25.06.2011 - 01.07.2011
With 5 days to spend in Truro, waiting for the van to be fixed, we set about planning what to do i.e. making lemonade with our lemon. On Saturday we were invited to lunch by Anton and Kay Kruger, old varsity pals of David’s, who live in a lovely country homestead, just outside Truro.
We headed for the veggie garden and tunnel to pick lunch: fresh, organic broadbeans, French beans, chillis, white radish, new potatoes, coriander seed, courgette, carrots, raspberries and strawberries. Yum! Nothing could taste better!
We arranged to rent a cheap car for the next four days so that we would be mobile, and managed to find one for £25 a day. The first one had a dodgy electronic lock and could not get into 5th gear, so the lady exchanged the car for us the next day, but gave us one with a dodgy gearbox instead! The joys of having only a Rent-a-Wreck budget. We spent several hours on Sunday wandering around the cute little harbour town of Falmouth. It was so nice to start relaxing without an agenda and without time pressure.
We then headed for Penzance, but missed a turn somewhere and ended up in the southern-most point of England, Lizard.
On Monday we drove to Ebford near Exeter, to visit cousin Judy and Rob, who, after 2 years are still struggling to sell their property. We stayed overnight [it felt like coming back to our old home] and had a lovely time catching up with them, before driving back the following afternoon.
On the way back we stopped in at a favourite antediluvian haunt: Trago Mills, a fascinating, time-warp, multi-department store, selling everything, and then some. The parking lot is full of eccentric statues.
Stress levels were steadily climbing, as we waited for the van repairs to be timeously completed by Wednesday, as time would be extremely tight if there were any delays at all. David was just about to book the ferry crossing for Thursday evening, when an email came in expressing interest in buying the van. The couple would drive down from Plymouth that afternoon [Wednesday] to have a look, after we had picked the van up from the garage – it sounded really promising! Bob immediately phoned a friend, who offered us a reliable car for £600. So we had a buyer for the van and a car with which to travel to Ireland. Fantastic! All we had to do was to collect the van at 5pm, as we were assured that it would be ready by then, drive back to Truro in the rush hour traffic, give the van a quick wash and be ready for the buyers at 6pm. Our ferry to Ireland was a mere 30 hours away, if we were to cross the Irish Sea in time for David’s overnight shift at 6pm on Friday. Life is never dull in Nye-land!
We popped down to Truro centre to shop for the time in Ireland, as food and wine are so much cheaper in England.
But it was not to be so easy! The first blow was a call from the prospective buyer cancelling the appointment to view. This was followed shortly by a call from the garage to say that they had to order some brake callipers, which would be sent down from Exeter the next day. We both felt quite desperate with time running out. Our only option now was to take the van to Ireland and to use it while trying to sell it. An added stress was trying to find accommodation for Sandi in Waterford for Friday and Saturday, since there was absolutely nothing to be had in either this, or surrounding towns - not what were were expecting. It turns out that, unbeknown to us, David's shifts coincided with the Tall Ships Festival - an event that attracted half a million revellers to Waterford for the weekend! The decision was made that Sandi would sleep in the van, in the car park behind the Caredoc office. With that decision made we finally booked the ferry for 2.45am on Friday morning, and went to bed, praying for no more surprises. The emotional roller-coaster was however running at full throttle, and both our stress levels were stratospheric!
On Thursday morning David went into Falmouth with Bob to help him with packing up the boat, while waiting for the van to be ready. By 12.30pm the parts had still not arrived! Sandi was back in Truro stressing, and packing and unpacking to keep busy. By 2.30pm the parts arrived and they got to work on the van. We were assured that they would be finished with the repairs, and that the MOT would be issued by 5pm. This was really cutting things fine, as David still had to drive back to Truro, pick up Sandi and load everything into the van, by 6pm at the absolute latest, and start the long 6 hour drive to the ferry port in Wales. David got the key back at 5.20pm and the ferry countdown journey began. The whirlwind with which we loaded our belongings [by now all waiting on the lawn outside], was second only to the staggering blow of the whopping £627 bill [and they even forgot to do the oil change]. We hit the road in record time, leaving Bob's sanctuary at 6.10pm.
We eventually arrived at the ferry port at 1.30am and were relieved to be able to board immediately. We grabbed our pillows, found a seat and fell asleep. The sun was rising by 4.30am and we had a greasy ferry-style English breakfast, as they stopped service at 5am. At 6.15am we disembarked in Rosslare, Co Wexford, grateful to once again be on the terra firma of this lush Emerald Isle, which has been one of our special homes-from-home during our 2-year walkabout. Although exhausted, we had made it, and the relief was beyond description!