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hit the road jack (rose)

UNITED KINGDOM | Wednesday, 10 March 2010 | Views [858] | Comments [2]

We did it! Almost exactly four-and-a-half months after our big leaving party, we've fought her magnetic draw and managed to leave Brighton. And just to prove it, I'll add a photo soon of Huw locking his house for the last time. (And watch out! He's smiling!) We were waved off by our neighbours Jon and Michelle and great friend sexy Suze. Not quite believing we were finally off, we chuckled to ourselves as we took a mini detour to nostalgically rumble past the Pavilion and along the seafront.

Back in South Wales we spent a final special time with Huw's family. It felt a privilege to accompany his sister Suzie to her weekly session at the Touch Trust, down near Cardiff docks, where Karen and her colleagues provide an amazing service for mentally and physically disabled children and adults. We clapped, tinkled bells, banged drums and tambourines, danced with feathers and sheets of shimmering material, and finally relaxed in the darkened room as a thousand projected fish swam around the ceiling. I have never seen Suzie so relaxed and happy.

After a(nother) tearful farewell to Huw's family, this time in a layby, almost like something out of a film, we headed north-east to Leicestershire. I'd given Huw my nasty cold so he sat sniffing, sneezing and spluttering in the passenger seat - and I took the wheel. It had been a while, and I wasn't the most confident driver at the start to say the least, but I managed to drive Oddy all the way there, for nearly three hours, even getting her above 50mph - my fastest speed in her yet! That's when she really starts to weave her way into other lanes, especially when huge arctic lorries suck you towards them as they overtake you. Definitely not a pleasant drive at those moments, but generally loads of fun (nearly 4 tonnes of fun!) as any 101 owner will tell you. Of course, when we turned up at my Grandma's, my family were convinced I'd got in the driving seat just round the corner to drive the last few metres and impress them.

Grandma's 90th birthday was a delightful affair and she seemed suitably spoiled: 31 of her family and closest friends, good conversation, good food and plenty of bubbly. We wouldn't have missed it for the world, and the following evening, just the three of us, was unmissable too.

And now here we are: in the forecourt of Martin Howdle's Able Engineering making last minute additions and adjustments. I honestly don't know how we would have done these last few jobs without Martin. Huw fitted the overdrive yesterday - effectively a fifth gear, which should reduce the revs and therefore the noise and the fuel consumption, if only a little. I assisted by tightening nuts, finding all the tools and tiny spare parts that Huw needed (the truck is in a perpetual state of semi-organised mayhem but somehow I know where everything is) and fetching bacon and egg butties. Today we've removed our winch, on the recommendation of experienced overlanders, and Martin has fitted two water jerry can holders in its place, to balance our front/back weight disparity and allow us greater water storage capacity. Huw has rehung a new exhaust tail pipe, and we've just repositioned the number plate - I got to pop the final pop rivet!

The sun is setting over the industrial estate and the sky is pink. Everything feels surreal and serene. I miss my friends and family so much already, and can't believe that tomorrow night, at 11.45pm, we set sail for the Netherlands. Wish us luck...



personally i'm glad to get rid of you both. You've been here for way to long, and i have to say that i don't want you back for at least a year.
I hope your journey is VERY long, and winding.

  Lee Mar 17, 2010 7:50 AM


me too

Good luck

  Chris Apr 16, 2010 6:22 AM

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