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A ROMANY like no other


The dinette bed was halved and the table was turned into a shelf for coffee cups and the kettle. The other seat became a cabinet that houses our chemical toilet.We installed a sliding rail in the tent pole box, which now houses an electric stove and a gas one, plus a digital safe at the far end. When closed, this slides under the bed.The two cupboards on either side of the bed were removed and turned into a large double wardrobe at the rear (replacing the stove and sink), with an additional row of eight drawers next to the entrance door. We now have a queen-size dream bed! I made an arch around the top of the bed, using offcuts salvaged from the kitchen.small pull-out shelf on runners for snacks. A bigger table can be set up between the seats. There are two outside lockers for the awning, poles and so on, and two plastic water containers, one for grey water and one for fresh. There’s a purpose-built trolley for moving both. This caravan is designed for all weathers and can even function when the mains 220 V power fails. It’s all very well having a 220 V-only fridge if you can run it before setting off on a trip, the fridge prior to departure? The small fridge fi tted in this caravan can run off the vehicle’s power while you’re on the road, and unless you consume truly copious amounts of beer, there’s adequate storage space for the few items that require constant refrigeration. I currently use an Engel 40-litre freezer in the car, with a battery and split-charging system, and I’ve found it ample for a few weeks’ supply of meat and so on. It’s also good for cooling beer quickly. Too many campers rely on electricity, and I’m sure that the time will come when some sites restrict this facility. What is wrong with good old portable gas? It seems that manufacturers are bent on fi tting 220 V appliances only. Caravaning luxury has come a long way since I started caravaning in the 1960s, but it will never be as luxurious as living behind bricks and mortar, so I think we should stop trying to bring everything including the kitchen sink, and instead enjoy the challenge of coping without a king-size bed and designer en suite bathroom. Sink and drainer with mixer taps, above cupboards. Small 220V/12V/ gas fridge. Can be run from car when travelling. Double-door cupboard ±1 m high with work surface and fitted microwave. Overhead drinks cabinet with interior light that illuminates when door is opened. Bed with storage underneath. Bed with storage Outside plug for TV. Inside socket for TV. Gas cylinders and spare wheel in front locker. 3 bedside drawers with small pull-out tabletop on runners and pull-out roller slats at bed level for making a double bed. 12 V battery storage with charger. Water heater: gas and 220 V. Water pump to bedroom and sink. Water intake from outside water container. 220 V electric intake. Hanging wardrobe with full mirror on door. Storage space beneath, small catalytic gas fire at bottom. Fold-down sink with vanity mirror and cup holder. Shower tray. Toilet. Frosted window. Bathroom with fold-down sink (fixed mirror etc.), cassette toilet (waste tank accessed from outside), shower head fitting for use at basin or as overhead shower. Shower curtain on rail. Shower head can be passed through window for outside shower. Waste water outlets for collection in outside waste container. All tinted windows with pull-down mesh, reflective blinds on runners and drawn curtains on rails. Two-burner gas cooker with oven underneath. Glass cover to fold back for heat protection. Window can be opened fully for ventilation. Bathroom underneath. When we took delivery of our new Romany in March this year, my wife Rita and I realised that this, our  fth caravan, would be our last, and decided to go the whole hog and modify it our own way. Being a master woodworker I had no qualms about stripping the interior and re tting the furniture. First on the list was having the dealer  t a caravan mover. Then I got stuck in. We have always regarded our caravan as our bedroom and have therefore never cooked inside. So, logically, the  rst items to go were the stove and sink. As the Romany has no rear window, the two cupboards on either side of the bed were removed and made into a large double wardrobe at the rear (replacing the stove and sink). I also added in a row of eight drawers next to the entrance door to hold the paraphernalia that normally  oat around when you’re travelling. As there are only two of us, the next item to go was the dinette bed, which was halved: the table was turned into a shelf for the kettle and cups, for early morning coffee, and the other half of the dinette was made into a cabinet big enough to house our high-rise chemical toilet, used for nighttime emergencies.
The best part of all was transforming the midget bed into a queen-size dream bed! For peace of mind while travelling and to make the structure extra strong, I fastened an aluminium rectangular tube to each side and below the overhead lockers. I then boxed the bed in, using offcuts salvaged from the kitchen, making an arch around the top of the bed. To improve our kitchen space outside, we installed a sliding rail in the tent pole box, which now houses the two stoves (one electric, one gas) and a digital safe at the far end, which, when closed, slides under the bed.

The spare wheel is stored under the bed. The bed is insulated with 50 mm styrofoam and topped off with 25 mm chip foam, so loose items are less likely to slide around under the bed when the caravan is in motion. The nose cone  oor is  tted with 75 mm styrofoam and 25 mm chip foam, making the  oor unbelievably strong. The awning, sides, groundsheet and poles – which invariably pick up bits of grass, sand and ants – are now stored in the front, making it easier to set up camp and easier to vacuum when back home. The washing-up station and extra long shelf are made out of aluminum, and this unit clips onto the side of the caravan, taking up very little space.
Now all we need is that quiet, lazy park down by the sea to enjoy our fabulous queen-size bed.


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