Monday, 4 April 2011

Caravan love

I’ve wanted a caravan for years. Years and years. I’m not sure why, I’ve always been more the city breaker than the happy camper but I find something really charming about tiny little homes on wheels. The thought of carrying, snail-like, all the comforts of home with you, wherever you go is a heartening one.

About three years ago, as a job contract came to an end I had the idea of starting my own little caravan refurb business with grand intentions of buying lots of tiny old, unloved, battered and bruised vans, which I’d bring back to life with some elbow grease and  a lot of TLC, making them pretty enough to rent out for festivals, photo shoots and weekend trips. As it turned out, I landed a marvelous job looking after a collective of amazingly talented creative businesses and practitioners (housed within the Mushroom Works and Brick Works Studios in the Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle) and the caravan business idea was shelved. 

But thoughts of pretty caravans just kept coming back to me.

Three years later and it’s all taking shape.  I’m two caravans richer and a Laravan masterplan as long as my arm.  It all started with Liberty.  A 1980s ACE ABI Marauder. She’s a corker, currently being stripped out and painted ready for the summer. We’ve painted almost all the interior , have added some vintage features and recently bought about 20m of a lovely red Laura Ashley fabric to help make her really pretty.  Making the seating covers has been pretty daunting, using my tiny sewing machine, I’ve not sewn anything of this scale before and this is the first time I’ve sewn zips into anything – but it all seems to be going to plan (so far).  

Helga was a Christmas present from ma and pa (such a good Christmas present! She’s the perfect twin to Liberty (also a 1980s ACE ABI Marauder).

The ‘vans are slightly different, especially in their interior layout


So, two  ‘vans and nothing to tour pull them with. Several weeks of eBay searches, a very long ‘watch list’, a few local viewings, many lost auctions and a trip to West Yorkshire later and we have ourselves a lovely little Vauxhall Astra, complete with duel fuel and tow-bar. A little cart before the horse, you might say but all’s worked out well – the Astra does a fine job and will no doubt pull the caravans from A to B marvelously. 

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