A few gins too many led to a rather impromptu purchase of a 50 odd year old ‘rice’ horse trailer on eBay one Friday night. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and maybe we should arranged to view have her before pressing the final ‘bid’ button. Nevertheless her delivery to us was the start of an enjoyable yet frustrating journey. The task ahead was pretty daunting as there is no blueprint for this kind of project, and the easy bit was stripping her back to a bare, tatty, rusty and hole riddled shell.
Within just a few days, we had a stack of rotting timber piled up, no floor, a perforated roof and any evidence of functionality removed. We had a clear vision of how we wanted her to look and function so a clear and concise plan was required.
If only it was that simple………
A name was needed for her as it had become longwinded referring to ‘the Horse trailer’, We don’t really know why ‘Molly’ was chosen, but the name stuck and from that point on,like a new addition, Molly seemed to be the family’s main focus of attention !!
Early summer downpours had highlighted ‘Molly’s’ state of disrepair as literally hundreds of tiny holes performed better than a Tetley’s tea bag !!! having now decided on a colour-scheme for her, the next task was to remove all previous coats of paint, rust and filler to ensure we managed to locate (and seal) every single leak. The budget for ‘paint’ went through the roof as we struggled to find suitable tools/ attachments to get into all the fiddly bits. Revealing a bare shell proved a true labour of love over several weeks, and various power tools actually gave up along the way !!!! The small ‘jockey door’ at the front of Molly has been carefully ‘part stripped’ to show the several different paint colours she has ‘worn’ over the years.
By the first week of July and still scratching away at stubborn paint remnants, whilst deliberating the pros and cons of how the ‘serving hatches’ and access points would work practically, and then the best way to actually construct and fit them, a decision was taken to start cutting holes in her, in the hope that we could gain inspiration from seeing some slow progress being made. Plans were drawn up, even more new cutting discs bought and, with crossed fingers, the angle-grinding began.
Back doors were designed, fabricated and installed, chassis painted, brakes stripped and rebuilt whilst still finding more holes to patch up. Various twist and turns developed along the way as hitherto unseen problems appeared, and many a day was spent taking one step forward which lead one step side-wards and another one backwards.
By now, we found ourselves several weeks behind our initial schedule, in part due to the lovely British Summer hindering some progress, but mainly due to constraints of a busy working week limiting the attention we could give ‘Molly’. We could at last see some progress and she was starting to take shape. The time was fast approaching, as our ensuing house move drew nearer that a new, temporary home had to be found for ‘Molly’. Until now, all the work had been carried out in our back garden, but she needed to be undercover for many of the upcoming jobs to be completed. Discovering that neither of our vehicles were capable of towing her, a ‘workhorse’ had to be purchased before moving ‘Molly’ to the corner of a car repair workshop in Padiham.
Now under cover, work could commence on the inside of Molly, and our plans for a fabulous retro bar with an element of shabby chic could now commence. The speed at which they did came as a breath of fresh air, after months of slow progress, virtually every day saw her moving forward.
Wherever possible, reclaimed timber was used, with old scaffolding boards and unwanted pallets being chopped, sanded, stained and waxed. Specialist copper paint from The United States was ordered to create a unique copper effect for the internal roof and a full wiring installation allowed for refrigeration and lighting to blend into her stunning interior.
With a month to go before her first ‘outing’ and temperatures dropping, a frustrating few days were spent fitting the side ‘hatches’. Without doubt, our most careful consideration of the project, the hatches had been commissioned but a small breakdown in communications resulted in the tiniest of measurements being wrong. Too late in the day to re-order, some careful reworking ensured, as ‘D-day; loomed ever closer that Molly could finally take on her new coat and a beautiful matte paint was sprayed over a couple of days. Final fixes and flooring were completed with literally two hours to spare.Skin of our teeth or precision planning …….?
From start to finish, ‘Molly’s development was almost a solely family affair. Our great friend Russell was our ‘resident’ fabricator, daughter Sami Jo proved herself a budding joiner and without the hours of time, effort and literally blood, sweat and tears put in by chief engineer Ron (Dad) we would still be looking at a half finished shell. We may be biased, but we believe that she is the best example of upcycling yet, and with 30 artisan gins on board will certainly attract a crowd at every event she attends !