Since the final entry on the original Moglet site, its been a relatively quiet summer.
Once we made the decision to do the chassis swap, we always knew that we wouldn't
be getting to Morocco until early September at the earliest because of the heat there,
so we didn’t really feel any particular rush, other than the usual vague sense of
itchy-feet. For a little while we contemplated getting to France for early July
for my mums birthday, but in the end we stayed in the UK until the middle of August
- Jason's dad had a birthday in mid July so we stayed for that and went out for posh
lunch. At this point we were also still waiting to see if our applications for concurrent
second passports each would be accepted (they were!), so we couldn't make plans to
leave until we heard, or they arrived. Despite eventually getting on a Dover ferry
on the evening of the 17th August, we spent that morning at the nursing home where
Jason's gran lives, as it was her 90th birthday. Sitting in the nursing home surrounded
by old people, I thought it some ways how odd its was - generally their hearing is
ok but you often to repeat yourself - not because they can’t hear you, but more like
because they don’t hear you because they’re not really in the same room. Where do
old people’s minds go? It’s almost like they’re slowly but surely mentally cutting
the ties to the here and now, only re-grounding when someone pulls them back with
Anyway, we also realised we needed a few booster jabs for vaccinations we’d had a
year or so ago (and by crikey does the Swine Flu jab give you a dead arm for days!),
which eventually meant we got on a ferry on 17th August. We had the customary slowish
pootle down to mum and dads (especially after mum threatened us with a Country and
Western night out if we arrived in time for Saturday!), spending a lazy morning wandering
on a beach and stopping at free aires on the way.
We eventually arrived with the folks just in time to get changed for the Western
night (yay!) and then spent weeks and weeks doing very little in the way of being
constructive. We have managed to get a few bits done though, like the mossie nets
and tent I made, plus emptying Moglet so we can have a proper sort and re-pack, dealing
with the squeaky floor once and for all, making a sofa extension so we have a kind
of daybed option, run a 12v supply into the cab for various things etc. I guess
on reflection we have got lots done, it just doesn’t seem like we’ve got as much
done as we could. But then again, we’re not at work and last time I checked, I wasn’t
expecting a year end bonus based on productivity levels!
One little thing that’s worth mentioning though (coz I know how most people like
a near-miss-almost-a-disaster story!) is the wheel episode...
There we were, only a couple of weeks ago (2nd October to be precise), driving back
from an overnight stay at my mum and dads new house. We’d done battle with the truly
crappy main road through Barbezieux so we could stop on the way back for a coffee
and croissant, and were wending our way along the much smoother tarmac out of town,
wafting down gentle slopes and around sweeping bends (all very graceful for a truck,
I know!), when Jason gently but quite quickly slowed Moglet down to about 20kph and
starts looking in his side mirror as much as out the windscreen. Two enquiries later
and I’m still none the wiser about what he’s looking at, and the look of intense
concentration on his face doesn’t really invite conversation. But we reach the bottom
of a slope and pull over on a wide gravel layby that the local buses use in a teeny
tiny little place that's so small its not even on a map, just house and a huge barn
to mark the spot where a local railway line used to have a station. Once again
I enquire as to the nature of his concerns, and he ominously tells me he could try
to explain but it might be better if I get out and have a look...
His worry was basically over the back left tyre. He could see something that looked
a little odd is his side mirror, but couldn’t tell whilst driving along whether it
was a problem with the wheel, maybe a bump on the tyre, or even just a lump of mud
making things look distorted as the wheel went round. Either way, best to stop and
check. And goodness me, were we glad we did! It took us all of about 3 seconds
of looking at the wheel to notice that all was not as it should be... The first
picture shows you what the weld should look like, and the second shows you what we
saw! The third picture is Jason showing you how far round the broken weld went -
the shorter distance between his two fingers is the weld that still looks intact.
It’d would have been really easy in a situation like this to curse and swear and
kick anything nearby, shake our fists and wonder whether we were ever going to get
to Africa. However, we preferred to look at at from the perspective that someone
up there must be watching out for us, because we reckon if we’d driven maybe another
10yards, the final bit of weld would have given in, detaching the plate with the
studs in that hold the wheel in place. So off spins the wheel and tyre, Moglets
back corner immediately drops about 2ft down, the front end lifts, we’ve got no steering,
no control, and probably no chance of getting out of it without nasty injuries to
both us and the camper, and probably to the road surface along with any unfortunate
As it was, the wheel that went was the only one Jason could clearly see in his mirrors,
the road was good quality and gently curving, there was a layby just where we needed
it (again!), it wasn’t raining and we had no traffic. Plus we had a spare on the
back, a full tank of water, plenty of gas and a packet of biscuits in the cupboard!
So first things first, on goes the kettle, out comes the chairs and we have a little
sit and a brew and contemplate our good fortune and what to do next.
Again, by another stroke of luck, although Moglet has been pretty much emptied in
preparation for sorting and packing again, there are some bits that Jason automatically
put back in the garage - including everything we need to get the spare off the back
and change a wheel. Phew!
It’s not a quick process, especially as the spare on the back had gone flat enough
to pop itself off the bead so needed re-seating and inflating, but as the song goes,
we have all the time in the world...
Mr Friendly Neighbour from the only house within a mile or so of us pops over at
one point and through his heavily accented french Jason manages to understand he’s
telling us the barn has electricity for lighting so we can plug in if needs be. Aren’t
people just essentially nice? :-)
So with the tea flowing freely, supplemented with the occasional biscuit or slice
of bread and jam, Moglet is jacked up, the spare taken down off the back and reinflated,
the knackered wheel is removed and hoisted onto the back, and the spare then wheeled
into place and bolted on. That makes it sound quick, but allowing for tea breaks
the whole process still takes just a touch under 3 hours. Not too looking forward
to doing the same in 45degree heat in the desert!
Just as we start to clear up, Mother Nature treats us to a few seconds of glorious
It’s dark by the time we head off so Jason gets the reasonably rare chance to play
with all the lights on the front of Moglet, which he does for most of the way home...
Next day, Jason’s chatting to Atkinson Vos who are their usual fab selves and they’re
scouting out for a replacement wheel for us straight away. And our luck continues
to hold as ten days later, a mini pallet arrives in a courier van, delivering our
replacement wheel to us, free of charge. You gotta love Atkinson Vos, they’re as
fair and decent as fair and decent things can get! :-)