Friday, 29 March 2013

Project Riot Van

Whilst I've been nursing Marlo's first year away - Steve has been creating our home for the next piece of our puzzle.

I am no stranger to simple living in tiny spaces, having spent a considerable time living off grid  in various abodes in various countries.
This piccy was our last home before we went mainstream in Penkhull for the

last couple of years in order to play out stage 3 our project.

It's been fantastic not worrying about 
being moved on, having running water and a place to store ice cream....but.... I miss being immersed in the rhythms of nature, cooking our food on fire and the daily chores of outdoor living.  I also miss travelling.

Those of you new to our lives may be unaware of our ongoing project of buying our own land/smallholding.  We have a few ideas bubbling away about what we'd like to do when we get settled - but that's for another post. Sometimes I'm unsure whether to be explicit about our goals because of the nature of life and plans - i don't want to feel too hemmed in by it all.... but, then again, the whole point of writing this blog is to have a place to document, share and reflect on our journey. 

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" - well, Mr Tzu, the last three years have been all about steps.... and the next one towards our goal is a sensibly paced wreckie around Europe, sizing up potential places where we can start growing some roots.   

Having being a global freeloader for many years, I've found that the best way to get a feel for a place is to stay with local families and since we are looking to set up a small- holding, then what better than to stay with those that already have done.  WWOOFing ( seems like a good solution for us as we want to set up camp somewhere rural with other families and have space and animals around for Marlo.  I'm hoping to learn more about organic veg gardening/permaculture and straw bale construction so have connected with some WWOOF hosts which allow for these opportunities.  In return, we offer our equestrian, construction, childcare, cooking and woodworking skills.  Watch this space !

So, back to Project Riot Van.  A week after Marlo was born Steve went off to Scotland to bring back a van we had bought on ebay.
An ex police riot van which was just begging to be hippified and given an entirely new and groovy role in life. 

After ripping everything out Steve began the studwork, putting a fridge in etc.  We decided on a fixed double bed at the back of the van and to omit a toilet in favour of a biotoi and a shewee with hose attachment!!! (I'll let you do your own research on that).
We raised the bed and put it as close to the back door as possible, building the rest of the furniture around it.  There's heaps of room under the bed for outdoor cooking stuff etc and the bikes will go on the back doors.  I've always had woodburners in my living quarters- whether in a ger or a van but this time we've made the decision to keep the German heating system in favour of a burner because

 a) Stack pipes always attract unwanted attention 
 b) Burners do get MESSY - everything gets a film of dust
 c) Don't want to worry about collecting/storing wood

  The prison bar things have been taken off

The pantry store

                                The kitchen

We're both really crap at furnishings and after several stressy trips to the material shop for offcuts, we settled on getting the first cheapy bits we happened upon for curtains.   Well, orange certainly brightens up a small space.

We painted chicken wire and latches black to funk up the cupboards. The left side is finished but there is a little more to do on the kitchen and we are just waiting for delivery of the solar panel for the roof.

Hopefully, the next post will be the one to see 'Project Riot Van' completed.


  1. This is so awesome! I hope we get to see the finished product before you go off trippin'! what an exciting chapter in yout lives. I for one am going to look forward to every update ;-)

  2. What a fabulous vision for the future, I have no doubt that you will achieve it! What a lucky little chap Marlo is, what an adventure his young life will be :)

    1. Hey Kate, our amazing and free childhood has contributed massively to my life philosophy...I bet you feel the same -
      where we knew how to handle ourselves in our woods and fields
      ! Thanks for the comment xxx

  3. Excellent, Ruthy! So glad that I've been inside the van, by then the kitchen cabinets were still unfinished! Very excited to see how far you've done so far! I'm sure the term "completed" in this is not a static/finished statement, the van will "grow"according to your situations and needs! Just need to meet basic requirements for phase one!
    Message me if you need anything I can support or supply from here :-)
    (I have to admit that I needed to google "sahm" _ not very updated with all abbrevations and internet slang *sheepish*)

  4. Thank you lovely lady xxx

  5. Wow. This is fab. Please keep adding to it. We're really going to miss 'Steve's Van' as Lucas calls it and you of course xxxx

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