I tried buying 'British Made' but BOY it is hard work...
The van is coming along nicely. It's slow and tedious sometimes with little to be seen as done, but it is a slow job -bit by bit - and will probably take a couple of months at least - so I am hoping to be using it by mid summer at least ... although probably camping in my own car park... ha ha
Here I am cleaning the roof - and it took me almost 2 hours as it was ground in and there was stuff growing around the edges, and the sky light which needed replacing, actually now doesn't as it came up nice and clean with a bit of effort. Mind you, I haven't scrubbed so hard ( no comments please ) for a long time and was knackered after and needed a brief lay down... ha ha ... Oh the joys of being older as decades ago I could have carried on and on and now, well as I am sure many of you know from experience, as we get older, we need a little more time, a little more rest and a few more gin and tonics ( LOL ) while we get things done... The van will have a raised double bed area at the back with a ' garage' underneath storing the water and sewage tanks, diesel heater, the canopy and any outdoor items like chairs and table, Barbeque stuff , as well as spare towels and bedding etc. The Lounge area - with a couch that will open out to make a small double bed when pulled out. This will come up against the side of the Kitchen. There is to be a fridge / freezer in a drawer ( a special one designed for campervans ) and a hardwood kitchen top with black sink and taps etc. Naturally, we are including as much storage as we can for clothes, bedding, kitchen stuff, and anything we need for a week or two away.
It has 100w of solar panels ( which we may add to ) and everything will work on 12 v as well as 240v when plugged into the mains at campsites and at home, with an inverter, and if I ever decide to do some STEALTH CAMPING - we will rely on 12v solar.
A small TV ( which will only work on mains and not solar ) as well as a mini microwave - toaster and if there is room for a mini air fryer. Big thank you to Chris next door - my electrician friend, who is doing almost all the work while I make cups of tea, order stuff online and cook dinner while he is working and keeping him well fed and well lubed up - ( excuse the expression. ) and between us, daily, things change and adapt to some new idea we have seen on a YouTube video ( which I have watched scores of surrounding conversions of a van like this ) and like anything in life, things are always open to change.
It needs new seats for the driver and passenger but at £1000 plus a new piece of machinery to make the passenger seat turn around, I think that might have to wait as I only have so much money to spend and with Hamilton Hall EMPTY FOR EASTER - which is a first, money is a concern - as it always is.
So many of you have written concerning last weeks Blog about this and so many have asked for regular updates as to how it is coming along, and I look forward to small intimate evenings in the country with a couple of guests for an evenings laughter and to do something different, something we may have thought we would never do, so who knows what the future holds... and I do know it is exciting and something to look forward to - which I think we all need these days where for the last couple of years, everything - kinda - ground to a halt.
More as it happens.....
Everything , it seems , comes from China.
Doing up anything that needs mechanical or electronics means you will inevitably be buying stuff from China, as despite what you may wish for, trying to find as good a product made in Europe and affordable, is hard work.
You take a Diesel Heater for the camper Van - anything I find in the UK is in excess of £1,100 and then it has to be fitted.
You can buy a selection of Diesel Heaters from China for as little at £85 - and while I am aware there may be some teething problems with installation which many talk about - and besides, my local garage will be fitting it - the cost difference is phenomenal and one can understand why China has such a large corner in almost every market.
Now we all know about the Human Rights Violations and how millions of people have a very poor lifestyle and how there are hundreds of millions of very poor people in China who are the real backbone of the country, working for slave wages, appalling conditions and no human rights or health care or anything we demand in the west, and because of this, tens of thousands of items are made cheaper and available to the public cheaper - and one can see why they have the corner on so many markets.
Of course there will be shoddy workmanship, that is to be expected anywhere, but solving it between China and the UK can be time consuming if and when there is a complaint. I have spent many hours on this computer searching for things NOT made in China and after a while, I have had to bite the bullet and surrender to the Awakening Dragon as to do otherwise is either futile or just damned expensive and a real hassle.
So before we complain everything is made in China, and before we complain that Chinese goods are inferior, just remember the hassle to be found in locating items as good as Chinese but made in Europe, and I wish you good luck with that as I found it near impossible.
Why is it so hard for British manufacturers to match Chinese goods ?
It seems there are many simple things out there that UK companies cannot manage whereas China can, and regardless of Buying British, we buy from where we can that offers us the goods and a reasonable price, like Primark - how do you think they grew to be so massive so quickly if it was not for Chinese manufacturers making all these clothes cheaper than we could buy a tea towel.
The world is indeed going mad and while we want for so much good, we settle for the not good as it's cheaper in the long run and I defy anyone to claim to only buy British as that is near on impossible.