Kiri and


It never rains…

August 23rd, 2013 (by Steve)

I’m not sure whether the title should be a reference to the wonderful weather we’ve had since leaving our jobs, or a reference to all of the things that keep on going wrong with Bertha as we try to fix her up (it pours)! At least one helps the other be more manageable.

Bertha has passed her MOT! Get in! Harry, the friendly mechanic, only had to replace the rear brake assemblies and fit new batteries and she sailed through her MOT. We have to thank Sean for helping us choose a van that is so good mechanically… which segways nicely into the work we’ve been doing on her since we got her back on Monday.

The main job is still the damp issue in the rear corner, requiring us to rip out gently remove the rotten battens and plywood to replace it with sound stuff. We planned to do this on Thursday (because we had good friends staying with us at the beginning of the week) – starting by taking out the rear window so we could get access to the rotten wood. Which night did it rain? Wednesday… continuing into Thursday morning… not really the weather for removing windows. We had to therefore shuffle things around a bit and do that today. We ripped out carefully extracted the window, then Kiri announced that she was “ready to demolish”.


At close of play today we have successfully removed (and replaced, including re-sealing with sikaflex (not bathroom sealant, which we suspect may be partially to blame for our damp issues)) the rear window. We’ve also removed many, many rotten bits of wood that might have happened to be structural and replaced them with fresh, treated timber and we’ve removed all of the plywood that we’re going to remove.

Now onto the things that seem to be going wrong. When we got the van back, I was keen to fix the freeze split in the water heater, so got out my soldering iron, did my stuff, then put some plumber’s putty on it just to make sure. However, when I reinstalled it and turned on the water, the water pump wasn’t working. Sad times.


A quick check of the leisure battery showed that there was a “burnt bit on a white plastic thingy” (sorry for the technical language), which didn’t seem to be healthy. We then undid the zig unit (no idea what “zig” means, but it’s the electrical control unit), found a loose black wire in there, re-wired it to a random other black wire, which made the lights on the front of the zig unit work (where they hadn’t before), but made the lights randomly turn off when you turned another light on… before quickly unwiring it did absolutely nothing and thought we would leave it to someone who knows about electrics. A quick phone call to the heroic Harry confirmed that the inline fuse holder (white plastic burnt thingy) had been like that before the new leisure battery was installed. So, I went to unscrew the fuse holder, managed to smash the glass and destroy the 15amp fuse, which then stopped any of the electrics from working from the leisure battery… meaning that the wpbt (white plastic burnt thingy) was probably a legacy problem. In any case, we have another one on order, as well as a multimeter so we can try to properly diagnose things.

The other minor distraction involved a gas canister. Mum, don’t panic – we’re fine and we’re going to get the gas checked out by a professional before we use it. We’re replacing our gas system with Gaslow – refillable LPG tanks, so to prepare for that I removed the old Calor gas tank from the gas locker. This revealed the flue and duct from the gas heater. That was vaguely disconnected and bodged together with gaffer tape. Another thing to add to the to-do list.

As least curtains and re-upholstery shouldn’t be too complicated…


4 Responses

You worry too much! We’ll get a reel of cable, connector blocks/crimps and a few dollops of solder and your electrics will be sorted.

Ditto we’ll get the Gaslow cylinders, some pipes and threaded connectors and that’ll be another job sorted.

Sean. You’re a legend. We’ll let you know when the Gaslow cylinders arrive. Thank you 🙂

But hows the step?

The step is solid…must have had the touch of a master craftsman

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