This month I finally found a van that met with my requirements perfectly. It was another Renault Trafic, 5 years younger than mine, bigger engine, better towing capabilities, and already had 4 cages. ................ It was however the other end of the country from us! Between Edinburgh & Glasgow, so I had no way of going to see it, try it out and I didnt know the seller but trusting other peoples opinions, and a whole heap of photos of the van, we decided to take the chance. Exciting stuff really. Bought tickets for me & Rog on a sleeper train from Taunton to Paddington, followed by a normal train from Kings Cross to Edinburgh, then a little train that reminded me of a Morris Minor, to West Calder to meet the new van.
Thanks to Mark & Karen Laker at this stage, as I had no idea how to sort the train tickets, and also thanks for Mark warning us the word "sleeper" is a very loose term. I think I managed about 15 minutes and Rog probably 5! Fast, bouncy, rattly and the word "reclining" is also a dubious term for the seats. "Tilt very slightly" would be a better description to be honest, but hey ho, we were on an adventure!
Paddington station, the Underground and Kings Cross were so clean. I was impressed with how smart and huge they were! Paying 30p just to go for a quick wee I thought was a bit extreme, but the toilets were so spotless and the Dyson Blade hand drier fascinated me!! Well worth 30p!
5 hours in a hard seat with some extremely rude, irritating American students sat just across from us, made the journey from Kings Cross to Edinburgh a tough one, but the coffee was good, and watching the sun rise and watching the changing scenery as we travelled through so many counties made it bearable. One interesting observation was how the whole country is waterlogged. Miles and miles of boggy fields, and half ploughed land everywhere we looked. Its been a tough time for farmers all over.
Meeting Peter & Tricia his wife, and all their lovely dogs was fun, and after a coffee there and a few papers signed, we left West Calder around 2pm and headed back downwards towards our great mates house in Rastrick Huddersfield for our overnight stop. The van drove really well, and was so tidy I was relieved, and looked forward to seeing our friends for some real food and a bed!
6.30 we walked in to the warmest welcome at Sharon, Chris & Samanthas and although dead on our feet from lack of sleep, we needed to unwind before we slept, and unwind we did. Gorgeous food, a few glasses of something pleasant and so many giggles!!! It was a wonderful evening, and after a hot shower we hit the sack around 10.30 and I dont even remember my head hitting the pillow!
We were up early and left Huddersfield at 6.40am Sunday morning for the drive home. It was another beautiful day and we saw the sun come up over the moors as we journeyed. Costa and Krispy Kremes at 7am, MacDonalds breakfast halfway home, and arrived back at ours at 12.30 with our lovely new Van. :-)
Loved spending quality time with Rog, and seeing the Mitchells and just seeing a bit more of our lovely country for a change. It was a great weekend...........................
Part two will follow....