Friday, 26 December 2014

Ice Cold in Cardiff

OK we'll it's not really, but it is time for my annual round up, but this year I quite admit that it's been a bit boring

The reason - simply work a change in the ownership of the company I work for, and changes in responsibilities meant that I really needed to focus on that for a while so plans got put on hold

Incredibly this meant that I have spare parts here ready to be fitted since November 2012 and I still don't have them out of their boxes

OK so what have we done ..

Actually there has been little maintenance because of the lack of use, but i was not happy with the brakes even though they passed and MOT and therefore in February, with Help from Steve I changed the brake adjuster on one of the rear wheels

I took out the fridge I had fitted in June and isolated the electrics that were causing me problems

In July we dressed up and also dressed Katy up for the SWLRC Road run. I like the idea of putting these markings back on when she has a respray even if just ghosted in. Also that month we managed to get away for a week and had nice views through the new skylight and a nice time camping at Chatsworth House campsite, and visiting the house where we met a kindred spirit

Since then I've fitted some bonnet security in September before using her to visit the 2014 Hidden Earth Caving Conference where we managed to cause quite some chaos

Since then in early December I managed to meet up with an active service Pulse ambulance in the Brecon Beacons

For Christmas I had some more Land Rover information and amongst them was another copy of a picture that I have seen before, but this time in colour.

In the book  Modern Military Land Rovers: In Colour, 1971-1994 by James Taylor & Bob Morrison there is a copy of a picture that I had only seen in Black and white as reported in January 2013 this time it is clearly printed and it it possible to see a number of details not visible in the B&W copy

From this I can now be sure that Katy had a window on the drivers side and that the panel that has been riveted on that side is clearly a new panel added during the conversion to  a camper as the camper window is a lot smaller than the original window would have been

So finally summary. Not much of a successful year, in terms of adventures, however plans are being made for more fun next year

And the Ice Cold in Alex reference 

I had not seen it for many years, but  this classic British WWII film was on again over Christmas

I had not realised that the ambulance in that Film is called Katy They apparently mounted a body off an Austin K2/Y ( Officially "Ambulance 4x2) and stuck it on a Canadian Military Pattern 4x4 chassis so it would be more capable during filming in the sandy conditions. These Austin Ambulances were known as Katies which is fairly obvious reading the K2/Y definition

Nice to know the name has some heritage as an ambulance. Harry Andrews claims in that film "Katy weighs two tons!" whereas the actual weight of the K2 exceeded three tons. Nice to know ours is a bit lighter

If you want to see the actual Ambulance used in that film it's in the hands of the Ambulance Heritage Society

As this is a Land Rover Blog this screen-grab I have found from the film shows a classic continuity error that a Series I Land Rover is parked up in the closing few seconds of the film. In the foreground is Anthony Quayle - a Lancastrian of Manx Heritage playing a German posing as a South African ...

If you want to see the Land Rover in moving pictures look at the last 15 seconds of this (about 7:13) HERE

Friday, 5 December 2014

Its been too Long

It's been way too long since I had a Katy adventure and even longer since I wrote about it 

The reason - work, more work, oh and work! so today as things were going well and the team had everything under control and didn't need me I took a day off (well most of it had calls and emails to make) 

So a day to explore my 3 favourite things (after the wife of course) 

1. Land Rovers

We found the RAMC parked up .. asleep they were (bless) so we didn't wake them. We were spotted taking this picture by one of the army guys in another picture, but as soon as he saw what I was driving he was really cool about it and wanted to inspect my "old bus". Not up to Army standards of maintenance sorry 

A few minutes later when we were parked up for me to put my boots on the ambulance came up to see us and I had a wonderful chat with the driver who was really appreciative of the efforts to keep one of their old vehicles on the road.

