Sunday, 23 February 2014

The Smallest Room

So, there we were: work clothes on, cuppas in hand, sat in Marj, pondering over the ever growing to do list, when along came robin...we have a friendly little robin (the feathered variety!) who comes to visit us inside Marj – leaving quite a lot of mess to clean up each time!! 
Some believe that a visit from a robin is a visit from someone close that has passed away. I like to think it is my dad stopping by to keep an eye on things ( and that would make perfect sense as it is my little brothers place of work too - and believe me, he needs much more looking after than I do!) Although, I can just imagine Dad’s reaction to our vintage venture - “what ever are you going to do with that ??” 
Actually, this is a sentiment that has been expressed a number of times over the past few months.  Typically, it is the male species that cannot see the potential in the humble caravan - no imagination!!  But, all of this changes once the hard graft has started and the transformation is underway.
Anyway, back to Marj.......and specifically the pros and cons of the toilet cubicle. Now, at first you would probably think “Ooohh, a toilet, how cute! – that will come in handy!” But, really??? When would you actually use it??  Anyone spending any time (or anything else!) in one of our caravans would probably have a very close relationship with their travelling companions - and therefore have no real need of a very small portaloo, strategically placed in a cupboard with an ill-fitting door and an outside window.  In one of these babies, if you don’t know one another well enough to pee and hold a conversation at the same time, you should probably find an alternative bathroom solution!
So, after at least a couple of minutes of debate we decided to ditch the smallest room in favour of a corner sofa!  Now, we know that there are plenty of caravan purists out there who do not like the thought of any changes to the original design including the interiors. But, not us !!– we love these old vintage vans for their shape and styling but we have no wish to restore them to their original state.  We want fabulous, gorgeousness and not ‘70s nostalgia! The fashions and furnishings of 1973 just don’t do it for us!  Whilst some of them are absolutely lovely, we do not feel compelled to re-create a vision of ‘70s heaven.
So, corner seating it is! 
Corner Seating for Marj!
And, so started the re-structuring of Marj!  We took out the toilet cubicle (a very satisfying job) and replaced her two single seats with a lovely corner sofa (that we constructed ourselves)! And we are soooo  pleased with the results. Marj is shaping up very nicely indeed - the emergency surgery undertaken by Berkeley Fabrication and Welding was a complete success which has meant that we can now do some of the fun bits! After we have done a very thorough cleaning job that is.
You will be pleased to know that Hilda and Marj have been re-homed over the winter months and are no longer on windswept wasteland but have a lovely cosy barn with a few nearby cattle for company.  They have not had to contend with the recent bad weather and have been tucked up and dry.

Mary x

Monday, 17 February 2014

Hilda Meets Marj

After 3 weeks alone on windswept wasteland, Hilda was pleased to meet her new companion, Marj.  Marj came to us from a very wet and windy Wolverhampton, about 60 miles from home. Originally, she was going to be called Margot but sadly she just wasn’t posh enough!!! – not that we are in anyway name-ist.  She had had a bit too much of the good life – a bit of wear and tear was visible and she had definitely not had any work done – a bit like the two of us really!!
Hilda and Marj
So, on a very blustery Saturday morning (with gale force winds forecast), off Lisa went a-towing again.  I couldn’t be her wing-man this time (the first of many Christmas drinks was on the cards for me!). Thanks to Lisa’s excellent driving and towing skills, Marj, a 1977 Sprite Alpine, arrived safely home and took up position next to Hilda.
So, we have our two babies, Hilda and Marj just waiting for their totally fabulous make-overs!!
We decided to keep Hilda under covers and start with Marj.  Marj had obviously been outside for many years and was looking a little down-at-heel.  So first things first – get her completely watertight, replace all the seals and fit a new skylight.
We have quickly come to realise that little old caravans, like little old ladies, often leak a bit!  But just a little care and maintenance can help keep time at bay. Marj had a stubborn leak around her front window which meant taking out all of the internal wood panelling,replacing all of the rusted window screws and resealing the whole area. A big (but satisfying) job – we are not taking any short cuts! We want our caravans not only to look great but to be the best build quality they can be. 
Poor Marj!!!
Marj had one other serious job that needed attention - a 6 inch gash in her side that means replacing the whole panel. Capable as we are, this is a job we aren’t tackling ourselves.  Luckily, we know a man (or two) who can! 
Marj soon went in to Caravan A&E at Berkeley Fabrication to have the panel replaced.  The fabulous specialists (in particular Doctor Bri) worked miracles with Marj and you would never know that she has had any work done.  Since coming home, Marj has undergone a bit of a transformation and is now unrecognisable from the caravan we took delivery of only a couple of months ago. 
She isn’t quite finished yet but we will keep you posted on her progress!! We think you are going to love her - she has got a totally tropical feel to her and we can’t wait to show her off……

