Kiri and


The last leak

October 20th, 2013 (by Steve)

You know we said we wanted to test everything before we set off around mainland Europe? Well someone upstairs must have been listening, because we had absolutely torrential rain the night after our last blog post (last Friday). We were sleeping soundly in Bertha, when at 2:15am, we were woken by an ear-piercing siren. Blearily, we worked out it was our smoke detector; taking out the batteries to shut it up, before we turned on the lights and saw the damage. There was a heavy mist of water vapour clinging to the ceiling and water was pouring onto the floor through holes we’d drilled for the solar panel on the roof. Just what we needed 2 days before setting off on our UK tour.


The next 48 hours saw us re-sealing every screw hole on the roof and the seams (just to be on the safe side) and running a dehumidifier and heater inside at full blast to dry Bertha out. This was alongside trying to pack her with all our worldly belongings that are going with us, whilst trying to keep them dry. Quite a challenge, but we got there eventually and on Monday morning we set off on our UK tour to say goodbye to family. Bertha hit the road!

Now when your friendly mechanic tells you that you should check the water level every day, even if you check nothing else, you would probably not forget to do that. What did we not check before we set out? Yes, the water level in the radiator expansion tank. It was hardly surprising then that when we got to Bristol the warning light came on. A quick top up sorted us out and reminded us to listen to people who know what they’re talking about!

Over the last few days, we’ve spent some really good quality time with family; being fed incredibly well (we suspect our families may think we might not eat when we’re on the road). We had a lovely day out in glorious weather on Tuesday, visiting some old childhood haunts of Burrow Mump, Glastonbury Tor and Wells. Sadly, the rain came down once more that night; again leaving us with lots of water vapour, but this time no evidence of leaks. We hoped it was just residual water coming out from behind the ceiling… only more rain would confirm or refute expectations.


We then had a lovely visit to Cardiff to see Kiri’s Nan, checking the engine water level before we set off this time! Bertha behaved though and we were rather relieved to find out that the Severn Bridge toll for Bertha was the same as a normal car. We then stayed overnight at a very basic campsite with just fresh water and waste disposal, getting a flavour of what our life will be in the coming months, before we travelled on up to Stourport to visit Kiri’s other grandparents.

Even though we’ve had the fridge running on gas almost permanently since we filled up with LPG in Taunton, the gauge is showing almost full still, which is encouraging, as our gas should last longer than first though. If only the same would happen with our petrol… we’ve moved to 20mpg with the longer journeys – Bertha’s a thirsty beast!

And then on to Birmingham to visit my brother and sister-in-law. We were just giving them the tour of Bertha when the heavens opened. We’re talking monsoon here. And hail. The rear window of Bertha turned into a beautiful water feature (outside!) and my finger nails ended up being bitten almost down to the quick! Amazingly, she remained watertight and even after very heavy rain last night, there was no sign of a leak or water vapour.


We’ve got one more stop on our UK mini tour before we return to East Sussex to get our winter tyres fitted… then we’re off.

6 Responses

I’m in, have been reading with great interest. We are hoping to do something next year. If you are in the Inverness area on your travels, get in touch. All the best Graham

Thanks Graham. We’ve just completed our UK tour, but might venture a bit further north than Leicester when we’re back in March

I’m looking to head off next year in my little campervan with my dog Alf – so looking forward to following your blog

Thanks Thea! Your plan sounds pretty cool… hope that Alf travels well. What sort of camper have you got?

Found you on youtube last week.. early march. Enjoying your journey,grandkids love the legovan. Got an old talbot merlin.. hope to have 1st night out in may at the van show in west wales( yes long distance) whens the next vid due? Ps to get a few more mpg try freewheeeling.. if safe .

Hi Bob + Gee, glad you’re enjoying our journey; we are too! These old Talbots are great, aren’t they! Are you part of the Talbot Owner’s Club? It’s a great friendly community at

As for the videos; as of today we’ve only got the 3 live online, but there are several more in the pipeline. Our only problem is finding time amidst the travelling and adventure to do the necessary editing before we upload them!

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