She is now sat in her new home where she will be pulled apart and put back together in time for a new summer of new festivals. My very kind and generous friend Jon has saved my bum by letting me use his workshop for doing this – its starting to suck a little bit not having my own workshop space…this issue will hopefully be covered in a new entry to this blog in the near future…?

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So I set about getting everything out of the trailer and pulling off all the old crappy cladding and interior gubbins to pretty much start from just the framework. I then bought myself over £150 worth of ply for new cladding, lining and interior shelving and storage etc using my new money things wot I now got.

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First alteration was to install another hearth and lower the original one to a more usable height…

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then the next big alteration was to change the whole system of how the roof comes up. I was sick of breaking my back lifting the roof up every time and if I was fitting lining and awnings to the roof now then I was going to need a new system. So I bought a couple of gas struts from and old transit tailgate at the scrappy, cut all the roof legs in half and hinged them. The roof will now come vertically up – hopefully completely effortlessly… :s

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then built some fixings for the gas struts…

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Before I knew it it was time to join a few friends for our mate’s stag do in Manchester. So I dropped tools and drove my van down to Bridgwater (I had some bits and bobs to pick up there anyhoo) and caught a lift with them up to Manchester. 3 days of dressing up as the spice girls, escaping from rooms filled with clues, eating the tastiest burgers and drinking the finest whiskys, catching cronic giggles at the comedy store and drooling over the sexiest bikes at the motorcycle show – all while maintaining a consistent (and controlled) level of drunkenness, I think we sent Tom off to his doom with a suitable bit of tomfoolery.

Got a lift back as far as Bristol and managed to hitch back to my van in Bridgwater and head up to Bromyard, where I was met with quite a horrifying suprise. It had been a bit windy the night before and when I rocked up at the workshop in the morning I first found a 12mm thick full sheet of steel had blown over where I usually park my bike – which I just so happened to have moved back to lock to the steel rack….this picture still give me the willies.

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Then realised that the roof of the trailer was about 10 meters from the trailer itself…

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Sorted all that out and bolted the roof down, then had a slightly concerned feeling about my next journey which was to ride the bike all the way down to Lewes in the remenants of this horriffic wind – I was tempted to play it safe and take the van.

Told myself to man up and get on with it which I did and the ride was fine all the way to Lewes where we all got merry at the wedding of the recent stag do….

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After that I had planned to ride the bike up North but the bugger decided to drag a load of water and crap into the carbs so thanks to the RAC I managed to at least get back to my trusty van (at about midnight) …at this point I felt like maybe that viscious wind the other day had been trying to warn me of something about taking the bike on the journey… 😛

Anyhoo, without much delay I promptly set off on the drive northwards as far as I could muster til about 4 in the morning. I had planned to attend Brian Russels forge-in in Yorkshire the day after so grabbed a few hours sleep in the van then finished the journey bright and early in the morning, arriving at about midday to a bustling forge in the countryside. I was in a happy place.

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Friends and collegues alike, we all cracked on with exactly the same stuff as we do during a normal working day. But we still enjoy i.

We had a ‘drawing-out’ competition – basically everyone starts with the same sized piece of steel, you get two heats in the fire and you have to forge it out as long as you possibly can…here’s mr Russel himself going for it full tilt…

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I came a respectable 6th

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Apart from that everyone else was getting on with making pieces to the criteria of elegant design, well made and fitness for purpose – so not just to look pretty.

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Unfortunately I spent too much time mingling and watching demos so only just ran out of time to finish my pair of scissors I was making.

The evening saw a wonderful spread of food followed by a load of booze to fuel the ceidilh. Next day was Sunday, which I spent as one of just a few stragglers hanging about still playing on the forge and snoozing in the fields. Then set off over to Middlesbrough where I had arranged to do a days work for ol’ Peat Oberon as it was bank holiday Monday.

On arriving in one of my normal park up spots I found another worrying sight – a tree had fallen down exactly where I usually park my van… is there some bad omens afoot or summat here…?

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Tuesday I headed over to do another few days at Topp & Co – all very well needed money.

Got to see the railings that I had been working on last time I was there in their finished state after all the straightening that had been done on them after the galvanising.

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Also got to do a bit on the massive set of gates that were in the works. This is me standing on the board that had been buit to draw the working drawing on…for just one of the gates. They’re gonna be big…

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Couldnt resist to get a pic of the ancient wrought iron anchor chain that Topp and Co buy in to chop up and roll out into wrought iron stock…

phhwoooorr…

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I stopped the week at Topp’s short and with a van full of tat from the scrap bins, bumbled over to Cumbria where my buddy Olly was having a joint birthday party with our mate Andy. This man owns the most spectacular old water mill, which he has been renovating for the past 20 odd years and has been establishing a wonderful workshop of eccentrically accumulated tools and artefacts, as well as a few old railway carriages that are being converted into accomodation for volunteers and his own narrow guage railway track in his garden!

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We all got busy preparing for the party which was an absolute stonker, with trains to chill in, white space ladies emitting music from their bellies, mysterious mill attics where the king houses his many manikins, concoctions and potions and the funkiest funk movements we could possibly muster, my van even saved the lives of some fairies who fell out of a box…..things keep falling on my vehicles… :/