Sunday, 19 August 2012

First trip - FINALLY !

Apologies for the lack of posting BUT its been for all the right reasons as the Fiftythree Flying Cloud is finally rolling down the road and we've been enjoying her rather than blogging !
Her first outing was to our favourite music festival - The Larmer Tree Festival  in mid-July
After all the problems I've had sorting the hitch, axle and shocks, it all seemed worth is as she towed like a dream. Straight as a die and with the Volvo cruise on 55mph, not a weave or wiggle.
 Despite sodden ground, the 4WD Volvo towed her in just fine & we pitched camp. My brother & his family we're first of many to join us in their bell tent.
Sadly the weather was more monsoon than balmy heatwave !
But the music was great & the setting stunning as usual 
Paloma Faith headlining on Thursday 
... at least she was dry ! 
 Happy to report a very comfy first night's sleep
and the rain on the roof is rather more comforting than hearing it on canvas ! 
There hadn't been time to fit the Princess stove,

so coffee was brewed outside on the trusty camping gas stove
 in the even more trusty (though it does need some new rubber seals) Atomic coffee maker.
Coffee, a bacon roll and you're ready for anything ! 
Well, almost anything ! We've had rain at the festival before but nothing like this.
 The setting is (unsurprisingly) the wonderful Larmer Tree Gardens; laid out in the late 19th century by Augustus Pitt Rivers (he of the famous Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford) 
 The shine isn't quite up to scratch yet but its good enough for my sister-in-law's make-up !
... and before you pick me up on it, the orange reflector is a very temporary fix as my order of side marker lights still hadn't arrived from Vintage Trailer Supplies
We also hadn't had time to sort out a proper awning for the awning rail, so the large green sail awning was a last minute solution 
The brilliant Amadou and Mariam headlined on Saturday night (I last filmed them in Bamako in 2009 in rather more tropical rain) but we also enjoyed Tim Minchin, Caravan Palace, The Levellers, Edward II, Raghu Dixit and Imagined Village
 ...despite the mud !
Hitch assembly with a Winterhoff anti-sway coupling. 
Kathryn in her festival footwear. 
And a 17th birthday celebration for No 1 son,
Sandy - Happy Birthday 
Despite a slight let-up in the deluge, we were very glad of the awning 
Kathryn's curtains looked fantastic  

We've yet to fit (or restore) the Marvel fridge but I'm very happy with the way the wood & the Zolatone  compliment each other
 ... and the 50s curtains finish it off perfectly. 
 Mud, mud, not so glorious...
 ...mud !
  But despite the weather and all the jobs still to finish, it was fantastic to finally have her rolling down the road

 Work has been pretty flat out, so it was touch and go as to whether I'd have time to get her ready for her first outing to the festival... so having got her there made that first drink all the sweeter !

Its been a long time coming - Cheers !

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Steps, cupboards & axles. Getting ready to GO !

With the Marmoleum down, it was time to sort out the entrance step 
Aluminium edging & some ridged aluminium for the riser. 
THe front & rear edging strips refitted with stainless self-tappers this time 
And back to George for the final tweaking & fitting of the spring hangers & shock absorbers 
 Cut, grind and...
The original hangers were fine but since they slightly overhung the main frame rail, they needed some reinforcement 
Axle with brake lines (inertia brakes as legal in the UK & EU, rather than electric brakes in the US) ready to re-hang 
Hopefully flying without wheels for the last time 

New shock absorber mounts welded to the frame cross-member & the new axle
 I know some say you don't need shocks but having towed her up & down a bumpy track, without them she did bounce rather too much
 She came without a bumper, so we've stretched a VW Camper one which looks the part
Mounting brackets welded on & she's ready to refit 
 Meanwhile the interior refit continues - toilet compartment in 
...and on the opposite side the wardrobes 
For the bed we went for a foam mattress with memory foam top layer as this was easy to cut down to the exact size (& to get a snug fit to the inner curves 
 I'd renewed the vinyl beaded edging going for a light grey rather than the original cream. It finished off those joins between cabinets or between the walls & interior skin really nicely. 
 I also used a 'U' profile self-gripping edge ing for the hanging cupboards. We got ours from the wonderful Woolies - car restoration motor trimmers - very helpful for all kinds or weird trim
 Of course just when I need the time to work on the Flying Cloud my tv work has been really busy, so while there was no way I was going to have time to get the plumbing for the sink done in time, I was still keen to have as much of the interior cabinetry in before we headed off to or regular mid-July music festival
 I intend to renew the formica on the sink top but for now she'll have to do

 Cabinet doors, the delaminated sections re-glued, sanded and revarnished, looked surprisingly good.
 No time to fit the stove - the fire & camping gas will have to do this summer
 ...and after.
 ...and after. Medicine cupboard & magazine rack still to fit.