A while ago, Custard remarked to some online friends that she really liked this Splitscreen van blanket knitting pattern from Slightly Sheepish, but that she couldn’t knit. Her lovely friends offered to knit it for her, and then collaborated to make something even more amazing – a one of a kind, personalised Rooobarb and Custard themed blanket!
Each person knitted or crocheted a square or two, and sent them off to Verity aka Blip in Reality, who put them all together and added a border…
We are very lucky to have such kind and talented friends, and the blankey will look fab in Ruby, or in our newly-arrived Glawning which we shall be blogging about soon!
Life has got in the way of posting. Generally, life involving work, dogs, and broken down VWs. But here’s what you’ve missed:
We went to Tatton Park. It was good fun and we met up with some friends. Teddy decided that he’s really not a fan of VW shows, especially those with music, crowds and other dogs. That’s all of them then.
We revisited our mis-spent youth with a weekend at Coniston Hall, which generally involved swimming, sunbathing and messing about. For once, we were in the nicest splitty on the campsite (er, ok, the only splitty…)
We went to VWFestival. Again, friends, cider, crowds, cool dubs, staffy generally behaving like a bit of an ASBO dog. Including chewing through his lead whilst Custard was distracted by cider. Ruby appeared on Look North (Rooobarb and Custard we both having a bit of a nap at this point though…)
We bought a roofrack for the van, started off to go and collect it, and turned round and came back thanks to an engine bay full of oil. Meh.
We pooled our birthday spends and bought a frontier stove for camping. The next step with be a Glawning because they’re just too cool for words.
After six weeks of running like a dream, Rufus decided to give up on starting again. A new starter motor bush sorted that though, and after some fettling once again to rear hubs, he got an MOT certificate. Big up to Dave at Accrington Beetles and Campers for once again taming our errant child.
So, what next? The beetle needs some more little jobs doing, and sadly we’ve had to admit to ourselves that the ride height is causing more problems than it solves, so Rufus will be going (slightly) up in the world. Ruby needs a bloody good service, and probably an engine rebuild.
Right, first up, I should probably explain who I am. My name is Teddy, and I used to live with some ace people at Homeless Hounds – Dogs in Need who did look after me for a while in this place called kennels. It’s like a hangout for loads of different dogs, and some people come and take you for walks, and to go and visit their houses and stuff if you’re good. I went to visit Danni’s house, who is a friend of Custard, and Danni put some photos of me on her Facebook page, and Custard did fall in love with me (it is only to be expected, I am after all very handsome).
So Rooobarb and Custard did speak to a lady called Emma, then came and took me for a nice walk, and then Emma had to do something called a home check, then that was it, I was off to my new home!
I’m having a really good time here, we go for lots of walks, and do lots of playing, and snuggling, and Mum likes to sit in something called a Beetle and read her books, and I like to sit with her, because I love being outside.
I also get lots of post from my friends, including Loki and Frankie The Fit Dog, who is my Brother from Another Mother. He is a very good blogger, and I would like to be as good at writing as he is one day.
I like to play with my humans, and wrestle them, and generally spend time with them. I am very much a Dog of the People. Custard is writing this right now sitting on the floor in the back yard because I wanted company. We are sitting on a blanket with a big hole in it, because I wanted the blanket out, but I couldn’t work out how to unfold it, so I chewed it a bit instead.
Rooobarb and Custard were very excited this weekend, because they were taking me Camping. I wasn’t sure what camping was, but it involved filling the back of the car with loads of Stuff, and driving to meet someone called Ruby.
Ruby turned out to be this AWESOME VAN that I wanted to climb inside and sit in, and Mum said that that was a good job really, because we were going to be sitting in her for a long time.
I alternated between sticking my head out of the window, and sleeping on Dad’s knee. It was very hot, but I love Dad. Lots of people smiled when they saw me grinning at them out of the window. We stopped a few times at the services so I could have a drink out of my bowl, but I preferred drinking Mum’s Evian out of her hand whilst we were going along. I got quite a lot of it in her lap, and when we stopped the last time, Mum looked like she’d had a wee.
