You'd be forgiven for thinking that after my last post it was me who was breaking down, but it isn't. Although if this saga keeps dragging on it could be.
After finally getting all of the paperwork sorted and after a good start to the journey Tom and the bus broke down in Luxembourg friday afternoon. He stopped to check an unfamiliar noise and then she didn't want to start again. Flat out refused to even turn over. He tried the few tricks he knew but turned to me for help - he only has his mobile phone with him after all, no wifi access or travelling companion.
A few feeler emails went out, but by the far most of the help we received came from the Leyland Titan Yahoo group. These guys totally blew me away. Despite it being friday night and despite us being new members & owners the help came pouring in. Saturday morning Tom was getting help on the phone from an expert in the US, no less. Bloomin' amazing - I don't know how to begin to thank them.
Sadly though, all of their help hasn't got the bus back on the road - Tom is lacking the right tools to fix her so my next mission was to find a HGV breakdown recovery service in Luxembourg. This took some time - searching Google in English for a French speaking service isn't the quickest way to go about things but a few hours later luck sprung our way. 6 phone numbers were passed on to Tom and a further 2 for services in Belgium.
Of those 6 Lux numbers, 3 didn't work. 2 spoke French only and the last one didn't answer their phone. The ones in Belgium won't serve Luxembourg and didn't offer any other suggestions. You'd think at least one would get a result, eh? Stumped again.
Tom & Sheila have friends in that part of Europe, friends who know their big rigs and might know mechanics. A friend of a friends lives in Lux and has offered to help translate. We still have options but it's getting kinda frustrating to try an avenue only to find a dead end - it keeps happening over and over. Every bit of help we receive or every suggestion we get in sounds promising then falls flat on it's face.
We're fairly certain what's wrong with her - it's all pointing to a starter problem i.e. the starter itself has packed up as all the other tricks to get her started have failed. It's a huge pain but could have happened at any time, and Tom's kinda glad it didn't happen on the ferry. The guy from the US is confident he can get a spare part and Tom's confident he could fit it, but the spare part would need to be sourced and shipped and with the current airport & flying delays and consequent traffic build up it won't be here yesterday. On the other hand, we've heard tales of double deckers sat waiting for years for a spare starter but we're thinking our engine type is well known and spares still exist. Or at least we're hoping so.
Before Tom gets ordering a spare part he wants a mechanic to check it and confirm that yes, it is the starter, and not some other problem. Many European countries have a ban on commercial vehicles being on the road on a sunday, and if we do find one willing to come out the weekend fee would be ridiculous. So we're taking a day off from the searching and stress and waiting till monday, presuming we can find a HGV mechanic and get a translator.
Last night I got thinking that it might be easier to get the bus towed all the way down here and fix her here, because then at least Tom would be home with the right tools and we know mechanics in this part of the world. But then I'm not sure that 2 days of towing an 11 tonne beast is practical or affordable.
Anyhows... work continues to take a back seat. I'm endeavouring to keep up with emails but not always succeeding. Aran has conceded and popped back into his daytime routine with proper daytime naps which is most helpful. I've overcome a personal hurdle and have braved the main roads and the dodgie Italian drivers and have been taking Aran into nursery on the bike, which feels amazing. It's not all bad, but it is still a struggle and it's exhausting. Tom's been away 11 days already and we have no idea when he'll be back.
Each day we wake up with renewed energy and get on with the next stage of the rescue mission - we'll get there. The help we've received has been overwhelming and it's bound to prove fruitful. Thank you everyone.