As many of you would know, I have a love of old caravans and buses. I’ve even recently purchased my own vintage bondwood caravan, Miss Mabel, which has been a dream I’ve had for quite a few years now.
There’s something about vintage caravans and buses that really connect people. There always seems to be a story to tell. It might be about the dream to own one or it could be the story of how they came about owning it. Often it’s the travel tales and the camping fun that spills out of caravan and bus lovers. But no matter what the story I am always a keen listener and at the end of my time with the owners I feel so much more connected with them. Does that sound weird to you?
Anyway, I’ve been stashing away some of these lovely caravan and bus stories and now I feel it is time to start sharing some of them with you. I really hope you enjoy them because they have given me so much joy. I’ve come to the conclusion that people who own vintage caravans and buses are pretty lovely people.
My first lovely vintage on wheels person that I’d like to introduce you to is Emmy.
So, go and grab your cup of tea or glass of wine and sit yourself down to enjoy Emmy’s vintage bus story.
Emmy’s Life long Bus Dream ….
Emmy has wanted to live in a bus ever since she was a teenager. She always loved them and would get excited when she’d see them driving along the road. One day, Emmy went into a junk yard at Tambourine Mountain and fell in love with a bus that was sitting there. From that moment on she was on a mission to live in a bus. It filled her thoughts and became her life goal.
Emmy at 16 in front of the bus in the old junk yard.
The first bus Emmy ever owned was an old Bedford bus that her and her husband at the time, bought together. It was a big old blue and white one. She has a thing for blue buses. They bought this bus when they had two small kids and moved it down to the far south coast where they had purchased a block of land. All of Emmy’s buses have been named. This bus had two – Iron John was what her husband called it and Bluebird is the name Emmy used.
This bus was a dream come true. But unfortunately it was not the bus of her life long dream. Emmy and her husband decided to build a house on their block of land and at one point they needed to purchase a lot of concrete because the surrounding area was flooding and causing problems with their house. They didn’t really have the money for the concrete and so, with much heartache, they decided to sell the bus to pay for the concrete.
Emmy has always regretted selling that bus.
Eventually Emmy and her husband parted ways but her bus love continued and the search for a bus to call her own and to live in continued. She kept her eye out all the time for the perfect one and every now and then she’d check out the online for sale sites but as time went on the prices of buses kept rising and Emmy’s hopes for finding a bus were at a bit of a low.
Emmy was in a pretty down space one day when a friend popped in to help cheer her up. She wasn’t feeling very social at all but the friend stayed and they got to chatting. In that conversation Emmy happened to mention that she was looking for a bus to buy. The friend told her that her Dad had a bus that he wanted to get rid of. It was their family bus and it was sitting, in a paddock, not too far away.
For some reason Emmy prolonged checking out the bus until one day she happened to bump into her friend while picking the kids up from school. The friend told her that she’d better hurry if she still wanted the bus because there were people interested in buying it.
Straight away Emmy rang her friend’s Dad and told him that she knew that this was the bus of her dreams and that she’d take it. He told her to hold on a minute, she had to at least come and have a look at it. So Emmy packed her van that she drove at the time, with heaps of friends who also wanted to check out the bus, and headed out to take a look.
As Emmy was driving along the road, getting close to their destination, she noticed the bus up ahead and at that moment she knew in her heart that it was going to be hers. It was blue. Emmy had a thing for blue buses. It was glorious. It was love at first sight. Emmy became really emotional.
Seeing it for the first time, sitting in the middle of a paddock where it had sat for the past 10 years, her heart was pounding and she couldn’t believe that she was looking at the bus of her dreams. Her bus.
At the time of Emmy looking at the bus she was also in the process of buying a block of land in Candelo, the little village very close to where the bus was located – 13 kms away, in fact. The trouble was, her block purchase hadn’t quite settled yet and there were some little hiccups in relation to the block so she was worried that if she bought the bus she could end up with a massively, oversized double decker bus and nowhere to put it.
Emmy decided to take the risk and bought the bus, there and then for $800. Her block settled and everything fell into place.
The next big hurdle was how to get the bus, which hadn’t been driven for over 10 years, from the paddock to her block, 13 kms away.
With the help of some handy and helpful friends, the bus went and was driven, extremely cautiously down the 13 ms of road to Emmy’s block without any real issues.
The day the bus was delivered to Emmy’s block.
Sugar, as the lovely double decker bus is fondly called, needed a lot of work done to her. She needed new windows and floor and waterproofing and the ceiling of the bottom level needed restructuring. While Emmy was deciding what to do on her block of land, her partner also bought a bus to put next to Sugar so that there could be two spaces to live. In the end, Emmy’s partner’s bus, fondly known as Gypsy, needed the least amount of work in the least amount of time so Emmy decided to do Gypsy up first and live in her while she pondered Sugar’s revamp.
