Its almost a month since my last update so apologies for my tardiness. There’s been quite a lot happening so here goes.
The day after my last entry I set off once again to take my LGV test in Leicester, for the third time. Apart from the frustration of failing my test twice, the financial cost was not to be sneezed at either!! On top of that an hours journey each way wasn’t exactly a picnic!
Anyway, this time things went a little better. My female examiner was friendly and personable and a similar age to me and I was relaxed from the off. One hour later, with only 2 minors, those magic words were spoken, “I am pleased to tell you that you have passed your LGV test”! Thank eff for that I thought, I could have kissed her, but I didn’t. The feeling of relief was enormous, at last we can get going on our travels!
This is the moment of truth and you can probably tell by my broad smile that I am pleased as punch. I have to say that the guys at Data Academy, especially my tutor Dale and the owner Rick, have been very supportive even through my ‘failures’. Nice one guys.
On the ‘home’ front we have now registered with a GP surgery in Collingham and they too have been very supportive. Being able to just order repeat prescriptions means a lot and, when we are away from home they have informed us that they can electronically send any prescription we need to a nearby pharmacy!! Also on the upside is that Irene doesn’t appear to be suffering any noticeable side effects from her new medication. That has taken a big weight off our shoulders.
One of the things that Irene and I have been discussing is what we should do about the Toyota Grand HiAce Day van that we use. It is quite thirsty on petrol but it is convenient for transporting the dogs and taking them for walks etc. However, it weighs over 2 ton and only does about 22 miles per gallon, even on a run. As it is our intention to go to southern Spain or Portugal for the winter, if I don’t manage to get my +E licence Irene would have to drive the ‘Granny’ all the way with all the extra costs that would entail. Irene has been thinking about going back to a RAV4 for quite some time but hasn’t really done anything about it. The trouble is she has been looking for a Diesel Automatic which are about as rare as rocking horse poo! Anyway, at my encouragement she started looking in earnest and, as luck would have it, as we started looking one became available almost immediately in Worksop. A quick telephone call and we were on our way to view it. To cut a longer story short, a deposit was paid and on Thursday 31st May we collected Irene’s newish RAV4 2.2 Diesel Automatic!!
However, would you believe it, on the way home a stone flew up and cracked the windscreen on her new car! When we got back to Plots we could see that the stone strike had caused the screen to partially de-laminate, and over the following weekend, in the warm weather, a crack started to spread across the screen. Fortunately we had accepted the free Toyota 3 day ‘get you home’ insurance but having to make a claim was a bit surreal. But we got it sorted and on Wednesday we took it to Auto Windscreens and a new screen was fitted. It didn’t take Irene long to get the car kitted out to take the dogs but she still hasn’t managed to use the Cruise Control yet.!
Our first trip out in the RV was a short journey down the road to Newark Showground for the Retro Festival, a festival to celebrate vintage vehicles, cars, tractors and vintage clothing and anything from the 40’s and 50’s. My first drive of the RV was quite stressful as we had to go via Collingham, which has a narrow main street with lots of parked vehicles, but we arrived on site in good time and it didn’t take us long to get set up. It was a good festival with lots of good music and traders and good company too. There were 70 outfits from both Motorhome Fun and the RVOC. On Saturday we had a very pleasant couple of hours at the traditional ‘Jacobs Table’. We had a great fly-by by the Battle of Britain Memorial flight too.
On the Monday it was time to pack up and make our way down to Somerset, where we would have been had I passed my LGV test the first time! Anyway, by the time we set off it was just after midday. The journey down to somerset should have taken about 3.5 hours if it had been uneventful, but things were not as straightforward as we’d hoped. Firstly, as I pulled into the nearest Garage to fill up with petrol (well a partial fill as a full tank is about £300!) it looked like the RV wouldn’t fit under the canopy, plus I hadn’t managed to line up on the most appropriate pump so had to go around again. Then, after paying for the petrol I had to re-position the RV to fill up with LPG!! What fun.
The next part of the journey was okay but after an hours driving, when we usually stop for a break, I pulled into the Motorway services to find there was no room at the Inn!! So I had to keep gong to the next services by which time my shoulders were aching from the tension of driving a big rig that was also our home!! We stopped for a while, let the dogs stretch their legs, and then continued on our way. Not long after the next stop I noticed that Irene was dropping further and further behind me and I watched in dismay as she pulled off the motorway up the slip road which I had already passed, so there was no option to stop. We had agreed that if either of us had a problem then the other one would travel to the next services and wait. When Irene finally contacted me she told me that the ‘engine management’ warning light had come on so she had pulled off to stop as she wasn’t sure she should continue. She was fortunate that a Police Officer stopped to assist and assured her it was safe to carry on as the light was a warning and not a red ‘stop’ warning, so she continued on. We finally arrived in Somerset around 7pm, some 7 hours after we started! Suffice to say we were both shattered but our friends Mo & Georgie soon had us settled with a drink & a cuppa. After feeding the dogs it wasn’t long before we were in bed.
It is now Tuesday, we have had a visit from the AA and we have the local Toyota Garage booked to examine the car on Friday. After that who knows. The good news is that the warning is not ‘serious’ so we can still use the car in the meantime. We have a Barbecue scheduled for tomorrow so, fingers crossed, we can enjoy the rest of our stay. I know Irene is desperate to visit Glastonbury again, as am I, and I am sure there are a few more places to visit. We have friends near Shepton Mallett so maybe we will have time to call on them too.
‘Till next time…