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Last Updated 08/06/2010 18:22:42
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The Trip

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Collection Day

So, the big day finally arrived...  On the 22nd September, we travelled up to Lancaster, staying in Hellifield Peel Castle for the night so we could arrive nice and early on the 23rd.  We've watched our fair share of Grand Designs, so to stay in the winner of the 2007 series was kind of odd.  Its a very grand looking building in a smashing location, although the quality of the finish of the renovation in some places is a little disappointing.  Still, overall costs must have been enormous and no doubt they have plans to improve things over time.  The 3ft deep marble bath in the bedroom looked a little out of place, although it was lovely to be able to sit upright in a bath and practically have your shoulders underwater - no 'cold bit shuffle' required!  The hosts were lovely though, and breakfast was tasty - £125 for the night was a bit steep, but I guess you're paying for the accommodations quirkiness as much as anything.

 

So, morning arrived and, once we'd had a snoop around the rest of the castle, we headed off to collect our new home.  Or so we thought... Not so great with early mornings, we eventually made it to Atkinson Vos at about half eleven, went and fawned over Moglet (the cab has been painted a darker shade of blue, and looks great :-)), Jason then had a bit of a tour of the mechanicals from Michael.  At this point, Jason noticed the radiator hadn’t been changed, which is something he'd asked for some time ago.  Not a problem, they had a new one in the workshop and would fit it straight after lunch.  In the meantime, we decided to take all the necessary paperwork to the local post office to get a tax disc.  This is where it all started to go a bit wrong...

 

Firstly, we realised we'd managed to leave the V5 at home, 5hours drive away.  Not a great start.  A call to the DVLA confirmed we could still tax the vehicle without it, but as she'd been out of the country for a few years and hadn't had a tax disc for a while so no reminder had been issued, we would need the customer reference number from the front of the V5 before they could trace her, and that reference number would also have to be added to a supplementary form to allow us to get the disc.  This isn’t something the DVLA keep on their records as its apparently for customer reference only - are you following so far??!!  I then called my sister, who lives about 45mins drive from us at home, asked her to throw her two boys into the back of the car (gently!) and race round to mine, pick up the V5 and call me with the reference number.  Ten minutes later, she had the boys strapped into their seats, car keys in her hand, when I opened the back door of my car in sunny Lancaster and the V5 fell out.  Oops.  Quick call to Jenny (the sister), the kids are unstrapped and we're off to the Post Office for our tax disc.  Wrong again...  Apparently the break in taxation means an additional form has to be filled in (what is it with us Brits and form filling??), not too bad so far, but it also meant a new disc could only be issued by the nearest DVLA office - for us, that meant Preston, an hours drive away.  By this time, it was just after 3pm.  So we toddled back to Atkinson Vos, told them about the change of plan, and they scratched their head and looked a little puzzled as this isn't something they'd ever come up against before.  Just in case we didn’t have the correct facts from the man in the local post office, armed with our newly discovered V5 we called the DVLA back, only to be told that Moglet was already taxed!!!!  So after all that, all we really needed was a duplicate tax disc - but can you guess who has to issue those?  That'll be the local DVLA office then!  So back to Atkinson Vos we went, told Simon we needed to get to Preston, and who knew how long they'd take to process it all, so chances were we'd not get back to High Bentham before Atkinson Vos closed for the day.  So no Moglet :-(  But we'd been waiting for months and months, so another day wasn’t going to kill us.

 

We hot-footed it to Preston in double quick time, trawled round an industrial site and eventually found the DVLA office.  Fifteen minutes and £7 later, there we were with Moglet's tax disc in hand :-)  Road works and rush hour traffic made a mess of the journey back though, so we arrived well after all the Atkinson Vos people had gone home for the evening.  Simon had kindly booked a room for us in a local pub though, and for £65 for the night it was a little easier on the wallet.  Very nice room it was too, comfy bed with a shower so powerful it felt like it was drilling holes in my scalp!

 

The next morning, we went to collect Moglet (again!).  As seems to be the nature of these things, there was lots of waiting around and tea drinking.  Sincere thanks to Tom at Atkinson Vos who was extremely helpful, not only explaining the whole tyre removal and replacement process on their hydraulic machine, but also working up a real sweat and endangering his front teeth by showing us how to do the whole thing manually - a little bit of technique, a fair amount of swearing and an awful lot of brute force seemed to be the key to success!  So a couple of 3ft tyre irons also got added to the shopping list...

 

Once both the spares had been strapped to the back, Jason hauled himself in to the drivers seat and started her up for the first time :-)  We pootled over the road into the Atkinson Vos car park, and took advantage of their outdoor tap to fill up the water tank.  We also then promptly managed to completely over-fill the water tank, causing it to expand so much it started to lift the floor inside the cab!  A quick review of the manual and opening of the tank valve resolved that, although we continued to dribble water from various points underneath for a few hours...

 

Then it was time to hit the road!  We had a pitch booked at High Laning campsite in the very pretty Dent village, about 20 miles away.  We had a chat with Simon and he suggested filling up with diesel at a local station as there wasn’t much in the tanks, and then topping up the other two (we wanted to fill all three to test distance, handling etc) in Ingleton.  He kindly gave us directions down quite possibly the smallest, twistiest most winding road with parked cars all over the place, that I think I've ever been down - once we eventually popped out the other end of the road in Ingleton, we saw the 'Not suitable for HGVs' sign that wasn't displayed at the High Bentham end!  Still, it was a real trial by fire for Jason, and he passed with flying colours :-)

 

After that, we headed straight for the campsite, parked up for the night (£33 for two nights!  Seemed a lot to me for off-season camping...), and got to grips with our first night in Moglet.  The site owners weren't around so there wasn’t any power for the first night, but that wasn’t really a problem.  We'd brought a gas stove with us, and the solar panels on the roof had put plenty of charge in the batteries for lights and the microwave.  Jason managed to figure out the hot air heating system pretty quickly, although the hot water had him foxed until the next day, when he realised the radiator replacement a couple of days earlier had probably introduced air bubbles into the system - once they were bled off, we also had hot water.  All the comforts of home!  For anyone staying at High Laning without their own shower though, don’t forget your 20p's...

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