It may have been a case of being overly ambitious but the weekend didn't pan out like I was hoping. We set off at four thirty Friday afternoon. Not the best time as we'd be hitting the north circular at rush hour. But our reasoning was simple; the earlier you get away the earlier you arrive. This, of course, doesn't account for the pain of sitting in a traffic jam. It took two hours to cover the few miles from our house to the gateway to the north; the M1 at Staples Corner. During those two hours we started to hear an unhealthy rattling from the underside of the car. Pulling over at the first (or last, depending on which direction you're travelling in) service station to find that the cage that held the spare tyre had worked loose and the spare was missing! I secured the cage and was confident that this would fix the rattle.
Back on the M1 we crawled along at twenty or so miles an hour accompanied by a slightly differently sounding rattle. About this time Jay called me from Cold Springs Farm with some news. (She had rather sensibly travelled up earlier by train.) We were told not to drive beyond the car park as the car would need a tractor to retrieve it as there was four foot of snow on the campsite! The Farmer had offered them room in the bunk house along with another group who had turned up with the idea of pitching tents. She said that the roads in to Buxton were now passable but thick fog was causing problems. She also asked if we could stop by an off license so that we could make the most of the accommodation with drink and nibbles!
We continued to crawl along the motorway with thick freezing fog now adding to the misery. At Junction eight we pulled off the M1 and re-checked the underside of the car, it seemed the exhaust pipe now swinging in space. It became clear at this point that to continue on would be irresponsible so we re-joined the M1 heading south and for home. I sent messages to Liam and Jay letting them know that we were bailing out. It was disappointing to have to do so, especially as the weekend was one that I suggested, and it was to be Penny's first trip out in months.
Having had a couple of mechanical failures on the old bus over the last few months including the clutch going on Christmas Eve, I think it's time to trade it in for a newer, hopefully, more reliable model.