The Empty Cage

One Easter Sunday morning George Thomas a English pastor, came into his church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak...

"I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked,
"What you got there, son?"
"Just some old birds," came the reply.
"What are you gonna do with them?" I asked.
"Take 'em home and have fun with 'em," he answered.
"I'm gonna tease 'em and pull out their feathers to make 'em fight. I'm gonna have a real good time."
"But you'll get tired of those birds sooner or later. Then, what will you do?" I asked.
"Oh, I got some cats," said the little boy. "They like birds. I'll take 'em to them."
The pastor was silent for a moment. "How much do you want for those birds, son?"
"Huh?? !!! Why, you don't want them birds, mister. They're just plain old field birds. They don't sing. They ain't even pretty!"
"How much?" the pastor asked again.
The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, "$10?"
The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy's hand. In a flash, the boy was gone.
The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free.

Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story.

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. "Yes, sir, I just caught the world full of people. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn't resist. Yep I got 'em all!"
What are you going to do with them?" Jesus asked.
Satan replied, "Oh, I'm gonna have me some fun! I'm gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I'm gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I'm really gonna have fun watching & thinking of what else I can come up with!"
"And what will you do when you get done with them?" Jesus asked.
"Oh, I'll kill 'em," Satan glared proudly.
"How much do you want for them?" Jesus asked
"Oh, you don't want those people. They ain't no good. Why, you take them and they'll just hate you. They'll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don't want those people!!"
"How much?" Jesus asked again.
Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, "All your blood, tears and your life too!"
Jesus said, "DONE!"
Then He paid the price.

The pastor picked up the cage he opened the door and he walked from the pulpit.

Sunday Reflection:
How simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.
Isn’t it amazing how someone can say "I believe in God" but still allow Satan to dominate their lives either directly or indirectly. Also have you considered this thought: That Satan knows who God is and that Jesus is the Son of God. This knowledge alone is not enough!

My time - a time to indulge myself!

I love some time to myself and I guess that is a big part of why I love being retired and the ability to travel around in our own recreational vehicle is a huge bonus.

Sunrise at Saunders Beach
I used to be the typical stay at home mum raising 4 kids, volunteering at their school, private bus driver for after school activities, and occasional web site developer, business book-keeper and receptionist let alone housekeeper and cook. Don't get me wrong, I loved that stage of my life too!
Then when the kids were older, I joined my husband in the family business until we closed it last year! Yippee! That we were unable to sell the business is not good, but the freedom is absolutely wonderful.
This freedom gave us the opportunity to do lots of travelling around Australia in our caravan trailer.

I might go out in my garden - here is the first flowering of my grass tree

Now we are home we are converting a bus into a motorhome. That’s my hubby’s hobby while he gets used to being retired and having lots of time on his hands. It helps ease him into retirement, though he is doing some volunteer work twice weekly as well.

Don't interrupt me when I have a book in my hands!

This morning the sun was well and truly up before me and that is not only OK, it is positively wonderful just once in a while. I have no contest with the sun. The world will continue on its merry way with or without me just as it should.
Most mornings I am up with the birds in that pre dawn time. I generally treasure this time. I always have, even when the kids were little. I just wanted to wake up naturally, not be woken up by kids, commitment or anything else.

Sometimes you have to be up very early to see some of the birds

The household is so very quiet and it is “MY TIME”. I love to watch the sun come up and if it is not too cold (or too many mozzies), I might spend extra time in bible study & devotion outside even. I just find it easier to worship God outside when I can see the evidence of His hands in the mountains, the sky and the sea.

And some mornings, I just might not want to get up at all!

I might decide to get out in the garden once I believe the early morning mozzies are gone or I might spend a couple of hours on the computer and/or internet! I can use this time to be transported to distant lands or time in a fiction book. It doesn’t matter really what I do with it. It is MY TIME to do whatever I feel like doing! That’s the beauty of it – I can do whatever I want to as long as I don’t make too much noise and wake anyone else – which would defeat the purpose and it would no longer be MY TIME.

