SSVC AGM at Victoria Farm and Stanford Hall 2014

Early May Bank Holiday can only mean one thing: Vicky Farm and Stanford Hall!

We had a great journey down, and arrived in good time to get a good pitch, get everything set up and catch up with a few mates before it got dark. As always there were lots of fab splitties to see:

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van awning

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Bleedingmoody

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Polly's Parlour

Thank you to Polly’s Parlour who made this gluten and dairy-free girly very happy with a delicious tub of raspberry sorbet!

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Single Cab Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Mark Pindar Gerry

Amazing Gerry! Please read the story of this restoration, what an amazing bus, built by a top bloke!

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Mark Pindar Gerry

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Mark Pindar Gerry

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Single Cab Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Hi-top Van

Darren Yip’s hi-top, a show and shine winner at Bus Types.

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Beetle

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Beetle

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Rikki James

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Beetle

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Rikki James

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Buzz Van of the Year 2013

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

Another Rhubarb and Custard bus! With *flames*!

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

Sunday morning saw the cruise to Stanford Hall:

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

 

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

And the show itself was awesome, as always:

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

 

Please could somebody lend me £42000? I promise to invest it responsibly.

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show Hayburner

 

Always worth a visit to the Hayburner stand.

Stanford Hall VW Show Hayburner

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

 

Brilliant line up of Beetles:

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

 

The SSVC provided an awesome line up of buses, as usual!

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show The Stiff Shifter!

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

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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

Fraisthorpe

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

Viva Skeg Vegas 2013

Viva Skeg Vegas is a calm and chilled show that takes place in Revesby, Lincolnshire. It’s a beautiful picturesque drive down to the site, with lots of opportunity to play roadside roulette with the prevalence of farm shops and small roadside stalls selling produce.

The show had a fancy dress theme of Day of the Dead, and all the usual traders, stalls and evening entertainment. Whilst there was no coffee stall (boo!) there was a stall selling fish singer sandwiches (genius!) and the Pop Top Kitchen, selling delicious cuisine out of an Eriba Puck.

Things were slow to kick off in the mornings, perhaps because everyone was still recovering from the night before, but there was a good selection of autojumble, Seaside Neil was available for pinstriping and had customised the trophies for the Rust and Prime show on the Saturday and the Show and Shine on the Sunday.

Camping was calm and chilled, not spoiled by the light rain we had, and we were very lucky that our neighbours had good taste in music – which saved us having to touch our stereo all weekend!

Type 3 vw skeg vegas

vw splitscreen ratty rust and prime

beetle ratty vw rust prime

this is what awesome looks like rust prime vw

beetle painted patina vw skeg vegas

splitscreen vw skeg vegas gnome safaris

polo vw ratty pot belly brewery skeg vegas

lucky 7 splitscreen vw camper skeg vegas

pot belly brewery vw polo skeg vegas ratty pub

vw type 3 patina

bay vw panel van autobody repairs skeg vegas

fire damage bay window vw skeg vegas red

splitscreen vw awning skeg vegas

seaside neil pinstriping vw skeg vegas trophy rust prime

beetle show shine skeg vegas

beetle vw green grass skeg vegas

vw beetle skeg vegas signwriting cartoonies

beetle ratty vw skeg vegas rust prime

vw bay yacht broker skeg vegas

vw badge bay window ratty patina rust

no worries yellow vw badge skeg vegas wahugoy

beetles show shine vw skeg vegas

autojumble skeg vegas splitscreen single cab vw

vw transporter wedge t25 roadsign skeg vegas

bunting splitscreen vw blue skeg vegas

viva skeg vegas window t4 vw

VW Festival Leeds 2013

As I took a weekend off from taking photographs at VW Festival, I’ve decided instead to blog our weekend in the style of Caitlin Moran’s Celebrity Watch.

Custard’s Top 10 of VW Festival:

photo grid image of Ruby the rhubarb and custard splitscreen camper at VW Festival 2013

10. (Down) The weather.

It rained. It winded. It made puddles in the awning, it poured down the cargo doors (and ergo, round the cargo doors thanks to crappy seals), it filled up shoes and soaked into jeans. It could not make its mind up what it was doing. The wind also ripped the gutter rail pole for the awning out of my hand on Sunday, meaning it now has a slight kink to it. However, necessity is the mother of invention, so I now know that it is possible to peg the doors of the awning up to stop the rain pouring in, although I wish I hadn’t found that out during a torrential downpour. Also, I got to sit in the van (in my shorts, as I had only taken one pair of long trousers with me; my (sodden) jeans) with a pint and read my book for a couple of hours. Bliss.

Pint of cider inside a split screen camper van

Rainy view from the back window of a split screen camper van

9. (Down) Festival toilets.

