4. first drive!!

EEK! Yesterday I drove me Topsy for the first time - a very brave Roger sat in with me, and we crawled along in first gear for a few minutes ... finding second gear turned out to be not quite as easy as I thought, and finding 3rd was just as traumatic ... but 4th was ok, I think I'd started to get the hang of it by then!

SO, after a quick detour to drop off a friend I set off towards Keith Bingham's vw emporium in Thornaby, in a 32 year old vwehicle, with my L plates on, so apologies to anyone who was stuck behind me! By now I'd got the hang of going up through the gears, but going down through the gears was proving to be different gravy entirely, 4th to 3rd is fine, and 2nd to 1st is fine, but as yet I can't for the life of me get it from 3rd to 2nd, so at every junction I was having to come to a complete stop from 3rd and then going up from 1st! But all the folk on the roads seemed to have patience, and most folk smiled and waited for me to sort me little self out whenever I stalled it (which was a few times!) and didn't seem to mind too much that I wasn't going particularly quickly on some of the back roads ... Roger did get a bit concerned a few times, but as I said, a near crash or nearly going off the road doesn't count!! However, she's not been on two wheels on any corners yet so I've yet to push her to the limits of her capabilities! (hopefully I'll never have her on two wheels - that's more Roger's style!)

ANYWAY, I loved driving Topsy, it's quite strange being such a new driver who's learned in a nice friendly modern car to driving the idiosyncratic quirky Topsy, but the feeling is great, the steering is good, the view is fantastic, in fact it's just as hard but even better than I thought it would be - me little dream was a good one and I'm so pleased I've got her, but I will be going somewhere quiet to practise that gear thing, I'm sure I'll get the hang of it eventually ....

(The vw emporium was excellent, and thanks must be said to the guy who owns it, Keith, he talked me through exactly how to put seat belts in, and he managed to find me the two hammock bunks I need for the pop top roof, so this week I'll start drilling me van !!)


3. Topsy makes friends!

SO, yesterday evening Billie and I were loading the van up with spare quilts an pillows that we'd been saving for months when Boris (another North East VW Club member) pulls up to say hi, which was nice...
.... and a while later I heard the unmistakable sound of a vw, and was very surprised to see another great looking van pulling up outside - Boris had brought Gareth, and he and his lovely sweedish import were nose to nose with Topsy! It was strange to see two fantastic looking vehicles in this quiet suburban street!
Also yesterday we took Topsy to meet the local vw mechanic, Norm, and took her to the Cobblers pub (a fine and dandy establishment which comes highly recommended by me - well, I know folk that work there!)
SO, not much work done on Topsy yet (none), but next week the door seals should come (me first diy van job!), and we may have got the seatbelts by then and could possibly have a clearer idea on what we'll eventually do with the inside... But we're still brimming with enthusiasm (but thankfully the purple fur idea has been dropped, phew) (and if you click on the picture and look at it close up - you'll see I wasn't lying about selling the kids shoes!!)


2. more pictures

SOME more pictures of Topsy - We've been sitting in her for an hour drinking a cup of tea, putting the roof up, taking it down, pulling the bed out, pushing it back, looking in cupboars and trying to decide what exactly we should do with the inside - I think for now the best plan is to get the extra seatbelt fitted and then think for a few weeks and not rush into to anything too drastic!

1. We've got her!

Well, yesterday we brought my new baby home - Topsy the 1975 vw camper... First though I must thank Duane (Topsy's previous owner), and Richie of the North East VW Club, cheers guys! And also thanks to Paul for driving us through and driving the kids home :-)
IT was the most money I've ever spent in my life so I felt a wee bit dizzy after handing the cash over and signing the documents, it took me a good couple of hours to get over that one! There's only one seatbelt in the back so unfortunately my daughters can't join us on any adventures yet!! Though we should have another one fitted shortly ... Roger stalled it a couple of times on the way home :-( but it seemed to drive fine when he got the 'hang of it'. I failed my driving test this week, but the L plates will be going on her sometime today, or tomorrow, and I'll have a little tootle around the industrial estate away from proper traffic!.
BUT this morning the dizzyness is gone - there was no regrets as I woke up to look out the window at the lean green travelling machine (nor did I have any regrets the previous twenty times that I looked out of the window to check on Topsy, but I'm sure that I'll only check 19 times tonight!)...
SO, that's all the news for now, but there will be developments over the next few weeks!!
From Zoe, Barbara and Belinda