Former caravan from Wensleydale station refurb

We purchased this caravan from Leyburn and were told by the previous owner that it was the old workers brew room from Wensleydale station.  It dates back to the 1960’s and certainly had enough old notes dated back 20 years or so for e.g how to use the toilet without marking it lol to reference to the station to back up it was used for commercial purposes and not private and that it had a strong connection to the station.

It will of been a welcome retreat for an exhausted worker especially on a freezing wet day.

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The caravan is exceptionally well built. the roof is as good as the day it was made two sheets of aluminium perfectly shaped into a dome were the water runs effortlessly into his channels dispelling it away from the caravan ensuring no damp or leaks, so it was puzzling to find the caravan riddled with damp and rot. We were soon to find out it was one handle that had never been mended the water was leaking in through one screw hole and running down the whole caravan damaging it, luckily there had only been enough to rot the plywood and not the original wood, which when waxed up was gorgeous and oozed quality that ran through the whole of the caravan.

Apart from the damage to the handle the exterior of the caravan was in pretty good condition, yes the paint had seen better days and in most places was non existent, but the metal work was in excellent condition as were all the original glass windows.  The outside was a case of just sanding off all the old paint applying a primer and top coat, just laborious work but nothing too taxing.

The interior told a different story, the weather had been allowed to play havoc unchallenged and basically the whole of the plywood sides had to be replaced.  Even though the rot was only on the corners the sides were basically made of full sheets with the window cut out, Billy been a perfectionist was not going to just cut out the rot and patch, he does everything right and removed the whole part and replaced it.  I loved the old antique pine that was exposed at the front and left this bare just sanded and waxed.

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The toilet area was very basic and somebody had liked writing signs especially telling the workers the best way to use the toilet!

The door and the rest of the interior were in pretty bad shape and the caravan had clearly never had any TLC

But the two lamps were in excellent condition they were the original gas lamps and these were definitely staying just going to be converted to 12v electric. Hidden under the seat was another Wensleydale sign this will be framed and hung on the wall remembering the provenance of the caravan and not forgetting her roots.

I managed to get some fabric to cover the seats from the local charity shop, it is very good quality, the design is made up of squares this is ideal if you are an amateur at sewing as you can just follow the lines of the squares to cut and to sew to.  This is also a great help when you are working in a confined space, I would recommend using material similar to this with a constant square or rectangular pattern if your not very experienced.  The curtain material I got from Ebay, it is pretty but the quality was not the best so I had to double it up, I won’t risk buying unseen again, but doubled up it made it heavier and the curtains were then fine and heavy enough to hang well.

As you can see I have started waxing the original floor it has come up better than I could of imagined, I just sanded it down with 80 grit then 120 and the waxed it with Antique pine wax, I absolutely love the floor.


DSCI0025 (2)One side well on it’s way now all sanded down and one coat on, looking good


Had to call of the painting due to the great British weather!

Started my new project refurbishing a canal boat

Wanted to do this for a while, but the weather has been so bad it has not really been worth starting, but now the nights are getting lighter I have started and going to get on with it.  This is the start of my story refurbishing my first canal boat.

We had looked at quite a few boats but even the cheapest were thousands of pounds and we just could not afford.  We saw one we fell in love with and it had a number in the window, we rang them up and it was a man that dealt in boats he told us it was £36,000!!!!  We put the telephone down, £36,000 was far out of the reach of our pocket, we just thought it was something we would have to save up more for and thought nothing more of it, then a few weeks later the same man rang us back and said he had an old boat that needed loads of work and it was stuck in a harbour and needed to go as it was costing in harbour fee’s,  we drove on to the harbour and their she was old and tired but we immediately fell in love with MatildaJayne!

As you can see Matilda got pretty excited also!!!!!


Getting her ready for lifting and then on the back of the transporter

This is the video of her being lifted out for replating, I have put this on because, it was one of the things that really put my mum off buying a boat if they were for e.g in dry dock as she  thought it would be a major job to move them.  This vid shows actually what a easy hassle free job it is.

First thing I did was strip all the old MDF out of the boat, it was very old and badly put together, i have never seen so much sealant! I made a frame for Matilda’s room and here she is after I put the first piece of plywood on.


Moored in Hestbank and setting off.

On our way to Carnforth, the outside is still tatty, but its something I cannot start until the weather gets better and I get a few good days.  Carrying on with the frames for the bedrooms tomorrow hopefully going to get a full day on it so will upload some pics.