Bus Types 2014

We set off bright and early to pick Ruby up. The sun was shining, so we paused for a quick “Make Love not War” photo at the Leyland tank, before heading down to Oswestry Show Ground for Bus Types.

Bus Types 2014

We did a Pindy on the way:

Bus Types 2014

And arrived to find a very busy showground, but found just enough space to squeeze Ruby into, to get set up in order to enjoy a relaxed evening:

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

Whilst the show was overcast and breezy for much of the weekend, there were lots of traders with a good variety of clothes, handcrafted goods, autojumble and food to enjoy, and some excellent Volkswagens in the Show and Shine field:

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

We set off on Sunday shortly before the heavens opened, and Custard managed to drive Ruby back and get her under cover before she got all wet and dirty.

Bus Types 2014
Bus Types 2014

Bank holiday Monday provided ample opportunity for Rooobarb to get down and dirty with Rufus’s rear hubs, which are going to need some different castle nuts in order to fit on properly. Fun and games!
Bus Types 2014

See you at our next show – Stanford Hall!


Spring Dub 2014

I forgot to post my photos from Spring Dub, what with all the excitement of breaking down, but here they are.

We liked the fact that the show was indoors, what with all the rain and all that, but there were still some good cars to see outdoors too.

There were mixed messages about bringing dogs to the show, which caused problems for some owners.

A mixture of air and water-cooled vehicles, and a few traders, and it was good fun to meet up with some Twitter friends.

Just a bit of a bugger that we broke down on the way home, but that wasn’t the show’s fault! Thanks to all the veedubbers who stopped on the way home to see if we were alright!

There was lots to see:

Spring Dub Bay crew cab rust is not a crime

Spring Dub Yurt Glamping

Spring Dub Caddy

There were Mystery Machines:

Spring Dub Mystery Machine

Spring Dub Mystery Machine

Spring Dub Mystery Machine

Spring Dub Mystery Machine

And Golfs of all ages:

Spring Dub Yellow Golf Bagged

Spring Dub Golf

Including Mrs Doyle, Mk 1 Swallowtail Golf, belonging to our friends Carl and Claire:

Spring Dub Mk1 Golf Mrs Doyle

Spring Dub Mk1 Golf Mrs Doyle

Spring Dub Mk1 Golf Mrs Doyle

Spring Dub Golf

And Splitties of varying types:

Spring Dub Splitscreen VW

Spring Dub Splitscreen VW Loved all these cases:

Spring Dub Splitscreen VW

Spring Dub Splitscreen VW

Spring Dub BMX

Spring Dub Split screen twin cab

Spring Dub Splitscreen

The Pacha bus, built by the dad of one of my ex-pupils, who sadly passed away recently. RIP Craig.

Spring Dub Splitscreen Pacha Van

And many, many Beetles:

Spring Dub Beetle

Loved everything about this one!

Spring Dub Beetle Rat Look Patina

Spring Dub Beetle Rat Look Patina

Spring Dub Beetle Rat Look Patina

Spring Dub Beetle Rat Look Patina

Spring Dub Beetle Rat Look Patina

Spring Dub VolksRod

Spring Dub VolksRod

Spring Dub Beetle

Spring Dub Beetle
Spring Dub Beetle
Spring Dub Beetle

Spring Dub Beetle

Spring Dub Beetle

Spring Dub Beetle

Including badly behaved ones:

Spring Dub Beetle slammed patina Rufus

See you next time, at Bus Types!

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:

View this post on Instagram

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.

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!

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.

Dubs in’t Dales 2013

Dubs in’t Dales was an end of summer camp out held in the gorgeous surroundings of the Camp Hill Estate, Kirklington. Rather than a full blown show, it was a quiet camping event, with fewer stalls, but still lots going on to keep campers happy.

We arrived as the sun was setting, to a healthy amount of campers, but still plenty of space for everyone. The weather was great all weekend, although we should have camped on the other side of the field, where the sun had opportunity to dry out awnings etc. as the cooler weather made everything very damp!dubs in't dales camping

Saturday morning gave good opportunities for mooching, with a couple of stalls, including the most fantastic stall full of random oddments and trinkets, which when put together made an Aladdin’s cave of curiosity:

dubs in't dales stall oddments curios

Close to the entrance was parked VW Lulabelle, with a delicious assortment of cakes and biscuits, including a gluten free chocolate orange cake that was rich, moist and delicious, and two generous hunks of it may have found their way into Custard’s belly this weekend.

dubs in't dales vw lulabelle cake

dubs in't dales vw lulabelle cake

Sitting at the entrance, enjoying our cake and coffee, gave us ample opportunity to catch up with Kate and Kevin, the organisers, and to see some campers as they came in.

dubs in't dales bay split camper vw

There was plenty going on for everyone, with the opportunity to take part in quad biking, Segway riding, zip wire, high ropes, and an adventure playground on the Camp Hill Estate. There was also lots of woodland to enjoy and explore, and the Orangery cafe. In the afternoon, there was a sports day for children and adults alike.

