Weeknote 0006

  • A slog of a week. One of those ones that felt about nine days long. Not always a bad thing, though.
  • Another unsuccessful house-hunt at the weekend. Couldn’t get in to see the one I’m sure is probably the best candidate so far. Another was in the right place but not enough space. Amazing wallpaper though. Both in ambition and variety. I have a lot of time for people who go down to the hardware store, march straight past the white emulsion and pick up the wackiest thing they can stand. Good philosophy for life.
  • I’m working on an agency website refresh: my fourth. Agencies are terrible clients. But some good progress was made this week. There are moments at which everything seems to be dependent upon everything else. It’s like that kids’ game where you all stand in a circle, turn to the left and sit down on each-other’s laps. The trick is for everyone to move the same way at the same time. As with so many things.
  • I stayed over in Bristol mid-week. I’d booked myself into a central guesthouse for a couple of nights. Excellent location in theory but Christ, what a terrible place. It butts up hard against a noisy chain pub. It was a cold spell but there was no heating setting between stifling and near-freezing. I’m a heavy sleeper and cold-tolerant but even I did not sleep well. Wasn’t especially clean either. The following morning, it took them so long to prepare breakfast I had to give up waiting and head to work. Another night there and I’d have been too ratty to remain employed so I left the key at reception and did not return for my second night.
  • There are many worse things to listen to on a train journey than Stevie Wonder. Not only the first hits that spring to mind: the delicious, intricate stuff that might not be camping out in your cortex but is utterly magical listening.

Van notes

[In which Mo builds a campervan]

  • It’s finally getting warm/dry enough to make more progress. The enemy of a campervan build is weight. There’s a non-negotiable maximum, including passengers, of 3,500kg. Before fit-out, the van itself weighted over 1,100kg. While the remaining two tonnes seems like plenty, it evaporates pretty quickly. There’s nearly 35kg of electrical cabling. 85kg of mattress. 130kg of water. 140kg of plywood. 40kg of steel. I’m probably up to 8kg of screws and 6kg of paint. On and on it goes.
  • This forces some very careful design and construction work. I’ve spent hours building and rebuilding CAD models of various parts of the build, each time cutting out mass and adding material strength. You sort of get into it after a while. It must have been like this when building early aircraft.
  • So, I’m working on the middle of the van where there’ll be a bench each side, facing in. Both have sprung slats like a bed to keep them comfortable, and both cantilever up like blanket boxes: one as storage, the other as a shower basin. Seriously. The benches occupy the space between bed and kitchen, so their dimensions and alignment had to be planned a long time in advance of their construction. If it weren’t for the weight restriction, you’d just build a couple of cuboids and nail plywood to them: done. In this case, though, making them function while also light and comfortable has been one of the most difficult construction tasks. The pi-shaped frames that hold it all together and the cantelever seat were all in place before Christmas but, on their own, were not strong enough to accept any load. This weekend was dry enough to make the vertical battoned plywood side-sections that take the weight, and that meant for the first time I got to sit, very carefully, on a seat I’ve been designing and assembling for over a year.