Those who read my thread the other day about listening to your doctor, well this is what that was all about...
After a week or so of slowly feeling better each day, and with the deadline of needing to replace my Estate looming, I decided to shop around and find another car. After searching in the usual places - PH, Autotrader, eBay etc -I turned to different forums and their Classifieds sections, whereupon I stumbled across a car that ticked all the boxes and at a reasonable price.
After a few investigatory posts on a few different sites, and following a few days of negotiation, I secured a hefty discount (33% ) , and then set about the logistics of picking the car up. The only problems I had to overcome were that I wasn't yet cleared to drive/be a passenger (although I wasn't banned on medical grounds so-to-speak, I was advised it could set me back in my recovery) and that there wasn't anyone who could take me there to pick it up...
oh and the small matter of the car being the opposite end of the country. 257 miles away to be precise.
Undetered, I started looking into things more. A favour here, a deal there, and it was sorted!! So on Monday, I dragged my rather reluctant backside out of bed at 5:00 to get a lift from my Dad to catch a train. Now, the car was in the north of England I must add at this point, and I'm from East Anglia. Why on earth I decided to get the train SOUTH to Colchester I'm not sure, but that it what I did
I was met at the station by Jon (fourteenhundred16v), who after we came to a steal (sorry - deal) on a price for my Veccy GSi Recaro Interior agreed to be my chauffeur for the day.
With rucsack packed with chocolate, crisps, auto-routes, and a camera, we were set for our roadtrip .
Catching the stupid o'clock train to Colchester was bad enough, but the beginning of the journey got off to a bad start.
Looking at the Autoroutes, the quickest/shortest alternatives would have taken us to the M25 in the middle of rush hour, so we decided to take the slightly more complex (but hopefully quicker) route down a few A roads and meet the motorways a bit further up. What a silly idea that was
We reset the odometer when we left the station, and by the time we actually got out of Colchester, we'd already clocked up 8 miles. Our route said we should only have travelled 0.7miles, so we knew we'd gone wrong there somewhere
The next couple of hours went more or less the same, we'd be driving along, following the map and looking at the signs, when suddenly a village would appear. "thats not on the map" or "why aren't we on THIS road (points to map)" ?? Ah well never mind, we decided to throw the autoroute away until we hit somewhere recognizeable, and plumped for Cambridge as the point to reassess. I mean, how hard can a town that size be to find?
By the time we got to Cambridge it was 10:30... we'd been travelling 2 hours, and gone the grand total of 68 miles. Annoyingly, the Auto Route said it should have been a 1hr 20min journey, and less than 52 miles. Ooops
After a couple of laps of Cambridge ("aren't the buildings nice?" "yeah, its part of the university... I think we saw them a minute ago too...") we finally hit the open road and began to make progress. Slowly but surely we crawled our way through the very heart of England.
You know I mentioned the camera earlier? For recording our roadtrip through humourous pictures? well that never happened, as I turned it on to be greeted by the FLAT BATTERIES indicator. No biggie I thought, I brought spares... FLAT BATTERIES... bugger (hence the lack of pics in the thread so far!)
Anyway, back to the journey. We had expected to arrive at our desitination between 1pm and 2pm. Well we weren't far out TBH, but only after a blat down the M6 Toll (what a great idea - a near empty road, and no speed cameras! ) caught us up some time. We were however now 29 miles over what Autoroute said we ought to have been
After a quick stop to stretch our legs, go pee, and fill our bellies at the services in Warrington, we drove for a further half an hour and arrived at the blokes house. Well, almost. We drove up and down unable to find it, so rang him and he came to meet us
By now I was feeling more than a bit "crook" after riding in the car for all that time, so we took it a bit steady nosing round the car, which looked in relatively good order, especially for the price and its age
While I went inside to sort the paperwork and stand there like a lemon in his kitchen with his mum in her dressing gown (the bloke had lost the service history etc since reading it to me over the phone and had to go look for it) Jon trotted 30yds down the road to where a fellow AOC member, Lee (f4f100uk), was playing with his car. small world huh?!
A quick test drive later, and then a bit more standing about chatting with Lee, and the cash was handed over and we hit the road again, this time in seperate cars.
I'd like to put at this point that the journey home was uneventful, we came straight back and got home in no time. Unfortunatley however much I'd like to, I can't
we made at least 6 (six!) stops on the journey back, the first after taking the wrong road out of Chester and heading into Wales instead of heading North to the motorway, the second after we spent 10 miles testing the car's acceleration out on the motorway only to realise we were going the wrong way (oops my bad!). The third stop came at Watford Gap services, after we got carried away with our good progress down the M6 and completely missed the A14
At this point I was feeling quite sicky, so after another one of my horse-strength prescription painkillers we decided not to turn back but to head direct back to the A14 via the shortest apparent route, which was via the Northampton Ring Road. I think you can guess where stops number 4 and 5 came .
After finally finding the A14, we were more or less home and dry. We stopped at the point where we joined the road, and decided upon the final leg of the journey (TBH I was grateful for the stops at this point). We were to stay together until the A11 turn-off, where I would then turn and head home, leaving John in a little comfort zone with a choice of three junctions to miss/hit depending on his navigational skills
An hour and a bit later, and I was home, and shortly afterwards I received a text saying Jon had made it too. The damage? A tank and a half of petrol, a 533 mile round trip (it was 267 miles alone for the return journey), and a 14 1/2 hour day
All thats left to post I guess, are the pics.
as I said above, the camera died so I only managed to get these three pics from one of the stops we made at a service station.
After all that effort to pick the car up, what I really wanted to do the next day was get cracking on it. Unfortunatley that's not been possible, as the lengthy spells in the car have really taken their toll to the point where I've spent the best part of two days in bed ever since
Still, after being kicked out of the bed for a little while by the missus who wanted to change the bedding, I ambled outside and got a few pics. I also got the OH to take a few of things I couldnt manage, so I've now got a few more to show you
its quite clean and tidy, no major rust anywhere apart from a bit of surace bubbling on the front arch (nothing that flatting back and treating won't cure, as its not gone through to the inside of the panel at all)... there's a few minor niggles and things I need to sort out with the interior, but on the other hand there's a couple things that have been done and thus have saved me spending money fitting them
I'll post more pics and details a bit later as its getting late now and I've rambled on enough