Accrington Beetles and Campers

Custard has been a busy bee!

As you may well be aware from previous posts, Dave at Accrington Beetles and Campers is a good friend to Ruby and Rufus (and to Rooobarb and Custard!) and keeps them maintained, fixes them when they go wrong and is only ever a phone call or text away when we need a bit of advice.

Unfortunately, at the end of last year, Dave’s website was hacked and had to be shut down. As he was very busy with moving to a fab new unit and doing lots of restorations, Custard stepped in and built a nice shiny new website for him.

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Please go and have a read and a look at the photos and the stories there – there will be lots of updates from the new bigger unit, including lots of work on Ruby, as 2015 is The Year of The New Engine.

You can also keep up to date with Accrington Beetles and Campers on Facebook.

Please let us know what you think of the new site in the comments below!

I have not been paid to promote Dave’s new website. I have created it for him in exchange for spannering hours on our dubs. Bartering is good. Play to your strengths – I’m better with words than I am with tools!

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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!

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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

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beetle vw lowered slammed ruby red dubfreeze

beetle vw lowered slammed ruby red dubfreeze

We entered the showground and met Rufus’s brother!

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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!

Review: The Long and Whining Road

In the show and shine at Camper Jam this year there was a T25 with an interesting sign in front of it: “This van drove around the world and slept five!”

Penny t25 vw camper sim courtie long and whining roadWe stopped to listen to the man talking, and soon found out that he was Sim Courtie, author of The Long and Whining Road, and that he and his family had made a round the world journey in Penny, their T25 camper. The idea for their journey was born following a trip to Sim’s native Liverpool, when various members of the family developed wanderlust and a desire to explore the world-wide appeal of the Beatles. The family decided to busk their way around the world, singing Beatles songs and raising money for charity.

The adults took sabbaticals from work, and the children from school to embark upon an epic extra-curricular road trip, planning to begin outside Strawberry Field children’s home in Liverpool, and ending at Strawberry Fields memorial garden, New York. What follows is an engaging and enjoyable travelogue that conjures up the sights, sounds, smells and people they encountered on their travels, with a healthy dose of the troubles encountered by Penny, their 1989 camper van, familiar to anyone who’s owned an older camper.

sim courtie penny yellow t25 round the world long and whining road

 

The book inspired a desire to travel the world in me, but also made me worry about the practicalities of taking Ruby, a 46 year old van, around the world. Sim encountered difficulties with having parts of their van replaced, including one memorable episode that involved a costly misdiagnosis, both in terms of time and money. Also, driving in some parts of the world seems to incur an increased risk of bodywork damage. Eeeek! We’re signed up on a Type 2 Detectives Bus Boot Camp in September, but would we be able to deal with mechanical mishaps that would undoubtedly occur? Also, what spares would we have to carry? (Perhaps it would be best to just tow a complete spare bus along behind!)

Problems aside, what the book created most of all was an endearing image of the camaraderie and support that virtual strangers will give each other all over the world. Invitations to wedding parties, offers of accommodation on driveways or in houses, support for their busking and lots of camper van love! I also particularly enjoyed Sim’s recount of a Turkish massage, as it was similar to our own on honeymoon in Northern Cyprus, and the camper community that sprung up in Agonda that reminded me a little of The Beach, only with a slightly less dramatic conclusion!

I loved the book, couldn’t put it down, and was genuinely sad when I’d finished it. Sim’s ability to engage an audience and tell a story makes the book enjoyable and addictive. It is available in paperback and for Kindle.

The Long and Whining Road Sim Courtie

I have not been asked to review The Long and Whining Road. I just really enjoyed it!

 

 

 

VW Campervan Curtains

When we bought Ruby, she had been lovingly restored in around 1996. She is looking remarkable for a van nearly 20 years after restoration, her paintwork’s not bad and her interior still smart. Apart from her curtains. They were a bit sun faded and generally looking their age.

So we decide to spruce her up with new cushions and curtains. Custard spent lots of hours trawling fabric sites trying to find just the right pattern, but to no avail.

Eventually, we found Sarah of VW Camper Curtains and on browsing her site, found exactly the fabric we wanted – Clarke and Clarke’s Anja in the Summer colourway. It was a lovely bright, bold pattern, which I think is a must for camper curtains, and it complemented Ruby’s bold colours, whilst reminding us a bit of Roobarb and Custard:

Anja Summer Clarke and Clarke Fabric VW Camper Curtains

Roobarb and Custard cartoon dog and cat

I emailed Sarah, and she got straight back to me to confirm exactly what we wanted and prices. I rang her up to pay, and she got straight on with the curtains. We arranged to collect them at Camper Jam, but Sarah rang the week before to say that they were ready sooner and she could courier them over. We chose to collect them anyway, as we wouldn’t have a chance to put them in before the show.

