15th June 2012
15.06.2012 - 16.07.2012
Redvers was insured but he was still illegal without registration and without road tax. Between Redvers and the road lay at least two bureaucratic quagmires through which we would have to wade with our paperwork before he could enjoy life on the open road once more. With his customs documents being processed ‘guaranteed in around ten days’ we readied him for his MOT. New brake discs behind, the removal of the front tints and the replacement of our KPH speedometer reading 309,000kms with a MPH speedometer reading 110,000miles. That’s a bonus.
We emptied him and we cleaned him, we aired him and we dried him and finally with everything but the hippo removed he sailed through his MOT and was driven, illegally, back to Laura’s parent’s house. His new home, where he currently resides, would be in a neighbour’s barn with hay bales stacked around him and a lonely hippo sat inside, too heavy to remove.
After an all too brief acclimatisation period during which we slowly got used to beds, home cooked food, seeing friends and their recently whelped children and speaking to people who knew as much about our trip as we did (we blamed the blog) the time came to move north. He’d driven over twenty thousand miles but Redvers could go no further. Instead, our homecoming chariot would be a train to Bristol, a bus to Manchester and a second train to Liverpool for collection by my parents; all whilst carrying a big black rucksack containing amongst other things, two Libyan tank shells. It was a step down from the nobility of driving our almost self sufficient General Sir Redvers Buller, a vehicle capable of all things except defying the British Constabulary. We made it to Liverpool and to my home and in doing so we completed our journey. The few shillings we had left were enough to buy a glass of wine and a few ales in the city of culture whilst catching up with friends and family. I re-proposed on the top of Camp Hill with the real, far shinier ring and was relieved to hear that Miss Somers was still keen on the engagement.
Two weeks later, Laura took a train towards Chepstow and I took a plane to France. Our journey really was over. I asked Laura to remind me, “What was it that we did for a living?”