Day 72 of #vanlife

Repairs … how to fix broken campers

So if you thought life on the road was a carefree, jolly adventure when every day brings a sense of awe and wonder, then I need to tell you that you are much mistaken!

As I have described in other posts, there are numerous things that I have had to do during our 11 weeks on the road, such as repair our leaky toilet, our under-seat cupboard and our aerial*. A recent run of events has resulted in a growing number of other little minor things to attend to, but this latest one is of a more extreme nature that merits its own post and a brand new game, so not all bad!

*Incidentally, there were no takers for my “nanu-nanu aerial” that I put on ebay – cant figure that one out!

Who let the air out of my bed?

So I was busy making dinner* when I heard Catherine call my name in that very particular way that makes me go “oh now what?” I’m sure many other husbands, like me, dote on their wives and are only too happy to be needed and want to always be there in mutual support and appreciation for their better half. However, my sense of patience and inner zen has waned somewhat on this journey and resulted in a less than supportive and almost teen-like “Whaaaaat???”

*(Spaghetti carbonara if you must know – sorry no pictures for instagram – I only photograph the best and most notable meals not everything we eat! I know I could post at least 3 times a day on instagram, but to be honest, I don’t have the motivation for all that and seriously I’m sure other people have better things to do with their time than wonder what Bucko is eating today?!).

“The bed (I.e lilo – in the tent) seems like it needs some air,” she says. Well, that is unusual. Usually, a small amount of air escapes over a period of a couple of days. I then give it a little top-up from our air-pump just before lying down to wonder what tonight will bring by way of strengthening my zen.
I go and take a look. “Arse-titties – that is rather flaccid!” I exclaim. I decide to investigate later.

“Later” was after a tryptophan and serotonin-inducing glass of wine and a large portion of pasta! By nature, I am what some would call a naïve optimist. Recent events however have resulted in me being less than my cheery, ebullient self! But tonight was different as I decided that it would be alright. I thought I’ll just pump a little bit of air into the mattress and It will be good to go! I Shoulda charged the pump first – doh!

The Zephyr in the East Coast

In the last 10 weeks or so I have come to acquaint myself with the Scottish wind with all the good grace that a camper can muster! But the sound of escaping wind from one of my few remaining comforts (I.e. a very comfy inflatable bed) was not unlike the sense of deflation I felt in my mood. That poxy little hhhhssssssssssssss* sounded every bit as loud as some of the glades that had been billowing our tent for the last couple of weeks!

*I was going to use the word zephyr here to describe the soft gentle breeze coming from the opposite side of the tent but I didn’t and I didn’t for three reasons 1) I didn’t want to sound pretentious 2) it was too nice a word to waste on an event that had metaphorically knocked the wind out of my sails 3) I only just discovered it when looking up other words for “wind” to make my writing sound a little less boring as it felt like cheating! That said on a re-edit I couldn’t NOT use the word hence the new heading 🙂

I soon discovered the leak and, not wanting to attribute any blame on my camping buddies, the hole I discovered was suspiciously claw-sized! Now I wonder who has been letting Tommy “the Claws” Buchan up on my beautiful beloved berth? Well OK, it was me. We have got into a habit. At around 4 am (bird o’clock is what Catherine calls it) each morning, Tommy gives me a less than subtle hint* that he would like to snuggle between Catherine and myself. I suspect that the damage was done when he jumped onto the bed and managed to pierce the rubber/plastic material of what is ostensibly an overgrown lilo!

*These hints have been escalating over the last few days. They started as a whiny, then become a gentle lick of my face and now he just says “sod it – I’m coming in” as he has now taken to standing on Catherine until she moves over. As I say less than subtle!

My “fix-all” … for things …

So what to do? Well, iteration 1 was to use one of our tent patches to block the hole. Fail. The unfortunate thing is that the repair is needed right on the seal* that was created during the manufacturing process. Iteration 2 that night was to use some of the remaining super-glue to try and bond the hole – spectacular fail! The escaping air blew the glue onto my fingers and caused the glue to dry rather quickly on my hands – but not the bed. Ommmmmmmm.

*What is it with Seals on this journey?! First, there was the missing toilet seal. Then there was the lack of seal on some of the windows which resulted in an ingress of water. Then there was the rotten seal on the skylight that I had to remove and repair. Then there was a seal needed to cover the holes from my now absent aerial. Now The seal on my lilo is f***d – Sorry mother-in-law – but I feel I am entitled to that outburst! I wouldn’t be surprised if I met an ex-navy Seal on our journeys, now that would make me laugh!

Iteration 3 proved more successful as I learned from both preceding iterations: wash hands, put glue onto patch, let dry for a few moments; reapply patch. Temporary pass. I say temporary because now air comes out of the mattress to assist us in creating game number 6 which I call:

Three in the bed and little Tommy says …

That’s right … roll over! Hours of nocturnal fun can be had with a mattress that loses air at a reasonable rate. The trick is to fall asleep thinking the repair has been successful, only to wake up at bird o’clock with my wife now resorting to practicing what might be called ocean meditation: so called because every time the 15stone husband moves in his sleep, this moves the dog which then moves the wife. The wife then moves into the van! So far as Tommy is concerned thats a successful outcome – now how can I get rid of this big fella who is taking all this valuable dog space???

So here I am now writing this on day #72 waiting for the campsite owner to return from the heatwave down south to see if he has any lilo repair kits or maybe just a bicycle repair kit so that stability (meant both literally and metaphorically) will return to the Bucko Fortress of Less-than-Solitude.

Update on day #74

Our “fix-all” … for broken campers

Our campsite owner John has returned from his visit down south and he has very kindly fixed our frying pan for us as well as providing up with a sort of puncture repair kit for the lilo! I’ve given it a go and it seems like an improvement on the attempts I have made.

However no rest for the wicked I’ve been told! As Catherine and I head into Turriff to get ready to leave this awesome campsite we discover that the windscreen wipers on the van aren’t working and neither is the cigarette lighter which I use to power the iPhone and wifi dongle while on the road. Oh, and the heater fan lever is now stuck on HOT! You really have to smile don’t you … well it’s either that or cry … or resort to the camper repair kit shown here.

3 thoughts on “Day 72 of #vanlife”

  1. Such is life, its never dull or boring just full of ups and downs, bit like a dodgy Lilo. What can go wrong with frying pan?

    • the screw that binds the handle to the pan – the ONLY thing that can go wrong, so it does! Its the law of Sod isn’t it?


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