That was Tony’s question to me when he proudly came up the terrace steps with the red monstrosity you see illustrated in the slideshow above. You’ll be pleased to know he hasn’t turned into Rolf Harris overnight – hell, I’m delighted about that. And he made said monstrosity in red, because he knows it’s my favourite colour, bless him. So, what is this monstrosity then? Well, it’s a home made air conditioning unit and, dear reader, it works, although it doesn’t look good or sound good.
Why do we need an aircon unit for the motor home? Basically because our lovely Trigano Tribute isn’t a top of the range model, and it doesn’t have aircon as standard. Once a year, we do a trip through Spain and France, back to the UK. It’s our annual holiday, because let’s face it, we live in the holiday capital of Spain – the Costa Blanca. When we get away, we like to do something different, so we drive up through Spain and France, stopping off when we feel like it. When we get to England, we tootle around visiting a few friends in far flung places before we head to our static caravan in Bigbury Bay and give the motor home a well earned rest before making the return journey.
Until now, we’ve done okay with a fan mounted on the dashboard. Whether it’s because I’m getting older or the summers are getting hotter I don’t know, but last year we had a pretty terrifying experience. Three or four hours into the journey, I nodded off behind the wheel. It’s the first time I’ve ever done such a thing in almost 30 years of driving – and I sincerely hope it’s the last. One minute we’re cruising along an almost empty Spanish autovia, and the next, there’s a horrible crunching sound, and Tony’s shouting, ‘Oh my goodness – what happened there?’ Or words to that effect.
What happened there was that I’d nodded off in the heat, and the motor home had got up close and personal with the crash barrier. Luckily we weren’t on the hairpin bends through the Pyrenees, luckily the motorway was deserted on a Saturday afternoon, luckily I regained control of the vehicle as it bounced off the crash barrier – so much luck, and no way was I prepared to push it again.
We came out of the experience unscathed, and so did the motor home really. It will cost around €1200 to restore her to her former glory. Set against the ‘What Ifs,’ that’s neither here nor there. However, I know my limitations, and as the only driver now – the insurance for Tony at 81 is prohibitive, and in any case, he admits he’s not up to driving across continents these days – Something Had To Be Done before we made the trip again.
Now, Tony may not be up to driving long distances any more, but he has got a technical head on those 81 year old, arthritic shoulders of his. So, he went on the Internet in search of a solution. The solution he’s come up with isn’t pretty, and it’s noisy, but it works. Basically, it’s a bucket, full of ice blocks, with holes in the sides and an upside down, battery powered fan in the lid. Three bottomless plastic picnic beakers set into the side of the bucket blow out the cold air. Dear readers, I have to say I got a touch excited when Tony mentioned bottomless beakers – I thought they were for my cava and vodka, but alas, I was mistaken.
Still, credit where it’s due, it does the job, and it can run off mains or battery. The ice blocks are those plastic litre bottles they sell in the airports in the duty paid and duty free shops. There are 7 in use, and Tony said emptying them was the best part of the project. Well, he would, wouldn’t he? It’s yet to be road tested, but it’s been running indoors for a few hours with no problems – apart from Paddy trying to kill it, that is. Sometimes it’s very handy having a handy husband!