Dub Freeze 2014

The sun was shining, so all the Dub nuts set off to Stafford County Show Ground for the first big show of the year: Dub Freeze!

We were very excited to be out in Rufus, who was running like a dream:

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The sound, the smell, the stance. Love him!

A post shared by arch (@archduchess_) on

dubfreeze roadtrip selfie

We got into an impromptu convoy on the way, then arrived in the day parking field and managed to do a bit of ploughing as we crossed the grass, whoops!

convoy splitscreen van beetle dubfreeze

convoy splitscreen van beetle dubfreeze wedge t25

beetle vw lowered slammed ruby red dubfreeze

beetle vw lowered slammed ruby red dubfreeze

We entered the showground and met Rufus’s brother!

beetle vw ruby red dubfreeze

And saw lots of other lovely cars and vans on show and for sale:

karmann ghia dubfreeze

vw splitscreen badge target mod jam dubfreeze

dubfreeze beetle vw

dubfreeze vw splitscreen ratlook

Inside the hall it was very busy and there was lots to see, with lots of traders and autojumble:

dubfreeze 2014

dubfreeze 2014

dubfreeze bay vw lamp

splitscreen vw van coca cola cooler dubfreeze

dubfreeze bay window reflection paint

rusty front panel dubfreeze bay window

bromsgrove auto trimmers bat dubfreeze

Beautiful work from Bromsgrove, as always.

A good variety of watercooled and aircooled cars in the show and shine:

vw golf mark 1 dubfreeze show and shine

beetle vw slammed narrowed beam dubfreeze show and shine

vw golf r32 slammed show and shine dubfreeze

vw golf mark 2 dubfreeze show and shine

vw lupo dubfreeze show and shine

hang loose wahugoy lupo vw show and shine dubfreeze

vw fastback dubfreeze show and shine

vw fastback dubfreeze show and shine

vw scirocco dubfreeze show and shine

vw scirocco dubfreeze show and shine

vw scirocco dubfreeze show and shine

vw beetle dubfreeze show and shine

vw beetle karmann ghia dubfreeze show and shine

vw golf mark 2 dubfreeze show and shine

dubfreeze show and shine beetle vw slammed

The Carole Nash Sparkplug challenge!

dubfreeze carole nash sparkplug change challenge

dubfreeze carole nash sparkplug change challenge

dubfreeze chocolate vw brownies

dubfreeze where's alan steve festival hat

Alan, Alan, Alan

hayburner sticker speed bumps lowered slammed idiot dubfreeze
Great sticker from Hayburner.

There was lots to see, lots of familiar faces, and good to meet up with friends, including Claire, who got intimately acquainted with Rufus whilst checking his ride height!

vw beetle slammed dubminx ride height

What a great start to the 2014 show season, all the bad weather we’ve had recently hadn’t made the parking too quagmirish, although some people did get stuck, and a good turnout from punters and traders alike meant that there was something for everyone.

What’s your next show going to be? Let us know in the comments.

We’re looking forward to meeting up with more friends at SpringDub on March 2nd. See you there!

Coming soon to a show near you

Rooobarb and I decided to have a more formal discussion about the shows were were planning to attend this year.

We’d had a chat back in maybe October or November, and jotted down a few possibles, with the plan to eliminate a few and go camping on our own instead of doing the show thing so much this year. Last year, being our first year of camper ownership, we went a bit crazy with the show attending, and spent lots of money out of the “Repairing old Volkswagens” fund. We said we wouldn’t do as many shows this year.

We got our list out. And ended up adding to it. Whoops.

So our plan for the year looks something like this:

Day visit – 16th February – DubFreeze, Stafford

Day visit – 2nd March – Spring Dub, Harrogate

Easter Weekend – 18th-21st April – Bus Types, Oswestry

Early May Bank Holiday Weekend – 3rd-5th May – Vicky Farm and Stanford Hall

Weekend – 17th-18th May All Types VW Show, Bodelwyddan Castle, Wales

Day Visit – 21st-22nd June – CumbriaVAG, Kendal

Weekend – 4th-6th July – Camper Jam, Shropshire

End of Term Weekend – 18th-20th July – Dubs at the Castle, Monmouthshire

Day Visit – 3rd August – Tatton Park, Cheshire

Day Visit – 8th-10th August – Blackpool Breeze

Weekend – 15th – 17th August – VW Festival, Leeds

Weekend – 5th-7th September – Busfest, Malvern

Weekend – 12th-14th September – VW Field of Dreams

Weekend – 26th-28th September – Dubs int Dales


Other camping:

Goredale Scar

Coniston Hall


Where are you going camping this summer? What shows do you fancy? Let us know in the comments!

Kombi Life Magazine: Custard in print.

After writing a review of Field of Dreams VW Show, Custard was invited by the editor of Kombi Life magazine to submit it for publication.

Kombi Life is a digital magazine, that is available for mobile/tablets and PC/Mac, and at £1.99 per issue or £6.99 for a year’s subscription, it’s a very reasonably-priced way for you to get your fill of the VW scene, and with about 200 pages per issue, you certainly get your money’s worth!