These are never, ever good, to be honest. As I was heading to the loo on Sunday morning, a camper remarked to her friend “Oh, I really feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t been to the loo yet today!” So I asked if they were that bad. I’ve seen worse, but if the loos had been serviced during the weekend, this might have improved matter slightly. Still, you do know what you’re getting with a festival loo, and at least the proper loos at Harewood House itself were open.

8. (Down) Running out of cash.

Our own fault for not bringing enough with us. Meant that we couldn’t buy coffee on Sunday. Argh! A lot of the traders accepted card payments though, so we didn’t miss out on buying big stuff. Just coffee 😉

7. (Up) A varied collection of stalls, autojumble and displays.

Got to buy some great things, including this lovely necklace from Louis Edwards jewellery:

Campervan half crown coin necklace Louis Edwards

There was a good range of clothes, VW stuff, food, toys, cleaning gear and autojumble. The displays on both days were amazing – as well as club stands, there was a red, white, blue and black vehicle display on Saturday and a beautiful show and shine on Sunday, with a high standard of vehicle in both.

split screen crew cab twin cab panel van with signwriting

r u low enough striped painted vw splitscreen bus

23 window samba vw interior vintage suitcase

purple and white split screen vw panel van 1966

6. (Up) Sooty’s School Bus.

Queenswood girls school bus jake sooty shuttleworth splitscreen vw

We have been following the progress of Sooty’s bus on the SSVC forum, so it was great to see it in the flesh! Also, his bus was featured in an article in the Daily Mail about the show, which also featured this fantastic video by Bright Lights Photography which to me, really sums up the feeling of going out in your VW and meeting fellow dub nuts:

5. (Up) The Green Bay Cafe.

Coffee. Real coffee. Also, handily placed in the main camping area, rather than the trade area, which meant less distance to stagger to get our caffeine fix. We love the Green Bay Cafe with their fairtrade, real coffee. Yum.

4. (Up) Gluten free food!

The Two Tarts, Lulabelle and Heck sausages all offered gluten free fayre, ideal for a hungry Custard. I’m used to not being able to sample things at shows, so for there to be lots of things I could eat was a good thing! Still having to carry my own soy milk in a hip flask for my coffee though…

The Two Tarts green camper van come in and have a cuppa VW sign

3. (Up) Showing with Volksgirls.

We’ve not entered a show and shine before (although we did show with the SSVC at Stanford Hall as part of their massive line up) so when Volksgirls invited members to show with them, we jumped at the chance. Volksgirls is a friendly club and forum for ladies on the VW scene, and boasted a full stand at VW Festival. We were the only camper on their stand on Saturday, and our first show taught us one or two things;

  • Make sure that you either put your stuff for making food in the van, or in the awning. Don’t leave half in one, and half in the other. Of you’ll be very annoyed when you realise you can’t make lunch.
  • The majority of people show their vans with the beds folded up and their tables all set nicely. Our van is hardly period in the style, so it’s very hard to dress. Next year, I’ll be showing it with the bed made up, with nice cushions and things. It may also have a Custard-shaped accessory catching a few zzzz’s in it during the afternoon as…
  • I don’t do well at getting up early enough to get the van to the arena without the option of an afternoon nap 😉
  • Mark out the space next to the awning that the van goes in, or someone will park in it before you get back in the afternoon!
  • Make a sign telling people all about your van, or you’ll find yourself repeating a lot of stuff. We love talking to people about vans, but if they could read it too, that would be nice, and we could put some photos from the resto on the sign too.

2. (Up) Chilled, family friendly atmosphere.

There was a really nice vibe to the show, lots of things for children and adults to do, and everyone was friendly, having a good laugh and up for a chat about VWs, dogs or just life in general! The camping was generally quiet (well, it was where we were anyway!) and people didn’t seem to let the weather get them down.

VW bus camper green t25 scrabble tiles

1. (Up) Good friends.

We finally got to meet some fellow camper owners from the SSVC forum. Dubminx and Custard both tell lies to small children for a living, Roobarb and Carl both love watercooled and aircooled dubs. You know when you meet someone and think – “Yeah, I could camp with these guys and have a whale of a time!”

We’ve enjoyed our first year exploring the VW show scene, but what we’ve found is that, after a while, it all gets a bit same-y if there’s only the two of you, so being able to meet up with like-minded people and have a good chat makes the shows all the more worthwhile, and if you’re lucky, you get to meet someone lovely like Minx, who not only has a beautiful camper called Mabel (with the wonderful period set-dressing that Ruby lacks) but also sent us some bunting for Ruby before she’d ever met us for real. Which just tells you that she’s a nice person, and someone you’re going to enjoy being around.

We would definitely do VW Festival again – it has been one of the best shows we have visited this summer, and wasn’t a long drive for us, which is always a bonus. See you in 2014!

