Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, foreign travel in 2020 was problematic and, as we couldn’t go south into Europe nor could we cross the Atlantic to Canada, we decided to drive north up the A1, following the route of the Great North Road. Everywhere was extremely busy as folk were eager to make the most of the excellent summer weather. We stopped to admire the now derelict Ram Jam Inn in Rutland, frequented in the 18th century by Dick Turpin. We travelled north slowly and eventually reached Dumbarton where we spent a few days with family before turning south. We stopped at Poulton-Le-Fylde for another family visit and finished our Tour by visiting friends, Judith and David who lived near Cookham. We spent a wonderful afternoon on the Thames in their river launch, well supplied with beer, wine and nibbles.
We didn’t waste the weeks we were locked down at home and we continued to carry out modifications to our truck. Toby Butlin (our nephew) of Marine Decking Services replaced our inferior vinyl flooring with marine grade decking which he normally supplied to boat owners. The result was amazing, both visually and practically and we were hugely indebted to Toby for his efforts on our behalf.
Our Class 7 MOT had expired but, because our vehicle weighed 15 tons, we struggled to find a company able to carry out the test. After a couple of failed attempts we found Ian Meader of IM Services in Romsey who cheerfully carried out the MOT and we passed with flying colours.
We needed to find somewhere on the vehicle to store our heavy snow chains and tow rope. The rear of the vehicle was already carrying enough weight so we wanted a store box at the front of the vehicle. Mark Blackburn of Blackburn Trailers did a wonderful job designing and fitting a removable metal box attached to our front tow bar which would contain this scarcely used but essential gear.
Mark of Breeze Blinds had the fiddly job of designing and fitting insulating blinds to the cab windows and windscreen. These helped protect the cab from sunlight and the cold as well as being a security asset.
All these one off jobs were carried out at reasonable cost and with great skill, innovation and humour. We were grateful for the expertise of such fine craftsmen working in our local area.
RIP Ken de la Hunty on 12th November 2020