We met up with Sarah when we arrived at Camper Jam (despite me losing all phone signal as soon as we got on site!) and collected our goods. I got the curtains hung really easily and they looked great. We opted for blackout lining, which worked really well to keep the inside of the van cool and dark.

Ruby the VW Splitscreen camper van with new curtains from VW Camper Curtains and Easycamp Daytona Awning

You can catch up with Sarah at various shows across the country to see her goods for yourself. She has a real eye for fabrics and patterns, and her work is top quality and incredibly reasonably priced. We were originally going to make the curtains and cushions ourselves, but Sarah’s prices were so good compared to the price of the fabric by the metre on other sites, that we decided to leave the sewing to someone who does it for a living! Also, Sarah has made the cushions with removable covers, which is ideal when you are using them in a camper – there’s always the chance that they’re going to get mucky.

Sarah makes curtains for all sorts of VWs – Splitscreens, Bays, T25s, T4s and T5s. From a Samba to a panel van like ours, Sarah can meet your needs. She offers matching tiebacks, blackout linings and magnets to hold the curtain to the metal inside. Genius!

Sarah VW Campervan Curtains stall and red bay window van Camper Jam 2013

Sarah VW Campervan Curtains stall and red bay window van Camper Jam 2013

So get in touch with Sarah via her website, or go and visit her stand at a show. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Our new curtains and cushions have given Ruby’s interior a bright fresh look, and the service was superb. I highly recommend VW Camper Curtains!

Before:

Rhubarb and Custard splitscreen camper van with old curtains

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After:

VW Campervan Curtains in Clarke and Clarke Anja Summer fabric in a splitscreen van

VW Campervan Curtains in Clarke and Clarke Anja Summer fabric in a splitscreen van

VW Campervan Curtains in Clarke and Clarke Anja Summer fabric in a splitscreen van with a lei

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VW Campervan Curtains and cushions in Clarke and Clarke Anja Summer fabric in a splitscreen van interior with bunting

All views are my own. I have not been paid for my review. I have written nice things about VW Campervan Curtains Ltd. because I bought curtains and cushions from them and they were brilliant, and I believe we should all support small businesses and help them flourish!

Limebug Open Day July 2013

Those lovely people at Limebug had an open day, with hot dogs, a show and shine and, of course, the opportunity to peruse and buy from the Limebug shop. The sun was shining, so it would have been rude not to. It was also Ruby’s first appearance in a show and shine line up, and it was nice to stand back and listen to people saying nice things about her, and in some instances pose to have their photos taken with her!

The pictures speak for themselves really:

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Stanford Hall 2013

We arrived at the Hall, parked up with the SSVC display and then went for a good look around:

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Starter motors – seen enough of them this weekend!

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We were blessed with sunshine, and after a wander, went back to the bus for a cheese and ham sandwich (so good!) and a pint of cider:

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We made a few purchases, including an awning to replace the ill-fated gazebo, a purple bay magnet for a friend, a new shiny VW badge keyring and an ammo box and stickers:

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Which has become the new storage container for our food in the van. This weekend was somewhat of an experiment – finding out what worked for us in terms of storage and what we needed to take with us. The first night was a real revelation for us – the van was absolutely packed with stuff and we had nowhere to put it. If we’d had an awning, I think things would have been much easier. Also, the awning would have hopefully been easier to put up, and more resilient than the gazebo. We also decided that modular storage would work better for us than random carrier bags full of food and clothes. Hence the suitcases, the cooler and the ammo box. It looks neater and it’s easier to pack things in the van with less gaps.

We were also foiled by the weather – I packed for cold – jumpers and DMs, and ended up in a vest top and flip flops – with sunburn. So I think next time I would pack for all eventualities, but not so much. Did I need three jumpers? Probably not. Did I need suncream? YES.

2013-05-05 18.58.45

Since Stanford, our awning has arrived, which will make storage and cooking much easier. The rain and wind on Friday night and Saturday morning meant that we didn’t cook – as we don’t want to cook inside the van and make it greasy and smelly. This meant that we were both very hungry and grumpy! Also, getting changed inside the van was possible, but did require some acts of contortion, and taking it in turns.

