Sunday, 3 May 2009
First Breakfast ... eggy bread ... yummy
Christo was here !
9 days to go.
Everything is ready …we just have to pack the van. We did a dry run on Friday so we know that the gear will all fit in its appointed places but it is quite tricky. The tripod was awkward because of its shape and sticky out bits – eventually we decided that the only place it could go is in the ‘dead space’ behind the passenger seat. In fact rather a lot of things have ended up there – can only hope it’s big enough to accommodate them all.
The van has been the job of work. Finding it, converting to a camper and preparing it for a major road trip has been ongoing for the last year. Things have not always gone smoothly. For example, don’t take your van for its MOT on a Friday 13th – it’s just asking for trouble – in our case £300 worth of welding underneath. What was galling was that we had it looked over before we bought it but 6 months later the same mechanic decides it needs all this work … Transits are known for it … so he says. Did we buy a rust bucket? We will soon know.
To discover its foibles we took it on a test run at Easter to meet the family in the Lake District. We had a couple of problems. We parked up at the campsite in the field where we parked last year but the Transit is much heavier than the caravan so we sank into the grass and got stuck straight away. No one batted an eyelid … I grabbed the first bloke I saw …he went off, came back with a 4x4 and towed us off so the first night we perched on the only bit of hard standing we could find, right by the entrance … in everybody’s way. With the beautiful weather that followed, the field soon dried out and we were able to go on and off easily and try out the new awning that attaches to the side door and gives us an additional 3x2.5 meter extension to our living quarters. It was more complicated to erect than the instructions said but it’ll be easier next time. Its’ light and opens right up – a really useful bit of kit – quite a luxurious extra room.
We had a couple of mechanical failures to deal with too. Two at once. One – a thing called a relay. The indicators packed up – a fuse perhaps? Chris, an extreme canoeist staying on the campsite with us, left his wife, the comfort of his beanbag infront of the bar-b-q and pint-pot-of-wine in hand, prezel torch on head, came to our rescue.
We didn’t even know where the fuses are located. Chris did. He went through every single one and then decided it was relay such and such and we could get one in any Halfords. Phew. The second thing was a bit more complicated. An orange light was illuminating on the dashboard. It could be one of two things or if we were really unlucky – both. Battery or alternator said Chris. Bank Holiday Monday … no mechanics working – what a to do. It turned out to be the alternator, we found a parts shop in Workington and they knew a garage to fit it … just like that … but ofcourse it cost another £150 quid.
Teething troubles – let’s hope. Tomorrow we are taking van to Brecon to see Gwen and Helma, over from Holland … walking in the Beacons … sure we’ll be fine. We’ve got breakdown cover now.
And that was a saga. European Breakdown cover for longer than 90 days. The only people who do it are the AA … but it costs – ouch! Poor Annemarie was on it for a whole day and a half but she got us there in the end … at a price.