Wednesday, 27 July 2016

A difficult day

This is what a very difficult day looks like.



It is the back of my car.  The big round thing on the left is where you plug in the caravan electrics.  The gap on the right is where the detachable Wittar towball should be.

The plans for today was so simple:  fit towball, hitch up caravan, drive to Penrith and leave the caravan to have her annual service.  We all know that PLAN is often a four-letter-word at Bag End and never was that so true as today. It wasn't catastrophic, or disastrous, or horrendous.  No-one got hurt and all the problems can be resolved, but it was difficult and stressful and I'm writing it down to get it out of my head and to move on.

So after a nice walk with Daisy I went to fit the towball.  And failed. It has always been a real pain to get the unit to lock into place but having never used this system before I knew no better.  With Management in London and an appointment to keep I came inside, made a coffee and had a look at You Tube.  When I watched this little film I knew I was in trouble



I had just spent 45 minutes failing to do what should take less than 45 seconds.  Houston, we have a problem.

So I phoned Wittar technical support.  20 minutes later their very helpful chap agreed that the unit was failed/bust/definitely not well.

So I phoned the car dealership in Carlisle who supplied and fitted it.  Thank goodness they have a branch in Cockermouth where I'm well known from our Honda days.  Thank goodness their wonderful service manager is familiar with detachable towballs.  He tried, he repeated everything I had already done, there was much WD40 and grease.  Eventually he got the unit into the chassis flange, and then I made him take it out because we could both see it wasn't 100%.  I happen to know he's a reserve fire-fighter and I asked him "how can we risk you getting a Shout this afternoon because the A66 is shut and you've got to cut someone out of a crushed vehicle because a caravan detached from a towcar and caused a pile-up".  Later this afternoon I got confirmation that the offending item is on its way back to Wittar to be repaired/replaced.

But in the meantime I had a caravan that needed to be 30 miles away for a service tomorrow.  So I called the only person I could think of with a towball on the back of their car - LP.  Who is recovering from minor surgery and not allowed to do anything strenuous but permitted to drive.  Bless him, a couple of hours later he came round and we proceeded to move the caravan onto the road, hitched it up and that was when we found that a modern caravan electric socket has 13 pins, but a van socket which is designed only to tow a farm trailer has just seven.

At this point I accepted The Universe really, really did not want me to take the caravan down the A66 today.

Thankfully the workshop I was taking it to is run by one of the kindest, most understanding people I have ever met.  I had kept Ron apprised of the days developments as they unfolded but the final call to say "I'm not going to make it" was hard to make.  We're booked back in, but not until the end of next month which was the first available day.

  
I've learnt a lot today.  I have learnt that this towball has probably been faulty from Day One.  I have learnt how kind people are when you ask for help (I'm not very good at asking for help).  I've learnt that, actually, I can keep my cool and a sense of proportion.  I've learnt that Daisy can be utterly selfish and not even remotely sympathetic when I'm having a tough day and she wants to play.

I don't need sympathy, it's only a bloomin' caravan.  After the events of recent days in France and Germany I am not going to get bent out of shape about this, although I am saddened that it is unlikely I will have the towball fixed in time to have a short break in the caravan next week.  I am starting to wonder if I am jinxed when it comes to taking our lovely Lunar away?








12 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It certainly is Sue, albeit a very slow and quiet one (and very wet too, so none of the planned gardening).

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  2. oh how stressful, I hate everything about car maintenance, it seems like the universe is out to get me everytime. We just had our car serviced and now it's making the most horrendous noise.......... an expensive sort of one............
    hope you get to go caravanning soon x

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    1. Oh Tess, I do hope your car is OK. Assume you are taking it back to the garage who did the service?

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  3. B--, b--, b--, but hopefully all will be OK & we must be thankful for helpful people. Pity about your time away & Daisy just has 'attitude', her own. Take care.

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    1. Thanks Susan, certainly not the best of days but could have been so much worse. Part of my stress was not wanting to let down the servicing guy (small business, tight schedules, bla bla bla) but the worst of it was learning that the detachable part has always been faulty and trying not to think about what could have happened if it had failed whilst towing . . . .

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  4. Really pleased that everything worked out OK in the end.

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  5. Oh my! I'm glad everything worked out in the end. I go crazy if my plans go awry. Hopefully you've had a better day today. X

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    1. Thanks Jules. It would have been easy to get all bent out of shape about this but all that would have done was increase my stress level. As I said to Susan, the most horrible bit has been trying not to think about what could have happened whilst towing.

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  6. Good grief what a day! Well done you coping and surviving and making contingency plans. Fingers crossed that you still get away x message to Daisy ... play makes the day a whole lot better, love and wuffs Moss 🐶

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    1. Hi Hawthorn, thank you for understanding :-) In The.Great.Scheme.Of.Things it's no biggie and I will get the caravan away some other time.

      Message to Moss from Daisy - when you're with a lovely new family, EVERY day is a play day!

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