When we arrived it was still too hot, and very busy, so Mum was getting my lead on so that we could go for a walk whilst Dad parked the van. I had other ideas, and jumped out of the van window. Good job Mum had got my lead on me first. We got parked up, and I was too hot to do anything else. I made friends with a nice man in another van nearby and I wanted to sit in his van too. We rested for a bit and Mum and Dad got the awning put up and loads of other practical boring stuff like that.
Then we went up to the show itself so that Mum and Dad could enjoy cider and paella and music and stuff. I decided that I didn’t want to do that, so I barked at some other dogs and got very grumpy, so we went back to the van. During the night there was loads of rain and thunder and lightning. I wasn’t bothered by that at all but in the morning Mum said “Oh bugger,” because the cargo doors had leaked and her’s and Dad’s shoes were all wet. I was ok, I don’t wear shoes.
I also discovered that the doors of the awning aren’t like real doors, and I escaped out of them to find out why the lady next door was screaming. I decided it was probably her chocolate lab’s fault, so I barked at him. Nobody would grab my harness because I’m a Big Vicious Staffy.
I have decided that VW shows aren’t really my thing yet. There are lots of crowds, and noises, and other dogs, and I found it difficult to cope. I did very well and Mum and Dad said I was a Very Good Boy, but I think I would prefer some quieter camping first. We saw some cool veedubs though.
My favourite bit was cuddling and playing with Mum and Dad near our van. And climbing all over them in the middle of the night when they were trying to sleep.
If you are a Human who doesn’t have a Dog in their life, then you need to get in touch with Homeless Hounds. There are loads of PAWSOME dogs like me just waiting to come and make your life better. Tell them I said hi.
Gotta go now, lots of adventures to have, squirrels to chase and rope toys to chew. Laters, homies!
In the first part of this post I recounted the tale of Ruby’s previous ownership and restoration, and I was most pleased when last week I had some comments on the post from Ian:
I know this van. My dad bought her as a panel van way back in the early 70′s from a garage in Coltishall Norfolk.
He cut all of the windows himself. He made a mould from timber to make the elevating roof from fibreglass and got Jeckles of Wroxham (a chandler) to make the PVC parts. He made all of the furniture inside, then resprayed it himself orange and white.
Now all this seems a bit odd as the van in these images seems to have no windows in it. Perhaps the registration got switched..
I am 52 now, we holidayed around the UK throughout the mid 70′s. I particularly remember touring the country of two weeks in the blisteringly hot summer of 1976.
He sold it at the end of the 70s for… £600!
I had a look back through the DVLA paperwork that I sent off for last summer, and found Kenneth John Fulcher on the photocopied registered keeper page of a logbook – the earliest piece of paperwork I have. This was Ian’s dad – so proves that Ruby was indeed the van that he’d enjoyed childhood holidays in. Glenn mentions that he had removed a Devon pop top and Bay-style windows from the van, hence the confusion over her differing appearance.
Different strokes for different folks.
All I can say is that Dad did a brilliant job in turning a working van into a holiday bus for us kids – although Glenn’s point that she was adulterated maybe today well founded. But then VW panel vans were not as affectionately revered as they are today. You wouldn’t get the same reaction by someone who did it to a Ford transit or Commer of the day… or would you?
Indeed, did anyone foresee the cult status that the splitty would attain today, or the prices that they would command? Will we look back at the mods that people are doing to buses nowadays and be horrified?
The bus gave Ken and his family many happy holidays, as evidenced by these fantastic photographs that he scanned in for us, having to go and buy a slide scanner especially!
LPW 219E before the conversion
LPW 219E converted prior to respray
LPW 219E with Ken, Sylvia and Neil.
LPW 219E with Ian and Sylvia.
LPW 219E with Mum Sylvia
We feel very privileged to be able to see some more of the history of our van, thanks to the photos from Glenn, Marc and now Ian. Thank you so much for sharing some more of Ruby’s history with us!
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:
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:
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.
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!
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!
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:
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.
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:
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.
6. (Up) Sooty’s School Bus.
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…
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.
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!