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Updated: Dec 5, 2020





No prizes for guessing the colour of the car!

It has been a little while since the last blog post, possible 18 months. Sounds about right.

I can hear you asking, thelilaclandy, but you're PhoebeOnTheRoad!... Let me explain.....

26th December 2018, 6pm. That is me done from care for around 7 weeks, I am excited, apprehensive and nervous all in one. I have been planning this moment for years and I was ill! Not corona virus ill, but ill, everything hurt and ached, I was tired, my chest was sore and my body ached all over. I totally needed this break, but will I even make it back to see my family for the final part of the Christmas holidays!

I got back to see my mum and step father, I was tired! This was meant to be the beginning of the rest of my life, okay, chapter… I wished them a Merry Christmas, ate some food and watched a movie then spent the next 12 hours in bed absolutely shattered. I slept until I could sleep no more. I felt a little better and got ready to go and see a friend in North Wales. Oh man, I was excited to be free for the next 7 weeks.

On the road I go. I drove a few hours up to Scotland and this is where my life totally changed! Well, not for the first week anyway…

I travelled around the south of Scotland for a few days then a friend messaged me and asked if I was meeting up with another ‘vanlife’ couple, Florence and the Morgans, I hadn’t planned on meeting anyone or anybody for 7 weeks. I wanted to enjoy the van, travel and take in the Scottish mountains, on my own! I failed, miserably!

I messaged them and asked if I could meet with them also for a little new year get together, and well, I loved them, a total down to earth couple that are nothing but cheery. I did know a couple of the other people going to the little meet so I didn’t feel like I was totally gate crashing. I did have a wonderful few days away with these guys! I would love to do it all over again.

Anyway, this is where Rich & Ted and I met (beyondthevan) at Glencoe ski resort, an odd place if there was any. Especially as when we did get talking we were only 2 miles away from each other anyway, in Worcester of all places. Rich was only meant to be up there for 3 days, I had 7 weeks off of work so had planned to travel all of glorious Scotland anyway! We got chatting and discovered our love for travelling and eventually each other. It was the dog really, Ted is just amazing, except that time he ate a human poo and vomited it all in my van, three times. And the time he slept in the bed, and took up atleast ½ of it!

We had only known each other for a couple of weeks. I got my van stuck then I was petrified to drive so when I needed towing out, Rich kindly offered to sit in the driving seat, while I sat in the recovery truck! These 2 amazing people who rescued us, they were amazing, and their Defender!

After the 7 weeks away, I came home and went back to my job as a carer, I was happy to be back but I did miss living life on the road and a new place every day, different cities, counties and countries. And of course, Ted, I mean Rich, I missed Rich. I did go back for a couple of weeks then I handed my notice in, it was one of the worst. I adored my job, the individual I cared for and her family, but I needed to follow my heart and travel. One day I will go back, I know it.

Fast forward to July 2019, I sold my van because the finance repayments were huge, I had a home with Rich & Ted and the Citroen was an expense that wasn’t needed or wanted. That was a sad day! I had tried to justify for months keeping the van but the final straw was going away for 6 weeks to Portugal and the £500 left my bank account, I wasn’t even in the van and I felt so sad that it was just sitting there for no reason doing nothing (skip to now July 2020 and the van is not taxed or insured!). I had put a lot of love, effort and time into building that little home for myself so I was sad to see her not being used.

Jump to November 2019, Netherlands, I spotted Poppy. Poppy was a red W reg (2000) LDV Convoy with 90,000 miles on the clock, 2 owners, 2.5 banana engine non turbo ex royal mail van. June 2020, I sold her! I did so much work to her, I bought her because while we were travelling down to Greece we decided that the van was a little on the small side for 2 adults, a wet stinky dog and the stuff we took away with us, Poppy would enable us to be able to travel comfortable with the fuel consumption of the Trafic but the comfort of the Luton. I would be able to take my art stuff; paint, endless books, pencils, pyrography pen, house my million paint brushes and for Rich to be able to take his filming equipment, drone etc! By the time I had sold Poppy I had rebuilt the front axle changed the king pins, refurbished the callipers, changed all the seals, wheel bearings and hubs, new shock absorbers, brake discs, new steering damper. She was like brand new underneath! Rich did all the welding for me, and there was a lot! The van must be at least double the weight by now in just new metal! I had ground down all the coming rust, repaired the areas, painted and stone chipped underneath to make sure she would last another 20 years. All the running gear, springs, tanks were all black and the rest was grey stone chip, she looked amazing! I hadn’t planned on selling her which is why I did all this work, and there was a hellllll of a lot of it, but I did love it. I wanted to create a home for us to travel in. As I had said, Rich did all the welding for me, I think he had had enough of all the welding so didn’t want to do anymore on the van haha. I loved her, the ceiling, the flooring, walls, dash door cards and sun visors I did with great love and passion. Photos attached somewhere! I resprayed the dash in the original colour, re-covered the sun visors and door cards in a cosy stretchy carpet with added hummingbird fabric for a splash of colour! I can’t honestly give one reason as to why I sold Poppy, but I came to the conclusion that as I had bought Lenny (thelilaclandy) I couldn’t give 100% to Poppy. I sold Poppy to a lovely young girl called Laura, she picked her up on the Sunday and drove to a festival the same day! I received a message later on in the week to say she and her boyfriend loved Poppy, but the indicators stopped working! Ahh, bloody LDV’s. Like a land rover, there is always something that needs fixing.

Swipe across ^^^ Plenty of photos of the front axle rebuild.

Lenny? Who is Lenny I can hear you asking!? Lenny is a 1994 Land Rover Range Rover Classic, 200 tdi with an LT77 gearbox and a R….232 transfer box? Don’t shoot me! I am new to all of this! I bought a new van because of how useless I was with mechanics! Now I know how to change a cam belt, that is something to be proud of right? Haha. I am. I am about proud that I changed the cam belt, auxiliary belts, water pump and thermostat amongst other things that I always name wrong. I love Lenny also. Just as much as Poppy, Susan and every other vehicle I feel compelled to name because I am convinced it means you look after the vehicle better. I try to convince Rich to name the other vehicles; Lulu the Luton, Dave the Defender, Scott the Scooter, but it is yet to work! To be honest, as he does remind me a lot that I go through every other vehicle before I get the right one. They are like my kids, my Nan always does the same with the kids/grandkids, and there is a lot of us!

I bought Lenny from a couple that had bought him to move house. He has been well looked after for his previous 26 years because when the wings were taken off someone had red oxide’d all the panels, so THANK YOU whoever you are! The rear cross member did need replacing, Rich and a friend of ours helped to do this! It was a much longer process than I thought would be. There is a tonne of paper work for the service history so he was definitely well looked after.

If you can guess the colour of Lenny the landy, there are no prizes, but some self satisfaction that you have guessed it, which is more than what a friend answered…. Pink? No, the lilac landy will not be pink. I have absolutely fallen in love with using a sewing machine, I am sewing everything possible; sun visors, door cards, gear knob covers, gators, hand brake covers, next challenge? Re-upholstering the seats! They are currently brown teddy fabric (tatty I might add!), I am wanting to change the fabric for a leather/tartan look! BMW Vilner seat style I think. Whether my stitching is up to that at the moment, some practice is in order.

I think that brings me all up to date for now! Plenty of photos to follow and lots of updates on Lenny, life and love. I will set up a YouTube channel to show some videos of what I am making, painting, building or planning! Currently Phoebe On The Road, to be TheLilacLandy.

To be continued……

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