Vanlife, the first week. Day 6: Thursday

Day 6: Thursday

It’s really necessary.

The first thing I notice on waking up is that my breath is condensing in the air – this is not an occurrence I’m used to while being indoors. It’s not great big plumes or anything, but it’s noticeable. It’s definitely chilly.

Oh well, I’ll pick up some batteries from Sainsbury on the way home, and try to get the thermostat up and running. Along with some batteries for the toilet level indicator, which tells you when it’s time to empty the cassette. I’m not sure if those batteries are ok, so new ones will be some reassurance. Irritatingly, that takes AA batteries, meaning I’ll have to get two packs. Mind you, a quick Google on the subject reveals the practical advice – “just look in the hole to see how full it is”. So there’s that if I’m unsure about the batteries…

As the day goes on, the weather warms up quite a lot, but I’m not going to take the risk of having no heating if tonight is like last night. So I pick up the batteries on the way back, and set to making the thermostat work.

It takes a couple of tries with the new batteries, but soon I get the thermostat working, and the LCD display tells me it’s already 29 degrees C in there. I’d figured it was pretty warm by the fact I felt the need to take off not only my jacket but my shirt when I got in, but I still want to test the heating. So that means setting the thermostat to the rather extreme temperature of 32 degrees.

Turning on the leisure batteries and flicking the little switch on the thermostat produces a gratifying thoom noise as the gas heater lights up and the circulating fan kicks in. It does the job, but it’s not quiet – could be a bit irritating when you’re trying to sleep. I’ll take a fitful sleep over freezing to death anytime though. I don’t want to bake either, so I make sure to reset the thermostat down to a more sane 22 degrees.

I’m disappointed to find the cute young feller from Grindr has to cancel – he forgot he had a “footy match” apparently, which is not something I expected to hear from a denizen of a gay hookup app. Still, he still seems keen to meet up, so we make a tentative arrangement for next week. Let’s see if that works out.

Every cloud has a silver lining though, and with another night at the White Horse tomorrow to see Phil’s band play, it’s just as well I now have the opportunity for a quiet early night. Previously stored on the projector’s iPlayer app are an episode of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle I hadn’t seen before, and the first ep of a new drama about unconventional relationships called Wanderlust.

As I watch these with a glass of Layla-provided wine, I keep an eye on the thermostat. It’s supposed to kick in and start the heating every time the temperature drops below the target, but in practice that doesn’t seem to happen every time. I frequently have to get up and flick the heater switch back and forth to kickstart it to life. Still, it works some of the time, and can always be turned on manually. The thermostat is plainly the weak link in the system, and I can replace it with a newer, flashier one at a later date. You can even get one that you start remotely with your iPhone from wherever you may be!

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