I might spend the time doing some craft- these are paper flowers I made
Just remind yourself that you need to recharge your own batteries from time to time too! 

 Do you have some time for yourself even if you have to 'steal' it from somewhere?

Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

Here is my Chicken Soup recipe for the very first thing I cooked in my new Dream Pot. Just 10 minutes boiling the ingredients on the hotplate then popping it in the insulating chamber and leaving it for 6 - 8 hours and Bob's your uncle - well he is my hubby at least! :)


2 Chicken legs (raw)
6 teaspoon chicken stock powder
1 Tablespoon Vegata (vegetable stock powder)
1 onions chopped fine
I celery stick chopped fine
Large pinch of mixed herbs
1 carrot grated
1 packet chicken noodle soup mix
1 cup of angel hair noodles


Place all, except the noodles & pkt soup mix, in large inner pot, fill to within 5cm (2 .5 inches) of the top of the pot with hot water. (Reduce liquid to stop 9cm (3 inches) from the top if you want to use the smaller pot at the same time.)
Bring to boil and then lower heat to simmer gently for 10 minutes with lid on.
Add noodles and pkt soup.
Transfer pot into insulating chamber for minimum 3 hours, preferably 6-8 hours.
Remove chicken legs and all bones (they may so tender that they fall apart.
Cut up meat small and return meat to soup.
Serve whilst hot.
Store leftovers in fridge or freezer.


  1. As we are dieting, we didn't add any extra noodles other than what came in the packet soup mix, this time (a bird's nest of noodles is good for those who don't want to guess quantities). 
  2. Also I have been known to use dried onions if I am low on them, I tend to add more dried onions - that 1 heaped tablespoon per onion as substitute!

Thermal Cookers are ideal for RVs

After 2 extensive trips (15 months and 7 months) and a few smaller trips, I decided that I really missed having handmade soups and casseroles. Now I know I can cook these on a hotplate or even on a camp fire, but we came to a few conclusions about ourselves.

  1. We do not want to collect and burn a lot of wood for quite a few hours during the day, partially because we don't want to start a fire early in the day and have to stick around to keep it stoked and supplied with fresh timber.
  2. We would be travelling rather than stopping early enough to get the meal going.
  3. It uses quite a fair amount of fuel if we were to use gas or butane energy when we are free camping which is most of the time.
  4. So that left it to when we were having a "quiet" day in a caravan park, which was not very often. If we were in a caravan park, we were usually in town for a purpose, whether it be to get some supplies, visit a medical professional or whatever. Any 'spare' time we would much rather be out sight seeing and no way was I prepared to leave something on in the caravan even if we had a slow cooker with us which we don't.

Then I started to hear about thermal cookers.

What is a thermal cooker?

Thermal cooking is a fuel efficient way of  cooking by steam inside insulated chamber. Thermal cooking has been around for hundreds of years and is still used today in some tribal communities. I can think of two, the Maoris and the Hawaiians with the pit cooking.

Hangi Maori style cooking
Imu Primitive Cooking
Today we have a  system whereby we simply bring the food to boiling temperature for anywhere from 3 to 15 minutes depending on the ingredients and then turning off the heat and quickly placing the pot in inside a insulated chamber pot keeping it warm for a further 3-8 hours! Think of it like a giant thermos! With this method, the food being cooked in its own moisture & steam, the nutrients within are fully preserved and less fuel is being consummed. On average, thermal cooking is 30% more energy efficient compared to its alternatives.

What can you cook in it?

I have much to learn but it is ideal for slow cooking meals like soups, corned beef and casseroles. The recipe books includes rice dishes, such as risotto, pasta dishes such as bolognaise, lentils and beans dishes such as chilli con carne, quiches and frittata, corned beef, pot roast, meatloaf, puddings and custards. Gosh the recipe book even includes cakes and breads! I just have to let you know how I go with various recipes.

What brands of thermal cooker should I look for?

