Plastic surgery completed

A huge welcome home to R0X1 following “surgery” to her rear nearside (UK) corner and replacement grey waste pipe. At the same time she had a service and MOT and is once more fit to travel. Many thanks to Richard and Brian at my local garage in Langport.

The BFF has also just come out of hospital having had surgery so next week R0X will get a long overdue run out – down to Cornwall so I can help relieve R’s boredom – she really doesn’t do “take it slowly” at all well.

Tomorrow morning festive decorations will appear chez Crosby/Mepstead, looking forward to seeing all my baubles and my Santa collection again. One of the nicest things about this joined up multi generational household is the huge amount of baubles, ornaments, trees and lights we jointly own, all of which will be on display. Then late afternoon we’ll go into Langport for the market, fireworks and lights switch on, hopefully amongst the food concessions there’ll be a mulled wine stall …

Pix will follow early next week.

🙂🙂🙂

I’m no beginner … (a long rant)

… when it comes to moving house and after making 18 of them personally and having helped my kids on several more, I can with a lot of experience say that this one has been an absolute pig’s ear.

It was an inauspicious beginning, and continued downhill, with the van and two muppets turning up two and a half hours late. I’d already had to leave in R0X1 with the zoo (grandson, dog and cat) to meet estate agent on time leaving K to oversee the loading of furniture and boxes (already packed by us). A quick re-assessment of timing and I was expecting K in Huish Episcopi around 14.30 and van about an hour later. Nah …

Around 13.00 Kate phoned to say the van was already full with only 2/3 of our stuff loaded. Phone calls to firm’s HO ensued – K was accused of adding stuff that wasn’t on the inventory. K insisted she hadn’t and could prove it with her copy of the inventory. Conversations in a non-English language ensued between HO and the muppets culminating in an offer to get another van to move the remainder, magnanimously at no extra cost to us … !!! K arranged to overnight with a friend, and the first van-load arrived here at 18.00 without one complete bed aboard. The Smart One spent the night in R0X1 with the cat and I on a mattress on the floor on the house with LWD.

Despite all boxes being marked with their destination rooms marked on them a lot ended up in random rooms which had nothing to do with box contents. To and injury to insult boxes were all stacked 5 high, regardless of some being marked fragile contents; these guys were obviously not amongst those who consider me vertically or age challenged, and whilst I wholeheartedly disagree with discrimination this once I would have jettisoned my principles!

Having been told a van to move the remainder of our possessions would arrive at 14.00 the following day K spent a pleasant afternoon next door with our now ex- neighbours. The different van and 2 different muppets made a timely appearance at 18.30, loaded up and duly arrived here at 23.00. I refused to hand over any money before they unloaded as the previous day’s chaps hadn’t finished all they were supposed to, if they moved things where they should be, including K’s bed base from the conservatory upstairs to her bedroom I would pay them and then they could bring the rest in. This request necessitated several calls in a foreign language to HO, on speaking to the manager I was left with the impression that although human error had occurred on their part it wasn’t their fault as such and I should shut up, put up and pay up. The legs for K’s bed base were on the van, they would not unload them. I after the previous day’s experience of muppets clearing off without doing their full job would not give way I wanted beds made up before paying.

Stand off; eventually the bed legs only were removed from van; the van was locked closed whilst the bed was made; I paid; they emptied the van and sped away into the after midnight hours without bothering to give me a receipt.

We’re in … and still alive to tell the tale; just!

😊😊😊

Pandemonium on the A7

I realise I have not yet reported in full the visit of Paul and Meriam, however I beg the indulgence of my regular reader to bring you breaking/braking news. I will return to the Dutch folk at a later date.

If the written word gets a bit slurred it’s because I’m gulping an XXXL G&T – it has been a  l o n g day.

It started well enough with the Terrible Trio leaving Jávea and heading for the hills, as we are wont. With a quick diesel fill and Lidl top up on vino blanco, I headed off. South of Valencia I joined the A7 motorway and was bowling along quite nicely. I was way behind P&M as I’d made a coffee and dog convenience stop. Suddenly there was a very loud bang and R0X1 started wandering about the carriageways without my permission. I braked firmly but gently, hit the hazard lights and carefully checking mirrors etc. brought my wagon safely to rest on the hard shoulder. I donned my hi-viz vest and as I deployed my red triangle noted that an awful lot of the rear left tyre was on the carriageway rather than on the wheel. I phoned the RAC. Unfortunately I seem to have overstayed my welcome as far as my breakdown insurance goes – I should have left a couple of months ago – I shall have to foot the recovery bill myself.

Two lovely motorcycle cops came, one retrieved the remains of the tyre from the carriageway – brave lass. The other set about organising a recovery vehicle. The van with the flashing arrow lights – “move over” – parked behind and the driver distributed loads of traffic cones along lane 1 (of 4). Completely unsurprisingly, the cops still had to direct cars into the outer lanes as quite a few drivers thought the instructions didn’t apply to them. They were both very sweet and kind especially when I watched R0X being winched up onto the recovery truck and got a bit upset, reaction I guess, but LWD seemed to enjoy the view from its cab. I was just terrified that R0X would somehow escape her bonds and fall off.

