Wednesday, July 20, 2011

#TheGallery - Vintage

Ahhhhhh 'Vintage' - what springs to mind? Lacy curtains, fifties dresses, delicate china tea sets... Vintage rallies full of impeccably restored old vehicles with their proud owners equally impeccably dressed in period costume. And campers.

Now we are not talking that old cliche the VW here. Oh no!

First up I will admit to slightly cheating here - our camper is not technically 'vintage' in the sense that it is slightly too new to be tax exempt (such a shame!) but we will gloss over that for now. It is still over 30 years old and in 'car' terms that's vintage enough for me. (Although the first person to suggest that anything/one over the age of 30 must, using that logic, be considered 'vintage' gets a slap. OK?)

We bought the camper, a Mark 1 Transit,  shortly after I suffered a miscarriage. It had been an 'unplanned' pregnancy. We had been together for a couple of years but I lived in my own flat whilst the OH was still at home. We hadn't really got as far as the 'settling down for the rest of our lives together' bit so when I found out I was pregnant it kind of shook us both up and made us properly evaluate our relationship. Losing the baby at 11 weeks, just as we were coming to terms with the idea of becoming a family, was devastating to say the least. We spotted the camper on a garage forecourt. It was taxed and MOT'd so we could drive it away. Our first 'camper holiday' was week in West Wales. We spent each night somewhere different and watched the sun set over the sea from a hilltop campsite one night whilst eating camper stove sausages and beans off plastic plates. It was bliss.

It became clear that our camper needed a bit of love and the OH spent many hours sanding, filling, sanding again and priming until the original sky blue paintwork was patched with grey. And obviously adding a decent stereo and some serious speakers was a must! But it was used regularly, taking us backwards and forwards to work, summer and winter, never letting us down.

Occasionally we got the chance to take it on longer journeys such as our annual Shaolin Kung-fu Summer Camp gatherings near Bournemouth. Even in it's patchwork state our camper got many admiring glances, random strangers would come over and talk to the OH about it and what he planned to do with it (which he loved). When it was set up with a gazebo extension it was the envy of our fellow 'summer campers' in their cramped little tents. We even had a little portable DVD player set up in there, running off a spare battery!

With a coat of shiny royal blue paint (which we did ourselves, with brushes!) it became a camper to be proud of!

I don't care how big your tent is, I bet it doesn't have an entrance hall and built in kitchen!

We had several lovely weekends away in our home-from-home but the business became more demanding of our time. And then, one day, our 'super-reliable-never-let-us-down' camper stopped. Or rather it didn't stop... the servo went whilst the OH was driving to work. He managed to coast it to a halt and park it up safely but that was pretty much it's last journey...

A new part was going to cost far too much so the hunt was on at local scrap yards and eBay to find something more affordable. By the time we found what we needed it had been stood for months. All the hard work spent keeping the bodywork from rusting was starting to come undone. It needed far more work than we could do alone and we simply couldn't afford to pay someone else to do it.
And besides, I was pregnant again so priorities changed.

Yes, that is moss growing in the passenger foot well...

Our poor, faithful friend has been stood ever since. Neither of us can bring ourselves to say goodbye to it - it means so much to us and our relationship. It saddens me to see it slowly falling to pieces in our driveway. The back doors would probably disintegrate if we opened them, the wooden cupboards on the inside of the back doors have rotted away to a pile of chippings on the floor. There is moss growing on the inside of the cab and, as you can see, the blue paintwork is peeling away and the rust is doing it's worst.

What saddens me most is that the Little Man will never get the chance to spend the night in it, on a hilltop campsite, overlooking the sea, and watch the sun set whilst eating camper stove sausages and beans...

Now why not pop over to Tara Cain's lovely blog Sticky Fingers and see everyone else's Vintage treasures...


  1. Oh what a shame! :( Would love a van like that - looks like so much fun.

  2. Amanda CottinghamJuly 20, 2011 8:30 am

    Really enjoyed this, a sad ending, but what fab times you must have had. I would love a campervan.....One day!!

  3. I loved staying in caravans when I was small. Hubby & I have been thinking about getting a traveller now that we have retired!

  4. Oh man that brings back so so many memories. My mum and dad did exactly this when I was about 5. Our camper van (it was a Comma?) was bright red and the fanciest thing ever when you're a kid.
    We travelled all through France, Spain and north Africa in ours. You'd never to it now all that health and safety malarky, but boy was it an adventure.
    Your blue boy is just wonderful!

  5. What a fabulous tribute to a treasured camper! I so enjoyed reading about how intrinsic it's been in your relationship.

  6. Great work! The camper looks fantastic!

  7. ForestFlower23July 20, 2011 4:51 pm

    'LOOKED' fantastic. It doesn't any more :( needs a ton of TLC/time/money. Poor baby.

  8. The romance of your camper van will live long in your memories. But I have to admit it would be lovely to see her on the road again.


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