travel - Driving to Austria

Fri 12 Jul 1996
David Fearon

It was awful. Austria was too near so we thought we (A+D) would empty Andrew's house to Southampton to make it take longer. So, we bought a tow bar, fitted it went to rent a trailer, not the sort of squiffy half baked thing that comes Austria but a BIG trailer. I left my keys at the trailer 'park'. Took hours to find that out. Got to S'ton eventually. 40 mph on the hills on the M4, the trailer was that big. After getting the trailer unloaded, not helped by it not opening - a bit of wood had slipped onto the roller shutter (I forced Andrew to go caving in it), we turned back to collect wallet on front lawn. Eventually, back to Bristol at 3.00am bed by 3.40 up to make sandwiches at 5.40am. Packing again. We found another Andy in Bristol so we put him in too, with gear on top. S'ton again, then 7oaks then finally Austria after reversing into a french car, reversing on a German motorway and having the greatest time of my life with Andy Cooke & some polystyrene ceiling tiles for friends. I was left wondering one thing do they have a repeating pattern or not.

Diagramatic summary.

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13/7/96 | Driving to Austria | Tina & Mike TA & Corrosion the Metro York is too far down Britain by half. Took ages just driving to the channel. Seacat was fun. Thought I'd been clever, thought I'd raided the money tin for all the loose coppers just right + sorted it into a few French + a few German. However, on ordering deux fricondelle, the man at the frite stall shrugged gallickly (?can spell) at my dosh. It was out of date. He asked what other spondulies I had in my possession - Belgium, Luxembourg. I answered him nay + he didn't want German or Austrian or English. Roll on EU's that's what I say. He shrugged, I shrugged, we both shrugged. He gave me the butties. Very nice too. very embarassing.

Getting on fine after that. Stopped for some kip in a nice layby. Even thought of getting the shiny new [Warning Triangle] sign out + putting it behind us. Got woke up by a "helpfull" German or Luxemburgois or foreign bugger with unfortunately good English who kept explaining repeatedly at great length why it was dangerous to kip where we were. We moved. Got worried the car might roll onto us. We know our car. Moved again. Woke up to find a woodlouse crawling on my neck.

Set off again. Last leg. Soon be at Hilda's. Temp gauge a bit dicky. Later on water leaking + steam coming out. Lots of helpful Germans pointing at our car + saying "ganz Wasser" + similar. We had noticed in Pforzheim tankstelle thing. Big brown puddle all over their clean German forecourt. Cooling system sans wasser (sorry, dunno G. for 'without'). Never fear, out with the gaffer tape, clean the rest of the end of the pipe where the leak is, reattach the rubber hose and hey presto, of we go... It was nice to note some Germans smiling that we'd got it going. They'd all been pointing and smirking at our rust before. (TTR 20mins)

...into Austria. Turn off autobahn & temp gauge needle hits the end. Stop pronto, open bonnet - ahha - fixing leak has produced hole in the pipe at the other end. Two attempts to bodge it with (a) gaffer tape (b) cloth & (c) hose clip fail. Out came spare hose (a bit too big 'cos its for Rover*), hacksaw and so forth. Patch it up and off we go... (TTR 1hour) temp gauge hits roof again - into garage forecourt to find original fix has now worked loose.

Steal all the water (??? garage is shut) - even the thermos flask was pressed into action - tighten up leak, nick all the water - yeh - get to Staud'n'wirt and YOU'VE ALL SODDED OFF!


* If necessary, ask an old lag

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