Long Time Coming

This update has been a long time coming but I have had so much to do over the spring and summer I have had no time for updates, everything of interest has been on Instagram and Twitter, videos have been a bit slow to appear but as the nights draw in towards the closing of the year time becomes available to sit down and review things.

The first video update is from a trip we took to The Haut Languedoc at Easter this year. We took the VW T5 and spent 8 days travelling across France and back.

This is not a Van Life Video though, this is a document of a road trip. I like to see VanLife videos on YouTube and stuff on Instagram with people doing things and travelling with their chosen vans though these have become something of a cliché these days, the pained expressions of those who are catastrophizing about the worst case scenario of the predicament they find themselves in, the ‘big deal’ about travelling Europe in an old vehicle, perhaps even 30 years old, well I have a couple of those and it doesn’t phase me, I have probably been doing it too long, once upon a time we were called ‘New Age Travellers’ I suppose. How to ‘make the most of a small space’, simple, get rid of your stuff. The worst is probably the ‘chavs in vans’ type thing, no interest to me, I like to travel and see stuff, no supermarket Park4Night for me.

It has been a long spring and summer and most of it has been spent travelling around France, Belgium, Holland and Germany in the VW T5, the Mercedes Benz 608D Fire Engine Camper and the Renault 4, some work on the Citroen AX and a cycle around Benelux.

This is the first of a number of films made while travelling.

In this short film I document the main points of a road trip we took to the Haut Languedoc in April.

Leaving Cambridge and travelling through the Channel Tunnel onwards to Amiens for La Grande Réderie d’Amiens, on around Paris to Orleans, driving through the centre of France to Clermont-Ferrand and finally to the Haut Languedoc and Sète and the Mediterranean. Heading back we spent another day in Amiens and then the final afternoon and evening in the citadel of Montreuil-Sur-Mer.

This film has no talking, no explaining or how to information, it is just a document of 8 days spent travelling and being in France, April 2019.

#roadtrip #vwt5 #vwcamper #campervan


VW LT28 Reimo Camper Update

Over the past few years the vehicle that has proved to be the most reliable on the road and a real workhorse for holidays and trips has been the VW LT28 Reimo camper. Not written much about it but feel the need to update it’s status and throw in some pictures too.


New Forest Camping in a VW

Trips for the year started at Easter with a trip to the New Forest. It all started well but as we travelled the M3 we got some traffic problems and then a problem with front caliper, the front brakes seized on. Luckily we were close to a service area so we pulled in and called the AA. After about 90 minutes the patrol arrived and we agreed the caliper was seized. Together we managed to free the caliper piston but it was not working as it should. It was Good Friday and the beginning of the bank holiday weekend. The AA guy managed to arrange for a new pair of calipers to be in Southampton for 9am in the morning, we set off for some wild camping in Southampton, lead by the AA van and breaking only with the hand brake and tapping the pedal enough to activate the brake lights. We made it to a park in Southampton and waited for the AA guy until the morning. He arrived and we paid for the calipers, he fitted the one that seized and we were on our way. We spent a few days in the forest, horses and all.

VW LT Camper In Paris

We spend the May half term week in Paris and then a couple of days by the coast in Dieppe. What has become a typical start saw us driving to Paris in one day, nothing out of the ordinary, takes all day but worth the effort for a good few days camping in the Bois de Boulogne.

VW LT Camper Camping In- Dieppe

Late July took us on a trip to Cornwall, to the Port Eliot Festival, 5 days camping in grounds of the beautiful Port Eliot house.

VW LT Camper In Cornwall At The Port Eliot Festival

In August we headed back over to France for a road trip taking in Metz for a long weekend, on to Alpirsbach in the high black forest in Germany and then down to Freiburg for almost a week where I spent some time looking to buy a Renault 4.

VW LT Camper In Frieburg

I eventually bought a Renault 4 in Freiburg but on eBay, in Essex. The LT works very well for a family of four, no mechanical issues or camping kit issues on this trip, the van just worked well, actually I remember one minor problem, after two weeks of sunshine we left Frieburg on a rainy morning heading north, joking about how on a trip to Glasgow long ago in the rain the wiper on the T2 camper came off and as if it knew, the wiper came of the LT! Finding a place to stop and do the repair was fun in the heavy rain but we were soon on our way.


I seem to remember Easter was early in 2015 so we spent the holidays in an AirBnB in Rouen, very good but just not camping.

VW Camping In Paris

The camper fun started in May with what had up until then become the annual trip to Paris. Another days driving and we were there. We did the normal things, find the pitch, sort out the bikes etc and fill the on board water tank under the bed with lots of water for a weeks stay. The next morning I went to fill the kettle with water from the on board supply only to find no water in the system, looking in the tank it was totally empty, I knew that I had put about 70L in the day before and we had used none at that point, so where was the water and what had happened?