Whilst Rooobarb wandered around the site and took some photos, Custard chose to find a patch of sunshine and curl up with a book (Archie’s Mirror by Geoff Turner, if you’re interested. It’s very good, and only 99p for Kindle)

dubs in't dales mint green bay window vw

dubs in't dales orange late bay window vw

dubs in't dales betsy boo t25 vw camper

dubs in't dales camper bay window blue vw

dubs in't dales chalkboard hi top bay window black vw

dubs in't dales bay window vw stickers red

dubs in't dales red 9 brm speedwell wheel

dubs in't dales deluxe trim splitscreen vw mint white

dubs in't dales splitscreen vw turquoise graffiti aircooled

dubs in't dales camping splitscreen vw

dubs in't dales custard reading

Early evening came, and it was time for a cruise through the Dales in our VWs, much to the amusement, amazement and bemusement of local residents!

dubs in't dales convoy bedale kirklington

dubs in't dales convoy vw bedale kirklington

dubs in't dales vw convoy bedale kirklington rhubarb and custard

dubs in't dales vw splitscreen convoy line up camper

dubs in't dales beetle blue splitscreen camper

dubs in't dales camper splitscreen bay deluxe green blue yellow

dubs in't dales camper vw splitscreen

dubs in't dales r u low enough rule?

dubs in't dales vw 1600 rear light

dubs in't dales splitscreen camper deluxe graffiti

dubs in't dales barn door vw splitscreen istanbul

dubs in't dales splitscreen vw camper deluxe graffiti

dubs in't dales steering wheel karmann ghia dashboard

dubs in't dales convoy splitscreen sunshine lei driving bay

We drove back to the campsite, had a spot of dinner, then it was up to the barn for another evening of top quality entertainment, including Pip Mountjoy, a superb female folk singer whose CD we bought for lazy Sunday morning camper music.

dubs in't dales band evening

dubs in't dales band pip mountjoy folk evening

Then, it was all change again, as we were encouraged to follow the organisers to the glamping yurt field, where there was a fantastic bonfire and fireworks, mmmm, toasty!

dubs in't dales bonfire  dubs in't dales fireworks

This was followed by more music and merriment in the barn, but we had no problem finding our way back to the van, thanks to Custard’s handy decoration with lots of solar-powered fairy lights.

dubs in't dales tent awning fairy lights grotto

Sunday brought more sunshine, and the show and shine, with a nice variety of air and water cooled vehicles on display.

dubs in't dales golf red

dubs in't dales golf mk2 green

dubs in't dales chrome vw badge polished red

dubs in't dales splitscreen camper vw line up

dubs in't dales kubelwagen trekker vw

dubs in't dales deluxe vw black chrome rust

dubs in't dales beetle gold resto

dubs in't dales vw volkswagen swag caddy

The entire weekend was a fantastic, laid back, chilled out event, with plenty going on – more things to take part in than some shows, if they took your fancy, or the opportunity just to chill out and enjoy the end of summer before the wet weather comes and vans have to be wrapped up. We will definitely be attending Dubs in’t Dales again next year, we just hope it stays the small, relaxed event that it was this year that made it so enjoyable!

Type 2 Detectives Bus Bootcamp

We knew pretty much as soon as we bought a VW that we wanted to learn how to maintain it and how to carry out basic repairs. After the great start motor debacle that started on the way to Camper Jam and carried on pretty much throughout the summer, we had some idea of how to solve one of the many problems that will no doubt beset our aircooled ownership over the years to come, but if anything else was to go wrong, would we know what to do?

That’s where Type 2 Detectives come in. A garage based near Cambridge, they’re renowned for their high quality workmanship and approachability, as well as the range of workshops and help they are prepared to offer to anyone who is thinking of buying, or has just bought a type 2 VW.