2013-05-18 13.11.23

New awning!

The awning seems massive – but hopefully when in a field rather than a school hall, perhaps not so much. Since Stanford, Ruby has also had her rightful start motor refitted, and new window seals from Custom and Commercial, which will with any luck mean that the rain stays outside where it belongs!

Alas, our campervantures over the next few weeks will be sadly limited – Rooobarb has just had his cruciate ligament reconstructed – so no driving or camping for him for a while. Hopefully though, the sunshine will manage to overcome the inclement weather (I got hailstoned on during the school summer term charity jog for goodness sake!) and this summer will be one of sunshine, good tunes, sunny evenings, cooking outdoors and, of course, cider.

Vintage Retro Kitsch

Another inspiration from my reading over at Junkaholique was the thought of using vintage suitcases in the camper for clothes and bits on the back shelf.

With this in mind, I got in touch with lovely Sarah from Vintage Retro Kitsch to see if she had anything suitable. We popped over on a Sunday afternoon to look at the wide array of cases she had stashed away, and came away with this one:

2013-02-03 07.46.10(Apologies for the frankly awful picture quality, but we came home to discover that after a power cut caused by the thawing of the snow, we had an electricity “brownout” (reduced voltage) for nearly a week, so the lighting wasn’t great in the evenings, and during daylight we were both working hard to pay for Ruby!)

2013-01-27 22.32.12It was very tempting to buy two, as this one is navy blue (believe it or not) and Sarah had another similar one in brown, but we wanted to check on how it would fit on the shelf first. Having put it in the van yesterday (and completely neglected to take a photograph. It was dark by that time anyway!) there is room for a second without stacking them, as this would call for fitting jail bars ASAP, but to be honest, I’m not sure if we need another. We have got a lot of cupboard space. But also a lot of camping stuff that I completely forgot to pack away yesterday.

What we need is a nice warm weekend where we can experiment with taking things in and out of cupboards and working out what belongs where. It needs to be warm, as I’m more inclined to look for proper storage solutions when I can feel my fingers and toes!

The next three weekends are fairly stacked up in terms of other commitments (if you can call going on your own hen do a commitment!) which means any van stuff we do will be, well, without the van! We have the old curtains here, having given them a good wash, but they have seen better days and I intend on replacing them with some made from lovely fabric from Fabric Rehab, Fabric Inspirations or Spoonflower, along with matching tablecloths and bolster cushion covers. I may need to enlist the help of Rooobarb’s mum though, and that would entail telling her that we’ve bought the van…

We also need to spend some money – a cover from Just Kampers is on the shopping list, as are some fairy lights (essential, obviously), a leisure battery charger, a spare set of keys need cutting, and at some point we’re going to need to replace the quarterlight window seals and handles. Which then makes us look at the door handles and the grab handle in the cab and wonder if they’d look better in chrome to match the handles on the quarterlights. Yeah, I can see how this gets expensive!

I was not paid to plug anything here. I’m just posting about things I like. All opinions are my own.

Dub Freeze February 2013

Due to lots of other commitments, we’d said that we wouldn’t be going veedubbing during February. However, last Sunday, the sun was shining, Rooobarb was raring to go, Custard had only had about 4 hours sleep after her hen do, so it seemed like the perfect time to drive down to Stafford!

Dub Freeze happens twice a year, in February and November at Stafford Show Ground. There’s overnight camping on the Saturday night, and the main show is on Sunday. Inside the hall are traders, autojumble and the Show and Shine vehicles, and outside are lots of lovely vehicles, some for sale, and some just to have a really good look at and admire!

Volkswagen Beetle YYY 148M

Beetle

VW High top Split Screen Van.

High-top van. This made the most amazing noise.

VW Caddy F851 MJU

You can’t have a Volkswagen without swag.

Polly's Parlour ice cream van

Polly Stoker’s ice cream van, Florence, which won first place in the modified air-cooled category, and also ‘most unusual/inspiring’.

http://www.pollys-parlour.co.uk/

VW splitscreen camper van

I loved this van. Little details on it made me smile!

Beer can centre caps!

Lost your centre caps for your Empis? (We have.) No problem!

Light detailing.

Light detailing.

A daily driver.

A daily driver.

 

Betty Blue

Martin Aylett’s Betty Blue won first prize in the stock air-cooled category.

Betty Blue

As you can see, the van is still stock, with a lot of attention to period detail (such as her first tax disc) that set her apart as a cut above.

Betty Blue

Such a pretty van, and deserving of first place.