Looking over the tank and feeling into the almost inaccessible areas where the water enters and leaves the tank I found that all was well there, not damp at all, turns out after much fiddling about that there was a hairline crack in the seam of the Fiamma water tank, all of the water that I put in had run out into the voids under the floor of the van, the ground was dry so all the water was still in the van, not good.

VW Underfloor Porridge

Over the next few days the floor of the van became ‘spongy’ as the water soaked into the 1980’s styrofoam insulation and 18mm old style MDF / fibreboard floor, by the end of the week the areas that you can walk on had become styrofoam porridge and van had started to smell quite interesting.

We made the journey home, windows open and hoping that the water damage was reversible. Over the next few weeks I stripped the van back to the original LT floor, everything was taken out and what could be salvaged was, the bed was fine, everything else on the floor needed to be replaced. We had a plan to leave for Cornwall on July 28 and it was mid-May.

VW Camper Rust Damage to Floor

VW LT Floor RepairedOver the coming weeks I repaired the metal floor, primed and painted it, then treated the voids with waxoil and prepared the area forward of the partition for a new floor.

VW LT Floor Insulated

The first job was to install some battens to screw the floor to, I discovered SikaFlex 221 and stuck the battens down, opting for modern thin foil insulation I packed the voids under the floor with that and then measured, cut, shaped and installed a high quality 12mm ply floor.

VW LT New Ply Floor

VW New Floor and WallThe water had damaged about 8cm of the plywood walls of the van too so I retrofitted some new ply panels to the walls complete with some small vent holes to stop moisture build up behind. All of the new timber was treated with some extrior varnish. The bed was reinstalled but no water tank, I have opted for a jerry can located in the wardrobe, easy to fill, easy to see if it leaks!

VW LT Paint Hand Mixed Match

When fitting the floor I needed some more orange paint, I couldn’t work out exactly what colour it was so I ordered some Rustoleum CombiColor in Red and a RAL 2000 (I think) Orange, mixing the red with the orange until I got it just about right for a match, the original colour is on the outside, my mix on the inside, turns out it is exactly RAL 2004.

During the refit I noticed that there was also a leak in the gutter of the van that was damaging the wall behind the sliding door, after much head scratching I decided to remove that section of wall lining and replace, this involved making a new window frame, new upper lining section and then lower section behind the spare wheel. After having discovered the SikaFlex stuff I just had to use a couple of tubes to reseal the gutter all the way around the van, it’s a job well done the front of the van is dry now and much nicer place to be.

The floor at the rear kitchen area of the van was replaced, the floor under the sink and fridge was left untouched as time was running out and Cornwall was calling, we spent another 5 days at the Port Eliot Festival before taking the Brittany Ferries ship from Plymouth over to Roscoff.

VW Camping Finisterre

It was quite a wet time in France, lots of rain, I discovered that water was leaking in the rear doors, nothing could be done, just had to plug the holes. Further inspection when we made it home revealed the the ladder on the door had actually caused the door to loose it’s slightly curved shape and the seal no longer did it’s job. The ladder has sadly since been removed and the door repaired.

The van’s 30th year went well in the end, not bad for something as old as it is and what is basically a shed driving along the road.


The van year started early with an early MOT, why, because I wanted to start work on the floor at the back of the van and repair it properly. The cam belt, water pump, all the belts and leak off pipes have now been replaced as well and another of the injector pipes, an oil and filter and the engine was back to just how it should be, sounding great for a 2.4L straight six with 400,000+ kms on the clock.

VW LT Camper Sidewall Repair

Stripping out the kitchen revealed quite a bit of water damage, all of the floor needed to be replaced and the walls too, just like the rest of the van. I decided to replace the old fridge too, it was a 12v only unit from the 80s, totally inefficient and a bit to big for it’s internal size. The outer wall of the van need some welding to repair some of the rust / rot, this was done simply and correctly, treated, painted and sealed with wax oil.

I repaired the floor with the same method as I used in the main area of the van, cleaned and repaired the metal floor, primed it, painted it and installed some battens, insulation and new 12mm ply floor. Refitting the kitchen on top was quite straight forward and the van is basically back to how it was but essentially new, I am very pleased with that and it feels very comfortable to be in.

VW LT Camper Windows Install

After all the work was done inside I spent some time tidying up the paintwork on the outside, fitting a new shelf / table under the side window and finally adding a small sliding window to the sliding door, more of a safety thing that a need for more light, it kind of opens up a blind spot, I let my dad loose with a jigsaw.

I had bought a new 3.2M Fiamma F45 awning in a winter sale, so I fitted that too, drilling holes on the inside of the van to secure the mounting plates to, a nice new addition to the van, looks modern too, all white!

