The Piano Raft

After seeing a Facebook post from a friend talking about an unusual boat moored outside the Canal View Cafe in Rishton, and then an article in the Lancashire Telegraph about the owner’s search for some 55 gallon plastic drums to keep his boat afloat, we decided to go for a visit.

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Ben is a lovely chap, and his boat is an amazing creation of repurposed drawers and other materials, including a bathtub, and a piano at the rear.

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Ben has plans to use the salvaged windows to build an enclosed glass area on the boat, as well as using at least 10 plastic drums and expanding foam to keep the boat afloat, as the front end has sunk somewhat after he was entertaining some guests. He has a very clear idea of what he needs to do with the barrels to get the boat ship shape, and then he can continue on his journey to London, complete with his piano. He’s been called a ‘nomad’ and compared to Johnny Depp playing Roux in Joanne Harris’ Chocolat.

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If you have access to some 55 gallon plastic drums that you could donate to Ben, he’d love to hear from you. You can phone him on 07957924858 or follow his travels on the Piano Raft blog.

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It was lovely to meet you, Ben, and we hope that you get your drums soon and continue on your journey!


More VW Love in Northern Cyprus

When we got married in Northern Cyprus in 2013 we saw a few VWs, and again the following year, mainly Beetles, and the odd bay window. As we left from Ercan airport in June 2014, we caught a glimpse of a splitscreen van in a scrapyard, and, more intriguingly, what appeared to be a garage forecourt full of Karmann Ghias on the road from Nicosia towards Ercan.

Fast forward to April 2015 when we visited again, and everyone in our party was on the look out for VWs!

Pa and Ma Custard mad some good spots, including a bay window sliding door panel van, and a splitscreen panel van (the best kind):








One day, after a visit to St Hilarion Castle and a drive past Buffavento and through the mountains (best bit of road ever, it has to be driven whilst listening to On Days Like These by Matt Monro, as it is a very Italian Job-eqsue experience, without an unfortunate ending in a tunnel) we set off in search of the fabled garage of Ghias that we had spotted on our previous trip.

We drove up and down the road where we had remembered seeing them, and were about to give up looking, when we decided to go a little closer to Nicosia, and we hit the goldmine!


We spied some very familiar-shaped dusty noses, and pulled up to peep through the fence.





As we were looking, a guy pulled up in a large Japanese pick up, and we quickly realised that he was the owner of the garage – he’d been driving back from a car rally, had seen us looking and pulled over – what a great coincidence! He let us in to have a better look:

















He mainly imports cars from Japan, and said that all the Ghias could be for sale for the right price, except his own that he was restoring inside one of his garages:


What a bit of luck we had, being able to get up close and see these fabulous cars. I’d love to see them back on the road and being used. Perhaps if we ever go through with our plan of moving to Northern Cyprus we need to buy one. I can’t see that driving an air-cooled car in a really hot country would cause us any issues at all! 😉

What old beauties have you ever seen stashed away? Is your VW a barn find? Let us know in the comments!