We talk a lot about Victoria but never much about our lovely old living van so we thought we would give you a little view of her…
We call her Wendy’s House as she is Wendy’s house and when we are away at events Wendy spends a lot of her time in there making her famous rally breakfast, then her lunch time sandwiches and something yummy for dinner in the evening, whether that’s a curry, sausage and mash or chilly it’s always yummy and she has to feed at least 5, and usually 7 or 8!! The living van only has a 2 ring gas hob and no oven or microwave, but Wendy always makes yummy meals. In-between all of that cooking she makes many many cups of tea and coffee!
A little history about the living van we know of is – we think before it was the living van it was a traction trailer as it is very very heavy, but at some point it was converted into a living van and used by Kent County Council for their workman. We believe the make of the van is Aveling and Porter.
She worked for many years doing many miles but sadly we have no real confirmed history of her until in the 1960’s when her previous owner spotted her in a yard near to where he was working. The worker in the yard were breaking her up and getting rid of her, I believe they were going to set her on fire!!! In stepped Peter and handed them £25.00 for her – I think that’s what he told. He then took her home and started to make her into a living space, he towed her behind his then engine, “Dusty”, for many years visiting many events. In 1980 Peter sold “Dusty” and purchased “Victoria” and then for many years Peter and his wife Shirley spent many happy times in the living van at events in the UK and Europe. One of the big jobs was to move the door from the side of the van to the front which he done in 1982 this is so he could see through the van to the road behind him.
Roll to when we purchased Victoria and of course the living van came with her too. We have spent many happy weekends away in this fine living van but we have also spent many hours repairing and repainting, patching up and replacing rotten boards. In 2008 we decided to replace all the boards and repaint, and this time we used Meranti hardwood hoping it would last a lot longer than the softwood. We also painted her with Zinsser All Coat Exterior Gloss water based paint. This was a huge cost but we have not had to replace any wood and only had to repaint once in all those years, in the end it has been worth it. The only thing Wendy doesn’t like about the paint is it’s not shiny so her van looks a little dull but she lives with it!!
Inside it is very basic, a bench seat, a small double bed, lots of small cupboards and 2 gas ring cooker and a work space. There is also a lovely stove in the corner so on a winters night you can keep warm and keep the kettle on the go. The bench seat has now been converted so at night you can make it into a single bed, clever.