Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Sting in the tail........

And everything had been going so well...................we pulled into the CC campsite near Scotch Corner, breaking the journey home into nice bits. A niceish drive on the A66 across the Penines which is getting very busy with heavy lorries and spoiling the views. We parked on our pitch but after going up on ramps on one side I discovered that the short cable was just 6 ins away from the hook-up and I couldn't be bothered to get the longer cable out so I thought the easiest solution was just to turn the van round. So I did and went up on the ramps on the other side.... and as I checked that everything was ok I noticed what I thought was a large piece of gravel stuck in the tread of the nearside front tyre and went to flick it out.......only it wasn't gravel but a very large piece of metal that was very firmly embedded. Rude words were said.This tyre was only purchased in January. The site wardens were very helpful with telephone nos. and yellow pages etc and we eventually contacted Kwik Fit Mobile. They seemed confident about locating a tyre for Tuesday - Wednesday and only wanted £208 - I paid £130 for it in Jan. But we were stuck as I wasn't going to drive anywhere with whatever it was sticking out of the tyre so paid up. However, they phoned back to say they had missed the deadline for Tuesday and the tyre wouldn't be delivered until wednesday and it might be 5pm so lets book you in for thursday. No...I'm going home,I have things to do, give me my money back I'm not sitting round for 3 days - especially since a local tyre place could get one for tuesday but couldn't come out to fit it. So I rang them to check and they confirmed 2pm AND only £135 fitted so we booked it in. I was tinkering with the idea of driving (slowly) the 5 miles to them but rang the AA on the offchance that they would come and take the wheel off and take it down for me. They hummed and hawed for a while then declined on the basis that they didn't carry 4 tonne jacks. You don't actually need a 4 tonne jack to lift a 4 tonne van at one corner, just a 1.5 tonne jack and we carry a 2.5 tonne one that will lift either front or rear axle but they are jobsworths and elf&safety rules. And I checked this out with people who know. Oh and no, we don't have spare wheel, just a Fiat Compressor thingy. But they decided it be 'easier' to send a recovery wagon and transport us the 5 miles. So at 11.30 on Tuesday, Charlie from Darlington Car & Commercial Recovery rang to check our vital statistics and was switched on enough to ask the length of the rear overhang which is substantial and decided on a very long low-loader fro us ( see pic). He was quite brilliant as we have heard horrendous stories abroad of French,Italian and Spanish recovery firms who have caused more damage than the original problems ( have a camera handy is the word on the street) . Every move was double checked, everything was done by inches, extra ramps laid when the overhang still proved too great, exiting the site under the trees was assessed and re-routed when he thought the branches were too low and it could not have been done with more care and attention and in a very jovial manner. Even the Gf was impressed and demanded (as if I needed urging) that we slip our Last £10 into his top pocket after he had deposited us at the tyre place with equal care. NIce one, Charlie ; thank you. Halls Autos were also top notch, and as they had to use a 6ft extension bar to remove the last nut ( Woodbridge Tyres having overtightened them all last Jan ) it was apparent that I would never have been able to get the wheel off myself. The foreign object stuck in the tyre was the remains of a large nut that must have sheared off from something (I trust it wasn't us) and 3/4 in was embedded in the tyre too close to the sidewall for repairing. Whilst I cursed my luck at having to replace a hardly worn tyre at £135, I also thanked my lucky stars that I had moved the van and thereby noticed the problem. The thought of being in the outside lane of the A14 in the midst of all the freight lorries and having a tyre burst is the stuff of nightmares so the money is incidental.
In the end, only delayed by 4 hours and back home -IN ONE PIECE- at 6.30pm, unloaded by 7.15 and down to the Maybush for a slap up meal in the garden by 8pm. Thank you and goodnight.

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