I MUST CONFESS I love watching George Clarke's Amazing Spaces on Channel 4 – and last night's episode did not disappoint. There was a double-decker bus being converted into a motorhome by an ambitious carpenter!
I'd spent the whole day driving a big and beautiful 2014 four-berth Chausson motorhome back to the dealer (Premier Motorhomes) in Chichester, following our photo shoot on a campsite near Horsham, West Sussex. Then Claudia picked me up from there and we took a 2014 Dethleffs caravan back to another dealer in Poole. So when I got home it was natural to turn on the TV...
Excitedly, George reported that you can buy buses cheaply on eBay, and that double-deckers are the cheapest, because – well, not too many people want to drive such a big thing, or have room to park it on their drive!
HE BOUGHT A BUS ON EBAY
Then we met a man who bought a double-decker on eBaby for (did I dream this?) £4,000. He and George had a look round it – and it was in good condition, having been in service a few weeks earlier. The catch? It leaked like a sieve round the windows. 'Nothing I can't fix,' said the new owner confidently.
TA-DA! BUS WAS CONVERTED WHILE MY TEA BREWED
I made a cup of tea while George checked out other projects, without wheels... The mushroom-like cob house was a fabulous fantasy, the tree house was every big kid's dream... the massive steel barge conversion is progressing well... and I came back just in time for the grand finale. Wow – what a good job that guy made of converting his bus!
He created a three-bedroomed two-storey motorhome, with twin bunk beds and two double beds. I loved his bright cheery decor and envied his grand plan to drive it to a little plot of land he has in Cornwall. (George did a sharp intake of breath when he discovered the guy hadn't actually measured his plot to check that the bus would fit...)
A MASSIVE MOTORHOME FOR £15K
Most of all, I was staggered at the cheapness of the project. Thanks to a lot of hard graft, the guy had ended up with a beautifully converted bus for just £15,000.
More seaside cottage-on-wheels than lightweight tourer, this bus was an interior designer's delight. Many of the original bus features had been preserved for quirky authenticity: the top deck mirror for the driver to view the stairs, for instance. The downstairs upholstery fabric in bright green would turn any conventional motorhome converter bilious with fear, but somehow, here, it worked.
UPSTAIRS SEATING & BEDS
This unique motorhome won't be doing many miles, I suspect, but if you spot this green machine on the road, you won't be able to miss it!
Thanks George, it was great telly!
8 November, 2013