Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What a to-do!

Okay, we got all packed last night, so all we had to do this morning was get up at 6, breakfasted, washed, have the last bits of the campervan squared away (loo and waste water emptied, etc.), and get on the road when the gates for the campsite opened at 8.

If you've been following this blog, then you'll know that our plans rarely survive daybreak. We got up at 6:45, took our time getting ready, and were on the road by 9:45.

Then Betty decided the fastest way to go north of London was to take the A2 south, and lead us onto a toll road for Dover and the Channel Tunnel! We quickly got off the toll road (at the last exit before the tolls were charged), and told Betty to calculate the route back to the Just Go depot in Flamstead. This time, she asked us if we wanted to avoid toll roads (a resounding "Yes!"), and sent us back north on the A2 (going past the exit we originally joined the A2!), with an ETA about 20 minutes after the hand in time of 11am.

To avoid a GBP75.00 fee, we emptied the chemical toilet before we left, and just used the camp site's toilets. Of course, halfway through the trip, I heard the call of nature, and desperately started looking for a public loo. When a sign appeared saying that the next services were 16 miles away, I had to pull onto the hard shoulder and use the on-board loo. No worries, we thought. We have to fill up on diesel before we hand the van back; we'll empty the loo into the petrol station's toilet.

Murphy strikes again. After much mucking about trying to get into the petrol station, there's no public toilet we can use. By now I was resigned to having to pay the GBP75 (much to Juliette's disgust), but Just Go were fine about it (they let us empty it into their toilet), and they weren't worried about the late return either (so no GBP100/hour late fine).

After a quick inspection of the van (just the smashed light, and they already knew about that), and they dropped us back at Luton airport, where we caught the bus for London Victoria. Currently, we're on the X90 back to Oxford (should get there about 4:30), where Phil the taxi will take us to Abingdon. We've got one night at the same B&B as last time, and out to dinner with Joy & Fred (Italian, apparently -- yum!), before heading back into London tomorrow morning.

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