VW Camper in Brugge

In May time had come for another road trip, France again, well no, not this time as the French had decided to blockade the refineries and diesel was in short supply. We filled the van in Kent and headed left from Calais into Belgium and on to Brugge for a few days. Some great weather for a few days, cycling around and generally enjoying the more comfortable interior, until day four…

Day Four was wet and windy, in the afternoon we had arrived back at the van in a downpour. After drying off the rain out side got heavier until it looked like a solid wall of water. Suddenly there was a massive ‘bang’ and the van shook, sparks came out of the electric sockets and all of the wiring in the walls was glowing white for a few seconds then it was gone. I assumed that the post outside the van that has a campsite wifi aerial on it was hit by lightning, all over in a flash and apparently no harm done. A short while later after the rain had stopped a German guy came over to tell us that he saw the roof of the LT being struck by lightning, thinking about it I went onto the roof to look, there was a small hole in the fibreglass about the size of a new 5p coin, about 10cm from where my head was inside, all over in a flash.

I discovered a couple of days later that the strike had damaged the wiring to the rear lights, so a lash up was required and we moved on with limited rear lights. Further investigation also revealed that the on board battery charger, leisure battery and a couple of other driving bulbs had been effected too.

VW LT Camper Towing Relay Box

Not much more to say about that other than I spent a day upside down under the van replacing and repairing the rear loom including a new towing relay, the rear lights have never been better.

VW LT Camping At Port Eliot

In late July we set off ffor the Port Eliot Festival in Cornwall, 5 days of sunshine and camping in the Cornish coutryside. This time we travelled back to Portsmouth for a Brittany Ferrries ship to St Malo and two weeks in France.

VW Camping In Cancale

After all of the events with the van over past few years behind us we had a quiet trip travelling around southern Brittany, camping and eating AND no van issues at all.

VW Camping in Morbihan

Looking forward to 2017, what will happen next….

Long Time No Talking To You…

Well, that is what my Japanese mate Yukio used to say. It has been a long time since I have added anything here, the last year or so has been a year of change for us here in Cambridge and it’s time for some retrospective documentation of those changes, developments and all the fun that comes along with it.

The last year has been full of creativity, changing a few vehicles here and there, making stuff, fixing stuff and travelling with many trip to Cornwall, France, Holland and places in-between. There is the story of the VW LT Camper to tell, to update where I left of with that. The story of the Renault 4 and all the people I have met along the way with that, the story of the Beach Buggy and the minor refit after 25 years of ownership. The change from T4 to T5.1 and another new VW joins us, just today.

This week sees the arrival of the long due Allotment album, ‘Songs From Meadow Long’, more on that to come too along with some other band news.

For now though, here is a picture of the Renault 4, the day it arrived in September 2014.

Renault 4 Savane in Cambridge


VW Beach Buggy

It’s been a while since I have posted anything on here, I have been quite busy with work over the past few months. There have been some developments in the VW area though. We went to Amiens in France for the brocante in April, it’s been an odd year for the weather so far and even then in April it was much colder that we have been used to in previous years. The van held up well and got us there and back with no drama.

Over the past few months I have been searching out as many pictures and videos that I can find documenting my VW history, from a picture of my in 197x next to my dad’s 6V beetle and even a video of my 1972 Bay Devon Moonraker that I made in Chichester in 1991 on cine film… all to be posted on here very soon.

Fibre Fab VW BuggyThe VW Beach Buggy that was purchased and built in 1989 from Country Volks in Basingstoke has finally made it to Cambridge, it’s my time to look after it now, so after 24 years in Suffolk it’s made it to the city. I have take it to a few shows this year, Stanford Hall was the first outing in it this year. After 50 miles in 10 years it did 250 in one day, no problems to speak of, except the non-functional fuel gauge, I found that a wooden fork can tell how much fuel there is.

We all went down to Battlesbridge for the show there on the Sunday and a couple of weekends ago we took the LT to Jimmy’s Farm for the show there, all very good events.

The next trip in the buggy will be to the show in Holt on July 6th, looking forward to that one and lets hope the weather is ‘Buggy Weather’.


Posted in VWs

Reimo and Flickr

The interest that the Reimo van gets is always a surprise, this though is the most surprising. I found that someone has made a couple of the pictures in the photostream favourites on Flickr, not unusual as this has happened before but what happened next was certainly something different.

I got an email from Leah Giberson in Boston MA, she has posted a painting of the van that she has completed. More surprising is that her other work is of classic AirStream vans and the such like.

Reimo by Leah Giberson

Leah has offered to send a print of the painting in the new year, more on that when it arrives.

