell of woodsmoke and the sound of a roaring fire (well a tiny one in the ‘pipsqueak’ log burner).  The cup of tea was a good addition.

Sunrise at Gran's

Sunrise at Gran's

This was our early morning walk with Kipper. 

Last weekend we took the Campulance and Kipper for a day trip up to Silverdale and Arnside where we had a fantastic day out, walking, playing, reading, knitting and eating the best fish and chips from the chippy in Arnside.  Sadly the small brown Kipperdog had way too much fun eating a dead seagull and on Friday morning we had to say goodbye…we hope you are having even more fun in heaven than you did with us chasing all the squirrels and cats you could ever imagine.  We miss you xxx





Posted by: thecampulance | May 4, 2009

The hunt for parts

I won’t bore you with this bit too much. 

Having spent more time scouring and watching various caravan interiors and random things to get ideas of what would work for us in the campulance, i came across a caravan dealer in Bradford breaking a few, nearly new, vans that had been insurance write offs.  The bidding was for the upper lockers only and remaining wood work after the salvage of the good bits by the guy himself.

A couple of seconds from the end, i had a pop and won.  So, a trip to Bradford then.  With no idea of how easy or difficult it would be, i hooked up a trailer, tooled up the car, including a chainsaw to speed up the process if needed and pottered across the country.

Where to start stripping a caravan with no idea how it was put together is tricky.  Thankfully, there were two other lads there on the same mission who had won two vans on ebay so i had a little chat to them and got some tips and ignored them immediately.

To cut a long story short, it took me 4 hours and i left nothing.  They arrived two hours before me and were still there when i left just starting the second van.  The screws, walls, lockers, shelves, bed, panelling and any remaining electrical parts came out and crammed into the trailer and car.  It is surprising how much goes in to a caravan really, and they are very well fitted.  The bits that i knew would be useful for direct transfer to the campulance were remove sympathetically and the bits that would be useful for taking up space in the lockup got the crow bar and saw treatment.

Happy in my plunder, and with more wood than a than the Forestry Commission i trundled back across the country to see what i really had that was of use and not what i thought i had when chopping and wrenching .  If you do plan to use a caravan for the interior of a self build i would take another person to give you a hand stripping it.  It is very tricky and sometimes frustrating when screws round off and the battery goes flat on the drill.  Also, take a chainsaw.  It is much quicker, much more satisfying and the poor buggers stripping the van next door by screwdriver think you are a nutter when you exit the van with a wince, a limp and muttering under your breath about 30mph in a 60 zone and bank holiday Mondays!

Posted by: thecampulance | May 3, 2009

Jump back a stage. The pick up.

Before we get carried with the internal rebuild, let just take a moment to comprehend the task in getting it here to Lancashire.  No, it wasn’t on the back of an RAC truck!

A phone call or two to a guy who thought I was genuinely mad for travelling further than the next village to look at a van, a five hour train journey all the way down the west coast of England to Near Plymouth, the realisation othat I had forgotten the phone number of the guy who was selling the van to pick me up from the station and random calls to people to get on the t’internet and find the number of the guy so I didn’t have to wait at the desolate Devonshire railway station for days on end feeling very silly indeed.

Once the van arrived, I quickly weighed up the pro’s and con’s, decided the pro’s won and and handed over some pennies. I  said cheerio to the old owners and headed north.  For eight hours!  Wow, it’s no Sprinter that’s for sure.  60 mph is a nice pace of life and you get used to the noise after three hours.  But, alas, the 400 odd mile journey back was steady and trouble free.

So, an Epic in relative terms; 7am-train to Devon, 12pm-Bugger, not got the number, 12.15pm-take the old ambulance for a spin,1pm-leave Devon in the old ambulance, 9pm-arrive home slightly deaf, a few quid lighter and still smiling with glee at the Campulance’s slightly crazy looking french charm.  Ahh the smell of onions, escargot and Parisian parfume. (hmm, more like cheap french rattly interior and old caravan!)

Posted by: thecampulance | April 19, 2009


BeforeWhen the Campulance first arrived it was fairly obvious from the opressive black and grey colour scheme that its previous owner was a man.  So today we’ve spent the day down at the Farm, R to finish the new gas locker and me to begin to chip away at the manliness of the Campulance.   The windows are all measured up just waiting for some material for new curtains, the floor is up whilst we paint and will hopefully one day become lino of some kind and the grey paint is now all gone – what an improvement some gloss and nutmeg white have made already (although it now does look slightly like our living room!).  After the paint job

Whilst I got stuck into the painting (listening to Lime and Violet on the ipod and giggling to myself) R, cracked on with the gas locker.  I’d taken my ipod with me to block out the normal sounds of DIY swearing  that seem to litter the air around R whenever drills and screws are involved, however I was totally surprised that not one curse word was dropped and a few hours later we had a working, well built gas locker with a hinged door…now if he could only do that at home!

The gas locker

Posted by: thecampulance | April 6, 2009

My side of the beginning.

So why are bricks and mortar so so silly?  Well, they don’t move do they!  Same old scenery, same old neighbours, same old place you come back to.

Months of whiling away winter evenings poking my nose in to other peoples camper vans on fleabay made me realise that, on a budget, the campervan search is a turbulent, dangerous and risky business.  The good are far outweighed by the bad and the down right ugly and most are bad.

Forget the great old looking classics like Toyota hiace, sherpas and Dormobiles, and don’t even consider the minefield that is VW, far too many fools out there prepared to waste hard earned cash sitting on the side of the motorway above a pool of oil and plumes of smoke still trying to look “surfer cool”. Admitedly i have spent time on the motorway hard shoulder above pools of mechanical fluid designed to stay in the engine and not wee all over the road and the adventure wears off quickly by midnight.

No, it needs to be something uncool, something solid, something that will plod happily to the ends of Russia, the mountains of Morroco, the volcanos of Iceland and even manage the 2hour trip up the M6 to the Scottish border every now again.  No, we need to add our own mark on the new and exciting life of jumping in the homely transport, chucking the dog in the back and leaving the thought of painting the porch at the weekend a long way away.

We need to do it ourselves. D.I.O. in short.  Prefered to D.I.Y. because i have an innability to comprehend the meaning of D.I.Y.  Putting a latch on the gate is a stressfull job that requires some time to get round to and at least two attempts to get it right first time!

And then it appeared, there on the screen.  Ugly, white, big and French.  The first cardinal sin broken.  Avoid French built vehicles like the plague!  German and Jappers, yes, but French.  But taking the plucky looking ex disability ambulance on it’s own merits, it looked ideal for the job.

Posted by: thecampulance | April 6, 2009

In the beginning…

All R has ever really wanted was a narrowboat, but  I didn’t fancy life on the canal so instead I coerced him into buying a house.  He has never been happy with bricks and motar and still hankered after life without roots. The solution? a campervan.  So three weeks ago, after many, many months of searching and hours and hours spent on e-bay R finally decided on  a campervan.  It took 7 hours to bring it back from its previous home in Devon and with much trepidation I went down to The Farm to meet him and finally see what we’d invested our money in.  As I turned down the track to The Farm the beam of my headlights swung round and lit up… The Campulance.   I’ve never laughed so much in all my life.