Why the Middenites?

As you may have noticed I’ve changed the name of the blog from ‘something from Nothing’, to ‘The Middenites.  As I was giving my address, The Midden, to the wood delivery lady,  Oh that’s a toilet she said.  So time for an explanation and some more information.

According to the Cambridge dictionary 
A midden – a heap (= large pile) of animal waste, or waste material thrown away by human beings in the past: It was customary for dung and bedding to be rotted for up to a year in a midden before spreading on the land.

The Urban dictionary states;
Officially in Olde English, it means dung heap or cesspit. Popular insult in the North of Ireland and Scotland and often used to describe any slovenly mess

Ahh so why you may be asking yourselves, is Niki’s Dad’s farm called The Midden?  Are they a very slovenly family? Do they have tons of animals crapping everywhere?
In fact, the midden was an ancient rubbish dump and my 
father has written a whole book about how he turned it 
from the town rubbish tip into the beautiful woodland that 
it is today.

Do you want to read the story?   Let me see if he will share it.

Electrics, Solar 12v and 240 volt

As far as possible I wish to provide my own electrical power.  Due to being based in the UK, it will not be possible to run everything all year round from solar panels, but, I’m going to have a real good try.

Chris is an expert in Solar.   

energy and I have stolen
him from three other jobs
he is working on at the moment.
We are working with putting 2 electrical solar panels and one thermal panel (hot water) on the roof.  As the length of the bus is East-West, at a 30-degree angle the panels will face due South and be in the optimum position to harvest as much of the suns energy as possible.
So downstairs we will be running a 240 v system for fridge, hob, oven and TV area.  This is because we already have a 240v fridge from one of Ali’s many contacts and that 12-volt kitchen appliances are a) very expensive and b) will use hell of a lot of 12v electricity especially in the winter.
All lights, USB sockets and hot water will be powered through solar power, with a 240v booster in the water boiler and batteries on those English days/weeks of drizzle.  Has to be experienced to be believed.
Furthermore, a wood burner with a back boiler will keep the bus cosy warm in winter and the water at a delicious temperature for those long soaks in the bath.
Chris is shown here getting on with laying cables… or is he?  


Week 2 Overview


Achievements this week. 

I’m really pleased with how everything has come together during week 2.  Steve the Chip has done a steady 6 hours a day, putting up the entire downstairs ceiling and the batons ready to attach the wall wood.

Bob and Steve have done two full days on the windows, totally transforming the space inside and the look outside.   Next week will be warm so I hope to work on the outside paint while Steve puts up the walls and flooring downstairs.  Have a wonderful week where ever you are and whatever you are doing. x0x0

Walter’s windows Part 2

Today we celebrate the amazing work of Bob and Steve, Screen Replacement and Repair services.  Coach and Commercial windscreen repair services https://www.facebook.com/Coach-and-Commercial-windscreen-repair-services-415502705714726/ based in Norwich Norfolk, they work on anything with wheels and a screen.

As mentioned in Walter’s windows Part 1,  there are several jobs to be done.  Below are some of the highlights.

1) Fully replace 7 windows with aluminium plates.
2) Use extracted glass to create double glazing on other windows.
Great timing pops, my father has just arrived with action photos of Bob creating the double glazing unit from two bus windows.  Bob was saying that now people just throw out the old windows and buy ready-made units.  It took him an hour from start to finish to reuse two pieces of glass, clean them and seal together with the absorbent granules in the spacing between the two sheets of glass.  One hour later all sealed in.



3) Paint inside the windows which will be
partially covered with wall cladding.

Walter’s Windows Part 1

Walter is not so old but, when it rains small leaks appear. The hopper type windows let in a slow but persistent trickle of water. A bus is also mostly windows on wheels 28 side windows, 2 front and 2 back windows 32  in total. When the temperature rises above 15 degrees C it begins to get very hot inside.  Below 12 degrees it gets very cold. While thinking about converting the bus into a living space it is also unrealistic to think of all the cupboard, work surfaces and living space being below window height.

Several decisions were therefore made
1) Fully replace 7 windows with aluminium plates.
2) Use extracted glass to create double glazing on other windows.
3) Partially obstruct some windows to allow for built-in furniture and smaller windows.
4) Use tint on large windows to make front upstairs sitting spaces more comfortable, and on the bathroom windows
5) Replace all window seals
With this in mind, I contacted Peter at the local bus company Sanders and speaking with him he was able to answer some queries and then introduced me to Bob and Steve at Coach and Commercial vehicle repairs who are experts in the bus, truck, van window field.  
Bob and Steve came to view the bus and were surprised that it was in such good condition. They could do what we wanted to be done; so look out for what they did; in the next thrilling instalment of, Walter’s Windows Part 2. Do, done and did all in one sentence!! I even muddled myself there.