The extra 8" width and over cab storage combined with the "Wolf" air vents in the wings do make quite an impression compared to the rounded look to Katy. I hate to say it, but the Army do a better job of cleaning their vehicles

2. Walking up a decent hill 

A really nice start to the walk which went quite well until I hit the cloud base. Actually I went up into it for a while, before dropping back down for these pictures

3, Photography 

Enough said. Just enjoy some pictures sorry no Land Rovers in the rest

Cracking Scenery Gromit !

if you want to see more of these hills they are here 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Caving Conference

Sometimes Katy is just a camper van

Sometimes she misbehaves, sometimes I make bad decisions

I have excepted this from a letter I had published in Decent Magazine 

Hidden Earth was quite an adventure this year which started well in Cardiff, but a faulty headlight caused us to stop in the services and then the Landy failed to start again so we had to sort out the electrics (good old British Engineering) and  arrived really late just as the Bar closed L

Having found somewhere quiet to park (more later) we had a wonderful restful night and were up early to start enjoying the event properly and how enjoyable a conference it was this year. 


Regarding unfortunate turns of events we found that our quiet parking place on Friday was next to the Stomp on Saturday, so no point in going early to bed and we were “forced” to hang around in the bar until closing time. 

Still best regards to the BEC who got a “BEC get everywhere” sticker right on the top whilst we were sleeping (I think). Just one thing I plan a re-spray, so can someone send me another to put back when I’ve done that.


And finally I’d like to thank all who worked on conference to give us such a nice weekend and also to those who had to get out of the way when we left and had to watch my 3 point turn in a large Land Rover ambulance in a cramped car park. 

We’d decided to head off in the daylight given the fun on the way up and I know caused quite some entertainment 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Security upgrade

Many people have told me that having the bonnet just held closed by 2 springs was not a good idea so I drilled through the bonnet and inner wings and fitted 2 key operated bonnet catches

OK they are not fancy, but a visible and practical deterrent

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Undercover Land Rovers

When I went with the SWLRC to Gaydon last year we saw lots of strangely coloured vehicles 

Out today I spotted one near home 

all the driver (who did not want to be in the pictures) would say is "I am German and I can tell you nothing about this car"

Definitely taped on body kit in the pictures

it is clearly vinyl wrapped, but definitively some of the body kit was held on with with duck tape and then vinyl over the top some of it was coming loose which I think is why he had stopped

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Rusty Doors

Katy has some bimetallic corrosion on the doors and I wondered what the state of the frames was so I took the cards off and had a look today

Actually they are in pretty good shape for LR doors so I applied some rust killer to the few spots that were rusty, put lithium grease on the winder and handle mechanism and put them all back together again

Not a big job, but every bit helps keep her going

Saturday, 12 July 2014


With a few days off after the SWLRC 2014 road run we headed north to Derbyshire for a few days to wind down from a period of very hard work for us both 

The first nice thing that happened to us was when we pulled in to the car park of our first stop and found this Locomotors 127 parked in the car park. if you look carefully you can just see Katy on the left hand side of the picture with the back door open. 

It was according to the sticker on it's back door sold/converted by foley, but from the brief chat with the current owner it's had a series of ongoing changes and has just had a wood-burner removed to make it a bit more child friendly. This one also has a 300Tdi replacing the original V8 petrol engine

I left that note on the windscreen and the owner called me when we were wandering around the gardens .. so you are wondering where we were... This famous fountain was one of the reasons for going.

The fountain is powered by the pressure of the water dropping 122 metres, through a 40 centimetre iron pipe made from a man-made lake. The fountain can reach a height of 90 metres although it is usually to half that height to conserve water (as in the picture)

So for those who don't know it's the Emperor fountain in the grounds of Chatsworth House

And just to prove we were really there in Katy

The interior is just as wonderful as the gardens with many works of art. One of my favourites is the Crouching Lion (by Francesco Benaglia) in the Sculpture Gallery. It is a copy of the one by Canova, which forms part of the Rezzonico Monument in St. Peter's, Rome. It weighs 3.5 tons which is just a bit more than Katy fully laden and probably just as tough if you run into it.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Crystal Skies

We spend the afternoon fitting a new crystal clear skylight to replace the cracked and yellowed plastic one we've been looking at each morning we wake up

It should be a lot more starry from now on

True Colours

The SWLRC Road Run this year was for St John's Ambulance

So the theme of the run was Medical and therefore there was only one real option - put Katy back to her Bosnian military colours. We know these from the pictures we found

A full respray was out of the question for a single day out so some rather amateurish printing took place late on Friday night and we left with a collection of symbols and letters to be put in appropriate places once the bodywork had dried out from the overnight rain

Saturday morning was a bit of a rush as I decided to fit the CB I bought some time ago. It was just jury rigged in time and we grabbed some fuel and and headed out to meet the team just in time for the 11:00 meeting time.