Port Eliot Festival and VWs

We spent the weekend of July 20 in Cornwall at the Port Eliot festival. The drive down on Thursday took around 8 hours from Cambridge, similar amout of time to return.

With the diesel leak fixed by fitting a new pipe direct from VW in Germany it was time to test it on a long trip again. Fuel economy was OK, about £150 for the 800 mile trip.

We saw very few LT vans on the way down and from what we could see ours was the only one in the camper fields, lots of passing interest in the van all the time we where camping in it.

While we had the Westfalia we still got waves from other VW owners, Type 2 and Type 25 alike, having visited a lot of VW festivals over the years the ‘enthusiast’ ownership it certainly growing. We still have a Type 4 Caravelle but I choose that for work rather than travelling.

It’s an interesting thing owning a VW van, I have had one since I was 18 in 1988, the first was a VW Type 2 Devon Moonraker bought for £1000 and included a whole other Type 2 for spares. In 1988 there was still a sense of doing something different by owning a VW camper and travelling all over the place in it, I took mine to Glastonbury and numerous other festivals until I sold it in 1992 to get a 1972 VW Panel Van.

Why did I sell the T25 Westfalia? I wanted to do something different, owning an LT is odd enough, a bright orange one, even better. This LT as far as I have seen is unique and certainly gets looked at, and laughed at.

Do something different, buy a VW camper, but something different to the Type 2s and Type 25s that everyone else trying to do something different has…

Off to France and Germany now for a few weeks… more pics from that soon…

Westfalia Joker – Now Sold

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks… Our T25 Westfalia Joker is now sold. Sold to someone who is going to use it for what it is intended, lots of travelling and camping.

We are all sad to see it go, we had four great years use of it with may European trips, this picture from our trip to Germany last year.

I may post more pictures of it on it’s travels as I find them, such a great van.

Posted in VWs

Dreamers and Lurkers

I have been posting adverts for the Joker on various web sites over the last few weeks, the ads have been viewed over 4000 times, so it’s clear that there is some interest, but why has there been only a few emails and phone calls?

There have been a few who have been very enthusiastic, either by email or on the phone. Two have even made firm appointments to view the van. After readying the van for the appointments and made the time to be available it is always disappointing when the person fails to show up without and contact to offer an explanation.

So, there are the typical internet dreamers and lurkers who appear to be interested in the van, but perhaps that is all they are.

Looking at the calendar the time for the van to be for sale this year is coming to an end, we have many trips planned and fitting in selling it around everything else may be tricky. I will just have to enjoy it for a little while longer.

Posted in VWs

VW Westfalia Joker T25 – For Sale

The recent success with the LT has made me think about selling the Joker. A couple of weeks ago I took it for an MOT and got 6 months tax for it, so it’s on the road and ready to go. I have been enjoying driving around town, but it really does have to move on.

We have had some great trips in the Joker, this picture from the Alps in Switzerland.

I listed the van on eBay and Gumtree (London). There has been quite a bit of interest in the van and a few time wasters with daft questions.

An interesting incident happened over the last weekend. A really nice couple arrived to take a look a the van, I showed the around, inside and out in my usual honest straight talking way, explaining all of the good and bad about the van that I have maintained and repaired over the four years that I have owned it, my suggestion is that it is good mechanically for a 23 year old van.

They decided to get an inspection from a mechanic that they found locally. I don’t really have a problem with that approach, especially as they said that they knew nothing about the mechanics of such a van. The resulting report detailed a good deal of what I had already pointed out, with a couple of notable exceptions. The report suggested that there where some serious problems with the engine, injector faults, blowing head gasket, low oil pressure etc etc, it made it sound really bad. All of this was news to me.

The couple paid the mechanic for his time and off he went. The report seemed to settle their opinion about the van, that is was potentially unreliable and may be cause for concern in the future. Given that their requirement was for a van that they need not maintain I suggested that this was not the van for them, all T25s need some sort of maintenance.

Thinking about this, there is a lesson in here somewhere. Who actually got anything out of the meeting? They had the opportunity to buy a very good, reliable van but it was clouded by a mechanic with no interest in the van. The mechanic got paid either way, so he was happy.

I still have the van, the engine is still good and it’s still for sale.

Posted in VWs

VW Beach Buggy

On a rare sunny and warm February day Dad got the beach buggy out of it’s garage. It’s still gleaming in it’s raspberry red flake finish and huge chrome wheels.

The car was converted from a scrap beetle in 1989, we went to Basingstoke to collect the body kit from the maker, not sure what sort of model it is or exactly what the beetle donor car was.

Looking at the engine it’s a twin port, looks like an old T2 engine. I think Dad made the roll cage and the engine cage. There is a wet weather hood for it too, just in case.

Posted in VWs