vee dinky wee stove!

Trying to work out Willow’s heating for the winter and, after much searching and anxiety that most woodburners are far too big for our, fairly well insulated and not very big van, have found very small, but perfectly formed wee cast iron stove called a ‘Pipsqueak’ and a very helpful supplier, Mark at Canvas and Cast and Bell Tent Biz. Have got one ordered so we will see…

Really liked the black enamel one so that’s what we have ordered though true its very traditional and you can get the stove in lovely rainbow of colours:


We took the elasticky milky-brown, elasticky and white striped zip-on covers off the seats fairly early on (you can see them in earlier posts). Like the brown tough carpet they were practical for Willow Rosenberg’s time as an office at the Agricultural Show but underneath is the original orange brocade fabric: I’ll probably put new covers over the top of the groovy orange ones though as the fabric is pretty worn in places.

The curtains are currently brown, 1980s – glassfibre maybe?

There have been several bits of wiring over the years, from some original switches and a nice old strip light to wiring for a hook-up as well as a car-battery under one of the seats. We probably won’t renew the hook-up but might use/ upgrade the car battery. We would like to use photovoltaics and a turbine eventually.  Style wise I think the light fittings are probably 1980s but anyway I keep smacking my head against the one above the table and as it is a fairly fragile-looking glass globe they may be re-homed quite quickly whilst I keep on the look out for something a bit more robust and subtle.There is a matching light next to the ‘kitchen’ which is equally vulnerable.

Am still wondering if one of the three floor coverings is orginal. Pretty sure the very tough dark brown top carpet is new but don’t know if the very bright orange carpet next layer down was there from the start or even the pretty green lino which is inside the cupboards and the bathroom or whether it was just used in those areas. Next time thinking about what we would like it to look like….

Aha, bit better cream than green…first cleaning done, all the windows oiled and the door hinges re-attached and oiled, next up the wheels I think. New tyres at least…

Still don’t know what the date of the van is but have emailed Graham of the indispensible site for advice. He has lots of good Thomson stuff up on the site, including a great brochure for a Glenelg caravan c. 1970. There are two very stylish 7os ladies lolling in the caravan which has  interesting looking curtains with a very big geo-floral print on them. Don’t know if our van is that old though…

Pretty sure the van is a Glenelg, after looking at the Thomson Caravans website which has specs for a lot of Thomson vans but also, when I scrubbed off some of the algae there was the ghost of an old Thomson sticker which I am fairly sure reads; ‘Thomson GLENELG” (its pretty hard to see I know – you’ll just have to take my word for it:

Tomorrow a closer look at the inside perhaps…

The inside of Willow the caravan is retro-lovely.Thomson caravan 2010 INTERIOR 2It’s quite big; a double and two single beds although one of them is a really untrustworthy looking bunkbed which would ensure that anyone sleeping on it, or worse on the bunk under it would be plagued by dreams featuring giant mousetraps.

Thomson caravan door catch

All of the surfaces are plywood, I guess marine ply, with neat chrome catches. It has a wardrobe with a subtle curved top 
and the bathroom (yes it has a bathroom) has frosted windows and a windowlight on the door…Thomson caravan interior
The double bed is a bit on the hobbit-sized but all in all its in quite good nick with a few exceptions….

Hmm kind of give up, I cannot personify an, undoubtedly lovely inanimate object. It’s a lovely caravan and I’ll give up the ‘she’.

Anyway here are some photos from yesterday…

Welcome to the place of wee hooses, mostly small movable ones, like the one I’ll be talking aboot next; a tough old broad of a caravan, made by Scottish company Thomson Caravans some time after 1963. We collected her today. She’d been resting down the road from us. Must check with J. how long she’d been there.

I saw her a week ago as we drove past. Well I must have seen her every day as we passed on our way to Mbank but never noticed her until we started thinking that we were never going to be able to build that dacha next to the pond and mebbe a wee vintage caravan might be a better plan. I started browsing ebay, checking out classifieds, we were thinking about a 60 mile round trip to check a not great sounding one and all the time she’d been there.

I saw a distinctive set of switchback curves and an angular roof that marked her out as a bit more interesting then the average modern van with their bland, rounded, smoothed contours, like the one she was sitting next to in fact. Next thing G. mentions that he has bought a caravan. He’d gone round and had a chat with F & J who were happy that the van might go somewhere. She’d been very useful where she was, storing stuff for the agricultural show but at some point they were going to have to move a few things and so…

We were all a bit anxious as to whether or not we could break her out of her cradle of undergrowth and bits and pieces. The jack legs went up like a dream. We backed up the land rover and all 4 of us managed to lift up the hitch but it wouldn’t sit down onto the towball. We stood around, soaking the latch with 3-in-1 and WD40 and other lubricants of personal choice. I got my keys out and scraped away the gunk. F. worked away at it with a hammer and metal bar. I was gettin nervous and J. and I wondered if leaving it soaking overnight in its oily stuff might be a bit better than my vision of the handle snappin off but no. It worked.

Next thing was getting her rolling. I was ready to shove her along but quietly and cautiously she edged out of her undergrowth nest. One tire fine, bit soft, the  other much softer and me anxious about damaging the wheel rim. Both me and J.  a bit worried about the bit of the short journey that involved crossing the big road (well not that big but fowk race along it…). J. saw us off their patch but when I looked back I could see her standing in the road in her red jumper and pink wellies waiting to see if we’d made it. Not that crazy as once when she’d been moving a van the tow sheared off at the end of a very long, very narrow, historic bridge. She’d called on E.M; metalworking master of Btown to come out with  a pack and weld it in the middle of the road. So. No pressure then. I got out of the landy to signal when the road was absolutely clear and we went.. I looked back at J. and gave her the thumbs up and jumped back in.

Ah but she is a star that van. No probs at all and 30 seconds later we rolled into the steading yard and parked her back and she was fine. More later but just to say credit to J., she knows how to leave a van. It might look like Fungus the Bogeyman’s holiday home from the outside and have a few patches and pinches to do but she rolled out of at least 10 years of brambles, nettles and inevitable coalyard stuff and on to her new home without a creak of complaint. Thank you F. & J. for our lovely wee (well actually not as wee as we thought), van; Willow Rosenberg .