Thursday, August 06, 2009

Road Trip

A house in 2 halves on the road, other half is ahead

Click on the photo.Do you see Homer?

Just back from a road trip to Wales.
The trip has been planned to bring home the contents of my sons house from Mid Wales and return them to Northern Ireland

I went by ferry via Rosslare to Pembroke.
I would have done better going Dublin via Holyhead.
Then I could have shown you the town name sign for the longest place name in the UK LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLGOGOGOCH or to English that for you, "The Church of St.Mary in the hollow of white hazel,near to a rapid whirlpool and to St. Tyilids Church,and near to a red cave"
It used to be the longest place name in the world but they have been beaten.

Next time you see Tom or Cathrine Jones ask them to pronounce it for you.

But I digress. I had rung around for price and found Avis one of the best, so I was allowed to collect the van on Monday the bank holiday to be on the boat at 8.45 am the next day.

Problem one came when they insisted on charging me 3 days rental even though we had agreed that it would be 2 days hire. But they relented and wrote on the agreement 2 day hire only to be charged. (The 3 day was for insurance reasons)

So up at 5 am and I got into Rosslare in plenty of time. Doing it through Holyhead I would have saved 150 kms and an hour in bed, plus a crossing in half the time.
The drive up to their house was good, but through the mountains in fog on bad roads, not a trip for winter by any means.

I had a rest and a bit of a walk about. I got into the van and tried to move it closer to the house, but it wouldn't start.
The key would turn but the starter would nor engage.
Later on I tried it again and away she went!

A warning for the future.

After eating something we loaded up the van for a 6 am start.

Out we came and tried the van....NOTHING.!

Just like the night before.

We were on a hill so I jump started it and off we went for 1/2 a mile then on a roundabout she cut out again.

A Welshman called Dilwyn Llewellyn who pulled us to the brow of a steep hill.Another big jump start and no joy. I ran the van off the road and decamped on to the grass.

So I rang some of the numbers which were on the windscreen...All in Ireland.......After much toing and froing The AA helpline rang me back from INDIA!

I am a patient chap but the only questions I wanted to hear was What is your AA 5 star policy number? and where are you now? Followed by "Help is on the way"

I exploded at be being asked to spell my home address phonetically as all the calls were being charged at the overseas rate. I hung up before I had a heart attack.

My son who had a UK phone rang back and Avis said they were on the case.

I did say that there was a red light flashing on the speedometer and the Avis people didn't know what it could be.

Now we were faced with missing the boat, so I read the manual.

The flashing light was the imobilizer and the keys were coded and the flashing light meant that the key I was using was not coded!
I changed keys and Eureka away we went, racing against time through the Welsh mountains looking at the sheep of Johnes and Williams and no doubt the sheep or farmer Llewellyn as well.

After 3/4 of an hour the Avis people rang us back from Dublin to say that they were organizing help from the AA and they would be contacting us soon.

I wouldn't like to be stuck up a mountain with 3 screaming kids and an axe murderer on the prowl and depending on the AA as my only source of help.

We made the boat and after the 4 hour crossing we went into The Whitford House Newline Rd,Wexford for food.
Why does it take 1/2 an hour for a waiter to take an order?
A good spot if you are not in a hurry.
Then straight up to Ulster where we arrived after midnight, the neighbours helped us all unload and then after a cup of tea it was a sleep until 4/30 and back home.

I had the van back before 8am deadline and like the day I took it from them the guys were having problems processing the form.

There is a limit of 300 Kms per day allowance on the van. In 2 days I had almost hit 1,000Kms and the didn't know how to remove the third day. The charge per Km is 7 cent.Also there was a fuel surcharge which would be removed when the van was given back full,which it was, he didn't know how to take that off.

But what do you know he did know all about the 2 keys and that one only started the van.

Rental companies are very tricky they said everything was Kosher, I don't know.

I will get the agreement back in the post tomorrow.

One thing which I observed in Wetherspoons pub.
A guy was talking to the floor staff.

"How are you? I ant seen you in a while." Naw Ive been in Afghanistan mate,just back I am"
There was a strange moment which should have been filled with.

"Its great you came home safe,,have a pint on the house".
"I hope you don't have to go back once is enough"
"Well done, the people here are proud of you"

Nothing, just a long pause. Then the soldier asked what were the specials tonight?..

Strange one that or what?

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