Sunday, July 29, 2012

Changes afoot

Back in May I mentioned some changes and additions to the van but never quite got round to writing about them. Things have come on even more since then and my husband is currently in the process of lining the roof with plyboard ready to carpet it. Up to now we've used the van as it was, half finished with just parts of the sides boarded but the roof was just the bare fibreglass. When ever we were cooking or if it was raining and cold outside (which it has been mainly for the last two summers) condensation soon built up on the fibreglass roof making it quite wet to the touch. This is also a problem overnight from the condensation produced by our breathing. We've pondered over this problem for some time as I keep thinking that if we line the roof, even with insulation the condensation is still going to be there and eventually whatever we line the roof with is going to become damp. However it's no good the way it is. It doesn't look good and is obviously unfinished and every time we put things in storage over the cab they get wet from the roof.

In the end we decided it can't stay the way it is so we will just have to take the chance of damp occurring and decided to line it anyway and hope for the best. Before we went away in July my husband had already lined the part of the roof that goes over the cab. I love this space as I can fit loads in there. Unfortunately the space has become a little bit smaller because of the lining but I can still fit my two large plastic underbed storage containers up there. It's also good because now when we get up in the morning we can shove pillows and anything else up there without it getting soaking wet from condensation. We used household loft insulation between the roof and the plyboard. There is also a layer of tin foil between the insulation and the board with the idea being that the foil will make it a little bit harder for heat from the van to get through and meet up with the cold of the fibreglass roof, just hope it works.

Loft insulation in space over cab.

Underbed storage containers hold loads

We are doing quite well for storage. When we first started out with the van I did wonder where we were going to put everything. We've got the small wardrobe that as well as fitting our hanging clothes in, also fits two fold up camping chairs, a small TV, waste water bucket, the battery and various other bits and bobs and still has a small cupboard above the wardrobe that fits folded clothes. The underbed storage container on the right also contains clothes such as jeans etc and the one on the left holds our plates, jug, wine glasses, teatowels etc. Pans and kitchen type stuff reside in a cupboard under the microwave and the gas bottle and water container are in another cupboard under the sink. We also have a couple of colourful plastic tubs and small plastic baskets which are handy to store other loose stuff in like soap, shaving stuff and the like. These are really handy because it keeps everything together and can easily be moved out of the way into the awning when we set up.

Brilliant for storage.
Out with the old......
Last year when we started the van we looked at hobs. They are a ridiculous price for what is effectively a two ring hob and a grill if you're really lucky. They all seem to be made by one manufacturer Neff, not exactly renowned for being cheap. So we bought a second hand hob/gill and combined sink unit off ebay. We were never happy with it. The sink was OK but the cooker was old and rusty. Not really sure why they insist on making the pan holder out of thin chrome covered rod. The chrome cannot withstand the heat of butane gas and soon ends up looking very shabby and the metal glows moulton red when heated up and becomes worn and mis-shapen. 

Old hob
And in with the new........
We decided to cut the sink off and keep it but get rid of the hob and grill as it didn't look good. We now have the sink with a worktop at the side of it replacing the hob with a portable camping stove for the time being. This is not acceptable as far as the DVLA is concerned as they state it must have a fixed hob but we have our change of vehicle now and this is only a temporary measure until we have the funds for a new gas hob. It is so much better. The camping stove has two rings and a grill and after making a board to cover the sink, sits on top of the sink when we're using it with a nice work surface to the side. When we're on the move it is held in place with bungee elastic straps and only cost £30 from Go Outdoors.

The sink is under the cooker which can easily be accessed if needed.

Green silicone mat - great for putting hot pans or the kettle on.

Cooking is a whole lot easier with the new layout as there is somewhere to put plates when dishing out. The cutlery now fits neatly under the worktop where the grill used to be. When not cooking the worktop can accommodate the TV we bought which when you can actually get a signal is so much better than staring at the walls at night or watching the tea go round in the microwave.

So that's about it for changes so far. All for the better and we have just purchased some fabric liner for the walls and ceiling.

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