Two main brands were recommended, the EcoPot and the DreamPot. There are cheaper versions but my research via real people on  various RV forums and the internet, told me that they were inferior mainly due to thinner bases that burn the food easily and poorer insulation of the main chamber! Aldi's have released a contender. It is early days to tell, but they generally come out with some decent quality stuff. Let me know if you have one and what you think of it in the comments below!

The better brands weren't cheap in my books, starting at around the $180 mark. But human nature dictates that people will buy things and then later figure that it doesn't suit them after all. Now be honest, how many tools and gadgets have you tucked away in the kitchen or garage that you thought you would use more, but it just collects dust? That's why places such as Ebay and Gumtree thrive, selling our excesses. So I kept my eye out in both these places after asking on some RV forums if anyone had one they wanted to sell. I found a nearly new one for $120 and my daughter lived close enough to pick it up for me. Yay!

So the first thing on my cooking agenda is for some good nourishing Chicken Soup since I have a bit of a cold.

The philosophy of Charles Schulz

The following in the philosophy of Charles Schulz, who is the creator of the "Peanuts" comics.
You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read it straight through, and you'll get the point.

A quiz for you

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. 

See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

A bit easier?

The lesson:

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards.

They are the ones that care. 

Here I would go one step further: Make a difference in someone else's life. Spend your time doing the things that really matter!

Buying a laptop verses a notebook or tablet

Soon I will need to replace my aging laptop. Now that beggars the question: Is today’s tablet a worthy consideration? What about a notebook then? In spite of the huge popularity of the iPad, it cannot do everything. Anyway the iPad is just one of the many tablet devices which are now on the market and usually at more reasonable prices. It seems that most people with an iPad or android tablet also own and use a laptop.
How do we swim through all the hype and find what's best for you on the road? What it boils down to is, will it make much difference to how we use the internet and computer on the road?

Are laptops a thing of the past?

 No I think Laptops are going to be around for a long time as they have many advantages, such as a full keyboard for typing, a high resolution screen, a CD and/or DVD player, camera and so much more. They are much more stronger and durable and still can be taken everywhere with you. I like that I can have full word processing for writing and editing of documents as well as software  am familiat with such as Excel, Publisher etc, though the gap is closing with the smarter tablets and notebooks.
As always there is a downside. The main disadvantage is there are the heaviest of all mobile computing options. That little weight sure gets heavy by the end of a few hours let alone a day lugging it around. Software and upgrades are required frequently and cost quite a lot of money for professional-grade software.

So just what is a Tablet?

A tablet is generally the cheapest option. They are the most portable wireless computer usually operated via a virtual keyboard integrated into the touch-screen, rather than an actual physical one built-in. (You sometimes can connect a keyboard via a wireless link or USB). They are compact and lightweight, easy to transport almost anywhere even used in your hand rather than needing a table or lap to use. Throw in Wi-Fi or, 3G technology which is run on a sim card and you can text, access emails and blog surf literally on the run!
I am very attracted to the light weight and thus the ease of portability of a tablet. I also love the idea that the battery life on a tablet is so much greater, anything from 6-10 hours before you need to recharge compared to the average of 90 -120 minutes on a laptop unless you have the really expensive ones which might take you to 4 hours! Also most Android and iOS applications cost between AU$1 and AU$20, making it cheap to deck out your tablet with various programmes to specifically suit you at a quite reasonable price!
As with everything, there are some negatives to consider. While cheaper, tablets also offer less durability, ie they break easier especially the touch screen. Storage is more expensive and generally quite limited. Most I found were only upto 16 GB though I reckon that will change soon enough. I also lament the lack of USB ports for adaptability and flexibility. One thing I found is a great negative is you can't split the screen with more than one application. I frequently work with more than 1 window or application going at once!

What about a notebook?

Notebooks are slim, ultra-portable laptops that offer the best features of the laptop (processing and speed) and the portability and convenience of a tablet. They are more expensive at the moment. They are light and portabile compared to laptops and offer fast connectivity and long lasting battery backup together with serious processing power. Software are similar to a laptop, thus expensive too. And appear not to be suitable to Apps at this stage or limited at best.

What is an App?