By the time we arrived at the garage in the middle of an industrial estate it was siesta and Señor directed me to a nearby cafe and ordered me to return at 5pm. One menu del dia and a lot of thumb twiddling later, I got back to the garage at the arranged time. 40 minutes later, the temperature had dropped alarmingly, it was trying to rain and I couldn’t get into R0X as she was still up on the reccy truck. I really was starting to panic, I had no idea where I was, let alone the recovery Señor and there was no one around to ask. I was beginning to wonder if I was being set up for a robbery or worse (I really must stop reading so many murder procedurals) and one or two tears could not be held back. My phone had run out of battery earlier whilst I was keeping P&M updated. So I was mightily relieved when another Señor turned up, shortly followed by the Recovery Señor (hereinafter called the Boss). They had been trying to track down 2 tyres (I decided not to trust the one remaining  el-cheapo tyre). No Michelin camper tyres in Valencia. I might be here for the weekend.

Señor Boss asked me via the other Señor (he and I were communicating in French) if I’d like him to take me to a hotel or would I like to stay on the forecourt. I went for the cheaper option. They got a step ladder so I could shelter in R0X bless them.

It was interesting, to say the least, to be sitting in R0X whilst she was backed into the forecourt and then jerkily winched down. LWD, not renowned for her bravery, shivered and whimpered, to be honest as I was already shivering from cold I almost joined in to make it a shiver/whimper duet.

Safely ensconced for the night on the forecourt, I was pouring my XXXL G&T when there was a knock at the door. Señor Boss beckoned me outside to show me two shiny new Vanco Camper tyres and told me he’d put them on tomorrow.

There’s now not a lot of G&T left in my glass and I’m feeling considerably calmer.  LWD has forgotten all about it and is blotto under the table …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Cracking up …

I left Bolnuevo a week ago and motored the short drive to Lorca for a stay with my friends. Not only did my patient survive my nursing she has recovered incredibly well, yesterday we were crossing the road together and she almost ran across – it was raining, and we’d just come out of the hairdresser’s – fastest she’s moved since the accident she informed me!

Having a cracking time here, we’ve been out and about quite a bit, meal with some of R&J’s friends, local market, food shop and other jaunts. Last night we went to  the cinema to see Murder on the Orient Express (cracking film) and LWD had the devil in her and refused to come inside the house before we left. She wasn’t terribly impressed with being left outside in the dark and cold for two and a half hours; we thoroughly enjoyed the film tho’ . More trips out planned for this coming week and then I’m off to Granada to see the sights.

Just before I left the UK my windscreen collided with a stone. I was in Halfords for something else and asked if they knew where Autoglass was, cashier told me that Halfords now repair windscreen chips. To save time I had it repaired there and was assured the repair was solid as a rock. And so it was – for seven weeks. The morning I was off to Lorca I drew back the windscreen curtains to see a curly crack descending from the “repair”. Insurance company put my call straight through to Autoglass who faxed the details through to their Spanish colleagues and within the hour I had a date for the replacement windscreen. Unfortunately that appointment had to be postponed because of a weather forecast of heavy rain for the appointed day.

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Cracking windscreen

Today, however, was sunny (but cold) and R0X1 is now resplendent with shiny new windscreen.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Ominous signs

Leaving the car park in R0X1 I encountered a couple of problems. Having removed the weeks rubbish, the dustbin lorry had created a worse mess by removing a large branch from a tree and driving off leaving said branch blocking the width of the drive. I managed to manoeuvre the branch alongside the kerb and girl power ruled with Christine, next door neighbour, holding it back out of the way whilst I drove through the gap. I turned into the lane and drove a couple of hundred more yards only to discover White Van Man had parked directly opposite an already parked car, leaving insufficient space for R0X to pass between them. Whilst I waited for WVM to unobstruct the road I pondered whether these might be inauspicious signs given the morning’s destination. R0X1 was on her way for service, habitation check and her first MOT. I’d already had to SORN her because I didn’t realise that despite me paying by direct debit, the DVLA did not automatically renew the car tax as the MOT was overdue and had indeed already issued a fixed penalty fine. (But yet I could delay the MOT without penalty until I got back from France … how does that make sense?) Did all these ominous signs mean she was about to fail at the first hurdle?

Thankfully there were no real problems at the garage, except for the size of the bill which admittedly did include new brake pads, and ROX1 is once again legal and taxed.

fullsizeoutput_33a6Proud holder of her first MOT certificate

So we can leave on Monday for a week’s family holiday in Nth Devon and then I’m on up to BB to celebrate the golden jubilee of his silver jubilee with him.