Mary & Lisa x

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Our First Tow Tastic Experiece

So, whilst I was dancing to The Darkness and having a little flutter on the horses, Mary had been to the Auction and we have bagged our first baby - Hilda.  Now all we have to do is get her home safe and sound! How hard can it be????
I haven't towed a caravan before but I figure all I need to do is go a bit slower than normal, especially around the bends.  As it turns out that this is going to be easier said than done - it is narrow, bumpy lanes all the way….. and I am not generally known for my slow and careful progress on the road!
This could soon be you!
With my first glimpse of Hilda it was love at first sight! She is soooo cute - absolutely tiny- a real little vintage beauty. OMG, now even I’m nervous - I just can’t mess this up. Safe delivery of our first baby is down to me. Aaarrgghhh!!!
There had been quite a bit of heavy rainfall during the night and the auction field was a bit muddy. Luckily, Hilda is light on her feet (just like us! ha ha) and we could (with a little bit of help) push her out of the field and onto the road ready to hook up. 
We got a bit excited when we were told that each auction vehicle has its own ‘box’ where all of its keys, documents, and other gems are kept, ready for when the new owner collects. So we eagerly awaited the opening of our box. Guess what we found inside??? Nada!
"Help! Help!" we cry.
The lovely auction men give us some great towing tips - mainly “just check your wing mirrors to make sure the caravan is still there” Really??? They didn’t tell us what we should do if we couldn't see her in our wing mirrors.  Presumably, that would be obvious - I would vote for denying all knowledge if we are spotted and otherwise try to get her back on the tow hitch.
So, eventually (and much quicker than expected) we were on the road and heading for home.  Now, I usually love nothing more than a little bit of road rage aimed at all the useless drivers on the road, and a few choice words for the caravan towers, cyclists and horses who are always in the way!! Not today though! - I have to spend so much time checking the wing mirrors that I don’t see the road in front at all!  And when we did meet an oncoming vehicle, I closed my eyes for a second and both me and Mary shrieked until the road was clear.  It was a very loud and nerve shattering journey!! Mary only uttered two words all the way home - they both began with ’s’ and are both four letters long. ‘Slow’ is one and I’m sure you can guess the other.  She may only of uttered two words but she repeated them every couple of seconds!!! This was not the calming co-driver I needed!!
Needless to say, we got Hilda home in one piece.  We got her into place and stood back to admire her, and there is a lot to admire.  She is a little 1973 Thomson Glen - and she is a real vintage beauty!!
Lily & Violet Vintage are in the caravan business!!!! We are so excited - can you tell?? 

Lisa x

Saturday, 1 February 2014

And We Are Off!!.........

So, where do you start when you have admitted to being an Audrey wannabe, and you have found your perfect partner and even decided on your name??! You buy a caravan or two of course!  Oh, and you start growing a collection of totally gorgeous, totally unique dresses that just ooze quality and style.  
The Lily & Violet Vintage Collection will boast the most desirable vintage pieces that you just won’t be able to resist (we hope!).  But I’ll tell you more about that later. First, let’s talk caravans!!........
........Obviously, they have to be just like us, cute(?) and curvy, and truly vintage!  Although, some might think we should be classed as antique rather than vintage! We are lovers of the glass windows, so none of that plastic stuff for us!.  Actually, now I’m thinking of plastic stuff, I guess that is where I might consider differing from the caravans.......maybe a bit of ‘plastic’ would be helpful! 
Hilda at the Auction
Our first baby (she is now named Hilda) is a lovely little 1973 Thomson Glen.  We bought her at a Classic Car auction, and what an exciting experience that was! On the day of the auction Lisa was otherwise engaged.  Can you believe that a night out watching The Darkness followed by a day at the races came top of her list of priorities.?? Pfff, that’s committment!! So, come the day, I dragged my long suffering other half along to keep me company. (Actually, I thought he might splash some cash and buy me an open top Audrey-esque car to complete my look – but he didn’t!!!!)
So, there we were waiting nervously for the little caravan to come up for auction (needless to say it was one of the last items of the day), clutching our bidding number – 954. Luckily, there weren’ t many others interested in Hilda and we won!! Yay!
The very next day, me and Lisa borrowed a van and went a-towing!  After a bit of happy chat, the lovely strong men at the auction site agreed to help us hitch up. We were obviously weak, feeble, mad ladies with no knowledge of caravans, vans, towing or driving.  I didn’t recognise either of them, so I wonder where they knew us from??!!!

Off A-Towing We Go!
Actually, I didn’t do any of the towing, that was all down to Lise.....  I will let her tell you all about that experience herself.

Mary x