Rosie the Renault

..wee hee!!!…we’ve been featured in a Quirky Campers article https://www.quirkycampers.co.uk/7-campervans-that-perfectly-capture-the-personalities-of-their-owners/… Because we didn’t get around to giving them the proper info it sounds like she’s my van, and I’m called Scarlet….but that’s totally our fault.So I thought I’d tell you all about our gal, and our transformation journey.

Our wood fired Pizza business takes us to all sorts of wonderful places, so we decided we needed a van to store all our pizza kit, to tow Barry the pizza oven, and somewhere to lay our heads for the night when travelling further afield.

Now, being a lover of vintage caravans and old style campers, I have to say the thought of owning a modern van didn’t appeal to me in the slightest…. but we needed something reliable, something we could custom to make the most of the space, and to be able to base it all around the business. I rather remember sulking, and saying that you would never find me camping in modern van, as my thoughts wandered wistfully to vintage VWs .

Oh, how wrong I was…. a little bit of googling led me to https://www.quirkycampers.co.uk … oh me oh my…my mind was soon changed… what visions of loveliness and inspiration. If you want to hire a camper, or are thinking of doing one yourself, then I highly recommend heading over to their site. Pete was already convinced about a modern van, and now I was on board too. We soon found ourselves watching oodles of YouTube videos about how to’s… and how our minds were racing!!!

We had been borrowing a van from Pete’s mate Dave, and we loved the space and roof height of his Renault Master LWB extra high top, so an eye was kept out on ebay….and this is what we ended up with

… she had been used to transport tyres, had no windows, a bulkhead and panneling…. not very inspiring

…so the bulkhead was taken out, the panneling removed, and we had some windows and a skylight put in

..what a transformation…suddenly we had a light, open space full of possibilities. Now I have to confess that I had nothing at all to do with the structural transformation (other than helping with the ceiling cladding, the insulation and the kitchen worktop) Pete, who has never done any carpentry learnt as he went along, and did an incredible job…I’m so super proud of him!!!

He built our raised bed frame, the kitchen unit frame, the bench, put down the flooring, and did all the electrics and plumbing, and then put up all the wall cladding

…. building the worktop was a joyous affair, and every time I see it I have such fond memories. we built it at our friends campsite http://www.shottishamcampsite.com/   (where our lovely caravan Elsie lives… you can see pictures of her on my special places page) (and where our permanent pizza oven Ivy lives, at the Blue Rabbit Cafe https://smallholdingdreams.com/2018/06/20/blue-rabbit-cafe/ ) our lovely neighbour lent a most helping hand …thank you Richard

… we built it out of pallet wood, and I thought it would be great to paint the odd bit…and it did look lovely, but most of the paint was removed when it was sanded down… but that’s ok because it is super smooth now, and we all had a lovely time stroking it’s smooth silkiness. Then came the scary part, cutting the cooker and sink holes… but that all went just fine

Then the cladding went up, and the ceiling lights went in…and that was about it…oh, and we had a LPG gas tank fitted under the floor to power the hob and heating (thank you again Dave for doing that for us). Ok, so that’s a very condensed version of the fit out… and then it was over to me

We had hardly a penny to spare, so I raided my fabric and yarn stashes to see what I could come up with. We bought the bedding some time previously, I’m normally a 100% cotton kind of a gal, but that went out of the window when I saw it… it’s so happy and vibrant, and was used as a starting point for colour choices. I did keep telling Pete that if he had a vision of how the van should look he had to tell me, or I’d just do my usual full on colour thing….he was more than happy for me to do whatever I wanted (though he did choose the fabric for the side windows). So after oodles of measuring, patchworking, crocheting and sewing she was ready to dress. We had a final full on push to have her ready for her first outing, a gathering at another friends super cool campsite full of airstreams… and just down the road https://www.happydaysrv.co.uk/ 

….and here she is…Rosie the Renault, our gorgeous camper which we both love to pieces

…this was our first night in her….

cheers!!!

…and then about a week later we headed off for our first pizza gig in her….to the Quirky Campers festival “Camp Quirky”… you can check it out here https://ww2.theticketsellers.co.uk/buy-tickets/camp-quirky-2019-the-handmade-campervan-festival/10047795 ….we are oh so super excited to be cooking pizzas there again this year….eeek!!!, I just can’t wait.

here we are all set up the evening before it opened

…we have stayed in many wonderful, and unusual place in our Rosie…. mostly for work, but we’ve fitted in a couple of purely camping trips too

…we spent the night in Mannings Amusements arcade in Felixstowe, which was very creepy as we were the only ones there (I kept expecting clown faces to appear at the windows during the night)….but we were right across the road from the beach, so I managed to fit an early morning swim in

…the night after we camped in the car park by the docks.

…we have also spent the night outside village halls, on our local park (the Rec), in one of our town’s car parks, by a lake on a farm, in some woods after a wedding… to name but a few.

There is a campsite close to our beach hut, and we have spent several nights there after boozy nights in the beach hut, and on my birthday

…Bess (aka Frog Dog) joins us on our non work trips

…she has her own bed, but likes to sneak up onto the bench… and with such a cute face she gets away with it

…but my most favourite trip had to be the one we took at the end of September…it was our first pizza cooking free weekend for months and months. So we headed off to Norfolk, with a vague idea of where we might end up. We followed the coastal road, and drove down any lanes or roads that headed towards the sea, until we found somewhere where we could park up for the night. Oh my, what a gem of a place we found, right on the cliffs, just above the sea. We loved it so much we stayed longer than planned. We had some wonderful days filled with watching the moon come up over the sea, sitting outside with a fire and guitar playing, followed by falling asleep to the sound of the sea. Then mornings waking to the sound of the sea, early walks on the beach to watch the sun come up, a swim, drinks in a cliff top beer garden, tea and cakes outside a lovely tea room…it was full of everything that’s good in life, and because we have a solar panel we can go off grid. It was just so spot on perfick, and so needed after such a full on pizza cooking summer

…we love both our work and play time in her…and what better a way to spend New Years Eve?

cheers

..we still have some more work to do on her, she needs some high up cupboards, and I need to replace one of the curtains that I set fire to during a stay in a pub car park (and no, it wasn’t down to too many beers, I set it alight whilst boiling water for a wash in the morning)…but in our eyes she is just perfick. Rosie the Renault we love you

…. oooh, and you can hear us being interviewed over here, where we talk about the conversion…http://vansformation.com/16/

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