I’ve added a new section to this magazine, entitled ‘Bongo Adventures’! At first, you would be forgiven for wondering what on earth that means.  You will soon come to see that this is the section where I share my stories about my new camper van; a Mazda Bongo.

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     Useless information alert!  Did you know that Mazda is owned by Ford and that the two companies pretty much share the same parts?  I had no idea.  This makes me chuckle when I think back to hearing people speak of getting a Mazda as if it is somehow far better than any Ford vehicle could be.  The two are really much the same! I love things like that but, admittedly, it is rather useless information.

     I have only owned the Bongo for several days.  I gave it a good clean with the vacuum cleaner and then set about cleaning the cupboards.  Cleaning the Bongo is, ordinarily, something that would be easy.  It is well laid out and such a simple and efficient design.  For me, due to Parkinson’s, cleaning it was a bit of a battle and so I will have to do so in several smaller steps.  That’s okay, though.  Sad as it will no doubt sound, looking after this vehicle will be a bit of a labour of love and a project.

     I’m not sure about cleaning the exterior, however.  With the tented, raisable roof and just the height of the Bongo, I’m assuming that it will not fit into a car wash.  I will find it too difficult to clean with a bucket and mop and so it will have to be the jet wash.

     Yesterday, I managed to find a picnic hamper for sale in a village shop.  It fits perfectly beneath the seat/folding bed but unfortunately it does have some staining, within, from a little rust on one of the chains that holds the lid open.  I gave it a wash and sprayed it all with anti-bacterial spray.  I looked at whether it would be possible to restore the hamper by dismantling and re-lining it, but the lining is woven in to the weaving.  So, I sent of to Amazon for some material patches that can be ironed on.  I will, instead, glue these in and this will cover the staining.  In terms of patterns, well it’ll look a little messy but as long as it is clean and presentable, that will be fine.

     Well, we have the Bongo.  We have the picnic hamper.  There are a few other things that need doing.  There are plenty of projects in terms of purchasing items that are needed, which did not come with it and renewing or updating aspects of the Bongo and I will post about these as I approach them.  Meanwhile, the most immediate tasks are:

  • Buy a kettle, a frying pan and regular pan and a toaster.
  • Work out how to get the water working.
  • Work out how to install and disconnect the gas cans.

Of course, alongside that, work out somewhere lovely to go for a nice day out.  I think we’ll not do an overnight stay anywhere until next spring and the return of the warmer weather.  I suspect it’ll be freezing to sleep in overnight.  That probably sounds very wimpy of me, but with Parkinson’s, I suffer the most awful pain in cold weather and so I like my creature comforts.

As stated in the post that announced that I now have a Bongo, what has already been wonderful is to use the Bongo for therapeutic time out.  That can involve relaxing but actually just working on the Bongo is, itself, good therapy.

A few other things that I’ve started on are:

  • I’ve ordered a Bongo manual in English.  This is a Japanese import and so the manual is in Japanese.
  • I’ve found that Bongo owners join a club called the Bongo Fury club, through which they can get discounts for venues to park at and also discounts on vehicle parts, a magazine and tons of tips and ideas for the upkeep of the vehicle and details of the adventures many people have in their Bongos.

Watch this space as we get our Bongo ship-shape and hopefully you will soon get to read about our adventures in it.

(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2019.

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