VW split screen camper panel van rhubarb and custard red and yellow Ruby

The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo

So, after buying Ruby, we asked around on the SSVC forum to see if anyone knew her. After all, there are a finite amount of splitties in the world, so it stood to reason that someone on the forum might have owned her previously. Also, she came with an SSVC sticker in the windscreen, so we knew her previous owners had been members.

We soon had a message from Glenn, who bought her in 1994:

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He told us: “I bought the van in 94 from Spencer Ballis, it had suffered from a 70’s camper conversion complete with devon pop top and long bay window style windows, so that lot was first on the list to go, Spencer kindly had the gear box with the reduction boxes re-built before I bought it, I bolted up a Kadron equipped 1641, lowered it on polished Porsche Fuchs and tooled around it it for the next few years.”

Here’s another picture of her at Run to the Sun in 1997:

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And more photos with friends’ buses from around 1986-87:

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This picture shows the reason for Ruby’s previous name – The Mambo Bus!

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Ruby with pop top, and the owners of the bus behind her also came and said hello in our thread.

As well as asking on the forum, I also wrote a letter to Marc, who restored the bus and sold her to Pat who we bought her from. We were made up to get a reply from Marc and Nikki, who sent us some brilliant photos of her restoration.

Before:

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She was in need of some TLC. Well, welding actually. Lots of welding.

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All stripped down and ready for rubbing:

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Rusty parts cut away:

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New parts welded into place:

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In primer:

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Being resprayed:

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Gearbox:

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Steering rack and bits:

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Engine:

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So, wow! In some ways she has changed so much, but in other ways, she is recognisable straight away as the same bus. We’d love to see photographs of her in her earlier days. We’ve contacted the DVLA to see what other information we can find about her. We know from her M Plate that she was due to roll off the factory line on 14th February 1967, was light gray and was destined for Ramsgate. She was first registered in the UK in March 1967. I wonder what she did before she became a camper?

Do you have a bus with an interesting past?

Are you one of Ruby’s former owners?

Let us know in the comments!

Shining Star

Unfortunately, because of the aforementioned starter motor issues, we didn’t get to shine Ruby up the way we’d hoped. However, when we got back from Stanford Hall on the Bank Holiday Monday, we had a few hours before she needed to be back in the garage, during which Rooobarb got handy with a range of Autoglym products and some muscle.

Rooobarb’s guide to making a shiny:

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First of all, jetwash the van to get all the dust and road dirt off.

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Whilst still at the jetwash, use hot shampoo and then rinse again with clean water.

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Then use Autoglym Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner with some kind of microfibre wash pad to rub each panel down and remove any stubborn dirt.

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Then, using clean water and a clean pad, rinse the shampoo off.

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Once you’ve done that, use a Meguiars Microfibre Drying Towel to dry the van off.

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Then, the fun begins.

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Apply a coat of Autoglym Resin Polish, following the instructions on the back of the bottle carefully; start with small circles and finish with longer straight lines to prevent swirl marks. Leave to dry and then buff off with a microfibre cloth. Do this twice.

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Now, using Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection and a microfibre applicator pad, apply the sealant to each panel and allow to dry (which takes about 30 minutes, weather dependent). Buff off, using another clean cloth.

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Next – to the windows! Apply Autoglym Fast Glass with a microfibre cloth or kitchen towel, allow to dry for a few moments and take off with a clean cloth. Do this both inside and out. If you and your camper buddy do this at the same time, you can also amuse yourselves by pulling faces through the windows, and spot bits that the other person has missed. Don’t forget to do your mirrors too.

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There are many products out there that are designed for cleaning car interiors. Custard is a big fan of Pledge Wipes as you don’t have to wash a duster out afterwards, and they smell very nice. Ruby smells lovely inside whenever you get in her, thanks to Custard’s overzealous wiping of every flat surface.

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For upholstery, we both recommend Autoglym Interior Shampoo, applied with a nail brush, then wiped away with another microfibre cloth. Ruby’s vinyl came up a lovely bright cream after a bit of attention with a nailbrush, and the cloths came away filthy as it brought out years of camping grime.

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A neighbour came out and offered to treat our tyres, and discussed the best way to renovate Ruby’s tired alloys. Watch this space.

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Finally, climb in, go a for a cruise and enjoy all the admiring glances!

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(Warning, your shiny van may now attract people who want to kiss it, as it is so gorgeous.)

Retailers have apparently reported a marked increase in the amount of car detailing products sold over the past two years, with Halfords noting a 70% increase the amount of specialised cleaning products they sell. Some of this is put down to people keeping their cars for longer, so wanting to keep them looking good, as well as wider availability of specialist products online.

This clip from You and Yours, originally broadcast on Radio 4 on 20th May 2013, explores the world of car detailing and meets some of the people who love to keep their cars looking like they’re about to enter a Show and Shine.

How do you get your van looking shiny? Let us know in the comments!

