It’s been 2 years in the making and certainly longer than any of us anticipated, hampered by COVID set-backs, delays we couldn’t foresee and Mother Nature! But we made it, we did it! The bus is FINISHED!
Let me take you back to early 2019 and a fenced off area which was unloved and had a 15 x 5m empty pond, decking which was falling apart and humungous weeds. After learning we had won the Aviva Community Funding we began on our journey. In Feb 2019 we ripped out a hedge, managed to obtain 40 tonnes of earth FOR FREE and backfilled that pond. The number of man hours put in to shift that earth by hand and a mini digger was immense. Foundations had to be dug for the bus to sit on and the ramp up onto the field had to be widened to make way for the bus. MORE earth had to be removed to take the bank back by around 2m. It’s fair to say it all seemed an impossible job. But as you know, all good things come to those who wait… In May of 2019 a fantastic group of people came together to tow, drag, push and pull our double decker into its final position.
Fast forward to 2021 and things have been pretty quiet on the blog front, initially due to COVID 2.0 and then 3.0 and home schooling. But then things picked up, the weather got better and the bus elves (aka us) reappeared to fight the good fight and get this job done. It started with painting….much painting. We painted all the wood work, as much metal work as we could and then the plastic! The horrid purple disappeared for a crisp grey/white colour. Painting was swiftly followed by a deep clean and carpets. The carpets were probably the single biggest thing since the electrics to make a huge difference to the whole ascetics of the bus. They instantly changed it and made it suddenly feel very real and close to the end. Hicks Flooring who fitted the carpets for us loved an unusual job and being let loose on a project they could play with and the final result was wonderful.
I managed to get the seats in after several attempts and some head scratching as they didn’t quite want to fit as they had come out. This was a job I had been itching to do for ages as it seemed an eternity since we had removed them in 2019! Hicks had also left us some carpet tiles so I set about covering the odd areas we had. I’m not sure I’d consider a career in carpet fitting but enjoyed the challenge of trying to figure out how to fit carpet to an old fire extinguisher well and above stairs to name a few! Kate and family also made seats for the back wheel arches which just added to the whole theme and look beautiful.
At the start of August Totally Dynamic wrapped the bus in vinyl for us and this was hugely exciting. So many colours were introduced and the bus finally looked at home on the field. David from Totally Dynamic was brilliant and worked under warm conditions until late in the evening to get this finished. It was so exciting to see the end result and it was oh so worth it.
Since then we have been adding the final touches to add that je ne sais quoi and then it was done. 2 years in the making and we had done it. There are still a few jobs to be finished but these won’t hinder use, so it is time for us to hand the bus over to the school at the start of term and let the children use the area they have been craving to get into.
We need to say a massive thank you to EVERYONE involved. All of the companies who have provided their time, services and supplies for that matter. And all the volunteers who have given up hundreds of hours to help dig, build, pull apart, paint, clean any many other jobs. Without all your help we wouldn’t be where we are now.
All that’s left to say is let the fun begin! (Mrs Courtney)