With features on all vans from splits through to T5s, show news and reviews and all the usual features you would expect from a VW magazine, Kombi Life is a welcome addition to the VW magazine scene.

Kombi life issue 4

You can read Custard’s review in Issue 4 of Kombi Life, available now. Back issues are also available for download at £1.99 each.

Kombi life field of dreams

I did not receive payment for this review.

Archie’s Mirror

This was the book I read when we went to Dubs in’t Dales. Emma at The Gift Shed has written a great review. Do go and give Emma’s blog and Archie’s Mirror a read!

The Gift Shed's Blog



It’s been a while since I last reviewed a book, and although I usually stick to reviews of craft books I’m breaking with tradition to help promote my brother-in-sin’s* latest offering.

Archie’s Mirror is Geoff Turner’s first foray into writing children’s literature, and it’s really rather good (for non-Brits, this translates as “excellent”).

Of course you may well be reading this and thinking “Well of course she’s giving it a good review, it was written by someone in her family.”

That’s not the case at all.  Although I tweeted briefly about it the day the book was published on Amazon, I refused to blog about it until I’d actually read it – and I certainly wouldn’t recommend something unless I truly liked it!  Family and friends of the author were promoting Archie’s Mirror all over Twitter and Facebook immediately after it was published, but I preferred to wait and…

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Meet Rufus.

Some of you may know that Rooobarb’s trusty Seat Ibiza decided to break itself in spectacular fashion, dropping a gear fork into the gearbox amongst other things, making it uneconomical to repair.

So we decided that the time was right to replace our hitherto reliable and sensible daily driver with something air-cooled and full of personality.

From our Beetle pumpkin design it is fairly obvious what our tastes are and what sort of bug we were looking for. So we were really pleased when we went down to Bidford-upon-Avon to see Alex’s 67 in original ruby paint:

show and shine line up beetles campers

red patina ruby vw beetle interior steering wheel

ruby red patina beetle vw slammed stance

ruby red patina beetle vw slammed stance

ruby red patina beetle vw slammed stanc

And decided that it was the car for us. Rooobarb drove it home with no drama, although the fact that it is slammed made getting it up the dropped kerb into our back yard interesting!

backyard bugThe plan is to use it as a daily driver, although that plan took a slight hit when the accelerator cable became disconnected on Day 2 of garage manoeuvres, and we subsequently discovered that the pedal assembly was incomplete and would need replacing or reconditioning if it was going to be in regular use. So, currently, the car is off the road, with a reconditioned late pedal assembly in place, which means new cables that are slightly longer to reach at both ends. But hopefully back on the road this week. The car is mechanically sound, full of lovely period charm and solid underneath. Who could ask for more. Watch this space for further updates.

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce Rufus!

red vw beetle patina slammed

red vw beetle patina slammed night streetlight

red vw beetle patina slammed

red vw beetle patina slammed

Incidentally, the name Rufus means redhead. Works for us! There are other interesting links to his name too, but you’ll have to wait for those until another day…

My own amazing space

As a fan of George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, I was really impressed with how Emma has created and adapted a working space at the end of her garden. With bonus cute puppy pics too!

The Gift Shed's Blog

Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I’ll begin…

studio 29-09-2011_01

I’m a big fan of George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, so I thought I would share my own amazing space with the world.  I’m incredibly proud of it, and love it to death – so I hope you enjoy this little peek into the creation of my unique work space.  It’s been quite a long journey, and the studio has continued to evolve over time; this is merely the latest regeneration but it dawned on me that it would be no bad thing to have the whole journey (to date) recorded in one place.

Once upon a time I decided to build a studio at the end of my garden.  It sounds so simple when it’s put like that, but it was quite an emotional thing.  I had a lovely studio in Brentford (click here to see some photos of that), but…

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Thanks, Volkswagen!

You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I carved a Beetle pumpkin for Hallowe’en, and decided to pop it on Volkswagen UK’s Facebook page.

pumpkin vw beetle slammed halloween

They chose it as one of their finalists in their pumpkin competition, and it was chosen by fans to be one of the top three pumpkins, meaning I won a prize!

pumpkins facebook uk volkswagen

On Friday I had a “while you were out” card from the postman, and on Saturday morning I went and collected this:

volkswagen splitscreen uk moneybox camper

Which now means we’ve got a bit of a show and shine line up going on in our living room, with the Lego camper my parents bought us last Christmas.

volkswagen splitscreen uk moneybox camper lego

volkswagen splitscreen uk moneybox camper lego_8

Yay! Lucky old me. Thanks Volkswagen. That was a really nice thing to do, the money box came really quickly, and brought an extra smile to my face as I didn’t carve the pumpkin to win a prize, just for my own amusement. It made me smile lots though that so many people liked it.

Now, what do I carve to top that next year? I was thinking an Evolution of Van line up – best start earlier if I’m going to be carving 5 pumpkins!


dubs evolution decal sticker camper transporter t2 t25 t4 t5 splitscreen bay wedge

November camping

After our end of season camp out at Dubs In’t Dales, we thought that that would be our camping done for 2013. However, our friends Andy and Gill invited us to a bonfire and fireworks party at their picturesque home, Harwes Farm.

