Trials of a campervan enthusiast

We have been continuing the work on the campervan to get “tidgy” roadworthy and ready for a MOT. However we hit a bit of a glitch this evening, we had spent at least 2 weeks re-wiring the whole van because nothing seemed to work, although we were assured that the wiring was “almost there”, yeah right…

Anyway, the glitch we encountered was related to the engine, yes the engine which we rebuilt from the bottom up recently. We managed to start the engine for the first time today as we wanted to make sure that the wiring was complete beforehand.  Two things happened, we realised that there might be a problem with the tappets and once it started (which was a great sound to hear, if you don’t know what i mean by this, listen to a VW Beetle or Campervan for that unique sound you get) the rear oil seal which is by the flywheel broke and the oil started to literally “piss out”. Well my response was mixed, i was happy that the engine started and it was great to hear it again, and the other thought was “bugger” we have to take the engine apart again to replace an oil seal which costs £2,50.

But we are a step closer to getting him back on the road, which is something.

We are going to now make a slight change of plan as we really need to check the rear brakes, so we will now focus on these as we know the engine works and all we need to do is get it out and sort out some simple jobs (we hope).

Game Theory and Engines

As i continue my reading of clay shirky, it got me thinking about how groups/communities can now get together and are using social tools for mutual benefit. It mentioned that in groups providing peopel don’t act selfish and continue towards the greater good, the group can continue. It gave an example of shepherds sharing a field, providing no one shepherd lets there sheep overgraze the field remains balanced. However the individual motivation is to get fat sheep as cheap as possible. So you have a decision to make, stay true to the ideal or cheat and take what you can for free. Now this is also the same choice that all the shepherds face……

This got me thinking about game theory, the psychology aspect of what is mainly an economic theory focuses on social situations, which i feel is a more accurate description of what game theory is about. Although game theory is relevant to games such as poker, most research in game theory focuses on how groups of people interact. I have also started to hear about game theory in John Seddon’s book about Systems Thinking in the public sector…

The rise of social tools to foster mass collaboration has really taken me by surprise and i am now following like many others into a new era of communications and social interaction.

A colleague has expressed their concern over the real face to face interaction which gives you some real contact. However with the GPS capabilities and the link with social networking, it will only offer me more opportunities for face to face contact but with people who are friends of friends or who are recommended by friends as people with similar interests.

This on a sunday has made my mind boggle and i can only contemplate how the next few years will look in terms of the web considering facebook was only developed in 2005! Look how that has impacted our lives, whether we use it or not, it seems to play a major factor in how people information.

My hope is that we all continue to focus on the social and community benefits, which after all is driving these social tools and continuing the revolution of how groups and communities come together.

Tidgy\'s Engine - just waiting to start it up now

Everyone needs to realise that the technology can only play a part (the platform) and it is all of us who continue to make this stuff work, function and tick. That is the beauty of how things have changed in web2.0.

On a seperate and more personal note, we have finally finished the engine for the van and we are ready to start it up tomorrow (providing there is petrol in the local petrol stations)….

Anyway this signals a turning point in what feels like 4 years of hell really, but we are so close now to getting him on the road. Just the brakes to do after this…

Also i forgot to add a photo of the scarecrow we made over in the allotment. Not sure what the boys have called him but this is Ewan with our scarecrow.

Ewan and the Scarecrow

Rebirth

The difficulty i guess in writing a blog is knowing what not to write, but as i said i will use this as a opportunity to share my thoughts and stuff.

So on we go – We own a 1972 Westfalia VW Campervan (called Tidgy) and he is a pride and joy, but for the last 4 years it has been sat in a garage partly restored, well to be honest in a very rusty state.

We bought it before we got married (to sharon) and we paid for it with our savings for our wedding. The plan once we bought it was to honeymoon around Europe for 6 weeks over the summer and see what happens. We ended up only doing France and then getting an 18 hour ferry to Ireland.

Sharon, Me and Tidgy (Dublin camp site)

I include a picture of what he looked like before we sent him for restoration:

But last weekend it came home, not complete but it came home none the less. We have been getting help this week on the jobs that need finishing: engine, brakes plus some basic internal cosmetic stuff. But it will soon be back on the road.

Now we have 2 children (Ewan and Finley) and they have never experienced any time in Tidgy, but on Sunday we spent nearly 8 hours cleaning him, eating a small picnic in him and the boys played with their trains in him. It was such a joyful experience to see our children being able to have fun in Tidgy (Although he was parked on our Driveway!!)

The interesting thing about all of this is that the company who we had paid money too, went bust, so we were almost for a long period of time facing the possibility of losing him to the scrap yard, the money which was significant but not as important was also lost! But to cut a long story short, we managed to negotiate some additional work to be done at no cost…..

Now many friends have wondered why we bothered waiting and have often said “why don’t you buy a new van” “why is it taking so long”. Frankly even when we told them the whole story they still didn’t understand.

We have been through a great deal of stress trying to get to this point where he can come home, i was never going to give up hope that he would be able to come back. Tidgy is like our 3rd child, the sentimental cost is incalculable. I am reminded of a certain credit card advert. Cost of a new van £8000+, Cost of Tidgy to us PRICELESS

This is a picture of how he looks now without his new protective raincoat, we are very pleased with what we have and are grateful that he didn’t end up on teh scrap yard like many other customers vans.

Tidgy partly finished in our driveway

We are even planning on taken him to Australia (if we can emigrate in the next few years – more on this in future thoughts) so he will face a better climate and rust will be a thing of the past 🙂

Now i guess my question for today is can you ever really quantify sentimental value?

I’m sure insurance companies will have a view, but in our experience losing Tidgy would be like losing a member of our family.