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  • Writer's pictureMel @ wood_job

The Beginning of The End... Again! Part 2

The Gloves Are Off

So, November… I think I’ll never stop being in absolute awe for people who have the ability to plan a holiday… and then actually go through with it!

We tried and we failed, but as always from one „bad” thing, ten good ones flourished!

Our plan was to do the last deliveries of the year in the beginning of December, and then take the car, the child and the trailer and go to Italy for a few weeks - we wanted to spend the Christmas and New Year’s there and come back in mid January, recharged and ready to get back to work and the moving matter.

As always, it ended exactly the other way around.

In mid November we went home (to the UK) with two cars - Maciej and Rita in lexus, and me in the van, the Smurf, filled with parquet up to the ceiling. We did that, because the car needed to see the mechanic, our mechanic in London; after the adventures with mechanics in Poland, we’ve come to a conclusion that it’s better to drive 1200 km to get this sorted rather than do it in PL and praying afterwards that for once they actually did their job and nothing will break down on us somewhere in Europe or right on the driveway.. and we’ve had both happen before with our beloved, retired red old buddy ;)

I know, I know, I do write a lot about our cars, but as I always say, cars are not cars - they are like family members, like children. You give them love, and they love you back. All of our cars has been proving this to be true over the years, and at that time the Smurf being a new addition to the family, was about to show us… well, me in particular. Read on!

So we went! For me, it was the first time crossing the border with parquet in the back, and by myself - in a van. I actually did cross a border with about 40 m2 of parquet flooring in lexus back in 2020… to my surprise no one asked me a single question about it back then! ;) And for the first time, no one asked me about anything this time either. The French and UK police checked my passport, no one asked me to open „ze back”, they just let me through!

After a 2 hour wait for the ferry, we got on board, but on different decks. That meant that on the UK side we were leaving the ferry separately. On the UK soil I got lucky again - as I was leaving, I waved to the police and smiled, they waved back… I did it! I was free! Haha. But then as I was passing the „search hangar”, I noticed a familiar car.. and a familiar man… Yep, they did it - they took Maciej for a search instead of me! We’re both still laughing about the irony there ;)

They asked him tons of questions like:

- Who this cars belongs to?

  • Me

  • Can I see the logbook?

  • Of course!

  • When did you buy the car?

  • About four years ago.. I think

  • When did the car leave the UK last time?

  • I don’t know (the right answer was: in December 2021, when my wife went to Poland with it :P)

  • Do you have anything dangerous in the car?

  • Only the child (… :D)

They told them to get out and set a new record in making a mess - later Maciej told me that when Rita opened the door to get back in, she said: look what a mess they’ve done!

And to impress Rita with that is, well… quite hard, since usually she’s the one to cause chaos wherever she happens to be… ;)

While they were being questioned and searched, I went to the petrol station where we’ve reunited about 20 minutes later, and from there off we went home - to London. Straight to the mechanic!

The next day was my delivery debut - with the Smurf not being as comfortable as crafter, I figured Maciej and Rita can stay and go on the usual charity shop hunt (as I mentioned before, we do reclaim everything - how consistent of us, ha!) and I’ll do the deliveries.

They were happy, I was happy AND scared. Happy that we won’t be cramped in the front with countless pee stops (Rita) and feet in our faces (also Rita) and scared because It was my test of how good driver I really am… As it turned out, I managed! I did all the deliveries and without accidentally killing anyone, or breaking anything… Once again, I was so damn proud of myself!

That was the beginning of the „baby driver era” - since that time it was only me doing the deliveries and it remains so until now. As always, Maciej and Rita inspired me on that front.

Second year in a row I spent my birthday in the van - back in 2021 it was that disastrous ride from Poland (there’s a story about that titled: „Those who want a mule without fault, must walk on foot”), and now in 2022 it was a ride back to Poland. Also quite disastrous, but not as drastic - this time it was the limited space in the Smurf and Rita’s feet and everything all over the front seats… When we finally arrived in Trzcianka, I just said to Maciej: „you know what, I think it’s best if only one of us goes on these trips” and he agreed with me… ;)

About a week later, in early December for the first time I went by myself. Not only because of the space in the van, but also because it made more sense for Maciej to stay and manage the warehouse, and all other things that needed managing..