All opinions are my own. I was not paid for any mentions of products. I just really like Autoglym, Meguiars and Pledge Wipes. Clean freak.

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.

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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.

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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.

Stanford Hall Convoy 2013

After a good night’s sleep, we were woken by SSVC display coordinator Rikki James and his loud hailer, calling out registration numbers and admonishing the occupants of the vans for not getting up!

We were soon up, dressed and ready to join in the convoy:

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Marvin

Marvin

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The convoy was simply amazing to be a part of. Here are two videos which, in my opinion, sum up the experience perfectly:

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The thrum in my chest when everyone around us started their engines – priceless.

Victoria Farm 2013

One of the main dates in any split screen van owner’s calendar has to be Victoria Farm. Vicky Farm hosts the AGM of the Split Screen Van Club, where hundreds of members get together to camp, eat, drink, be merry and admire each other’s vans over the May Day bank holiday weekend.

One of the highlights of the weekend has to be the convoy to Stanford Hall VW Show on Sunday morning, where splitty owners line up and drive a few miles down the road to take part in the club display.

Vicky Farm was our first weekend away in the van. It nearly didn’t happen for us, as when we arranged to pick up Ruby from storage, we found out that she wouldn’t start. The guy storing her offered to charge her battery, but then had his power cut off due to work on the local substation! After some tinkering, panicked phone calls to our mechanic, precise hitting of things with hammers and a visit from the RAC, it turned out that Ruby’s starter motor was borked, so after getting her started, the RAC man waved Rooobarb on his way with a cheery “Don’t stall – you won’t get started again!” as he headed off to Accrington Beetles and Campers where Dave examined the offending starter motor, diagnosed it as buggered, and fitted one on loan whilst he had ours reconditioned – what a star!

Following that, Rooobarb then picked me up from work – having not had a chance to wash the van or even grab a bite of lunch, and we quickly loaded the van and set off on our way.

The view might not be great, but we have the best seats in the house

The view might not be great, but we have the best seats in the house

As we approached Vicky Farm, we were joined by some fellow splitties on the motorway (apologies for poor quality pics – bit of camera shake from looking out the back window of the van):

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And had a very small convoy, until we had to pull off to refuel all three of us (Ruby with unleaded, us with coffee!) but caught up with them at Vicky Farm later:

We caught up with them later

We arrived at the campsite, chose a place to call home for the next couple of days, tried and failed to put up our gazebo to cook in, decided we had far too much stuff in the van, stacked it all in the cab, put the bed up and then went for an explore. Please note: never let the person who has decided to start drinking be the only one to wear a head torch, as you will be trying to see where you are going, and the torch beam will be swinging wildly up to the sky as Custard imbibes her first cider of the evening 😉

The next morning we woke up to this lovely view from Ruby’s back window:

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And had another wrestle with the gazebo, in between downpours of rain. It turned out all the poles were mislabeled, so after a bit of swapping, we got it up – but the wind then blew the rain through the sides, making the chairs inside a little soggy. I decide to remedy this by drinking more cider, and sitting in my chair, trying to enjoy the sunshine. We then realised that we needed more fuel before the convoy on Sunday, and to pick up a lighter for the gas stove (we’d not used it for a few years, and forgotten that it didn’t have a piezo lighter) so we went off site for a “splash and dash” and came back on to find… a collapsed gazebo, smashed by the wind. We were very relieved that it had just fallen down where it stood, and hadn’t blown away and hit a van. It was unceremoniously dumped in the bin, and we vowed to buy an awning at Stanford Hall.

Thankfully in the afternoon, the sun came out, so we had a stroll around the site, meeting the other vans, before heading up to the AGM itself to see who had won awards for their vans.

Ruby in the sunshine

Ruby in the sunshine

Bradley Badger, and a Barndoor we convoyed with on our way to Stoke the other week.

Bradley Badger, and a Barndoor we convoyed with on our way to Stoke the other week.

Gorgeous van - I'd follow you anywhere!

Gorgeous van – I’d follow you anywhere!

Loved this van, it had a great packing case interior too.

Loved this van, it had a great packing case interior too.

Pop top and sunshine

Pop top and sunshine

Airstream and a twin cab. Heaven.

Airstream and a twin cab. Heaven.

Bleedingmoody's bus. Love.

Bleedingmoody’s bus. Love.

A very worthy winner.

A very worthy winner.

Headlight detailing.

Headlight detailing.

Eddie's single cab.

Eddie’s single cab.

Line up of champions.

Line up of champions.

Smiley Trekker.

Smiley Trekker.

Beetle bums.

Beetle bums.

High top. Yum.

High top. Yum.

After the day’s adventures, we enjoyed the sunset, then had an early night ready for the convoy:

Sunset and smiles.

Sunset and smiles.

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Night night!