Awaiting the plate
The VOSA saga continued all week. A number of people have sent me possible acronymic alternatives to its long name – The Vehicle Operator and Services Agency. Some of them are worth mentioning, others are rather rude but all are extremely funny and pertinent. I liked ‘Very Obedient Servant Always’ and ‘Voluntary Association of Sales Assistants’. There were a number of Voluntary Associations but most of them were not mentionable before the watershed. As I am trying to keep the real VOSA onside at the moment I’d better not mention any of them.
My ménage and I are still marooned in a sea of oily mud as the welsh rain lashes the commercial vehicle repair yard in Llay, near Wrexham. I hope for not much longer, although, like most places on the planet, it has some saving graces which I will mention later. But those of you desperate to know my lovely lorry’s fate will be pleased to hear that I have now had the wheelchair lift removed which reduced the front axle weight to 2500Kg. At the same time I found a nice man at VOSA (I am sure not the only one) who has agreed to raise the plate weight on the front axle to 2900Kg, so between the two actions I now have freed up almost half a ton to put my stuff back in the front porch and still be legal. The only downside has been that I am still waiting for the new plate to arrive. The lorry has to be taken to the Ewloe Check Point to have the Weight Restriction removed so I will be very relieved to be, once again, fully road legal. For the curious amongst you, I guess at some point in the past it was a real metal plate with hand engraved numbers that had to be fixed to a lorry in an accessible place. These days, and probably not for much longer, it is a paper one with a bit of Government issue sticky-backed plastic to prevent anyone changing the numbers. No doubt in the queue of vehicular paperwork soon to be sacrificed to the great god Pixel. One of the Trinity of Digit, Perfect Pixel and Holy Zero/One. (Sorry, no offense intended)
If I don’t have the new plate when I go to the yard it gives the other VOSA man in my life a wonderful opportunity to make that great vocal idiosyncrasy of the Man of Power, the sharp intake of breath, or the SIB as it is known to those of us who recognise them. Last time we met at the roadside on my way back from Caernarfon two weeks ago, he made an SIB of factor 8 as he contemplated how impossible he had to make my life. Well he has, and I don’t want to increase his SIB factor again without the plate firmly and accessibly affixed.
So the doggies and I are imprisoned by the government in this yard in Llay whilst we await the interminable but inevitable pendulum of bureaucracy to churn out the plate which will set us free. There are though, as I said above, some saving graces.
The junction of Davy Lane and Miners Road, Llay is, as the names suggest, replete with the aura of history. The mine at Llay was, at its height, or maybe one should say its depth, the deepest mine in Britain. All the fascinating information about the mine is on http://www.welshcoalmines.co.uk/North/LlayMain.htm
and I had a great conversation with its author, Vic Tyler-Jones, who told me there is a mine museum at the Miners’ Institute, an impressive building just up the road. I intend to go and visit it as should anyone else passing through the area. The barman Peter will open it up for you apparently.
Llay Main had the reputation of being a ‘happy pit’. No ponies were ever used there and the welfare of the miners themselves, over 3000 at its peak, was considered very important. If you have five minutes, check out the website. It tells a lovely and fascinating story.
I also had a happy stay here but hopefully soon I shall be moving on, another story to discover, another road to travel.
All the best from a road near you,