EJ and Florrie Bleendreeble's

Fergus the Magic Bus

Design Philosophy: 2

"The best-laid plans of mice and men ...

... gang aft agley", as the poet says.

Literally five minutes before the dealership was to deliver Fergus to our house, we got an e-mail from Sportmobile of Austin containing the very unwelcome news that, several people having suddenly left the company, they could no longer perform the work that we had been promised until some indefinite time in the future. In other words, we had bought a van specifically for Sportsmobile to modify it ... and now it wasn't going to be modified - at least, not for the foreseeable future.

On to Plan B

Well, so much for Plan A. We put our heads together and started work on Plan B ... and, as so often happens, Plan B turned out pretty well.

First of all, we knew that we would have been using Fergus "as-is" for several months, even if Sportsmobile had been able to do the modifications. So the fact that those mods might not be done now for a long, long time - if in fact they were ever done at all - wasn't the end of the world. And we could always trade Fergus in a couple of years from now on a van with a higher roof if we wanted ... provided, of course, that we didn't hack him about too much. And this led to the first design decision we made as part of Plan B: no hacking Fergus around. Whatever changes we made should be reversible, so that when Fergus came to be sold, he could be sold in original condition.

(This was something we had done with Sissey, the Honda Odyssey. The moment we acquired her, we covered her factory carpet with industrial-grade carpeting and put cheap covers on all her seats. The result had been that, when we sold her, she presented as a vehicle with virtually no wear to her interior.)

A house for Fergus

We live in a home on stilts. There had been no question of Fergus fitting underneath, because the penthouse roof that Sportsmobile would put on him would have added several inches to his overall height. And he was barely too tall even as he now was. But when Fred, our local handyman, came around to see about extending our drive so that Fergus could live outside, he suggested that Fergus might not be too tall after all ....

Some shaving of the beams, with steel support brackets to compensate, and Fergus had somewhere to live out of the hot Texas sunshine. But it's a close call, nevertheless - no room on top even for a vent, never mind anything else.