Another disaster!

April 28th 2007

We set off for the first stage of our holiday and were just approaching the Severn crossing when the engine on the Rover overheated. We had steam pumping from the bonnet! We called the AA immediately and very quickly a recovery vehicle arrived to tow the car and caravan to the services area on the Wales side of the Severn Bridge (meaning we didn't have to pay the toll).

We were met at the services by an AA mechanic who diagnosed a faulty radiator cap. He made some adjustments and sent us on our way with the recommendation that we should replace the cap when we reached our destination.

We travelled about a mile up the road and suddenly the engine gave up on us. There was boiling water everywhere - and we were on a bridge on a very busy dual carriageway. We rang the AA again and told them that we were in a very precarious position on this dual carriageway and retreated behind the barrier. An hour later, we rang the AA again and told them that if they did not respond soon, there would be an accident. No sooner had we finished the call than a car driven by someone who must have had his head in the clouds saw the caravan at the last minute, swerved and scraped the rear corner of the caravan, then continued to spin, hitting the central reservation several times. His car came to rest about 100m further up the road and was a write-off. Our caravan had minimal damage.

When he got out of the car, he said "My fault entirely. I was travelling too fast.”  I rang the police because his car was slewed across the outside lane causing quite a bad blockage. The police arrived and contacted the AA again for us (the AA had a quick response to the police request!).

The original mechanic turned up and diagnosed a possible cracked head gasket - that's a bit different from his initial diagnosis, isn't it? We had to wait for a tow truck to bring us home, so we made a call to Gary and Barbara who run Batcombe Vale site and arranged for the caravan and me to be dropped there while Jeff and the car would be taken to the garage. Jeff would then pick up my car and drive to the site.

By the time we arrived at the site, it was 10pm and I was absolutely shattered and very stressed. Gary and Barbara set the caravan up for me (bless them) and Jeff arrived in my car half an hour later with some very welcome fish and chips.

The site was not far from home so we were able to travel backwards and forwards to make arrangements with the caravan insurers and try to find a new tow car. We made a temporary repair to the caravan and eventually found a Mitsubishi Pajero diesel 4x4 which fits the requirements for a towing vehicle. It looks a bit like a carnival float but it certainly does a good job of towing the caravan.

We spent a week sorting out the insurance, making a temporary repair to the caravan, booking the caravan in for repairs and purchasing the new vehicle.  We also found time to chill out in the beautiful surroundings of Batcombe Vale.  We then set out on holiday again. I'm pleased to say that we had a lovely time in Shropshire with no further incidents!!!