Back to nearly normal
I am happy to announce that the lorry is once again fully road legal and I am back in my own yard after my VOSA-enforced holiday in Llay. I decided at the end of last week, with the rain lashing and the oily mud surrounding us, that I couldn’t wait any longer for VOSA’s machinery to spit out the new plate so I phoned them up and pleaded. I can be very deferential when I am so minded. I had the name of the contact there who had been friendly so asking for him helped. After a little computer delving to discover they had received my form for the new plate he agreed that if I brought the email I had stating the plate could be uprated I could make an appointment at Ewloe to have the Weight Prohibition lifted, along with my spirits.
Leaving the Commercial Vehicle Yard was a liberating moment. Not that I had been totally unhappy there. There’s always something to learn and the history of the locality was fascinating. But all in all it was great to pull off the yard and rejoin the real world. There was, however, one more ironic hiccup, if a hiccup can be ironic, in the VOSA saga.
I arrived at the yard in plenty of time for my appointment. When the Inspector arrived (happily not the man who had given me the prohibition who was off that week) she went to open the little room that was the control room for the weighbridge only to find that the lock had been vandalised. Someone had pushed a small piece of metal into the lock so the door could not be opened.
‘The kids around here can be terrible’, said the Inspector. I thought, but did not say that it wasn’t kids but someone with a grudge against VOSA to stop them using their weighbridge. However the little piece of metal could not be removed, the door could not be opened, the lorry could not be weighed and the Weight Prohibition could not be lifted. The thought of spending Easter in the VOSA Check Point arose in my fertile imagination. But she let me go, as I suspect the original man could also have done, and promised to phone me when it was fixed so I could have it weighed. Two days later I phoned them, found the lock had been fixed, made the appointment, drove to Ewloe, had the lorry weighed and found that all was well, the weight was well below the new plated weight and I was free to go. It weighed in at 2600Kg, 50Kg below the original plated weight and now with the new uprated plate at 2900Kg, allowing me 300 Kg to put back some of the stuff into the front that I had taken out when it all happened.
It’s been a nightmare but some good has come of it. The lorry is lighter and I've gained new belly box cable cupboard. The porch, once I have finished the new steps will be sleek and nice, and I have learned that Llay Deep mine was the deepest pit in Britain and was always a happy place.
On the same day as this, Rhys, the filmmaker, phoned to say he had finished the final dubbing and was sending the drive with the full length film and all the sequences for the DVD off by guaranteed next day delivery to the place in Newport for it to be copied and compiled. The following day was the final deadline if everything was to be back in time for the launch day in Wallingford at the end of the month.
The following morning I received a text from Rhys – ‘Disaster. The drive has been lost in the post.’ Now I have used the Post Office’s Guaranteed Next Day Delivery service thousands of times in my life for important stuff and this has never happened before. It was made even worse because there had been a last minute rush to finish the film because of some compatibility issues and Rhys had not saved the finished files on his computer before burning them to the hard drive.
The upshot of it all is that the Newport guy said as long as he had it on Tuesday (all this happened over the Easter weekend of course), he could still deliver. Rhys set to and redid the compilation, found another drive to burn it all to and we met on the A55 for me to drive the drive down to Newport personally. Neither of us could trust another courier. A four-hour trip on Saturday down the lovely deserted A483 through the Marches down to South Wales listening to the radio was lovely with the spring sun setting. I came back via the motorway, a much less interesting route, but with the benefit of speed. Arrived back in the yard at 1.00 am.
So all being well I should take delivery of a big box of DVDs before the end of the month. I know you will like the result. The film is wonderful and there are some other features of the whole package I am very happy with.
All the best from a road near you,