Day 11, 12, 13, 14 & RockStock!: Building Our New Home #VANLIFE

The last two weeks we have worked completely ALONE with the responsibility of continuing our van build.... eeek!
So that morning we took the luxury of getting out of bed at 9:05am because we knew El wouldn't be there 9am sharp as usual. Then we sat down and had a cup of tea and assessed the situation.

What the hell are we doing?!
Why don't you know?
What shall we do first?
How did we end up here?

It took two and a half cups of tea to get us on track.

Here's a photo of Doozer trying to show me what a cupboard should look like.

The first thing we actually did though was make a bed rail. This is important because Doozer could potentially fall out of bed, we don't want that do we!!!

I made this bed rail all by myself!

Then we decided to tackle the sofas. The sofa bed structure had already been made before the weekend, so next we needed to put the boards in that the cushions would be sitting on. For this we would need 18mm thick ply wood. At B&Q the ply wood was going to cost around £30-£40 per sheet. That's too expensive. We needed it cheap, or preferably for free. Thanks to Facebook we found it relatively quickly. A mate of ours told us about this place in St Albans which recycles unwanted wood! Quality.
We managed to get two massive sheets of ply and two other things that look like poles, for £40 all in.

Once we got the ply wood and brought it back to our new van - which was surprisingly difficult as the plywood was bigger than us and quite heavy, I wasn't quite strong enough to pick it up properly and Doozer wasn't quite tall enough to get it up onto the bed of our
old van to drive it back. Between us I think we're an alright team.

Remember the days when we went and got the plywood, Remember the time when we measured it all up and then it started to rain on us... but we just flicked the V-Sign and we did it anyway... ;)

We had to measure and cut down all of the ply wood for the boards to go in the sofa. Once that was done I had the job of sanding them down to shape. I accidentally failed to zip the sand bag all the way up and was sanding inside the van because it was chilly outside. Fifteen minutes into it I wondered why my throat was scratchy and the van was foggy and dusty. Then I realised that I had basically inhaled half a plank of ply wood. This was a cause of concern for me because WHAT IF I GET SPLINTERS IN MY LUNGS?!?!?!!?

Us drinking really posh Cider in tiny cans for Doozer's Birthday <3

From there onwards, Doozer and I focused on getting most of the kitchen fitted with panels, we couldn't go ahead and do it all as EL would need to be able to dismantle it to work on gas, and water. WHAT?!!? We're having gas, electric and water in our van. This is a crazy concept for me because when I lived in a flat I didn't have any of this stuff. I just about had electric, I had no gas, no heating, no hot water and I slept on the floor. It was a really tough time. I only know that in hindsight, at the time I wasn't aware that my living situation and my life up until that point wasn't normal, or easy. This has become especially apparent recently, since we've been building this van, which is the closest thing I've ever had to my own home.

The next thing we had to think about was making a cupboard and shelves for that one side of the van. The thing that took the longest was measuring up the walls and the sizes we would need for it all. We aren't engineers, or carpenters we're not wired up to think this way at all. The best thing I've got going for me is that as an artist I have the ability to visualise and draw out plans. We measured up everything we need and then we were too scared to go ahead and cut up the ply wood because we had spent all of our remaining money on it. Luckily for us, EL had been checking up on us through text and he popped round to see how we were doing during his lunch break. Thank goodness for that. He checked all of our measurements and pretty much said "Yep. Go for it!" once he said that me and Dooze stopped faffing about so much and started building our shelves and cupboard. I ended up doing most of it by myself whilst Doozer focused on other bits around the van such as fixing the brakes etc. I built the cupboard all as one structure.