Apps is short for applications and is just like the software programs that run on your computer. The availability of numerous (no thousands) of Apps also seem attractive, not that I know much about them from personal use at this stage. You can get an app for just about any use you want. For example to write your your travel journal you''d need a note taking app. To read a book, you need a e-reader app. Maybe you like to record and keep up to date record of your travel expenses or watch a movie. In short there is bound to be an app for anything you want to use your tablet for on the road. Many apps are free and some you pay for but rarely more than $10.

What is an Operating System?

(Also known as an "OS") is the program that runs your computer's software and hardware.
There are three main operating systems:
Android  was created by Google
Windows Runtime  was created by Microsoft. Windows 8 has just been released.There is a lot of kaffaffle about it but in my inexperienced book, it is just usually people are used to the old way of doing things and are uncomfortable with anything new! (But don't shoot me if I am wrong!)
Apple iOS is the operating system used in the iPad, as well as iPhone and iPod Touch. The biggest advantages of iOS are: its user-friendliness; smooth integration with other Apple products; and over 500,000 apps available through App Store. iOS looks good and works well, but you can't customize it a great deal — changing background colours and the order of your apps is about the limit — plus it won't play Adobe Flash content if that is important to you! My son's screen is a multi-touch screen which means it can detect more than one finger at a time for two-fingered scrolling, pinch zooming, two-finger tapping and swipe-style gestures. He LOVES the flexibility this brings to how he operates it.

What is RAM?

RAM (Random Access Memory) is where data is stored that's being accessed by the Central Processing Unit (CPU) ie the guts of the computer. More RAM usually means a faster computer. 1GB of RAM is enough for very basic operations like web browsing—although don't expect to run a browser with dozens of tabs open—email, some word processing, and photo editing. The less RAM you have, the more likely Windows will have to start swapping out pages of memory to your hard drive, drastically cutting your system's performance thus slowing you down.

What about how much storage space?

How much storage you need depends on what you use the tablet for. If you intend to just surf the web, collate photos and music, and other basic tasks, a 16GB hard drive should be sufficient.

However, if you'll be storing lots of large applications, video and other media, more memory will be required. Here's something handy I found whilst researching: a 2 hour High Definition video/film uses about 3.5GB, and 12 music albums use about 1.5GB. Don't forget you can always store stuff on USBs, a memory card, a hard drive or even offline in cyber space.


So in trying to decide which it is that one want, first you need to know just what do you want from your computer.

For myself, I don’t play games at all on a computer. Watching DVDs and playing music are very low on my list! So I don’t need a great graphics capability. I do need to be able to access my emails, write blogs, download and upload photos especially after editing the photos. Slightly lower on my desires list is that I also like to blog hop and store lots of information in various files. I will need to be able to transfer information easily from one computer to another, so a USB port or such is necessary for me. I will want to be able to print some of my files from time to time, so I need to be able to connect my computer to a printer of my choice, so again I prefer a USB port.

Now just recently, Aldi’s (a grocery supermarket) had a 16GB tablet for a good price, but it has only 1GB RAM (operating speed).  Aldi’s will also had a tablet case with Blue tooth keyboard available this weekend, which in my book is a must for ease of frequent typing. I have decided against the Aldi's tablet mainly because of it being only 1GB RAM otherwise it seems excellent value.

So in a nutshell, I am trying to sort out in my head whether I can get a tablet to replace my laptop or is it just a terrific complement to a laptop?

In the course of researching, I have decided to
1. to backup my computer more regularly (I am pretty slack in this area!) and
2. delete as many unused programs and files as possible 
3. upgrade the RAM on this laptop in the meantime
4. keep on researching... there's just so much to take in.

If you want to know how to upgrade the RAM on your laptop, this is the Youtube guide by Ryan Bahm I used. He made me believe I could do it myself! Though I am scared I will stuff it up. I think I might just ask my daughter's computer savvy boyfriend over for a nice home cooked meal and ....

“If you had to choose to own just one device and only one for traveling in your RV, 
would you choose a desktop, laptop or iPad /tablet?

