So the major achievement of today has been mounting Miriam’s bedpod. It is quite a feat of engineering and looks pretty stunning too. We’ll take a video of it in action at some point. 

It will have a door on the side of it!

I got stuck in tonight putting primer on the kitchen pod and varnish on the central storage lids.

We also put vinyl underneath the bog pod.

Work is also being done on the fridge pod. Tomorrow is the last full day. There’s a heck of a lot to finish off, but the general vibe about the place is a positive one. 

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Plodding On

​Day 8 – and more jobs completed/progressing.


Miriam’s bedpod constructed



Lids for the central storage. Big holes for table and Miriam’s mounted high chair. Small holes for opening storage.

The runners for the IKEA storage boxes have been fitted, and the shelf unit for the kids assembled.

I found that Ben had been very organised last night and he set off today with this list.


Considering how few of these jobs were completely crossed off, it’s morphed into a bit more of a general to-do list…although a complete to-do list is maybe double this size? Feeling tired and pessimistic tonight.

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Day seven – a roller coaster ride

Emma is knackered and has gone to bed so I (Ben) am writing today’s entry.

Today the rear seats were bolted down to the van floor. There were no issues and not too expensive either. The van is now a six seater! The spare seat runners are on Ebay if you’re interested (item no. 172757330700). Special discount for all blog readers – just quote “Ireallyneedsomerenaultespaceseatrunners” when ordering.

The kitchen pod was assembled, the sink and cooker arrived and work began on Miriam’s roller coaster bed. Did we tell you about this? Miriam’s sleep pod will be a box that slides along the side of the van on steel tubes. It can sit over the rear seating/bed during the day and then slide forward when we need the bed thus enabling double use of space. That’s the plan anyway. Everything else is fairly standard – plywood boxes basically. But a bed that slides along the van wall is a bit of an unknown that I dreamt up on the many and long bus rides in Cairo. We’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow. If we can get this finished and fixed tomorrow I will be happy.


Safe and secure – though the view is limited!


Looks so simple. But then there’s wheelarch cutouts, a household kitchen worktop to add, paint for the front and sides, vinyl for the doors and holes inside for the gas and water pipes.

Van 2

If you’re not quite getting the roller coaster bed this might help. The white box on the far wall is Miriam’s bed. It will slide along the red tubes (see previous entries to see the bearings). The spider’s web type design is the end panels.


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Little by Little

There were so many natty little jobs done today, it’s hard to know where to begin. One hidden job was this electric channeling in the base of the van, which will never be seen and only here and now will be appreciated.


The wheel arches got covered.

Bernard was put to work with his jig again – apparently he’s quite the expert.


As well as two bedpods, we now have a bog pod – a unit for our portable toilet (for emergency and night-use only).


The centre unit got fixed into place (with a little bit of pushing)


and we put vinyl onto the base for the seats.

We also had to do a bit of repair work to the carpeted wall.


The kitchen arrived first thing this morning (Liverpool-Ilminster-Hitchin in 2 days). And here’s a tribute to two little helpers, and another who said, “Daddy, I can tell you’ve been working hard today because the holes in your trousers have got bigger.”


Tomorrow is a bit of a moment of truth – the van’s booked into a garage to have the seat runners fastened to the body of the van.


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When the going gets tough…

…the tough get going. Literally in the sense that they went over to a friend’s to use his workshop for the day. Figuratively in that a lot of significant progress has been made.

The kids’ bedpods have been made and look gorgeous.


the middle, storage section that will also support the table. 

The friend has a table saw – hence beautiful, clean cuts. A pocket-hole jig has been employed to produce these foxy looking screw holes.

One bedpod light got wired in tonight too. It’s very effective for just one LED.

We’re hoping that the new kitchen unit will be delivered tomorrow. They actually delivered it today, as promised…but it went to Somerset (note to self, the PayPal address is not the delivery address!).

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Building up not tearing down

Today saw the the start of some visible construction rather than just destruction. It began with the purchasing of lots of wood

and then actually getting down to some cutting. 

One of the things that Ben tells his students is to measure, then measure again. Well he did that, but when the figures didn’t match he didn’t think to ask why and check again. As a result, making the flooring around the new seat runners took 2 hours longer than it should have done. 

Still, it’s all done now. 

Rain is a factor that doesn’t need to be considered during projects in Cairo, but the rain has clearly decided to set in for the next few days…we are not deterred, however. 

Tonight’s project has been fixing a light switch that doesn’t drain current from the circuit. 

And then there was light. 

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Hidden Progress

So I’m reminding myself that the work that’s been done today is progress, but it looks like all we’ve done is get back to where we started. 

But the roof that is back on is now insulated – so even though it looks the same, it’s warmer!

 A lot of time today was spent doing this:

Which was a lot of sucking through teeth (as all workmen are want to do) and figuring things out. A lovely electrician friend of Bernard’s came and helped check over the electrics and establish that everything was working properly. And a new location for the light switches was made (now fully functioning).

The kitchen needs moving to fit in the extra seats, and in doing so Ben established that it was a pretty shoddy botch-job and we may as well start over! Sigh. It’s now gone too.

Hopefully tomorrow can be a day of making new stuff rather than just removing old!

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