Miz Lizzie

The more observant among you may have noticed I’ve been off the radar a bit…

Aside from the secret sewing, which is progressing well, I’ve had a new Project, involving lots of internet research, comparisons and in the end, a spreadsheet. Believe me, it deserves its capital P. Are you ready? We bought a second-hand caravan/trailer. Allow me to introduce Miz Lizzie.


img_20170210_170402959_hdrI was brought up to believe that caravan owners were road hogs of the worst kind, dawdlers and blockers of the highways of the world, curtailing the rights of regular people to unfettered zooming along the open road. However, we have sadly acknowledged that while we love trips and camping, the day is fast approaching when Miss Scarlett Thunderbolt and her follower Rolling Thunder will be too tiring and too uncomfortable for the longer distance adventures. We are not getting any  younger…

img_20170210_170920131Add to that the regular appearance of cyclone activity up and down the tropical coast, necessitating a bolt for safety of some sort if you have the means, and the fact that the Husband’s Long Service Leave is coming up in 3 years and we’ll be wanting to have an adventure, and you can see that the lure of cheap independent travelling accommodation becomes more understandable.

img_20170210_170850908_hdrFinally, she was inexpensive for what she offers compared with equivalent ‘vans on the internet, being neat and tidy, and strangely roomy for something only 4m/13ft long. And with aircon…

We take delivery on Friday. The intervening period will be taken up with servicing, checking for defects and testing the gas, the fridge and the aircon to make sure they’re running OK.

I’m looking forward to happy hours in my new play-house. There will of course be lots of decorating, arranging, re-upholstering and furnishing fun to be had…. I’m not going to go all Cath Kidston floral about it, nor the other vintage vibe, ’50s diner, but I do need to get rid of the horrible curtains and the naff bed/seat upholstery. I can live with the blue/grey and white cabinetry and the neutral vinyl flooring so it’s not going to be a full-on rip’n’strip.

Quilts? Well, of course there will be quilts!



71 thoughts on “Miz Lizzie

  1. magpiesue says:

    Oh boy! Immediate and long range fun! You’ll have to let us know how she came by her name. 😉

    • katechiconi says:

      The prospect of taking her north instead of the bike and trailer is looking increasingly attractive, especially given the long range forecast… Her rego is 719 QEO. The great ocean liner QEII made us think she was a mini version for cruising, hence the zero… It was either going to be Queenie or Lizzie, and the Husband preferred Lizzie. And because she’s a lady, she’s Miz Lizzie.

      • magpiesue says:

        Love it! We had two station wagons when our children were little. The first one was a land cruiser (long and wide) that I nicknamed the QEII. So the smaller one that followed it we called the Princess Margaret – mostly because her previous owner’s name was Margaret, but also because it was a slightly smaller vehicle. 😉

      • katechiconi says:

        Clever and funny! Miz Lizzie is 18 years old, so is rather a vintage lady, hence her title of respect. I envisage her as a Southern lady of a certain age, wearing a tea dress and a shady hat, the kind who still wears gloves to church…

  2. Love it and I am am sure she will be shipshape with a bit of ‘Kate Magic.’ Certainly easier to keep dry than a tent!

  3. how absolutely fantastic!!!!!!! and she looks stunning inside!!! I think she’s going to have lots of adventures and a great life with you guys 🙂

  4. What fun. Love the idea of blue and white ticking. I’m intrigued by the white metal pieces hanging from the ceiling either end. Do they hoist the roof up. Obviously in the wet U.K. that’s not a usual feature!!

    • katechiconi says:

      Yes, that’s what they’re for, but they don’t open the roof, they elevate the pop top to give us more head room. There are windows in the vinyl once the top is raised, for more light, and they can be zipped open too. The photos are taken with the pop top in the down position.
      I’ve been having loads of fun over on Pinterest, where I’m quickly filling up a board for interior ideas.

  5. tialys says:

    Well! Aren’t you going to be busy – in lots of ways. Can’t wait to see it once you’ve turfed out that grim upholstery and curtains. A couple of quilts in there will also make it feel like home. I have fond memories of staying in caravans with my family when I was little – before we could afford Butlins then, later, the Costa Brava – the smell of the gas bottle and the noise of the kettle boiling (slowly) and the pigeons walking over the roof in what sounded like hobnailed boots in the mornings. Air conditioning was not something we needed though 🙂
    Have lots of fun and try to close your eyes and ears to the drivers behind you as they gesticulate wildly and get right up your backside in a desperate attempt to overtake you – or is that just me?

    • katechiconi says:

      The Husband has spent many happy family holidays in caravans too, I seem to be the odd one out… anyway, I already have an ever-increasing Pinterest board for doing up the inside, no suprise there, then. We’ve also promised ourselves that we won’t be the annoying people who tootle along at 70 in a 100kmph zone and allow a queue of 75 cars to build up behind us.

  6. claire93 says:

    now this will be camping in style! So much more practical than having to fit everything (including craft supplies) into saddle bags lol.

    • katechiconi says:

      We’ll both sleep better, we’ll be able to make decent coffee, and as you so rightly say, we’ll be able to bring along some toys! But first, out with the horrible curtains and tired and slightly dodgy 18 year old cushion covers…

  7. Robin Murphy says:

    Well done Kate, we bought a camper trailer a couple of years ago, thinking that would be the best alternative for our travelling. After one or so trips we decided that I wasn’t tall enough to help put it up and climbing a ladder to get into bed was not for us. About a year ago we were just going to have a look at a caravan sales area, my husband had done a lot of research by then, well we left owning a near new approximately 14 foot caravan, she is lovely and we have had a few trips away, it is so nice not to have to worry about the pack up of the camper or tent, I can open her up on my own, if needed and there is room for my sewing machine under the bed. Congratulations you will have a great time kitting out Miz Lizzie.

