Betty has been a part of Bereleigh Estate since the late 1960s and has enjoyed a relatively relaxed life.
In November 2013 we decided to give Betty a new lease of life. Having failed her MOT for the first time combined with a run down battery and a fried starter motor Betty had been out of action for over a year and was left to weather parked up in a farm yard.
We moved her to an empty grain store and work commenced.
Having got to work it was clear the entire floor/underfloor needed to be ripped out and re built from the Chassie up. The Chassie was in remarkable condition as were the outwalls, and the roof – a welcome relief not to be starting from a complete blank canvas.
The underfloor was relaid in very similar fashion to when it was first built, 6x1inch treated timber boards laid side by side – the perfect fit. Betty is set to be open all year round therefore insulation is key in order to keep her toasty throughout the winter months therefore, floors, walls and ceiling all are packed with eco therm insulation.
The floors boards went down and work commenced on the walls. Pine is a very versatile wood to work with and although time consuming it proved a great choice as Betty started to take shape.
You used to be able to clamber through from the cab to the kitchen area however the decision was made to create some storage whilst blocking in the access route to increase insulation and security.
It was very important to install a window in the sleeping area above the cab and in the process seal up the long thin ventilation grill that existed before – this was completed and the rest of the bed area insulated and pine lined.
Next was the rear end of Betty – The large sprung wooden tail gate literally fell off when opening as the wooden strut holding the hinges in place had completely rotted through. The aim was always to install reclaimed double glazed garden doors and after a little structural building to make the doors fit they were mounted in place and soon Betty would be water tight.
The old kitchen was removed and a new one rebuilt – I was a little trial and error as the main appliances were order in however the overall layout of the unit was decided whilst under construction.
Once the doors has been completed and the worktop installed there was just enough excess worktop to make a fold down table mounted on the wall.
Whilst the interior was coming together attention was turned to the outside of Betty. Her rusty and weathered maroon shell needed urgent attention and having grinded away rust and sanded down the paint work she was primed and then spay painted giving a great gloss finish.
All great outdoor living spaces require a woodburner and Betty is no exception – Installation was less than straight forward as the flue required a very large hole cut on an angle and the walls being 3 inches thick it all made it that much more tricky however the job was complete and Betty will never go cold again.
After 3 months in the grain store it was time for Betty to see the light of day. We waited for a dry spell and got her out and into position. The location boasts stunning views and uninterrupted sunshine from dawn until dusk. She wont be travelling too far in these latter years of her life therefore it’s a very suitable spot for Betty to enjoy her retirement.