Also, the other project in the background was still an ongoing matter and during those few days of me being in Poland, we also managed to do a round trip to Warsaw and back (about 370 km one way) to make sure it’s all going well over there.

Anyhow, the first trip can’t be classified as the best one - nevertheless, it definitely was a successful one… in the end.

The plan was to leave early enough to catch the ferry from Rotterdam to Hull that was supposed to leave at 8.30 pm. From there, I was meant to go to Sheffield, then Bristol and then home.. well rested after a 12 hour sail and all that.

Ever heard that saying that the best way to make God laugh is to tell him about your plans..? Well, he sure was laughing His ass off that day :D

The first thing I didn’t predict was that it started snowing the day I was leaving… The second thing was a ginormous traffic jam on a German motorway which robbed me of about two precious hours…

When I finally got to the bloody ferry terminal at 8 pm - and mind you, I didn’t stop a single time all the way from Poznan, Poland (about 12 hours) - I bounced off the closed gates which still should have been wide open… that day the Dutch were playing with some other team so the bastards left early to watch the bloody game!

I went to speak to a nice lady at the terminal who then informed me that my ticket has been cancelled and that I can apply for a refund.. And even all that would have been fine if it wasn’t for the fact that I didn’t get any email informing me about the cancellation. If I did, I’d have just gone straight to Calais to get either the train or the ferry… And in the end I did exactly that, right after I spoke to the clients who were expecting me the next day…

So instead of arriving in the UK at 9 am, I’ve arrived in London at about 3.30 am, had a few hours of sleep and went to Bristol, bearing in mind that I’ll have to excavate that order from underneath the one that was meant for a Sheffield client. To top it all, those were the only packs of flooring that were nearly half of my weight each - I kid you not.

Thankfully, I had a lot of help from my wonderful clients who just like me, decided to treat this all with humour… ;)

Thankfully other deliveries after that went well.

One thing I didn’t mention before, was that after doing the deliveries, I was going to my cousin’s 40th birthday celebration in Oxfordshire. I was also going to pick her parents up from the airport two days before this major event.

After I picked up our car from the mechanic (the one that we were supposed to go on a holiday with later that month), I went to change the front tyres, as one of them kept on losing air, which was driving me crazy and was dangerous, especially on iced roads.

Thankfully I got used ones.. Why thankfully? Well, they didn’t last long. The next day I was driving to get something for my cousin, and on one of the lovely, narrow Oxfordshire countryside roads a car which was coming from the opposite direction nearly crashed into me. Naturally, I escaped to the left and nothing happened, got home and forgot about it.

The next morning I saw it - one of the tyres I got two days before, was completely flat. To add to the fun, it was the day of the event, and I was meant to pick some of my cousin’s friends..

I couldn’t do much at that point, I’ve put air in the unlucky tyre, with the intention of going into town 15 miles away and replacing it. On that day I got to know Swindon more than I ever wished - eight garages, and no one had it! Duh, it was damaged in a way that it was impossible to fix it! Because why the hell not… Since there wasn’t much I could do at that point, I just got back to my cousin’s place with her friends (a promise is a promise!), we had a party, then the next morning came and it was time to go back to London, take the Smurf and go back to Poland! So I did that. On a fucked up tyre.

Thankfully, it was holding the air quite well despite the damage - I only had to stop once on my 120 km journey home… ;)

I parked the car outside our home, I packed the van… in the meantime it started snowing heavily - AGAIN!

So I brushed the snow off the van (with a broomstick, yes - with my height of a gnome that was the only option) and I left early in the morning.

To a „normal” person (define normal, huh) all these events over such a short period of time (not even two weeks) would probably seem like a good enough reason to send it all to hell, say: „fuck it, I’m not doing this ever again” and just forget about it…

But not to me - nope, to me that was more the reason to keep going. On that trip the challenge has been officially accepted, and the proverbial gloves were definitely off... ;)


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