Bus Conversion – Beavering away

Well anyway, The Plan had us doing other things by now. We haven’t done much on the bus as we are mired in the muck of waiting for deliveries that never happen when promised. What is it about today’s tradesmen and suppliers. Can’t they honour their word. Sure SOMETIMES things happen that delay them, but surely a phone, text or email wouldn’t go astray.

Just a reminder of the bus as it was when we first brought it home

In the meantime, Rob is keeping busy rather than sitting on his butt twiddling his thumbs. There has been some obvious rust areas to take care of, however there has also been some hidden rust that doesn't show itself until we open up something. This is a slow and rather boring aspect of bus conversion but a necessary part of the whole deal. I guess this is going to be done in bites so as not to get too discouraged as well as to help intersperse the pain and boredom with some of the more pleasant jobs.

Fashioning a new gutter over the driver's window

He is an artist. It is amazing to watch him slowly re-fashioning the old to fit a new purpose and marrying new parts to the old. This shot shows the amazing job he did of refashioning a side panel into a door panel after lowering the floor in antcipation of the slideouts when they arrive and are installed.

Refashioned bin doors

As we go along we are also discovering hidden spots that we can utilise as storage. One can never have too much storage whether it be water storage or cupboard space and everything in between. At one stage I even considered doing without a kitchen window so that I could utilise the area for kitchen cupboards! Shocking aren’t I?

Rear view of the bus at present

So... We may not be moving real fast... but Rome wasn’t built in a day either.

Hoo Roo & keep safe

Shoes - a matter of perspective

This very simple story illustrates the difference between positive thinking and negative thinking.

“Many years ago two salesmen were sent by a British shoe manufacturer to Africa to investigate the market and report back on the marketing potential.

The first salesman reported back, “There is no potential here – nobody wears shoes.”

The second salesman reported back, “There is massive potential here – nobody wears shoes.”

This simple short story provides one of the best examples of how a single situation may be viewed in two quite different ways – negatively or positively.

Do you look at problems and disadvantages or do you see opportunities and benefits.

It’s all about your perspective isn’t it ? - as these two quite different interpretations are made of exactly the same situation.

Australia - Our Country

When the shearing sheds are silent and the stock camps fallen quiet,
When the gidgee coals no longer glow across the outback night.

And the bush is forced to hang a sign, 'gone broke and won't be back'. And spirits fear to find a way beyond the beaten track.

When harvesters stand derelict upon the wind swept plains.
And brave hearts pin their hopes no more on chance of loving rains.

When a hundred outback settlements are ghost towns overnight.

When 'Pioneer' means a stereo and 'Digger' some backhoe.
And the 'Outback' is behind the house, there's nowhere else to go.

And 'Anzac' is a biscuit brand and probably foreign owned.
And education really means brainwashed and neatly cloned.

When you have to bake a loaf of bread to make a decent crust.
And our heritage once enshrined in gold is crumbling to dust.

And old folk pay their camping fees on land for which they fought.
And fishing is a great escape; this is until you're caught.

When you see our kids with yankee caps and resentment in their eyes.
And soaring crime and hopeless hearts are no longer a surprise.

When the name of RM Williams is a yuppie clothing brand.
Not a product of our heritage that grew from off the land.

When offering a hand makes people think you'll amputate.
And two dogs meeting in the street is what you call a 'Mate'.

When 'Political Correctness' has replaced all common sense.
When you're forced to see it their way, there's no sitting on the fence.

Yes one day you might find yourself an outcast in this land.
Perhaps your heart will tell you then, I should have made a stand'

Just go and ask the farmers that should remove all doubt.
Then join the swelling ranks who say, 'Don't sell Australia out'.

This poem was written by Chris Long from Edmonton, Queensland.

Bus Conversion – Removing the rear window in prep for the slide outs

We are moving ahead again. Rob and our son, Dean joined forces yet again, this time to help remove the back window panel. We are going to put a slide-out in the back to move the queen size bed out when we can, but the bed is still accessible if the slide-out is left closed.

