We want a wardrobe, a fridge, cupboards, under seat storage areas, a cooker unit and while you’re at it you may as well throw in the proverbial kitchen sink.  Those instructions clear enough for you Ahhh John?

Ahhh feck!

It’s amazing what you can squeeze into a bus if you plan it really carefully.  And the best way to really plan it really carefully is to live in it for a while and work out what you need and what works best.  Well, that’s the best way, but given the skankyness of the existing interior there simply wasn’t time to plan this way, so we basically copied the existing layout.

It’s April 2010, and the bus would be getting its summer road tax at the end of April, so the interior needed to be ready by then as our summer plans were beginning to take shape with our road trip to France set for July 2010 already planned and booked.  We had the seats already upholstered, the curtains made and the pop top popped.  Ahhh John had his work cut out. 

Sketched Layout

The main cabinet space was going to run the length of the right hand side of the bus, opposite the sliding door.  Directly behind the driver’s seat was to be the wardrobe, followed by a long worktop running to the back of the bus.  Beneath the worktop and next to the wardrobe we were going to house the fridge.  The door to this would double up as a table top when lifted open.  The sink would sit in the worktop above the fridge.  Next to this we designed a tall floor to worktop cupboard, then a little cupboard just beneath the worktop alongside the rear seat.  To complete the set at the rear of the bus would be a long cupboard accessed from the worktop top.  The cooker unit would sit directly behind the passenger seat.  The rear seat would house built-in storage space underneath.  The last item was the rock’n’roll bed itself, which is the rear seat by day and bed by night.  The existing one was probably OK, but the cushion covers, which were stapled on, were absolutely rank, so we binned the lot.  So nothing too difficult or demanding.  Some might say “That’s Easy !!”[1] 

Ahhh John was given quite a simple brief and quite a simple plan.  I say plan – more of a sketch really.  The rest of Ahhh John’s remit was pure free style including how to dove tail, fix, glue, secure and wedge it all into place.  There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with wood in the bus, back out the bus, plane the wood a bit, back in the bus, back out the bus, plane a bit more, ahh feck, sand a bit, shave a bit, smooth a bit, to finally look at that baby, she ain’t going nowhere! as the latest piece slid perfectly into place.  There would be no wobble room in this fit out.

Full credit to Ahhh John.  Lots of improvisation, swearing, trips to Jewsons, Homebase, B&Q, the local iron mongers (who don’t sell iron – we’ve been here before) and of course the local chippy for fodder.  It probably took Ahhh John about two weeks of work to have all the wood ready for the final fit.  Before that though, it all needed painting……….to make it completely and utterly underwaterproof…………

Wine while you paint

Four Coats, three brushes, two T-shirts and one cardigan! 

That’s what I went through painting the interior woodwork.  Two coats of primer, sanded in between, plus two coats of kitchen/bathroom paint, sanded in between.  I did all this in the house kitchen, which for a while became a bit of a giant wooden jigsaw factory with loads of odd shaped bits of wood, some wet with paint, some dry and some with two, three or four coats of paint.  I hate painting. 

With everything painted[3] Ahhh John was brought back to complete the fit out.  Ruddy Rilliant!!  I think, dare I say it, that the bus was just about ready to hit the road.  Except for one last job – to cut a hole in the worktop for the kitchen sink.  We used the original sink and this remains the only piece from the original fittings that we retained.  One day, perhaps, I might get round to actually plumbing the sink in. 

[1]    That’s easy!! – (as quoted by Brave Brave Sir Robin from Monty Python’s Holy Grail).  Back in the days of college in Edinburgh me and my Aussie mate, Spud[2], watched the Holy Grail perhaps one or two times too many and would often quote snippets from the film.  Twenty years on and 12000 miles apart we still do, though normally by text messaging.  During these textathons one of us has usually had a few beers (normally the protagonist) and the other is crunching through a bowl of breakfast cornflakes.  Bring out your dead, run away run away, burn her burn her, one day lad all this will be yours – what the curtains?  I was so scared I soiled my armour…I’ve done it again.    I could go on.

[2]    Spud – my Aussie mate.  So called because that’s how his mum’s mid-wife described him as he entered the world.  “He’s a right little Spud isn’t he.

[3]    When I say everything was painted – I mean nearly everything.  I missed out the kickplate to the storage space under the rear seats.  One day I’ll get round to finishing off this bit.


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