    • katechiconi says:

      We discarded the idea of a camper trailer when it was clear that the disparity in our sizes and strength levels would make it hard to put up. After that, we put together quite a large spreadsheet detailing what we wanted, the size, the weight, etc. All of that paid off one day when we passed the van dealership at the end of the road and saw Lizzie, who ticked the vast majority of the boxes. She’s by no means new, but considering her age, she’s in remarkable condition!

  8. rutigt says:

    Congrats to you and your DH!!!! Of course there will be quilts! That was also my first thought when reading the post 🙂 I always have loads of quilts with me when we are out camping!

  9. Every summer of my childhood was spent confined in a car on caravan trips. Weeks and weeks of mosquito bites, heat rash, and travel sickness so we could be edified by touring historical sites. I am happy for you and simultaneously thrilled that it’s not me!

  10. dayphoto says:

    Oh! How! FUN! I keep thinking I would like to have a weekend camper…maybe when Terry finally rents the farm out…What a fun thing you will have!

  11. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    What a lovely project !! I hope you’ll have great adventures with it !

  12. Conor Bofin says:

    That looks like great fun indeed.

    • katechiconi says:

      I suspect you are secretly gnashing your teeth at the idea of yet another caravan on the roads of the world… I myself am a little ambivalent about my new status, having learned at my father’s knee that ‘vans and their drivers were the work of the devil… But we do have a lot more space to cover in this country when we do a road trip, and my bones will be grateful for a nice sit down and a cup of tea instead of an hour of tent pitching and camp building before the kettle can go on…

      • Conor Bofin says:

        I’m very happy to have as many caravans on the roads over there as can be accommodated. It’s here that I object to them!
        All good fun and as you say, you have plenty of space for them.
        Bon Vacance, as they say in France.

  13. anne54 says:

    Whoo hoo!! She is beautiful, and brought back wonderful memories of Alice the Caravan, who looked to be of the same vintage. You know I will tell you that it is a great way to see the country. Have fun!

    • katechiconi says:

      We did look at Avans, but Miz Lizzie offers more space for the generously-built Husband, and better value for money, being 18 years old. I regard her as an advanced case of recycling!

  14. craftycreeky says:

    I was given a 2 berth caravan when I first divorced, I towed it myself and had some great hols with the kids. When I met my other half we had one holiday in it, we were in the awning, 2 kids in the caravan and 2 in a tent. Great holiday but we sold it when we got home as it just wasn’t big enough…happy memories though 🙂 Enjoy!

  15. kathyreeves says:

    This will be so much fun! A little home away from home!

  16. Lynda says:

    This is exactly what I have been researching, Kate. How exciting that you are actually doing it! I’m with you, we aren’t getting any younger and a bed is better than a cot or air mattress any night of the week!

    Looking forward to seeing what you will be doing/making for curtains, quilts etcetera. 🙂

  17. Oooo, a big people doll house! Looks like a lot of fun playtimes will be had. Happy for you both, and that Ms Lizzie has a good family to care for her!

  18. Very cool ♡ You will love it. I’ve just emptied the Nanna Van, she is going to live with a lovely couple a bit further north. She was wonderful for our trips last year but for our next we want something a little different.

    • katechiconi says:

      She was a lovely van, I’m glad she’s got nice new owners. Diesel Dog will make a difference to your travelling life, hope you find something that works for all of you 🙂

  19. I’m absolutely delighted for you!!! I loved that kind of camping when we did it. I’ll sleep anywhere that has some semblance of indoor plumbing. Too old to enjoy it any other way. I don’t care what others say about traveling that way. Each of us gets to do what works best for us and if that gives you the freedom to enjoy your free years, go for it. It is so fun to redo them. Looking forward to seeing Ms Lizzie in her new duds. I know you’ll make her sparkle.

    • katechiconi says:

      We don’t have an official bathroom in Miz Lizzie, she’s too small, but I make sure when I book camping spots that we’re a very gentle stroll to the amenities block. For emergency moments, I have a ‘thunderbox’, tightly lidded, with a proper seat and filled with kitty litter! Too much information, perhaps…?
      Look out for news of Miz Lizzie’s new clothes tomorrow 🙂

  20. Lynda says:

    I just noticed the sink! All the trailers I have seen here have little round ones which seem useless and no drainboard attached. I want one like yours when we buy one.

  21. What fun for you! We’re starting to plan a big road trip for this summer. We have no camper but can make a bed in the back if needed. I told Jim we’ll need to try that out before committing to it on a 4,000 mile trip!

    • katechiconi says:

      I should think so! Imagine discovering it was penitentially uncomfortable, with 3,750 miles to go…. We went back to the dealer today to get our handover, and discovered she has even more good stuff than we originally thought, hurrah!

  22. Jen Gardener says:

    Aw how exciting! Many fun adventures to be had with Miz Lizzie! Love the “home is where we park her”.

  23. pattisj says:

    Can’t wait to see how you make it your own! This will be much more comfortable for travel. Good for you!

    • katechiconi says:

      This test run will really show us what we do and don’t need and what will really contribute to our comfort. So far, new curtains are high on the list, together with tailored bedding!

  24. If you have been off the radar, what do you call what I have been doing? Off the planet? 🙂
    Aircon?! Miss Lizzie has aircon!

    • katechiconi says:

      I would say you’ve been indulging in some creative immersion therapy… And yes, aircon, which made all the difference between sleeping well and thrashing around in a hot little box.

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