All Wheel Drive

Almost as soon as the 2nd journey was over, we started prepping for the third.

The plan — the original plan — was for Ciaran, Bear and I to use the UK4UKR funds to purchase a 4×4 and to deliver it to Gordon the medic in Medyka on the Ukrainian border. He would use it to deliver urgently needed medical supplies to hospitals around Ukraine.

We planned to leave on Sunday April 24th and go in convoy, Bear driving the 4×4 and me in Ciaran’s Stepwagon, filled with aid.

After dropping the 4×4 and aid off at the border, we’d then pick up Kateryna and her daughter Angelina, the refugees that my partner Kathryn and I are sponsoring to come and live with us in the UK.

We’d then drive to the city of Radomsko in Poland to pick up Natasha and her children Mark and Maria, together with their adorable little Maltese puppy, Oliver.

That night we’d stay at that great little hotel on the Polish-German border, get up super early, and be back in the UK that evening. I’d drop Bear off in Banbury, Natasha and her kids off in Stockport and take Kateryna and Angelina up to Durham to stay with us in our newly-converted spare room.

But of course, things rarely go according to plan!

Over the Easter holidays, Bear had been taking the lead on finding us the 4×4. He found a few around the country, but for one reason or other we couldn’t get our hands on one until a few days after Easter when he found a Nissan Terrano for sale for £2,000. When he found out what we had planned, the guy who was selling it was really interested in helping us, so he knocked off a big chunk of its price and said he’d get the vehicle serviced and MOT’d to boot. Brilliant.

I geared up to leave on the evening of Sunday 24th. I’d be getting the train down to Ciaran’s in Hemel Hempstead, picking up the Stepwagon, filing it with supplies, meeting with Bear in the Terrano and then we’d drive in convoy down to Folkestone and get the a late train through the Channel Tunnel.

However, on Saturday we had some crappy news: the Terrano had failed its MOT. This upended our plans somewhat. We decided to hang on until Monday and if the Terrano passed then, we’d simply kick things up a gear, as I had arranged to meet Natasha and her kids in Radomsko on Wednesday.

It would mean one hell of a rushed journey from my home in Durham to Medyka on the Ukraine/Polish border, again! But there was very little I could do about it. To mitigate the situation, Bear agreed to travel to Hemel and load up Ciaran’s Stepwagon later on the Sunday, so it would be ready for us to simply collect when we got down there on the Monday.

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