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Posted 22/1/2012

Last weekend we finally got ourselves two days in a row to get the roof lining and walls off so have been working hard! The plan was to get the rotten plywood off and any bad battens out of the wall and ceiling so we could replace it all ready for everything to go back on.

From previous investigations I had discovered that the best tools were my trusty hammer and chisel so I got started on a rather frosty Saturday morning (see the picture of the window right! >) while Ryan was at work and managed to get pretty much the whole ceiling layer of ply down, then got back to it again on Sunday with my aching arms and finished the walls too.

After two days of wielding that heavy hammer I feel like I should have one arm like Popeye, arhg,hrh,hrrr!

As with anything we do, it took much longer than expected as there was a lot more damage than we had previously thought hidden away (see pics below), but all we can do is keep going and at least we'll know it's been done right so will last a long time. 

Another composted batten!Another composted batten!

The extent of the damp issue around the window.The extent of the damp issue around the window.

 Although rotten on the edges, the ply was still well stuck in the middle!Although rotten on the edges, the ply was still well stuck in the middle!

Ryan starting on the roof beamRyan starting on the roof beamRyan helped get the roof beam cut back, and the battens out of the walls, though seemed to be finding way too many patches of daylight for my liking and we agreed that since I had mastered the chisel technique I should carry on with that (despite the complaints from my right bicep and shoulder!) and so he climbed back aboard the roof to investigate the leak issues at their source! 

Daylight! Not good!Daylight! Not good!

The awning was attached to the side we needed to expose so we devised a rope system to safely catch it and lower it to the ground, all went well and we leant it against the van while Ryan toddled off into the garden to clear a space for it. Things suddenly got interesting when I was still inside ripping off the wall ply as I felt a peculiar rocking motion to the van and, assuming it was someone rocking the van for a laugh (a regular occurrence with our friends!), I casually glanced out of the window to see the scenery moving past! I scrambled to my feet screaming something at Ryan who wasn't in earshot just as the awning smashed into the ground, and rushed into the cab to jump on the brake pedal! At that point my heart was beating out of my chest and, (having a little adrenaline freak out!) I left Waki in the middle of the street and sprinted into the back garden to shout something I can't remember at a bewildered Ryan! :S Thankfully the awning seems to be mostly OK with just a couple of bent bolts, luckily no-one was driving passed at the time, and we stopped just before Ryan's car which was parked on the grass directly behind it!

The rot has now been cut out of the main roof beam, expanding foam sprayed in to fill the wavy edge and another strong beam capped on for support. All the wood we could get to we painted with a rot treatment for piece of mind. We've put in a new upright support post just behind the cab and sorted out the bow in the wall due to the sagging weight that was there when we got her. Ryan applied his expertise and used a hydraulic car jack with a piece of wood on top of the bed platform to take the roof weight while we worked! The side window was taken out so we could do the battens around it, though we didn't get to finish cleaning up around it to re-seal as we run out of time on Monday so we've just put a few of its clamps back on to hold it place for now.

Ryan's done a fantastic job and kept me going when I started stressing, (like I always do when things take longer than I want them to!) so thanks Ryan, I love you! x

Sarah is an artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more

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