There is a gorgeous story linked to the buying of Emmy’s Sugar bus and it continues to warm my heart every time I think of it. It’s one of those meant to be stories.
On the day that Emmy bought her Sugar bus she went home and started loading, onto her computer, all of the bus photos that she’d taken. She noticed a red and white sticker on the windscreen of the bus and realised that it was the same sticker that the church she was involved in while growing up, used. It wasn’t a common sticker at all and so it got Emmy thinking. Emmy felt a little bit confused about how her bus could end up with a sticker from her church background. It intrigued her.
That same day Emmy’s mum rang her to ask whether she’d bought the bus and to congratulate her on her purchase. The church was a cult kind of place and was something that her family had been involved in for many years. Emmy mentioned the sticker to her mum. Her mum thought it was interesting and a little strange and asked her to describe the bus in more detail. Emmy described her bus and her mum asked her to send a photo so she could have a look. On seeing the photo Emmy’s mum realised that this was the very same bus that their church used in the 70’s as an outreach space. Emmy started to spin out a little, as you would. The feelings of certainty that this bus was meant to be slowly seeped in and she felt the need to get more proof that this was actually the bus from her family’s past. Her mum said she’d contact Emmy’s uncle to get verification that Sugar was in fact the church’s bus.
Not long later her mum rang back confirming that yes, Emmy’s bus was the actual bus that their church used to use and her uncle also happened to have a photo to show her. It was a photo from the 70’s when Emmy’s mum was about 16. Emmy’s mum is standing outside the bus at an outreach event in Canberra. Back then Sugar bus was yellow and had happy hippy flowers painted all over it. Today Sugar is blue but as she is in desperate need of a re-paint you can see the history of her yellow past on patches all over her exterior.
Her mum remembers making pancakes in the bus with her Nan. Emmy’s mum just kept saying: No way! No way! That was all she could say. She was stunned that Emmy had ended up with that particular bus from her past. How on earth did it end up sitting in a paddock only 13 kilometres away from Emmy’s block of land?
This photo is one taken when Emmy’s mum was 16 and she’s standing next to her sister.
Pretty cool story, huh?
Now, how about we have a sticky beak around inside the lovely Gypsy bus?
Here we go….
Emmy uses Gypsy as a sleeping and quiet zone space.
Emmy’s undies and sock space is an old bowling ball bag.
Tiny little cabinets store tiny treasures and essentials.
The bus is kept cosy and warm in winter by a small wood fire.
There’s a lounging a round space perfect for reading and recharging.
Emmy’s love of trinkets and treasures is obvious. She has gorgeous little pieces smattered around her bus. They make the space so homely and really personalised. When you first walk into the bus you get a real sense of who Emmy is, what inspires her, what she loves. To me that’s one of the most important parts of making a space your home.
As you step up into the bus, at the front where the driver used to sit, Emmy has a collection of succulents, venus fly traps and cactus. They lap up the warmth from the sun beaming through the bus windscreen and are thriving in their bussy possie. It’s such a lovely first glimpse as you step inside.
Emmy also uses a shed space, which sits just outside her Gypsy bus. She uses it for cooking and storage and a space for a space for the kids to hang out. It’s a gorgeous little space too and has quirky, reloved pieces smattered here and there to give it that cosy, nesty feel. When Emmy opened her cutlery draw I almost fainted from excitement. It was filled to the brim of old silver ware, something that I love to collect myself and use every single day. She has some of the most gorgeous little scalloped teaspoons, one of which we used to stir the honey in our cups of tea.
Emmy’s creative flair touches every corner of her little block. The outside spaces are dotted with quirkiness and intriguing pieces of art. Take the doll heads totem pole, for example.
Yep, that is a pirate flag you spy. It wafts in the breeze at Emmy’s entry gate.
Oh, and look at the glittery, upside down hanging revamped barbie-type dolls that Emmy has given a new lease of life to.
As we chatted and laughed and I listened to Emmy’s amazing stories about her buses and how she came to own them, I gorged myself on the most delectable slice that ever existed. Oh my goodness! Words could not do justice to the deliciousness of this homemade caramel slice that Emmy bought from the lovely General Store down the road. The slices are made by a friend of mine. You have to try one. If you ever venture to Candelo you can’t miss visiting the General Store to try one of these slices. It’s worth a weekend trip, honest to goodness it is.
Well, that’s some of the little stories Emmy shared with me about her bus life. There are some other gorgeous meant –be-stories that she also shared which I’d love to share with you all one day too. I’m working on a little project at the moment that may well just contain some more of her stories but I can’t tell you yet when that will be available. You’ll just have to stay tuned, won’t you?
So, what did you think? Could you see yourself living in a vintage bus? Imagine having a little home on wheels that you could meander to whatever lovely little nook takes your fancy.
I definitely could.
My feet are itchy.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next little vintage caravan and bus life excerpt coming to this nesty spot really soon.