Green VW Scirocco KCH 114N

Marshall Foulds’ mint Mk.1 Scirocco came 1st in the stock water-cooled category..

Rat look VW bus

I am more and more drawn to the rat look. I’ve always loved rusty bits of metal and abandoned buildings, so cars with patina are, naturally, right up my street!

The Sick Bay camper VW Maltese Ambulance

This Maltese ambulance is, naturally, called The Sick Bay.

The Sick Bay

Gorgeous interior, tidy, light and airy, with character. Perfect.

BusFest Big VW picture

I’m a real fan of these pictures made at BusFest (formerly known as VanFest) and seeing as this year’s will fall on Rooobarb and I’s birthday weekend (6th -8th September – mine is the day before, his the day after!) and I’m 30 this year… we may well attend!

http://www.busfest.org/

Split screen campervan nail art

Susie, Membership Renewals Secretary of the Split Screen Van Club had gone above and beyond with her attention to detail (and I’m always a sucker for a bit of nail art!)

Pair of VW camper vans

I really enjoyed looking across to the camping field, where some vans were being moved, and it looked like a herd of VWs gambolling free in the early morning sunshine. You have to remember I’d not had a lot of sleep!

Karmann Ghia Convertible light blue

This Karmann Ghia was attracting a lot of admiring looks, and quite rightly so.

Type 2 Bay Window Volkswagen Camper XUX 214S

If the owners of this Bay don’t call her Peppermint Patty, they should do. She’s proper lovely!

KCK 124F Type 3 squareback Volkswagen

Type 3 Squareback. Rooobarb is lusting after a Fastback now – he’s well and truly been bitten by the VW bug!

963 XUC VW transporter split screen van rat look

Rat look with cyclops light. I like cyclops lights too – gotta have the right bus to suit though!

BDE 134B VW transporter split screen van

And finally, there’s a funny story to go with this one. Last week, Rooobarb gave me a lift to work, as I was going on a residential trip and didn’t want to leave my car outside school for two days. As we came off the motorway, this van was a couple of cars ahead of us, and Rooobarb pulled up alongside and we both grinned madly at the driver. He had an SSVC sticker in the back window, so I posted on their Split Screens Seen forum to say hello, but got no response.

As we’re about to go back into the hall after a late lunch, a bus drives past me, I smile at the driver automatically, and then realise it’s the same bus. I chased across the grass like a nutter to try to go and say hello, as he was sitting in traffic that was leaving the show, but I don’t get across in time, and assume he’s left for the day. Returning to where we’d parked an hour or so later, I see the bus parked up in the camping area and finally get a photo. Still didn’t get to meet the driver though! (I’ll be honest, would he want to meet a slightly deranged lady who runs after his bus at VW shows? Thought not…)

So, we had a great experience at our first VW show, and we’re looking forward to lots more. What shows will you be going to this year? Post in the comments and let us know, and if you see us at a show, come and say hello!

Most Wanted

When you have a campervan, or you tell people that you are getting one, all of a sudden, everyone finds camper-themed things for you. Here are just a few.

2013-01-19 12.31.56My colleague bought me this 3D picture for Christmas to tide us over until we get a real-life camper. As a nice touch, she had added labels with our names on, 1980s Ford Escort style, over the windows!

2012-12-28 14.52.07My parents bought us a camper for Christmas! A Lego one. But it was enormous fun to build and play with. Available from the Lego Shop.

original_notebook_camper_frontAnother colleague sent me a link to this cute camper notebook from Not on the High Street, who have lots of great camper-themed gifts, such as this washbag:

original_a-licensed-vw-wash-bagOn my travels I’ve also found this funky night light from Lights4Fun:

45458277460898987_hLgn6FaK_cThis biscuit tin (along with other products in the same range) from Happy Camping:

45458277460875106_ok6jCIri_cI also love this tea towel – it’s so bright and cheery:

135_lThis milk jug (and mugs, eggcups, lamps and more) from New Age Living:

45458277460899131_xSXDFIvE_cI absolutely love the cards, magnets, coasters and tax disc holders from VDubshop:

1500_39743258889_4293_n2102_45644228889_2681_nTax disc holders.
GC013The Volkswain.
TT105_smlCamping Medicine Cabinet.

And finally, one of my favourites, a custom designed basket from Handmade by Amber:

45458277460898922_n8YBv5t5_cI don’t know what I would keep in one of these baskets, but I’m quite sure I need one!

I was not paid to plug any of these things. I just really like them. All opinions are my own.