Make, mend, modify

Hello folks, my name’s David Lovejoy.  I’m a part time writer, part time Overlander (now Micro-overlander) and full time 4×4 enthusiast.

Some years back, I attended the Adventure Overland Show, the first one at Stratford Upon Avon.  It was spur of the moment thing.  After years of the same old, same old, at Land Rover shows in the UK, it was a breath of fresh air.  So I returned the next year, with a friend, then the next with two.

This led to a small group of us setting up an invite only club, called Beardy Overlanders On a Budget Society, about three years ago.  This allowed us to justify a club stand and to showcase stuff  I also gave a couple of lectures.  Being honest it was for the laugh.  A group of middle aged men, looking for a good time and an excuse to have a couple of drinks, take in a show meet a few people and have a good craic.

In the time between Adventure Overland Shows we would spend the time planning and making stuff for the next show.  The idea being to find ways to show people how to avoid spending ridiculous sums of money on overland kit.  This was all done as a mickey take, but oddly enough show goers became interested.  Like the Chard Mk2 solar shower™, with twin electric pumps, capable of providing a comfortably warm shower for twenty minutes, all for less than £30 (including shower tent); or our special armoured 56 inch light bar costing £30.

You see, the way I see it, there are four types of Overlander:

  • Image dreaming the dream, but never quite able to get the time to go
  • All the bells and whistles laden to gunwales with stuff, but hasn’t the time to travel
  • Old style, do it on a tight budget, nothing but the basics and necessary items need rather than want
  • Micro-Overlanders (not tiny people), those that explore close to home, but are totally self-dependant

All four make up the rich mix that is the UK and European Overland Scene, none lesser or greater than the other.

We have found that those in category 1 are not really interested, a small number of those in category 2 have shown some interest.  Those in categories 3 and 4 tend to drop by and drink our cider, talk and laugh and take away ideas.  You see, we don’t sell our ideas, we give them away.  An idea is an idea we build them to make a working demonstrator, but the idea is for you.  Then you take it away and make it yours.  Why would we charge for that? However this year, things are changing, the invite only status is going.  The original members will be taking over the running of the club and we will inviting new members is (with a small membership charge to cover costs)

In the olden times, when I first got interested in long distance travel.  It was always done on the tightest of tight budgets.  My first long trip (on a Triumph T100R) was based on finding temporary work on the way!   It was standard practice to Make, Mend, Modify and Adapt.   Nobody sold purpose built stuff, why would they? Nowadays its become habit to spend tens of thousands on the vehicle often using the entire budget for a three year trip.  Each to their own.

At B. O. O. B. S, our creed is˜Do it on the cheap, but do it well.  We question ideas and concepts.  The first question being Why?  If an idea works, then we look for the same product sold far cheaper often on line or in high street shops.  If it’s not available, can we make it? Can we adapt something else to do the same job? Can we buy a broken one cheaply and mend or refurbish it?

It’s fun.  This year we are looking closely at cooking.  We like food, we like cooking, so it sort of comes naturally.