If you've been following the saga that is our new bus, you'll understand that this post title is good news!
The energy just hasn't been here to keep the blog updated, or little else really. I spoke too soon when I said previously that Aran had got back into his normal routine - the truth is quite the opposite. Having a child who is normally happy and peaceful switch to regular tantrums, night-time tantrums even, is a sign things aren't right. Exhaustion? You got it.
The friend of a friend in Lux that I mentioned in my last post has proved the most fruitful - not only was he able to run Tom around and find tools, but he also offered to let us use his address for having the spare part couriered. And it turns out that not only have we bought a beast with a superb engine (Gardner 180) we've also bought a beast with an engine that spare parts can easily be found for.
Spare part promptly paid for and ordered, due to arrive in Lux tuesday morning. Tom would have already been away 13 days at this point.
In a rather timely fashion, Tom's bank decided to block his card for 'unusual activity' and of course being a bank, failed to tell him. We found out via the courier, because the spare part had been held due to unauthorised payment. The courier uses PayPal to collect payments so it could be them who triggered it. Why we still don't know why, but it's likely the use of his card in a different country prompted it. Because, y'know, we never travel and have never been through Luxembourg before and have never used his card there before either. Really. Seriously Lloyds TSB, you should know by now that using a card in a different country is normal activity for us.
Anyhows - that took a day to sort out in itself and was probably the most stressful day so far. Tom needed to phone his bank to clear the blocking but didn't have enough credit on his phone and couldn't top up because the nominated card was blocked. It was one of those sorts of days. But we battled on, ended up paying for the courier twice (and we're still waiting on that refund) and the part finally arrived a day later than expected.
And without hesitation, the part was fitted and the bus started without problem! The happy sound of a bus engine running over the phone was one of the most welcome calls ever.
Wednesday afternoon Tom picked up the journey and hit the German border later that evening. From there he headed south towards Austria (for crossing the Alps - easier to cross there with a big vehicle than Switzerland) and on into Italy. He arrived in Italy about 6am this morning and has allowed himself a sleep before driving the 400km home. We're expecting him sometime this evening, and we can't wait to see him.
Nightmare that this whole thing has been, it could have been worse. A starter motor is an easy thing to remedy with the right part (I've changed them myself on smaller vehicles) and they can go at any time (although there are normally signs but having only owned her for a short time we didn't know... the previous owner told us there had been an alternator problem at one point but in hindsight we'd say it was the starter on the way out) It's a risk you take when driving big, old vehicles several thousand kilometres across Europe; we're grateful that's all it was, and that the engine is happy.
I owe knitterly thanks to two wonderful friends for their help: Yvonne @ All That Stash for putting me in touch with the bus community, without whom we'd never have learnt as much about our new bus. And to Kate @ Knitting Badger for putting us in touch with her friend in Luxembourg who has been a star for running Tom around and helping him find the right tools. Many thanks also go to the bus community, especially Damion, who phoned Tom from the US (!) and helped diagnose the problem, and to Adil, for driving Tom all over Lux, in a Porsche no less. Superstars, all of them.
Tom's been blogging the journey from his phone - http://mowpie992.blogspot.com/
And now, to relax with my boy and recoup some energy - Tom's coming home today :)