A Travellerspoint blog


Day 267 – To the Family Beamish

15th June 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?”

Posted by ibeamish 11:13 Archived in England Comments (0)

Day 258 – To the Family Somers

6th June 2012


It took a while but the insurance was arranged; customs, MOTs and the DVLA could wait. We left Dover at 5pm and drove the short four hour hop through the grey drizzle that enveloped southern England and arrived in Devon at Laura’s home at a quarter past nine on a still light evening. Balloons lined the way to a huge banner on which lay a map of Africa and our red line home; in front of the banner stood the Family Somers, Mum, Dad, Ben, Vix, Meg, Flo and Millie, all with smiles on faces and champagne in hand. We had arrived, it felt great to be back.

Posted by ibeamish 03:21 Archived in England Comments (1)

Day 256-257 –Custom-less Dover

4th-5th June 2012


The rain had begun somewhere south of Paris and wouldn’t stop for several days. Our final leg through the North West of France was brief and direct. Redvers drove onto the Britain bound Euro Tunnel carriage and parked up; an hour later we were in Dover.

Our expectations were of a customs point turning Redvers inside out, scrutinising every questionable animal product based purchase that we’d made over the previous eight months. We’d greased our tongues and doe’d our eyes expecting to slip out of any leading questions and generally appear like innocent folk. The reality was We eased off the train and followed the slip road that led us past the petrol station and straight onto the M20 London bound. There was no customs point at Dover Euro Tunnel. We’d later find that the ‘Red Lane’ had been removed in 1993. We were uninsured, un-MOT’d and unregistered and inexplicably driving on Britain’s roads. The next two hours involved one service station, two ports and one extremely helpful chap whose team was in the middle of taking apart a BMW piece by piece. Like lambs who had accidentally stopped to ask a butcher for directions we explained our naivety and our customs official in return explained what we needed to do.

Rather than facing an ordeal of battling insurance companies, closed customs offices (it was jubilee weekend), and DVLA shenanigans, we opted to park Redvers and head for London town. Redvers would have to hold out alone, we could return when offices were open and people were happy to help.

Two trains and a taxi found us outside a good old English Pub on the edges of Richmond Park. Our first welcome home celebration was a gate crashed afternoon walk that we’d been informed some old friends would be taking. It was brilliant to see old mates, great to drink real beer and painful to be reminded of London prices.

We stayed with Post, who had visited us in Malawi, and spent the whole of Tuesday waiting for Wednesday to arrive; though we did fit in a delicious lunch and a cinema trip. The sooner the paperwork was done, the sooner we could get to Devon for our first home coming party.

Posted by ibeamish 03:19 Archived in England Comments (1)

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