[Key for non-UK citizens;

DVLA – Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency

MOT –   Ministry of Transport test

SORN – Statutory Off Road Notice

WVM –  White Van Man]

🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Mañana v. Money

I’ve been a bit concerned about the cracked glass in the passenger side wing mirror. That is the glass cover for the indicator light, not the mirror itself. There is a tiny bit of glass missing and I don’t want it to fail the MOT on that – anything else R0X1 might fail on is beyond my control/knowledge. So, after much humming and hahing, I decided to bite the bullet, blow the expense, have the darned thing replaced and quit worrying. Remembering how quickly I was able to have the driver’s side replaced in France (it helps that R0X1 is “normal” over here, being left hand drive, and the replacement doesn’t have to be specially ordered) I decided it would be quicker to have it done here. Off I toddled to Caravanas Lorca, the place that sorted out a connector for my hose to attach to the waste pipe 2 years ago, a good job done and very accommodating and friendly.

Mirror replacement; Round 1.

I remembered the way and arrived at about 11am. With only one person serving and dealing with a complicated problem, or then it might not have been complicated but it certainly took a great deal of time, I waited patiently for 1/2 an hour for my turn. Señor came and looked at the offending mirror and got on the phone to order a replacement. This took quite some time as when he eventually got through there seemed to be a very long conversation for just a simple order to be placed. However, after the call finished he informed me that if I returned at 7pm the new mirror would be fitted and I gave him the money required.

Mirror replacement; Round 2.

I duly arrived at 7pm and was pleased to see the mirror had arrived first. The mechanic proceeded to remove the old mirror – except it didn’t happen as it should have. I ended up holding the old unit up whilst he fiddled around trying to detach it, to no avail. He requested (we had discovered we could communicate fairly satisfactorily in a mixture of Frenspanglais) to take R0X for five minutes to the electrician at Fiat for some help. It was 8pm when he got back so nothing further could be done that evening. The existing mirror apparently had a sensor underneath and the replacement was obviously wrong as it didn’t, and anyway the electrical connector that should have been on the existing mirror was nowhere to be found. Could I please return at 11am the next morning and we would proceed to the Fiat dealer for him to check the part against R0X1’s engine number.

Mirror replacement; Round 3.

Once again I returned at the requested time and waited happily re-reading Fuelling the Fire prior to my e-buddy author Roland Ladley publishing the new volume in his thriller series tomorrow. Señor arrived at 11.55! Off we went to the Fiat dealership and the engine number was typed into the computer and the computer’s opinion was that the part I had already purchased was the correct part, the mirror currently attached to R0X1 was definitely incorrect, explaining three separate problems; the connector issue, the sensor (whose purpose remains unknown) and my inability to adjust the existing mirror to a satisfactory position for rear-viewing since it’s attachment 18 months ago. At this point Señor explained (in Frenspanglais) that he would leave me in Fiat’s capable hands for the correct mirror to be attached to R0X1. With much help from Google translate, as the reception guy spoke as much English and French as I speak Spanish, the work sheet was duly filled out (tho’ why my passport number was needed I have no idea). It was now well gone 1pm and siesta time was almost upon us. I sat in the waiting area unsure if I would be locked in until 5pm. Mr Ladley’s words to the rescue again – until just before 2pm (phew that was close) when I was able to drive R0X and her perfectly adjusted, brand spanking, new wing mirror away.

Now my regular reader might think that all that unhurried Spanish approach has made me a tad irritable. Au contraire. I am highly delighted; successful conclusion, time well spent reading and a bill €155 euros below what I paid a few weeks ago in France. Result!

Last night’s almost full moon.

🙂 🙂 🙂

And we’re off …

At the starting gate the runners and riders were champing at the bit. The runner; R0X1. The driver; me. The navigator; Garmina. The general dogsbody; Daisy!

J, with the sometimes unnerving habit our family has of knowing exactly when to contact each other, phoned me to ask what time I was leaving. I was able to report that simultaneously with the question came the ferry main engine start!

Dover was cold, claggy, windy and wet as we left.

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Our ferry viewed from the starting gate.

Calais was cold, claggy, windy and wet as we arrived. It’s easy to forget they are only 25 miles(ish) apart. The nasty stuff continued until mid-afternoon but cleared just before arrival at the first night stop. Having had to spend the night wearing thick walking socks, a jumper over pyjamas and having two blankets over the duvet, this morning the sun is out and the temperature is beginning to climb.

A convenient place to stop for the first night was Le Crotoy,  it was also my first ever Aire. Beside the R. Somme, it’s a quaint fishing port and there were a fair few tourist types on a May bank holiday. The Aire almost emptied of motorhomes late evening as many went home presumably the occupants had go to go to work today.

Port de Le Crotoy

I am now contemplating a move straight to the Med for a couple of weeks and waiting for the mountain area to warm a little more before heading to the Auvergne … well I would, wouldn’t I?!

🙂 🙂 🙂