Rob used the back of the ute as a scaffold platform for ease working at a height. Once he had done whatever preparation required such as loosening the windows from the seals, they quickly removed the 2 parts of the window and then peeled of the old rubber seal which was in rather poor condition.

The passenger side glass panel was already cracked in several places but came away in one piece. The driver’s side panel is not cracked at all and also came away in one piece. The window itself is in poor shape however it was exposed and was speckled with lots of weld spots which are impossible to remove. Rob knew he had no further use for the window and didn’t bother covering it up and protecting it. There’s no point trying to list this window for sale as no-one would want a spotty window! !

Next step is for Rob to strengthen the hole in preparation for the slide outs. For the first time (this is our 3rd time making an RV with slide outs) Rob will be buying the mechanism. It has to come in from America. Though we have been told it will take 10 weeks, we have no confidence it will be here then as the manufacturing company has been difficult to deal with. I think an individual all the way on the other side of the planet is bread crumbs to them and they really can’t be bothered with keeping this customer happy! Rob will be making the ‘cubicles’. However there is little point in do that until the mechanisms arrive.

 In the meantime, he has covered over the hole for protection against the weather.

Now the hard part is to sit back and wait! It is tough being reliant on others. It is a pity that very few businesses try to honour their commitments. Sure things occur to alter the time frames occasionally, but I would think that a quick email to avail us of the difficulty would be polite! And that goes for any business, whether it be a repairman coming to fix something or a delivery. It just seems that communication is too much hassle and 'it's on it's way... eventually' is good enough. Gee and I thought with world wide communications available in just about every household via the internet and telephone etc, that it would be easy to keep the customer upto date.

The aftermath of a bad temper

This is an inspiring story of a young child with an unruly temper. The scars can be permanent. Read on.

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.

Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there.


The next time you get angry with someone and are about to speak, ask yourself if it is necessary to respond with anything at all. Also be aware that silence is not always golden. A passive anger - the silent treatment - can scream loudly too. My earliest memory of my grandfather is his teaching me "Engage brain before mouth." Another consideration I have heard recently is that we have 2 ears but one mouth, use them accordingly. If you need to respond, take the time to cool down and think upon whether your response is likely to change anything or make it worst. Is there was a way to say what you want to say with neutral words? Often we need to examine ourselves first. We can't always change circumstances but we can change how we respond.

A shopping we will go

When Rob had to drive to Castlehill to deliver some water tanks, he knew the best way to bribe me to accompany him, was to dangle the opportunity to visit (and shop) at Ikea on the way home.

I know it is corny and silly, but on the day we had decided to go to Ikea to check out various storage items, I couldn’t seem to stop singing in my head..."A shopping we will go" to the kid's nursery rhyme "A hunting we will go!"
If you knew me, you would also know that generally I don't like shopping. (Yeah I know - 'Tis a rare woman who doesn't like shopping!).

Ever since attending the Illawarra Caravan and Camping Show, I have been trawling the internet and local shops for various ideas and items I would love to implement into the bus. Obviously not everything is available here in Australia, nor would everything fit let alone be practical, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the trawling.

I have collected so many ideas like the images above. Some ideas Rob would be able to make, others we will have to fork out the money for. Then there is the aesthetic things that just go to make a place look nicer. Now we are very conscious that this is only a temporary home. We do not need or want to spend a lot of money on it. So somethings like the captain's chairs and the lounge are not going to be matching. Though I would like to think that I can get them to co-ordinate and be the basis of my colour co-ordinating efforts. Now interior decorating style is not my strong point, but with the aid of the internet, being inspired by what others have done and the ever resourceful Pinterest.

So after a leisurley lunch at Ikea's cafeteria and 3 hours shopping, we rewarded ourselves with a coffee whilst we went over the many ideas that we had garnered from our extensive walk through Ikea. I have a wish list of about a dozen items!