With lots of visitors expected, the bedrooms and sofas were booked up, but with Andy desperate to meet Ruby, we decided that we should bring her out for one more adventure.

We were really pleased that Ruby started first time when we collected her, although she was a little chilly and sluggish, and took a little while to warm up and chug away contentedly. The sound of her flat 4 engine summoned a fellow splitty owner – who had just bought his prize-winning 11 window Devon camper, Sally.

918 TAL splitscreen 11 window vw camper devon sally

We had a good chat about buses, shows, bootcamps, keys and engines and exchanged numbers so that we can meet up and help each other out. It’s always good to be in touch with local VW owners!

We set off for Harwes Farm in the dark, wind and rain, and navigated the country roads and narrow twisting farm tracks mainly without incident. Ruby was a very popular guest at the party, particularly with 10 year old Emily, who declared Ruby to be “EPIC!” and insisted on helping with parking her up and setting up the bed (sitting in the passenger seat and enthusing wildly about everything is very helpful, especially for morale, when it is dark and raining!)

The party was superb, with food, drink, fireworks, karaoke, and insanely talented musicians. At 1am we toddled out to bed down in Ruby and found that camping on a moorside in the wind is a little bit different to the camping that we’ve experienced so far! Ruby rocked around a bit in the wind, and the bonks, clonks and wobbles made for a largely restless night, particularly for Rooobarb.

We woke this morning to beautiful sun, slightly less wind and breathtaking views across the moors, which Ruby enjoyed.

Ruby vw splitscreen panel van Harwes farm

Ruby vw splitscreen panel van Harwes farm

Ruby vw splitscreen panel van Harwes farm

Ruby vw splitscreen panel van Harwes farm


After a couple of strong cups of coffee, we set off back to bed Ruby down in her garage again – where the owner handily jetwashed the road grime off her (although his jetwash is more powerful than the one at the garage, so Custard in the driving seat ended up a little soggy!)

Is that the last of the camping adventures for 2013? Well, with a New Year’s Eve party at Harwes Farm mentioned last night, it would be rude of us to do Ruby out of another opportunity to be cooed over and admired 😉 Let’s just hope for less wind!

Beetle Crisis – Pumpkin Edition!

In the run up to Hallowe’en, a lot of friends have been sending me pictures of pumpkins carved into the shape of splitscreen vans, being as how I’m an aficionado of of both Hallowe’en and splitties.

I, however, decided to be contrary, and carved a Beetle into my pumpkin instead. I’m really pleased with how it turned out!

pumpkin vw beetle slammed halloween

pumpkin vw beetle slammed halloween

pumpkin vw beetle slammed halloween

pumpkin vw beetle slammed halloween

The day after, some of the trim was starting to look a little rusty:

pumpkin vw beetle slammed halloween

And today, my poor pumpkin can only be described as “ratty!”

pumpkin vw beetle slammed halloween

In need of a resto, methinks!

If you like my pumpkin, please go and give the photo a like on Volkswagen UK’s Facebook page – I’m in with a chance of winning a VW Camper moneybox. Thanks!

George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces

Last week, some friends pointed me in the direction of George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces. It has everything to appeal to my interests – from a cute paper splitty in the credits, to amazing and quirky uses of unusual spaces.

After catching up with last week’s episode, I popped onto the 4OD website where Series 1 is available to watch (if you register). There are several glimpses of campervans during the series, including an interview with a couple at Bug Jam where they show off their lovely splitty.

The first episode of Series 2 also featured a couple of glimpses of Florence of Polly’s Parlour – hopefully she’ll be making a bigger appearance in future episodes.

Campervans aside, there were many exciting and incredible small spaces to inspire and excite, from the Victorian underground toilets converted into a beautiful flat, offices and work spaces in reclaimed tube carriages and shipping containers to beautiful beach houses and cabins in the woods. I also enjoyed watching the progress of George’s own static caravan, which developed, with a lot of hard work and hours of toil, from something unloved and stuck in the 1970s to a beautiful piece of modern design. His project this series is an accessible tree house, the progress of which I will be following with interest.

Some people didn’t like that the ambulance in the first episode of Series 2 was being converted to a camper, or that the couple paid an expert to carry out the work rather than do it themselves. In my opinion, a repurposed ambulance is better than a rusting, forgotten ambulance in a field somewhere, and if we all tried to do things to the best of our abilities, rather than employing people who were good at them, my daily driver would not be running, but I’d not need it to go to work, seeing as how you’d all be educating your children at home 😉

The great thing about this programme is that it gets you thinking about how to use the space and materials you have more efficiently, and how something functional and practical can also be insanely beautiful. As a child, I harboured a notion of living in a double decker bus for a brief period of time – the space provided would be palatial, if utilised wisely!

George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces is on Channel 4 at 8pm on Thursday.

An episode guide for Series One can be found here.