On 28th October we caught the afternoon train up to Alcester where Bundesvan is based.
This should have been a nice journey but unfortunately it took eight hours rather than just under three hours as we were promised by Cross Country Trains. Thanks to TWO delays on their trains we missed our last connection, when we arrived at the second station we searched high and low for a member of staff to find out when the next train would be arriving. We eventually tracked down a helpful member of staff when we noticed the only other two people in the station were standing in a doorway talking to someone in a room!
Luckily I’d come prepared for any delays, which is most unlike me and made a very pleasant change (note to myself:- must be that organised more often!). We received some strange looks from passing commuters as we sat at a table outside an empty cafe in the tiny station using a knife and fork to eat a meal I’d boxed up, drinking coffee from porcelain mugs and using our unexpected leisure time to read the newspapers I’d packed. It was a bit spooky when the rush hour stopped and we were suddenly sitting in an apparently deserted station waiting for our connection.
We eventually arrived at the B&B we were staying at just before midnight after walking there in the pouring rain, the kind owner of the B&B had sat in the lounge by the window watching for us to arrive so he could let us in.
Bob came and collected us from the B&B the next morning and after Sue had given us a cup of coffee he drove us to pick up our van.
It was quite daunting as Darren drove us the 127 miles home in our huge left hand drive motorhome particularly when we arrived at Farnham in the dark (before we set off we had decided that we were going to ALWAYS plan our journeys so that we arrived home in daylight however we haven’t managed to do that once yet!) and as we drove into Castle Street in Farnham we discovered the ‘Road Closed’ sign at the top of the road was not one of the side roads as we’d managed to convince ourselves but was in fact the main street into Farnham which was closed for the Christmas Fair. This meant he would have to somehow turn the van around amongst all the cars and people or he could take the detour that had been set up which was down a VERY narrow, single lane, ancient cobbled street between two buildings which gave him a couple of inches either side of the wing mirrors to manoeuvre, once he’d got down that street he had to negotiate Park Road which was only just wide enough for the van because it had cars parked on either side. We passed a lot of worried faces as he slowly drove forwards but he got through without hitting anything or anyone. MY HERO!
Our next worry was whether the van would be too big to reverse into our driveway but he managed to do that too without any problems.
Darren’s next trip out, a few days later, was to fill the gas tanks that he’d fitted. He decided he could do that on his own, however nothing is ever straightforward and he discovered that with a left hand drive vehicle it was hard to see what was coming from his right hand side at some junctions and he also realised (rather too late) that he could no longer drive down the roads he would normally use to get to the petrol station. He only discovered that as he inched across a bridge only a few inches wider than the van having driven down a winding single track lane and knowing he couldn’t reverse all the way back!
When he finally got to the garage and started filling the tanks he noticed a big white cloud appearing from underneath the van and immediately decided it probably shouldn’t be doing that! He wisely chose to call a halt to filling the tanks and drove home via a different, uneventful route where he spent an age tweaking the tank installation so there’d be no further gas clouds.