The inevitable faffing around took place which gave me time to put the signs on.

The first part of the trip was through the coast road from Cardiff to Ogmore which meant a keeping an eye out for pedestrians as we went through the villages. It did generate some looks and some comments, and one couple who were waiting for a bus came up as we stopped for the lights and had a right natter with the nurse in the passenger seat of the rather strange ambulance to try and find out what was going on

Ogmore on sea was our lunch stop and it was an opportunity at last to have a wander around with a camera and take a look at some of the old timers. This shot includes a Lightweight, a Series 1 (1952) and a Series 2A (abeit with a 200TDI engine)

Then on with the route that took us through a very small lane (spied out by the series drivers !)

The reason for taking this route became very clear however when we reached this very photogenic ford. A perfect place for getting a few action shots.

If you want to see all the water spraying type shots then head over to SWLRC where those who had sealed vehicles and were not planning to sleep in them had some right fun, but for us it was a more sedate and "proper overlanding style" approach

With success as we rejoined the rest of the convoy.

With fantastic directions coming from "Dave at the front" via the CB we had fitted, we had no problems keeping up and enjoying the drive. Finally arriving at Happy Jakes Campsite just before 5pm.

We finished the day with a final gathering of the cars in the campsite

Which we had to have 2 goes at because we missed a vehicle (mind you we lost 2 more in this version)

The organizers had done a wonderful job and we all had a great day out. Katy and "Sister Jones" (Rhian in her Mom's old uniform) included

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Some time to work on her

It's been really slow here recently. pressure of work and frequent trips away have meant that I've had little or no time to work on Katy or even to enjoy driving her

Some work that is needed for use this year is to replace the awing rail, the one I fitted was damaged going under s tree (it was on a bracket on the roof rack) and I need to do it properly so we can use the awing this year.

Also I got around to removing the 3 way fridge I had fitted in Katy today and I discovered one of the problems in that the flue was never sealed by the "supposedly professional" camper van maintenance company that did the fitting - hence the fume smell that we had that meant I had to turn it off all the time we were in it, especially overnight

BTW the company mentioned above was the ones who fitted an electrical system that drained the battery nearly leading me to missing the road run last year, I'm not going to post their name here, but if you are in South Wales and want to get in touch please do and I'll not recommend any aspect of their work

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Stopping Would Be Nice

I recently noted a new undesirable feature of the brakes. 

It took two presses of the pedal to come to a stop. Some advice suggested this would be one of two things, master cylinder or brake adjuster. 

The last time the brakes were adjusted for the MOT Steve had commented they did not feel quite right so that was the obvious place to start

It's an easy job to remove the hub cover 

And you can see the corroded adjusters in the wheel - everything felt a bit unmoving or smoothed off so it had to be cut-off

Then we hit the problem the kit provided did not seem to fit as the bolts in the front hit the brake pads. There seemed to be no sensible combination of the washers that could be made to made to fit with the adjuster so we made up a new next of washers that got the cam in the right place

But even then the bolt on the front still hit the pads so it was decided to resort to an angle grinder to get the final setting

Since fitting them I have found this useful instruction leaflet which does indeed say that you need to file down the bolt on the front of the kit so we were not too far off

Monday, 17 February 2014

MOT 2014

She passed !

Not even any advises !

Despite the brakes being B****** Awful

I think the rear adjuster is the problem - you have to press twice then the braking is good, but I don't like any vehicle where there brakes are not 100%

So she's not going anywhere more until this is sorted!
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