22.06.2011 - 24.06.2011 15 °C
Greetings friends and welcome to our resuscitated travel blog.
Our plans were to fly Emirates to Gatwick airport, arriving in the morning of 23 June. Then to drive down to Cornwall, MOT and sell the van, buy a cheap car, drive/ferry over to Ireland to work there for 7 weeks.
Day 1 went fairly well according to plan: we picked up our rental car and started driving. It was about the same price to rent a car for 24 hours as catching the train to Cornwall. It is mid-summer and the air is cold [8-16 °C] with patchy sunshine and showers. The winter weather is Cape Town is better than this!
We soon noticed there was something wrong with the radio reception, and found the aerial was missing! We phoned the rental company and they knocked £15 off the price. We stopped over at cousin Ebu to pick up our post and were offered a “simple lunch” of delicious soup, smoked trout, prawns, potatoes, garden salad and strawberries and cream! All this was topped off with superb hand-made chocolates! Sandi preferred the violet cream ones, and David found the rose cream ones transported him instantly back to Bulgaria!
We were greeted in Truro by Bob, with whom we were to stay for a few days while we got Mr Stubby sorted out. Bear had already returned to France to welcome her summer guests. We were thoroughly exhausted after our long trip: 19 hours of flying and six hours of driving.
Day 2 and things started to go pear-shaped! We found Mr Stubby in the driveway, under his winter cover, just where we had left him, except that by now the snow had all melted!
We pulled the cover off Mr Stubby and found the interior was pretty dry, thanks to the desiccating granules we had placed inside, except for some mould growing on the front seats. He started immediately, which was amazing after 7 months! The wheels were locked at first, but David managed to free them up without too much difficulty. He set off behind Bob to follow him to the garage in Falmouth for the MOT [obligatory annual roadworthy test for those who don’t know] which was booked for 10h30. It immediately became apparent that the footbrake was not working properly….not an encouraging sign 10 minutes before an MOT!
After a 45 minute wait they started the test. An hour and a half later David was called in to be shown extensive rusting of parts of the undercarriage, disc brakes and pipes and a worn tyre. The quote for the welding needed and other repairs came to a whopping £500! The really bad news was that the job could not be done before Wednesday. That means that we have 5 days to cool our heels here with no transport, because we may not take the van on the road. It also means that we have no time to take the van up to London to sell. The recession is biting hard here, and it is beginning to look as if we will struggle to give it away. There have been no responses to our ad on Gumtree for the past week. There are much nicer campervans being advertised for next to nothing!
We have been considering our options: [a] scrap the van and save the £500. It seems such a waste! We then buy a cheap car for £500 to use in Ireland. [b] fix the van, use it in Ireland and keep it for camping in France next year. We could park it in Ireland, but it would carry on rusting and we would have the same situation next year again. We could go camping in France next year, but would have to abandon it in France before returning to the UK. [c] fix the van and try to sell it in London, but there is now no time to do that. [d] fix the van, use it in Ireland and try to sell it asap for half-price. Then rent a car for the remaining time there.
David helped Bob on his boat in Falmouth for a couple of hours. He is hoping to launch it for testing in the river and sea for 2 days, before parking it again on land until he returns from France in September.