Once we really committed to the idea of buying a van to build and do ourselves, and to join this incredibly fast growing movement of alternative living, our first step was to:
Find our van
Finding the Van
Our checklist during our search (mainly on Auto-Trader and Gumtree) was...
High Top Roof (so both Lloyd (6ft3) and I (5ft7) could stand up)
Preferably something like a Ford Transit or a Mercedes Sprinter (for common parts)
Long wheel base (to fit more in)
Minimal Rust (no explanation needed)
As young as possible
Semi aesthetically pleasing
Then Flora happened.
Flora has a high top roof, but what we didn't realise until we drove her away is that her high top roof is wonderful, but actually, the base of the van is raised much higher than the Ford Transits and Mercedes Sprinters
Flora is not a Ford Transit or a Mercedes Sprinter. She is an LDV Convoy. LDV was a UK based company who were well known for building very slow, very loud, very reliable vehicles. They went out of business ages ago. (Luckily LDV's are built from very easy to get hold of parts because they are a bit like the patchwork quilt of vehicles)
Flora is big. Very big. But not as big as the extra long wheel base vans we had been looking at.
She only has surface rust! Flora: 1, Rust: 0.5 (LDV Convoy's are notoriously well known for behaving like sieves and having so many leaks that awful rust tends to be a given.)
14,000 miles... whats that you say? You missed a O? We actually didn't. Flora has only done around 1000 miles a year her whole life! And no, I'm not kidding.
She's 14. Age is just a number right? And it's not like dog years... or is it?
By god is she beautiful! She's our little (or really big) sunshine bus! Pretty much the only reason we bought her, who cares if she's fit for any kind of purpose, she's just beautiful. And it was love at first sight.
So because I fell in love at first sight, We went over budget. Obviously. £3600. So only by 20%.
The moral of this story is that, even though Lloyd wanted a Mercedes Sprinter with no windows
(because in his words, they'll just be a ball ache) with a high top roof so he could stand up, we went over budget for a bright yellow LDV Convoy with 15 windows.
And Lloyd will come back looking like Quasimodo because he really can't stand up in the van.
All because I thought she was pretty. Which she is. And we love her.