Toilet, Table and a Grab rail!
As Henk and Pien often keep to unpowered sites and often truck type stops the availability for a toilet is rare. They had a toilet in the van before but since their big trip they are now a few years older and alongside a sedentary lifestyle mobility is more of an issue. This says a lot for going for a walk and keeping the old bones moving!!. All the health magazines are right, the more you keep moving the healthier you will be, the lazier and sedentary you are the more diabetes, cholesterol and heart problems will arise. Needless to say as a result they are less physically able to do many things, this includes get on and off the porta-loo. Yes folks we even factored in getting on and off the loo!!! We want them to be comfortable and be capable of these things. The van is not intended to have a loo but as mentioned before, it’s very much needed in the type of camping that they do. We know that there are often loo’s available in the sites they go to and seriously we understand why you would give them a miss. Digging a hole behind a tree is often more favourable than some of the dingy places you can end up at. As the van will not be used for long by Henk and Pien, if looked after it is going to be in pristine condition to be sold. Not everyone will like a portable loo near where they live, cook and sleep so this area has to be made so that the loo can come out and the area functional for the needs of the new owner. Thinking ahead people!!!!! The location of the loo was to change, before it was beside their bed and right beside where they cooked two exceptionally unhygienic places to have a toilet. Nothing would be worse than having a toilet right beside where you cook and sleep. It had to be moved if only for the reasons of hygiene. So to the other side of the van it was to go. We are putting in a larger toilet than the previous one for two one is it will be to get on and off the other reason is it has a bigger tank. If Henk and Pien follow the advice and just let the tank be only as full as the old tank they will still be able to carry the waste to dump it and they eliminate the risks of spillages and overflow. Basics really to be really honest!
The new location of the toilet was visible from the outside, although why you would go to the toilet in a public place with the door open is beyond us. We also needed to make a privacy wall, storage area and a table. This whole section is in the same area that an old cabinet had been used to hold things. It doubled as storage and a dining area, this area was very large and dysfunctional. It took up a lot of space too, a luxury that cannot be afforded in such a small motor home. This cumbersome lump also had a tiny towel rail, Henk and Pien used to lift themselves into the van, mainly as the first step was so big. This was very unsafe as the cabinet was not fastened to the ground and the rail was not that strong, it was an accident waiting to happen.
When we were planning the false wall we knew that there would need to be some sort of grab rail again. We were informed by Little George that this was an impossibility he just could not guarantee the strength needed to withstand Henk or Pien. We knew that if we built this false wall, regardless of the advice given to Henk and Pien in regards to the risk of putting a grab rail on, they would have ignorantly gone ahead and done it. Stubborn old farts we say!! We actually spoke to them about this and they have told us they would have put this rail on regardless. This is full knowledge it would not have been strong enough to cope with their weight and with full knowledge they would have an accident!!
Both Henk and Pien are no feather weights and they would break this wall and had a serious accident. So with the ignorance in mind and factoring in all the variables including being told it was impossible we had to design something that would suit. Its sounds a lot to factor in and is was and is, you also need to bear in mind the tiny area that this all needed to fit into too!! Bill is very experienced in the building industry and is very good at looking outside the box, so with that experience he (and I) knew that it was far from impossible, it just required some forthought and some work. So it was yet another thing that was left to us to do so Bill and I designed the grab rail wall using a piece of laminate that we got little George to cut out, we got some extra strong brackets that would handle a decent pounding and able to carry the weights of Henk and Pien pulling themselves up into the van. To think we were told that it could not be done!
Then we set to work on the drop down table, this too was another thing that George told us was impossible and yet another thing that we just asked him to cut the piece and we would put it together. We went to a local caravan store that specalises in caravan parts, we were able to get some brackets that make a drop down table. This is needed so that Henk and Pien can eat when they need to and go to the loo when it is down or create more space. So with the piece we got from Little George and the brackets we ordered Bill and I were able to make a drop down table.