On the way
Harriet’s first journey as a holiday provider was a round robin trip to family and a few days in Wales. After joining a well known club for similar holiday makers our intrepid pair found a very cheap farm in South Wales and booked it with gay abandon. Oh dear!!! I hear seasoned travellers cry, more about that later.
The first thing to remember about this escapade is that it was done in mid March. The animal generally associated with this particular month is the Hare. Eyes were going to be peeled along the way for some other small animals. Yes you have it the little lambies. North Lincolnshire has them but they are very “cute” in Wales.
The big question of course was “shall we use the gps?” Thought had also been given to what should go into Harriet and a list compiled. Tin opener, food, warm quilt, dog bed, washing up liquid, you know the sort of thing. A few purchases had been made, namely a whistling kettle for the gas cooker (yes you can still buy them), some throws for the seats, cutlery etc etc. A number of retail outlets were used for these purchases as well as the good old car boot sale and charity shops.
The first destination was Bradford to visit some friends. The gps was used for the last bit (successfully, I hasten to add). The younger of the two travellers was 44 years young on that particular day so a delicious pub meal was arranged. Incidentally, it was also St Patrick’s day who apparently was born in Wales.
The overnight stop was decided as the overnight halt on the M62 at Hartshead Moor. Harriet was placed amongst the articulated lorries and the pair were very comfortable on their first night. Did you know that the M62 is never quiet? Yes you probably did! Getting up time was quite early as well. Lorry drivers do not have a “lay in” generally.
In the morning the gas bottle could not be used because the valve was leaking when turned on. A spanner had not been put on the list so it could not be tightened until one was purchased. Therefore, an early morning brew could not be made so, a well known supermarket with a café was found when on the road which fortified body and soul.
The next destination was Brighouse for a quick computer repair which turned out to be not quite so quick and then off to lambie country. The gps suggested one route but it was felt that it would be much prettier going into Wales via Chester and travelling through North to South, which indeed it was.
It all started on the way to Birmingham as all good stories do. The Motorhome centre was spotted en route and stored in the memory for when something like that could be afforded. After discussion amongst the two eager potential buyers a financial decision was made and on return to the aforementioned metropolis a visit ensured. “Didn’t like any of those” and “what a disappointment” were phrases used.
It needs to be mentioned that Birmingham was the home of a very dear friend of our intrepid travellers and on reaching her house the exclamation “wheres my handbag?” rang out. (The reader is now invited to guess where the handbag was).
A hasty phone call to the showroom revealed that the handbag was found in a Motorhome and was now in the safe. There are honest people in the world which was a big relief to one and all.
The problem was that the return to pick up the bag would have to be the next day.
The next day came and as they were motoring along the travellers came to another financial decision which widened their horizons a little, and with this thought in mind picked up the handbag and “had another look”
Well there she was resplendent in her bright shiny appearance with a beautifully kept interior. You have heard of love at first sight? Well here it was, two years old and immaculate. “just the thing we need”. What an expensive lost property office! A deposit was made and back home to sort the finance.
On return to pick up Harriet the excited potential owners had a few hiccups which I will now recount. The Vauxhall vectra which was being traded in for this wonderful machine must have got wind about its impending fate. It had been a brilliant car and a great companion. It had transported dogs, people, computers, flat packed furniture, you name it. Its reliability had been outstanding and it was with a tinge of sadness that the journey commenced.
A tiny crack had appeared on the windscreen a few days earlier which was getting slightly bigger. The window wipers had also started to refuse to go properly. It was thought that this was mostly due to the snow that had been quite heavy the week before. (There was another problem which you will have to read on to find out).
Our travellers had also been thinking about one of these new gadgets that tell you exactly where to go in the car. You type in your home and destination and hey presto your route is planned for you. Yes you have it! A GPS had been purchased to help with the navigation on holidays and weekends away.
Normally the journey would take 1 ½ hours maximum but three hours later the vectra was heading home as the battery was running out on the GPS. It was so bad that on finding a garage a map was bought (and some sandwiches for lunch). When disposing of the sandwich wrappers into a nearby waste receptacle, the owner of the previously mentioned handbag looked at the car and…… the front indicator light was hanging out; the vectra looked like Disneys Herbie does after chasing villans! It was hastily put back and after making the rest of the journey it was checked again before entering the Motorhome centre.
Harriet goes to her new home
One of the requests from the salesman was could some cream cakes be bought because he liked them. This seemed a reasonable request as most salesmen seem to want blood!
“Why did he have the cheek to ask” I hear you retort. Well, one or two problems had been experienced with verification of the traveller’s home address. This was due to a discrepancy in the electoral roll which had a knock on effect on the verification of finance. If this sounds a bit complicated just take it that the man who really wanted to sell Harriet was extremely helpful in the efforts to get details sorted.
It was felt that his request for one cake was insufficient and six were bought. One hopes that of the 19 vehicles he had sold that week that the new owners didn’t all buy cream cakes!! Imagine explaining that to your local Pharmacist when you need “something for indigestion”.
A very knowledgeable gentleman explained the buttons, switches and features that Harriet possessed and also explained that the spare wheel was underneath. He got down on his hands and knees to prove his point and ended up rushing into the workshop to retrieve “one he made earlier” (whoops!)
The excitement mounted and photographs were taken of the new proud owners and Harriet. Eventually she was driven out of the centre back to North Lincolnshire, without the assistance from the GPS, I hasten to add. This was just as well because on a visit to a garage to fill her up the amount of litres going into the tank went up at rate not experienced before and left the owners thinking about bank overdrafts.
Having driven a “four toner” in the army in the past the knack of driving Harriet came without too many problems to the male member of the excited pair. Not being outdone the female member also had a try and her experience with towing a caravan made her exclaim “I prefer driving Harriet to towing”.
The next day reversing “army style” was practiced on a local airfield. To the uninformed in military matters this involves the driver putting total trust in the person directing them from outside and at the front of the vehicle, while the person doing the directing flaps his arms about making the driver turn the steering wheel this way and that.
The next day was spent showing Harriet off to various people. The first one was the local vicar who was very impressed and it took him on a nostalgia trip to family holidays, the account of which was enjoyed by all. Rosie the dog was quite impressed and promptly went to sleep on the floor. The only problem for her was that when Harriet was going round a corner she slid gracefully across the plastic protection sheet that was still in place on the immaculate carpet and vainly extending her claws for purchase; her owners have now put down some rugs on the pretence of her comfort but in reality taking care of muddy paws on the new carpet!
Next thrilling instalment .... Our trip to Wales