Monday, July 21, 2008

whet the pallet?

it may be Rory's birthday, but I got the biggest prezzie on the front lawn today!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lazy summer days

Due to a miscalculation and a cancellation, I'm enjoying some relaxation. The Mrs was booked in to do a course over the past couple of thursday/fridays, and I was booked off to look after the kids. But the course was cancelled, so I've been working 3 day weeks and just chillin with the kids the Mrs and of course playing with the fleet.

Molly has been feeling a little neglected recently, she's at the stage now where I can start rebuilding. The paint isn't perfect, but I really want to get her back on the road again, so I've been taking a few tentative steps, which has mainly condisted of trying to find where I put all the bits. The things I'm up to now are rebuilding the doors (rear first), rebuilding the boot (again) and sorting the wiring.

lots of bits

The boot rebuild went really well as Megan helped and I've done it all once already. The wiring isn't too bad (I admit I had a crack earlier in the year) the indicators still don't work but everything else seems to be OK (to be honest there isn't that much!).

The paint still needs to be flatted but the big problem is this:

The new paint (over the seal in the gutter) is a slightly different colour that the older paint (which is still new-ish). For the time being, I'll flat and cut it and then have a big long think of what to do.

Now for the van, well I've had a few issues with her over the past couple of weeks, the throttle staying on, the alternator bracket coming loose and running out of fuel (therefore risking fuel flow issues) , but I wasn't in the mood for sorting any of these things, so I took up scraping off the terrible paint work on the units.

before - as advertised on ebay

The varnish hadn't been keyed, so it was mostly easy, but where the varnish was worn, it proved a little more tricky. I'm generally pleased with the results though.

some bits were harder than others

I'm a bit of a stalker of all things Commer Autosleeper on the web and as such check out all the photos of ones that come up for sale, this obsession revealed that I haven't been setting up the bed properly (and now couldn't because of the kids seats) so I've had a little think about it.

a bigger bed (with crumpled corners)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Dads Entertainment

This weekend has been one for the Dads. The headline event was my father-in-law 59th birthday. We had decided a good while ago to go down to Manchester to make sure it was good one. Luckily this gave us an opportunity to pop by and say hi to some of the lads from the good old days who have recently become dads.

With the inlaws being in Manchester, having a little time to play with and navigation being a relaxed affair with the Commer; we decided to visit my old mate Andy, his partner Claire and their new(ish) baby boy Tom. They live just outside Sunderland so it was a bit of a detour. On Thursday night Andy and Claire kindly showed us to Lizard Lane campsite and we stopped off for fish and chips on the way. Did you know they tend to cook their chips in Ground Nut oil in the north east? Posh or what?! This set us up for an hour or so of classic camper van fun. Fish and Chips (mine without nutoil!), a few cans of cider and sitting watching the sunset by the sea as the kids played round the van - how good is that?! We're really looking forward to doing it again at a site somewhere on the gorgeous Northumbrian coast.

As you can see the weather was really good .

sleepy heads after a nights partying

I can see the sea!
Friday morning, we headed off to Manchester. This gave us the chance to visit new dad #2. Lee, Sal and Elliot now have a beautiful baby girl (still unnamed) to add to the family. Lucky the Mrs wasn't there - she would have been badgering me for another.

I know Lee from way back, I used to rent his spare room and he is something of a Classic Car Godfather for me. The list of his past fleet includes lots of Splitscreen VW vans (getting earlier and earlier) and various Fiats (X19s and 127s mostly). The current fleet includes an early Samba and a Ferrari Dino - both mint.

Once I had torn myself away from the cute baby and fantastic cars, it was time for the main event - Richards birthday party. It was a pretty simple affair which consisted of lots of wine, ace food and good company.

The kids had a whale of a time playing in the garden (exploring the Jungle), and uncle Chris showed off his scootering skills and even got some air (pictures have been censored - sorry)
Jungle Jim

The epic journey (need to check the limited mileage policy) finally took us to Morecambe. This proper little seaside town is a favourite of ours. Its a beautifully honest place, where chips are still cheap and the sun isn't guaranteed.
Lancaster Forton Services - a classic pitstop
cold! - is it? yeah!

bad parenting

The iconic Midland hotel has recently been refurbished and is now open to the public. Will the Morecambe magic be spoilt?

After playing on the beach, we took a walk in the sun down the stone jetty for coffee and chips. Despite all the refurbishment and up and comingness of the town, Morecambe showed us the British seaside experience will never die... begain to rain.
So, another great weekend was had by all.

Of course there is another old mate who has become a new dad. Mark and Alison have also had a little baby last week.

Congratulations Andy and Claire, Lee and Sal, Mark and Allison all the best!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Due to popular demand - there will be a re-count on the vote .... (This isn't Zimbabwe you know)

Put together and drive : 1
Restore to bling retro motor : 0

yup, its "Put together and drive". To be honest that was my choice (I couldn't vote - thats democracy for you), but the opposition was put forward by a perfectionist Frenchman - Fred. He came round a couple of months ago to use the garage to spray one of his (many) bikes. We did a rather good job (well he did), and he suggested the "garage queen" option. Surprising really as the longer Molly stays in the garage the less space he has for his bike!