Due to having to start back at work after the summer earlier than usual this year, me and Mazza were going to do our annual fortnight in Ireland [a week visiting the mammy and a week camping in the wilds] a month earlier. We usually go mid to late September. This year we were going the middle two weeks in August.
When we got Herman, we’d thought he’d be all converted up by the time we went away in him but, as we all know, work expands to fill the available time and we were nowhere near ready. In my defence, I could say that I had spent a fair bit of my time just getting the oul’ boy to the stage where at least I thought I could rely on him to start and drive OK [although the sudden alternator shenanigans was a bit of a worry!]
Anyway, with only a few days left til we were off, it was time to do a bit of quick sorting out inside, emptying Herman of the mountain of salvaged wood and pieces of carpet, which had been accumulating in the back over the previous months - and then constructing some kind of temporary sleeping/seating/eating space, so we could at least have somewhere comfy to kip and a place to cook and eat our dinner.
To, that end we set to work. Like I said, the first job was to clear all the crap out of the back [we’ve now got wood piled up in all sorts of weird corners and crevices in the house!]. This took us the best part of the afternoon but, by the time we’d finished, at least we could see how much space we had to work with.
With most of the crap cleaned out of the back, we could start to think about how to do this thing. We had an old sofa bed thingy with some parts of frame for it and also a fairly decent stash of assorted bits of wood.
I hummed and hah’ed for quite a while, trying to think of a way I could quickly build some kind of bed base, which could also double as a sofa and eating area. The problem was that every way I could think of doing it seemed to me to be quite a bit of work, and we had only a couple of days left to get it sorted.
Then I remembered that I had an old iron bedstead up in the attic that I’d salvaged years ago when my mammy was going to bin it and which had lain, gathering dust up there ever since [like most of my collection of ‘things which might come in handy some day’!]
Up I went into the attic and, after shovelling aside about another half ton of assorted broken pointless crap, found the old bedstead. another knuckle-grazing episode later and I had managed to manhandle it out of the attic and down into the house. Now it only remained to be seen if it would fit in the back of Herman…
Success! - the old iron bedstead fitted almost perfectly across the width of the van, at the back
Things were looking up! Now, obviously, in an ideal world, the last thing you’d want to do would be to start constructing the inside of a camper using cast iron, but this was just a temporary measure and the old bedstead gave me a ready-made frame to build upon that fitted just nicely across the back of the van.
Next, we spent an annoyingly irritating twenty minutes or so, removing all the springs from the bedstead, so we were left with just the frame. I reckoned I could mount this on some wooden legs, thus giving us some storage space underneath and then attach a couple of the sofa-bed frame pieces across the top, to form the sitting/lying platform.
Springs removed from the bedstead and in the process of raising it up on some wooden legs. Part of the old sofa-bed frame sitting across it, while I cogitate on how to do this.
Things must be serious -Mazza’s getting her hands dirty! Seen here sanding the rough edges off my improvised bed legs.
Two of the frame sections from the sofa-bed bolted onto the bedstead frame. The more rugged one on the left will double up as the seat, when the bed’s folded. The lighter one on the right will serve as a table [although, at this stage, I’m not q-u-i-i-i-t-e sure how!]
Well, this was as far as we got before low-light stopped play. Not a bad day’s work really. And quite exciting; even tho’ this is just a temporary rush job, it’s the first bit of proper camper conversion we’ve had a chance to do. Everything else, up to this point has just been repairs, cleaining and painting.