Kiri and


It’s the vinyl countdown

October 4th, 2013 (by Steve)

I wonder how many of you read that and immediately sung “dahdah dah daaah, dahdah dah dah daaah“? You’ve got to love the 80s… kind of appropriate that the song is by “Europe”! Anyway, back to the trip – the end of preparations are in sight, and we’ve got the vinyl floor laid!

The rest of the van is looking pretty shipshape as well to be honest. We got a new replacement flue for the gas heater (after the old one was too small)… and this one was too big. After some communication with a very lovely and honest eBay seller, we’ve now got a flue that is the right size and once that was fitted, we could move on to a couple of other jobs; putting full-width shelves across the wardrobe that the flue goes through (we’d prefer shelves to hanging space) and building an extra wall to separate the back of the gas heater from the gas locker. I’m not sure that this is going to do much in the event of something going badly wrong with the heater, but it should isolate some of the heat from the gas locker.


We’d been putting off laying a new floor until we’d done most of the work inside Bertha, as we didn’t want to ruin it with tools and this week we decided to bite the bullet. We’d kept the old carpet that we pulled up and used that as a template to cut the vinyl, but there were still a few edges where we were glad we’d allowed for a bit of excess. Once cut to shape it was pretty easy to stick down – just the equivalent of double sided tape around the edges and spray adhesive for the rest of the floor. It didn’t seem to want to create bubbles either, which was very helpful for us! Once laid, a bead of brown sealant around the outside finished it off and we added a rag rug to soften the floor a bit.

Bertha's completed insides (facing forwards)
View from the rear seat

Bertha's completed insides (facing backwards)
View from the driver’s seat

Once the vinyl was laid, we could then think about straightening the rear table. When we replaced the floor in the back corner, we had to work out the placement of the fixed table base, allowing enough space from the wall so that it wouldn’t tilt. We left a bit too much though, meaning a gap between the table and the wall, which the table chose to tilt into. With the vinyl down, we had a final resting place for the table, so could build a little desk tidy between the wall and the table to fill the gap.

So to all intents and purposes, we’re done with the modifications to Bertha. We’re waiting for a new water heater to arrive (should turn up today) which we’ll fit as soon as possible. Once that’s done we can organise a final gas safety check and sterilise the fresh water system. We’ve come a long way – this is what Bertha looked like when we bought her:



Once the water heater’s in, it’s onto the packing, buying ferry tickets and travel insurance, then setting off on our mini UK tour. Hopefully by this time next week we’ll be on the road!

7 Responses

I’ve been waiting ALL week for this blog title!!! Looking good Mr and Mrs Roberts!

This is such brilliant news ! It looks absolutely great and we wish you safe travels with tonnes of fun xxxx

Looking good Frodo!

Ferry or tunnel?

You’ll have to let me know your UK tour itinerary, also whereabouts you’ll be around December time frame, we’re looking at dates for the German markets, although you might want to be somewhere a lot further south and warmer!

Hi Gandalf! We’ll be going for ferry probably as it’s cheaper – we’ll get on booking that as soon as the new heater is installed and has been given the thumbs up for safety… until then we won’t have a firm leaving date.

UK tour will be a whistlestop tour of family (probably a week at most) otherwise we’ll not be able to get into Eastern Europe before the snow arrives. I would guess that December might be Balkans kind of area…

Hi guys,
Looking good.great to hear of your uk mini long for and where are you heading

Have you any firm date for Europe set off.

If you go to Peak District drop us a line and we’ll supply some good stops

Also,I’ll throw in Ludlow. What a great place-give it a go.
Tried to mail you on LPG.

We currently @clc church in Chesterfield.i do some keys,and Jane sings, son,mark in c palace doing keys &guitar

Can you let us know some of the places you are planning to visit.

Bye for now.

Hi Kev, the UK mini tour will be very mini – just off to say goodbye to our family, so sadly not much time for proper touring – we’ll have to do that at some other point 🙂 Great to hear about your church. We were at St. Mark’s Kennington in London

As for places we’re planning on visiting, I guess you’re talking about the Europe part of the trip here? We’re not entirely sure, so to manage expectations we’ll probably blog about places after we’ve visited. One that we’re pretty sure of though is Taize.

“One does not simply drive into Eastern Europe….”

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