We booked our places well before the summer, and by the time the cooler weather of September rolled around, our plan of camping in Custard’s grandparents’ orchard overnight before the bootcamp was starting to look a little less romantic!

After a long, but mainly uneventful drive down, we tucked ourselves up in Ruby on the driveway, with an extension cable and wifi from the grandparents, ready to be up bright and early for the next morning.

After a quick breakfast cooked on the stove (I really don’t think my grandparents were expecting us to be quite so self sufficient!) and an even quicker wander round the orchard to help ourselves to some apples, we set off for Burwell, along some of the bumpiest roads that the fenland had to offer:

Fenland bumpy road

We knew we’d got to the right place – but we didn’t seem to fit in with the colour coordinated parking!

type 2 detectives squareback moon eyes orange

type 2 detectives bay window vw

We arrived to bacon butties and filter coffee, and a good chat with a few people about their buses and where they’d been this summer. After a brief introduction, we split into two groups, one to do the engines session, and one to do electrics.

We started with Paul, looking at electrics. The first piece of essential advice that he gave us was to maintain your VW at a high standard. IT may take some work to get it there in the first place, but it should then be easier to maintain, rather than constantly trying to deal with the myriad of problems that can arise due to poor maintenance. The second piece of advice he gave us was to never be without your probe!

sealey automotive test probe

An electrical probe allows you to test for and isolate all sorts of problems, using power from the battery. The session took us through how to read a VW wiring diagram, which was incredibly useful, and gave us key pointers about wiring colours and codes. We also looked at common electric problems and how to diagnose and fix them, including specific issues that people mentioned they had with their buses.

After this, it was time for a quick coffee break, with wonderful cakes and biscuits (including gluten free treats for me!) provided by The Pudding Bar.

The pudding bar t2d type 2 detectives boot camp

The pudding bar t2d type 2 detectives boot camp

This was another opportunity to talk to fellow owners, to have a look at the vehicles currently in the workshop, and to put our name on a probe to buy at the end of the day (Paul sold it well!)

type 2 detectives boot camp deluxe vw bus

type 2 detectives still life

After the break, it was off to see Andy, who talked all about engines. There was a Type 1 and a Type 4 engine on display, which meant that people with all ages of aircooled vans could learn the specific techniques that applied to them.

type 2 detectives type 1 engine vw bay

type 2 detectives type 4 engine

Andy gave us practical demonstrations of how the aircooled engine works, how to check and change a fanbelt, how to carry out an oil and filter change, how to check valve clearances, change sparkplugs and maintain the ignition. Again, the importance of good maintenance was stressed, especially checking fuel lines and ensuring that all tinware and rubber seals are in place.

After lunch, it was back out into the workshop again, to learn how to safely remove an engine and examine it, and the jobs that can be done whilst the engine is out. Andy then showed the split owners problems that are specific to splitscreen vans, whilst Paul did the same for the bay window owners.

type 2 detectives splitscreen vw bus

type 2 detectives bay window vw bus

We then went through the most common reasons that a van breaks down and how to fix them. After that, there was a final Q&A session, where people could get advice relating to specific situations they find themselves in with their buses. There was also an interesting discussion relating to fire suppression systems. Andy is of the belief that if you keep on top of maintenance and keep your engine and electrics in order, there is no need to have one fitted. In his words “VW didn’t let the vans leave the factory randomly bursting into flames!” But having one fitted adds an extra level of security and peace of mind – supplement it with good quality fuel hoses and clips, make sure your fuel filter is not in the engine bay, and keep on top of maintenance, performing checks before journeys and addressing any small problems before they have the chance to become big ones.

Finally, it was time to place our orders for any items we wanted for our VW first aid kit, collect our precious Bootcamp bibles and set off on the long journey home into the sunset!

roobarb type 2 splitscreen vw camper

I would heartily recommend the bootcamp to any aircooled VW owner. We’ve already used what we learned to help us successfully diagnose and fix an ignition problem a couple of weeks after the bootcamp. We also now have a basic tool kit with spares to carry around with us, which makes us feel better prepared for any issues which may arise. The bootcamp was a long and information-filled day, which coupled with a long drive there and back, made it fairly intense. However, the information, knowledge and skills that we gained by being there will stand us in good stead for our future years of VW ownership.

T2D also offer a follow up workshop, tailored to your individual requirements and those of your bus, as all buses are slightly different and have their own foibles and oddities. This is certainly something that we are considering for the future to help us better understand how to maintain Ruby and her personal peculiarities!