Below are  just some of the ideas I want to seriously consider. We are going to get the sink, (without the tap hole). You can also buy a bowl, a strainer and a cutting board to fit in or over the sinks. I think I want all three! They also have the plate holders in two sizes, yay! I did see the magnetic spice containers though I doubt that they would hold firm whilst the bus jiggles over the road - so maybe I will leave that off the shopping list. Rob noticed a shoe cabinet that he thinks would work very well as a drop down cabinet above the bed! Isn't he ingenious to think of that! (My photo didn't turn out for that, nor could I find it in the catalogue.). He likes the hinges in some of the cabinets, but we can't buy them separately! Boo hoo! We liked some of the drawer handles, but without a catch that would hold whilst driving, they are not practical.

The sink that we will buy.

Plate holders are an excellent idea

Plastic waste bin, could double up for many things.

So when we check out the measurements and such, I will be making the trip back and buying the bits and pieces we decide upon. Some things such as the wall hanging magazine rack (not shown) and waste bin will most likely be put off until we have actually finished the cupboards and such so we know just what wall space is practical as well as aesthetically pleasing to be used!

What are some of the additions to your RV that make your trips so much more pleasurable?

Easy Tomato Carrot Soup

Even on summer trips in your RV, you will likely have the odd few nights that are cool and a nice warm soup that is quick to make will go down nicely.

This quick and easy tomato soup is just the ticket.

Easy Tomato Soup

1 tin tomato soup
1 chicken stock cubes
1 ½ cups water
½ stick of celery grated
2 large carrots grated
½ small onion (or 1 tablespoon dehydrated onion)
salt & pepper to taste

Empty tin.
Add vegetables with seasonings and water.
Bring to boil & simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add more water if desired.

Now you can't get a tasty soup much faster than that can you?

A beautiful day

What a wonderful way to look on life. Let us look for the positives in what ever circumstances in life. We all know that life can throw some nasty curve balls at times, but our attitude to make the most of even difficult circumstances will help transform not just our days but our lives and those close to us as well.

May you be blessed  to see the joy of the little things in life.

Bus Conversion: Fibreglassing the shower

Now that the chain issue has been resolved and it is ordered, it is with renewed enthusiasm that Rob resumes working on the bus conversion. He has decided to have a go at fibre glassing the shower. He had done some smaller fibreglassing jobs such as filling in the corners and the gap created by lifting the roof. He had yet to tackle a job where he had first to make a mould and create a whole unit.

We couldn't find a shower to fit the dimensions we desired for the bus conversion. So Rob decided to tackle it himself. For once, he wasn't so confident, which is rather unusual. He researched as much as he could, but DIY information was extremely difficult to come by.

He started with making the formwork, which is the easy part for him, though ensuring the measurements are right and that the formwork doesn't have any dints or such imperfections, which would show up on the shower's surface, was more a tad more time consuming. The bigger triangular piece you can see in the photo is the sink, the little one is the foot rest.

Sanding the formwork and then priming it before painting on the release agent is important but can be rather dull and tedious work.

After 30kg of resin and approxiamately30 kilo of matting and lots of waiting of parts to dry in between, we have the fibre glassing of the shower recess done. now to strip the mould off!

It is supposed to just come off... but it most certainly did not. Rob had to pry the wooden formwork off with a mini crowbar after cutting the panels with a router in several places to facilitate getting it off in smaller chunks!. That blasted release agent did not do its job.

In some places the wood still stuck onto the blue release agent! So jolly disappointing when something doesn't work as it is supposed to!

Then if that wasn't enough, the release agent is supposed to peel off like cling wrap. It most certainly did not! This was going to be my job. I couldn't even get little strips to peel off! It is water soluble, so it was all going to have be scrubbed off with a soft, damp cloth. Grrr!

Rob came past after an hour and such little progress. He thought of the idea of using a water blaster to see if that would help. I didn't think so, but we gave it a shot. Thankfully I was wrong. It still took another hour but it was  certainly faster and easier than doing it by hand! In cases like this, I don't mind being wrong! Still the wood left on was going to have be sanded off very carefully. I will leave that to Rob.

The last bit of fun and games was getting the shower into the bus. We enlisted the help of our friend John and though we were worried at one stage, we got it in.

We will put securing it on the back burner for now! We are stick of the sight [and smell] of it!