As you may or may not know, we've sold the Bongo. The official handover is taking place this weekend and the new buyer and his family will have oodles of fun in it, and good luck to them cause she's a great wee bus, just not big enough for our dogs, well, mainly the big heifer that is our Lab Alsatian cross.
We had embarked on a trip to hopefully go lift a rather appealing Merc Sprinter on the other side of the country, only to decide to walk away from what I felt was a wrong'un. Needless to say our journey home was a mix of disappointment and sporadic searches back on Gumtree to find a replacement vehicle, as I would soon be without a mode of transport after Sunday. We'd seen a former Church Minibus amongst other things, and the owner wasn't looking big money for it either! This was good news for us as it basically meant more money in the kitty for the conversion process, because that Amazon shopping list wasn't going to pay for itself!
Arrangements were made over the last 24 hours and a time agreed to go over to Antrim to see it, which meant another 3 hours on the roads of Northern Ireland.
I was kicking my heels whilst waiting for the love of my life to return home from her meditation class, when out of the blue a former client of mine from a wedding I'd done nearly 5 years ago got in touch to tell me they might have just the wagon for us and would I be interested. I was... I was really interested.
Now being a wedding photographer I've come to learn a number of things that always seem to ring true, one of those being: People do business with people they know, like and trust. Another one is: Word of mouth are the easiest ways to strike a deal. There's an inherent confidence in buying from someone you know, and I know Stephen.
Now I know it wasn't Stephen who reached out directly first, it was his lovely wife Barbara who must have informed him of my plight because Barbara reads my blogs, and I know this cause she told me a couple of months ago when I bumped into her at our local Tescos, it's nice to know that someone out there reads it at least! (Please validate my life by leaving a comment below if you've read this too).
The van Stephen was selling was his own, and one he'd freely admit that it's functional in its presentation and design, but by all accounts it's in great shape, and has had a fair bit of investment pumped into it, albeit, functional. Which is great for us, as it means we can still put our own stamp on it and make it out own. A "fixer upper" if you will. It will undoubtedly put us months ahead in our plans to own a Stealth Camper and get back out there.
The only downside is that it's currently in Devon as Stephen had been using it to live in whilst he was working in the South of England, but he's now bought himself and impressive multiple purpose vehicle, and it's basically the size of a house, more that suitable for his needs.
In short, we've put down a deposit, and he'll be away working again for a number of weeks and when he's finished, he'll be bringing it back to us here in the North West so we can get stuck in personalising it.
What did we buy? Well... An Iveco Daily (this isn't the actual vehicle, but it's one just like it) Long Wheel Base High Top:
My wife admitted that she was tempted to offer something a little less to get that deal thing going, as she loves haggling but we definitely got the impression we were already getting a bargain to begin with, and it would have probably been a little embarrassing to have asked, as he's obviously done a great deal to it to make it work for his needs. Ours will slightly differ, in that we're going for a little more comfort, and again, we've to factor in the needs of our two dogs, one of which must have been a termite or a woodpecker in his former life, cause he fecking chews everything in sight, and he's also a Houdini style master at removing any form of muzzle.
Not only have we managed to get a fully kitted out 'Stealth Camper', but hopefully I've found an electrician to help me out with a couple of odd jobs I need done to get my workshop project started, as Stephen is quiet the skilled builder.
The power of blogging, solving problems!