Cooking on Gas

Posted: May 7, 2016 in Blogs, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Van life preparations have begun for the summer; very exciting. Last week I had to replace my gas bottle in Vanda. It ran out whilst making one of my last cups of tea during my final week in November 2015. I used a camping stove to make a few more before moving into a winter bedsit! Vanda is too cold in the winter but now I have the remaining days of May before returning fully to my minimal nomadic lifestyle. I had half thought that the draw of four walls, a washing machine, WiFi and an on demand hot shower might make me want to stay when the end of six months came around. I couldn’t have been more wrong as I can’t wait to be back out and on the road.

During my limited handover of Vanda from the previous owner, who crafted her interior himself, he had explained the need to remove the shelf in the cupboard to get the gas bottle out. My vague recollection of this led me to believe this would be my biggest problem. Not so however! I thought gas was gas but it turns out not – you can’t go to a shop who stock one brand with an empty bottle of a differing brand. I have so much to learn! When I questioned my family members, people who know stuff –compared to me, totally clueless, they assured me the gas bottle was a sort of quick release mechanism. In the end mine needed a spanner – typical.

I’m getting ahead of myself though. First the trip the gas shop; new territory. I expected maybe a nice young man that would shoulder all my gas bottle problems and fix it all up for me. I was greeted by a middle-aged lady who looked and acted like a cross between Patsy from Ab Fab and Phoebe from Friends in the ‘what could have been episode’, where she is an angry stockbroker. I asked her to come to Vanda in the car park and take a look, as it was clear from my babbling that I knew nothing of what I spoke of, and neither did she. Except en route she had to answer her mobile, where she berated a gas engineer who was at an elderly woman’s house. Meanwhile I stood around looking more and more helpless. Eventually the conversation stopped long enough for her to decide that we could return to the shop for a spanner. She was on the phone again as we walked back and there was a surreal moment where she collected a huge flag from a display BBQ and carried it in with us to the shop.

I was beginning to think I’d stepped into an ulterior universe, when the blurry edges of my experience started to sharpen. I take the van around the back of the shop and we contemplate size of gas bottles, types of gas and some weird adapter thing that will mean I don’t have to use a spanner. Before all this can be sorted I need to remove the old bottle and attach the new and because the shop people are not gas engineers, they are not allowed to do it for me. They can however, talk me through it. I’m not the best at following instructions. At hockey training I can’t follow anything the coach ever says – I just watch people in front of me do the drill and then I know what I’m supposed to do. The thought of this tyrannical gas lady instructing me was terrifying. Just like my hazy experience, she did soften and despite my dyslexic brain I managed to follow direction and get the gas bottle swap done. There were some comedy moments with hot cups of water, gas rubber hosing and the poor lady struggling to climb in and out of Vanda with a bad back.

What an adventure! Next is a habitation check to get my water heater fixed and then Vanda and I really will be summer ready – good to go and cooking on gas.


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