Great EXCITEMENT as Construction Begins

Oh my, 9am, Steve the Carpenter and Chris the Spark arrive. An hour later Bob and Steve the Bus Converters drive in to sort the windows.  I jumped on my cycle, not to escape, but to buy milk, biscuits and to alert my Dad of the shenanigans which he wouldn’t want to miss. We now have, Two chaps called Chris, Two chaps called Steve, Bob and Niki, let the comedy begin.
 Construction begins at a frenetic pace.  

Steve began putting up the painted ceiling panels,
using Sticks like Sh*t, Due to the curve in the ceiling, we thought it best to populate the downstairs space with support batons from floor to ceiling, at least overnight. The transformation is instant and really motivating.  If a few pieces of mint coloured ceiling panel makes such a transformation this is going to be a really cool space. 
   Upstairs Chris began to unpack my wiring diagrams, laying out cables and fastening them to the ceiling floor and walls.  I have decided on a dual system for electrics.  The fridge, hob and oven will work on 240 v along with sockets in the kitchen.  The lights, charging points and USB ports will be 12v. running from 2 solar panels which will be erected on the roof of the bus. Chris keeps asking me where I want switches, sockets, 12v, 240,   and using electrical language way beyond my limited vocabulary.  I am finding answering with,”what works best for you,”and, “explain it to me again,”  means I can almost keep up.  
 Meanwhile, scaffolding is erected at the back of the bus. Bob and Steve begin to scrape out and clean off the old silicone window sealer,  and when this is done re-seal all the windows which will remain.



 I am upstairs painting  windows from the inside

experimenting with, and loving using my foam 
roller and ‘Craftmaster” enamel paint.  At the same 
time running around with the tripod and my phone 
capturing the men at work.

Painting mishap!

Having lived for 8 years on a couple of narrowboats,  Moored and worked with my ex-husband, Neil, in Welford Marina, I have dabbled in boat painting, both inside and out.

Roses and Castles, signwriting and painting the outside of a narrowboat is done with enamel paint.  
Excellent paint can be bought from. Craft Master
A fascinating range of colours for classic cars, traction engines, trains, boats and more.
Let the experimentation begin.

My experimentations began with a beautiful oak chair which I decided to undercoat and then in the style of the pallet wood experiments cover with lots of different coloured paint which I’ve purchased for the bus, then stress and distress it.  Very proud of the sanding and priming I show Ali ( my brother). Whoops I had misunderstood he wanted the chair restoring to its original woodiness not messed about with and DEFINATELY not PINK.  Steve cut me some lengths of pallet wood and I began again.

Pallet wood, interior wall experiments.

Thanks to Steve the Chippy introducing me to the idea of covering the interior walls with upcycled pallet wood.  Inspiration from Colin Jaques – Narrowboat Builder and Youtuber.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d380IKS2Xdg. Colin and his trusty tripod ‘Trevor’,
Unloading and storage of pallet wood on a rainy day.  Hurrah for bus patios.
 take us through the joys and trials of narrowboat building.  It is on about chapter 18 and 19 that we see the panelling in all it’s glory.  
So the workout continues, pallet wood is ordered for phase 1, downstairs = 140, 1.8 meter by 10cm x 2cm planks collected from Jeremy.
Load the van,  unload the van, store the wood in the dry.  Sand the wood, Paint with undercoat,  Experiment with colours for the topcoat.  Thank goodness it is a double-decker, rain doesn’t stop play and Im happily painting the wood after carrying it upstairs while Steve works downstairs.

All the pallet wood now has a white undercoat and is ready to cut to size and panel the downstairs walls.  My arms are killing me and just as I begin to feel pleased with myself I realize… that is just the wood for downstairs.  Wondering if I want to do this again for upstairs or use ply sheets…tempting.

Destruction before Construction

The first problem with an angle grinder is that when kitted out with my COVID19 mask, goggles; steaming up from the mask, and gloves are that I can’t turn the bloody thing on.  I have spent the day finding Ali or Steve to turn it on! Grinding for about 10 minutes until my arms start to shake, taking a 10-minute break, then finding Ali or Steve to turn it on again. Repeat, Repeat…

Anyway, apart from that it has been fun grinding the paint from the overhead struts ( yes overhead, that’s why 10 – minutes is my max.  Great for the inner core ladies,  maybe I should do a post about building strength and diet for the female bus builder!  Ahh, I digress, let’s see a video.  The video is of Ali not me, but you get the idea.