I got really into the woodwork 

The last two weeks without EL has been stressful and challenging but sometimes fun. He's a very busy man so we haven't seen much of him at all. Since me and Dooze spend a lot of time flapping about and second guessing ourselves I feel like work without EL is getting done ten thousand times slower. He just knows stuff. He can see how and where stuff goes and what to do to make it happen. He knows electrics and gas and waterworks. We have managed to get a fair bit done ourselves though,  both cupboards are finished, lots of little details have been worked on, such as cleaning out the toilet, the cooker, the fridge, we also sorted out a new window and have started to box off the shutters at the back so that we don't get the biggest draft ever through the back door of our van. We're just doing bits and bobs and organising where everything's going to go until EL can finishing hooking up the wetroom and then we're done. It feels incredibly close to the finishing line which has been frustrating. Ontop of that we hit festival season three weekends ago now and things are getting REALLY busy. 
So we're working like mad all day then working on other stuff afterwards, late nights early mornings and general stresses about the fact that we booked and organised our tours based on the idea that we'd be in those areas of the country for weeks at a time. Not realising that we'd be building a new home and that we'd be driving back to hemel after every gig. This has been a huge part of the reason that I haven't really updated my blog. It's tough work to build a house whilst you're living in it, try to move into it and drive up and down the country for work at the same time. Despite all of this, I've STILL been waking up early every day excited to build the rest of our house...

We've had some really funny moments too....
One of my favourite things was one evening when Doozer made dinner and I accidentally ate it all THEN dropped his toothbrush in the toilet by accident :/


Us drinking really posh birthday cider in tiny cans for Lunch on Doozer's Birthday...

Another of my favourite things recently was Rockstock Festival...
After our first week without EL that festival was a much much much needed break for us, we got to see lots of lovely people, chill out, eat, sleep and have fun for a whole 48 hours.
Doozer had his gig on Friday night and it was fucking packed full of brilliant people having a brilliant time!

Doozer looking like a serious musician.

I got to wear something OTHER than my smelly dusty disgusting "work" attire...

Being at Rockstock Festival didn't just lift our spirits and give us a much needed break, but it also reminded us of WHY we're doing this. We had to sleep in our Transit over the weekend which meant we had to clear out all of our crap from during the week otherwise we wouldn't have a bed to sleep on.

It didn't take us long to wonder how the fuck we've lived in our Transit the way it was, for almost three years! It's literally just a bed with merch shoved under it. 

After an incredible weekend at Rockstock sleeping in our other van we have realised that for the last three, almost four years we have actually struggled, without even really knowing it we somehow managed to survive in a space that was JUST a bed with stock shoved under it. I have NO idea how we managed to get any work done, ever, or how we didn't kill each other every day. It probably sounds bizarre to most people but this is the closest we've ever had to a proper living space. We are SO close to finishing building our home, I literally cannot wait. Faaanks everyone who helped us buy the van in the first place, and Faaanks to everyone who continues to help us by coming to the gigs, getting CD's and T-Shirts and buying Artwork as well... nutters <3

On Sunday we went for a dinner date then headed back to Hemel.
THANKS to Rockstock last weekend, MacStock the previous weekend and EVERYONE who's either said kind words to us, or bought a painting, or  #VANLIFE T-shirts, Hoodies, stickers and some Doozer McDooze CD's... we can NOW afford to get a wood burner to keep us warm at night, a shower tray, water pump, carbon monoxide reader, gas meter, split charger and several other things that I'm not sure what they are... and we bought our own DRILL! 

Our #VANLIFE T-shirts and Hoodies are still available for another THREE days only...

And I currently have a Sale on my website...

I have to go now because Doozer ripped the BUM of his PJ trousers and EL has just turned up at the same time which is HILARIOUS!!!

Here's a video of Doozer breaking through the new window, I'm not sure if I like it because Doozer looks like a cross between an evil Gremlin and that baby Dinosaur off of Dinosaurs...


A post shared by The Famous Artist Birdy Rose (@thefamousartistbirdyrose) on


Faaanks for sticking with us even though my blogs are getting a bit sporadic and weird... I'll get back on track as soon as the Van is finished and we've had a day or two to recover from this madness!
The Famous Artist Birdy Rose

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  • Stevie Simpson on

    Excellent read Birdy. Pleased to hear all is goin’ well. Lookin’ forward to seein’ your van in a field someplace. CHEERS !!

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