The good news is we have been happily living in our lovely little home on wheels for the last five weeks, which means our van made it through its 40th MOT! It was not plain sailing though, but perhaps it never will be for a vintage beauty such as we own. Our biggest problem is rust, and rust hiding rust, and rust in really hard to reach places that require a lot of digging around and welding to uncover and to fix. So it all took a bit longer and cost a bit more than our most perfect plans, but we have a van that is once again fit and ready for a year of being both our transport and our house. Worth every penny. Fixing up our rusty old machine meant that we were a bit later arriving to our next job than we intended. We have been living in der schönen grünen Steiermark on a horse ranch, parked up less than a metre from the nearest horse. They make for really awesome neighbours, but we discovered that some do snore pretty loudly. We were kept busy with plenty of work on the ranch. We built up sheds, repaired and relaced rotten foundations, built up feeding areas for the horses, fixed enclosures, repaired walls, built gates, cleaned out gutters, mended nets, sledge-hammered in more than 100 huge wooden posts and put up countless metres of electric fencing. One of us also managed to squeeze in their first ever horse riding lesson on the slowest, laziest horse that the ranch had.
The plan was to work here for a month, and we extended by a week to make sure we could finish every job that had been put on our to-do list. Over that time we unpacked our extra cozy winter blanket and our heater from storage, though we didn’t always need them (let’s take this moment to give a little shout-out to all those van-lifers that are actually living in their vans as winter approaches. We’ve noticed so many on Instagram packing away their vans now the holiday season is over. To all the winter vanners, hope you’ve all got great blankets and some kind of heating!!). Autumn has been kind to us so far, and as long as we can plug our van in we have the perfect warm house. The only thing we are missing is proper lights in there, which we noticed more and more since the clocks changed last month.So, we have bought ourselves a little upgrade… solar panels! Through these, we will be able to keep our second spare car battery charged, and from that run power to use interior lights in the van. The lights came with the van, but connected to the main battery, so we’ve never wanted to use them for fear of sucking too much power and then not being able to start the van in the morning. Our new electrics will pose no threat to our start-up power, and as long as there’s day light we should be charging! It’s all a work in progress at the moment, so keep an eye on our Instagram for photos of the finished product (hopefully soon!).
We bid a fond farewell to the ranch last week, and have been booked for work there again next year, which we are looking forward to already! The people there are wonderful and welcoming, and being around the horses was great fun. For now though, we are preparing for the next road trip from Austria to England once again. Plans are also shaping up nicely for the next year, and it seems like this working-driving-vanliving thing could be quite sustainable… we’ll keep you all posted, and try to be a bit more regular with our blogs going forwards! For now though, it’s cheerio to Austria, until next year.