One Man's Madness / Part 17
One day our trusty Ford Galaxy’s gearbox suddenly stopped engaging reverse. The Galaxy was good enough to allow this to happen just outside the house so, apart from a bit of pushing back into a parking space, there was no trauma. However, it was an automatic and repairs would have cost more than we paid for the car. Sadly, we ebayed it (for a surprisingly reasonable price) and came to rely more heavily on the little Citroen C2 which Shuwop had given us. A great little car but not up to hauling toolage to the Essex estate, so it was back online looking for something suitable.
Despite the Galaxy fail, we still wanted an automatic. In the UK, as soon as you hit the road you’re sitting in traffic. Even the motorways are often bumper to bumper. In terms of gear changes, these can be in the order of thousands per average trip. Not good for people with back and knee troubles which Georgie and I were both experiencing, off and on, at the time.
So I’m looking for another 7 seater with an automatic box, but I’m not having much luck. Everything seems a couple of grand out of reach. Then I spot a shiny blue 15 seater Vauxhall Movano min-bus! My mind instantly starts grinding on the potential, with a few seats taken out, of this vehicle. A brief and hesitant discussion with the Mrs, and then I’m bidding for it. I got it for about 3 grand less than any of the 7 seaters I’d been looking at! (Apparently most mini-bus drivers prefer a manual box.)
Georgie and Isla were away, so Hazel and I planned a trip to the Science Museum in London, followed by a train trip out to the suburbs south of the river. The vendor met us at the station and we had a good old toot around before settling down to swap cash for papers.
After the exchange Hazel and I set off in a state of high excitement laced with anxiety. Would the thing die on us before we made it home?
It didn’t. We had a smooth uneventful run round the M25 and up the M1. We were both very taken with the vehicle. “You can see so much from here,” said Hazel. Georgie and Isla were less taken with it when they saw how big it actually was compared to the Galaxy, but a few camping runs - including a 3 week foray into France - and they began to see its merits.
Of course, for me, the way was now open for much easier toolage hauling to the Essex estate and I began to make more regular visits. These began to include the bringing in of recycled pallet wood. I’d found a source, near home, of sturdy outsize commercial pallets. These were made of 2 and 2.6 metre 4 by 2s - very substantial bits of timber and I began visiting the pallet site regularly to dismantle the things and stuff them into the van. I even acquired a small trailer to increase capacity.
- One Man's Madness / Part 18
The continuing saga of one man's 60 year love affair with 2,5 acres of Essex countryside.
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